Thursday, August 27, 2009

The American Dream

"I wonder what it's like to grow up in rural Georgia today" I pondered after an ice cream truck, volume full-blast, parked near where I lay on Zuma Beach, and briefly interrupted the magic of the waves and the sun and the warmth of the sand.

It must surely be different now. Even in the south. Can any of you tell me?

There were no ice cream trucks in my neighborhood. My street was dirt and it was called a road. The bus picked me up in front of my house, and the bus drivers, Mr. Spence, then later, Miz Frances, were kind-hearted and didn't take any guff.

I hardly recognize my America anymore. And, I've come to the conclusion that it's my own fault. I left her to others to run, trusted others to look after my land-of-the-free and home of the Braves. I mean...brave.

I do vote. In the beginning, for Carter because I'm a Rebel from Georgia. Then, for Reagan, because my boss/finance professor at West Georgia College told me I should. When I was younger, Georgia was considered a Democratic state. There was no such thing as Red or Blue, only the red, white and blue. We were all one, and we all agreed on that, even those still fighting the civil war.

What has happened to my country? She's terribly broken and the people I've elected to fix her seem to be running around in the muck. Alaska is melting and has replaced California as the land of fruits and nuts. Texas and Hawaii want to leave the union. And Arizona, sensible with medicine, is not so sensible with AK47's. In an 8-mile stretch of Sentator McCain's Arizona, between the Utah and Nevada border, we saw one after the other automatic weapon billboards. I was shocked, appalled and deeply offended, and not just a little frightened.

And our President has taken up golf. Golf!

So now I'm forced to take up government. I can't be any worse at it than they've been. I'm good at problem-solving. And goodness knows I can see the problems, looming as they do in front of my face.

So, I must pull my head out of the proverbial sand, wake up and come to know.

I haven't wanted to know. It was easier to let someone else worry about things like health/sick care, bailouts and fiscal responsibility. What does that mean anyway?

Plus, if I paid attention to what was going on, if I really knew what was happening right under my nose, I might have to do something about it. Much like having to get sober once I knew I was an alcoholic, or close my business after the ink bled red.

I do have a theory.

I didn't want to know, because I was just too darned busy.

Doing what, you ask?

Dancing.

You know. The Dance. You do it, too. We call it 'The American Dream'. I call it 'The Dance'. The more, more, more dance.

This dance is exhausting, it's draining, it kills. We dance longer and harder and faster, performing more intricate, and more dangerous, leaps, hops, whirling, whirling until all is a blur, and nothing is distinguishable. Nothing at all.

We follow the dream and the dream is the blur, while the corporations infiltrate and the tail wags the dog. We're addicted to prescription drugs, sugar, fast-food, Hollywood and sports, don't get enough sleep, consume petroleum in our cars, in our plastic water bottles, our polyester clothes, and even our chapstick. We work like dogs (although, no dog ever worked as hard as I've had to!) and have the fewest number paid vacation days per capita than most any other country in the world.

We're sick and we wonder why. Is the healthcare system broken? Heck, yeah! But what we all seem to be missing is...it is so much more fundamental than that. We eat crap, feed our kids crap, and call it food. All the goodness has been taken out and it's full of addictive sweeteners and fillers and fat. Let's get back to the basics, fruits and vegetables. Let's grow our own. Stop trucking stuff across the world and the country, picking it green so we get none of nature's nutrients. Stop filling ourselves full of 'medicine'. Get out of the house and exercise, feel the wind and the sun on our skin. Do some manual labor. THESE are then answers, prevention, not health care.
But, back to the dance. So, we're all whirling and dipping in our own frantic dance, bouncing one off the other, each spinning our own web, striving, working, spending, more, more, more, more, more, more, more.

There's an old saying about making sure your ladder is against the right wall. Well, for 52 years, every ladder I've climbed has led to another. I've come to suspect that there are no right walls, only ladders, disappointment, falling down, bruised knees, and getting back up to trudge once more. More striving, more ladders, more dance, more blur.

To help fix our problems, we must stop the dance. We must come to know. And we must help America get better again.

I'll finish with another old saying, one we used a lot as kids, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I don't know where it originated, but it occurs to me, today, as I open once-veiled eyes and survey the broken-ness and divisive-ness going on in our beautiful US of A, that angry, hate-filled words do hurt. They are hurting us. Their words create the dance and the dance creates the blur.

I also know that words can heal. I have words. I am a healer. And I'm a rebel to the core. It's time to remember that I have a voice. Ever heard my rebel yell?

"YEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

How about yours?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Solutions On a Country Road

Yesterday, it occurred to me that I could simply put Betty's top down...and leave it down. She's garaged at night anyway, and we can go topless during the day. There's no danger of rain for a couple of months, not here in sunny California. With the top down, and the windows up, wind noise is minimal. And the whistle is gone.

This afternoon I donned a floppy hat, climbed in and drove to T.O. for a movie (Harry Potter. Again). I took back roads, sharing Kanan with an older Jag, also topless. There is a sense of belonging, a sense of connection with my surroundings that I haven't felt before. Not in a car.

After the movie, Harold joined me. We stopped at the mall for coffee from Coffee Bean, then drove around the outskirts of town, down Lynn, to Wendy, then south on Potrero, bordering parkland and the Santa Monica Mountains. Here, the road is as windy as any country road, and the parkland gives way to estates and then further, to open vistas of horse farms.

The road here is bordered by white fences, each marching on, in to the distance, then farther, still, to the mountains beyond. Barns and homes are set far from the road, surrounded by green pastures and hay fields, backed up to the hill and mountainsides in this lovely corridor of the Conejo Valley.

Harold was enchanted. And I? Enthalled. Enough so, that I will be drawn to explore, even more, this countryside that I so love. Me...and Black Betty. Top down!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Black Betty

Oh, oh, Black Betty, Bamalam...

Here she is, rescued from the confines of Culver City, freshly purchased from a young woman who is soon returning to the Czech Republic, after studying language here in L.A.

She met me Monday at EuroTech Motors, where Ardy's mechanic drove it, tested it, put it up on the rack and went over it with latex-gloved hands and a flashlight. She needs new back tires and a left front axle (the seal is shot), which my friend, Byron Perry, will take care of next week when he and Kathleen get back from Jamaica.

She also needs a good interior detail job, especially the once cream-colored carpet. Kelly has a guy who'll do it at the spa, so that should be handled soon, as well.

The top is automatic, but I still have to muscle it closed, clamping both sides at the same time. I'm embarrassed at how little upper body strength I have. Either I'm doing something wrong or...it's time to un-wimp! After closing it last night, it whistled all the way home, so I must have to put more umphhh in to it.

But, I can't deny that driving around with that top down, sun shining and wind playing with my hair, that there's a big, huge smile on my face...and in my heart.

Ahhh...Home Again!


Coming home is always as good to me as the leaving is. My bed welcomed me with 9 hours of blessed sleep, much needed after several nights of not enough. Its plush pillowtop felt heavenly after a way-too-hard bed.

We stayed at Cedar Breaks in Brian Head and I have the teeshirts to prove it, courtesy of Lynn and Bob, the wonderful sales couple at our resort. Spending an hour with Lynn as she spun visions of their luscious resorts, was hardly an imposition, and I was rewarded with $100 to spend at the resort.

Zion National Park is still as majestic and awe-inspiring as I remember. I walked barefoot in soft Zion dust, which is as red as the Georgia clay back home. We cooled ourselves under cascading water falls blowing in the wind, then later sat on rocks and dangled our feet in the Virgin River. As we were leaving we saw 3 Dall Sheep.

Up above, at Cedar Breaks National Park, the air was much cooler as we hiked through the woods and alpine meadows. I reveled in the summer wildflowers blooming profusely; lupine, Indian paintbrush, Utah daisies, and a myriad of others. The alpine pond was clear and shallow, with funny little stick-like creatures moving around the silty bottom. I must google and find out what they are.

I shall return. It is a place of peace, beauty and wilderness. I am grateful that only a few hours away, in any direction, I can still find these patches of perfection, and, in the finding, find myself once more.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No Blue

As fate would have it, come Monday, it might be alright, but...I got no car. No Blue. No cute little convertible. Nada. Just a mounting rental car bill.

So, tomorrow we're taking the rental (instead of a Cabrio) up to Vegas, then on to Cedar Breaks, Utah, Thursday morning.

I'm looking forward to the tranquility. We'll be staying in Cedar Breaks, elevation 10,200. The forecast is cool, mid-60's daytime, 40's at night, possible thundershowers a couple days. I'm taking my Koolaburras. And sweats. Comfy clothes. Something, too, for the heat of Zion and Bryce, and Cedar City.

Mostly I'm looking forward to a few days of nature. And relaxing. Some time doing nothing. I'll let Kelly go to the seminar. I'm resting. And playing.

Terry Brooks, you'll be happy to know that you'll be getting another royalty check in my name after today. I bought books 4 and 5, The Tangle Box (Nightshade is back) and Witches' Brew, to read on the trip. I'd forgotten how decadent it is to read to my hearts' delight. My favorite posture as a child was slouched in a chair or on the porch swing, book in hand. I would read until it was dangerously close to time for Mama to get home from work. Then, my sister and I would fly around the house sweeping, doing dishes, picking up clothes, dusting or cleaning the bathroom, whatever our chores.

Inevitably, there'd be that day when traffic must've been better than usual (or maybe she didn't stop to buy a beer for the ride). The dogs would start barking, and I'd jump up from my book, knowing her car was barreling down that red Georgia road. And I'd be in trouble, again. There'd be a lecture. Guilt. Maybe worse if she'd had a really bad day.

No wonder I feel guilty today about slipping away in to a good book and not getting my chores done. In fact, I've deprived myself for years, gleefully reading on vacations and airplanes, but seldom allowing myself the luxury any other time.

I say HOGWASH! Guilt be gone. I am a somewhat reasonable adult, at least most of the time. I can get things done when the doing is necessary and still read each day. Books, novels, are how I take my mind to the playground.

So, for the next few days, I rest, I play, and I forget about the car hunt. When I get back, the perfect one will be waiting. A little Cabrio convertible, cherry, automatic, mechanically sound. One that's absolutely, positively right for me.

Till then, Sayonara.
P.S. Are YOU depriving yourself of something you love? Give back the guilt and reclaim your beloved!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lil Blue


Last week I drove a 2001 VW Cabrio convertible named Lil Blue. Lil Blue is, as you guessed, blue. Midnight blue. She has a black, automatic convertible top, black leather seats, a CD player (that could use upgrading), A/C, 5 speed, tight, peppy and fun to drive.


Her current owner, for the last 5 years, drove her back and forth from Santa Barbara to school in Santa Cruz, so she has 119,600 miles. Tomorrow they (Lil Blue and her owner) will meet me at my mechanic's, so that he can check her out. If she passes inspection, and he gives her the nod, this time tomorrow she'll be parked in my garage.!

And the rental car will be gone, back to the rental car home.

Wish us luck!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Holosync and Threshold

Thanks, Holosync, and Centerpointe Research.

I'm now on Awakening, Level I, about 3 CD's in. It's taken me 9 months to get here. I sit in meditation, listening through the stereo headphones as instructed, for an hour about 5 days a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. I try not to push it. When I do I get a bit batty. Testy, cranky, skintight, coiled spring poised to break out. I eventually do. Break out, that is. I slip and slide, sometimes gracefully, sometimes not, through threshold to breakthrough, to breakout.

It's a brilliant process, one I feel honored to have found. I am changing, growing, by leaps and bounds. I feel it. I experience mySelf in so many new ways. Some fun, some...not so much. There are days when the voice in my head becomes too much and I must shut her up. The whole point, however, is to listen, to learn, to grow, to move on. Meaning, to change. To let go of these behaviours and ways of being that shackle me and hold me back and down.

I find that I am growing ever tired of being boring, after having reveled in it for many years. I am yearning instead for new adventure, new experiences, new ways to play. I am ready to get out there and trek and travel, to explore and experience. To see the Northern Lights and Michaelangelo's David and Sistine Chapel. To put a wetsuit on and go swimming in this ocean that I live by and love, to rent a kayak and risk a little bit of my security for what could just be a big hunk of fun.

Time to listen? Landover, here I come! :)

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