Weathering the Storm

I don’t know how much my blogs help anyone, but I hope they reach the hearts of some.

I think we all have a ministry and perhaps this is mine.

For me it’s  finding balance in my life. Balance to do the things I want to do while caring or meeting the needs of others while not sacrificing what’s important.

Relationships are important. When we go off kilter, we can lose that and it’s not always about the other person.  This is something we can fix in ourselves to find an even plane (a wood work term here) that will enable us to function not just in our best interest but in the interest of others…

I went to a “workshop” that in reality was a networking event and walked away with so much, perhaps more than was intended but maybe that was what I needed or could use.

The event was titled “Navigating Hollywood”.  What I walked away with is… It’s not about me!

Hollywood draws close to if not more than 11,000 people each year hoping to “make it”. By the following year that number has dropped considerably, but then add what’s left to the next 11,000 then the number you’re competing with grows exponentially.

So who makes it?

First of all, this blog isn’t just about making it in Hollywood but about making it in life.  I got to relating what I was learning to what I’d learned in my marriage.  I’ve been married three times. The last one has lasted the longest and has been the most rewarding.

Why?

I learned how to do things differently. I learned by paying attention to those closest to me however harsh they may have been.

Lesson #1

What’s important is building a relationship from the inside out.  From our heart to their heart. They are not the enemy.

I am OCD and I will be perfectly honest, I can be hypercritical and quite harsh.  Partly because of my history.  I hunger for praise and positive strokes from others and worry sometimes about not meeting their criteria or expectations. Sometimes I tried too hard. When you do that you’re making it about you.

Lesson #2

What is your why?

What are your motives? Do you stretch to the point of breaking because you want to “impress” others?  Are you seeking glory and praise? Because your good deeds will earn you lots of praise from your outside circle but what  about the praises from those inside?

It can get ugly.  My oldest daughter socked me in the gut one time when she haughtily came back at me when I complained about her ingratitude and those of her siblings.  “Is that why you do it? Do you do it because you want people (us) to “like” you? If so, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons”.  Yikes!!

Everyone wants to be liked.

Finally, Lesson #3

It’s give and take. If you want something badly enough what are you willing to give up to have it?   Your values? Time, Money?” “your family?”  Your marriage? It’s not just about you.

Granted some people are easier to support than others. But one thing is this.

Not all “Good Deeds” are “Good”

If they sap all your energy it isn’t good. For awhile, I volunteered with Red Cross. Great organization BTW. I volunteered to be the military liaison,  I volunteered to help create a military support group for the Iraqi soldiers deployed and their families I volunteered to teach disaster training and to go out on disasters which included working Katrina for some of the most abusive, ungrateful bunch of people I ever met. Notice I said “some”, unfortunately they were in the majority because I also worked and met some very appreciative people.

It made me feel valued.

In the meantime, I bent over backwards to be available to my children, who at the time were not terribly appreciative of even my existence. So, when my parents got ill I left the area and went to Alabama to care for them, parents who were also neither entitled nor appreciative and I was trying to do it alone. What was I thinking?

To add icing to this already horribly “rich” cake, I had to work so I got a job at a health department, where I dealt with some very immoral, seedy characters of the entitlement strata.  (Again, I’m not referring to everyone but the large majority  of which obviously stuck in my craw.)  At one point, I broke down.  My spirit was dashed and I felt beaten up. I was angry and surly and no matter how much I did, those closest to me didn’t get it. (It never occurred to me that if I was angry and surly, I obviously wasn’t being fulfilled anyway). (Back to #2 – what is your why?)

My husband said it quite succinctly.  “You can’t save the world“. It doesn’t mean you do nothing, it means you don’t do it alone.   I finally had to swallow my pride and consent to enlisting the aid of someone else. My sister.

I was thinking of some of the actors that act up or do good deeds in Hollywood. They really want to be liked or noticed no matter what whether unplanned or contrived.

Make friends, not enemies of those closest to you. Just because you want something doesn’t mean they do and if it hurts your relationship then maybe it’s not the right time or the right thing for you or your relationship. Your wants are negotiable.  Notice, I said right time.

The Bible states, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” ECCL 3 and

” All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful but not all things edify” 1 COR 10:23

I know some of the things I got to do would not have been appropriate early in our marriage. I had two kids who had to adjust to a step parent and a divorce that hit them hard. I  had to “be there” for my kids and husband as they worked through some of this stuff. I had stuff to work through in myself so that I could give them each the best I could offer. It wasn’t and isn’t easy, but that cord of silk will be stronger merged together than apart.

This is when communication is key.  Maybe right now is not the right time.  Express your wants and desires calmly.  Sometimes I resented making sacrifices wondering “when is it going to be my time?” And surprisingly when I made that known, I was given room to get it. Its give and take and be willing to make compromises without having to sacrifice your passion forever.

The best thing out of it is that I now get to live my dream. Granted I had to wait awhile, but just think of all the color I will bring into my work through my growth and life’s experiences!

Making it in Hollywood is like a marriage.

My husband is now my best friend and in most cases my biggest supporter.  He is my anchor and I hope I’m his.

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Stories to Tell

I have spent most of the day trying to create a new Facebook page that features my writing.

I’ve only asked those who I thought would be interested and/or might not get offended at some of the topics I choose to write about.  So, needless to say I didn’t include my husband.  He did not like my Aaron Schock “story” at all.

I meant it tongue in cheek, of course… NOT apologizing but it is ironic.

Okay, it was a little dark and heavy, but as I worked out  on the elliptical machine at the gym with two stations glaring right at me, I felt compelled. Both covered the Aaron story with a slightly different slant and then… followed it with a story of Hillary. I couldn’t resist. Nuff said!

The picture I used for the background for my new joliesattic account on Facebook is of my grandson.  I liked this picture because it ties into a new screenplay I’m creating.

It’s about ” The Princess and the Boy.”  I’m only a few pages into it, but I think it’s going to be awesome.

It’s about a little troubled boy who meets a little princess and follows her to her castle, but of course nothing is as it appears to be. Stay tuned…

I will link it when it’s ready but for now that’s all you get.

Sometimes it just feels good to write.

Okay now.  I keep trying to publish this and it’s not letting me… Did I do something wrong?

Aaron Schock for President

I think the GOP would be remiss not to have Mr. Schock run for president.   I also think he’d be the best candidate to run against Hillary.  Why? Besides being a headliner at the moment, he’s good looking, smart, he has a fresh perspective and just might be what this country needs to bring the parties together. And, he’s good looking.

Hello?   Has anyone not noticed the Obama comments regarding Iraq and the “unintentional” results of the Iraqi war?  Hey, how obvious can you be?  Everyone knows that’s being thrown out there to “blame Bush” and Republicans. Democrats are pros at positioning themselves.

Aside from that, I think it’s interesting that Schock chose to step down.  I’m really curious as to all the why’s that brought him to this decision. (see link below of all the accusations which pale by comparison to those made of the Clinton’s in times past).

Seriously why should he step down? Hillary hasn’t and she won’t either no matter how much scandal dogs her.  The fact is, scandal is her middle name and has been since…forever.

S c a n d a l   i s   h e r   f r i e n d.

What does scandal get her?  Lots and lots of free publicity, not to mention SYMPATHY.  Oh yeah, everyone knows the best way to get people on your side is to be a victim.  “Poor thing, everyone is picking on her.” Of course we all know that Hillary is anything but a victim.

Hillary is a very clever woman and … Aaron pay attention here, what does she do?

SHE RIDES IT OUT.  She smiles, makes a few “logical” excuses (after she has thought it out carefully (of course) and puts her ducks in a row) then acts like everything’s perfectly fine.  She’s a pro.

Politico states “…as his prominence grew, Schock adopted an expensive lifestyle — staying in luxury hotels, dining at pricey restaurants, flying on private jets.”

Hmmmm, where have I heard that before?  If you recall when Mr. Obama took office, Mrs. Obama came under fire for taking frivolous and expensive personal trips (running into the millions) with extended members of her family, the government footing the bill … perfect! Yes, I know they all do it ie Laura Bush went to Africa seven times?

My point is he’s already there. Spending, living, acting and thinking like the president!!

I believe he has an amazing opportunity here.  Even the Democrats see him as being the best thing the GOP has going for them and let me see as CNN stated today. He is (was) the most “promising” young leader Republicans have. They like him!

Then I got to thinking, is he getting ready to jump ship – switch sides? There’s that too.

Everything I’ve read indicates that he’s not afraid to back Democrats if he thinks it’s the right thing to do, so back to my earlier statement and some Republicans (and/or Dems) may not like this, how better to bring our country together? What a concept. Could he be the one to get the parties to actually work together “for the people”? Would he? What a novel idea.

I am so sick of  party wars.  No one conceding because they don’t want the other party to look good or score points because they’ve actually made a decision “for the people”.  I thought politicians were to support and represent the common man?  What happened to that?

I’m sick of politicians lining their pockets, looking out for their own interests, and living by a different standard than what they dictate to the masses or making laws and decisions they will never have to live by?

I’m sick of our government giving more rights to outsiders than those who are legitimate residents. Case in point, an illegal in California can get a drivers license by showing just a proof of address whereas a legal resident (me) cannot get one without a birth certificate, passport, marriage and divorce documentation from all previous marriages and practically giving up my firstborn.

Okay, I will admit I’m probably getting into deep water here, but I am a very common sense-ical person. I see things simply and I make an effort to not pay attention to all the crap I see or hear in the media and what I do hear, I try not to let it color what makes sense. Does that make sense? <grin>

FOR EXAMPLE:

It makes sense to me that welfare should be temporary.  That people should be given incentives to work, not crippled by a lifetime of handouts.  All that perpetuates is a generation of entitlement and people with low self esteem and morals, not to mention the morale of the one working their tail off so that others can get a “free” ride. Why work when you can make more money on the dole?

It makes sense to me that people who have worked their whole lives putting into Social Security so they could have a cushion in their old age, shouldn’t have to see it thrown or ripped away from them and given to those who have not.

What didn’t make sense to me was the Iraqi war, but it didn’t make sense to me either that Bush got blamed for the twin towers and Katrina. (Yes, I’ve heard the conspiracy theories about that) I was watching the film Independence Day recently and I see Bush reacting as Bill Pullman did, “Why wasn’t I told about this?”

It makes sense that less is more.  I like the scripture in the Bible where Jesus states that the ten commandments can be summarized by only two commands.  ONE. That you love God with your whole heart, soul and mind. TWO. That you love your neighbor as yourself. How easy is that?

It makes sense to me that political correctness violates so many laws in of itself.  Stop and think about it.  If you prevent one person of expression because you think it might “offend” another, then you’ve violated that first persons rights.  Not to mention that it opens up another can of worms, giving prejudice power and causing greater division.

Gun laws so suck.  Face it. Bad guys will still get guns, they don’t give a flip about laws, that’s why they’re bad. It also leaves the general populace vulnerable.

So if Aaron Schuck can pony up and fight rather than back out and down then give him a chance.  He couldn’t do any worse than anyone else the last few years. I think it’s time for someone young and with fresh new eyes take office.

Having said all that, ah heck boot them all out!!

Addendum:  I think it’s interesting that Hillary’s controversial emails has to do with the Chinese contributing large amounts of money toward her campaign.  Is it coincidence that Josh Whedon’s “Firefly” series predicted the Chinese dominating the world or has the handwriting been on the wall for some time and the rest of us (me) just didn’t see it?

Just sayin’

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/aaron-schock-resigns-116153.html#ixzz3UhPuKF3f

My Little “Hundred Acre Woods” – The Salt Ponds

When I was a child, I ran away daily to get away from the screaming and abuses at home. My therapist said that I am amazingly “normal” for someone who had gone through so much.

I believe it was the “running away” that saved me.

One of the places I would frequent were the salt ponds near the town of Chula Vista. The salt ponds is where water from the Pacific Ocean gets channeled in through the San Diego Bay past Coronado.

Chula Vista

Okay, I’m not much of a cartographer.  But, that orange/red dot is where we lived and the map on the left shows how the salt ponds were connected to the ocean. The map on the right shows where we were in relation to the ponds and where the woods and trees were.

The salt ponds were my haven and  I spent a great deal of time wandering them despite the “No Trespassing” signs.  I was small, so I was seldom noticed or found out.

It was here at the ponds and the nearby “woods” that I spent a good bit of my time.  There, I could do any  number of things, climb trees, rescue animals and play with my imaginary village.  I was seven.

MOLESTED

The first molestation I could recall occurred when I was 5 by three teenage boys. Then more came after that. Some I remember clearly, some completely blocked out, but were uncovered years later.  Once I was “made”, it was like a had an invisible brand on my forehead so men and older boys would somehow find me.  It was a painful period of my life but I survived and came out on the other side a much better person and parent. For a long time, I didn’t know the causes of my insecurities or why I did the things I did or allowed certain things to be done to me.  It makes sense to me  now why the men I dated or was most comfortable with would be younger than I.  Unconsciously, I was repelled by older men, especially ones with certain personalities, perhaps they had traits of or bore a resemblance to a perpetrator. I don’t know.

However, I digress, that is not what this blog is about, but it is important for the fact that it explains why I “ran away”.

TO THE RESCUE

At the ponds, I would rescue animals and birds that would wander off into them.  At the time, I didn’t know the ponds were only a couple of feet deep, so I never actually went into them, thereby limiting the number to those I could reach on the fringes of the pond or those I could pull in with a stick.  I also knew that the salt was mined for consumption, so perhaps I didn’t step in them to avoid contaminating it.  The fact that I was pulling animals out of there didn’t compute or balance into the equation.  I did this for several years up until I was about 11 or 12, I’m guessing.

At one point, I had accumulated so many critters that daddy built me a cage out back to house them.  Mostly I brought in birds. The reason there were so many birds was because they would land on the ponds to swim and their body heat would crystallize the salt on their wings and they would get weighed down unable to fly.  I would take them home, wash them off, feed them until they were better and then let them go.

One time, I recall finding a very unusual bird.  It had a government band on it and I remember my dad calling the number and someone coming out to pick it up. I remember feeling like I’d done something very important.

As a child and through young adulthood I would have dreams of flying out my window and watching the world from above.  I’m guessing it was either because I was in a bad relationship or mother was screaming at me, dad overstepping his bounds or beating the crap out of me, I remember the euphoric feeling of being set free. Perhaps it was because I needed rescuing that the ponds came into being but it’s how I kept sane.

THE WOODS

Next to the ponds, were the “woods”.  In one area on the way to my “woods”,  there were tall eucalyptus trees. At the time the entire area seemed immense, now not so much.  Hunting on the ponds was generally something I would do first as I wandered to the woods or climbed a tree.  I was an excellent climber and could practically run up the smooth trunk of  a eucalyptus like a Polynesian.

I could also spend hours playing by this one charred, burned out  tree trunk. I would drive my toy car into my imaginary village and talk to my imaginary friends. This was my special trunk and I never shared it with anyone until now. It was cool, because it had an opening on top where I would look down into all it’s goings on and talk to it’s people. Sometimes I would sit there in the dirt, crying my woes to them and they would listen and it would be okay.

Tree

When I would go out, I would take a sibling or neighbor child with me but generally I would go alone or I imagined I was alone. One day, my sister brought it up and I remembered being surprised because she sounded as though we frequently went together.

On one occasion, I remember taking the little red headed girl that lived in the house behind us to the woods with me.  Now to give you a full picture, my patch of woods was more like Br’er rabbits thicket. There were all sorts of tunnels that pretty much only a small child could pass through before getting to it’s heart.  At the center of the thicket was an open area and once you broke through the tunnels a maze of paths that you could weave through could be accessed.  It was my own secret garden and I shared it with few.

As I recall, that day was warm and we started to shed our clothes. We hesitated at our drawers and then rationalized that if it was good enough for Adam and Eve, we could do it too. So we did.  We took it all off then got to giggling and squealing, running around in sun-ful pleasure.  I recall, she was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen, looking like an angel.  Her skin was ivory white and it glistened in the sun, in contrast to my dark, swarthy complexion. She had only a few freckles sprinkled across a perfect nose while I had a pug nose. To top it off she had the most luscious vivid red curls that would tumble, most of the time uncombed, down her back while I was in neatly, too tightly braided pig tails that gave me an almost Asian look without the paleness. Everything about me was dark. I felt as though I always looked dirty and I longed for her whiteness. I think we were about seven at the time.

One day I went down to her house and she showed me how her family boiled clams in a big pot.  They may have been originally from somewhere like Mississippi. They were hillbilly’s as many in our area were.  She also told me she’d gotten ringworm.  I didn’t know what that was but I must have gotten it from her because the next thing I knew my parents shaved my head, then scrubbed my scalp with what felt like a wire brush and iodine til it bled then covered it with what looked like axle grease followed by a knitted hat. It hurt and burned. So if I thought I was ugly before, I really looked ugly now. When I was finally allowed back to school, the kids would make fun of me. Our hats read, “Tijuana” .  Needless to say, I wasn’t allowed to play with her again.

Eventually the boys that had molested me before had begun to hang out there (not in the “woods” but among the trees) and cornered me and my sister once, made us come back the next day then nothing.

As I got older, I got to where I went less frequently to the woods.  I don’t know if it was my age or because perhaps it was no longer my “safe” place. On top of that I took my mom there once.

I’d found this fruit I thought I recognized so I took it to her.  She wanted to know where I’d gotten it and I took her to where I’d found it. She actually got on her hands and knees and crawled through the rabbit hole with me. Even though I didn’t take her all the way in, only part of the way, she now knew about it.  It turns out the plant I found was Jicama and she also found another called “chayote”, a squash like fruit and other other eatable, natural foods there. It was one of those rare moments where I’d actually pleased her.

In time the tomato farmers started dumping their old discarded plants into the lot next to it, (people were not as environmentally conscious then) but it wasn’t all bad. At first it reeked of rotten tomatoes but the following year tomatoes grew out of the rot. It had created it’s own mulch and delivered some of the most amazing sweet, beefsteak tomatoes ever. Sometimes, I would sit on a mound and eat a few before loading up and taking them home.

Later, as more people started “camping out” among the trees on weekends followed by our eventual move into town, the woods and salt ponds were relegated to the back of my mind becoming just another memory. Yet from time to time it surfaces.

Memories – The Back of the Bus

My mother in law and I got to talking about childhood memories.

Because my husband is considerably younger than I, my mother in law and I share generational memories.

She was just a kid during the war (WWII) and I was born shortly thereafter.

We got to talking about D-day and about this video that has been circulating on YouTube of a kid that stood for an hour and half saluting the envisioned soldiers coming to shore on that momentous day. It was extremely touching.

We teared up watching the video not only because here was a youngster whose father had also not been alive at the time, but were sharing a moment in memory of that event and in loving appreciation for the sacrifices our military perform on our behalf.

She shared with me her memory of a young man in her neighborhood in White Plains, NY who loved to play golf and how she remembered how she and her friends would tease him about having a girlfriend.

Her email:

“My eyes are filled with tears..I remember H.M., a young man that lived in Apt. 2.  We were just kids and we would tease him if he had a girlfriend…I remember him with his golf clubs.  He went off and never came back.  I remember that gold star banner in his parent’s window.”

She later described him as a “tall good looking Irish boy”. Whether he had a girlfriend or not, they really didn’t know but she remembered the gold star banner which meant he’d died.

I have to smile because I wondered if he was truly handsome or was it just the uniform?  It reminded me of a similar experience, thinking a young man in uniform appearing larger than life and dashing.

I wrote back to her:

I remember on our way to California from Alabama we took a bus home. After we’d boarded, a good looking black guy in a military uniform came on board walking past me to the back of the bus and sat down dead center on the back bench.  

In those days blacks were boarded last and sat in back. I flashed him a big smile and he smiled back at me when he walked by, but he was so dashing in that uniform that I kept staring at him (I don’t know if he was really handsome or if it was the uniform but he stood tall and looked smart). As he passed I followed him with my eyes until he sat down, still smiling at him until he became noticeably uncomfortable and shaking his head slightly. I remember feeling confused because he smiled earlier and now he was almost angry but trying not to be maybe?   When my mom noticed, I got smacked and told to keep looking forward and to not stare (and leave that poor boy alone). That was the first time I became aware of race.  I was about the same age as you, 10. Sad.

In retrospect looking back and knowing what I know now, what I thought was disapproval may have been fear. I remember sneaking a peek now and again anyway, but she was constantly on top of me.

I didn’t know any better. It wasn’t until “To Kill A Mockingbird” came out a few years later that I was impacted by what it meant.

So many memories came up that started to make sense.  The separate fountains, toilets, entrances and how self conscious my mother was because of her dark skin and how when I would go out to play my granny always made me wear this huge bonnet, so that I wouldn’t get any darker and look like a “pickaninny” as she would say.

I don’t know why it was a big deal. The kids at school envied my dark complexion and some of them (my cousins included) would lay out in the sun trying to get as dark as me. But, that would be years later.

I don’t remember my father or grandparents being racist per se, so much as adhering to the laws then, as many did.

When mother was in a home and when my fathers Italian wife became senile I noticed racial slurs surfaced in both of them.  The black nurses never seemed to mind though.  I would apologize, but they’d laugh it off and tell me how “they all do it”. It’s just how they talked in “those days” and once they are no longer in control of their minds, all that old stuff just comes out. I think they were being nice because I’m sure there had to be some patients that may really have had issues at one time and that now in their demented state the meanness “comes out” totally unrestrained but then I could be the one reading more into it than really was.

Memories.

 

Staring

I’m staring at this page wondering what I’m going to write.  Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I have so much to say. At least I think I do.

As a child I was quite gabby at least I was told so and yes, I was. I guess I still am. One of my classmates friends mother thought maybe a bit boisterous.

I’m just friendly and I seldom meet a stranger, but I came by it rightly.

My ex husband constantly reminded me that no one wanted to hear anything I had to say. So for a time, I had toned it down a good deal and maybe it needed doing. Perhaps it was true, but perhaps not.

I remember once after the divorce, I moved into this cute little house next door to an older couple. I would do the backyard fence thing ala “Home Improvement” with the old guy next door.  I think at the time he may have been a little intimidated by me since I looked like this:

Mom and I
Mom and I

I thought too, maybe he was a bit shy and not used to young ladies wanting to talk to him.  In any case it took awhile before he accepted that I was going to continue being neighborly and after awhile I think he looked forward to our chats, not to mention my company as well.

What did we talk about?  His yard mostly. Now retired, Mr. “R” had the most amazing green thumb and his front and back yards were absolutely gorgeous. He had flowers planted cyclically in such a way that when one died out another would take it’s place, so there was always a plethora of color tastefully and artfully placed to please the eye. Since my new little place needed work, I needed tips trying to get it to look like the showcase his was so I was constantly picking his brain.  I think he was flattered overall and after some time, he got to where he was comfortable conversing with me.

Besides perhaps being shy, I think Mr. “R” had a little bit of a snobby thing going too, but I ignored it and in time he got used to me.

At some point later, my dad came out for a visit and in no time at all he caught Mr. “R” outside and started yakking with him. I came up behind Dad and I saw a twinkle in his eye and a smile crept up on Mr. “R’s” face as he looked up at me and said, “Now, I see where you get it!”

I guess he wasn’t used to friendly folk, but I could tell he liked it.  He was my neighbor for 13 years.  I went back to the old place and caught the neighbor who bought my place at the mailbox and he said Mr. “R” had since passed a few years ago, his yard no longer the prize it had been but my old place looks much smarter.