Sunday, February 25, 2007

"elpoeP erA diputS"!!!

I was stricken this morning by the knowledge that it's been a whole quarter-century since 1982.

Back in late winter 1982, I was in 7th grade -- which in my little town at the time was high-school. Everything seemed to be fairly decent. I was doing well in school. I had my two best friends to help me through things. I was practicing music for the spring concert, including this killer version of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" which all four choirs were going to combine on.

It also marks a very strange period in my life -- one of three times in my life when the music was silent. If you know me at all, you know how much of a role music plays in my life. Whether it's radio, singing, composing, or me attempting to play a keyboard, music has been there for me. It has been my boon companion, my comfort, my strength, and so much more.

What happened all those years ago to make me abandon said stalwart friend? I place all blame at the feet of Channel 16. Channel 16 is the religious station around here. It's about half satellite feed from other religious broadcasters and half local stuff -- mostly churches wanting to broadcast a weekly service. One particular evening in 1982, they had a well known local boy preacher who'd hit it big on the Shoutin' Circuit as a singer/preacher (and is married to the daughter of someone I used to attend church with). Anyway, he was doing a show on "backward masking."

At the time, this was the big thing in evangelical/Pentecostal circles to get the kiddies to quit listening to the devil's music...... you know, subliminal messages hidden in backwards to try to turn us all into devil-worshipping, orgy-having, drug-using sinners. Just the latest of Satan's little tactics to drag us all to hell. These days, it's easy for me to be incredibly cynical about it all. Back then, I was gullible enough to believe.

Not that we watched Channel 16 at my house. My parents might have been religious, but they weren't fanatics. They also had a relatively healthy suspicion of many TV preachers. But one of my teachers did watch it -- and did an audio recording of the segment of the show. And brought it into school the next day to play for us all.

Yes, this was a public school. I often said that had the state stripped all funding for us, and the Southern Baptist Convention supplied the same money, nothing would have changed. In some ways, it was kind of nice to have teachers who were willing to share their faith with us. But at the same time, had I been in a minority religion back then or from a completely different culture, I'd have been mighty upset.

So anyway, Mr. B plays this audiotape for us. Get ready for a big shock here -- the song that they highlighted was .... (Are you sitting down? Can your heart take it?) ...... "Stairway to Heaven." The ol' workhorse of the "backward-masking" exposers: By God, you older people thought Elvis was the Pied Piper leading your children to hell -- he was an angel by comparison! We've got some people who are way worse!!!

Yep, they trotted that one out. And like an idiot, I was scared shinola-less. Later on, they analyzed the lyrics to "Hotel California" (which didn't even NEED "backward masking" to talk about Satan, according to them). Not the Eagles, too??? I love them. Oh well, I guess not anymore.

For about 3-4 weeks, I quit listening to the radio at all. Dumbest thing I ever did. Not that I missed all that much, musically speaking, but I can't believe I was so frickin' STUPID. I honestly believed the stuff they were trying to sell me. As an aside, so did a bunch of my fellow students, for at least a little while. I probably took it a little further.

So what brought me out of the no-music funk? I can't pinpoint any one thing. Just a need to reconnect to music -- perhaps it was due to the falling-out taking place among my two best friends and myself. It all just hit the fan that spring; too much togetherness, I guess. Anyway, reconnect I did.... and as I said earlier, playing catch-up wasn't that hard. "Hungry Like The Wolf" was still all over the place, as was "I Love Rock and Roll." Not that much in between.....

As far as the backward-masker exponents go ... the trend lasted a couple more years but apparently we teens were no longer taking the bait. The very next year, our pastor's daughter did her senior term paper on it and then did a presentation on it at church.

I wasn't buying the backward-masking argument this time. One, I knew that she did the paper to please her daddy, not on her own convictions. I also knew that every single "demonic" album came straight outta her local boyfriend's stereo. She is also the girl whose other boyfriend (oopsie! the out-of-town one) gave her a copy of Def Leppard's Pyromania and she asked us to hold it for her until she got in and out of her car. What? Daddy was a purse-checker, too? Anyhow, the clincher was the same segment of "Stairway" having a different message -- supposedly demonic, but different wording. Uh-huh. I heard four different people all analyze that section over the years and each one of them came up with something different. But it did lead me to believe -- believe that the whole thing was utter bovine-byproduct.

And I still do.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Not a shoe girl -- does this revoke my "girl" card?

We were having a discussion about shopping on the messageboard, and if we enjoy it or not.

Well, shopping in general I don't mind..........
  • Clothes? Don't get me started. I realized a couple of years back that I am a serious clothes horse. Right now, it's been made worse by a buttload of clothes that I can no longer wear and MUST do something with. Now. There is a consignment shop for plus sizes, but I haven't had much opportunity to get my crap together and over to them. So I'm thinking eBay instead right now.
  • Groceries? Hey, gotta eat. It's one of those experiences I don't dread, but unless I'm doing a special dinner or something, I don't go all out over either.
  • Gifts for others? Oh yeah. I enjoy that!
  • Things for myself. Well, DUH! Put me in Barnes & Noble, Earshot or Horizon, Ulta, Bath & Body Works or any other store and I'm all there. Books, CD's, cosmetics,
  • Purses? Meh. I can take or leave them. I don't get all into designer purses or having fourteen purses in various colors, styles, etc. I have about 4 decent all-around purses that I use. That's all I need. Stacey & Clinton tell me that it no longer matters that if the purse and shoes match, so I am in heaven. Which brings me to ....
  • Shoes.Revoke my girl card now. I don't hate shoe shopping but I'm not into shoes either. I can live off about 4 pairs.
I did the higher heels when I was younger. I now have ugly feet to show for it. I went to a podiatrist a few days back to take care of an ingrown toenail (OUCH!) and took a look at a chart of common foot issues that was in the examining room. I noticed that I probably have bunions and a few hammertoes as well. They don't cause me any great pain because I've had them for so long. My feet have looked pretty much the same for the last 20 years. All the damage was done in my pre-teen and teen years.

I've always had big feet, as do most of the women in my dad's family. Mom's family (on her mom's side anyway) has all the little teensy feet. My one lone remaining great-aunt wore extra-narrow shoes. Little bird feet women. My grandmother and two paternal aunts -- well, to say we'd be more comfy in the shoe boxes would probably not be an understatement. I wear 10 wides and 11 mediums (depending on how the shoe is cut). I was wearing an 8 medium by the time I was 10 -- same size as my mother. So she let me raid her shoes plenty of Sunday mornings for church. But then, comfort became an issue in my early 20s. My feet were killing me. So I have paid attention and kept them out of heels ever since.

And since comfort trumps style, I don't do the cutesy shoes or high heels. Unfortunately there are times that is all I seem to find in the stores.

So if it means taking away the GIRL card, go ahead. I'll stick to reasonably comfy shoes and indulge my obsession with other things -- CDs anyone?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Thoughts for Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday is tomorrow -- Mardi Gras. Now, New Orleans is well known for its Mardi Gras celebrations, as is pretty much every other place on the Gulf Coast over to Mobile (or at least used to be, ya know....).

But my dream is to one day get to Carnival in Brazil. The real Mardi Gras.

My family hosted an exchange student from Sao Paulo, Brazil from August 1990 until June 1991. Marcio became like another brother to us, and certainly like another son to my folks. Although I was in college for most of that year, he did leave me something I had treasured for just about 15 years now -- a tape of Bossa Nova and Samba music, mostly of Joao Gilberto.

It was instant love, especially for the Bossa Nova. Not that I don't love Samba too, but I really flipped over Bossa Nova music. I bought Getz/Gilberto (the disc with THE song). I like it but quite honestly, I prefer Joao's voice to Astrud's. Just my thing.

And I want to one day, hear all those songs, both bossa nova and samba, in their native place by the native musicians. Enjoying Ipanema in person. Spending time on Ipanema. Visiting Bahia. I would love to travel along the Amazon, even to see the Mato Grosso (deforested as it is).

One day. One day.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

You bet your sweet ass I am...

"I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute." -- Dame Rebecca West

I did a post on my Bad Catholics Anonymous blog, and in it, I went into a brief discussion of my feminist leanings. Make no mistake: I am a feminist -- a pro-life one at that, but that's a completely different point.

I arrived at my feminist leanings by:
  • watching my mother go to work each day. Apart from some of the teachers at my school and a few others, very few of my friend's mothers worked outside the home. My mother did, primarily to help with household expenses. It wasn't entirely to "find herself" (to use such a 70s phrase!). At the same time, we had "luxury items" in our house (dishwasher, microwave, etc.) that some of my other friends would not get for years -- all because Mom worked.
  • having my parents tell me in many ways and at many times that my gender did not limit me -- not necessarily in those words, but certainly in their attitudes. And I have discovered recently that they went out of their way to show me how important certain things were -- and did not with my younger brother. For example, my parents always took me with them to vote, and even lobbied for me to go into the booth with them. My brother? Never went with them. Now, we all vote, but it must have stirred in me an interest in government. I did, after all, major in political science with an emphasis in American Politics.
  • listening to John Forsyth's wry delivery of the words, "Once upon a time there were 3 little girls who went to the police academy... and they were assigned {heavy sarcasm=on} very hazardous duties." {sarcasm=off} I know, it sounds funny. But I realized by watching Charlie's Angels that it wasn't fair that they didn't get to do what they'd been trained to do, and now Charlie was letting them do just that.
  • from my girl peers in high school. Oh believe you me, we got very riled at injustices that occurred because we were girls. We were the beneficiaries of the women's movement. Title IX? Us. Our girls' teams regularly kicked ass; our guys' teams often just lay down and died. We had a debate in our junior English class that quickly dissolved into guys versus girls. I honestly did not know my classmates felt as I did. I thought I was the only one. Keep in mind- these are the same ones who had hooted me down 3 years earlier when I suggested that I thought God might have some feminine qualities. Oh, how little we know at 13.... did we learn that much in 3 years? Anyhoo.....
  • from my own soul. I never had a sense that just because I was female, I was lesser. Okay, perhaps a little from the church I grew up in -- you know, Eve, Delilah, Jezebel and all that nonsense. Guess they forgot to put forth the positive role models like Deborah the Prophetess, Esther, Mary & Elizabeth and a few others. No matter. I had enough influences outside the church to counter that. And it truly came as no surprise to anyone that in my very first semester of college, I took Philosophy of Feminism -- and loved it. I was also blessed enough to have a good prof for that class -- one who not a man-basher, but who balanced her beliefs with her own life as a wife and mother.
The fear I have is that younger generations will forget the struggle. I think every girl by age 12 should have watched segments (if not the whole movie) of Iron Jawed Angels. I want them to remember the trailblazers of the 19th century, as well as those who continued the struggle throughout the 20th century. I want them to be trailblazers.

In my goddaughter's case, she's blessed to have both her mother and myself cheering the cause on. Just this past week, we discussed a little with her about women's rights -- just touching on it a little -- and exhorting her to be whatever she wants. As I told her, "Darling, to be a wife and mother is one of the greatest callings in life -- it's your choice. You can be a wife, mother, artist, dancer, whatever. It requires balance, but it can be done. It's your choice." I want her to embrace her power of choosing whatever she wants in life, and not to be limited by anyone who says, "You can't because you're a girl."

Completely stoked!!!!

If you've never heard of Fafarazzi..... well, it's kind of like a fantasy football league, only the draftees are celebrities. You earn points based on how many times they are in the news.

I joined a couple of leagues last fall. In one I proudly own the "Dead Last" trophy -- the celebs I drafted didn't score an entire point.

This week, the draft was held for the newest league I'm in ...... JACKPOT!!!! I got Anna Nicole Smith. I know it is truly wrong to rejoice in the death and/or sufferings of fellow human beings, especially one who had such great tragic circumstances in life. But I'm getting TONS of fafa points off her death, possible burial, possible embalming, will publishing, the custody battle, the DNA testing.......

Of course, one of the other teams racked 'em up today all because that cheap hussy, Broccoli Spears, decided to shave her head and get another tat. And speaking on that, who'd have EVER thought K-Fed would look way more responsible than her. That girl needs a serious reality check.

Anyway, when I found out I got Anna Nicole Smith in my team, I did the happy dance. Then I had to explain to my coworkers exactly what fafa is.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy SPA Day

One of the girls on my favorite messageboard wished us "no man, no cry" gals a Happy SPA Day today -- Single Person's Awareness Day.

Now I particularly liked this acronym; as a matter of fact, one of my plans for tonight is to treat myself to a few extra special beauty treatments -- soak my feet, mask my face, etc. Just to be extra good to myself and enjoy the person I love most.

V-Day is sometimes tough on those of us without a steady. But quite honestly, my worst V-Day ever was about a dozen years ago. I was in a relationship, and it had been a godawful weekend. My emotions were on edge, and some things had occurred to just make the whole V-Day worse. On top of all that stress, I had to go to a baby shower that night. Now, for whatever strange reason, my clock was ticking like a time bomb in my 20s; my 30s, hardly a peep. A baby shower was the last thing I needed that day -- but I had promised.

It was awful. I got to the shower and all the women were talking about their presents. I burst into tears. One of the other guests, whom I did not know from Eve, pulled me aside to offer words of strength and comfort that I have never forgotten: "Hunny, Valentine's Day is a complete crock."

She continued, "It's a beautiful day to express love, but I want my husband to tell me on the other 364 days too -- not because some industry tells him he HAS to today. It's a plot to get more money out of people, and it's a shame. So perk up and spend your time and money on yourself. And besides, if he's causing you to cry this much, is he worth it?"

I paid attention to all but that last sentence (the one I should have paid the most attention to). But she was right. I'd rather have someone I love tell me he loves me or give me roses or chocolates or highly-compressed pieces of carbon on April 22 or June 13 or even November 30 than feeling as if he HAS to do it on February 14.

So in honor of SPA day, I am signing off to go pamper myself.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

SWF does NOT seek....

* College boys. Sorry, hunny, I'm old enough to be your mother. Now we may both be around our peak ages, but really. That's not enough. You may be cute, but if you're too young to get into a club legally, then you are waaaaaay too young for me.

(PS: It was fun to talk to you last night, but telling me in the first 5 minutes that indoor recreation is more fun ..... well, that may be true, but not with you. It works with sorority chicks, not real women. Come back when you grow up).

(PPS: the term sorority chick is not meant to be derogatory in any way, shape, or form to actual sorority members. No Tri-Lams were hurt in the writing of this post.)

* Sticks-in-the-mud. Just because I like the occasional quiet evening at home, and I am not big on non-stop clubbing doesn't mean I feel like sitting in a rocking chair either. I like the occasional concert (but it better be a dadgum good one). I like going out to dance. I also have a warped mind and I expect someone to appreciate it.

* People with no sense of humor. I don't expect someone to laugh at everything that comes out of my mouth, but I am fairly witty. My humor is a little drier, a little more ironic, a little more cynical and sarcastic than perhaps it should be. But I also get the Three Stooges, and think that some things in life are just damn funny. If you've had your sense of humor removed, walk on by.

I'm sure there are others, but these are the top ones.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

SWF seeks....

I decided a couple of weeks ago to try the world of dating again, via online dating sites.

I truly suck at dating. Quite honestly, it's something where I have very little experience. I didn't date in high school -- academics were my boon companion. I rarely dated in college; I was part of a larger group and being with them satisfied most of my social needs. After college, I dated a certain person (if you know me, you know his nickname) for nearly five years. But our dates were certainly never labeled as such; then again, neither was our relationship (until its demise). Almost from the outset, we were exclusive -- so I didn't really learn the fine art of dating.

Back when I was in the relationship, I went out on a date -- hey, I didn't know I was in a relationship; cut me some slack. It was a weird date. It wasn't really so much a date-date as "hey let's meet for dinner." He was newly single, I was single. We spent 3 hours talking. Correction: he spent 3 hours talking. My pal Bolivar says I'm a talker -- buddy, you ought to have met THIS guy. I could barely get a word in. It's a good thing we never really clicked; we were very much opposites in many ways -- politics, viewpoints, etc. At the time, I was very clear in what I did not want in a future relationship -- and he fell short in just about all the categories. We corresponded a few times after that, but drifted apart.

A few years back, I went on a couple of dates with a set-up. The first date was less than thrilling, and why I agreed to a second one .... who knows? Again, it was someone who was so far off the mark of what I was looking for. I had softened my stance on a couple of things that were oh-so-dreadfully important in my mid-twenties .... and he still fell way short.

So why am I trying again? To be honest, I don't know. I've been fairly happy as a solo artist these last few years. I've used the time to work on myself, to truly learn to love myself for who I am, where I am. But there are the moments -- those awful times in the wee small hours of the morning -- when I wish with all my heart and soul to be half of a duo.

And I'm still incredibly particular -- and I refuse to settle. That alone is a big reason that I'm still a singleton. I watched people I knew early in life finally connect with their "special someone" -- and yet I felt on some level that they settled..... I know, a rotten thing to think, but in some cases it was true. And I also came to realize that I did some settling myself -- which is why I will not do it again.

So I signed up with a couple of Catholic sites -- I'd love to date a nice Catholic boy, but it's not 100% essential. If I do date a nice Catholic boy, I do not want a "Stepford Catholic"; oh no-sir-ree-Bob! I want someone with a brain who wants to use it. I want someone with a heart, a soul, and a few other vital working organs. I don't want a horndog but I definitely do not want a prude either.

I'm picky and proud ... surely there's someone out there who can appreciate that!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Third time's a charm

Two other times this year, we flirted with a "wintry mix" .... once, I went into work a few minutes late. The next time, it was supposed to be on a Saturday and it missed us altogether.

Today is a different story. We have about 2 inches of snow which fell in the early morning hours. Then later on, sleet and freezing rain was to mix in. So I called my boss this morning and she said, "Don't even think about it. Enjoy the day."

And so I have. I have spent all day at the PC, hanging with my homegirls on my favorite messageboard. I had intended to do more work on my novel, but this was way more fun. It's not that I don't have ideas about the novel.... and I may do some stuff tonight. But I needed the laughs and the fun.

Apparently I've also been a bit on the non-hydrated side. Most days I get in my 8 glasses of water with no problem. Today so far (at 4:30 PM), 12 of them. More to come, too...... Now if I can just get the slight headache/neckache to go away.