musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the month “February, 2010”

It’s official

This little blog o’ mine has been visited from every continent.

I wave to the scientist in Antarctica in the hopes that I amused them as an alternative to freezing to death in a sea of white. I wonder if they were in Antarctica for penguin reseach.  I love penguins.  Who doesn’t?

I particularly like that I have been visited from Brazil, Chile, Venuzuela, and Uruguay and Argentina.  I wrote a report on Uraguay in 6th grade Social Studies class. Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Poland.  I used to have a thing for Russian authors and poets.  Briefly dated a guy from Belarus. Of course I am excited about Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, homes to some of my ancestors; as well as France, Japan, Korea, Germany and India and the Czech Republic.  Even China, though it seems they were searching for porn last week when they came across my post about my cat being sick with the title Furry Girl.  

But maybe I should have left that bit out.  This is after all, mostly a child-friendly family site.

I’ve also been visited form across Canada.  Don’t want to leave them out, especially during the Olympics in Vancouver.  I’ve been enjoying them so much. 

I’ve been very excited to see visitors from South Africa, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast.

I am also usually surprised everyday to find people visiting from all over the United States, not just where people I know or virtually know live. 

And I can’t possibly leave out Australia and New Zealand.  I’ve had visits from across Australia, and even from South Pacific Islands like Micronesia, and across Indonesia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Cambodia and even Nepal.

It’s exciting to see where my little pictures and words about writing and my family are being seen.

Thank you all for visiting.  I hope something I say is useful in your lives.

A few posts from now will be my 200th.

Advertisements

Priceless

Yesterday, Captain Comic came home from school, and was asked the usual:

Mom:  How was school today, kiddo?

Capt. Comic grins that I’ve got an excellent secret grin, because delivery is always in the timing…make ’em wait: 20.

(for those who may be unfamiliar, in his school day, his behavior and ability to remain on task and engaged is given a points system that tops at 20 points).

It had been a pretty tough week so far and he hadn’t played videogames because of it, not terribly so, but not videogames, either.  He then pounced on the tv and Playstation like a cheetah on an baby antelope.  He was quick, he was skilled. He conquered.

going slightly still crazy

I need to get out of the house, but I’m not supposed to do so as of yet. This is making me start to do things like speak in a Frau Blucher voice.

Yes, I am going schtir crazy.  I haven’t quite hit the halfway mark according to doctor’s orders.

Now you know why I went out to sing on Sunday.  I’m really not one to lie around and do nothing for weeks at a time.  I have a hard time sitting still during the prayer/meditation for Sunday services.  That’s about a minute, folks.  So my internal combustion is about to blow.  I may start climbing the walls while singing “The Hills are alive…with the sound of music!”

Trust me, I’m no Julie Andrews these days. 

I’m also weeping over the Olympics.  Poor Lindsey Vonn, Poor Julie Mancuso, last night.   Everytime the news or the Olympic playback commentary revisits the performance the other night of the Canadian skater whose mother died, I absolutely bawl.  I know I’m going to lose it when she skates again tonight for the long program.

I swear it’s all just because I really want to bust a move and can’t.  All that energy has to go somewhere.  I’m also looking out the window at my scrappy garden and just want to break out the handtiller and get some sunshine.  But it’s going to be a while longer.  Patience is a wondrously elusive quality.  Especially patience with self.

But I have started critiquing my writers’ group stuff, some of which was written at the retreat.  I’m enjoying what I’m seeing from them and it’s getting me back in the mood to finish the edits on my manuscript.

a sprinkling, a spattering

Just a few random things, like snapshots, but not.

Sunday’s weather was gorgeous here, over 60.  Captain Comic entertained himself playing one of his made-up giant monsters, Ulmaragon, in the backyard for hours.  At one point, Grandma looked out the window and noticed he was beating an uprooted plant against the fence.  It was my hibiscus I planted last summer.  This would be the second hibiscus, as voles ate the roots of the first, killing it dead.  After Ulmaragon’s handiwork, there may be a third.  Honey said he managed to get it back in the ground okay.  But we’ll have to see come the really true spring. 

Speaking of spring, I awoke to birdsong this morning.  Well actually, I awoke to the bathroom light blasting through my eyelids, and the sound of racing sneaker shod footfall on the stairs, not sure which came first but each represented my sons’ awakening to  Monday morning.  Oh, and Toots mewled from her crib even before that, I think, and had joined us in bed.  But that’s just life with my kids.  But Birdsong,  yay!

Speaking of song, yesterday, though I shouldn’t have according to doctor’s orders, I went out and sang a solo at my UU church.  It was actually a big production number involving the whole chorus, a drummer, guitar and piano.  We were amplified.  If you’ve ever attended a UU service, the music is usually pretty subdued and on the folkie side, other than the hymns. 

Speaking of hymns, if you google Garrison Keillor and Silent Night, you’ll see an example of what a lot of people find disconcerting about UU.  We change lyrics on hymnal standards.  Sometimes a little, like in Silent Night.  Sometimes, it’s a complete lyric rewrite of an old hymn or other familiar tune by a classical composer.  Some people get really upset about it.  Some people don’t.  That second group tends to join us.  That first group includes Garrison Keillor, which I find ironic, as he is a big member of the folk tradition, through oral tales, and those folkies are changing traditional stories all the time!

I digress.  It’s bound to happen.  Just the kind of free thinker I am.  So, my solo was in the song Seasons of Love from the musical Rent!  It was fun.  I haven’t soloed intentionally since early in college, may have even been back in high school.  That’s a long time ago, folks.  Mr. Cynic said I sounded good.  And he hates the song.  Of course he hates the song, it’s about love and friendship, not gloom and doom. 

It was a good thing I had another post-op follow-up doctor appointment today, because I just didn’t feel right after overdoing things by singing the solo in both services.  Everthing checked out fine, but the doctor reiterated to me, do nothing for 8 weeks was his original protocol.  Yesterday was three weeks.  Bad, Cathy, Bad.  Well, he didn’t sat the bad cathy, part, that’s me.  I feel like Costello, no not Elvis Costello, the other guy, the heavy sweet  half of Abbott & Costello, when he says, “I’ve been a baaaaad boy.”  So innocent.  We both meant well.

But I love to sing, and singing felt good, so there.  I will go lie back down momentarily, too.  As soon as I finish this post.

Toots keeps me smiling.  I’m so glad we made a later in life decision to add to our family.  Yes, she’s a toddler, but as toddlers go, she is very easy going and happy.  I am lucky.  I am happy as a clam. 

One last thing for laughs:  Mr. Cynic likes to watch Iron Chef.  Saturday evening, as we watched an episode that involved a vat of 3 pounds of butter melting,  Mr. Cynic said, “That’s a lot of saturated fat!” 

Captain Comic, half paying attention, piped in “Exaggerated fat?!  What’s that?” 

I cracked up, but thought exactly! 

Otherwise, mostly these days, I am enjoying the Olympics.  Are you?

less words more pictures

I have mentioned before that my son with asperger’s draws comics for hours at a stretch, usually on individual pieces of paper that clutter his room and the rest of the house.  There is one project he has been working on rather consistently, not torn the pages out of, and which he generally calls his Graphic Novel. Yesterday afternoon, Captain Comic came running laughing, clutching it very dearly to his chest and exclaimed through his giggles, “Want to see a really funny joke I just wrote in my comic?” 

Of course I hesitated a moment because I was in the middle of something else, and his sense of urgency is directly proportional to him versus anything else that may possibly be going on around him.  So when he distinctly let me know he was displeased at the prospect of waiting to show me he greatest and most recent creation, I gave him my attention.  Whereupon, he proudly displayed and read aloud through his own laughter this page, highlighting the joke in the block on the middle right of the page:
Because my scanner is less than desirable, here is the dialogue:
Boss Alien in chair:  I’m Bored, Kraygar, get me a latte. (bottom balloon) Not too hot!  Remember what happened 66 pages ago?
Subordinate Alien salutes with a twang: Yes, Sir!
I love his sense of the fourth wall.  I wonder if Bertolt Brecht was thinking like Captain Comic when he innovated the technique in his plays?  I wonder if Captain Comic is familiar with the Greek Chorus device of ancient plays a la Plato?  I wonder how much he has seen Groucho Marx.
I also love his sound effects.  Twang!  PTEOO!  Very effective.
Whatever can make this kid crack himself up this much works for me.  The fact that he is consistently working on something and not discarding multiple versions of it because it wasn’t drawn exactly right is miraculous. 
Toots is beginning to show her artistic tendencies as well.  She prefers alternative canvasses.  Witness:
“Yook, Mommy, Yook!  I wite my name!”

Olympics and gaining my sense of humor back.

Okay, so while I am lying around a lot, I am watching the Olympics a lot.  This is a nice combination because while I ache to roll from my back to side and groan and moan, I can live vicariously through extreme exploits of the upper echelon of the athletes of the world.  I do recognize the humor in it and am revelling in the vicories, etc.  I’m also getting weepy at the inspiration stories of every profile excerpt between the various sports runs, etc.

I think we’re in for an excellent show in the men’s figure skating long program tonight.  I was extraordinarily moved by Lysacek’s short program.  Even when I  thought Plushenko’s was flawless, in my opinion, Lysacek’s rose above program into transcendant art.  So what if he didn’t do the quad Plushenko did.  His artistry and flawless technique were above Plushenko’s.  Sorry, I can’t recall the names of a couple of the other guys, but the Japanese guy who skated to Hendrix?  Beautiful.  The one guy who spun circles around himself and his competitors? We’re going to see a lot more of him in the future.  I’ve never seen anyone come close to his speed and spin capacity.  At least double anyone else around him. Johnny Weir is a hoot and totally aware of what he can bring in his cheeky humor as well as the tech and art side.

Louie Vito was dissed in his scoring.  His halfpipes were far and away better than others who fell and got better scores.  I think he was being dissed for doing Dancing with the Stars.  And frankly, while he was unconventional for DWTS,  he was fun to watch because he was so out of his element and yet did everything to learn and improve for his new field of play and had fun doing so.  That’s right, I have confessed to watching a show I did not watch for several seasons, but now really do enjoy.  again, vicariously.  I love dance, have a long history of it, so there.  LOVED when Cloris Leachman was on.  She’s brilliant. I want to be her when I grow up, which is by the looks of her, never.

Shaun White is so ahead of his competition, it’s unbelievable.  He’s in a category by himself, truly.  Wow.  Loved the show last night, and it was a show.  There was no need for him to even do the final run, he already had the gold, but he did it bigger and better just for the sheer joy of ‘just because I can’. And he gave the crowd the move – the double mac whatsi-doohickey that no one else can do and everyone wanted to see from him. It was stunning.  Man, he’s on top of the world.

Okay, now it’s time for my confession.  I tried really hard – really and truly I did.  But I just can’t get invested in the Curling games.  Mr Cynic came in from the school bus or walking Lucy  when I was trying the other day.  He said it all: “Isn’t that what old people play on cruise ships?”

I burst out laughing.  Not quite, but close.  I’ve played shuffleboard.  Frankly, I found it more exciting than watching curling, no matter how intense the athletes are.  I kept asking myself at what point does a kid or teen see curling and say, that’s it!  I want to be the best in the world at curling!  It is my life’s mission!  I have purpose!  

To the Curlers, (tee-hee – see, I can’t even go there without thinking of the iconic comedic image of old woman in curlers ) I mean no disrespect, and I am trying really hard to relate to that, but it’s just not working. Kudos for the hard work and intensity, though.  You deserve it.

Myth Archetypes – Separation and reIntegration of Female Identity in Modern Culture

Big title, I know, but like I said yesterday, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in my physical stillness.

The above could be a Psych or Sociology Doctoral dissertation. I have done a lot of work in studying myths as the beginnings of humanity’s understanding of itself, just not in a formal sense with money or credit attached to the process.  This is just my own personal interest and journey.  I’ve discussed aspects of this with women I’ve known over a couple of decades, many of whom can completely relate.  There’s been a growing movement since the 70s in particular, often referred to as WomenSpirit.  There’s a growing sense that in the the patriarchical constructs of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim dominate influence of our culture for centuries now, that in the set up of Father-Son-Holy-Spirit, half the population of the world has been seriously underrepresented or denied altogether.  Of course, there are disagreements as to whether this is a political construct or just the way things are.

Even as a kid, I was interested in the stories of the ancient Greek and Roman and Norse mythologies.  I loved the ‘folktales’ of so many cultures which slowly came to me through children’s books and later through seeking out the origins of different cultures myself.  In the older pantheons and ways different cultures told themselves they came into being, from Zeus to Spiderwoman, to Buffalo Woman, to The Egg of the World and so many more, there is always a female representation of at least one aspect of deity or divinity.  In our current presiding creation story, Eve is a bad temptress, and the idea of a mother aspect was tacked on with the Virgin Mary giving birth the God in Jesus on Earth.

Now I want to be clear that it is not my intention in the slightest to denigrate the prevailing dominant culture or any religion for that matter, but there are obvious serious issues from a sociologic and psychological standpoint in the view of woman in our modern cuture.  I believe there is a lot of internal conflict and conflict in society at large regarding women and our place in society.  Are we destined to be Saints or Sinners as represented by Eve and Mary or are we more than that, more complex, less black and white and subordinate?

In the past thirty years certainly, from a political standpoint, we’ve made a lot of progress as a community of women working together to have an equal say not only of equal pay, but access to education and representation in government.  We have a currently tenuously held right to govern our own bodies, but that is coming under threat as the partisan nature of our government here in the US polarizes further on what is in the interest of the good of the nation.

Like I said before, I could write pages upon pages on any of the touchpoints mentioned, but my point, and I am getting to it, is woman are looking for a sense of purpose and a search for meaning and a way to integrate aspects of who we are on a daily basis, as mothers or not, as wives, or not, as artists, writers, etc or not as career woman or not and as just having a sense of identity and purpose that holds meaning for us in our own lives, not just in the service of others, but what makes us who we are as individuals.

I know I am rambling, and I will mention as I have a lot recently, that my time to sit up and type out the ideas that have been flowing through me lately is limited in a physical manner.  This is exactly why what I am writing is not a dissertation.  It is my own personal ramblings that I feel need to be brought to a broader light, as many woman feel the same.

At Studio Mothers is an ongoing conversation about balancing creativity and motherhood.  For many it also entails balancing a fulltime job and meaningful or not, career.   For some of us, we dip in and out of the job market as our family and creative lives dictate. For most we’re trying really hard to justify and make time our creative lives, because this is what feeds our souls.

At the heart of this dicotomy or tricotomy or multiple-otomy, if you will, is the sense of a fractured or separated sense of self based on these roles we each play in our lives. 

I think, even before the the idea of a sense of injustice at being left out of the presiding cultural concept of the Trinity of Father-Son-Holy Ghost, that we were fractured into aspects of personality in the origin tales and pantheons of old gods of every continent.  I’m not going to go into the myth stories of all of these, but I think most of us are at least vaguely familiar with the representation of different goddesses in these pantheons representing different sides of any woman’s personality. 

Looking at the Greeks to narrow my focus a bit, we see Hera as the keeper of hearth and home, mother of the gods in her partnership with Zeus.  Zeus was not a great partner to Hera and often ticked her off by going out and consorting with or raping others to create more gods and demigods, like Hercules or Achilles, for instance.  We see Demeter being a mother of all, but especially representing the complex relationship between mother and daughter in the troubles she had with Persephone.  This gave us a story to recognize cycles of the Earth’s regeneration through the seasons, Demeter laying fallow the Earth as her daughter retreats from her  to live underground with her husband Hades for one seaon, winter.  It is Demeter’s sadness at the loss of her daughter that does this to the Earth each year. In Demeter’s joy each spring, the Earth blooms, in summer bears fruit and we harvest and are fed through the fallow time. Then we have Aphrodite, who is another creationist type in the ideas of sexuality which brings forth life through fertility, but is more recognized for her creative force behind the arts and poetry and concepts of sensuality and beauty.  Artemis represents eschewing the role of motherhood in order to be a warrior and protectress of  all women, children and the animals of the wild, even as she was a hunter herself.  There are many more, but I think these will do for now.

Now, return to the 21st century and we find woman feeling like they are overburdened in the balance of care for children with the fathers, like Hera re: Zeus, I mean he went out and did a lot else besides screw around, but Hera was left taking care of home. I love my husband, and right now he is helping more than his share because of my medical circumstance, and he generally is very helpful, but ultimately the management of what gets done at home falls to me to dole out the chores or do the Syssiphian tasks like laundry, myself.  Lots of energy and time is devoted to this.  If Idon’t take on this management role, things that need regular upkeep are left undone and no one is happy about it, dishes, dirty floors, piles of dirty clothes, toliets…don’t get me started on toilets.

Return to the twenty-first century and we see, like Demeter and Persephone, the push and pull of the relationship of mother and child and how, as one grows and becomes independent the other is trying to balance feelings of loss with feelings of encouragement toward that independence.  There is a lot to attend to in our relationships with our children.  This takes a lot of time and attention at every stage of development from infant throught toddler through elementary through teen years and on.  It’s a constantly evolving situation we as mothers constantly have to renegotiate where we stand in that relationship.  When to hold on and prtect, when to let go and mourn the passing of an old stage and welcome a new.  Lots of time and energy is devoted to this.

Aphrodite in the 21st century:  We want to be loved and to love, we have natural human desires one of which is in relationship, another is often the sense of individual purpose in creativity. While, by the myth of Aphrodite, both come from the same source, they are conflicting feelings in a modern woman, mother, wife or partner in a relationship.  I think mostly it is this sense of wanting to matter and how.  Leave a mark on the world through our creative urges or give ourselves thoroughly in our relationship?  Now we say, Honey, I need some you and me time or we say, Honey, I need some ME time.  Never the twain shall meet.

So then along comes Artemis in our psyche, saying, leave all the rest, I need to do what I want or I need to provide for those who can’t in service to them.  I take care of myself and in doing so, if I have children already, I work for living, hopefully in something that gives my life meaning, to provide for myself and my children.  So many charitable organizations are started by women in the idea of serving a greater purpose in service to other. 

Between Hera, Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite and Artemis at work in my personal psyche, obviously I am pulled in many directions and must constantly negotiate who I am and what purpose I am serving as I serve the many roles that many women serve in our day to day lives.

I am obviously oversimplifying the concepts for this little post going out to the Universe, but I think it’s important to recognize that the stories of centuries past do still really affect  our consciouness and conscience in ways it can be hard to fathom.  Or not.  I think any of us can relate to the impulses and instincts that are represented by these ancient archetypes. 

As I wear out while trying to capture what I am trying to say here,, I am feeling like I only opened a small door to the way I have been reconciling my own feelings through examining these archtypes over my lifetime.   I think there is a fractal, many talk about facets like diamonds or parts of personality, quality that may have gotten lost in translation and interpretation over centuries of retelling the old tales, but I believe they are still extremely relevant.  I believe these stories, as we’ve heard them through a variety of forms, including Disney movies, have if not strictly illustrated, may also have contributed to the splintered and pulled in every direction feelings so many women these days have and seem to share. 

I wonder, and have begun to find ways to draw from the old stories, not just the Greeks, but a wide variety of cultures in order to integrate the aspects they illustrate.  I think if we can look at how these stories have come to us across generations, we can begin to understand what they can tell us about ourselves.  Whether they serve to support or further fracture individuals and women as a whole, remains to be seen. 

I know in my own conversations with many woman that they have a lot to show us about ourselves, each other, and we can learn from them and grow.  Examining archetypes of feminine divinity and power or loss of it has really informed the way I walk through my world and I know it has done the same for many other women as well.  It feeds my soul to recognize that there is an aspect of the divine that looks, sounds, walks like me.

The main thing I am currently working on personally is how to integrate all these seemingly disparate aspects of self into a fused whole, where the parts don’t conflict.  Where the balance of paying attention to one part doesn’t leave out another, where a bit of this one can support another and flow from one to another in in a natural state, like drops of water in a running river, rising to the surface in their time.  Each contributes to the whole, not denies or takes away from it.

Right now, I’m not too certain if I stated the above well, or came to a place where it made sense, but I’ve overdone my physical state for the time being and must leave it as it stands.  Hopefully it sparks some ideas in you.

Love and all that

I’m a bit late on the Valentine’s Day madness here, but at home we’ve been keeping up.  Just a few things on love:

a lot of the marketing push for this day bugs the crap out of me but

A little romanticism goes a long way with me.  A hug, a kiss, a wink across the dinner table.  It’s all good.  I’m lucky, I’ve got someone to have that with.  I realize how lucky I am that he wants to have anything to do with a pain in the butt like me.

Captain Comic reluctantly signed and assembled many Valentines to hand out at school, pretty independently, too.  I didn’t know this until later, but Honey also picked up a nice little box of chocolates for his teacher, too.  She’s been very good to Captain Comic and very open to learning about him and from him for her other students down the pipe.  They’ve been working together, learning together for over two years now.  How thoughtful of Honey to show our appreciation, and Captain Comic’s, too.

Mr. Cynic is on his first really real true and official date with his girlfriend he’s been ‘going out with’ for a couple of months.  You know, they see each other in school, he asked her out.  They sit at tables in the cafeteria next to each other and after he’s done eating with his friends, he turns his chair around to sit with her and her friends.  Going Out.  And they hang out on periodic Friday nights together at the local teen skate night at the ice rink. Their friends are there, too.

But her mom just came to pick him up to chaperone them at Ruby Tuesday’s.  I had thrust myself to meet his gf at the rink one night prior.  But her mom was, with good reason as the mom of a teen girl, trepidacious about getting to know Mr. Cynic.  I assured her he was a good guy, nevermind the long hair, that’s my fault, wanted to get him to the stylist before my surgery, and still not quite up for it, but he’s a good guy.  The gf was much more talkative in our driveway than at the rink, and Captain Comic popped out like he was on a pogo stick to check out what was going on and to say, “Hi.  I’m his brother.  Okay, bye.”  and he bounced away.

So Mr. Cynic tried to hide the rose and chocolates behind his back, and she said, yea, I saw them, you’re lousy at hiding them, and everything.  Two teens obsessed with anime and all things on the darker side of teendom rode off into the sunset on the early side in the back seat of her mother’s hatchback. 

Life is good.  Love is good.  If you have a good love, lucky you.  If you don’t, take a chance on it, walk through the door and open yourself to possibility of the wonder of another person to connect with on a meaningful level.  If you don’t, you’ll never know what you’re missing. 

And if you did, and it broke your heart, it’s okay, really. Your heart may be bruised, beaten and is still beating or you wouldn’t be reading this.  So dare to take a chance again.  Miracles can happen from just taking the chance.

Believe me.  I know.  I wouldn’t lie to you.  I woke up to a toddler telling me she loved me and wishing her grandmother far away a happy Valentine’s Day over the phone.  She’s living proof of what second chances can bring.

Yippee!

In honor of Captain Comic and Mr. Cynic bringing home excellent mid-year report cards this week, I will share a little something that I found over at Jacqui’s Room.  But before I do that, if you haven’t been to the blog of the fabulous author of two incredibly insightful children’s picture books, please clickie on the linkie above.  Jacqui Robbins is generally cheerful and inventively humorous.

Now if you have school aged kids, go to an independent bookstore or click on the titles to purchase Two of a Kind and The New Girl … and Me.

Slow going

Just so no one starts to worry….I’m doing alright, slow going.  I had an allergic reaction after a few days on my second pain killer, so have been doing without.  Healing is happening, just trying to take it easy as I go.  Thanks for well-wishes and all. 

Not much inspiration while I’m focussing on healing.

Post Navigation