Friday, May 27, 2011

Another Poem by Clara

So it's obvious I'm not feeling very creative this week as I try to get back into the swing of things after vacation.  The weather has turned hot and I've been trying to get up early to get stuff done and I think my brain is a bit fried.  My body is I know as I overdid it on working out this week and I'm so sore.  And, yes, I'm back to drinking good beer but don't worry I'm not overdoing it.

But my daughter, Clara, has been creative and writing poems and songs lately.  Here's her latest.  If she writes too many more, she'll have to set up her own blog.


The sound of words
Words that change the way
You look at things.
Words that change
Your life.
Razor sharp,
Digging deep
Are words
Really words?
Or are they wizards
That have the power to put your life on hold
People see this
And they still do damage
That ends
completely, cutting 
their fine threads
There is no miracle
No antidote
To revive a world
Big or small
Mighty or weak
Use no scissors

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

10th Daughter of Memory: The Short and the Long of it

The Short of it:

Tenth Daughter of Memory Theme this week:  White Lies Belie a Darker Truth.  When I read that theme I could think of only one thing.  A short snippet of a song that my husband and daughter recorded a while back.  You may not think it fits and that's fine.  And, I'm not sure if you should really vote for it because I didn't write it.  I'm just sharing it for something different and, like I said, it was the first thing I thought of when I read the theme

The Long of it:
The other day I was sitting in my living room while my son was drawing in his sketch book and my daughter was working on a poem or a song; she writes both frequently.  Brian was either playing his guitar or researching music online.  It struck me because I did not come from a creative family.  As a family of engineers, there was no encouragement in the creative process.  To be fair, there was no discouragement either.  My parents supported my decision to go into theater but I think it's telling that I'm in one of the more non-creative jobs in that field.

The few posts I have done for 10th Daughter of Memory have been so much fun.  I thought I would die of embarrassment because my writing is so poor; I have little experience with that genre.  So, I did what anyone in my position would do, I asked my creative family.  They have offered great suggestions for the previous posts I have submitted.  I even wrote a poem along the theme of White Lies Belie a Darker Truth and both my daughter and husband nixed is as too cliche.  And they were right.  So in full disclosure, my 10th Daughter of Memory posts are not entirely my own which I guess is why I feel it's okay to post a song I had nothing to do with.  And that is the darker truth...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Florida: Take Two

Despite not finding any great craft beer, we did actually have a great time in Florida.  How could we not?  A week at the beach with 75 degree weather, no work, no school, not doing was lovely!

We tried to get out and see some sights but on a few occasions the sights weren't that worth seeing.  Someone had told me to visit Pass-a-Grille Beach.  We dutifully packed a lunch and trotted out only to find the beach rather rocky and unimpressive so we went back to our beach and had a grand afternoon.  Here's a picture of our beach at sunset.

Another day we went to Ft DeSoto Park, touted as one of Florida's best beaches.  We thought we'd ride bikes around the fort.  Well, it wasn't so much Ft. DeSoto as much as it was Ft. Mosquito; we were bitten alive.  Instead, we drove up the coast to Clearwater...where the water is, surprisingly clear.  We rented a Surrrey or 4 Person bike and rode around.  It was a blast.  Oh, except for when my son was driving.  Let's just say people dived off the sidewalk to avoid us; they preferred to take their chances with traffic.  Of course, he thought he was a great driver and wants us to get one of these bikes so he can drive us to work.  I'm going with a no on that one.  Here we are on the surrey:

Of course we visited Busch Gardens where Brian and Clara got stuck on a roller coaster.  I noticed that the Roller Coaster had stopped and that all these people were exiting, except for Brian and Clara.  Immediately I thought the worst but instead the coaster had just stopped.  Apparently, it happens all the time.  Who knew?

The Dali Museum had to be one of my highlights.  The museum houses the largest collection of Salvador Dali paintings in the United States.  They do a great job getting the kids involved in the paintings.  We took a guided tour which was well worth it as the docent pointed out all these interesting aspects in his works.  Here is my favorite painting I saw that day.  It's called the Hallucinogenic Toreador and in it you can the face of a Toreador made up in the repetitions of the Venus de Milos.  I just found it fascinating.

But every vacation must come to an end and here we are back to school, to work, to cleaning....At least the beers good!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Florida: You Can Stop Right There

Just returned from a week's vacation in St. Petersburg, FL.  It was the first time that Brian and I and the kids actually went away for a week by ourselves.  Usually, we travel with other people, and I have to say we had a great time.  The weather was wonderful, not too hot until the last day.

Here's the thing though, we live in Philadelphia which is known for (among things like the Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin) it's beer.  And, Brian and I are beer snobs.  But down at a beach resort town, they tend to cater to, well, Joe American, who tends to enjoy Bud products.  Their idea of an import beer was Heineken.  Some bars advertised that they had micro brews but usually ended up either being out of said micro brew or claimed that Sam Adams was a micro brew.

It became a running joke for me when Brian would ask a waiter about the beer list and the waiter would start with:  "We have bud, bud light..."  And Brian would say, "You can skip to the micro brews."  And when the waiter would say, "Oh we carry Sam Adams and.."  Brian would say, "You can stop right there."  I just thought it was the funniest thing.

The poor guy tried so hard to have a Florida brewed micro brew.  Because as any beer lover knows:  Drink Locally, right?   One of the local micro brewers is Cigar City but even though several restaurants had it on the menu, everyone seemed to be out of it "at the moment."  We were there for a week and it took us until day 6 for Brian to find a Cigar City beer.  And, sad to say, when he did, he didn't really like it that much.  So he stopped right there.

Excuse me if this is a bit incomprehensible but I've been up since 4 and traveled for 7 hours to return home.  I'm enjoying a Yards IPA (a top-notch micro brew from the city of brotherly love) and I'm not planning on stopping right there.  With the beer I mean.  With the post...I'll save you any more ramblings and continue this when I've had some sleep.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's a Nice Catholic doing in a Presbyterian Church?

I went to my friend's church this past Sunday, Calvary Church, it's Presbyterian.  She had been telling me about it for a while now and I had promised to go but kept putting it off.  That's just the way I am.  Once I start something, I rather enjoy it but it's getting started that I keep putting off.  Well, except for mowing the lawn.  I don't enjoy any part of mowing the lawn.

So I enter the church and right away I'm in a foreign land;  Toto, we're not in Rome anymore.  People are talking and joking with each other!  In Church!  I'm not even sure what to say about the service because I wasn't sure when to stand, or sit, or say anything.  Luckily, they printed a program with the information on it.  As a Catholic, it's in my bones:  when to sit, when to stand, what my responses are.  I guess the Presbyterians are more loosey-goosey: Today, let's sit first then stand, then sing, then pray.  Every time the Pastor said, "Amen." I said, "Amen."  but no one else did.  If they noticed they were too nice to tell me.  Maybe they get a lot of ex Catholics so they are used to it.  Who knows?

Oh, and they changed up the Our Father as well.  There I was cruising along thinking, I got this when they threw in a different word for Trespasses.

The Holy Communion (which they apparently don't do every week, I must have hit an on week) was totally different.  I know they don't do transubstantiation so the blessing was a bit off (okay, for me it was off).  Then, these 4 church members come up and get the bread and hand it out to the parishioners in the pews.  Then they hand the remaining bread back to the Pastor and sit down.  Then the Pastor walks down and gives bread to the church members who had just handed it out.  Seems to me, that the Catholics are a bit more efficient in this department.  But I suppose one shouldn't have a "get it over with" attitude with church.

When I was young we had a Priest we dubbed Father Fast Prayer.  His masses lasted 35 minutes, I kid you not.  He always did the Saturday 5 pm mass so you could get in, get out, and get on with your weekend.  See, that's the other thing, this Church only had one service on the weekend!  Catholics have several, they cater to every need:  Don't like Sundays, how about Saturdays?  Prefer early morning?  We have a mass for that.  No music?  We have a mass for that.

One more thing about the communion.  We had to wait until everyone was served before we ate the bread but then they gave us the wine (read: grape juice) and everyone just took one and drank it.  I didn't really follow that logic.  But the Presbyterians do score a point in the Communion category:  we got a choice of 3 different breads.  I felt like I was in an upscale restaurant.

The best part was..oh wait, I forgot about the choir.  The choir was so cool -- they had robes!  And, they sang these songs about death that were so joyful!  "When I cross over, it's going to be awesome, oh yeah!"  That's a party I want to go to.  And, people clapped after the choir sang.  Happy people in church.. not quite used to that.

So, after the service they have a coffee hour.  And, I'm not talking about some coffee and donuts.  I'm talking mini-hot dogs, chocolate cake, cinnamon rolls, a deli platter, coffee, water, juice.  It was lunch!  Everyone was so nice, ridiculously nice.

Brian didn't go with us to church this past Sunday but he has met all the people before.  When I told him all about the service he said that next time he'd join us.

This from a militant Atheist.  I think he might be in it for the food.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Tenth Daughter of Memory: Neptune's Payback

So, I'm entering the Tenth Daughter of Memory again, this time fully intending to vote!  I have to give a shout-out to my daughter who gave me part of the idea and the first lines for this.  For more 10th Daughter Stories, click here.


“A hurricane?”

“A hurricane?! That’s the best you could come up with?”

“TWO hurricanes?”

“My brother would swallow the hurricane and burp it back up just to laugh at my incompetence…Do you smell salt?”

Turning around, Neptune spied his wife, Salacia, shimmering in the doorway. Her flashing blue/grey eyes told him that she had heard some, if not all, of his conversation. The eels wrapping her body next to the seaweed and shells woven into her hair made her anger all that more beautiful. Knowing that she wouldn’t say anything in front of his assistant, Fons, Neptune just gave her a sheepish, ‘caught me’ look.

Turning to glide away, she paused, “Oh, your son, Triton will be joining us for…”

“Hellooooo! Anyone home?” The voice interrupted Salacia and soon Triton, newly shaven and in a spectacular coral necklace, swooshed in with his ever-present dolphin.

“I just love what you’ve done with the place,” Triton exclaimed, water kissing Salacia before turning to his father. Glancing from Neptune to Salacia, Triton guessed immediately.

“Ooooo, Mommy and Daddy are fighting again!” Triton turned to his dolphin, “Be a dear and go help Sally in the kitchen.”

The dolphin and Salacia slithered away as Triton turned to Neptune.

“What is it this time?”

“He took Vesta! Knowing full-well she was mine.” Neptune could barely get the words out. “He knew I had been planning for weeks to seduce her and take her for myself so he had to have her first.”

“Well, perhaps you need to be a little more discreet in your bragging. Uncle J wouldn’t have known you wanted her if you hadn’t been shooting your mouth off about your impending conquest.” Triton admonished as he tidied up his father’s wardrobe. “And, please, blue coral is so last year, daddy, we need to update your wardrobe.”

Neptune loved his son but never really understood his…well, his mermanishness. And yet, Neptune always felt he could be himself around Triton and he valued that more than anything.

“Jupiter always thinks he can take anything he wants: I’m god of the earth, mom always liked me best, here take the oceans.” Neptune whined. “This time, I’m going to get him though. And, not with a hurricane.”

Fons just shrugged. He thought it was a good idea.

“Okay, now I know why mummy has been redecorating.” Triton laughed to himself before turning to his Neptune . “To humiliate the big guy, you’ll need to do it on a grand scale, a spectacle for everyone to see. Something that will make him wish to be mortal so he could die.”

Neptune laughed at how much his son resembled his brother Jupiter. Neptune sat down at a table to plot. He put his head down just as Salacia appeared and slammed down a cup of hemlock in front of him.

Looking up, Neptune stared straight into the eyes of Socrates, his teacher.

“Sleeping again Aristophanes?” Socrates smirked as Aristophanes shook off his dream. Socrates brought his ever-present stick up over his head as if to strike again but thought better of it.

Aristophanes groaned inwardly. “I, uh…” Aristophanes didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know what to do. He definitely didn’t want to be there, under the flashing eyes of his teacher, the greatest mind in Greece.

“Perhaps Plato would care to answer?” Socrates turned abruptly toward his star pupil with a wide smile.

Aristophanes rubbed his eyes and nursed his sore ego, muttering: “Yes, let the star pupil answer, he’ll know it, he knows everything. No wonder Socrates likes him so much, he probably goes home and writes down everything he’s heard here.” Aristophanes was sick of everything, this school, not knowing the answers, this new-fangled method of teaching. Who asks questions in order to teach? “I’ll show them. Socrates thinks he’s so smart. I’ll show him. I’ll do something so spectacular…but what?”

It would be difficult to bring down such a man as Socrates, for while Aristophanes didn’t think he was the wisest man in Athens, he knew he wasn’t the dumbest. “If I could just make people see how annoying he really is.”

Aristophanes eyes flashed as a seed of an idea popped into his head. The beginnings of story, maybe best told on stage in front of all of Athens…yes that’s it. Total humiliation…Socrates will be begging for hemlock.

Aristophanes stared straight ahead, his mind tumbling with ideas, his eyes fixated on the story in front of him. Socrates continued questioning his students, ignoring Aristophanes, and never realizing that this was the beginning of the end.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thoughts on the News

I wanted to jot down some thoughts about the operation against Osama Bin Laden, just to have a record for when I re-read it later.

I opened up my computer this morning to the New York Times and read the first headline:  Bin Laden is Dead, Obama Says.  So I had to read the next headline:  Obituary: Osama Bin Laden.  I looked up at Brian and said, "Osama Bin Laden is dead."  He just said, "Really?"

I think we were either stunned or the news had not yet sunk in.  I read the first article about the attack and all I could think about was: This is huge.  Then I said it to Brian.  Then:  "I am so glad this happened on Obama's watch."

And, I am glad.  I was annoyed the way the general (or whomever he was) announced Saddam Hussein's death with a news conference and a "We got him!" statement.  This seemed just so much better, more measured.

Then, of course, I was glued to NPR news for the rest of the day.  I wanted to hear everything.  And, the more I heard, the more impressed I became with the entire operation; the secrecy, the precision, the fact that not one American died.

I can't imagine what those Navy Seals felt like breaching that compound, knowing their target, understanding the seriousness of it.  I know they are incredibly well-trained but they are human.  What went through their minds when they met Osama Bin Laden?  What went through their minds afterwards?  When they knew they were successful?  What did President Obama think/feel?

The fact that President Obama took a risk like that is mind-boggling, especially since he is not known for these risks.  The intelligence had to have been very good.  Not like the Iraq intelligence: apparently, Absence of Evidence really is Evidence of Absence.

But I did agree with Bush's reaction to Afghanistan and to think that one chapter of this is closed.  We all remember September 11th.  My daughter was almost 3 at the time.  She must have heard us talking because a day or two later she asked if any planes would be flying today.  It's just one of those small moments that sticks in your brain.

With the Arab Spring happening all over the Middle East, I'm not sure how relevant Osama Bin Laden is.  I suppose time will tell.  I'm also interested in how the Republicans handle this news.  Crassly, there is no denying that Obama gets the win on this one.