Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Singing-Wolf Crone

After my post on Vintage Dolly and accompanying comments about us older-than-50 women/crones (we who bleed no more), I started thinking about Singing Wolf who hangs on our bedroom wall. When Nicholas first saw her 2 years ago, she scared him. He'd look at her and actually ask, "She's scary??" We'd have to reassure him with "No, she's not scary; she's sleeping." We carried him over to her and had him gently touch her face and hair. And now he doesn't think twice about her.

The artist who sculpted this crone from leather named her Singing Wolf. I think about that as I look at her with her eyes closed, meditating on her Inner Soul, singing somewhere deep within herself. (And not sleeping!)

"We think of Crone as the stage in a woman’s life when she enters menopause, usually around age 50. In archetypal language, the maiden, the mother and the crone personify the feminine. Blood rituals once marked these passages and after menstruation stopped, it was said of the Crone that the blood was held inside and became wisdom or “wiseblood.” Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen refers to menopause as initiation into the Wise Woman Archetype. Some astrologers assert that the crone phase of life begins at about age 56, the time of an individual’s second Saturn return. It is important to know that the word Crone, often used pejoratively to mean “old hag” has noble origins. Hag used to mean “a holy one,” from the Greek hagia.

We are beginning to realize that this third and crowning stage of female life (the one our culture throws away) is more authentic, creative, outrageous, powerful, funny, healing and profound than we ever imagined. Aging is a natural process, but it is also very much a woman’s issue. Resisting the cultural phobias about growing older begins right at home – within our own bodies. How each of us sees our own aging process can in turn influence how the culture sees it."

When I first saw Singing Wolf years ago, I fell in love with her. She went straight to my Soul. I can see why she'd be scary to Nicholas or anyone because she looks so real. But she's only scary if/when we don't acknowledge her holy, crowning, healing, wise presence!

Hail to the Crone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hunting Eagle

You can imagine my pure, unadulterated delight this Thanksgiving when Nicholas greeted us at his house as Hunting Eagle. His Kindergarten teacher had made these shirts for all the kids and gave them each an Indian name. (Truth be known, Nicholas wanted to be Growling Dog, the name given to another student.)

That got me thinking about Indian Native American names and if I were Native American, what my name would be. Names like Dances With Wolves, Lives In the Woods, Keeper of the Gate, Talks While Walking, etc., would all definitely fit me. But my first impulse was Howls at the Moon. That is, after all, the wolf icon of this In Soul blog and has some "history" for me (wrestling with God!). That's why I wear this wolf-moon necklace (resting between howls) all the time. Hmm. I'll have to think about that. I do identify with the wolf and see it as my Spirit Guide.... (and I do like Dances With Wolves but Howls at the Moon may have to be it!)

Any idea what your Native American name would be?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wake-Up Call

The only problem with looooong holiday weekends is that when Monday morning comes around and it's time to go to work, it's verrrrrry hard to wake up! (I'm speaking for everyone else, of course, since, yes, I'm still retired.)

Donica's mom collects roosters, so as we travel around, we pick up some interesting ones. I was practicing my macro shots the other day on this tiny critter from somewhere in Europe, sitting now on a window sill at her house. It reminds me of the rooster we hear ever so often from our Hannover apartment.

My favorite of all wake-up calls, I must say, is this wonderful depiction from somewhere in CyberSpace. I laugh hysterically every time I see it. How could you wake up grumpy with this alarm clock (that is, if you had earplugs in)!

Anyway, it's time to wake up now that we are definitely in the from-Thanksgiving-to-Christmas stretch. It gets shorter and shorter every year, doesn't it!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Vintage Dolly

Last night we had the great honor and privilege of seeing Dolly Rebecca Parton (b. 1946) in concert. What an amazing and talented woman! I don't even know where to start!
  1. She was born the 4th child of 12 children (her late father Robert was one of 15 children, and her late mother Avie (Owens) was one of 10 children). In her early years, they all lived together in a one-room cabin on a run-down farm in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. In other words, they were dirt poor.
  2. Last night she played the following instruments besides singing: several guitars, fiddle, banjo, dulcimer, autoharp, harmonica, and pennywhistle. I'd be so lucky to play one of them (I did actually play at the autoharp years ago but I don't think that counts).
  3. She wears size 5 1/2 shoes and her size 40-48DD "trademark" breasts are reportedly insured for $600,00. She says her feet are so small because "nothing grows in the shade."
  4. The world's first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, was named after Parton because it was cloned from a mammary cell.
  5. She's not bothered by any of the "dumb blonde" jokes because she knows she's not dumb and her hair's not blonde (which is another example of her wonderful wit).
  6. She's written and copyrighted over 3000 songs, many of them hit singles and many of them made popular by others.
  7. You want more trivia....?

I remember "reading" Dolly's autobiography years ago, listening to her read it herself on audiotape. That's when I found out why she wrote my favorite, I will Always Love You (when she and her manager, Porter Wagoner, parted ways). She's incredibly smart and talented, that's all I can say! An amazing "vintage" woman who fits the can't-tell-a-book-by-its-cover.

Speaking of "vintage women" (my definition is 50 and over!), we started naming the ones we've been priviledged to hear in concert/lecture, besides Dolly: Tina Turner, Anita Baker, Cher, Bette Midler, Cindi Lauper, Stevie Nicks (a.k.a Fleetwood Mac), Mary Travers (from Peter, Paul and Mary), Gaye Adegbalola and Ann Rabson (Uppity Blues Women), Emmylou Harris, Helen Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Cathy Rigby (a.k.a. Peter Pan), Toni Tennille, Naomi Judd, Bernice Johnson Reagon (et al from Sweet Honey In the Rock), Reba McIntire, Julie Andrews, Candice Bergen. We'll hear Bonnie Raitt in a couple of weeks.

To all us VINTAGE WOMEN out there, Hello and Hurray! We've definitely made our mark :)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Forever Blowing Bubbles

You know how kids are! Nicholas loves to blow bubbles when he gets to the bottom of his chocolate milk. When we're in public, Donica discourages him but I go behind her back (shame on me!) and egg him on by delighting in every new design concocted.

On this one he said, "Look, it's just like a turtle shell!"

How can you say NO to that kind of creativity!! (The things we miss when we live by all the oughts and shoulds of Life!)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Strut Your Stuff

For all us turkeys still glad to be alive, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!



My understanding is Canada and the USA are the only two countries in the world that observe this Thanksgiving holiday, even though on different dates and for different reasons. So to my newfound Canadian friends, a belated HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you as well.

To all of you who visit this blog on a regular basis, I give my thanks. You have made my day over and over again. Like the Hannover Zoo turkeys above, roaming free in their habitat, I wish for all of us a place and a time to "strut our stuff" in fullness of joy and peace.

Amen and so be it!

[Donica and I will celebrate the veritable feast at her mom's in south Atlanta today, watching football and enjoying family. My kids (with Nicholas) will celebrate with their dad and step-mom. On Sunday, we'll join the kids at Amy's house for post-Thanksgiving cards and movies. Ah, yes--the traditions of Thanksgiving: Family, food and fun!]

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Giving the Finger

The Pointer Finger, that is! The index finger, the forefinger, the second digit of the human hand, located between the thumb and the middle finger, usually the most dexterous finger of the hand and usually used to point to things (a direction, an object, a WORD), thus also called the pointer finger. Digitus secundus, or digitus II in anatomy. [from Wikipedia]

Amy had told us that Nicholas was now learning to read in Kindergarten and we just about flipped out! So last night while he was here for an overnight, we found a book that would be simple and, sure enough! Out came his pointer finger to lead the way.

I don't remember anything about my learning to read other than that it had to do with the Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff books. Man! That was vintage reading. HA. But clearly it worked.

Needless to say, we've all got our pointer fingers out now to aid this critical literacy process. So very, very cute!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fallen

When I saw this tree in our neighborhood the other day, I just stared at it. Maybe it was my mood in that moment but I saw so many things (click photo to enlarge):

  1. Strangely, I first saw the Statue of Liberty, fallen by an act of terrorism (no, that's not a premonition!).
  2. I saw soldiers of war, on both sides, fallen by religious and political hatred.
  3. I saw Native Americans, fallen because of ignorance, non-acceptance and fear.
  4. I saw me, fallen from dis-ease before I picked up my mat and walked.
  5. I saw the Jesus Man, fallen by the sin of the world before he resurrected.

And you? What do you see (apart from a tree fallen by natural causes)?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Global Warming: The Comedy

Last night I watched the 2-hour special on Earth to America that had been taped from Thursday's live performance at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. In rapid succession, a parade of comedians and serious actors raised consciousness on global warming...one joke at a time.

It's not funny, of course.

Laurie David, the executive producer of the show and wife of comedian Larry David, "is making it her life's work to draw attention to the growing risks of the earth warming through unchecked emissions of carbon dioxide. She flips the finger at people driving gas guzzlers. She holds seminars and fund-raisers in her home. She sponsors a Web-based "virtual march" on Washington (http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/) that has drawn more than 150,000 participants.... "Earth to America" was her crowning achievement."

I believe in Global Warming and the fact that each one of us is responsible to stop it. If all we do is join the virtual march, at least we can do that. We clearly need to do more, if we can.

Not everyone can/should buy a hybrid car but I felt fortunate to have a Honda Insight hybrid for two years, getting 60 mpg. I loved that little two-seater car! Shortly after Nicholas was born, I switched to the Honda Civic hybrid for more passenger space and have been getting 47 mpg for 3 years now. I really feel good about that not only at the pump when I pay but because of the bigger gas-shortage issue and emissions/global warming.

Sometimes we have to joke about something, I guess, to bring more attention to it? Hopefully it'll really start sinking in where it matters.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

WOW to the Nth Degree!

As promised, here's my big fat WOW to the Harry Potter movie! Wow, wow, wow! I don't care what anyone else says (Mark says the last/3rd movie is his favorite thus far), it's great. But you need to know that I'm like my mother: a bit too superlative when it comes to critiquing such things. Like her, I tend to see all the things I like without a clue about what I didn't.

Anyway, no spoiler alert here. Just want you to know that those very neat clocks in the movie get their inspiration, I guess, from the old astronomical clocks we saw in Europe. Here are two of them, the first from Lübeck, Germany, and the second from Prague, Czech Republic:

As the books get darker, so do the movies. I was gonna say a child's version of Lord of the Rings but I'm not sure that's true any more?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Off to See the Wizard

I had already promised Donica that I'd save seeing the new Harry Potter movie for this weekend when she returns from Europe so we can see it together. But when Mark found out he has a new job that starts on Monday, he wanted me to celebrate by seeing the movie with him today. So Donica graciously acquiesced, to my abundant pleasure of getting to see it twice in one weekend!

From everything I've read, it will be totally worth it!

So Good-Bye for now. Maybe I'll add a WOW when I return :)

The Holidays

This is that time of the year when you don't know if you're coming or going! Halloween is usually the culprit because it not only influences Thanksgiving decorations here in the States but becomes the barometer for when Christmas starts its commercialization.

These two yard displays are 4 houses apart in our neighborhood. My wish is that we'd at least get through Thanksgiving and THEN pull out all the Christmas stops! I love Thanksgiving. I love Christmas. But one holiday at a time, please!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pooh-Bah of the World?

An article in Reuters this week actually startled me: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is "The Most Influential Man in the World," according to Esquire magazine. Esquire editor David Granger argued that Clinton was poised to become "something like a president of the world or at least a president of the world's non-governmental organizations." [my emphasis]

Minutes after I read the article, I read this word definition in my InBox:
pooh-bah n 1: a person holding many public or private offices *2: a person in high position or of great influence.

So, I started thinking about a Pooh-Bah of the World. Quite honestly, if I were to choose, it'd be Jimmy Carter, my hero. Aside from Clinton's personal debacles, he will go down in history as a great president. Carter's presidency may not have fared as well BUT he has years of post-presidency world altruism and philanthropy under his belt, more so than any other person ever. Perhaps Clinton has age/time on his side?

IF we had a world pooh-bah and IF you could choose only between Clinton and Carter, who would you choose? Now, open it up to anyone in the world and who would you choose (excluding yourself)!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sexual Harrassment

Since I've been on an 'issues' roll lately, I see, here's another one!

This is a plug for a movie that was expected to do better than it has thus far. I'm a glutton for movies inspired by true stories, no matter how disturbing. This is one (like Hotel Rwanda, as Donica says) every high-schooler should see because it's about the nation’s first-ever class-action lawsuit for sexual harassment. It's because of people like the character Charlize Theron plays that we have some of our laws today. We reap the benefits of those who stood up for what's right.

Go see the movie if you really like Inspiration! And to see where we've come from!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Survival

Based on how many times this Thanksgiving e-card from American Greetings has come to my InBox, I'm quite sure it has been around the world several times by now. So if you're sick of it, hang on a minute. That's not why I'm sending it.

The original "I Will Survive" song by Gloria Gaynor may be in my top-5 songs ever because of my daughter, Amy. As early as grade school, she had quite the knack of imitating just about anything she ever saw or heard and could keep me in stitches long enough to make my back hurt from laughing too hard. And she knew it. I guess I egged her on.

By high school and college, as relationships came and went, this became (for me) her "signature" song. Whenever I hear it, I picture her jiving to it like it was going out of style. In fact, once at the Herrenhäuser Gärten in Hannover not long ago, when the song was blasting over the loud speaker, we actually called Amy in Atlanta so she could hear it and know we were thinking of her.

Okay, so I'm crazy. But I, too, am a survivor. (The apple didn't fall far from the tree!)

The Family Tree

Just feet off the side of our driveway is what I call our Family Tree. No matter what angle I take the picture, it doesn't do justice to the reality that there are FIVE trees growing from one foundation. In other words, if you were to cut down this clump at ground level, there would be one stump!

Five is the number of our special family: Donica and me, my two children (Amy and Mark) and our grandson, Nicholas (notice the smaller tree that shoots off from the left side!). When we get together for birthdays and holidays and football games, it's the five of us. The larger family tree is quite expansive, of course. It takes the whole woods for that.

But yesterday on my Lake Lanier walking trek, I found another family tree of sorts and had quite the laugh. Why someone carved "MORMON'S" on this piece of gate wood is beyond me. But it seemed appropriate that there was this multi-branched one tree behind it :) Guess you had to be there!

Monday, November 14, 2005

EUREKA!

I FOUND IT! My own Atlanta, Lake Lanier tiergarten just 8 miles from home, which by Atlanta's time and distance standards is essentially in my backyard. As in Hannover our last trip, when I ventured out all around our neighborhood with camera in hand, I am venturing out here at home. After 7 years in this house, it's about time, don't you think!

All the things I love! Water, trees, fallen leaves, woods, paths, walkways, shorelines, benches, bridges, stone steps. You name it.

Not a hike I'd take a blind person on, mind you (too many stones/roots on the paths), nor would it be a brisk-walker's choice. But it is a good workout if you're looking for sweat. Everytime I went down the stairs I said, "Ginnie, you realize you're gonna have to walk back up these!" To which I'd respond with, "And your point is?"

My cup is full to overflowing. And in the quietness of my Soul's filling, I remembered you who would have come along for the ride!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Not Your Mother's War

This is the headline on the front page of Atlanta's weekend paper! Now hang onto that thought.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a grandmother known affectionately by her supporters as "Mama Ellen," has just been elected President of Liberia with final results due before November 23. If she wins, she would become Africa's first female elected head of state. Her supporters are already saying "She's our man!"

Like Angela Merkel in Germany, both of these women will have many hurdles to jump. It won't be an easy road ahead. However, there's something I hope for as more and more women enter politics: the possiblity of resolving conflict without war!

Years ago (in college?) I remember a discussion about what would happen if/when the governments of the world are equally run by women as men. Yes, we're talking about stereotypes here, but I think there IS something to be said for the fact that women are quicker to negotiate than to pick a war.

I try not to get too political here on my blog but some things just need to be said, as far as I'm concerned. So there, I've said it!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Justification

Getting a flu shot was a no-brainer the last two years when I worked in assisted living. Anyone working in healthcare or with senior citizens and/or children absolutely needs a flu shot each year. Those are our high-risk groups. We can't afford making them sick.

But now that I'm retired, should I or shouldn't I. Back-n-forth in my mind. First of all, I'm almost never sick (knock on wood). Secondly, I'm just not around high-risk people (unless you're talking about Nicholas!). Rationalization vs. justification. And this in the context of a possible shortage again!

So I asked my social-worker friend yesterday and she immediately reminded me that because I'm on airplanes almost every month, I'M at high-risk! Ah yes. How could I forget about those pesky "incubator" planes so full of god-knows-what kinds of germs/diseases!

Which is a round-about way of saying I stood in line at Wal-Mart for an hour this morning to get my precious shot. After last year's shortage debacle, how could there possibly be another shortage this year?? We can land people on the moon but can't prepare enough vaccines from one year to the next? WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!

Running for Our Lives

It just so happens that we think she's one of the greatest singers of all times: MELISSA ETHERIDGE.

Almost everybody knows by now of her own recent bout with breast cancer and coming out on the other side with a clean bill of health. It's changed her life.

Recently she teamed up with Ford to write and perform the anthem I Run for Life, all proceeds of the iTune which will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. It's an incredible song for those of you who download such things. Well worth every penny! (Here's a sample of the song...scroll down.)

And what do Hard Rock Cafe and Melissa Etheridge have in common besides the music? Their 2005 Breast Cancer Awareness Pin, which Donica just bought while we were in Chicago. 100% of the net profits from the sale will benefit and support the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation in the fight to end this tragic disease. It, too, is worth every penny.

The goal of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is to find a cure for breast cancer in the next ten years. Hopefully by buying what we love--Melissa Etheridge music and HRC pins--the funding will be there to make it happen.

Thanks for running for us, Melissa!

Friday, November 11, 2005

France Burning

As the rioting wanes in France, I told Donica she still needs to take our neighborhood fire hydrant with her as she travels to Amsterdam (last night) and then returns via Paris late next week. She may need it.

For generations, the French have prided themselves on a colorblind society that welcomes all. But the two weeks of nightly violence have prompted painful national introspection and called into question France's self image as a model of race relations.

Both like and unlike the USA

The same complaints that fueled the fires in inner city Detroit and Los Angeles in the '60s — unemployment, discrimination, despair — are behind the arson and rioting in suburban France. This crisis, however, is uniquely French. A nation that successfully integrated individual foreigners has failed to do the same with masses of them.


Sigh. I hate violence of any kind. But this reminds me of profanity. If you're a person who rarely, if ever uses it, when you do, everyone sits up and takes notice. You hope!

[When did our fire hydrants go from red to yellow to silver! And where are Germany's hydrants? Don't remember ever seeing one. Are they in the ground like the UK's?]

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Safe and Secure?

On my walk yesterday around our neighborhood here in Atlanta, I saw these four home-security signs, one of which is ours. And I was wondering how secure they really make us feel?

One night a couple years ago our house alarm went off while we were asleep and scared the living daylights out of us. From the code on our upstairs monitor, we could tell it wasn't an outside break-in. So then who the heck was in our house and how did they get in!!! We have no cats or dogs or anything big enough that could be moving. We were frozen with fear! So we called the police. And while we were waiting, the alarm eventually turned off and then, horrors, went on again. WHO WAS IN OUR FRIGGIN' HOUSE!

When the very nice police lady arrived and had an immediate straight-ahead view into our kitchen area, she started smiling. That day was the day after Valentine's Day when I was at the grocery store and had picked up a free left-over helium balloon. I like balloons and I like free! And Nicholas would enjoy it. Without thinking, I had tied it to a kitchen chair under the hot-air vent and in direct line to the security sensor. So guess what started swaying ever so gently when the furnace kicked back on in the night!

Sometimes I'm actually more fearful of the alarm itself and accidentally setting it off than of any imagined intruder that's possibly out there. Is there not something wrong with this picture when WE are our own worst security system?!

And whatever happened to FEARLESSNESS!