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by KimChi
Rated: 18+ · Book · Inspirational · #1201980
Coffee and ideas bouncing off the walls.
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Grab a cuppa Joe and fall into a seat. Here you may find the latest news, a bit of gossip, a rant, or a movie review. You'll definitely see what makes me tick.

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July 10, 2007 at 8:26pm
July 10, 2007 at 8:26pm
I swear some men have no sense whatsoever. (Note the qualifier.) I asked my husband to watch Doodle in her little pool, and less than five minutes later I walked into the kitchen and noticed her standing on top of the plastic slide with a hose in her hand. It’s only about four feet, but still. Water tends to be slippery—I’ve seen her butt shoot halfway across the lawn coming down that thing when it’s wet. If she fell while standing, she could crack her head open.

And if this ain’t a mom’s paranoia, the first thought that popped in my mind was:
“Doesn’t he know it takes 9 months to bake one of those, and we ain’t got no more eggs?”

Yeah, kids are resilient, and it is amazing she made it to four, but I’d prefer she doesn’t get a motorcycle anytime soon. If he had his way she’d be in the Joey Chitwood show.

I guess that’s why dads are good--moms never let ya have any real fun. "Real" is defined as "the kind where you might crack your head open." *Laugh*
July 9, 2007 at 3:11pm
July 9, 2007 at 3:11pm
It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin’
Trees flew by, me and del were singin’ little runaway
I was flyin’

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

I felt so good like anything was possible
I hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes
The last three days the rain was un-stoppable
It was always cold, no sunshine


I rolled on as the sky grew dark
I put the pedal down to make some time
There’s something good waitin’ down this road
I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine

-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

I've gone through 200 e-mails--that is the first step to getting back into the flow. I haven't finished William Writer's reviews, and I owe a few other people, too. I have yet to edit my pieces that got so many awesome reviews I won in various auctions.

But I'm slogging through--because this site is one of the main sources that will get me closer to my goal. Not to mention the great friends and acquaintances who give invaluable advice on life in addition to writing.

Bear with me for a few more weeks. At least six of my eight cylinders are pumping, with only the occasional backfire. The batteries are close to full capacity.

Kimchi had to sit out a few laps, but she's back in the race. The body's seen better days, but we fixed the thermostat, and with the right mixture of fuel and additives, I think her motor will last a while yet.

Sometimes you gotta stop wishing for a nicer car and take care of the one you've got. Yeah, Jaguars look good, but they're high maintenance. Everyone knows that Toyotas last forever. *Laugh*

July 8, 2007 at 12:03pm
July 8, 2007 at 12:03pm
There's a river born to be a giver
Keep you warm won't let you shiver
H[er] heart is never gonna wither
Come on everybody time to deliver

Give it away give it away give it away now

-Red Hot Chili Peppers

Just a quick note of congratulations to three of the most beautiful ladies on this site.

fyn , SHERRI GIBSON , and GabriellaR45 have all been promoted to moderator! Their blue cases are truly deserved for all the hard work they do encouraging writers and spreading good vibes in their own unique ways.

If you get a chance, drop them a note, and give 'em some love!
July 1, 2007 at 12:54pm
July 1, 2007 at 12:54pm
Remember I said I don't like form poetry? Here is more proof that the chick typing isn't me. But don't tell her I said that--she gets pissed at the smallest slight these days.

This lady figured that instead of whining about her problems she should describe them. So she wrote an English sonnet about her "visions" for the Quotation Inspiration contest. In usual fashion, she took a medical event and turned it into a spiritual epiphany. As long as she keeps making lemonade out of vitamin C tablets, I'll keep her around. But I don't care if Lithium is bad for the thyroid--the day she starts channeling Rice Krispies she's going to the eighth floor.

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by A Guest Visitor
June 24, 2007 at 12:26pm
June 24, 2007 at 12:26pm
Be Still Thy Soul
Music & Lyrics by Bradfield

Be still thy soul
Relinquish this hold
Make thee again whole
Be still thy mind
Let thee unwind
And seek out a shrine

Harvest the gold
That's planted around you
Strand by strand
You'll be somewhat more certain
Carve out your role
And reach for the heavens
All you can dream
What you can be
Know that the sky will deliver

Bestir thy heart
With journeys afar
And rivers of stars
Bestow thy love
On all that ye touch
On all that ye may

Hence, let it be told
That rhyme will be reason
Paint your world
With shades that will uplift you
And break, break from the mold
Shake off the illusions
Never again lost in dismay
All that you need is within you

Be still thy soul
And fix on the goal
Thy tale will be told
Be still thy mind
Make thee one
With the source of life.

You can download this song and two others for free at:

June 14, 2007 at 10:32pm
June 14, 2007 at 10:32pm
that says 15 miles to the...


Love Shack yeah

I'm headin' down the Harry Byrd Highway, smug and grateful for the hail shots I captured with the digital that already held bouncing ballerinas with medals proclaiming “I’m a Star!” An act of nature, a full belly, an adjusted spine, and a beaming, quiet child? You might say I was in the mood to be singin'.

Hail to the...No Freakin' Way:

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

Doodle the Dancing Gangsta:

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

I swung back onto the pavement to
"Black Magic Woman" and the beat sunk into my soul while the topnotes tickled my skull. Through dark clouds, the sun had laid claim on me, and I shimmied and shined like a crazy diamond as I sped on down to the "Love Shack".

"Everybody's movin', everybody's groovin' baby!"

By the time I got to the traffic light in Tysons I was in full-on psyche-dancin’ queen mode. Shoulder boppin', head bangin', walkin' like an Egyptian circa 1985.

Drivin' Diva, I was.

I'm quite sure the teens in the Camry were laughing along with the effervescence of my eternal youth. They don't even know me; it was only parnoia that came up with the names "Menopausal Medusa", and "Hashimoto's Harpie".
Get thee behind me, foul lies--you can't spoil my joy!

Them boys just delighted to watch me get ma groove on!

A year’s worth of song erupted from my lungs, and my body had to gyrate to compensate for the force. A bit messy, but sometimes you gotta get your funk out.
There is no shame in such bodily functions, and anyway… it’ a common infectious disease. You know the rhythm is gonna getcha!

"folks line up outside

just to get down".

Love baby. That's where it's at.
May 20, 2007 at 2:21pm
May 20, 2007 at 2:21pm
I found this survey, "MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and took the Meyers-Briggs personality survey, which set me to thinking about humans. Not that I normally think about orangutans, but bear with me.

Humans are fascinating creatures. We contradict ourselves at every turn, and I am no exception. I am of two minds—always.

I am a misanthrope—I do not like people, and feel claustrophobic in crowded settings. I think modern culture is idiotic for ruining the environment, and for not practicing anything we preach.

I am an anthropologist—I love to study people, entire cultures, and especially crowds. I want to know how humans impact the environment, and how they form laws and customs.

So to further elucidate the ways in which I, a human, am contradictory, here goes.

1. It makes me skin crawl to see broken, bleeding, disjointed text. It shows a complete disregard for the rules of grammar, and disrespect toward the writer and the reader. On the other hand, I dislike form poetry. I don’t merely break the rules—I completely flaunt convention and make up my own.

2. It makes me livid to hear people claim they have the one, true religion. It seems arrogant, and to be honest—ignorant and/or disrespectful of the disciplines of science, history, and anthropology. Yet not only do I believe in one God, I also believe every breakthrough in science, every lesson of history, and every cultural more is revealed only at the will of the Creator.

3. While I have been known to don the collar of a scholar on the page, in person my speech shows the sunburned neck of a sailor. So much for respect, eh?

4. I prefer herbal supplements, see a chiropractor and a naturopath, have a vegetarian diet, and drink gallons of water every day. I also smoke, rarely get exercise, and drink too much coffee.

5. I tout honesty, yet lie to myself daily.

6. I love to play in the dirt, but my floor has to be clear and spotless at all times or I freak out.

7. At work, I am diligent, thorough, and organized to the point of color-coding and cross-indexing my files. At home, I keep lists that are immediately buried under piles of paper, forget birthdays, and will clean half the bathtub and quit.

I figure it all balances out in the end.

Now, in the spirit of balance…tell me your hypocrisies…

May 12, 2007 at 12:46pm
May 12, 2007 at 12:46pm
I was reading the blog, "Invalid Item"   by A Guest Visitor , and she mentioned how much hard work it is rearing children, but worthwile. It reminded me of my sister's goal as a mother: "If they know I love them then I have succeeded." Which in turn, brought to memory a poem I read years ago. I found it on the internet again as written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, so here it is. The portion in bold has stuck with me all these years. To me it is one of the greatest measures of what it is to human.

The Invitation
by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

© Mountaindreaming, from the book The Invitation published by HarperSanFrancisco, 1999 All rights reserved

So my question is, how do you (personally) measure a person? We all do it...I'll be the first to say my brother is a loser...he can't keep a job, and he is more concerned with partying than his son's welfare. What are clues to someone's personality? How they handle rainy days and lost luggage? How they treat children and animals? Or do you have your own criteria?

May 10, 2007 at 12:59pm
May 10, 2007 at 12:59pm
I’m feeling generous today. Or maybe I’m feeling randy.

This movie stars Jessica Alba, who has an incredible body, but only four facial expressions. Her boyfriend, played by Paul Walker, only has three: happy, angry, and serious. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about all the ripped abs and bulging biceps. Some of the bad guys are especially hunky. I didn’t even recognize Josh Brolin. Even if he doesn’t make the fiercest bad guy, he has certainly aged like a fine wine.

Besides some great underwater scenes, the entire movie is one large cliché—Romeo and Juliet meet Bonnie and Clyde and go scuba diving. Except the lovers live and Bonnie is so stupid she robs the wrong bank. The acting is decent, and Scott Cahn inserts comic relief in the role of the lawyer/playboy who refuses to grow up.

There are several places where the story swims into uncharted waters—and becomes shark bait. Leaving aside the improbability of finding a shipwreck with a gaggingly romantic myth affixed, the friends happen upon an artifact with the inscription “Sic Semper Tyranus”. Now, I’m thinking this is a relatively well known phrase. I know Virginians learn it in fourth grade, and anyone who has ever watched a single movie with a Marine knows what “semper” means. And yet the big shot defense lawyer stands mute while the cokehead blonde just happens to know Latin. Id est...excreta tauri. Freely translated, of course.

Another hitch is when they are free diving, and decide to swim another 100 yards to explore a downed plane. Don’t cut the story into bits of indiscernible flipper motions, pound some music in my brain and think I won’t notice the scene has gone over three minutes. They aren’t professional pearl divers, they’re beach bums scooting around the Bahamas on jet skis, for Poseidon’s sake.

But the part that really skinned my nose was the shark attack scene. Complete blackness, swishing bubbles, and then cut to the next scene. They could have put a bit more effort into it. A plaquard with an art-deco border and the word "CHOMP" would have been more illustrative.

The jet ski segment was tres cool, and there was a nice shot of Walker sans tank, standing on the shallow bottom with a boat above. The underwater camera work was great. Lots of bright fish, a hidden cave--even an excavation. There were several times I became one with the ocean--which is a huge deal because I’m aquaphobic. I would give it to the camera people, but I watched the extras, so I know they had a blast just doing their jobs. Nope, this Oscar goes to the hardworking fins whose home was invaded by aqua-lunging mammals—they don’t have agents to land them a gig where they get paid to splash around.

Completely mindless entertainment. My husband says he enjoyed it because the fish reminded him of his former business creating salt water tanks for restaurants. Listen, babe, I didn't crawl onto the shore from the primordial ooze yesterday, ya know... *Rolleyes*

May 7, 2007 at 11:20am
May 7, 2007 at 11:20am
I think this is probably THE most inspiration song for me. First of all, I can sing along even though it is in a man's range. Secondly, Hoon's soul comes rushing to greet you on the "and when you're deepest thoughts are broken" line. It shivers me timbres.

I'm horrible about not changing when I need to. The biggest irony is that the lyrics that can lift me out of depression and get me off my ass were penned and sung by a man who overdosed on heroin. No, humans do not take their own advice.

by Blind Melon

I don't feel the suns comin' out today
it's staying in, it's gonna find another way.
As I sit here in this misery, I don't
think I'll ever (no, Lord) see the sun from here.

And oh as I fade away,
they'll all look at me and say, and they'll say,
Hey look at him! I'll never live that way.
But that's okay
they're just afraid to change.

When you feel your life ain't worth living
you've got to stand up and
take a look around you then a look way up to the sky.
And when your deepest thoughts are broken,
keep on dreaming boy, cause when you stop dreamin' it's time to die.

And as we all play parts of tomorrow,
some ways we'll work and other ways we'll play.
But I know we all can't stay here forever,
so I want to write my words on the face of today.
and then they'll paint it.

And oh as I fade away,
they'll all look at me and they'll say,
Hey look at him and where he is these days.
When life is hard, you have to change.
May 6, 2007 at 12:09pm
May 6, 2007 at 12:09pm
The characters in House of Me need new names, and if I pick your name, you make an easy 5 gs!

Now, I'm not doing this out of the goodness of my massively kind and humble heart. No, I need help. Perhaps new names will inspire me to actually work on the book. Maybe one of them will come to life, and make me so mad I kill them off. I know who I am supposed to whack, but she's so sweet that I just can't Harold Glick her at the moment...

By the way, the book is rated GC per a moderator's request. It does have lots of bad language, a little bit of romantic sex, and a tiny bit of violence. I'd also love any tips you may have to make this contest a success, so drop by when you have time and help me name my homies!

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#1257373 by Not Available.

April 30, 2007 at 8:14pm
April 30, 2007 at 8:14pm
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

April 26, 2007 at 7:32pm
April 26, 2007 at 7:32pm
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by A Guest Visitor

How sweet is that? If everyone had only one friend so thoughtful the world would be so much brighter.
April 18, 2007 at 4:20pm
April 18, 2007 at 4:20pm
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

-John Lennon
April 15, 2007 at 6:09pm
April 15, 2007 at 6:09pm

Alright, I love me some Elisabeth Shue. Mmm mmm good. She isn't just a pretty face, but a decent actress. Her co-star, Steven Makintosh? Not my taste. They did the best they could with the script, and more than likely filmed it in their sleep. Who can blame them? The suspense of this plot was cooked before my three minute egg.

A brilliant ballerina living in a city flat, moves to an idyllic, sprawling estate to have a baby. Pu-leaze, my grandpa could see it coming a country mile without his spectacles. Still, if you add a few creepy symbols, in this case; a doll, a diary, and a stern nanny, into a hormonal soup--you should have a Chunky psychological thriller. Unfortunately this is tepid, canned, Chicken with Stars--considered nutritional only if you can't lift your head from the pillow. If you can find the outlines of the teenager, the diary, and witchcraft in this watered-down mess, you've obviously opened more cans of cartoon-themed pasta than I. You have my sympathy.

The condensed version: colicky baby girl; distant, overworked daddy; lonely mom suffering from post-partum depression = accidental infanticide. Yawn. If not for the gorgeous manse and the ethereal opening ballet sequence, I would've given zero stars. I should have turned it off before the horrifyingly underwhelming scene of a knife-weilding Shue chasing her own shadow. But I was too weak to lift my hand to reach the remote.

April 6, 2007 at 2:57pm
April 6, 2007 at 2:57pm

I have been unwell lately, so my husband graciously brings me a movie to watch each night while I embrace my beloved heating pad, and await the nausea and oblivion of Vicodin.

"Casanova" sat for a few days, because my husband has been watching movies with me. He had absolutely no use for “Dangerous Liasons”, which is one of my all time favorites. We both concluded that the title denoted an historical chick flick. He prefers a good car chase, and at least one grisly murder.

Finally, we had no more online videos to return, and "Casanova" went in the player. We were both pleasantly surprised. He actually enjoyed it. Of course, it may have been the sword fighting—who knows?

The opening was brilliant. A little history of the MC’s exploits, and an example of his way with the ladies. The rooftop chase by the authorities was the middle of a segment of pursuit begun by the inhabitants of…the convent.

My man’s main problem with “Dangerous Liasons” was the archaic language. Even I had some difficulty getting into the groove. Casanova is not as true to form as perhaps it could be. Of course, I wasn’t really looking for anachronisms, I was looking at the gorgeous Venetian scenery. It was worth the rental price just to see the ostentatious costumes and outrageous frivolity of the pre-Lenten street scene. Aw, who am I kidding? I was entranced by the lickable lips and chiseled cheek bones of Heath Ledger, of “Brokeback Mountain” fame. Sell my clothes: I’m going to Carnivale.

The plot is based on quite a few cases of mistaken identity, some deliberately employed. The running theme, is, of course, sex. This includes a subplot about the Church’s attempt to clean up the wanton adultery allowed by Venetian authorities. The inquisitor arrives, played flawlessly by Jeremy Irons--a repressed Cardinal who delights in torturing victims to obtain confessions. He delivers such wry lines as: “We're here to discover heresy and criminal licentiousness. If there's bacon involved, I dread to imagine the depths of depravity I'm going to find here in Venice.”

I doubt the film is historically accurate concerning speech or women’s roles, but it is funny. There is a feminist writing under a nome de plume, a thespian mother who deserts her son, and a horny widow who finds love in the arms of a large baron of lard. The sex scenes are tastefully incomplete, and the fighting tastefully bloodless.

But, the best part for me was the nuanced acting. I realize that the scenes were chopped, sliced, and spliced to get the facial expressions right. And get it right they did. A raised eyebrow, an open mouth, a grimace…all conveyed more information than the loose dialogue.

If you are looking for a good time, watch "Casanova". Make sure you have handy a goblet of wine and a bag of pork skins. You won’t want to miss the symbolism of the leash, or the incredibly fleshy rendering of the minor players. Delicious movie.
March 21, 2007 at 1:44pm
March 21, 2007 at 1:44pm
No reviewing, no blogging; I am actually working on my novel and my short story. And of course spring cleaning. Two months ago I would scream "don't you dare come in without wiping your feet!" Today, I notice the cobwebs and fingerprints, and I'd rather describe them than wipe them away. But there is always time for sappy poetry, doncha think?

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by A Guest Visitor

My husband said, "You wrote a poem about weeding? Try not to clean the oven this week, please."
March 5, 2007 at 11:08am
March 5, 2007 at 11:08am
I'm off to Little Gym in a moment to make up one of Doodle's ballet classes, but I wanted to share two important items. Important to me, that is.

One, I received an Honorable Mention in matthewhuge's contest, "Invalid Item. Go me! Big props to him, because I never would have attempted to learn WritingML otherwise. I was once "computer illiterate", but I ain't skeered no more.

Second, I'm writing a short story. *chirp*

Ok, so again, no big deal, except I've never written one before. Nope. I'm sure I was forced to in a literature class at some point, but I have no recollection of such an event. I've never been awakened at 4am with an idea that I had to write down. My husband thinks I'm nuts, but I'm not sure why that would be surprising.

I have the bones, but I'm stuck on point of view. I'll have to check out some of my favorite authors here and see how it is done.

It is another spring-like day and it will be nice to clean out my garden. I haven't been doing much reviewing lately because the weather has been so wonderful. Maybe I'll get back into it this week, but to be honest, I hope not...
January 22, 2007 at 1:26pm
January 22, 2007 at 1:26pm
(With thanks to jspinelli for sending me into the past to examine the meaning of “success”.)

In my twenties, I worked as an archaeologist. It wasn’t as exciting as it sounds. Most of the time we were bored; digging shallow holes every 50 feet in the forest, only to find broken beer bottles and candy wrappers. It didn’t take long until that monotony was eclipsed by fatalism. We were merely janitors, sweeping away the primitive clay sherds of the past to make way for the future: gleaming towers of steel and glass baking in the sun.

Infrequently, we would find unusual artifacts to ignite our imaginations. We competed to see who could invent the most outlandish stories to explain the broken clues of a life deemed unworthy of inclusion in the history books. The fisherman on the banks of the Chesapeake who drank from fine china was having an affair with the governor’s wife. The gun in the ten-seat latrine in Old Town Alexandria belonged to a Confederate spy, discarded by the Union soldier who shot him in the back. His body obviously lay somewhere near the railroad tracks we had not excavated.

Our boss not only encouraged such speculation—he was the master storyteller. It was hard to determine whether he was pulling from his vast knowledge or from his own life, for he embodied the nutty professor archetype: both a voracious reader, and a wildman. He was also blunt to the point of rudeness, but under the tough exterior lay a center of true compassion. I was surprised to learn that he wrote love poetry, and felt honored when he asked me, a college kid, to critique it—and I walked on clouds when he took my suggestions to heart.

Bill never knew that a field trip to the Thunderbird site that was his passion was the pivotal experience of my life. I stood mesmerized by one display case in particular. The other kids glanced at the scraps of stone scattered around a hole in the ground before walking on. But I saw the dark haired man sitting in the glow of the firepit. He was clad in a single piece of cloth, talking causally as he chipped at the hunk of chert to reveal the tool that would keep his family fed. He glanced at me and lifted his rough hand in greeting as the teacher pulled me away.

Before that day, anthropology was only a collection of words in a book. From that point on, my driving goal was to bring the Native to life so others could see him. I would trot across the continents, with a moldy scroll under one arm and a skull under the other, resurrecting entire cultures from their loamy graves.

Bill did not remember my visit to his office for career day. He warned me that there were few women in archaeology—it was still a man’s realm. His wife Joan, the breathing evidence that belied his words, rolled her eyes and gave me the tour, explaining that Bill was actually harmless. I know now that he was not trying to discourage me, but strengthen my resolve. He saw a shy 16 yr old from the farm, and correctly measured my confidence level somewhere between gnat and beaten dog. It would take many years before the girl who could not order her own Happy Meal would be ready for the brutal questions of an oral exam.

Unlike Bill, I eventually gave up my idealism. I had explored the terrain and customs of foreign countries with confidence. I had proven to myself that I was smart enough and strong enough to be whatever I wanted. What I wanted was money and a family; and I was in the wrong line of work to join the Jones’.

I promised myself as a child that I would never regret the path my life has taken. I miss the excitement of being the first person to find the arrowhead that grazed a deer centuries ago. I miss sketching the undulating profiles of Mayan temple floors, the only evidence of a progression of clerics bearing bowls of fruit in offering to the Gods. I miss poring over the statistics to find the key to saving a plot of land for posterity. And I miss Bill. But I have no regrets in leaving the field for the green pastures of motherhood.

I never told Bill that he had introduced me to my Indian friend. He would merely have scoffed at my romantic flight of fancy, and urged me to pick up my shovel if I wanted a paycheck. While he would never admit it, he too, saw the ghost from the past—who still visits me sometimes in my dreams.

The cliché “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is never more true than in the field of archaeology. The site Dr. Gardner discovered, held in trust by the state of Virginia, will lie forever as a testament to his dedication, awaiting new trowels and new technology. But his true legacy is hidden in the untold number of people he inspired to look beneath the surface of life. Dr. Gardner has my eternal gratitude: not only for teaching me how to find the lessons in the past; but also for showing me how to uncover the priceless gems hidden inside my own thrift store clothes.

In memory
Dr. William Gardner, PhD

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January 18, 2007 at 12:42pm
January 18, 2007 at 12:42pm
My father does not own a tie. He missed most of my rites of passage--even my graduation from college, which was the first in our family’s history. He attended only one wedding of any of his six children—my second one. I’m not sure if it was out of respect for my mother, who had died months before, or because it was held in my back yard, but I felt honored. The usual response to requests to travel out of his own county and into the bustling metropolis was “When pigs fly.”

Neither of us are getting any younger, and I have been bugging him to come up from the country to watch his granddaughter’s ballet recital. Reluctantly, he agreed to attend her third recital in 4 years; his first in 77. He had cancelled yesterday morning; as he had a sore throat, and his bursitis was acting up; but surprised us by appearing anyway. That’s my dad. A promise is a promise, and if he wasn’t in the hospital, he was well enough to drive. There was no in between; as doctors were, in his words: “Useless as tits on a boar hog.”

We arrived early, and left the little princess to play with her troupe while we smoked out back. As we discussed the usual: country ham and guinea eggs; NASCAR, and the price of gas; I looked at the toothless old salt in the plaid shirt and greasy towing cap--and questioned both my motives and my parenting. I drug this sick geezer out in the cold to watch a child jump around in a leotard.

He asked how much I pay for what he probably considered a glorified play date, and I wondered how a man who thought Wal-Mart overpriced would process this French frippery. He inhaled my answer with his next toke, and followed the smoke with his eyes, as if the cloud held answers to the figurin’ in his mind. I knew he was converting the yearly sum into his own currency; more than likely visualizing a trio of rusty blue Escorts—but he kept the answer and any judgement to himself.

Would he think I was spoiling her? My “lessons” at that age had been in milking cows and slaughtering chickens. (And yes, twitching headless fowl still haunt my dreams.) What would this man of few words say to encourage her? His idea of an inspirational talk consisted of: “life is hard; you just gotta suck it up and keep goin’”.

I shouldn’t have worried. The royal procession began; a parade of innocent angels, with the pink petals of heaven's meadow still tangled in their skirts: and the wizened tribal elder was transformed into a Happy Buddha. I wanted to rub his little flannel beer belly for luck--but it was obscured by the blinding light that emanated from his smile; the smile plastered to his lips for the full hour. His granddaughter was fueling this inner glow, this burst of vitality. The tiny white blur of swirling silk was the light of his world.

I looked at her then, too, not to see if she missed any of those expensive steps, but to see if she was “in joy” in attempting them. Her pleasure at simply staying on her feet as she twirled to her own internal rhythm more than made up for her lack of technique. The fairy princess looked to me for approval, and I mirrored her PawPaw’s beams.

During one of our dancing sessions last week, in preparation for the big show, she had confided in me: “Mommy, the Twelve Dancing Princesses do real ma-zhic—they fly in the air!” She continued sadly: “Wish I could dance like that.”

At that time, I gave her the standard “practice makes perfect” speech, as required by the parenting handbook. Had I been paying attention the answer would have been: “You already do.”

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