harold_maude's journal

That time of year

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# 27643

October is almost half over. The mad rush has begun. The crazed shopping has begun.
Events both large and small have begun to fill calandars everywhere and the race to find a parking spot will now commence.

This is the general condition of your local mall, wether mini or the massive grotesque collections of groups of stores crammed into a rather unique sudo art structure.

First comes halloween: candy, the perfect costume, feathers, glitter, foam rubber, glow in the dark lipstick, body paint, nail polish, rubber masks, fantasy to your hearts content.
Pumpkins disapear out of bins and off of stacks everywhere,
faster than they come in, at least for a little while. The prices drop and then after the day is over, you'll find bits and parts and peices of the fleshy orange critters strewn about.
Part of the festivities.

Then there is a bit of a lull on the shopper's front, not much though, because the early bird shoppers for christmas are on the look out for gifts. Tons and tons of gifts. The decorating hounds are on the look out for just the right look for thanksgiving, and the prices on turkies drop like rocks. If you like turkey meat it's a good time to stock up. 7 or 8 birds outta do you for a while.
Cans of cranberry sauce, and canned pumpkin disapear off grocery store shelves in a quickened pace, and it gets faster as thanksgiving approaches.

"Do we have enough? You remember last year, we ran out of this or that long before the turkey was done, and we need more pies!"
The clean-up after dinner is a nightmear, and considering that alot of people are on the verge of falling asleep because they've eaten more on this one day than most of them do durring the entire week before, the idea that someone has to do the dishes is not a subject of popluar disgussion at this point.
"Is there another pumpkin pie? There's a great movie comming on and I'm in the mood for desert. I can't move, but desert sounds great. The dishes arn't going anywhere"

The morning after feels a little groggy, and maybe a little like a hangover, a food hangover.

But wait, the biggest shopping day of the year is at hand! All thoes sales! Everything is on sale! Buy! Buy! Buy! It's the time of the year to max out the credit cards! But we don't care, we have the next 12 months to get them paid off so we can do it all again.

Stuff, things, gagets, candy, jewerly, clothes, books...more stuff, the perfect gift for some realtive you've been informed will becomming to your house for christmas and they've decited to come and see you because they haven't seen you since you were this tall, and on and on and on.

There are shoppers everywhere. It makes one wonder where all these people were stashed durring the rest of the year.
Do they only come out after thanksgiving?
Shelves are cleared out faster than you can think, and there is an overload of people getting crabbier and crabbier as the big day approaces.

Then there are the parties, and school vacations to think about.
If you have children, when it comes time for vacation to begin, you'll have these people in different degrees of shortness who are more excited than you can deal with, sleeping less and less the closer it gets.
The activities planned at this time of year for them may include driving arround the local neighborhood or downtown to look at all the lights.

Ah yes the lights. So many lights in so many varities that it looks a little surreal.
And going and visiting, and hoping you can keep the yonger ones from becomming little monsters who need a nap!
You need a nap most of the time, because this is more excitment than the rest of the year combined.

Then there is the post office visit. The fine art of getting thoes cards which weigh a ton and packages from your car to the over tired worker at the counter who looks half crazed and yet so composed most of the time.
But the festive dressings and trappings of your surroundings not to mention the music of the season which has been going on since thanksgiving is something to help take your mind off the fact that your arms are aching by the time you reach the counter to get your packages off and into the mail.

It gets worse if you are among the thousands who wait until the last minuet to take care of this holiday tradition...

The big day approaches, the children haven't slept for days, the kitchen is something of a constant disaster area as well as where ever you've been wrapping gifts and there are pine needles that will have to be contended with for the next six months if you have carpet.

It desends. And desends. And desends. The food, the unwrapping of gifts, paper everywhere, bits and peices and children who by this time are long past on over load, and you.

There is one more holiday that comes new year's day, and the party the night before...almost an after thought after all of this.

There is so much that is lost in the process of all of this.
So much that isn't considered. These days set aside to celebrate something important in our history, and culture, and many others as well from many other countries should be more than the trappings.
They should be....they are, but it's so easy to get caught up in all the stuff so much that we forget, there are thoughts given to thoes things as we go on our merry way.

And then there are the thousands who have so very little as they watch the holidays come and go, and the people who are alone. Depression desends on them.
And sometimes it gets the best of some of them, and sucides is the result.

Every year we have a choice as to how we spend the time before us. Thoes days comming up and all the stuff that goes with them are comming up too.
How we choose to celebrate them is up to us.

I love each of the holidays, but the madness that comes with them...no, I don't love that.
It makes people forget what's really important. People go into debt for things that will get broken and lost and exchanged for a bigger better toy.
And for what? For why?
It shouldn't be the only time of the year that we remember to love and care about people...that should be all year long.
There is far too much emphasis on gifts and parties and food.
And this year, it seems that many of thoes we love will be overseas in a war torn country, doing what they've been told is an important thing.

Many won't be home for any of the up comming holidays. Many will die.

The hearts and souls of many will bare the scars of loss for the rest of their lives.

Yes it's that time of year again, only this year it won't be the same. And after the upcomming election it won't be the same. It could end up being worse.

It doesn't really matter who gets elected after all. They will face the mess that this administration has created, and if the country chooses the same administration my fear is that it will only get worse, a reflection of viet nam just in time for the holidays.
Just in time for the rest of our lives...

I woke up early again this morning, thinking about the year ahead, and this next week.

It was sort of a mix that pushed me out of a deep sleep I think because the feeling of being overwhelmed by the idea of what's next or what now and is this going to be all there is seemed to be playing in my head like some kind of record with a huge scratch where the needle got stuck and no one bothered to stop it, or turn it off.

Last Monday as I finsihed my work day I thought, I've got two days off, and then one on and then one off, and made plans of how I wanted to spend the time and what I wanted to accomplish.
I should have made some kind of list, because nothing I planned to do got done.
Tuesday, I got called into work to fill in because someone who just got hiered where I work quit.

On my days off I it seems that I end up just passing time, and then wishing I had been more productive.
My ambition up and left sometime ago.

I had goals of things I wanted to accomplish, but most of the time I end up sidetracked from accomplishing them. And this being the start of another year for me I woke up with this feeling.
And it felt like it was going to soffocate me.

My personal new year begins with the day after my birthday, and each year as the end apporaches I tend to think about the past 12 months and try to see what I've accomplished.
I did alot last year. But goal accomplishing wasn't high on the list.

One of my life goals has been to make a living off my art. It's been one of the things that has always been there, and I've been working tord that one for a long time.
But I'm not any closer to it than I was a year ago, or even two years ago.

The short term goals I accomplished last year were these:
I got to see both my kids graduate, one from highschool, one from university, thoes were a month apart.

To escape from one of the most emotionally devistating places on earth with my sanity in tact.

Getting a job, so that living on the streets or staying somewhere with no options or means of changing things wouldn't be how each day started.

Two other things that happened that weren't goals, but good things were the two one woman art shows that I ended up having that were very sucessful.
The work was well recieved and that too me by surprise completely.
Until three years ago I viewed my art as nothing more than glorified refrigerator art.

That's it.
But each of thoes was huge to me. Each of them ment that I was more than what everyone in my past told me and believed I was capable of.

This year. I don't know. I have things I would like to accomplish, but have no ambition or drive right now.
The dreans that used to drive me and feed my soul seem to have gone to sleep.
I hope they wake up because I don't want this to be all there is.
Making it through two weeks and then getting a paycheck, and putting the money tord bills and hoping that I've my part of things covered.
I don't want the rest of my life to be just this.

I have started painting again. That, over the last 10 months has been speratic at best.
I've been approached about when I'm going to do my next show, and I can't give any answer. I don't have enough new work done to have enough to put one together.

Even though I love painting, and creating art, it's something essential to my existance, I have no ambition even for that.
I keep thinking that I feel so bruised inside and so disconnected and so disorganized that making goals and accomplishing them is going to be an impossible task.
Like trying to sort socks in a mountian of socks.
And even if you get a few pairs together, by the time you've got thoes done, there is another mountian waiting for you to start on.

I want to do more than just one day at a time, and be satisfied with getting through the day. That's not enough. The problem arises with the thought of what to set as a goal.
There isn't anyone that I can sit down with and bounce things off of.
Everyone around me is living their lives, however they've chosen to, and what I do or don't do, doesn't change anything they do or don't do.

This last week I got two job offersm out of the blue. I sought people out for advise. I needed help sorting through everything that what ever choice I was going to make involved.
The only answer I got back, with one exception, was that I needed to do what was best for me.
It hit me. I don't have a clue. I realized that I've spent the majority of my life doing what's best for someone else.
What's best for me never entered my thoughts or affected my actions.
I've done most of what I've done in my life becuase of someone else.
The one thing I did last year that was baised on what was best for me was getting out of the place that was killing me inside, and threatened to distroy everything sane about me.

I've never been in a place where I was given so many options, and was being persued because someone thought I had some kind of value, other than what I could do for them.

I really don't know what's best for me. How do you make goals when your life has been focused on what's best for everyone else and you've just gone with that?

No wonder I'm feeling overwhelmed. To me my life has very little value when I'm not doing something that makes life a little easier for someone else.
I know it's possible to change how a person does things, or why they do them at any point in life, but to think about what's best for me, that's just plain weird from my perspective.
It feels kind of like being amputated from what I was created for.
And what makes it worse, is that no matter what I will choose from now on, it won't make a difference one way or the other.
I don't know how to see it from any other perspective.
It's something I never learned how to do for myself.

Life lessons like this are ususally very painful.
The only thing I do know, is that I don't know if I'm ready for this.


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# 27535

The bigger, better more wide open, have more stuff, obtain..to wit, to be a more complete individual.
Or so it would seem.
To expand, to open, to take on and then step back and consider the experience.

That's what gateways are about. The things we participate in that lead us to more.
A bigger vista, or in some cases, a wider variety of things.

Anything can be a gateway. I think what defines something as a gateway would be the question does it make us want more.

We have this friend who loves tuna fish. The stuff that comes in a can. He said that the fresh stuff is too rich, and so he went back to the tuna in a can.
He would eat it several times a week.
One day while he was eating and we had been talking about the movie "reefer madness" and all the laws concerning industral hemp, and how it used to be leagal and the farmers in the midwest were encouraged to grow it durrning world war 2, I decited that tuna was a gateway fish.

And told him so. We laughed at the idea that tuna could be looked at that way, and even thought that it would make a great t-shirt.
I would wear one, and on the back it would say something like,
tuna leads to other fish, or this is your mind, this is your mind on tuna, and have a frying pan and then one with a can of tuna in the pan right next to it.

Sort of poking fun at all the hysteria put out there by our goverment.
Things that don't work, such as DARE. It was intended as a drug intervention education program, but all the people that I know who went through it said that all it did for them was show them what the drugs they eventually ended up trying looked like.

There was some disgussion as to what the best deterant might be to keep kids drug free, and the general concenses was to have them watch "Requiem for a Dream"
That show the reality of what happens to people who use drugs and get hooked. It's pretty intense, but the message is clear.
And effective.
I know that it had a huge impact on me, and everyone who has seen it has been greatly distrubed by it, and if they were thinking about thoes drugs, it made them walk away from the idea.

The thing about gateways is that there is only desire involved, for more, that's why they are gateways. And to close the door to the gateway, the end result must be seen, not the tools to get through the gateway.

The desire to have what others have can be a gateway as well.
I think about all the recient posts I've read that have to do with relationships, and it occured to me that if one were to watch the end results of the relationships around them, and then make a choice based not on peer pressure, but rather the end result, there might not be so many people getting disapointed and hurt.
just a thought.

I'm not sure how I feel about gateways. It's a mix I guess.
I think what determines how I feel about a particular one is whether it's something good or not.
But then learning lessons obtained by walking through gateways arn't a bad thing...so you see my delemia in all of this.

I guess you could say, to gateway or not to gateway, that is the quandery of the moment.

To cheese or not to cheese

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# 27414

I was reading the back of a package of cheese snacks and the list of indgredients was amazing. Most cheese type snacks have msg to preserve the flavor and enhance it.

For some who have an intollerence for the stuff it can be like a bad hangover almost immeadately.

This cheesy stuff didn't have msg, which was nice. One less chemical to deal with. There is enough additives as it is in most of the food that is bought and consumed in any grocery store to fill a really good chemestry set. Minus the microscope of course.

Now I'm rather partical to cheese and there is very few cheeses I've met that I didn't like.
Some of the one's that made the "This is pukey don't make me eat this" list are as follows:

Brie. This has no taste, initally. But then it hits, the flavor of old musty house. And it doesn't get any better.
I know why people drink wine with this cheese. It's so that the after taste won't be noticed.

Raw Blue cheese. In salad dressing it's amazing. Just the right amount of tang to keep any kisser smiling while they crunch their way through the undercoating of food.
But by it's self. Wow! Talk about a pungant punch in the kisser!
It was too much. Now I like sharp cheese but man, this stuff is too much.

Limbburger. Enough said. This should be kept away from anything that will pick up odor.
I have tried several times to get past that smell to try some, but no luck so far. Maybe sometime when I have a really bad cold I'll give it a whirl. After I'm good and drunk too.

Munster. It's far too bland. Not bad when it's got something to help it out.

Cheese is an interesting thing. It's a mold, but when it goes bad it gets mold and you have to cut the mold off the mold.

When it gets hard it cracks, but the kind with holes you eat and that cheese, being swiss, goes great with turkey and mustard on lots o' grain bread.

There are cheese wheels. I could see that on a car...when your driving cross country and get hungry, you just stop and eat at the wheel...no pun intended there.

There are wedges, slices, bits, spreads, logs, chunks, and it comes grated, shredded and sometimes dried.

We eat it on pizza, salads, sandwhiches, by it's self, on apples on toast, with meat or with out. It's very versitile.
Kind of like having a peice of clothing in your closet that goes with a lot of other stuff.

I wonder what it looks like under a microscope. I wonder if the little cheese atoms are slower because of how solid cheese is.
It's high in fat, and protine, and makes an excellent additive to snack foods. Like the one I was looking at the back of the bag of.

Delicious thoughts

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# 27362

What goes through your mind that makes you stop....
Makes you take a second look....
Makes you crazy....the good kind of crazy...

These things are the delicious thoughts. The chocolate silk of the thought world.

Have you ever found yourself in a place where what you are doing is so boring that you fight falling asleep?
The next time that happens try this:

Think about the one thing you'd rather be doing, and let it take you on a vacation.
If what your doing is something you've done a hundred million times before until you could do it in your sleep, it's time for a mental road trip.

The really amazing thing is that it makes time fly. You know the saying time flies when your having fun......well this will make time seem like a greased pig!

I had this job where all I did for 8 hours straight was pull out staples and make sure the paper had no folded or wrinkled places.
At the end of my first day I was so exausted from bordom that I thought how am I going to come back here tomorrow and do this again, for 8 hours no less?
I knew didn't have alot of options as it was the only job I could find at the time and we needed the money.

I got to work the next day. This place had no music to listen to, was bland in color and about as exciting as watching a snail move.
Anyway, I started pulling staples out and my mind began to wander....
I was still doing the job, just as effecently but now as my mind wandered and the thoughts got better and better the next thing I knew it was time for the first break of the day.
I hadn't been aware of anything except where I was in my thoughts....
I could have missed the break because I was actually having a really good time.

I got back after break and sat down and the thoughts picked up right where they left off.
This was awesome! I got more done than I had the day before, and found myself wanting to grab lots of boxes of stuff to take staples out of.
I was on vacation! I went and did things in my head that I have always drempt of but never got around to it.

By the end of the day, I was so full of energy that I realized I could have gone on for hours.

It was a pitty that the work ran out and the job was done.
I learned something through that experience, and it's been a great help when I'm doing things that are boring, I don't have to let the boring thing keep me from having a good time.

I wouldn't recomend this if you operate machinery with shap parts, or when your driving a car, but if you've got a job that is so routine where there is no possiblity of getting hurt in anyway, then by all means try this out, and see what a difference it can make.

You'll be having such a good time that you won't object any more and there is a good chance you'll get so much done that you'll impress your boss.

Oh thoes delicious thoughts.....the ones that make times of nessity so much easier to deal with.
Who knows, maybe someday you'll come up with a cure for somthing the whole world needs and it'll all be due to you letting your mind wander...

who knows....nice to think about huh....:)

The ah haaaaaa moment

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# 27338

It reaches up and suddenly grabs you. Shakes you until it's sure your awake and fully attentive.
It's that moment of clairity when all of a sudden everything is crystal clear.
And you understand at last the random actions that you've been performing.
A good day.

I had one of thoes moments last night, well actually several, and to have just one at this time in my life would have been awesome, but several? To say I was amazed would be an understatment, it was more like blown away.

Everything in my life as been like a pot of tangled noodles and I've been trying to untangle things and in desperation and frustration fighting the flow of my life.

The first ah haaa moment came when I understood why I've been drawn to mosaics and why the direction of my art is leading that way. Everything in life is a peice of something bigger.
It's like several puzzles that are in process and when each collection is done, it's drawn to it's place in the order of our place in the universe, and a wholeness flashes.

But it's not done yet, it's waiting for the other disconnected peices to be complete and take the place desitine for it.

I understood in that moment that the universe is not complete.
We help to complete it and our connection to it makes it more than if we weren't here.

If anyone has ever played any of the mario games, there is one where you have to find the keys to acivate the pads so that the paths that mario can walk on are complete.
then you go to the star road and complete the series of levels and then it gives you a message at the end. Your special, I think is what the message is.
What I learned last night is like that. But the message isn't your special, the message is the universe needs you, and you need it. You are part of something bigger than your self, and the pain of today is going to become part of the stones that are being cut to make the gemstones that grace their place in the universe.

The next ah haaa moment came when I understood what my dreams have been and why the blackness and why the fight for life.
That was the biggest ah haaa of the night.

The black was a brick wall. I hit it going full speed, and when that happens you tend to loose the ablity to see. It happened once before in my life.
After the first one hit, I stopped doing any kind of drawing, or creating any kind of art for a while, then slowly the art too me on a different journey, one into texiles and beads and other hands on venus of creativity.
I was convinced I would never draw again. I grieved my loss, but felt nothing inside.
For ren long years my life was emersed in several things, some of which faded into lesser things, and some of which changed over the years.

What had been waiting in the wings was something that was birthed durring that time, I didn't feel it being birthed, and was growing and getting ready to take me places I never immagined.
Watercolor was the door and being able to step behind the eyes of an artist, and the ablity to hear the artist talk to me.
That's only part of what was being birthed and secretly growing in that space.

My dreams were telling me about me. Different pictures, immages all telling me the same thing, but in different ways.
Each night, the dreams would follow a certian path, and it hit me, I was listening to and watching things I couldn't see when I was awake because in waking time there was too much going on and I was too close to the forest to see the trees.

The next ah haaa moment came when I was watching people last night, as several of them came and went, the people in our lives are like strings being plucked on a very large instrument, our soul and our heart. The sound, if in the right key, leaves us with a want for more, but if in the wrong key, making a sour sound, makes us want to back off.
Instead of wanting to find out why it makes a sour sound, we back off. It's uncomfortable and can be confusing because we're not sure of the unknown causes.
It forces us to take a look, hopefully, and, if we're the cause of the sour note, it makes us responsible to do something.
We are no longer the victims and the hero's and the valient what evers that secretly we immagine ourselves to be.
It forces us to get real, and start being honest.

After having said all of that, I realize that it may apaear that I think I found all the answers.
Well, sorry to disapoint, but having an ah haaa moment, is very personal.
I think they come in a way that is designed just for us. They may be the same thing someone else needs too, but first and formost they are personal, and their only a part of the learning process. They arn't the end.
I think they come so we can be in a place to understand more
important things that are comming.

Eternal truths are all about us. We spend our lives learning to see.
We make choices to remain blind or beomce sighted souls who love freedom, and strive to roll around in freedom.
It's our choice, it always has been, it always will be.

this morning was the first morning in a very long time I didn't wake up and find anger....
It's going to be a good day.

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