Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #15

13 Things about His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

I am reading the book "How To Practice The Way to a Meaningful Life" by his holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. It's a great book, easily read and understood and prompted me to find out more about the history of the Dalai Lamas, who are the religious heads of the people of Tibet.

I remember first hearing about the Dalai Lama when the actor Richard Gere became a Buddhist and brought the occupation of Tibet by China into the forefront. It was then I heard that the Dalai Lama had to flee his country to India for safety and how the people of Tibet have suffered under Chinese rule.

So without further ado, here are 13 things about his holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama:

1. The title Dalai Lama is granted to the each of the previous leaders successive reincarnations. In other words, after the passing of the 13th Dalai Lama, his reincarnation will be titled the 14th Dalai Lama. This position is one of both head of state and spiritual leader of the people of Tibet.

2. Upon the death of a Dalai Lama, his monks begin the search for his reincarnation in the form of a small child. This search lasts usually several years and the "chosen one" generally demonstrates some familiarity with the possessions of the previous Dalai Lama.

3. Once the "golden child" is chosen, he is taken to Lhasa to be trained by the other Lamas. His curriculum consisted of 5 major and 5 minor subjects: Logic, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine and Buddhist philosophy; the minor subjects being: poetry, music and drama, astrology, motre and phrasing and synonyms.

4. On December 17, 1933 the 13th Dalai Lama passes away at the age of 57.

5. On July 6, 1935, Tenzin Gyatso is born in Taktser, Kumbum (Amdo).

6. At the age of 4, he travels for 3 months to Lhasa and later that year there is public declaration of the Official Recognition of the 14th Dalai Lama.

7. He begins his monastic education at the age of five in 1940 and at the age of 15 on November 17, 1950 assumes full political power after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1949.

8. From December 16, 1950 to 1959, the Dalai Lama was constantly moved due to threats by the Chinese military leaders. He visits China for peace talks extensively from 1954 to 1955, but by 1959, he narrowly escapes his homeland after the Chinese fire artillery shells at his residence.

9. On March 30, 1959, the Dalai Lama enters India and has remained in exile since.

10. During the 1960's and 1970's, he travels extensively throughout Europe and the west, not pleading his specific cause, but for peace between all nations.

11. He addresses Congress on September 21, 1987 with the proposed peace plan: transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of peace; abandonment of China's population transfer policy that threatens the very existence fo the Tibetans as a people; respect for the Tibetan people's fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms; restoration and protection of Tibet's natural environment and China's use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of of nuclear waste; and the commencement of earnest negotiations concerning the future of the relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people.

12. December 10, 1989 the Dalai Lama is awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in Oslo, Norway.

13, The Dalai Lama is the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental problems.

Here is his chair in Tibet, where one day the man who describes himself as a "simple Buddhist monk" hopes he will be able to rest in once again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hospital Holiday

Sure. I miss my Thursday Thirteen and then I missed the entire next weekend because I took a Hospital Holiday on Friday and Saturday.

As a rule, Hospital Holidays are awful. Food sucks, you can't get decent cable channels, no one lets you sleep and the beds are just forensic autopsy tables with a white sheet over them. Room service is atrocious and you have to sleep with strangers with only a thin sheet hanging between you and whatever bodily functions they need to discuss or operate.

The lady next to me moaned the entire time. She kept calling the hospital operator (not the nurse's station) to ask for a bedpan for her hotel room. Everyone from the hospital operator to the nurses thought she was a prank caller and no one answered her requests until she started screaming that she had an accident in the bed.

I have already put in special requests to those closest to me that if I ever get like that, they have my permission to drive me out into the country, kick me out of the car and leave me for dead.

All I wanted to do was have my tests, rest and go home. While I felt extremely sorry for her, I wanted her to remember that midnight is NIGHT and is the typical time for a trip to REM sleep, but she didn't quite understand that. Well, not until 5 am when she shut off the light, the TV and fell into a blissfully undisturbed sleep, while I was awakened by my doctors and the need to go have tests.

I wondered though, did she plan on living in the 1940's during her dementia and waiting for Errol Flynn to pick her up for their date at the Brown Derby? You know, my friends and I have PLANS for our dementia. This frightening incident awakened me to the fact that we need to be prepared for a Dementia Plan B, in case I can't remember who George Harrison is, Anne can't remember Sir Paul and Colleen can't recall who the hell that boy from Brooklyn was whom she thought was so HOT.

This is a sad state of affairs. I had been looking forward to my old age, sitting in the rocking chair, fully mentally immersed in the 1960's London music scene, with George driving us back to our house in Esher in the new mini. Now, I face the fact that I might be screaming for a nurse to deliver a bed pan to my hotel room and then rotating only these 2 thoughts: #1 -- I WANT TO GO HOME and #2 -- I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME.

And you are completely right. My roomie did nothing to help my panic/anxiety attack, chest pain and shortness of breath (my standard hospital ER diagnosis). However, the tests show that my heart is fine. My panic isn't so fine, but I'll keep working on it.

I will also contact Anne and Colleen. We must begin preparing Dementia Plan B. Perhaps I could convince Colleen that I could take the boy from Brooklyn.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mental Vacation

I started my new job and my brain completely forgot it was Wed, which in my world means "Thursday Thirteen". Go figure.

So TT'ers -- I'll stop by and visit you and I'll be 13-ing next week!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

To The Left Of Normal....

I am basically a sane person. I manage to get to work daily, feed my kids, get them to the dentist twice a year, make sure the cats have water and throw bleach in the toilet every week. Yes, my laundry piles up and sometimes (alot of times) there are dishes in the sink. Regardless, Sean and Erin are fairly well adjusted, can speak in full sentences and say "excuse me" if they burp. Their knuckles do not drag on the ground when they walk, nor do they drool (while awake).

However, I am a bit "touched". I've always been "touched". I've been "touched" as far back as I can remember.

I said one time to my friend Colleen in a alcohol fueled exclusive that I frequently "talk" to myself -- I also "talk" to fictional characters, I "talk" to celebritites, I wonder what conversation I would have with Abe Lincoln or Mary Lincoln, for that matter. I know at some point I will be in the nursing home psych unit, thinking I am George Harrison's wife and waiting for my man to come home from tour.

I comfort myself by saying this is the writer in me. I make up conversations with Mr. Spock and Fox Mulder and Keith Richards and John Barrymore. In my imagination, I've been to the Academy Awards, the Emmy's, the Tony's. I've been to celebrity parties, Van Cliburn's triumphant 1958 piano concert in Moscow and walked the red carpet (about 50 pounds thinner in a lovely black dress). I've solved warp drive problems with Mr. Spock and finally found Fox Mulder's long lost sister. And I don't know HOW many times John Lennon and I sat around talking about the 60's.

But low and behold, Colleen admitted during our stationary trip to Tanked-Town that she did the same thing. She also comforted herself by saying this was the creative in her and knew that one day, sitting zoned out at the Home, she mentally would be waiting for her man, Barry Manilow, to come off the stage so she could....well, never mind. I can say no more except if Manilow knew, he'd be dating her tomorrow.

This prompted me to postulate that specifically engineered insanity is a good thing. It keeps the creative juices flowing, you can visit any place in the world or talk to anyone you wish. I'm glad I'm "touched". But I'm also glad to find that I'm not alone. Even if it's just me and Colleen, (and probably Anne...hmmm? Waiting for Sir Paul??) we'll be the happiest 3 old ladies in the psych ward they've ever seen.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Reason I Am the Way I Am

I usually don't point fingers, but I'm gonna.

I find it extremely tiresome to listen to someone moan and groan and bitch and wail about their divorce in 1990. I worked with a woman who was married for a short time, divorced for ages with no kids and she STILL talks about the moron. I wanted to Cher scream, "SNAP OUT OF IT!" at her. She didn't have to deal with him at all. My ex is the bane of my existence. No matter what kind of shithead your ex is, for your children's sakes, you must hold it together.

I was divorced in 2001, which is painfully at the edge of needing to shut the hell up about it already. Except I have one excuse: my ex still can't leave me alone. He controlled and manipulated and bullied me for 15 years and he just can't stop. I am his Lay Potato Chip.

I would like share excerpts of his emails. I've heard that one could sue me for slander for posting these gems, but who in the hell in their right mind would own up to writing them?? I feel I'm safe.

"(blah, blah, blah....) I told you, told you that this is what happens when you override my authority and my right to say no. I TOLD YOU. You allow them (the kids)the anonymity of hiding behind email where they can say anything they want with no repercussions. Then you sit back in your cozy bubble and insist everything is fine. How can you be so ignorant? (blah, blah, blah) You allowed this to happen by going against me. Now you have created a Monster. (blah, blah, blah) What the Hell!"

I know you want more. It's like watching a show you wish would never end --

"blah, blah, blah...) I wonder who's best interest is really served here. I will not agree to any further meetings with your (he means the kids') doctors. As long as You are in the picture I will never get a fair shake in dealings with my Children. (blah, blah, blah...) If this is what helps you sleep at night, how sad."

In the immortal words of John Lennon: "I could listen to him for hours." So I'll give you the piece de resistence:

"You are Pitiful. (blah, blah, blah...) Why don't you focus on your own relationships? Advancing age will treat you much better if you do."

Now I know these are taken out of context -- and he has a capitalization problem, but you get the drift. My lawyer contends he's more of a nuisance than a bona fide whack job, but I'm tired of getting slagged through the mud. And so are my kids. He sends crap like this even to Erin, who is only 11.

And I know what you are thinking: if I'm such a bad mother, why hasn't he done anything about me? Why isn't he suing me for custody? Why isn't he taking the kids to counselors and social workers to help them instead of me taking them? Because he's a self-centered, egotistical bully, that's why.

But haven't we crossed the "what is acceptable and what isn't acceptable" line yet? I mean do ex-husbands have to come and physically beat you before anyone thinks a line has been crossed? I don't know. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I don't get it. Maybe I'm supposed to take it and the kids are supposed to deal with him and when they are 18 they can do what they want. Sean hit 17 and was done. My poor Erin has at least 6 more years....and that father/daughter relationship is so fraught with angst anyway.

All I have to say is -- choose wisely when you marry and have children. And if you haven't chosen wisely, get the hell out. But be prepared. Abusers have a very hard time letting go.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #14

(thank you Emily for the great graphic!)

Being a single parent, I began to think of all the shows on television that depict single moms and dads. It was tough initially coming up with 13 shows, but here's what my brain file spit out, not in any particular order:

1. "Julia" starring Diahann Carroll as a nurse with a young son to raise.

2. "The Rifleman" with Chuck Connors. Single fatherhood in the old west.

3. "Bonanza". Sure they were all grown, but Ben Cartwright was still a single dad.

4. "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" with Bill Bixby and his Japanese housekeeper.

5. "My Three Sons" with Fred MacMurray and his grumpy housekeeper (who was originally played by the actor known as Fred Mertz from "I Love Lucy").

6. "Family Affair" with Brian Keith and a stuffy housekeeper, Mr. French (Sebastian Cabot).

7. "Full House" with the Ashley twins and a house full of people just hoping for the chance to take the kids anywhere...anytime.

8. "Who's the Boss?" with 2 sets of single parents, raising each other's kids and falling in love....slowly.

9. "One Day at a Time". This, along with "Julia" are probably the two I can identify with the most. No maids, housekeepers, friends or extra family lying around just dying to babysit for free.

10. "Murphy Brown". Yes, she had a baby. It just took her awhile to name it.

11. "Kate and Allie". At least they had each other to help.

12. "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody". No foot in reality, but my daughter likes it.

13. "Hannah Montana". The Cyrus Family sans mom and apparently doing just fine, thank you.

Can you think of any others?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen -- #13!!

I stumbled across this little quiz and the results shocked me. I was sure they were going to refer me to Bellevue. Like NOW.

There's a 58% Chance That You Need Therapy

If you think you need therapy, you probably do. But there's a good chance you don't.

Like everyone else, you have your fair share of problems. And unlike most people, you're fairly good at solving them yourself.

So here are 13 Quotes that Explain Me:

1. I never learn. Never. This quote was attributed to Einstein but it was really someone else whom I've forgotten: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." That's me.

2. "I do all the wrong things well." Mary Todd Lincoln. You name it. If it's the wrong thing to do at the wrong time, I'm there.

3. "I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it." Garrison Keillor. Oh, absolutely. Fantasy is a much better option than reality!

4. "Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid." Heinrich Heine. Whew....I thought I was insane ALL the time.

5. "The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity."
Harlan Ellison. This makes me feel like I make a difference.

6. "There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line."
Oscar Levant. Oscar, and me both, hun....only I have no genius.

7. "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." Herm Albright. My daily mantra.

8. "Stupid is forever, ignorance can be fixed." Don Wood. Thank heavens something I'm good at will last forever....

9. "My whole career can be summed up with 'Ignorance is bliss.' When you do not know better, you do not really worry about failing." Jeff Foxworthy. Fantasy comes in handy here too. If you are off in La-la land you NEVER fail and you ALWAYS get the guy.

10. "You can't fix stupid." Ron White. This makes me sleep better at night.

11. "Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong." Oscar Wilde. Yes, because it means I've possibly slipped into normalcy -- and we can't have that.

12. "Estimated amount of glucose used by an adult human brain each day, expressed in M&Ms: 250." Harper's Index, October 1989. Just some info I thought you'd need in case you were having a bad day and needed the right amount of chocolate to fire up those insanity synapses.

13. "If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt." Dean Martin. I know. What's it got to do with anything unless you golf, but a quote page without something from the Rat Pack is a page wasted.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I'm It!!

I've been tagged by No Nonsense Girl (along with Special K Toni and Nicholas) to list 5 things I haven't mentioned about myself yet. here goes:

#1 -- I used to be a traffic reporter on the radio. You had literally 10 seconds to lay out the mess that is Chicago traffic and I sounded like a auctioneer at a hog selling festival. Most of the time, I just wanted to tell people it sucked and stay the hell downtown until 8pm.

#2 -- I worked in a zoo at a gift shop in the Lion House. When 2 cubs were born, they named one after me! I still have the picture when Harrison was born!

#3 -- My daughter Erin has ADHD and suffers from anxiety disorder just like me. It's really tough sometimes to be a mom and cope with the stresses of having a child with anxiety. Especially when you have your own issues to deal with!

#4 -- I almost didn't marry my wacky ex-husband. I wanted to call it off at the last minute and didn't. Let this be a lesson to all of you: listen to your little inner voice. If it tells you DANGER WILL ROBINSON -- Listen to it!!!

#5 -- I studied classical piano for years but gave it up in my early 20's because, well, there were so many other things to do. But it is one of my greatest regrets that I didn't keep studying!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

13 Places I Feel I Belong

Thursday Thirteen #12!

I’ve been thinking about “belonging” lately. As a wanna-be writer or perhaps because of some dent in my personality, I seem to be outside the “single working mother” norm. Or even the “stay at home mom” norm. Fine. I’m outside of the norm, period.

Lately, and I don’t know why this is, I feel like the vegetarian at the all-meat buffet. I look, but don’t really want to get involved.

So the other day, I started to ponder where I feel nice and comfy, relaxed and generally not worried; Panic/anxiety free, with a perky manner and happy countenance. Here they are, not in any particular order:

1. Curled up on my bed with my laptop, writing furiously, with a cup of tea and my 3 cats sleeping at my side.

2. With Sam on a lazy Saturday night, curled next to him on the couch, watching the Three Stooges and Svengoolie.

3. With Sean and Erin on the floor in the livingroom, sharing popcorn and watching an old Star Trek or X-files DVD.

4. Walking the track at the healthclub, my iPod blasting in my ears.

5. A Star Trek convention, mixing with the Classics crowd.

6. With my oldest friend just about anywhere, laughing our asses off.

7. BeatleFest (ooops, excuse me: The Fest for Beatles’ Fans)

8. At a Barry Manilow concert with my dear friend Colleen, or just talking together about how messy our houses are and what horrid mothers we’ve become

9. With my cousin at her house in California, laughing hysterically at the kitchen table

10. At the Chicago Symphony, listening to Chopin or Rachmaninoff or Grieg or Mozart…or some great jazz.

11. At the library, doing nothing but looking at tons of books

12. At my local bookstore, doing the same, with a cup of coffee (decaf please)

13. Outside almost anywhere, praying and breathing in the fresh air.