Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Palace on Earth

'And seeing the snail, which everywhere doth roam,
Carrying his own house still, still is at home, Follow (for he is easy paced) this snail,
Be thine own palace, or the world's thy gaol.'*
John Donne

Barbarian that I am, poetry doesnt usually speak to my soul, but this snippet of a larger whole grabbed me and won't let go.

Trying to mingle two separate genders into a living breathing whole is more akin to a juggling act than a mixing bowl.  Indiscriminate mixing of my genders won't give me a crystal clear self, only a muddled jumble self, not what I'm after at all.

What I'm seeking is a partnership rather than a hostile takeover.   I want a love match.  I want to love the totality of me, not just the parts and bits that I'm comfortable with. 

I want my inner life to be as rich as a palace, hung with draperies, piled with cushions, carpeted with soft soft grass, lavished with gardens of tree and flower.  Quiet places softened with the tinkling sound of fountains and birdsong.

To be content. 


At peace with this body, that's what I'm seeking.

 *For the full version of the poem

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Trip to Seward in Pictures

Two years ago, TH and I went to Seward to celebrate our Anniversary, we had such a great time we decided a repeat was in order.

We woke up to a cloudy Eeyore sorta day, but hey! it's fishing and that makes it a-ok!  I checked the weather for the day, 52F (11C)  and I realized those sorta temps called for massive clothes wearing.  This is what it took to keep me warm out on the chilly ocean: undershirt, thermal shirt, hoodie, pants, socks, scarf, hat, snowpants, and both pieces of my parka and mittens.  I wore shoes instead of my Lobben boots, as they are not made for wet conditions.

Our party of 6 got into the boat around 6:45 am, way way to early to be out and about, but for some unknown reason that seems to be the golden time for all fishing charters to get underway.  The harbor looked rather spooky to me, and I always forget just how bloody big cruise ships are.

Captain John gave us a quick safety lecture and off we went! 

We passed a ghost forest left by the massive '64 Earthquake.
And finally we stopped and began fishing.  I have no earthly idea where we were exactly, but if you clicky on the map it does embiggen.  ( I just checked and the map doesnt embiggen well, so head on over to this addy if you wanna see a closer view of the map.)  I do know that we were way out past Bear Glacier because we fished in that area later in the day.  Wee pieces of ice were floating about in the water, along with jellyfish, seaweed and many nursery schools of salmon.
As the fishing slowed down, Captain John headed out for new fishing pastures.   The weather worsened and it began to rain/drizzle and a heavier fog set in.  Out of the fog materialized people standing on the water!  Captain John snapped his head up to check the marine GPS to check the depth, we were in 140 ft of water.  What on Earth?  Turns out they were on Paddle boats, it sure gave all of us a momentary fright.  A few of this group in kayaks, hardy souls aren't they to be out in that weather?

The limit was a total of 6 silver salmon, 3 out from the ocean and 3 from the bay.  I caught 3, and let me tell you they were quite recalcitrant and point blank refused to get into our nice dry boat!  But I finally won them over with my sparkling personality and they came on board.  As the weather worsened from drizzle to outright rain, I gave up fishing and retreated to the cabin.  It was dry and windless, but not warm as it doesnt have a heater, yeah I have no idea whats up with that.  Funnily enough I never did see a steward either with cups of hot liquids..........  Note to self, bring hot chocolate in thermos for our next fishing adventure.

Pictured is Captain John with the boat's take of silvers.

Our 9 silvers filleted and ready to be packaged.

There is so much to do and see around Seward and we never seem to make the time to do much more than fish.  If TH could take one day extra off on his long weekends (work 3 days-has 4 off, then works 4- 3 off.) We would have 3 full wonderful days to explore and relax without being quite so hurried.  Driving time to Seward is around 8 hours, depending upon construction delays, and yeah there is always construction on the roads. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Late to the Party

Ever since I've read the story of the wee 2 year old being assaulted for wearing a pink lace head band, it's caused me to pause and reflect.

Let's jump in the way back machine a minute I want to take you on a brief trip.

Once upon a time, way back in the 1987 or '88 near onto Halloween, I asked the kids what they wanted to "be" for Halloween.   The older one didnt have a clue, and I think he went as a pirate, which was his default costume thru the years. 

However the youngest, who was 5, thought only for the briefest of moments and then shouted "A WITCH!!!!!  I wanna be a witch mommy!!" 

Knowing how staid the community was, I attempted to steer him towards something else.  Finally after firm repeats of his desire to be a witch I countered with, "Ok, how about a boy witch then? They are called warlocks."

With a look of pure disgust he answered me, "Mom-my!  I don't wanna be pretend, I wanna be something real!  There's no such things as warlocks!  I wanna be a WITCH!"

And with that firm declaration, I gave up attempting to sway his choice and let it be.  Now I can see you wondering why I tried so hard to change his mind.  Because this town was mean spirited, and any step outside of "normal" and you're hounded for a long time.  The religious folk were divided into two groups, those that boycotted Halloween  and held a rival Harvest Celebration at church, and those that allowed their kids to attend, but steered them firmly away from magical beings.  Neither group was known for allowing behavior outside of a narrow band of "normal" in their children.

I picked up some shiny black fabric, and a tall pointy witches hat, looked at the wigs, and found them to be unpleasantly scratchy, gave them a pass, he would just be the cutest blonde witch ever!

Hubby came home from work, and I had second son standing on a chair, measuring him.  I nearly stabbed him with a pin due to his wild gesturing, "DADDY!!!!  Mommy's working on my witch costume!  SEE????" 

TH wasn't all that happy with second son's choice of costume, but when I told him about our conversation, he agreed with me to let the boy be and enjoy dressing up as a witch.  We had just decided to stick close to him at the party.  Each year the school had a Halloween party, from kiddie garden thru high school seniors, and before your mind boggles at that, there were only around 100 kids that attended the school in our tiny village.

I whipped up his witch outfit, found out his head was to small for the hat, and TH stuffed it in such a way that it would stay on his head and he could see.  The big day arrived, and oldest son wanted to  be "made up".  After a brief trip into the bathroom to sit on the counter so I could do him up with a beard, and scars, he was ready to go!  Now my little witch wanted makeup too, and as soon as older brother hopped off the counter, he was trying his best to climb up for his turn.  He found out that dresses arent very conducive to climbing!  I popped him up on the counter, and gave him green skin, and a few warts.  He was super duper vibrating with excitement, until he turned around, where upon he howled with fear!  His reflection scared him to the point where he wouldnt stop crying until I had washed it all off. 

Crisis adverted, we zipped the two babies into their snow suits, piled the entire family into the van and took off for school.  Where we worried?  Yeah a bit, but didnt think anyone would actually say anything negative to him.

Each child starts the party in their classroom, and proceeds throughout the school, room by room.  Seeing the scary decorations and getting treats and tricks from teachers and helpful parents. The older kids usually didnt dress up, but they sure made each little kid feel special by commenting on their costume.  The school had its faults, but back then it operated more as an extended family, with each small fry being paired with a big kid who would come down to the elementary end of the building to read to them or play quiet games each week.  It helped the teens as much as the wee ones by giving them a little sib to take care of. 

All of second son's classmates LOVED his outfit!  A few boys were heard asking if they could be a witch next year, and were all told, as far as we heard, NO!  Boys aren't witches.  One little boy who was sweet as sugar replied, "Yup boys can be witches, see Daddy, second son is a witch and he's a boy!"

The older teens adored our adorable wee witch, and several of them wanted pictures of him with them.  He ate up the attention by the "big" kids.  TH who is much more aware of whats going on around him, heard several people mutter about second son wearing a dress.  But a stern look from TH quelled most of the talk.  TH's parents were so not amused with the costume and even went so far as to say they would have, "whipped" TH if he had of wanted to go as a girl for Halloween, we left shortly after that remark.

Second son loved his outfit so much that he wore it next year, it was a bit short, but that was the only costume he wanted.  Then third son wore it, as did youngest son.  They all loved wearing that costume,  and they all looked completely adorable.

So, what's my point to this trip to the past?  That the youngest of humans are the smartest when it comes to what truly matters.  Clothes do not make the man, they clothe the man, and if he wants to wear pink shoes and a Mario Brothers tie, or a lace hairband, so freaking what?  What one wears doesn't have any reflection at all on their intelligence, or ability to perform to standard.  Clothes are fun, or supposed to be at least.  Me thinks its way past time for us to grow up and become as children again, open to all, and accepting of everyone.

Oh, and the reason I only mentioned men in the above paragraph?  Tis because women have a much wider arc in allowable actions and clothing than men do.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A New Obsession

Y'all know I'm addicted to Japanese music, but it's had an odd side effect.  Due to me not being fluent in Japanese, I listen to the singing as another layer of instruments, not as a way to convey meaning.  And now when I do listen to English songs that are new, it takes me quite a while to realize that I can understand what they are saying. 

This last winter after I had moved into my apartment in Arizona, I ditched cable for Netflix.  One day I was totally bored and decided to grab some snackage and rip thru a few hours watching tv.  While trolling thru all of Netflix's offerings, I came across a Korean tv show, and the synopsis sounded interesting enough to at least give it a go.
Oh Tae-Bong believes he's the son of a billionaire, but doesn't know who his father is. While he works as a bellboy at a luxury hotel to prepare for being a wealthy heir, he's confronted with a cancer diagnosis that throws his life into turmoil.
The synopsis is wrong, he works at the hotel hoping he can either finally meet his father, or that one of the guests will know who he is.  The only clue to his fathers identity that Seok-bong has is a medallion his father gave to his mother.  No name, not what he does for a living, nothing.  In the photo from above Tae-Bong is the one with his eyes closed.

The cancer diagnosis throws him into financial turmoil as he is relatively poor, and begins taking on all the extra work the hotel will give him.  He needs the money for specialized treatment that assures a complete cure.  Enter the hotel owner's daughter, Lee Sin-Me, who is short tempered, and extremely frugal, and difficult to please.  In the photo she is wearing white. Due to no one at the hotel wanting to work with her, Tae-bong becomes her personal bell boy, during her stay at the hotel.  And yes, she runs him ragged, and he doesn't like her one bit, but sticks it out for the extra money.

The fella in the tux is Chu Woon-Seok, who is a "prince" of wealth.  He has a huge crush on Sin-Me and chases her all over, of course she wants nothing to do with him.  The girl in red is Bu Tae-Hee, whose father is enormously wealthy, she is spoiled rotten by her dad, when she is sad and loudly pouting, to shut her up he closes a store so she can shop in peace!  All Tae-Hee wants is to marry Woon-Seok, that's it, oh and to finally win against Sin-Me.  A classic love triangle with Tae-Bong tossed in for interest.

At this point in the story, it all sounds rather generic doesn't it?  How many times have you seen the same story, dozens if not more I'd wager.  But in some alchemy of story pacing, clever plot twisting, crazy funny parts, interlaced with sad moments, and a dash of, "oh no she didn't!!!" moments I was hooked by the end of the first episode.  The downside of this program was that each episode ended on a cliff hanger!!!  Causing me to watch the next one, then one more, then "oh my god! I have HAVE to see if......"  I learned to watch one then to the middle of the next episode, where the storyline slows down enough to wait to watch it until tomorrow.

The interesting thing about Korean tv shows is they usually run for only 20 episodes, more like a lengthy mini-series.  Which is nice in the fact if you find a show you like there isnt a huge backlog of years worth of episodes, and that is the downside as well.  By the end of the program you feel like you know them,  however the writers wrap the endings up in a manner that leaves contentment and completion, no loose ends, no wondering whatever happened to _____. 

I can't knit to Korean shows as I can't read and knit and watch, so that is a downside to them.  Since this first brush with Korean tv/movies I was hooked and have now watched so many foreign movies and tv shows that most of my recommendations are all foreign! 

Oh, yeah and there is this as well, lovely lovely hot eye candy....yeah.  Yes it was gratuitous, but hey I'm not complaining, nope not one wee tiny itty bit.  I swear Namgungnim Min has abs for miles.....

Oh, and yeah all this watching of foreign tv/movies has had its own side effect, tis well odd now to watch tv and not have the subtitles on, as I'm so used to "reading" tv...