Thursday, November 12, 2009

The world is what you make it

Paul Brady has rapidly graying red curly hair pale skin with freckles and pronounced jowls; he is also an Irish folk singer. This man wrote a song that changed my life, here is the story. . .

I just I stepped out of the foyer at the answering service (one of my 3 jobs) into the dark winter morning, the slush sloshed into my shoes and the snow squeaked as I walked across the parking lot to my car. Ah my car, a white 1977 Granada, it had served me well, I had lived in that car for a few weeks the previous spring. It was a cranky old man of a car in its twilight years. Something had happened to the engine that required me to hop out at lights and put a clothes pin on the butterfly valve so that it wouldn’t stall out and as an added bonus occasionally flames would shoot out of the carburetor and it would backfire. I became an expert at timing lights which was a good thing because the brake lights were out. With a loud shriek of metal the dented driver side door opened and a mountain of snow fell down on me from the roof. With a pair of sweat socks on my hands in lieu of mittens I began the process of brooming snow off the car. The snow wasn’t all bad because it piled up around the license plate and hid the fact that the registration was expired. I slid behind the whore red wheel (the interior was entirely a deep red). I turned the key and a startled flock of pigeons took to wing when pre dawn silence was broken with a snarl and a giant roar, the muffler had a hole in it. I began the process of scraping the inside of the windows (the heater was sporadic at best) and waiting for the engine to warm up.
I was finally going to get to sleep, if I could just make it home. I had the next 12 hours off and was running on 6 hours of sleep from 36 hours ago. I just had to make it through the rich suburb of Birmingham to get to the highway then to my house in Oak Park. This trek was complicated by the fact that my car was, shall we say, not a desirable vehicle to pass through the toney Birmingham neighborhood and the cops extended the love. I was also driving on a suspended license because the afore mentioned cops caught me with my tabs expired and of course I couldn't’t afford to get the insurance and plates and pay the ticket.
I roared out onto the road, stomach clenched and quaking. I had recently left the warm bosom of a quasi commune I was living on and I felt lonely, empty and nothing felt right since I left. I was feeling lost and miserable like my life was just a pathetic run on a half frozen treadmill helpless and trapped in my poverty inherited from my family. To distract myself from my anxiety and the roar of the holey muffler I turned on the radio (at least that worked well). As I was coasting along a song came on the and somehow the jumpin’ guitar and classical references pierced my cocoon of helpless misery and I really heard the lyrics. . .

I knew this African called Hannibal

Rock it roll it send it down the avenue

Went out to see the Roman Empire fall Uh huh? uh huh?

Two thousand elephants in gold chain-mail

Take it, shake it, make it what you wanna be

Them Roman legionnaires they hit the trail Uh huh?

The world is what you make it The world is what you make it

When Cleopatra ruled in Egypt's land

Jump down, turn around, look at what the monkey did

She went to find herself a mighty man Uh huh? uh huh?

In come Antonio from Italy

Haul it, ball it, drag it up the pyramid,

He never knew how hot a girl could be Uh huh?

The world is what you make it

The world is what you make it baby

The world is what you make it

Don't start to hit me with your "no can do

" Bluesin', losin', workin' up an attitude

Clean up them windows let the sun shine through Uh huh? uh huh?

There ain't no happy time without no pain

heartbreak, new date, move on up the alleyway

Pick up them pieces hit the road again Uh huh?

The world is what you make it

The world is what you make it baby

The world is what you make it

Copyright Hornall Brothers Music

At that moment, I had an epiphany, the world IS what I make it, I don’t have to be this miserable, impoverished, sad heap, I can make my world what I want it to be. Hell, if Hannibal can take frickin’ elephants over the alps what is a little poverty and sadness compared to that feat.

It was a turning point. That very day I changed my mind and changed my life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oh the pressure to produce meaningful content, oh the guilt for not writing, to hell with it I say!!! I am not going to blog every day darn it, I am going to try to do it pretty often in honor of NABLOPOMO but I am not going to stress over it. Take that NABLOPOMO.

The problem with a blog is that it is so public, do I want my students reading this, do I want my friends and relatives reading this? This public nature tends to rob me of content or make me feel self conscious. My introvert nature rears its lovely back and says, hmmm perhaps not.

I always think of things to blog about when I am away from my computer and pen and paper, I say it out loud hoping to remember "I should write a blog about that" but what usually happens when I sit down to write is that I remember saying the words and the exact quality of the light glinting off my friend's glasses that I said the comment to or who originated the conversation that led the the exclamation but what I want to write about. . . gone.

I like to think of those topics as being on the back burner of my mind, gathering momentum and content while my more conscious self worries about things like working on my paper on medications that will kill you if the disease doesn't get you first, or on pharmacological applications of bacteria cytotoxins or some such catchy stuff.

I write a lot, every day. When it comes to writing for pleasure, which my intent is that my blog will be pleasure writing, I find my dance card filled with the more practical, medical writing that is my education and profession. I am quite often tempted to write about my pursuits in health care but it is so specialized and to the non-medical person boring or incomprehensible that I make the choice not to talk about it here. The other thing that is my somewhat obsession is teaching. I think probably 6/10 blog posts are about teaching and how much I love it so I should probably cut y'all a break and not talk about that.

I enjoy academic writing, don't get me wrong but because I produce so much work that I MUST do the delightful flower in the field of writing that is fiction, or essay just really gets mowed under. I hope it is there waiting for me when I finish school, I hope I have not killed it dead with the stodgy stylings of academia (although I must confess I tend to push the envelope of academic style when it is wedded to my personal writing style). I have not written a short story since I started back to college and as for an essay they have pretty much all been either related to teaching, health care, teaching health care, politics or gender theory.

Here are the thoughts of the day that I had my students do a timed writing on. . .

1. 90% of life is attitude, no matter how much or how little one has to start with, one's attitude toward the world will shape how one ends up.

2. Better to do something imperfectly than nothing perfectly

Ta for now dolls, I have another post brewing and I need to stir the pot
PS I have included the above painting of "St George and the Dragon" by Paolo Ucello 1456 because I love it.
PPS When I was a little girl it made me sad because I thought St George was killing the woman's pet dragon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Resorting to observations of the natural world

Today as I was sitting outside a flock of wild Quaker parakeets came swooping into the nearby tree.
Quaker parakeets are cute birds a little larger than a budgie. Folklore says that sometime during the 1970s a large shipment came into Galveston harbor to be sent on across the country to waiting pet shops. The crate the Quakers were in somehow got dropped and smashed and hundreds of birds escaped resulting in the colony here.
They build HUGE nests, like the size of a Buick, I kid you not. The nests are built out of sticks by the colony and the pairs then add on and arrange their own 3 chambered “apartments” in the community nest. The individual nests have a room for the babies, a room for the parents and a look out porch room of sorts.
Quakers are excellent mimics, the ones by my school imitate various car noises and it sure sounds like they imitate the distinctive laugh of one of the teachers who smokes outside.
As I was sitting outside they were waddling around on the ground by me, relatively fearless. They also gladly took the grapes I tossed to them. For being an invasive species they sure are cute.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Last weekend

I had high hopes of posting a blog about my recent vacation to northern California but I realized if I waited until I got my act together with editing the pictures I would have another set of vacation pictures to post. Therefore, I decided to write something anyway.

Did you know that the month of November is national blog posting month, damn it. I found out 2 days into the month so alas I am already behind for the ideal of blogging every day in honor of NABLOPOMO or whatever the snappy abbreviation really is. (I personally like the way NABLOPOMO rolls off the tongue) I guess I will have to write 2 posts in one da bwahahahahahaha sorry; I couldn’t even get through THAT sentence.
This past Halloween weekend here in loverly TX we had an entire host of events going on. . .

There was the rally, the Lone Star Rally, in which 300,000 motorcycles converged on Galveston Island, on Halloween, none the less. I understand that there was a temporary topless trailer bar, classy.

Also last weekend was the air show,” Wings Over Houston”. Cheapskate that I am I decided to creep as close as I could to the air field on back roads and watch for free, I am so wily. It was pretty awesome, I love air shows, especially free air shows. The Blue Angles were amazing and death defying, which I think may be their unofficial slogan,

Of course Saturday was also Kelly’s birthday, he turned 25. . . .: long pregnant pause with arched eyebrow: -look, it’s his story and he is sticking to it, what can I say. We spent his birthday at a great little hole in the wall biker bar called Down on Main Street in Baytown, TX. The people were super friendly, very fun and generally all around welcoming. Kelly and I will definitely be back. Oh and the live band was pretty good to, Overdrive, the bass guitar chick did a couple of mean Joan Jett songs.
All in all I had a great time and amazingly didn't spend too much money, always good.
I hope to have my vacation pictures and blog up soon, considering I am trying to blog something every day despiration should drive me to get it together. Bye for now loves