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Archive for February, 2007

I rarely write about my dreams here (maybe never before). Partly because I think most people would rather poke themselves in the eye with a sharp stick than read someone else’s dream (because of my work, I would rather listen to a dream than poke myself in the eye); and partly because dreams are often so much more personal, more intimate than anything that happens in conscious life. I interpret and use my own dreams as often as I can. The insight from them is a big part of my waking life.

One feature that appears quite often in my dreams is wordplay. Puns, double entendres, homonyms, all sorts of tricks that my unconscious mind plays with words, I think mostly to amuse my conscious mind.

The other night I had a strange dream, which I’m not really sure I’ve interpreted accurately yet. (Btw, when this happens, I tell God that I didn’t “get it,” and that I need to hear it in another way, and then I get another one, and so on until I do get it.) In this dream, Jif and I were in a huge lake. We could not see the shore on any side, it was that big. The water was brown, the color of weak coffee. We were not disgusted by this, but a little frustrated because we could not see very far down into the water. All around us were floating pieces of lumber. Large pieces, like for home foundation building. And there was a sort of large raft that was built from these things. We knew it wouldn’t sink even though it was submerged an inch or two. We kept trying, with little success, to get up onto the raft. Adjacent to the raft was a dock, from which there rose rough wooden steps, rising up into the sky, as far as we could see. Such a sparse dream; two people, water and wood. Then I saw that very high up on the steps was a man, so high up there that we couldn’t see him at all, except to make out that it was a person. Somehow we knew who it was, though. We both acknowledged that it was Justin Timberlake.

I thought about that dream for days, wondering what it was trying to tell me. The one part that I really couldn’t integrate into any of my interpretations was why in the world Justin Timberlake would have been there.

Then it hit me. Justin Timberlake was at the top of the image. My funny brain was playing word games again. It wasn’t a pop star. It was a title. We were Just in Timber Lake.

*I changed the title of this post from the original, obvious choice, because I would’ve been inundated here with teenage boys. Plus, remember the movie trailer where the creepy kid whispers, “Lady in the water…”? Yea, well, LG and I creepily whisper that to each other, often opening the bathroom door to do so when one is in the shower, followed by screaming and laughing 🙂

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What is UP with all the long, straight hair? It’s pretty, but this is the OSCARS. A little glamour, please?

Oh, no. Nicole Kidman’s dress is RIDICULOUS. The thing is wearing her, I swear. That bow looks like a little barf bucket on her shoulder.

Here’s another one! Did they send out some freakin’ “long straight hair” memo? Even the black women have long, straight hair!

Oh, Kate, Kate, Kate. Who let you wear that color? The style is beautiful, but you are so washed OUT in that! And your hair! Who let your hair wear that color?!

Jennifer Hudson, no you are NOT going to wear that suit of armor to the Oscars. The brown dress is fine, but lordhavemercy, take off the silver wings, girl! No, it’s not wings, it’s one of those freakin’ neck cups they put on dogs after they have surgery, to keep them from biting at themselves. Are you at risk of BITING YOURSELF?! CHEEZ!

Ellen’s makeup is really nice.

Thankthelord, Jennifer heard me and took off the silver armadillo-wear. What were you thinking?!

What sort of snarky, catty person would offer such commentary? That would be me. And by what authority do I say such things? What qualifies me as stylist, critic, fashion editor? Perhaps it’s the fact that on Sunday evening, I’m wearing the same ensemble that I’ve had on since Friday night: mint green terry-cloth drawstring pajama pants and a moss green cotton shirt with snaps at the neckline. Not snapped, but there, just the same. And yes, it’s been a good 48 hours since my body has graced a shower stall. On my feet are black fuzzy slippers with little ribbons on them. And because I cannot get warm, and I do not know which hamper my warm black robe with the leopard print collar is in, my whole ensemble is topped by my big-ass pimp coat. Yea, a pimp coat (i.e., tan faux shearling, ankle-length outerwear) in the house. Or perhaps it is the fact that I smell. Myself. Or perhaps it’s my unique approach to accessorizing: at least once during the preceding 48 hours, I have eaten Cool Ranch Dorito crumbs plucked directly from my cleavage. I’m writing this during the boring parts of the awards. By the time you read this I will have showered and put on fresh jammies. Or will I . . .

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Sunday Post

making T-shirts

“99% of being a good parent is doing what you don’t feel like doing.” — Susie Fairchild (with acknowledgment as follows)

I learned this philosophy a very long time ago, although in many more words, from a continuing education presenter whose name, I am sorry to say, I don’t remember. The topic of her presentation was “adult children of depressed parents,” particularly of depressed mothers, and how depressed parents raise people who may have no understanding (because they had no role model) of the concept that what we feel like doing often is (and should be) quite irrelevant. What is important is not what we feel like, but what is needed. I think many a worthwhile noun can be substituted for “parent,” too: spouse, friend, employee, petsitter, etc.

I Peter 5:6-11

UPDATE: The par-tay has been postponed due to icing. And not the kind on a birthday cake 😦 But I do thank you for your encouragement and prayers. Next attempt is in 2 weeks.

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birthday balloons
The view from LG’s bed this morning

I’ve had a rough few days, physically. No end in sight. I’m putting all my energy into making today a good day. Because it really is the best day ever.

I’ll come back when I can. I really, really want to attend and enjoy LG’s birthday party on Sunday. Please keep us in your prayers. And thank you. Again 🙂

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accidental tree

The first time I met that little guy was probably the summer of 2004. We were weeding in the shady flower beds in front of the house. And there was a weed that Jif was about to pull. Until I stopped him.

“Hey! Don’t pull that. It’s not a weed.”

“It’s not? What would you call it?”

“It’s a tree.”

“It’s four inches tall.”

“You gotta start somewhere. It’s trying to be a tree.”

“It’s not going to get very far. It gets no sunlight here, and it’s way too close to that other tree.”

“Well, just leave it; let’s see what happens.”

So we did. And it grew. It was not invited, not part of the plan, and apparently unrelated to any other tree in the yard. No family here. But it has shown itself to be some sort of tough little evergreen. It doesn’t grow fast. But it stands straight and stays alive. And grows a little. Against all odds. It literally grows in the shadow of the other trees in the front yard. The other day as LG and I were leaving the house, I happened to look its way. And its image at that moment captured so perfectly the way I think of it, persevering “in the shadow” of the bigger, landscape-designed trees, that I took its picture right then and there. Because I had my camera with me. And I really did not have anything to say about it at that time. But then I saw Eclectic talking about trees, and I wanted to talk about mine.

I call it the “accidental Christmas tree.” Some day, it will grow too big to do well where it is. But by that time it will have earned the right to be moved to its very own spot, a place of honor in the yard. Some day, it will be big enough and strong enough to put ornaments on it, or even lights! Some day I want to decorate it, to help it celebrate that it came of its own accord, and it stayed, and it survived and thrived. I love that little guy.

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fire

Sunday Post ~

“Careful with fire,” is good advice, we know
“Careful with words,” is ten times doubly so.
Thoughts unexpressed may sometimes fall back dead;
But God himself can’t kill them when they’re said. — Will Carleton

Proverbs 18:2
Matthew 12:33-37
James 3:3-12

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UPDATE: Nothing to see here, folks. Bucky has rescued me and my pix. Biscuit is no longer a poor black child, a rock band, or in flames. And the President of the Philippines has gone home. Cheez, what a day.

I’ve just noticed that photos on my blog, posted from my flickr account, are being randomly replaced with photos that aren’t mine! The first I noticed was January 19. Biscuit became a rock band, a small black child and then a fire, within just a few seconds. Then as I scrolled, I saw my koi become Corazon Aquino, I think. HAVE YOU EVER IN YOUR LIFE? What can I do? I’ve emailed both blogger support and flickr. I’m pretty sure my heirs will have to be the ones to tell you what those responses are. Anyone have any ideas? I’m a bit panicky; I don’t know what might show up here, and that’s not OK with me. (The html with the flickr URL for my photos is not changing, as best I can tell; just what shows up on the blog.)

HELP!

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I rarely get into anything controversial here. And I try to live and let live; if you want to act like a jackass, go for it. If you think I am a jackass, you are entitled to that opinion, and I’m quite sure you’re not alone. Recent events in the media make it very difficult for me to bite my tongue (which is really saying something, because WTF makes it hard for me not to bite my tongue, some days).

We’ve seen the celebrity mugshots in recent years, where someone is arrested for drunk/drugged driving. They apologize, they go to rehab, they are forgiven, they get back to work and we give them tons more money. That’s how we do it here in the U.S. of A. And I have no real problem with that. It’s not good to drive while under the influence, of course, but if you do, it’s a good thing that you get caught. And exposed. Apologies (giving the benefit of the doubt here, that they are sincere apologies) are good; rehab is often a good thing; I am all in favor of forgiveness. If you have a gift, some artistic or athletic talent, then it is a good thing to get yourself together and go back to sharing your gift; and if people are willing to pay you for getting back to work, that’s all good. These are not the people with whom I have a problem.

Addiction is that strange animal, that disease/choice combo over which some people have very little power. Until they learn to take that power. I have compassion for these people. Sure, there are those who can afford to run in and out of rehab because their publicists tell them it will look better for them if they go in. But I’m not talking about that now; still trying to give these folks the benefit of the doubt.

No, the ones I have a problem with are the people who demonstrate their hatefulness, their complete lack of suitability for living and working in mainstream America, or more importantly to me, what I WISH were their complete lack of eligibility for continuing to collect enormous sums of money from the American public. I don’t care how gifted you are. If behind the gift, you are toxic, I want you to be quiet. I don’t wish you any harm, but I wish you’d go somewhere and quietly attend to your soul, for a very, very long time. And I wish people of conscience would stop paying you big bucks. I don’t care how talented you are. There are people as talented as you, who put out less poison than you do. They can do your job. I don’t care what TV show you’re on, or what team you play(ed) for. To your mama, you are irreplaceable. To most other folks, you’re not.

This is part rant/vent, but it is an equal part an attempt to understand this phenomenon, and why we, the American public, the American media, are handling these situations in the way that we are. I haven’t yet been specific. I’m talking about cases like (these are the most recent examples) Isaiah Washington and Tim Hardaway, with their anti-gay venom. And I’m writing about it partly to vent, but even moreso, to get some other perspectives on it, because the events that follow such outbursts, and the way in which we respond to them, bewilder and frustrate me.

Isaiah Washington is an actor on Grey’s Anatomy (which I’ve never seen, so I neither love nor hate his work). He referred to another actor on that show, a gay man, as a “faggot.” He denied it, then apologized for it. Then he announced that he was going to rehab. I have never seen where he is addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, food . . . no addictions that I’ve heard about, and I did search a bit. I’m a therapist. I’m not certified in addictions, so I don’t deal with them except peripherally. So I don’t know a LOT about rehab. Question: “To what kind of rehab do you admit yourself, to get treatment for being a hateful person?” I’ve never heard of such a program. Not that it would be a bad idea. Just never heard of it. I think it was Jay Leno who joked that at such a rehab they make Washington watch Rosie O’Donnell and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Maybe so. You might say that it’s not so much a rehab as it is a psychiatric hospital. OK. Since when is being an ass a psychiatric diagnosis? Or could it be that “he has checked himself into a rehab” is the contemporary euphemism for “He knows he screwed up, but he has grown accustomed to being really rich, so he’s going away for a while with the expectation that he’ll come back and all will be well and he can stay really rich.”

Hate (and the lack of self-regulation that causes some people to share it so freely) is not a medical disease, like a chemical addiction is. It’s not. What comes out of your mouth is purely a matter of choice. A willful decision that you make.

Then this week we have former NBA player Tim Hardaway. He was commenting on a book that was just released by another former NBA player, John Amaechi, who is gay. Well, he probably wasn’t commenting on the book, because I’m quite sure he hasn’t read any the book; he was commenting on gay players in the NBA. And he had a lot to say. Not just about gay players in the NBA, but gay human beings in the world:
…”Well, you know, I hate gay people. I let it be known I don’t like gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. I’m homophobic. It shouldn’t be in the world, in the United States, I don’t like it.”
And after he got off the radio, where he was sharing this wisdom, he was informed that he would be banned from an upcoming All-Star game, as a consequence of his sharing.

So what did he do? He issued an apology. I didn’t see or hear it. I’m not even attempting to be objective here. I heard his initial harangue. There is no version of “I’m sorry” that is going to have any meaning, within days or hours of saying the things that he said. Here’s my question (one of them, about these things): Do we want someone who feels this way to be honest about it, or do we want them to hide it? I’m not sure we’re clear on this. If such a public person is honest about their feelings, then the ball is in our court, so to speak, on how we handle it. Do we still pay them? Will we still watch the TV shows that they’re on? Still buy tickets to the games in which they play? It seems to me that we will. But some of us must feel at least a little uncomfortable with that; so that may mean that we want a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on hatefulness. So we are not required to wrestle with the morality of our response.

Please note, I’m not talking about people having an opinion, expressing an opinion, religious, philosophical or otherwise, on homosexuality, or any other topic. I have no problem with respectful disagreement about any issue. I’m talking about people promoting hatred.

I know some would argue that such people are “just” actors, athletes, whatever they are, and we should accept their “work” and disregard their personal actions. But I think, rightly or wrongly, they’re more than “just” the practitioners of their vocations. They have a louder voice than others do. What they put out adds to the collective voice of our society. I want them to be quiet. We, as consumers of their products, could quiet them. So far, we don’t. We haven’t.

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Love it or hate it, it’s here again. I love it. My smarter sister Eclectic has a fine anti-V-Day post with interesting comments. I do understand the objections to the crass commercialism, and the loneliness that some associate with this day. I love the romantic, coupley stuff. But I really do see it mostly as a day to celebrate love. To be loving to people. It would be nice if we all were sweet and generous to one another every day. But we’re not. So I think setting aside a day is a good thing. (Plus there’s chocolate involved.)

Now. Won’t you be sweet and generous to me by answering my little Valentine’s Day Questionnaire?

1. If I designed those candy hearts, they’d say ________ and _________.

2. In a love relationship, I can overlook _______________ as long as there’s __________.

3. Heart-shaped boxes of candy are nice, but I wish someone would give me a _______-shaped ____________.

4. A better holiday for celebrating love would be called “_____________” and everyone would _____________ until _______________.

5. Do you believe in a soulmate? Just one, or could there be more out there?

6. True or False: Hair removal qualifies as a Valentine’s Day gift.

If you put your answers in the comments, either Biscuit:

Valentine's Biscuit

or Legolas:

Valentine's Legolas

will be your Valentine! (This is two years in a row that Legolas has donned his gay apparel for the holiday. I think we can consider it tradition now.)

*I wanted a lyric from a love song for the title here, and this is what was in my head (it can be a scary place). From the old SNL with Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat, Lookin’ for Love.

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duckiss

Sunday Post ~ “The hardest of all is learning to be a well of affection, and not a fountain; to show them we love them not when we feel like it, but when they do.” — Nan Fairbrother

A Sermonette for Valentine’s Day

I found the quote here, and it made me think of all sorts of things about how we love, and how badly we love sometimes. I saw a cartoon with a man yelling out the door to his departing love, as she carried her suitcases to the car. He was saying, “You’ll never find anyone who loves you more than I do!” And her response was, “I don’t want someone who loves me MORE! I want someone who loves me BETTER!” Most of us, until we learn differently, try to give love in the way that we would want to receive it. If we would like lots of physical affection, that’s what we try to give. If we want someone to send us cards and gifts, we do that to our beloved, both to show our love and to show them how it’s done. If we want our loved one to love us by doing practical things for us, we do things for them; and we might keep score and pout if they don’t respond in kind. It should all make sense; we’re just following the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. It’s a really good rule. An excellent rule. But it’s not the best for a love relationship.

Someone (I couldn’t confirm the originator) has coined the term, “The Platinum Rule,” which is a little different: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. It’s more difficult to love someone by the platinum rule. It requires that we learn something about them, and it often requires that we extend ourselves in ways that don’t come easily to us. But they are the ways in which our loved ones receive love best, even if they’re not the ways in which we give love most easily or naturally. There’s a really good book about these concepts, called “The Five Love Languages.” I know it’s a good book because I’ve read it and it’s helped me, and because of that other criteria by which I can always tell a good book — it’s the one my marriage counseling clients have most often kept when I’ve “loaned” it to them 🙂

Today’s scripture is “The Love Chapter,” which you’ve heard if you’ve ever been to any flavor of a Christian wedding:

I Corinthians 13

Although it’s often read at weddings, it was not written to couples, but to everyone seeking to follow Christ. A challenge to you: to see what a good lover you are, of your partner, your family, your friends and neighbors, put your name in place of the words “love,” and “it” in verses 4-7 of that chapter, and see how true it is. (Oy, do I have a ways to go!)

NOTE: I was late today because my home internet is dead. Jif brought me in to his office to post this, so y’all wouldn’t worry. The cable guy is coming out on Tuesday night, hopefully I’ll be back online then. I may have internet access here and there at work early in the week, but mostly I’ll be in communicado until my home access is fixed. Yikes! See you soon! 🙂

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