Today I rode an actual racehorse! My seat was bad, my heels didn't always stay down and if I had dimes between my thighs they would have been lost before we even left the paddock. But with the beautiful creature on the left's help I DID IT!
It has been well over 2 decades since I sat on the back of a horse. I did ride an elephant a few years ago ... but I digress.
I was scared. Not just because I was out of practice, but also because of an astrology chart done over 30 years ago that ended with the omen "grave hurt by large animal." That's pretty much the reason I quit riding in the first place. See, when LD was born I suddenly became a lot more diligent about things like wearing my seatbelt and avoiding potential bear maulings. Since public transportation is the closest I'll ever come to roughing it, and I don't camp or really spend any time at all outdoors (shut up!) my chances of being brutalized by wildcats or devoured by wolves is pretty remote. I don't attend circuses or visit zoos and when the bulls were in the building at work I made it a point to avoid the service level. All in all I thought I had this grave hurt/large animal thing sussed.
But I have missed riding. I didn't realize just how much until I climbed in the saddle on a beautiful Oklahoma morning. The sun was bright; the breeze was cool; the unmown fields were actually amber colored and waving, and my best friend was beside me. It was perfect.
Oh yes, and there were chickens.... lots and lots of chickens!
I've been cleaning out all my digital files and recently found a folder with all the Holiday CD notes and artwork. It was kind of fun to look back on them all as a group. Below are some random liner notes, playlists, and cover photos.
Liner notes from one of the first back in the 90s:
Liner notes from one of the first back in the 90s:
Christmas really is about the baby, and not just the one in the manger who started all this celebrating, but the baby that you once were; the one who wouldn't go to sleep because the anticipation of Santa was too much - Or the babies you raised and put to bed your self on Christmas Eve - Or your now grown up babies - Or your four legged fur babies - Or even the baby you plan to snuggle with after everyone else leaves (Or the one you at least want to catch under the mistletoe!)
So, whoever your baby is, tell them I wish them a very merry Christmas!
I'm not really sure why the text overlays won't show up - other than the fact that these were all done in a now antiquated graphics program. Without the text these just look like family pics and the whole point of the title theme is lost. Hmmm... Perhaps I'll post the track lists later because some of them were hilarious! You always knew what kind of year Jules had based on the theme of the Holiday CD - and some years were pretty hardcore!
|"Suck on This Santa!" (2001)|
|"Don't Decorate the Baby!" (2011)|
|"Don't Decorate the Baby!" |
|"My Okie Christmas Soundtrack" (1998)|
|"Whatever Happened to Barbie Dolls and Ponies?!" (2004)|
|Back inset detail from|
"I'll Be Home For Christmas" (2002)
I recently found some old CD artwork and notes. These are from a CD I made for my nephew years ago when he was just a baby. Clearly I was not very sophisticated in my choice of fonts - lol!
... take your bath brush your teeth put on jammies kiss dad kiss mom say prayers
get tucked in hug your pillow close your eyes one more drink of water retuck ...
SWEET DREAMS, BABY HARRY
I Need Some Sleep Eels Pure Imagination Maroon 5
Junk Paul McCartney I Will The Beatles Ku-U-I-Po
Elvis Presley Come Rain or Shine Frank Sinatra
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes Bette Midler
Somewhere Over the Rainbow IZ Blackbird Sarah
McLachlan Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) John Lennon
French Waltz Nicolette Larson The Water is Wide
James Taylor Mull of Kintyre Paul McCartney
Surround Me Ben Taylor Band Landslide. Dixie Chicks
Crazy Love Van Morrison Sweet Baby James James Taylor
Recorded Especially for Harrison by Aunt Julie
Good night, sweet dreams, and I love you
©Bleeding Heart Productions 2002
|When you are 6 years old the world IS mud-lucious|
When he was in second grade, LD was assigned the task of memorizing a poem to recite in front of his class. Props were required.
He had not even finished telling me about the assignment before I was pulling out books of e.e. cummings poetry and suggesting he learn in Just; using balloons as his props. I explained, in 7-year-old terms, how the poem was about growing up and losing innocence. My son humored me, though he did lobby half-heartedly for something by Seuss.
His first (and only) poetry reading was a success. He memorized and understood the poem, though in hindsight I'm not sure it was as fun for him to perform as Seuss might have been.
Either way there still would have been balloons!
Some of life's great truths are so simple that you do not even have to experience the lesson to understand its meaning. Thus, I have several rules I live by - mantras or mottoes - whatever you choose to call them. So if you've ever wondered who I am or how I live or what I pounded into the heads of my kiddos as I raised them here it is:
1. Life is too Short. There is no further elaboration needed for this truth; no "to" followed by some ridiculous first world problem. Life is simply already too short. Really, it is! In the grand scheme of the universe and all of its history we are but an infinitesimal blip. So it is essential that we fully experience every moment we have in this life. Perhaps that is why embracing Buddhist philosophy came so naturally to me. Suffering, desire, mindfulness ... the clarity of it all really is beautiful. Basically, when you eat the mango, taste the mango; feel its weight in your hand and pay particular attention to how it is so full you fear the skin might burst; feel the juice that runs down your chin because, let's face it, it is impossible to enjoy a mango without getting a little bit sticky.
2. Life Exists Without A Clock. If we all slept when we were tired and ate when we were hungry and could ignore the man made construct of measuring time the world would be a much better place.
3. Read a Fucking Book/Knowledge is Power. These two go hand-in-hand. Whenever someone tells me they don't like to read I truly believe with all my heart that it is because they just haven't found the right books. Books open doors; fill voids; explain mysteries, and take you to places you would otherwise never go. Knowledge is the only thing that conquers fear and why would anyone choose to live in fear?
4. Would I want it if it had no value in the world? Would I want it if nobody would ever know I had it? Surround yourself with things you love and that have meaning to you. Ignore the rest.
5. If Money will solve it, it is not a problem. My friend Dave once told me this during a period when I was severely stressed about money. The more years that pass the more I realize how true his words were.
6. Leap and the net will appear. Some would say this is a crazy motto to live by, but it has worked for me so far. Things will always work out exactly as they should regardless of how much we worry or hate or fear. Just do it. Leap. It will all be OK.
7. Never take family business outside the family. This falls into the "lesson's The Godfather taught me" category. Keep family problems within the family. Likewise, never speak ill of a family member to an outsider.
8. Ignore Corporate Branding. I refuse to wear anything that is, essentially, an advertisement for a corporate entity. Don't gt me wrong - I like nice things. I still carry the same buttery leather Coach bag I got when I was 16 years old and you know what? Nowhere on it is there a logo that shows. Quality needs no advertisement.
9. All you really have to do is breathe. In the end the only action necessary for life is breathing. I used to get so caught up with worry - What will people think? What if I fail? What if I am not enough? A wise friend said to me, "Your mother will still love you and life will go on. All you have to do is breathe." Simple, but true. My mother loved me fiercely until the day she died; I'm still here, and life is good.
The Addendum: There are two rules that go with all of the above and they are: (1) Don't Make Promises you Cannot keep and (2) Never Bet More Than You are Willing to Lose. Much of life is composed of trust and risk. Make sure you are known for the first and people will be willing to favor you with the latter. Say what you mean and stand by your words. Be honest, but also be kind and your kindness will be returned to you five-fold.
I recently started working on a book about my mother. Nothing major; or even for publication; just a little history tome for my own family.
My mom was an incredible woman. She suffered some pretty major hardships in her lifetime, but somehow she persevered. I’m not sure I could have done as well in her place.
She wasn’t perfect, by any stretch. She could be mean and demanding; martyred and depressing; ignorant and sarcastic. But she could also love you so fiercely you believed you could do anything.
She had the remarkable ability to convince those she loved that no one would ever love them as much. Most of us in the family believe, to this day, that she loved us more than we will ever be loved again.
I miss her like crazy and find myself wishing she were here to answer the questions about her life that pop into my head so frequently lately .
See, I only ever knew her as "mom". It wasn’t until I had to grow up (read: after her death) that I longed to know her as a person.