Did I do that?

Daily Prompt: Forgive & Forget
Share a story where it was very difficult for you to forgive the perpetrator for wronging you, but you did it — you forgave them.

Steve UrkelYes, as a matter of fact.

I know you’re sorry,
and accept your apology.
Yet forgiveness comes only
partially.

Of course we can move on.
And let bygones be bygones.
Yet whether pea or pecan,
the wrong remains, ever so,
by natural or lantern light.

So don’t repeat and we’ll be fine.
If you do, memory won’t skip a beat.
It lives on day through dawn. And
it’ll be ixnay for you in a heartbeat.

Native American Regalia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate
Intricate: what does it mean to you? Show us your interpretation.

With my iphone, I have become a drive-by photographer–one of those people who take photos that catch the eye. I’ve taken photos of big things like artfully/weirdly colored cars, of which there is no short supply of in Berkeley and small things such as a quirky card that I have no interest in buying, but is nifty enough to text “share” with friends. The technology of cameras in phones have desensitized us to notions of privacy. So much so that there’s a great deal of permissiveness in the idea of taking a photo of something you like or would like to memorialize for positive or negative reasons. Before cameras-in-phones, it was unlikely that you would take the liberty of taking a photograph of a stranger or someone else’s property.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a powwow at UC Berkeley. This was an unplanned activity as we saw the crowd and tents and heard the drumming from our seats outside a local African-Caribbean restaurant and decided to check out what was going on. We were pleasantly surprised to walk into a powwow.

The dancers’ regalia was stunning. The patterns, beadwork, and integration of feathers were done with such care that you could tell that for each person it was more than just clothing. It was a representation of a legacy that endured in spite of marginalization and near genocide. In a heartbeat I would have pulled out my handy camera-in-a-phone and taken photographs.  However, I agonized over whether or not to take a photo. I was dying to do so, and yet I couldn’t. I remembered learning eons ago in 4th grade Social Studies that Native Americans were not keen on photographs and that you had to ask permission if you wanted to take a photograph.

I ended up not taking a photograph (above photo is from the internet). I saw some people with actual cameras taking photos and I could have probably taken one without consequence. Yet I felt in my heart that to do so would be a violation of the sacred. These people were strangers. I would probably never see any of them again. Yet the gathering was sacred and it needed to be honored because it was an honor to catch a glimpse of a culture I know very little about. Not everything is meant to be consumed.

Island Living

Daily Prompt: Beyond the Pale
When was the last time you did something completely new and out of your element? How was it? Will you do it again?

Pharmacist's House in the Sun

Pharmacist’s House in the Sun

In a nook of a turn-up-your-nose-at-the-commoners town, there is a ferry boat that will take you across Racoon Straits to Angel Island.  I don’t fancy country living and have never fantasized about living on the farm or in an isolated cabin surrounded by endless trees and wildlife.  But living on an island has always had a kind of fairy book appeal. Being a life-long urbanite, the chances of lving on an island are pretty slim unless of course money is just a pile of green notes at your disposal. Well I don’t have an endless supply of green notes, but I can say that I have lived on an island.

In its most recent incarnation, Angel Island is a destination for tourists and weekend sojourners. It attracts those who like moderate hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, picnicking, or just hanging out. For years I visited the island as a sojourner. It was an annual field trip my son’s school took the first week in June to celebrate the end of the school year. It also has appeal for those interested in historical tourism. But later about that.

Life on an Island

Life on an island is no walk in the park. Missing the boat is one of those figurative sayings people like to throw around, but when your life revolves around the ferry schedule, a missed boat had real consequences. Depending on the time of day, it could mean being late to school/work/meeting because the next ferry was at 9 or noon or not until 5. Or it could, ironically, mean being stranded on the mainland.

Angel Island is not self-contained. There are no grocery markets or department stores. There are no cars allowed on island. So you have to plan very carefully what groceries you need and be so ever aware of the time so that you aren’t late to leave or late to arrive. I lived on the island because my husband was a ranger for state parks. My husband learned to drive a boat as a way of carving out some degree of flexibility and self-reliance in an otherwise inflexible way of life.

Pharmacist's House in the Fog

Pharmacist’s House in the Fog

History of the Island

If one could assign a disposition, a personality, I would say it tends toward fog than sunniness. My husband and I had a running joke that stemmed from my thinking that Angel Island was always hot. It was, everytime I visited. But once I lived there year round, I realized that Angel Island is almost always chilly.

The house we lived in was The Pharmacist’s House. In the not too distant past, the pharmacist was one of the official people on the island who provided medication to the Asian immigrants, mostly men, who were detained due to immigration exclusionary laws. Angel Island was the Ellis a Island of the west. The men were packed into close quarters and interrogated before being granted or denied the right to stay. Some men spent years on the island. And while there, a few wrote poetry on the walls to pass the time away and to express their homesickness, loneliness, anger or despair. For them, the island was not a home.

Today, the island is a pretty benign place. Who could guess just from looking at it that at one time in history there was an interplay of power and powerlessness that was beyond the pale.

X is for Xylophone

Daily Prompt: Fearful Symmetry
Pick a letter, any letter. Now, write a story, poem, or post in which every line starts with that letter.

T, the famous therapist to the letters, had a new client X. This client had made the rounds, only to end up e[X]asperated. The most recent was L who listened, but then shared so much of himself that X came to regard him as no more than a common loon peddling his “listening therapy technique” as a cover for incessantly talking about himself. The one before was K who was recommended because she was into “karmic healing” but X found herself more depressed after these sessions. To X‘s dismay, K peppered her advice with the incredibly tedious phrase, “carry on, dear that’s all you, I, any of us can do dear.” The “dear” was particularly grating.

T had a supercilious air about him that made X immediately doubtful. The way he was dressed wasn’t especially comforting either. Tinted glasses and a beret topped off with a goatee and ponytail may have tipped off her wariness. The bragging as sharing, which X was especially attuned to , didn’t help either.

“This handmade tea set was a gift by a world renown actress whose name I can’t of course divulge. Tibetan tea, which another client turned me on to, is now my addiction. Tea is very soothing and I encourage clients to intake as much as they want throughout our sessions.”

This day in question X  was explaining why she feels inadequate. “Take one look at the the dictionary, any dictionary, and you see I have the least amount of pages.”

“That’s true that you may have the least amount of words, but you know quantity isn’t everything.”

“Truth is, the quality isn’t great either. ”

“There are…”

“Throw out some words. That’s a dare.”

“Xylo…”

“Toys! That’s the first word you come up with!”

“Try to see it from the positive side of things. There’s a power to x that other letters don’t have: you can multiply, mark spots, give hugs and kisses.”

“Trivialities, doctor! The long and short of it is that I’m nothing more than functional symbology at best and anonymity at worst.”

That session and sessions after went round and round, on and on like this. There was no convincing X that her place in the  language of things, though small, was not insignificant.

Last Minute Lulu

Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer
What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

clubpenguin.wikia.com

clubpenguin.wikia.com

I must confess that when it comes to traveling–the act of picking up and going to a place outside or beyond one’s local milieu–I am challenged. It starts with the excitement that often accompanies the rush of newness. That lasts for about 25 seconds. This joyous moment is then followed by a long period of prep, which some may judge as procrastination (I like to think of it as actively thinking about all the to-dos before completing any of them), which culminates in a flurry of mad dashing about, dotting of Is, crossing of Ts, and tying up of loose ends. Of course there’s the ever present cliffhanger: “will I make it to the plane on time?” The answer is many times yes and sometimes no.

I have missed my flight 2x. The first time was at the peak of flu season in December. I was quite ill, was all packed, and went to the airport to catch a late night flight. The attendant couldn’t find my name. I must have spelled it ten thousand times– slow, fast, drawn out–but no luck. Then I remembered I had the confirmation. Bingo! The attendant was able to find my flight which flew as scheduled on the previous day. Yep, missed my plane by a day.  The gods must have been so filled with holiday spirit that the Southwest attendance put me on the very next plan free of charge.

The second time was not truly my fault. My husband, daughter & I sauntered into Southwest which would take us to Los Angeles to catch a connecting international flight. Again, with the confidence of the truly ignorant we stumped our flight attendant who couldn’t find our reservation in the system. I’m not sure why she thought of it, but she managed to find the perfect explanation as to why we weren’t coming up. We were in the system, our flight had been booked, but we had overlooked a tiny detail as to place. We were in Oakland, but the flight was taking off from the SF Airport! Oh, the devil is in the details.

Ride in a Caddy with Superman

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion
This week, share your photographs that have captured motion, and tell us the stories behind the images.

Cadillac 2

My girl went old school and was picked up in a Caddy by her preschool bud (incognito as Superman). They went to another bud’s party. I’m secretly glad he chose to drive instead of fly.

I’m  so not looking forward to when P’s a teen and driving around with friends.

The People Cat

Daily Prompt: Menagerie

Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?
(Bonus points for adorable animal photos, and double bonus if they’re taken with your phone!)

Cat ala iphone

Cat a la iphone

Grayson is the youngest in our family of four.  He came to us, a spirited little thing. As a tot his favorite thing was to climb up our backs and perch on our shoulders like a bird, enjoying the view, while we carried on our chores from room to room.

From the very beginning Grayson has been Mr. Personality. While his cage buddy lounged, casually watching the humans peer in and out, Grayson was reaching out and pawing for attention. He seeks, rather than shies away from people. He is a people cat. Wherever we have lived, our neighbors have felt compelled to do things for Grayson. Our current neighbor got him a rug so he could be comfortable while sitting on our porch. When we were living in an apartment complex, one of the neighbors built him a make-shift cat shelter under the stairwell so he could be warm on cold days until we came home.

It hasn’t all been a simple life. Grayson’s first home was on an island. Because we lived in a state park, he was not allowed outdoors for fear that his instincts would kick in and compel him to chase down the birds. Indeed, this is what happened when we moved from Angel Island to Lakeshore. Very shortly after moving, we found a dead pigeon on the balcony with Grayson sitting a little ways away from it. It was the last time we left him unattended on the balcony and led to our decision to train him to go outdoors since we were away for much of the day at work or school.  Boy, was he scared. He wouldn’t even go in the hallway without quaking. Yet little by little he learned that outside wasn’t such a scary place as long as you found good spots among fragrant bushes to lounge hidden from passersby, but with a clear vantage point.

Grayson gained so much confidence that he crossed the street into the next apartment complex which had a high and open garden. When we were ready for him to come in, we would yell down 5 stories, “Graysie!!!” and he would come running up.  We eventually moved to another neighborhood that had several cats and a few racoons. The backyard had been vacant for awhile and one or two cats thought nothing of hanging out. One cat jumped the fence and walked into our house and taking a bite of the cat food before being shooed out. Grayson got into a few scuffles, but held his own. He wasn’t unscathed and one particular fight left him sick for days. The fights gave him more confidence, so much so that he started bossing us around. Now when he wants to go out or come in, he meows impatiently at the door and if he has been waiting too long to come in, grunts when we finally let him in.

Grayson is rarely naughty, but like all of us, he sometimes slips. When he does, all we have to do is to put him in the backyard. Isolation from people is torture. He’ll whine and carry on until we let him in. Grayson loves company, enjoys going on walks, and grooming (he does this on the sly) our daughter when she falls asleep on him or he falls asleep on her.

3 Songs that Wouldn’t be Caught Dead Together

Daily Prompt: The Satisfaction of a List
Who doesn’t love a list? So write one! Top five slices of pizza in your town, ten reasons disco will never die, the three secrets to happiness — go silly or go deep, just go list-y.

This isn’t dejavu. It’s another post–this time a real response to today’s prompt.

Who doesn’t love a Song List? Here are 3 songs with list-y elements in them.

I haven’t figured out how to add a video, so I’m going to provide a You Tube link  so you can hear the recording to the lyrics below: Brian McKnight, The Cure, and Ben Folds. Lists tend to have trajectories. The first stop is childhood, the second adolescence, and the last is adulthood. Enjoy!

Feature #1: Ben Fold’s “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces”

Remember that kid or kids you hated because they made school horrible and planted the childhood seeds of adult insecurity? Here’s the song, or rather an anthem for those of us who remember, still even to this day, painfully. Btw, Folds is a treat to see live. Best concert EVER, double!! He is a MANIAC on the piano.

September ’75 I was 47 inches high
Mom said by Christmas I would have
A badassmother G. I. Joe
For your little minds to blow
I still got beat up after class

Yeah, now I’m big and important
One angry dwarf and 200 solemn faces are you
If you really want to see me check your papers and the T. V.
Look who’s tellin’ who what to do
Kiss my ass
Goodbye

Don’t give me that bullshit, you know who I am
I’m your nightmare little man
Vic, you stole my lunch money, made me cry
Jane, remember second grade?
Said you couldn’t stand my face
Rather than kiss me you said you’d rather die

Now I’m big and important
One angry dwarf and 200 solemn faces are you
If you really want to see me check your papers and the T. V.
Look who’s tellin’ who what to do
Kiss my ass
Goodbye

You’ll be sorry one day
Yes you will, yes you will
You shouldn’t push me around
’cause I will, yes I will
You will be sorry when I’m big
Yes you will, yes you will
You will be sorry

Now I’m big and important
One angry dwarf and 200 solemn faces are you
If you really want to see me check your papers and the T. V.
Look who’s tellin’ who what to do
Kiss my ass
Kiss my ass
Goodbye

 Feature #2: The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love”

Upbeat song that reminds one of the vicissitudes of adolescent emotionalism. A fascinating thing about singing is that in most cases you don’t hear the accent, yet you hear Robert Smith’s sexy British accent is clear as day.  If you aren’t familiar with The Cure, check them out. They were edgy (at least in my nook in the world) back in the day.

I don’t care if Monday’s blue
Tuesday’s grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don’t care about you
It’s Friday I’m in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Thursday doesn’t even start
It’s Friday I’m in love

Saturday wait
And Sunday always comes too late
But Friday never hesitate…

I don’t care if Monday’s black
Tuesday, Wednesday heart attack
Thursday never looking back
It’s Friday I’m in love

Monday you can hold your head
Tuesday, Wednesday stay in bed
Or Thursday watch the walls instead
It’s Friday I’m in love

Saturday wait
And Sunday always comes too late
But Friday never hesitate…

Dressed up to the eyes
It’s a wonderful surprise
To see your shoes and your spirits rise
Throwing out your frown
And just smiling at the sound
And as sleek as a shriek
Spinning round and round
Always take a big bite
It’s such a gorgeous sight
To see you eat in the middle of the night
You can never get enough
Enough of this stuff
It’s Friday
I’m in love

I don’t care if Monday’s blue
Tuesday’s grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don’t care about you
It’s Friday, I’m in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Thursday doesn’t even start
It’s Friday I’m in love

Feature #3: Brian McKnight’s “Back At One”

Here’s an R&B classic. It’s one of those must have songs that make it onto the wedding reception playlist. Nothing else to say other than it’s probably the only song on this list you’d feel okay listening to with the parents/grandparents.

It’s undeniable
That we should be together
It’s unbelievable
How I used to say that I’d fall never
The basis is need to know
If you don’t know just how I feel
Then let me show you now that I’m for real
If all things in time
Time will reveal
Yeah…

Chorus:
One – you’re like a dream come true
Two – just wanna be with you
Three – Girl it’s plain to see
That you’re the only one for me
Four – repeat steps one through three
Five – make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I’ll start back at one… Yeah…

So Incredible
The way things work themselves out
And all emotional
Once you know what it’s all about, babe
And undesirable
For us to be apart
Never would of made it very far
Cause you know you got the keys to my heart

(Chorus)
One – you’re like a dream come true
Two – just wanna be with you
Three – Girl it’s plain to see
That you’re the only one for me
Four – repeat steps one through three
Five – make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I’ll start back at one…

Say farewell to the dark of night
I see the coming of the sun
I feel like a little child
Whose life has just begun
You came and breathed new life
Into this lonely heart of mine
You threw out the life line
Just in the nick of time…

(Chorus)
One – you’re like a dream come true
Two – just wanna be with you
Three – Girl it’s plain to see
That you’re the only one for me
Four – repeat steps one through three
Five – make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I’ll start back at one…

Prime Surfaces for List Writing

Daily Prompt: The Satisfaction of a List

Who doesn’t love a list? So write one! Top five slices of pizza in your town, ten reasons disco will never die, the three secrets to happiness — go silly or go deep, just go list-y.
I love lists! But only by other people. I don’t myself bother much with lists.

A List for Your List

  • Lovely 8 1/2 x 11 college rule paper (old school, preferably in a perforated notebook)
  • Not as lovely 8 1/2 x 11 wide rule paper (also old school)
  • Toilet piece of paper (make do with what you have)
  • Blank side of used scrap paper (recycling is a good thing, Martha said)
  • Post it (where did I put that post-it???)
  • Inside of a toilet stall (questionable)
  • Public wall (graffiti or art, you decide)
  • iphone Notes (handy for on-the-go)
  • laptop Sticky Notes (possibly handy)
  • On your body (crib notes on your palm,  so high school. I’ve never done this & I’m sure you haven’t too)
  • Human brain (highly recommended, greatest invention of all time)