Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The NOH8 campaign recognizes transgender/sexual orientation equality and stands up against its bullies.
In support and conjunction with this, I thought it time we bring back into the spotlight an author of another time who was known for his ahead-of-his-time-brilliance, aesthetic flair and who also knew first hand what it was like to be persecuted -- and PROSECUTED-literally! -- for his sexual orientation:
OSCAR WILDE, noted and respected author of 'The Ideal Husband', 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray' (which translated into one of my favorite classic films).
Good ol' Oscar (who was quite handsome and dashing!) has a special place in this slightly bit 'o Irish heart of mine, having been born in Dublin, Ireland in 1854.
While Oscar was indeed married and fathered two sons with his wife, Constance, he was also not-so-secretly gay, having love affairs with several men in his lifetime.
During his imprisonment for "gross indecency" he wrote in De Profundis to Lord Alfred Douglas (one of his lovers): "To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul."
It was indeed Lord Alfred Douglas' own Father, Marquee of Queensberry, who led to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde by taunting him and leaving him his calling card with the written word: "Sodomite".
Oscar sued the Marquee for criminal libel, but soon charges were dismissed and the attention turned to Oscar himself, who was then put on trial for Sodomy, which was then a crime, and found guilty. He was sentenced -- and served -- two years of hard labor.
He was released in May of 1897 at the age of 42 and, once again, took up with Lord Alfred Douglas. By then, Constance had already banished her husband from his sons, although she did continue to help support him financially.
Oscar and Alfred's reunion was short-lived due to finances, family constraints and objections.
At the age of 46, Oscar died in poverty in a dingy Paris hotel in 1900 of Cerebral Menengitis, having converted to Catholicism on his death bed.
Just today, it was announced that his resting place is getting a 'makeover' due to the lipstick-kisses (yes, you read that correctly) that many fans over the decades have placed on his tomb, Ala Jim Morrison (who, ironically, is interred in the same Paris cemetary), which caused erosion and its decaying state. Now he will be imprisoned once again as his monument will now be untouchable and shrouded in glass.
I think Oscar himself would be very proud of the NOH8 movement and I find his own words ironic and befitting: "I wanted to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world... And so, indeed, I went out, and so I lived..."
The NOH8 movement came over 100 years too late for Oscar -- it's not, however, too late for us.
Love is love.
Stop the violence. Stop the bigotry. Stop the hate.
Peace, love and NOH8,
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Changing things up -- please bear with me while I regroup, reorganize and otherwise revamp my blog which includes a new title as well as design. What you see now may not be the final product...
This change has been long over-due and I'm sure it's merely symptomatic but nonetheless much needed.
Friday, September 2, 2011
What can really be gained in an hour or two?
A clean house.
Dinner made and eaten.
Catching up on correspondence.
A T.V. show or movie you've been wanting to catch.
But what bonds, if any, can be gained in such a short time?
B has an uncle (my brother who lives in another state) and cousins he's rarely seen that we will be spending some time with on Saturday morning -- they're here for a family wedding this Sunday that B is not attending, through no will or fault of his own (a long story best left UN-told for the sake of family peace and preservation).
I pushed for this get-together in spite of the fact that my out of state Clan has very limited time here: they come in quite late Friday night (and are staying at my other brother's house) and are leaving very early Monday the day after the festivities. This Saturday they have to go check into their hotel in the afternoon in the city the wedding is to take place -- and then they're off to do the L.A. sight-seeing thing.
So, the window of opportunity was quite a short one.
However, I pushed for it because B deserves equal time -- at least that's what I told myself when I started this.
The cousins from my two brothers are close -- they're close because my two brothers are close, growing up almost as twins with them being only eighteen months apart in age. There is an eight and ten year age difference between me and them.
No one has necessarily gone out of their way to make me feel out of the loop, but...nonetheless I have always felt that way. Again, I'm not placing blame.
Birth order is simply a bitch -- one who leaves vicious bite marks on my heart and conscience.
Then, I started to notice a pattern: whenever my out of state brother was here for this occasion or another -- more time was spent between them all. The same goes for any occasion that happened in their state: we never had the money to attend weddings out of state, but everyone else always seemed to, thus strengthening the family bond between them all.
Enter 'Facebook', texting, etc. to further cultivate their relationships.
Again, I felt left out of the inner sanctum...but this time I decided to get pro-active and do something about it, especially with B not
But am I really doing it for those reasons? For the reasons I claimed to be so fervently passionate about?
The answer is yes.
I have always needed, craved and searched for the love and respect of my older brothers.
Call it 'The Little Sister Needing Constant Attention Syndrome' -- although, I'd like to think I outgrew that years ago.
So, what gives?
Why do I still care so much?
Because I do.
I need to show them I'm no longer the UN-focused child/teen/young woman who cultivated with great care the black sheep reputation that's plagued me.
I need B. I need to show them all what I had a big hand in doing.
I need them to look at this bright, enlightened and decent twenty one year old and think: "Okay, perhaps we've mis-judged. Perhaps it's wrong we've only called you on national holidays. Perhaps it's wrong you've felt out of the loop and maybe, just perhaps, we could have done something different all these years."
What I know is this: we all have our own journey's and they're all different from the next persons. Their life is in the mid-west with different interests, philosophies and ideologies.
But wouldn't it be wonderful if they discovered something wonderful about me and my family they've missed out on all these years?
Wouldn't it be wonderful if they want to be even a small part of our journey?
Being grounded in some realism here, I also know that years of my journey and theirs being so separate and different, is it really possible to make up lost time in one short hour or two thinking that it's enough time to implement much needed change?
Tick, tick, tick...
I'll let you know when I do.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
~Today I am not with you
~Today I miss you
~Today you are in my thoughts
~Today I have regrets
~Today I need you
~Today I have hope
~Today I wish for you all that is good in your life
~Today you turn 25
Happy birthday to my beautiful daughter, C -- I hope one day we will be a family again...
Because today I love you -- and tomorrow I will, too.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Years ago, a lady went to the store. A Little while later, she came home with her goods -- and so much more~
Outside of the store was a box full of puppies being given away for free. The lady said: "No thanks -- at this time, that's just not for me."~
Half way to her car, something made her turn right back around. The cart seemed to have a mind of it's own as she headed back down~
To the front of the store she stood as she bent over that box. She picked up one of the puppies -- her heart melted and must've stopped~
To this day she doesn't know what made her do such a thing -- karmic happenstance, it seems, was tugging on her heart strings~
That lady was me and the puppy was you. For over twelve years unconditional love was abound between us two~
Daddy and Brendan loved you, too -- we couldn't have asked for a more loving companion than what we had in you~
Years went by and homes were changed, but our love for you and yours for us always remained~
Some people say, "dogs don't have souls", but those people didn't watch you grow from young to old~
They didn't see you grieve when furry family members died before you, they didn't see your gratefulness when you knew you would be joining them, too~
They didn't see you walk in pain as you grew old, just as they didn't feel the kisses you gave us as if to say: "Thank you for letting me go."~
You went so peacefully as we lied beside you. You made it easier for us to say good-bye, too~
It was the hardest thing we ever had to do. Losing you, like Juneau, happened way too soon~
But you had a long, happy life, our beloved companion and friend. And we know, one day, we will all be together once again~
To know you're with your furry brothers and sister brings me joy and hope. I can see you and Juneau now playing tug-of-war once again with the rope~
Like the pup you once were running and playing again, is the life you deserve even if it feels like our hearts may never mend~
It's been over a week now since you left, our lives feeling emptier and our hearts grief-stricken and bereft~
But today you came home the same way I found you all those years ago in June; in our home is a box...and in that box is you.
In loving memory of our beloved and faithful family member and companion, T.J.
"Death ends a life, not a relationship."
Friday, June 24, 2011
It seems that in my absence, I've forgotten how to blog eloquently & be gracious -- instead, I blah, blah, blah'd my way into apathy in the post below this one.
I won't remove it as it was indeed my truth: raw and obviously still fresh.
Still. Horrible excuse for coming across like a bitter, whiny woman with a "Look how wonderful I am..." attitude.
My apologies for coming off as such.
Wasn't my intention.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Hi again, all. Meant to be back yesterday but....well, we all know where good intentions lead.
To catch you up to speed, we have been in our new digs for nearly 5 months now. It's been a process and just when it finally looked like we were settled in, one of B's best friends, 'V', and his family were evicted from the house V grew up in by the spiteful relatives who owned it.
So, his parents and one of his older brothers moved in with some Aunts nearby where they sleep on air mattresses on the floor. Knowing that space was going to be an issue at the already crowded Aunt's house, we invited V and his other older brother, 'P' (whom we'd gotten to know and like) to move in with us temporarily. What we didn't know is that P's seven year old daughter lived with him permanently. Which means, she came with him. Her mother is in the military and is frequently deployed so it was agreed that she would live with P with Z's Mom seeing her as often as she could.
So, what started out as a bigger house with room to spare, ended up with 7 people on top of one another, including B and his girlfriend when they stay here (they divide their time between our house and her parents).
Luckily the seven year old, 'Z', was well behaved and, for the most part, I enjoyed having a little girl around again.
Unfortunately, we didn't realize what a bad father P is and how behind in reading Z was. She is on a Kindergarten reading level and how she passed 1st grade is beyond me.
So, I took her to the library and got her a library card and we checked out some books. So I wouldn't be held responsible for any unreturned books, her dad had to come and fill out the form.
What began as an exciting endeavor for me and for Z, ended up being a chore for her when she quickly lost interest and would rather spend her days with her unemployed Dad (who spent maybe one week looking for a job in the 2 1/2 months they lived here) watching inappropriate T.V. and playing equally inappropriate video games.
The whole thing was an exercise in frustration and my final straw was the last week they were here when I suggested one evening that her and I go read and she said "no". Fine, but when P doesn't reinforce her needing to read (and God forbid, he should read to her) and doesn't back me up, then it became an issue and the 2 1/2 months of them living under my roof rent free, was nearing it's end. And he knew it.
He announced the next day that he and Z would be moving in with his parents at the Aunt's house -- he received no arguments from Ed and I.
Let me just say that I became quite attached to Z and bought her many things in the time she was here to make life a little more fun and comfortable for her being in a strange house with people she didn't really know prior to moving in: arm floaties for the swimming pool, pool rafts, Barbie's, books, book bag with matching wallet (for her new library card), a bathing suit (one piece, thank you! Her old two piece scarcely fit and I deemed it inappropriate, whether it fit or not, for a 7 year old to be in a two piece), bath products, hair things, etc. And, so, when they moved out I was quite sad that he didn't make her say good-bye or 'thank you' to me. They went out the day they moved out and still had more stuff to pack and take with them -- he said they'd be back...but he never brought her back over to see me. She is now with her Mom for the summer.
It was a fine line I walked with not knowing what was our business and what wasn't. With no help in rent or utilities, I likely crossed a line or two deeming it my business to help raise Z right in the short time she was here. Whenever she went with her Mom for the weekend, they always met in a mutual place and I always resented that her Mom NOT ONCE came to pick up or drop off Z at our house to see where her daughter was living and with whom.
Not helping was the food situation -- I, of course, had to spend extra money on food and found it unacceptable when P would give Z a sugary snack 15 minutes before dinner was ready, the end result with her frequently not wanting to eat what I prepared & cooked.
Who could blame her? This is a little girl who would eat super sugary cereal or Hot Cheetos and Slurpees for breakfast and Lunchables for lunch. It also wasn't unusual for her to be given an ice cream and/or soda at 9:30 at night on a school night when she already should have been in bed. In my experience, a 7 year old shouldn't be going to bed at 10:00 and 10:30, more less with a belly full of sugar.
The ONLY thing P contributed to was in buying Z's breakfast & lunch stuff -- although, in fairness, he would frequently buy Ed & I a soda when he went to the store and a gallon of milk about once every two weeks.
No, really, THAT'S IT.
So, it started to become a point of contention. If Ed or I said anything, no matter how delicate we tried, it was met with defensiveness.
Moot point in his mind.
The ONLY thing he contributed work wise around the house was he helped us twice with yard work, never taking the initiative to mow when he saw it needed to be done, ONLY doing things if he knew we were going to be doing it ourselves. I can count on one hand how many times he took out the trash and he did the dishes once. ONCE.
What was supposed to be a temporary living solution, went on for way too long when we realized that NO ONE in their family was in any hurry to find a new home. The parents were quite happily placed at the Aunt's house with no one looking for a new place for them.
V was the only one who saw the need to help out: he frequently does dishes, takes the trash out when he sees it needs it and asks me every day if there's anything I need help with.
Needless to say, he's still here with us and he's welcome to stay for however long he needs.
He and I even went looking for houses to rent for them only for neither of his parents to get pro-active at looking themselves or even bothering to look at any of the links I sent them via E-mail.
V is as frustrated as I am but he knows my frustration doesn't lie with him.
The parents recently announced that they want to now BUY a house but that they need to save up first. Perhaps in the over 2 months they've lived at the Aunts, they should have already been doing that instead of spending a weekend in San Francisco just because, or getting her hair and nails done, going out to eat, going to a Dodger game and this, that and the other.
Must be nice. It's certainly nothing we can do.
V is still happily with us and we're happy to have him for however long it takes for his family to get their shit together. Could be a while.
In happier news, B turned 21 and got accepted to attend UCR in the fall (student loans, here we come).
B on his 21st birthday:
He and his girlfriend are back east right now for a family wedding on her side, something he saved up for. They took a bus trip to New York and spent two days there Monday and Tuesday, getting back to Maryland last night. They did things economically by taking a bus there and back, staying at a hostel in Chelsea (not a HOTEL) and taking the subway.
Neither had ever been to New York and he was thrilled with everything -- they fit in a lot of sites in two days: Ground Zero, Strawberry Fields, Central Park, Statue Of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building (they didn't go up because it costs money), the infamous Hotel Chelsea and ate at famed sites such as Gray's Papaya and Lombardi's Pizza. The most surprising thing? He said to forget what you think you know about New Yorkers: everyone there was super friendly and helpful to them!
They come back home to California on Monday.
In more happy news, I'd like to introduce you to our twins, Kaya and Kodiak (Kodi):
Kaya and Kodi, like their sister, Juneau, were named after Alaskan cities for their resemblance to Polar bears -- they are five month old Pomeranians and Juneau's full brother and sister.
They have brought Ed, B and I immeasurable joy and have helped with the healing process of losing Juneau.
Ed and Juneau shortly before her leaving us:
Kaya and Kodi are hoppy (not be confused with happy although, they are that, too--as are we!), silly, feisty, loving, very kissy and cuddly, as you can imagine.
They're also quite bark-y (something we're trying to break them of) and are finally starting to get the hang of potty training -- a long process and typical for small breeds.
Sleeping at night is still an issue as they require company or else none of us would get any sleep. They can't sleep in our room as Priscilla (Prissy), our 13 year old feline, really has made it quite clear that she isn't having it -- or them in her domain.
T.J., our 13 year old black Lab, merely tolerates them but otherwise isn't too bothered by Kaya and Kodi.
T.J. and Kodi:
So, I sleep in the living room with them or in B's room when he and his girlfriend aren't here.
It's then and ONLY THEN that I wonder: "What the hell were we thinking???". Then, I get woken up in the morning by sloppy wet kisses and it's then that I know that it's that kind of love and affection that makes all their pain in the ass behavior worth it -- and also that it won't always be like this and much of it they will outgrow with time, consistency and patience.
Other than that, overtime has slowed down, money is tight (do-able, though, but tight) and with other life issues I find myself at times barely coping and recognizing that place I don't want to go back to. So, I keep busy with normal routine stuff (dishes, laundry, watering the yards, puppy love, cooking, watching our favorite shows, etc.) to try and keep my focus. It's something I have to work very hard at maintaining -- it's not something that comes easy. Depression is always there letting me know who's in control and that it can indeed come back at any time.
I'm sure there's much more I've left out but I think I'm going to wrap it up and leave you with my eternal gratitude and thanks for all your caring comments over the past months.
I will try my hardest by weeks end to get back onto the blog and see what is new and happening in your worlds.
Peace & love,
Monday, June 20, 2011
Hi, all. I know it's been months and months since I last posted and I so appreciate everyone's concerns and well wishes. I've missed you all and thought of you quite frequently.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter (the4leafclover) know that I have taken the 'easy way out': instead of taking the time to eloquently write a blog update, I have found that in 140 characters or less, I can update with little effort.
However, I have also recognized the need to get back to blogging for so many reasons -- one is that I feel myself slipping into a dark place once again, whereas I was doing so well for so long...
I also know that blogging kept my sanity somewhat in tact during my dark time a few years back.
So, note that I will be back (hoping tomorrow) with an update on what the bloody hell has been going on in the life and mind of Jo -- there will be something for everyone: a few little surprises in the form of puppy love, some growth, some realizations and some f***-up's.
Until then, sending you all much love, thanks, peace, joy, friendship and good health.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
What's it been? Two months? Too long. I think of my dear friends, Elle, Jules, Steven and Michael and all my followers every day and have missed you all madly!
We moved about a week and a half ago, just a few blocks, really, but it's been an exhausting process and one I'm glad is 'over'. Well, over in the sense that we're here and nearly settled in, but not over in the fact that I feel at home, at ease....
I look around at all my familiar things and notice they -- and I -- are once again out of our element and have ventured into unfamiliar territory.
The things are mine, and while we pay to live here -- is it really mine? Is this really my life?
I feel as if I'm visiting someone else's house and find myself shuffling through cabinets and drawers that aren't technically mine looking for things that are.
This is a strange ethereal like storm I seem to be in: the sky is blue, the air crisp, borderlining on warm, with nary a cloud in sight...yet I feel rumpled and ruffled as if tumbled and jumbled in a gust of gale winds that landed me in Oz, without the singing of Glinda and the Munchkins to welcome me.
I keep clicking my heels...but, I still feel a sense of disturbance even though I am now still -- on the outside.
No yellow brick road or great wizard in sight -- however faux -- to seek out. No Scarecrow or Tin Man to accompany me, although I suspect that I am indeed the Cowardly Lion in the guise of an almost 45 year old female not dealing well, once again, with change.
Ed and B love it and are quite happily placed, trying to project their happiness onto me. Telling me that I will come to love it and it will be fine.
I want that assurance and fulfillment -- and I find myself fraught with envy.
In the long run, I know this was a cyclone that needed to happen in order to improve our financial health and put things back in order.
I guess I just have yet to appreciate it's significance and what this tempest will come to mean for our lives.
I wish I were braver. Calmer. Eager to embrace.
I wish I was home.