Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hibiscus and Poinsettias

Sometimes in the garden of life you simply get to have it all!

(no copyright violations occurred in the posting of these pictures--they are mine!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Steal!

Whoa, just learned my lesson.  There I was in the middle of the big paper when I lost  my internet service.  After trying all the usual, I called Qwest where I was politely informed by "Jack" in India that a criminal such as myself would no longer have access to the Internet.  Someone in our home had downloaded copyrighted material. Of course, I knew it was one of my boys pirating a song or something.  After an hour of chit/chat between me and New Dehli, I was told that when I removed the offending material I would be given a second chance on the world wide web.  They sent me an email instructing me what needed to be changed.  Lo and behold, my Donny picture was contraband. Like Tiger, I have learned my lessons this week, if you are going to post a picture of your idol, make sure that you are legally and lawfully married to them! (Maybe this explains the comments in Japanese I have been receiving lately too!)

Dancing With Donny

Heather and Dave dropped by this week on their way to a “paid” performance of their ballroom routine.  I am trying not to live my life through my children, but in this one area I simply must give in. It gave me my “ballroom” fix for the week now that Dancing With the Stars is over for the season. For the past nine weeks, Katelyn and I would plop ourselves down on the couch each Monday night and watch as couples cha-chaed, tangoed and waltzed their way into our living room. In the final show, I was torn between who should win, Kelly “Cinderella” Osbourne or Donny “He Still Has It” Osmond. Kelly reminded me that we are all princesses deep down inside and Donny reminded me that life and sexuality do not end at fifty.  Katelyn reminded me that, “that is sooo gross.”   Dancing With The Stars is so popular because it takes people who have never danced and makes dancers out of them.  (O.K., that is a major over-simplification because obviously most of those who win were already dancers, but that is the premise.)  The reason that Donny and Marie got so many votes though, I am convinced, is because they had all the middle-aged women of America voting for them.  Maybe, they were also voting for themselves saying, “Hey, if they can do it, so can I.”  Maybe, they were voting for Marie because they were watching the pounds melt off and thinking, “Hey, if she can do it, so can I.”  Maybe, they were voting for Donny because even though he was performing those seductive moves with Kym he had his eye on his wife, Debbie. The women voting reminded themselves, “If their marriage can be vital after all these years, maybe mine can stay intact too.” Donny won this year—the year I turn 50, my teen idol has now been replaced by a man whose picture graces the cover of AARP magazine. He is still my idol, but now it is because he is such a hard worker and so polite (that Argentine Tango didn’t hurt either). But honestly, my tears flowed last week with Kelly’s partner, Louis, as they took third place. I cried, as I watched a teenage rocker who dropped the F-bomb as often as she missed a step, transform herself into My Fair Lady. I reminded myself, “Hey, never judge any book by its cover.” Besides, Kelly taught us all the magic of being a girl.              And Katelyn, honey, I know that you just can’t even picture it, but either Edward or Jacob, may someday, twenty years from now, take off their shirt on reality TV and your daughter will exclaim, “oh, sick!”
6 comments12/4/09

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Across the Universe

Jacob is studying space this week.  He went to “Space Camp” and actually came home from school excited instead of moaning and groaning about how boring it all is.  One of his math assignments revolved around the constellation Orion.  He had to figure out how many light years away each of the stars in the constellation are. With that very exciting opening to a blog, let me tell you why I have been thinking about Orion. When we look South on a winter evening we see “The Hunter.” It is one of the most easily recognized of the constellations. We don’t have to search too hard to find the ancient man with his belt and sword. From our

 vantage point here on earth, it would appear as if all the stars are in the same plane. However, if we were to climb aboard a spaceship and fly towards Betelgueus or Rigel we would quickly find our perspective changing.  The stars that make up what we call Orion are light years apart. From a different vantage point high above the earth, we would never be able to pick out the familiar broad shoulders of the hunter.  We would however, as the Hubble telescope has shown us, have our eyes opened to a universe, beautiful beyond anything we can imagine as we stare into the nighttime winter skies. It is all about vantage points.

 In a similar vein, I have picked up pencil and tablet recently and begun trying to learn some the drawing skills that I gave up so many years ago.  Drawing is more about seeing than it is about moving a pencil on a paper.  If we are going to draw we have to take the time to really see what we are looking at.  One drawing book gives the example of drawing a tree.  When we think of a tree we often already have a fixed symbol in our mind that tells us what a tree looks like.  Often this symbol is one we developed in kindergarten and looks something like this.  In order to                                                                                                                                                           

 draw a more “adult” version of the tree we have to retrain our brain to look at a tree and see a tree as it truly is and not as the symbol that our brain has attached to it.  Our brains are very efficient when it comes to storing information and sometimes we have to override our brains by changing the way we look at things if we want to truly see things as they really are.

So much of life is like constellations and trees.  We have developed “efficient” and “simple” ways of looking at the world.  These models serve us well when we are doing sixth grade math or stamping Christmas trees on gift tags. However, if we want to stretch ourselves further and expand our horizons we need to look beyond.  Albert Einstein turned the Newtonian world of physics on its head by doing a gedankenexperiment or thought experiment.  He asked himself, “What would the world look like if I was riding astride a beam of light.”  From this question he developed what we call the theory of relativity—something I most likely will never grasp- but the point is he “thought outside the box.” Jumping astride a beam of light can be a little daunting at first. Putting pencil to paper and drawing what you actually see can be daunting also. However, the more you do it the less scary it becomes.  S0 now that you are all wondering, “Where on earth is she going with this?”  Simply put, changing the way you look at life can be scary, changing the way you look at life can be exhilarating, changing the way you look at life can lead to new discoveries, changing the way you look at life is not always a bad thing. Like Einstein, sometimes solving a problem requires us to climb aboard a beam of light. Or like Peter, sometimes finding an answer requires us to step out of the boat and walk on water.




Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog

After a very long break from the blogging world and many early morning arguments with myself, I decided that yes, I like blogging and yes, maybe I will try it again.  I am almost to the end of three years of intense Discussion Board time at school; discussing such pertinent and exciting issues as the feud between Philip IV and Pope Boniface and “should we return to a gold standard?” I am afraid I am about to go through cyberspace friend withdrawals. I need a place to put the thoughts that keep me awake at night. I need somewhere to sort out the questions that keep me standing in the shower until the water runs cold. Besides, I bought a very expensive camera and I might even want to post a picture someday. That part is actually more intimidating for me that thinking of something to write. But, I am going to conquer my fears, I am going to find the USB cord, I am going to download!

            I have pondered long and hard, o.k. for a little while, about what I wanted to blog about. Katelyn is so sensitive these days about the cute things she says, whatever!! Jacob hates it when I post those cute pictures of him asleep on his blanky. So, I guess that I am left with a lot of posts about the dog or posting about the random thoughts that constantly fill my head.  If you are really interested in the dog let me know, otherwise it looks like you are stuck with my sometimes coherent, sometimes not, ponderings as I try to make sense of this crazy experience called life. They will, however, be my thoughts and maybe through them you will get a tiny peek into my soul.

 I am adding one caveat on this, my second round of blogging.  This is a “private blog.” You have invited yourself here.  I have set no filters (like I would know how to do that anyway). You will have to be your own filter.  If you don’t want to read what I am writing, I totally understand. C Jane is a much better writer anyway. Hopefully though, it will be a place where, like the classes I am leaving, we can have honest and respectful discussions and share ideas with each other, even when we disagree.  If you don’t want to discuss, then just lurk. Lurking is a wonderful thing and I will never know if you have been here or not. If you don’t want to lurk—well then, that is just weird-kind of like not looking when you go by an accident on the freeway.  Anyway, welcome back friends, here I go again—meanwhile, I still have three weeks of school and today Dante and I are stuck in purgatory. I’ll let you know as soon as we are out! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

17 Again

I haven’t seen the movie but I feel like I am living the life. At every turn lately, I feel those butterflies of uncertainty that cause so much angst in a young girl’s life. I thought I had moved on. I thought I had overcome the anguish of letting others define my self worth with superficial measurements. I thought I was immune to peer pressure and cliquish behavior. I thought I was strong and secure in my womanhood. That was until two weeks ago. That was until I realized that the teenager in me is still alive and well. That was until I joined FaceBook.

I always thought that FaceBook was for a younger generation, the MySpace/ I-Pod generation, the generation that hangs at StarBucks. Then I started to realize that everyone I knew was on FaceBook—even my mother-in-law. On a whim, while watching American Idol, I decided to register. Within minutes I was surrounded by friends. It was truly the most amazing thing I have seen. I was in contact with friends from high school, from college, from down the street. I had a window into my children’s lives, into the lives of neighbors that I only had said “Hello” to in the grocery story, into relatives that I hadn’t seen in years. Wasn’t this the greatest innovation since the cell phone? Could any form of communication be so wonderful? Then the butterflies began. What if I requested someone to be my friend and they refused? What if I requested someone to be my friend and they didn’t respond? What if I said something stupid on the comment section? What if I responded to my niece’s comments and they thought I was eavesdropping? Before I knew it I was right back in the lunchroom of Boyd County High. I found myself checking my FaceBook an inordinate number of times looking for rolling eyeballs and rejection notices. From there I would go to my hotmail, my blog, my checking account—looking for validation that I was still o.k., still part of the “in” group.

Blogging isn’t much better than FaceBook when it comes to a healthy sense of self-worth. I noticed recently that the BIG mommy bloggers do not allow comments on their blogs. Is it because they are so secure that they don’t need people raving about how creatively they write (like Adam Lambert thinking he is so cool he doesn’t care what the judges say)? Or, is it because deep down they have the same insecurities as the rest of us and are afraid to know what others think? And what about the private bloggers—is that the same as saying, “I am sorry you can’t sit at “our” lunch table?” Oh my, this Internet world we live in is so complicated. I guess that is why it is the tool of the new, younger generation who live in a much more “who cares what anyone thinks” world.
Maybe, there is something Freudian about getting a dog and FaceBook all in the same week. I know when I walk outside he will wag his tail, jump up and down and remind me that I am o.k. even though he was never formally invited to be man’s best friend.

Note to readers: With that said, I love, love, love FaceBook, Blogspot and Hotmail, and UNCG’s online classes! If you haven’t already done so please invite me to be your friend, there is always plenty of room at our lunch table. (Besides I want to catch up with Nick Redd and his 358 friends—who has 358 friends?)

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Great Awakening

It has been a long winters nap around here but, Spring has arrived and I am coming back. I guess that throughout all time us "mother bear" types just have to hibernate. Sometime last fall, after my last official post, I just crawled in my cave and that was that. But last week, despite all the snow still on the ground, I got that feeling that I get every year at this time, that rumbling in my stomach, that urge to stretch, that whiff of green grass, that told me it is time to get back to life. Hibernating is wonderful. I did it in a winged back chair in my bedroom with a stack of books, a cup of tea and a very soft blanket. Through the winter, I plowed through the Great Awakening, the Stamp Act, the Revolutionary War, and the Federalist Papers. I got to know Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. And somewhere along the way I consumed the 1200 page Religious History of the American People. I also spent a great deal of time getting to know myself. I rarely came out of my room except for the obligatory mother bear carpooling. But all things must come to an end. I am moving on to my last two biographies--Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren. They were women. They were mothers. I think they will understand if I have to read them between spring cleaning and weeding my strawberries and blogging occasionally. After all that's what us mother bear types do.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Women in my Life...

Mother Nature and my sisters both have a slightly warped sense of humor.  Happy April Fools Day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thinking Out Loud

I love spring...a chance to get outside after a long, barren winter and work in my flowerbeds. I love the warmth of the sun and the promise of new life as I see my daffodils popping out of the ground. A person's life is often compared to the four seasons, but can one really have the promise of spring and the birth of new life after reaching the late summer or early fall of their own life? Jessica said she was going to serve John spaghetti and Prego sauce for a week until he figured out she was pregnant...would my family ever guess about me if I served that every day for a month? I always said I wanted seven children, just like "The Sound of Music". Maria wasn't very old when she married Captain Von Trapp...Do you think she had more children but they just didn't make a sequel? I worked with a girl in college who was expecting her first child, the first grandchild, at about the same time as her mom was expecting her 16th child. Has anyone ever had a baby after their SIXTH grandchild was born? Another Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was "Cinderella". She sings a song called "Impossible"... "But the world is full of zanies and fools who don't believe in sensible rules and won't believe what sensible people say...impossible things are happening every day!" I told my sisters that I thought blogging might be for the younger generation, I just couldn't keep up. Maybe I can keep up with them! One thing is for sure, if I am going to raise children in this blogging generation, I better learn how to do it myself!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Passing the Torch

It seems that whatever genes (or desires) I have to express myself on paper have filtered on to the next generation. Heather had her first article published at Segullah. You can read it here. (Please have a tissue close at hand). Trevor is the editor of his school newspaper and can make any subject interesting with his wit and wisdom.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

AA (Amazon Anonymous)

My name is Colleen and I am an addict. After surfing the net and confronting my demons, I am ready to admit that the problem has become bigger than I am.

Signs of addiction:

1) A person has no control (especially since my credit card is on file and I am only one click away from anything I want).
2) A person needs larger and larger doses to get the same effect (I have a book in my car, ten by the bed, fifteen in the office).
3) A person may experience withdrawal symptoms of agitation and shaking (and inability to do laundry and dishes).
4) A person may experience sudden weight gain or weight loss (it is definitely “weight gain” which has not been helped by the two pound box of truffles hidden in my closet).
5) A person will show changes in clothing (Changes in clothing? I don’t even change my clothes anymore).
6) A person may become sneaky and evasive (and hide out at the cabin away from friends and family in order to finish Albion’s Seed)
7) A person "uses" in order to relieve stress and forget problems (and escape frigid January days).

And the most telling sign of all—collecting Librarian Action Figures.

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. (And the ability to pay my very large fine at the library)