I’m Holding out for a Hero…..

“Where have all the good men gone

And where are all the Gods?

Where is the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?”

Well this week-end a whole lot of them are in Downtown Phoenix filling up the convention center and spilling out into the Hyatt and Rennaissance hotels, as well as littering the streets with costumes ranging from Spielberg set-ready Mandalorian Mercenaries to not even wearable in schloch sea monsters with a lot of Goth, Steampunk, anime and even Disney princesses dotting the scene.

Inside at long rows of piled and pillage-worthy tables media heroes will sign autographs and get pictures taken with you.  Amazing and well known authors like Peter S. Beagle, James A. Owen, and Michael Stackpole (who still doesn’t recognize me, LOL, but I am over it, my ego at least is healthier, and he certainly seems friendly and less full of himself as well, and he has some talent) meet, greet and autograph for fans wonderful novels on real paper. Artists and costume designers and movie weapons handlers and other names found in press packets and magazines and online blogs sign every imaginable kind of geektastic souvenir. All these people that make the magic of imagination happen for me and hundrerds of others are my heroes. They made my life bearable when reality was tough, and added the frosting when my life was a piece of cake.

And well, there are so many comics and characters walking around and available in purchasable formats there I could go broke just buying a smidgen of the cheapest things.

But my real heroes at this convention are the “invisibles” there. The young men and women, or sometimes not so young, who have ventured to their first event ; the ones who come year after year just to listen and learn and dream of the day they will be signing autographs;  and especially the handlers and table setters and all those with Tardis badges who actually make the event happen. You are all my heroes. Although both are needed to make sense of that old timey wimey, I have always been more fascinated with the cogs inside than the hands on the clock.

After about 7 hours at the opening I was exhausted, but I really I sort of wish I could be there again today. Still, I have a different kind of hero to serve today so I will go don my nursing scrubs and go be Robin to the Mom’s Batman, truly wish there was a female superhero/sidekick relationship I could use for this metaphor….hmmm. Maybe someone needs to write one, or maybe its already out there, in the aisles of Phoenix Comicon waiting for me to discover it on Sunday.

If you aren’t doing anything yet this week-end, go buy a day pass and bring some cash. Buy a couple comics, go to the Hyatt and try some new games, get your picture taken with the Mandalorian Mercs or R2D2.

But whatever you do this week-end, be a hero.

Choosing as an integral part of success or Green Warrior needs food

Math and music are as magical to me as poetry, elves and unicorns.  As a youth this meant conversation about my future included these three things, a statement that I was gifted in all areas so could easily achieve academically anything I wanted, a question about what I wanted to do or be, and then a frowning reference to being practical since I was, after all, a girl and poor so wanting to be a Doctor or Nurse should have a better back up plan.

With that option gone, I could never decide “what I wanted most” and so slid from one  opportunity to another, mostly in the fields of arts and communications, with a side trip into the military and hard science, and raised my sons holding multiple jobs at a time, being who each job wanted, writing, dressing, etc. for the part; not so much choosing as becoming what was chosen for me. Mind you I am not complaining, I have had incredible opportunites and expereinces.

At the turn of the century, after some years of therapy and a few Oprah inspired journaling experiements, I started making choices based on what I liked and who I wanted to be and I became a Nurse.  I love it.

But now I have decided with my new lease on life to finally go back to college, be enrolled by 2013 and get my BS (Okay, to all you seniors out there who applied for and got into college, you rock, this process is tougher than I thought!) and I am trying to choose my major. I have committed to myself that whatever I choose, I will finish.  I have narrowed it down to three possible degrees.

I will never get a BS, if I don’t have a concrete goal and stick with it, but I really don’t like choosing. There are so many classes I want to take, so many areas I am interested in and enjoy learning about, I want to take them all. Unfortunately that has been my approach to college which is why I have so many credit hours and no degree. Not making that mistake again. I will pick a major, plan my classes and stick to the plan. Trying to grab everything offered, leaves me in the end with nothing.

Remember the Aesop Fable about the dog and the bone? So I am choosing, and applying, first at ASU, then if rejected there, I will try other options, I will keep you posted on the progress. Anyway, I find myself resenting the need to choose.

I like it even less in my daily life when I must choose where to spend energy, money, time.  My favorite game of imagination is “If I had all the money and time I needed…” If something comes up repeatedly in this dreaming exercise I add it to my bucket list and find ways to make it happen.  How to make it happen is to accumulate appropriate choices.

Yup, just like in a video game, the outcome is dependent on my choices. How I approach each encounter determines what weapons I arrive with at the Big Boss of my dream.  Utilizing John Scalzi’s recent incredibly humorous (and accurate) metaphor http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/ , I get to play on a fairly low difficulty setting since I am an American born white female. Although I do know I do not play at the easy setting since I am now past 50, not attractive, not married, and still female,  the setting was certainly much higher while still a single mom with kids at home.

Ways to gear up for this quest I am attempting includes maximizing my physical well-being with continued exercise and weight loss, managing my chronic pain without pharmaceuticals, making financial and professional decisions with the long range goals in mind, and finally sometimes saying no to things I really, really want to do that are side quests or repeats or just beyond the energy levels of my current character.

I am having to face one of those decisions today. I had two graduations and attendance at a music performance planned for today, but life had different plans in mind. So I won’t be leaving my house after all today. I will instead stay home and regenerate so I can do Bootcamp in the morning, visit with old friends at Phoenix Comicon this week-end, all while still fulfilling the most important quest this week-end that is my job as a nurse.

I am choosing success, but I don’t actually have to like it at the moment.



The Red Shoes

The best year EVAR (not a misspelling but a Geektastic superlative) continues with todays shopping trip to GoodWill with my DIL.  I brought home very lightly used awesomeness. First are some new shoes (Red Maryjane Skims, retail stores have them currently on sale for 50$, regular price 99$), a pair of straight leg jeans (Macy’s carries this jean for 60$, same pair on sale for 39.99$) and four tops rock. The Ann Taylor is  only available at AnnTaylor.com in other colors but retails there for 48$ and the silk kimono style from Lane Bryant is exquisite although not currently available so have to estimate by other similar tops on sale that it started at 99$ and clearance between 49$ to 69$. Then there is a comfortable cotton striped boat neck tee and a teal flowered tee that both are originally form Kohls so could have found them as low as 20$ each.

And what did I pay in total for this exciting wardrobe makeover? $35! And that even included a small donation>

Yep. I will try to add pictures later.

Oh and my hair was styled today by the Hair Ninja.

So I should be rockin’ it pretty this week-end at Phoenix Comicon.  At least the Thursday and Sunday portions (I work the other two days.)

As I said, best year EVAR continues!


Sweet Potatoes in the French Manner

Preheat oven to 425.

Peel one 3 lb bag of organic sweet potatoes (Trader Joe’s has them for cheap!) and cut into 1/2 inch strips about  2-5 inches long. Toss potatoe strips in 3 T olive oil and spread out on two 18″ by 13″ jelly roll pans or on 18″ by 24″. The object is to have all strips in contact with the pan. Sprinkle each pan with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1 tsp Bragg’s Spice mix.

Place pans in oven and set timer for 10 minutes, Turn and redistribute potaotoes. Repeat this twice for total cooking time of 30 minutes.

Enjoy a healthy and more nutritionally dense alternative to fried white potatoes! If you are grilling make four individual foil packets and place them on the edges of the grill before and while main course cooks allowing 20-30 minutes depending on heat of the fire.

Post time: and the horses are in the gates…

Not only do seasons change but how we measure them alters as time progresses. I realized this morning that Mother’s Day, my best ever I might add, had come and gone and I didn’t even know who won the Kentucky Derby.  There was a time, back when I still had a Mother, that May was as much about that race as it was about flower baskets and hand drawn cards with couplet sentiments.

I was often at risk for getting knocked about a bit this time of year for leaving evidence that I had perused the sports pages before my father, he slept in on Sunday, only arising in time to drag us all to whatever church of god or academia he was worshipping at that week. Horse racing was at its peak in spring, and baseball had just begun. These were the only two sports I cared to read about so fall and winter I was safe since then it was only the funny papers and the World News that interested me, and those could wait until the afternoon when they were tossed to us children strewn about the living room floor. But this time of year all the bits of really important details missed by not being allowed to actually glue my transistor radio to my ear were available in the big, beautiful Sunday paper’s sports section, and so the day I am remembering I was up before any of them.

I sat reading in the big red overstuffed chair waiting for the  auspicious “thump” of arrival and then quietly opened the front door. Funny thing about parental hearing, it has a superhuman acuteness for those actions progeny wish to conceal; so like Elmer Fudd, I was vewy, vewy quiet. We had a working television that day, a sometimes thing, I turned on the morning cartoons to lay sound cover. They always started Sunday morning with these Christian dramas, then maybe there was Gumby or Felix the Cat, or maybe Mighty Mouse. I don’t remember anything after the drama as I was thoroughly buried in newsprint Nirvana until others began stirring  and The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show started.

By than I had already devoured every tasty detail offered on everything from the situation in Panama to the stealing of  “The Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen (if I found out when that happened I could place today’s root memory, I also remember that whatever year I am channeling was the year I met my first mention of Mandela) and then with religious reverence opened the sports page. That year I remember “Northern Dancer” won and I didn’t get to watch it. (Ha! Thanks to Google I realize I am thinking of 1964). The next year it was “Lucky Debonair” and by then I had read every Marguerite Henry in the library. I don’t remember any winner’s names after that although I still followed the Triple Crown until my adolescents and Secretariat, but everyone knows him because he was the horse that didn’t quit even when all the odds were against him.

I watched the race Secretariat won but by then my time measuring the year by the races had passed.  My plastic horses were no longer daily fed grass in shoe box stables. Time had marched on and I was immersed in Lothlorien, Burrough’s many “found” manuscripts or toiling and cavorting in Dicken’s  England, and longing for life to hurry up and arrive.  Not realizing it had, every morning, every minute because everything changes, not just seasons, and time passes quickly, even when it seems to us it is holding still.

The Kentucky Derby is called the most exciting two minutes in sports.  I Googled the replay this morning and this years race lives up to the hype, http://www.kentuckyderby.com/news/videos/kentucky-derby-2012-replay, I’ll Have Another finds his stride in the final stretch and comes from behind to take the race by a nose. My life this Mother’s Day kind of feels like that. A lifetime of running hard and always holding the ignominious position of seventh to ninth, not last, not losing, but not in the running for the roses. Somehow this year I have found my stride and have come from behind to win by a nose.  I am grateful for today, but trying just as hard to not label this consolation “good” as I strove to not label the challenges, the desolations, “bad” (yes, I am reading St. Ignatious brought on by rewatching “Joan of Arcadia”.)

No telling how tomorrow’s race will go, no need to know, in this moment. This now, I am grateful to be still running. And just like the horse “I”ll Have Another”, I may be the focus of the spotlight, but the moment itself was the cumulative result of a multitude of efforts. I cannot take credit for my win but I am certainly enjoying the moment, before it passes.

Today I measure the seasons by the weather. I am learning to grow green things and so I am more aware of the intensity of sun and the scarcity of moisture; and I am caring for a home and a car owner so I measure the passage of time by how long it is till I need to change my oil, my A/C filters, or add power to the meter. I no longer have plastic horses, I get my news paper on line and my mother and my father remain only as memories and character quirks in my siblings, myself and our children.  Much has changed, but I am still here, and my day has begun.

It’s Post time.

And the horses are in the gates…..how will I run today’s race…

“Speaking Rock”

This repost is directly in response to a thread on the Mythic Cafe. And a personal favorite because it reminds me of when the relationship I had with my favorite sister began to heal; a relationship that has come miles from that writing. Not that either of us have changed much, we just stopped being afraid and started listening.


Speaking Rock 

“Do you remember,” she said
as her arm about to launch yet another loose pebble missile
at some poor unsuspecting scrub pine
was stayed by her lost reverie
and the army of hair on my own arm paused at attention in the warm Sonoran wind.

This trip was my idea.
A chance for sisters lost to each other in all but fact
to find a place where more than genes connected us
But it was all I had done that day,
Like a second generation survivor of a homeland war
picking daisies in a field
never knowing if the next step,

the final flower in my fists of sunny reminiscence
would blast a leg or arm or life away.

“Where have all the graveyards gone ?
gone to flowers everyone
when will they ever learn
when will they…. ” I sing in my head.

Sometimes I think I am the only one who remembers.

“Do you remenber how weird you were when you were little?
always seeing things that were not there…”

I remember
that you were the most beautiful creature in the world
and so old and wise, two years my senior
omniscient in your understanding of our parents world
and prone to loathe the intrusions of this smaller sibling
with her stories of the faerykin;
Crazy Claudia Klutz was one of your kinder names.

I also remember
hiding hours in the dark behind the laundry
beneath the bed
whispering secret stories to you so you wouldn’t scream,
wouldn’t give away our refuge to the realtime demon Dad;
I remember singing spur of the moment lullabies
Till you would fall sleep,
your perfect golden curls in my lap.
And the next day at school you would pretend
that you didn’t even know me.
Yes, I remember.

“Do you remember the fight about the rocks,
you said that just because I couldn’t speak their language
didn’t mean they couldn’t talk.”
She laughs.
I sit taller, not speaking, eyes ahead.

Is that the old derision that I hear?
I wonder again why I did this to myself;
Planned this trip,
Brought her here,
Here where the rocks spoke solace to the deepest wounds I bore.
Why have I chosen to bare my tender  sensibilities to
Her rigid Christian credo and her steel sharp sword of reason?

“Not here, not now, Goddess, I beg you…
please don’t let her break the magic of this place..”
but I speak only in my head,
my eyes turn slowly towards my tormentor
shallow breath my only concession to presence.

“Do you remember
how you said everything had spirit?
And I couldn’t hear your rocks
only because
I wouldn’t listen.”

She turns her face to me
a tear clearing the tiny trenches half a century can make upon a face
wets the granite offering
cradled in her hand.

“You have no idea what your crazy stories meant to me,”
Shy she dropped her eyes and stared at the stone in her hand
transformed to art from weapon
held it for a moment to her ear,
seeking some rumble of distant glacial source,
like the conch shells in my desert home remember ocean;

“I’m listening now,” she said and smiled.

In this
place of healing
so was I.