Sunday, November 30, 2003

A Note About Copyright

A few of you have asked me about the legalities of posting your own [original] writing in your journal - i.e. poetry, lyrics, short stories.  I was pretty sure about the US copyright laws [phew!]  John Scalzi confirms here that once you write it, it's yours!  [think about the date/time stamp on your journal entries!]  There are a few exceptions but they all involved your permission. 

So WRITE ON!  Post those poems!  Play those original songs!  Share your stories!  And - of course - journal and blog to your heart's content!  That's what we're all here for anyway, isn't it?

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Saturday's Friday Five

Dangit!  I was trying to avoid this one.  I'm not much of a shopper but I'm feeling the pull during the holiday season.  I DON'T HAVE MONEY TO SHOP!  DON'T LET ME!!  But...but...but... I love Amazon and Half.com and Ebay..... Ohhhhh GOD I've been soooooooo good all year long.  Stop the madness!!!


1. Do you like to shop? Why or why not?
I like to shop for things I like to shop for.  I love buying things for others.  Sadly, if I see something that is just "perfect" for someone, I'll buy that with my grocery money.  [noooo, that's not the reason I haven't been eating]  It just feels good to shop for others.

2. What was the last thing you purchased?
Other than potatoes - I bought used CDs from Second Spin (Eva Cassidy Live and Train)

3. Do you prefer shopping online or at an actual store? Why?
I LOVE shopping online!  My favorite things to buy are used books and CDs.  But I do love going to Fry's and Best Buy (Ohhhh God...stop me!!  stop me now!!)

4. Did you get an allowance as a child? How much was it?
I'm pretty sure I did - I started working when I was 14 so I don't remember having an allowance for too long.

5. What was the last thing you regret purchasing?
Oooh, buyers remorse - that's a big one for me... let's see.  I really haven't done much shopping this year.  And even though I needed the new music, I felt a twinge of regret when I heard the full Train CD.  I love the Angel song though.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Post-Thanksgiving Day OWIES

Ugh!  I've been sick all day.  I'm sure I didn't eat too much on Thanksgiving.  I did eat a LOT though.  I certainly didn't drink enough (any) water.  I woke up dehydrated this morning.  Nausea, leg cramp, moans and groans.  It's been a heck of a day trying to rehydrate.  The kicker is [and I can hardly believe this myself] I'M HUNGRY!  But I'm not supposed to eat - I'm supposed to replenish fluids.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving though. A fun gathering with Cheryl's family.  Although, Cheryl's mom did panic when she saw the mashed potatoes, "Is this all there is?  We have twenty people coming!  Oh GREAT, we don't have any mashed potatoes."  Now, I know she's not my mother but for some reason I still strive for her approval.  I certainly didn't achieve it in that moment. [strike one]  I also delivered them in a plastic container. [strike two]  "Is there even any butter in them?"  Yes, and we added some in the reheating!  [pop fly - safe at first] 

Growing up having Thanksgiving Dinner in my family, I became accustomed to keeping my hands by my side, sitting in silence, waiting for the blessing to be said, before I was ever allowed to pick up my napkin and place it across my lap. So, there I sat, when I suddenly realized serving plates were being tossed over my head, across my plate, into my arms.  People were standing, leaning, reaching, yelling.  "Do you want gravy?  Who has the salt?  Where's the white meat?  I want the dark. Ooh Cranberries!"  Everyone was eating while passing plates.  It was amazing, freeing and wonderful!

A few moments into the meal, Cheryl read her beautiful blessing.  And soon after that, Cheryl's mom announced to me from across the table, "The mashed potatoes are DELICIOUS!"  [home run!] The best of all worlds!  [I didn't have the heart to tell her they were made with Vanilla Rice Dream.  I was reveling in her acceptance and validation.]

There were three pies, all delicious-looking - but no 'Umpkin.

We went to a dessert party later and still no 'Umpkin Pie!  It's the one dessert I was craving.  Still am.  ::sigh::

Oh, and by the way, there were so many mashed potatoes I ended up taking home the left-overs.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

A Message from Mystic Butterfly

Dear AOL-Journal Community and friends of freeepeace, Thank you for loving her. I offer you my Thanksgiving.

I give thanks today for
My human body
Its strength and vitality
And the amazing space
Inside
Space for my Spirit to reside
And uniquely express
My vision

I give thanks
Waking up each day
With eyes to see
The beauty of this great planet
And the wondrous support
Mother earth
Gives us
Endlessly

I give thanks
For the flowers and the trees
That live with us
And for all the animals that
Walk with us
And fly above us
And teach us to remember
We are a part of one another

I give thanks
For each moment’s unfolding
Exactly as it does
For moment to moment recognition
That all is perfect
And right
In this chaotic, stormy time

I give thanks
For the mystery of
My human heart
Which breaks and stretches
And somehow remains open
Teaching me always it is
Far richer to give love
Than to get loved

I give thanks for the love that
I receive


How do I give thanks
For the beauty I behold
In the eyes of all people
A vision far deeper than
What seems different between us
I give thanks for the knowing that
We are made of the same
Holy Love

I give thanks for the children
Magnificent Spirits
May they inherit an earth that is safe
And nurturing
I give thanks for the Children
Reminding us of our own innocence
And wonder
And by example teaching us
To be true to ourselves.

I give thanks for the
Energy we name
Creator/ Great Spirit
Goddess/ God
Universe
The Mother
The Father
Mary, Tara
Moses, Jesus
Muhammad
Buddha
The prophets
Nature
Earth
Starlight
Moonlight

I give thanks that
For whatever we call It
Each of us strives to know It
And to be the purest expression of It

Today I give thanks for this Circle
This Family
May we be connected to All Beings everywhere and may We know Peace

~ Written by, Cheryl / Mariposa / MightyHeart

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

This time, the proof is in the mashed potatoes!
I'm headed out with my giant bowl - I can only hope I don't eat them all before we get to our destination!  [still hoping there's pie where we're going!]  ::sigh::

Hope you all have/had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I'm so very thankful for the light in all of you.
Wishing you Peace and Love Always
~ FreeePeace

note: again, the video might be best experienced in MIE (outside of the AOL software)

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Giving More Thanks

I'm moved to tears by the overwhelming response of support, love and laughter I've been receiving since my (many) entries about the parotid tumor behind my ear.  I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your comments, emails, jokes, hugs, smiles and for offering your shoulders to lean on and hands to hold.

My intention the other morning was to write till I got it out.  I hadn't even planned on posting it in my public journal.  It's been such a private process.  But, almost without thinking, I found myself posting it and letting go.

It's not something I talk about - for the pure reason that it's just too difficult.  Apparently it's easier for me to write about.  And that's what brings me to my deepest gratitude.  Writing alone clears the muck.  It always helps me sort things out.  But writing, posting, being read and responded to?  WHOA!  There are levels of healing here that I'm not even consciously aware of yet.  I just feel it.

YOUR PERSONAL MESSAGE OF THANKS

[continued below]

[continued from above]

Babyshark, Muse and SloMo - All three of you commented in all four entries.  If that's not love, I don't know what is!  Gregg - you commented in three.  I know that's love (still waiting for my Letter Most Royal)

Steven - thanks for the hug.  And I think you're right about the first procedure traumatizing me.  But I wasn't supposed to be "under" - it was clearly outpatient surgery with local anesthesia.  I should've known better.  I guess I will in the future.  Perhaps hypnotism to clear my post-trauma.

Vivian - I've written that proverb down.  It sits on my monitor now.  Thank you.

Isabel - you and I seem to be on a similar healing path.  The situation may look different but I always seem to relate to your process on very deep levels.  Thank you for finally coming out and commenting.  I've been reading your journal since I started mine.  I commented a few times even.  I wasn't sure if I was imposing.  But I kept going back.  So glad I didn't give up on you!  You're a dear person.

IRUN - You're a dear heart as well.  What can I say?  You're helping me heal some deep wounds simply because you're a good man, a good husband and a good friend.  Thank you.

SloMo - Indeed, you have done your fair share of loving and laughing with me.  I always feel your support, whether I'm crying or thrilled about something.  I know you're listening - you sometimes don't have a choice. But that's the glory of this friendship. It goes both ways.  I love you.

Michelle (Songbird) - This is a tough one.  I hear that surgery worked for you 9 years ago.  I'm grateful for that.  I believe surgery does and can heal.  But I also believe there's a time and a place for it.  And for me, it's a very last resort.  I'm not wondering, "Should I have the surgery?"  I'm wondering, "How can I heal?"  Thank you for hearing me and supporting my process.

Gregg - Thank you for riding with me through each entry.  I appreciate your energetic laughter.  It's fun getting to know you!

[continued below]

[continued from above]

Alphawoman - WHOA!  You got to me!  Thank you.  I hear you.  I'm sitting with this one.  I appreciate your comments.  I know you're around...but you don't comment often.  Would love to hear from you more ::smile::

Shelli - Another good question. I don't know what I'm afraid of.  I'll be sitting with that one for a while. Kills me when I get reflected back to me!  But I hear you.  And I thank you.

Hempen - Yes, I've talked to holistic healers.  I've done some energy work.  Meditation. Yoga. And thank you for the reminder to keep myself in balance.

Penny - I have a few nurses in my life who have a similar outlook.  Takes a great spirit to be in that profession and still have a holistic view.  Thank you for your support and your generous love.

Muse - Thanks for your hugs and your concern.  My second, third, fourth, etc opinions have come from alternative healers.  All of which believe what I believe.  I can heal myself.  I just have to do things like eat and sleep well and be positive and stress-free.  Easier said than done.  Thank you for your love and support - I'm looking forward to seeing you again in December ::smile::

Mia - I love you.  I feel your love.  I love how we can support each other in these times.  Ah the beauty in this world.  Hugs and kisses right back to you and Stephen. (PS...your package was sent today)

Babyshark - You always offer support, no matter what's going on in your life.  For that, I'm grateful.  Thank you for your love.  I love you right back.

Mary - I appreciate your support - and I know I can count on you to bring laughter into my day!  Hugs back to you my friend.

Andrea - It's nice to know you're right here beside me.  I love hugs and can always use a hand to hold.  And thank you for putting a smile on my face.  You're a good friend.

[continued below]

[continued from above]

DiAnne - Thank you for understanding that I *do* need to do what's right for me.  I do believe in homeopathic and natural healing.  I know you know that. And I am working toward doing what I need to do to stay healthy.  This is step one.

Karen - Thank you for your prayers and the kind words.  You are very sweet.

To all new commenters [am4th, andi214, yakima127, and ondinemonet - i've seen you around town a lot, but don't recall you ever commenting in my journal]  WOW - thank you all for visiting, commenting, supporting and giving me more journals to read!  Don't be strangers anymore.  It's nice to hear from you.

Checking in:  Yes, my ear hurts today.  Yes, I'm a little scared.  Yes, there's tugging in my throat and neck.  But yes, I can handle it.  I feel good.  I feel loved.  I feel supported.  I feel like I matter.  I also noticed that it hurts more in the cold air (A-HA!) - The pain subsided last spring.  Could it be that my ear is sensitive to the cold?  Possibly.  Doesn't mean the tumor is growing and invading more parts of me now.  I also remembered Doc drained (or, scraped) all of the substance from inside the tumor.  I now have (or should have) an empty shell of a tumor there.

I'm close!  I am very close to picking up that phone.  What I'd really like to do is talk to a non-Western medical professional.  But my insurance doesn't cover things like that (damn government!)  But still, I'm thankful for the insurance, for emergencies!

Giving Thanks - a Beginning

The holiday season is my favorite time of year.  Of course, I find myself saying that about each season's beginning.  But like many, I tend to count my blessings a little more around this time of year.  As I reflect on the past few years my heart fills with a compassionate ache. I've learned so much in such a short time.  For that I'm thankful.

I may not always say it - or choose to recognize it - but these are things I'm thankful for on a daily basis: Breath. Friends & Family. Forgiveness. Truth.  Reflection.


More specifically, in this moment I am thankful for:

Spirit.  Spirit reminds me to breathe and holds my hand through life.
My best friend, Cheryl, for teaching me how to love through her never-ending love.
My wise friend, Jennifer, for her reflection and commitment to truth-seeking.
My sweet friend, SloMo, for her inspiration, enthusiasm, support and love (just WAIT till you see what she's done!!!)
My doggie, Hunny
, for teaching me about detachment and letting go through her unconditional love.
My roommate, Reza, for being the most generous, easy-going roommate in the world!  I'm not easy to live with.  He makes it easy.
My new journal friends - all of you - for holding the space for my process during my highs and my oh-so-lows.
My AOL-Journal, for providing me with an outlet, support, inspiration and a way to keep myself in check.  It's taken on a life of its own.  It's a good reminder that the journey happens.  It can't be planned.  It just is.

This is just a start.  There comes a time when words just cannot express the depth of gratitude. 

 

Monday, November 24, 2003

Fear

I'm scared.  It's been a while since I've written, talked or shared my feelings about this.  But I'm starting to feel the pull again, and it's needing some attention.  Perhaps it's not as big of a deal that I'm making it to be.  But the more I think about it, the more pain I feel.
 
Over a year ago I went to see a doctor about a cyst I had/have behind my right ear because I was having severe earaches. Minor outpatient surgery was prescribed to drain the fluid.  Doc said it was common and the procedure was simple enough to drive myself in and out - 30 minutes tops.  He also said these surgeries take a back seat to other major ones such as cancer.  I was relieved (I really didn't want any kind of surgery) - but when I made the appointment, there happened to be a last-minute cancellation for the very next day.  If I didn't take it, I would have had to wait three months for the next appointment.  Three months of more earaches?  Ugh!  Which is worse?  I took the appointment.
 
In a small room with the doctor, a trainee/assistant and two other nurses, I almost passed out from the fear alone.  Why did I think I could handle something like that on my own?  I should've heard the key terms, needles, cut, anesthesia, sign-here.  I really should've had someone, an ally, there with me - just because of who I am.  Needles - Doctors - Hospitals: We all clash!  Most can handle more than I can when it comes to this stuff.
 
They tried to make me as comfortable as possible.  I asked what was going to "drain" and if I could see it when we were done. I'm curious like that.  The doctor put on music of my choice.  I wanted it loud, since he was going to be working on my ear.  The loudest he had was GooGooDolls.  But after the first few local needles (OUCH) he started cutting and I could hear e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  The cutting, my skin ripping, his breath, the sweat dripping off my forehead onto the gurney, then scraping! [scraping?  he never mentioned anything about scraping] 

[continued below]

Poked and Prodded

[continued from above]

Doc's skepticism began to swell as he whispered to his colleague, "Do you see that?  That's interesting.  It goes all the way into..."  [Uhh Doc, I can hear you]  "Um, yeah, we're gonna have to go deeper than we thought.  It looks like it goes deep into your throat."  The room began to spin.  This meant more needles, more time on the table and now a full-blown hyperventilating crying fit.  Most of the professional caretakers in the room seemed surprised.  "What's wrong?  Are you in pain?  Why are you crying?"  I felt like I was at the mercy of these people who know nothing about ME.  I don't let anyone get that intimate with me.  I felt out of control and I wasn't prepared to be out of control.
 
They calmed me down [HA!] and continued cutting and scraping.  Doc said the substance wasn't quite the fluid he expected - as if it had crystallized (my description).  When he finished he stitched me up and tried to rush me out [since the procedure took double the time he was now backed up for surgery]  I asked if I could see it - like we'd talked about.  He said, "Oh, we got rid of it."  Then he apologized for not remembering to show it to me and ran out the door.
 
I felt violated.  He poked, prodded, took some of me and left.  But I figured, "Well, it's over.  No more earaches."
 
About a month later (July 2002) I got a call from an Ear Nose & Throat surgeon, asking when I'd like to make an appointment to come in to discuss my TUMOR.  I listened to the message a few times trying to makes sense of it.  Within a few minutes, Doc called to tell me they had biopsied the substance - you know, the stuff he "got rid of" - and reports showed it's a benign parotid tumor.  He never would have known that because apparently these tumors usually show up in the cheek, in front of the ear.  Mine's in a peculiar place (go figure).

[continued below]

More Stress?

[continued from above]

My life was already in an uproar.  My relationship was suffering.  I was miserable.  It was an intensely stressful time. Now this?

I met with the surgeon who explained nothing to me except that she wanted to cut my face open and remove the tumor.  There would be an incision starting at my temple, going down the side of my jawline, around the back of my ear and down my neck so they can open my face (like a book cover), remove the tumor, stitch my face and hope for minimal scarring.  The healing time could be up to a year.  Oh, and there's no guarantee they'll get all of the tumor and its components.  Oh, and there's no guarantee I won't be paralyzed for life.  Oh, and there's no guarantee the tumor won't return in years to come.  Oh, and there's no guarantee it won't affect my voice.  But she strongly recommended the surgery.  Again, no one was with me at this consultation. [when will I learn?]

I walked through the halls like a zombie.  I signed papers.  I scheduled pre-op procedures, MRIs, CT-scans, bloodwork.  And we scheduled the surgery.  Within a month I was to be in recovery for about a year.  I left there completely discombobulated (thank you Penny for reminding me of my favorite word).
 
I google-searched parotid tumors for days.  I went to the homeopathic pharmacy and was prescribed an expensive regimen.  I called a friend who knows everything about natural medicine.  I told loved ones I needed to shift just about everything in my life.  The more I thought about this tumor, the more pain I felt in my ear.  I felt the tugging in my throat.  I recited affirmations.  I started eating whole foods again.  I cut (down) on sugar intake.  I was eager to heal.
 
But my extreme fear led me to cancel the pre-op procedures.  And of course, I canceled the surgery itself.  After doing my own research I was sure I could heal myself.  I know I didn't have the surgeon's support as she told me these tumors can go through what is known as "malignant degeneration."  She was convinced I'd be back within three years to have the surgery like most of her patients.

[continued below]

Love and Laughter

[continued from above]

The few months following, my life was more stressful than it had been in years.  I couldn't afford the homeopathic remedies.  I was taking care of others in my life, without first considering myself.  I kicked into survival mode - which is basically another term for denial.
 
Last January I slowly started making major changes in my life.  My ear began to hurt less and less.  I would swear the tumor actually decreased in size.  I was able to massage it without feeling pain.  It was easy to deny it when it wasn't bothering me.

But recently, I've been feeling the earaches.  My ears ring.  There's a tugging in my throat.  And the lump feels a little more swollen.  I'm terrified.  I know I need to make an appointment to get those tests done.  A biopsy will prove that it's still benign.  The MRI and CT-scan will show exactly where it's located and what size it is.  But my debilitating terror keeps me from making that phone call.

I'm writing this in hopes I'll find the courage to do something [hey, I found the courage to write].  I don't want to give the tumor a lot of attention.  I want to give myself the attention.  I do believe in natural healing.  I believe in the power of prayer and affirmation.  I believe I am what I believe I am.  And if I believe I'm sick, then that I shall be.  So in this moment, I am well. 

Please don't try to convince me to have the surgery.  Please don't try tough-loving me into the surgeon's office.  Please support me on my journey to peace.  Please allow me to have my process.  Please listen.  Please check in.  And please, for God's sake, love me and make me laugh!  Love and Laughter Heals!

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Night Terrors

I live in a secure building.  There's a call-box with a buzzing doorbell for each apartment at the locked front doors.  I was about to go to bed when I heard the buzzer.  It was 1:30 AM.  I'm sorry but I don't answer my door at such a time (call, email, IM - but don't just stop by at that time).  Hunny's hackles shot sky-high and my heart immediately started racing.  The buzzing continued.  Short little buzzes.  Almost as if to say, "Hello?  Is anybody there?  I don't mean to bother you..."  But what I heard was, "Someone's here to kill you!"

I have a roommate.  He's an overnight ER nurse at a local hospital.  I wondered if it was him coming home for a bite to eat, perhaps having forgotten his keys.  At first I thought, It better not be him!  Then I thought how much better I'd feel if it was him.  So I called his cellphone.  No answer.  I called again.  Still no answer.  The buzzing continued.  Hunny's barking got louder...now accompanied by growling.  By this point I was frozen with terror.  It's been a long time since I've felt this scared. I'd forgotten how debilitating terror can be.  All the scariest things go through my head. Every little sound takes on an enormous meaning.  I can hardly move, not wanting to be noticed.

We have an upstairs loft with a rooftop balcony.  I remembered the sliding glass doors might be open.  They'd been open all summer but it didn't bother me till I couldn't get my mind off of the involuntary axe murder scene that kept replaying in my head.  Still I was too scared to go check it out.  I felt much safer hiding behind my bedroom door.  It's a windy night - windows rattling and howling - debris blowing across the roof.  Of course my mind tells me something's up there just waiting for me to fall asleep. What am I thinking?  An axe murderer doesn't ring the doorbell.

~ continued below ~

Friday Five

~ continued from above ~

After about an hour, I started to calm myself down when my phone rang!  ::gasp::  It was my roommate. "Please tell me that was you at the front door earlier."  It wasn't him.  ::ACK::  He convinced me to call him - and keep calling - until he answered if that were to ever happen again.  He will run over here (literally, the hospital is across the street).  He reminded me that Hunny wouldn't let anyone get to me.  I began to calm down.  The winds are still strong and there are sounds that I don't recognize but I'm sure it's because I'm overly sensitive in this moment.  Night time terror ... it's got to be the worst!

I thought the Friday Five would help clear my mind  ::sigh::  I worked all day today so I missed my chance to get this in earlier.  Ah well, here's hoping I'll get some sleep tonight!

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.
Get at least one new daily doggie-client. Write one new song.  Play a gig.  Paint my bedroom walls. Solve my web-cam issues.

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.
Donna (college mentor). Jay (ex-boyfriend). Dawn (college friend). Pam (first L.A. friend). Sister Virginia (first grade teacher).

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.
graphic design, teach yoga, surf/snowboard, speak Spanish, love unconditionally

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).
Take care of friends and family. Pay off debt. Record a kick-ass album. Go on a crazy shopping spree at Best Buy and Fry's Electronics. Buy a home/land for me, all my friends, our kids and pets so we can live in community, be creative, do yoga and rescue stray animals.

5. List five things you do that help you relax.
write. yoga. talk with friends. walk my dog. play guitar/sing.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

not-so-sexywebcamgrlfreeepeace

Welcome to the wonderful world of FreeePeace.  A place where magic... just won't let itself happen!  Grrrrr!!  I've spent the entire week trying to get my first video entry underway.  I keep running into technical problems.  I'd like to publicly thank Isabel for her time and effort in actually talking me through troubleshooting steps.  She has truly gone above and beyond the call of friendship.

I've removed programs.  I've deleted files.  I've rebooted over and over.  I've closed background tasks.  So far, no luck.  I have a Logitech QuickCam Messenger.  It's the funnest little toy (well ::ahem:: one of the funnest) but I'm about to chuck it into L.A. traffic because of this annoying problem!  If anyone has any suggestions on how to fix my technical problems, please pass them my way.

Isabel and I both agree that the quality of this video is worse than a badly overdubbed Kung-Fu movie.  The audio is just way ahead of the video.  And aside from looking like a complete dork in pictures... I now risk looking like an absolute moron on video!  Ah well, that's what this whole journal-thing is about anyway right?  I'm here, taking risks, putting myself out there for the world (all ten of you) to see and hear.  Truthfully, this is more nervewracking than singing in front of hundreds.  Eh, c'est la vie!

note:  If you have trouble launching the video, try it outside of the AOL software.  For some reason, that's what I have to do.  Ack.  More technical problems!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

the proof is in the ... eggs?

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I've been getting enough emails and comments about my eating (or, not eating) to drive me to prove that I actually do eat.  Behold this morning's meal - eggs with broccoli and cauliflour.  I ate about 3/4 of the bowl and thought I was going to burst at the waist!  I felt sluggish for the rest of the day and on the way home from the dogpark I thought I might fall asleep at the wheel.  This is why I don't like to eat breakfast.

By 3:30 I had to drag my sorry ass to Starbucks to get a coffee.  You just know I must've been desparate [Starbucks is never my first choice]  It's not like me to get coffee at that time of day but I had to work at the yoga studio and it probably wouldn't have served any of us if I was snoozing behind the desk. 

Ah well, it kept me awake during the Born to Blog chat!  And hey, I ate this morning!

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Power of Prayer

My recording sessions have been put on hold for at least the next couple of weeks.  But for very understandable, sad and scary reasons.

MusicMan's beautiful wife is a breast cancer survivor.  Recently a newly formed lump was discovered in one of her breasts.  They are not taking any chances with this.  There will be tests upon tests this week and next Monday she will undergo surgery to remove the lump in her breast. 

I was shocked to find out she had already survived breast cancer just a few years ago.  She's young - my age, perhaps younger.  She's a dedicated mother of two beautiful children - ages 5 and 7.  She lives for them.  Storytime with them is the most important part of her day, she says.  She's a strong working woman, with a warm heart and a generous spirit.   MusicMan adores her; practically worships the ground she walks on (we should all be so blessed). 

She was about to begin yoga classes at the studio this week in exchange for my recording time.  But she's saying she won't be able to start till after the first of the year now.  Sounds hopeful.  Yoga is always here for her.

I believe in the power of prayer and affirmation.  I wish you well Laura.  You are loved.

Cam-Diva Hunny

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You've all heard me talk about how adorable my sweet Hunny is when she howls ... Well, now you get to experience it first-hand.  We live in the city, close to a fire station and a few hospitals.  When the sirens start, look out!  I think the sirens hurt her ears ... but I still encourage her to howl.  It's so damn cute.  I think she looks like a Peanuts character singing a Christmas song.

Now if I could only get some of Humpin-Hunny. 

I'm sure she wouldn't appreciate knowing I'm exploiting her here.  Bad doggie-parent!

EXTRA!

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My best friend, Cheryl, called me from the Venice Boardwalk while walking her dog, Opie.  There seemed to be a lot more action than usual for a Tuesday morning.  I could hear the beat of hand drums and people rustling around her as she walked.  At first she thought maybe there was a skateboarding event about to happen - maybe some live music - but then she noticed all this "really nice furniture and stuff."  It immediately became clear she was standing among a film crew and scene props.  We both had the same disappointed reaction.  We thought there was something actually exciting going on.  There's something really annoying about a film crew in your 'backyard!'  So many egos. We can't walk out our front gates because we'll interrupt filming!  Gimme a break!

Cheryl continued her walk up a public street through a crowd of background actors (extras) in their holding bin.  Extras are the worst when it comes to inflatable egos!  They know they're the lowest in the pack but they'll do anything to make us think otherwise.  Calling one an "extra" to their face is like calling an environmental control manager a garbage-man.

About 6-feet away from the crowd, a woman began walking toward her, holding her nose and waving her hand in Cheryl's face, with this pretentious uttering, "You know what, I'm allergic to dogs [shooing Opie] so will you walk somewhere else?"  God love Cheryl - the most spiritual person in the world.  She taught me everything I know about peace and love.  But when you're in her territory, don't mess with her.  And whatever you do, don't mess with her dog!  Her sarcastic pretentious reply, "You know what, [shooing extra] you're just an EXTRA in this movie!"

God, I wish I was there in person.  But it was just as fun being on the phone!

Monday, November 17, 2003

up close and personal

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Bored with my CDs, I've been listening to the radio lately.  I like to do that from time to time anyway, so I can keep up with what's hot or not.  The other day I heard Missy Elliott's new single.  I got a strong hit of what makes us all so unique and different...each just as beautiful as the other.  I could hardly keep up with her lyrics - let alone all the samples and sound-bites used in the production.  I thought to myself, "How does she know when it's a finished product?"  There's so much going on in there.

Then I got to thinking about how we all compare ourselves to others.  I often hear myself saying, "I'd like to write like [name]"  or "I would never be able to paint like [name]" and "[Names] have more talent in their pinky finger than I have in my whole body."  But the truth is, we all have talents.  Every one of us.  We are creative beings by nature.  It's impossible to think that any human creature is untalented or non-creative.  We just have different ways of expressing our talents.  It's up to us to find those ways and use them to the best of our own abilities.

For me, I always wanted to be an actress.  I was three years old when I told my family I was moving to Hollywood to be a star.  I studied theatre in college, starred in a few plays, appeared in some student films, directed my senior project and graduated with a BA.  I moved to California (much later than expected) and right away, I pushed my way onto TV.  But the problem is, I suck!  Acting is a passion but I'm just not confident enough to pursue it (much of it has to do with my reading  and comprehension skills - remember my confessions of a slow reader)

~continued here~

up close and personal (2)

(continued)

As you know, I've been singing all my life.  I love to sing.  I love to write.  I love to share.  I've kind of fallen into the music-thing by default.  I practice - but certainly not the way fellow musicians do.  They take guitar and voice lessons.  They do their vocal exercises.  They do their finger warm-ups.  I'm almost ashamed to admit, I pick up the guitar, tune it, clear my throat and play/sing.  I don't even feel comfortable calling myself a musician because it seems to be too easy for me.  But I'm slowly learning that this is my Gift.  It doesn't matter who likes what I have to sing or say.  It's a Gift from God and it's my responsibility to receive it - for myself, if not for anyone else.  A friend reminded me that there's giving in the receiving.  So profoundly true!  So I thank God for my Gifts.  And I thank myself for recognizing my Gifts.

It doesn't mean I won't try new things - I mean, who knew I'd ever keep an online journal?  I may always want to be an actress.  And I will have to practice reading aloud the way fellow musicians practice singing.  I will never sing, act, write, paint, or make AOL-J Videos like anybody else.  But I will always be inspired by others and I will continue to create just like me.  I hope you will do the same - just like you!

NOTE:  I had created something just for you - and it doesn't seem to be working in my favor at the moment (Argh).  I will keep at it.  But for now, I'm off to continue my day!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

paranoia?

I went to get my coffee this morning and ordered my usual : small-coffee-in-a-medium-cup-with-vanilla-added. (yum)  They know me there by now and never have they asked me if I wanted anything else. 

But today the woman asked, "Will you be having anything to eat today?"  [Yikes! Do you read my journal? YES I WILL EAT TODAY!]  "No thank you. Just the coffee." 

I'm with irun01, coffee should definitely be a food group.  That would save me a lot of hassle.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

confessions of a slow reader

I'm way behind in my journal reading.  I'm ashamed to admit it but I'm a slow reader.  It takes me at least double the time to read an entry than it does for most.  I also tend to need absolute quiet when I'm reading and writing.  I need to be completely focused.  Otherwise, it takes even longer for the information to sink in.  Could be a long-lost learning disability - or it could just be that I was taught to work with one medium at a time.  I wasn't allowed to listen to music or have the TV on when I did homework as a kid.  It's similar to how I was raised to fall asleep in the car.  Every time I cried as a baby, my parents would bring me to the car and turn it on.  I would fall fast asleep.  As soon as they turned the car off, I was awake.  This worked out very well growing up, taking long road-trips.  I would sleep the entire time.  It wasn't so great when I got my license! 

It amazes me to see kids (and many adults) today who can listen to music, play a video game, do homework in between rounds and carry on a conversation all at the same time, never missing a beat.  And still, they get it all done faster than me.  Even right now I'm pausing, swaying and singing to the CD I have playing. 

Well, I'm determined to get caught up.  I've made a list of twenty-five journals that I've been neglecting - and that number has been rounded DOWN.  It's my intention to come back later and dive in.  But to be realistic, I'm committing to commenting in five at a time.  I have a full schedule this afternoon, including a few personal things that need my attention.  But I'll be back. 

Feeling sad today.  Gotta shake it off.  Lots to do.  ::sigh::

Friday, November 14, 2003

got eggs?

My goodness!  I just realized the entire day has gone by and I haven't had a lick of solid food yet.  I sincerely thought I had my eggs this morning.  As I sit here realizing I woke up at a ridiculously late hour, I'm remembering those were yesterday's eggs!  ::tracking::tracking::  Let's see... woke up at ::ahem:: 11:30 this morning and rushed out the door to start my dogwalking day.  Stopped for coffee  ::dingding::  first bit of something in my stomach.  After the dogpark I stopped at the Co-Op to get basic necessities... none of which included solid food.  I did buy my favorite Superfood Juice Drink  ::dingding::  second bit of something in my stomach.  Came home. Fed Hunny  ::dingding::  oh, no, that's not mine.  Here I am, four hours later and  ::dingding::  nuthin! 

I'm sorry.  I feel like this is my exercise check-in.  Like DiAnne with her treadmill commitment, I need to really keep this food thing in check!  I know the deal.  I should graze throughout the day - even if it's a bite here and there.  Sadly, I don't feel hungry and the idea of putting food in my stomach right now makes me feel sick.  But I know it's a necessity.  I know it.  I just have to do it.

Brave New Me!

Can you say BIG RISK?!  Take note now, this just may be the last personal picture-post.  I'm a nervous wreck just thinking about hitting the 'save' button!  ::gasp::

Ahhh Friday!  Not that it makes a huge difference in my life.  Most of my days are the same.  I often forget what day it is.  But (with the exception of L.A. traffic) I love the energy around me at the beginning of the weekend.  Everyone else is usually thrilled.

I got to take the cutest puppy to the dogpark with me today.  Everyone fell in love with her.  Hunny wasn't too happy about it but she did run and play a lot more.  You know what they say, "a puppy keeps an old dog young."  Not that Hunny's 'old' but she certainly doesn't have all that intense hyper energy she used to.  I was surprised that Hunny didn't try to eat the puppy - she usually lets them know who's boss right off the bat.  My pack played very well.  I *just missed* a Humpin-Hunny photo op but I did get a good Howlin-Hunny.  You'll have to trust me on this.  I haven't developed the film yet.

Oh, and if you haven't visited SloMo today, rush over there and check out her video entry!  I think she might have just started a trend... look out AOL-J. 

That's all for now.  More to post but lots to do.  Happy Weekend! 

Perfect timing for my journal to be affected by AOL's font issues.  Guess there's no hiding in this entry!  HA HA!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Wednesday

I am having entirely too much fun with my new web-cam.  Had I known of all the fun and goofy things I could do with it, I might've installed it years ago!  For the longest time I thought they were just for porn sites and cyber-smut.  No thanks!  After a few moments, I discovered I'm camera shy (yeah, I know, it's hard for even me to believe).  But there's freedom in this.  There isn't a photographer or a production crew.  It's me, the camera and the delete button.  The other great thing is the quality is so poor I can only see a vague image of myself.  HA HA!  Isn't that great!  Another way to hide the flaws, marks and scars!  Yesss!  Just wanted to share my enthusiasm for this little toy.  Don't think I'll be posting any of the pics just yet.  I'm just getting used to the idea of 'self-photography' - It's a little freaky.  But fun!

It rained off and on all day today!  This time I pulled out the big guns - layers, vest, gloves, hat and big yellow boots.  Just like the snow boots I wore as a kid.  Rubber slip-on, all the way up my shin - I can splash in all the puddles I want!  So there!  It was once my dream to dress like the Morton Salt Girl while I walked dogs.  I don't even own a raincoat.  Gotta get on that.

I was a participant in a focus group tonight.  You know what that is right?  Where strangers invite you into a comfy room with other strangers and offer you tons of food and coffee while you discuss a certain topic (tonight was bookstores).  They record everything you do and claim they will use the tapes for internal purposes only.  I imagine they're for a good laugh when that inevitable someone gets up to check their teeth for leftover lettuce in the two-way mirror.  Ah well, I left there with a hundred bucks and a full stomach!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Terrifying Gratitude

I wear this stunning graphic with great humility.  I'm on my knees in honor of the entire AOL Journal Community.  To those who read my journal regularly - to those who've popped in only once - to those who voted - thank you!   I bow down in reverence to SloMo, Steven, Andrea, Pamela and others who helped behind the scenes.  And while I'm on the floor, I kiss the feet of the AOL-J Goddess herself, Vivian, whose dream has become an impressive manifestation.  Without all of you, none of this would have been possible.

As grateful as I am, I'm noticing how difficult it is to receive.  It's a tiny bit terrifying. There's a reason I'm a Livingroom Superstar.  I've become very comfortable in this hiding place.  To be an actual Superstar would mean relinquishing privacy.  When I started this journal, I didn't want anyone to read it.  That quickly changed.  But then so did my content.  I suddenly realized I would be seen in all aspects... including every flaw, every mark, every scar.  With thanks to spirit, friends, family and this community I'm learning to love those hideous parts.  This is truly my Journey to Peace.

Sunday, November 9, 2003

Ommm

I've certainly had a busy weekend.  All of the sudden it's mid Sunday afternoon and I'm still LoL

I've been doing a lot of prep for my CD.  I record every Monday night and we've spent the last four weeks refining and adjusting one song.  It's all been worth it but it's emotionally draining.  I'm really hoping to jump in there tomorrow night, nail it and move on to the next song. I'm just as ready for this CD as you are!

I've been petsitting for friends this week, while they're basking in the Hawaiian Tropics.  They have two dogs and two cats.  All of them eat different foods and three of them are on some kind of meds.  One of the cats gets insulin shots twice daily.  One of the dogs doesn't get along well with my dog so needless to say I have my hands full.  Again, another thing that's totally worth it.  I'm having a love affair with all of them - and I think Hunny's a little jealous.  But she did get my undivided attention at the Venice Dog Park yesterday.  Just like old times, Me and my Hunny!

I'm experiencing an extended moment of gratitude today.  Just an overall feeling of warmth.  Life is good.  I've been creatively blocked for a couple of years - I can feel the energy shift deep within.  I'm riding a wave right now.  I understand that the wave must break and I'll coast to shore but for now I'm on a high.  And I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I'm just all shades of blessed and grateful right now ... Breathing life into this body that I'm learning to take better care of.  Surrounded by friends who love me even when I'm not feeling all that lovable.  In love with the energy of newness and welcoming change with open arms!   

High-five to the AOL-Journal Community!  This has been quite an exciting ride.  A LOVE SHOUT goes out to Hunny, Chersypie and RoshiMomma for all the unconditional love and support I receive on a consistent basis.  And a special Ommmm goes directly to my sweet friend SloMo for her support, encouragement and inspiration.  I love you all.

Friday, November 7, 2003

MishMosh

click to play song

It looks like I won't be going to see my future husband at the Wiltern tonight  ::sigh::  This song is for him (hehehe)

I'm spending as much time as I can resting.  Ugh.  It's difficult for me.  I have two more dog-runs to do (and I've already done one this morning).  I broke down and bought over-the-counter drugs to help kick this pre-flu-butt!

What headaches?  I want to publicly thank my good friend RoshiMomma for encouraging me to 'eat a little something' each morning.  If it were up to me, there would be a magic pill that would make all hunger disappear (and allow us to still be healthy).  We all know by now, I just don't like food much.  But with her support I've been able to keep those awful headaches mostly at bay by eating two eggs every morning.  It may take an hour for me to eat it all but I'm noticing a difference in my body.  Even though I feel flu-ish, it's much different.  The aches and pains I feel today are from a low-grade fever.  The headaches I was suffering were probably from blood-sugar levels.

A debt of gratitude also goes to the AOL-Journal Community for the kind "get wells" and "feel better soons."  There's one more day left to vote for the Journal Awards.  If you haven't done so already, go vote before it's too late.  That's a reminder for myself, mostly - now if I can just remember to read my own entries!

song: Obsession TMonaco 1997

Thursday, November 6, 2003

on the fly

Uh-oh - Look out!  An entry on the fly...

I woke up feeling really off today.  Just blah.  You know that borderline flu-ish feeling?  Shivering chills on the outside and a fever burning within.  Above is what my day consists of so far.  That and too much time spent in Photoshop trying to figure it all out.  No clue.  I'm grateful for the gift but I can't, for the life of me, make any sense of it.  So instead, you've got pictures.  I shoulda stayed in bed - but just couldn't sleep. 

So far, the remedies are helping a lot.  I'm not quite feeling 100% better and I'm a big baby when it comes to ailments.  I just wanna feel well (all the time!)  And when I don't I get all whimpery and whiny and... well, let's say I could give Frank a run for his money! ::wink::

I'm so behind in my journal reading - I'm sorry everyone.  I'll get there, you know I will.  For now, I have to bundle up and treck through the mud with some four-legged lovebuckets!

I trust that I will be feeling well very soon.  I just want it to be nowwaahhhh!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

The Color of Embarrassment

Part of the Brentwood Dogpark is temporarily sectioned off so grass can grow.  There are three things really wrong with this.  1) It's the section that has the most patches of grass already.  2)  It makes for a more congested play area.  3) It's a DOGPARK!  To make matters worse, It rained yesterday!  Yes, we need the rain but I'd prefer it to rain over night and clear up during the day.  A friend asked, "What does a dogwalker do when it's raining?"  I answered, "Get wet and muddy." She grunted and shivered.  You know you've got it rough when a pre-school teacher trembles over your job!

The mud at the dogpark was thick and slick.  I came this close to mud wrestling with an 80 lb black lab (or a muddy yellow lab) - Not a pretty sight.  My puma's are no longer blue.  There are still black pawprints all over the backseat of my car.  And I'll be brushing dry mud patches from Hunny's coat for days.

I've been around dogs (daily) for 8 yrs.  I've learned a lot about their language and behavior.  Nothing really surprises me anymore when it comes to dogs.  But dog-parents - there's no predicting.  The other day, Hunny (my small alpha female) was humping another small dog (yes, one of her finer qualities).  I usually don't say anything but it seemed to be making some people uncomfortable so I went to her and told her to get off.  Someone asked if it was a dominance thing.  I started to say, "Yeah, she just needs..."  One man cut me off, "Looks like she needs a strap-on." [oh no! he did NOT just say that] To confirm what I tried desperately to deny, the woman sitting next to him winked at me and said, "Don't we all?"  [Help, I've been shot]  I was stunned.  I had no idea what to do.  I could feel the blood flushing my face.  I think I blacked out for a minute while I gathered my muddy pack in hopes of making a quick get-away.  I got to the gate and when I turned around to leash them up, there was one missing.  Behold Hunny still across the park, like a bucking bronco. Instead of going to her and risking more humiliation I yelled, "Hunny COME!"    Purple.  Yep.  The color of my face went form red to purple in .006 seconds.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Happy Birthday SloMo

Dancing Baby Kisses for you, SloMo, on your very own holiday!

Celebrate you - you deserve it.

Remember all the things we've said ... Age is just a number.  You're as young as you feel.  You don't look a day over 'really old.'  You are ageless.

And remember ...You are love, loved and beloved!

Sunday, November 2, 2003

Dad

click to play song: Where Were You c.1997

My trip back east to visit my family has been postponed.  I'm disappointed, relieved, and anxious all over again, anticipating the reunion.  It's been ten years since I've spoken to my father - the man who taught me everything he knows about music. The believer in my talent and the betrayer of my spirit.  The great teacher of worthlessness and shame. A sad man, full of woe.

Why Dad?  I see him in his shame. I see him numbing his pain and acting out in rage & fear. He took from me what I didn't even know was mine and claimed it as his own, in exchange for the family legacy. I know today that was his pain - his shame - his fear - his anger & rage.  The cycle stops here!

Look at me Dad.   Now that I'm grown, I see no one can take from me what I don't give them.  Today I'm an incredible, loving, strong, wise, beautiful woman, shining in all my glory. You know why Dad? I'm returning to you what's rightfully yours - your shame - your pain - your grief - your fear - your anger - and reclaiming for myself what's rightfully mine - My Spirit.

Thank you Dad!   Perhaps if he hadn't crushed my spirit so deeply I might not have realized just how powerful it is.  I pray that he will someday get a glimpse of his Spirit and return all that he handed down to me to its rightful owner.

Come on Dad, forgive yourself.   It's worth it to walk through the fire - take it from one who knows...very well.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  I will continue to walk through fire.  I will continue to fall and rise again and again.
My Spirit is mine - mine - mine.  Music to my ears.

With Peace & Love I let you go and set you free. 

Petsitting - pt 1

As a dogwalker, part of my job includes occassional overnight petsitting.  That means, Hunny and I move into another dog's house for a night or a week or a month.
 
On Friday, I got a last-minute call from a client who was going out of town this weekend.  She asked if I would be available and how much I would charge.  Actually, it was more like, "We're going out of town tomorrow and the person who usually stays with the dogs can't do it and she charges this much.  Can you do it?"  [It must be noted that this much is the same rate I charge them for one hour at the dogpark.]  I refrained from bursting out in laughter and quoted her double that (which is still less than my rate).  She said, "OK, I'll talk to my husband and we'll get back to you."
 
The entire day went by and when I finished my dinner I got a message from the husband, "Hi, this is Bill, Lucy and Sam's owner...  [as soon as he said owner I knew what I was in for]  We're leaving at 7:30 AM tomorrow and we'll need you to pick the dogs up and keep them till 5:00 PM Sunday."  These are the kind of people that drive me batty!  No confirmation.  No communication.  Just, "Do it because we need to go to Catalina Island and that's all that matters."
 
I didn't see the point in arguing with him about details after I practically had to yank emergency vet information from him. These big dogs are locked in a cage in the kitchen of their multi-million-dollar 3-story mansion!  I figured, I love these dogs, why make them suffer just because of their parent's - excuse me - owner's ignorance. (continued)

Petsitting - pt 2

When I arrived at the mansion, I saw that I got paid exactly what I expected.  Nothing.  Nothing but some Baked Dorito's and a can of Whole Foods Ginger Ale. 

After a full day with the dogs, I decided to take them home with me for the night - thought it'd be easier than trying to get comfortable in that cold lifeless mansion.  Well, I was way off!  After tossing and turning and using my psycho-commando-voice "LAY DOWN" all night, I finally sat up around 4:30AM to Hunny's stare [her look of "you'd better take a look around the corner"] I said to her (yes, aloud), "Did Sam leave me something in the bathroom? [hesitation]  He did, didn't he?"  She kept her stare.   Then it hit me - make no mistake about it.  The rich steaming aroma was coming from my bathroom.

Auto-pilot sent me cleaning the smelliest, gooeyest pooh I'd seen in a long time (and I've seen a lot).  I almost put on last night's jeans when I saw a clean pair of cotton comfy pants. I leashed up the pack and headed out for a walk first.  And then to their mansion!  Almost to their doorstep I realized their house key is in the pocket of last night's jeans. I thought, "Hmm, if I weren't on auto-pilot, I'd cry right about now."  Drove home, got the key and brought the dogs home. 

Saw the sun rise over the mountains - my very first here in CA (and I've been here for 11 years).  Didn't matter though - I went back to bed hoping to start this day all over again! Last week I was surprised that 6:00 came twice a day.  Ayan mentioned something about stories of the 4s and the 5s.  I thought it was a myth.  Now I believe! 

Off to the dogpark for the last run of the day!