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Farewell 2008

It's New Year's Eve. I'm sipping a lovely Willamette Valley Syrah and watching television. On my laptop, I'm chatting with a dear friend and playing a game of Wordscraper, which was Scrabulous, which now is Lexulous. I don't give a damn what it's called. I just want to play a game or two with friends and loved ones.

So here's a little recap....

Last New Year's Eve, I was home alone, sipping wine watching Fred and Ginger dance across the screen. I was rather hoping Turner Classics would do that again, but they didn't. In the first few weeks of 2008, several friends lost a parent. It was almost an epidemic.

I wanted to go visit my dear friends George and Nancy for the Oscar's, but I broke a tooth and my savings went into that. Nancy was one of the friends who had lost a parent, her father. I really wanted to be with her. She was so exhausted from the whole experience. But I wasn't alone for Oscar. I chatted with my daughter, with Nan…

Poetry Corner - Mary's Lament

Merry Christmas everyone - and a Happy New Year filled with HOPE for CHANGE.

Mary's Lament

Why have you brought me to this place?
Have I not followed your every step?
Opened every door?
Trusted every vision?
Stepped into the dark at every command?

Why am I found worthy of this task?
Why have you chosen me
To bring light to the dark?
Hope to the hopeless?
Joy to the sorrowful?

Oh Lord, I wait for your guidance.
I wait for the step to be illumined.
The door to open.
The vision to appear.
I wait and step into the dark
Praying for the light to follow.

Christmas 2008
KC McAuley-Watt

No Boots Today

I have a great pair of boots. They are thigh-high black leather with 4-inch stiletto heels. I love to wear them. They make me feel strong and powerful and sexy and just a little dangerous. But I don't wear them to work very often. They attract too much attention and it's a distraction from the normally invisible worker I tend to be. But yesterday, I needed to feel in control. So I wore my boots.

As predicted, I got attention. Mostly good, women who wonder if they are comfortable. (They are. And I get to sit most of the day.) Men who notice and aren't sure what to say. I get everything from "We have to talk" to "You are too sexy for this place".

Today, I have no boots. Instead I have my favorite clogs that are falling apart and I'm going to have to replace them. Today I found out that the man who broke my heart 3 years ago is getting remarried...and it's not to me. Today I need my boots. Today I need to be in control. Today I …

Still searching

I've been subjecting myself to a little deprivation of late. Reading deprivation. It's part of my Artist's Way group - and I forgot how hard this was. Obviously, one cannot completely stop reading. I'm in the middle of 2 major work projects that require me to write and edit (which means READ) training materials. And work is all about projects these days.

But I find myself leafing through catalogs, magazines, advertising of all kinds searching for ideas for Christmas. For recipes, gifts, decorations. Then I suddenly realize...I'M READING!...and I put it down and try to focus inward; see what my heart says about all the busy-ness I'm caught up in. I'm learning how often I silence my heart with busy-ness. I'm realizing that I haven't listened to it in quite a while. And why is that?

Do I feel guilty for not taking care of things that I know I should be taking care of? Do I feel ashamed that I have ignored the longings of my heart…

The Life I Have Lived....The Life I Hope to Live

My daughter Bridgete had this list on her blog. The object was to copy the list, bold the items you have done and post it for everyone to read but I am going to follow her example. I have separated into three groups-- have done, not yet and no thank you (if I can help it).

Have Done

1. Started your own blog (2 in fact...the other with Bridgete detailing the move from Portland to Boston)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (Wonderbroads Rule!)
4. Visited Hawaii (and would love to go back)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
10. Sang a solo (many, many times)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (I still suck at art!)
16. Had food poisoning
21. Had a pillow fight
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (but not for many years)
24. Built a snow fort
26. Gone skinny dipping
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (both)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (I’ve been to Germany, but still have many …

6 secrets - 6 tags

I've been tagged to reveal 6 secrets and tag 6 other bloggers to do the same. So here goes.

1. I have an inner bitch...I wish I felt more comfortable in letting her have her say.
2. I secretly dislike tiny blond women...they do have more fun and get away with more.
3. If it were nutritionally possible, I would live on bread, chocolate and wine, with the occasional cup of really good coffee and superior ice cream.
4. I believe in past lives...or at the very least a psychic link to other souls who have had a human experience.
5. I have had lovers both significantly younger and significantly older than myself. Both have had their advantages and disadvantages. And I wish age didn't matter - but sometimes it does.
6. I believe in casting bread upon the waters. And I know it has come back to me a hundred fold.

So now I tag...
Bonnie - Season Liberally
Chris Dashiell
Bridgete - Living, Learning and Loving the Law

And any other bloggers who wish to jump on board.

Yes I Can

I'm a liberal - a Democrat with a capital D. And it has not always been easy to be so. My parents grew up during the Great Depression, married and started a family during WWII. Watched their family grow and prosper during the post-war boom. And watched the world change dramatically during the 60s and 70s. They taught me that I was responsible for myself. I had to work for what I wanted and never expect a handout. Yet, they also taught me that I was responsible to others. Not FOR others, but TO others. I was not to achieve my goals at the expense of another's dignity or basic humanity. Shaming, cheating, suppressing, stealing were not the ways to success. And the achievements of another were my achievements as well. What improved the life of others, improved my life. Good for one is good for all. Pretty socialist ideas, aren't they?

It has not been the experience of my life that good for others has been good for me. I have seen my country shamed, cheating, s…

Long Time Coming

I know I've been MIA for quite a while. It's was a frustrating and busy summer. Aside from the eye infection that wouldn't heal, there were visits with friends and family, parties and celebrations, and a chance to be on stage again.

There were movies. I loved, DARK KNIGHT, VICKI CHRISTINA BARCELONA, IN BRUGES. I hated ATONEMENT. I enjoyed SEX AND THE CITY, FLASH OF GENIUS and MAMA MIA.

The weather this summer was a long time warming up - then it was suddenly very hot, for a few days. Then cold again. I got the ghastly summer cold. Now it's truly autumn. Snow fall in the mountains, cold nights where a cat and a blanket are just not enough to keep me warm. Some trees are turning and losing leaves. Squirrels are flashing through the trees gathering nuts.

And I've had a birthday. I'm 49. I never thought I'd be this old.

I try to ignore the news right now - economy is bad, presidential race is tight and in the middle of it all I keep hearing about "pe…

The Eyes Have It....

The eyes are the window to the soul...
Love looks not with the eyes...
Close up his eyes and draw the curtain close...

And I could go on and on. There is an entire page of entries for Eyes in my tattered and torn Barlett's Familiar Quotations. And it is very tattered and torn and loved. Over 30 years old, the only reference book more abused is my Roget's Thesaurus, which I cannot find a decent replacement for. They just don't make reference books like they used to.

But I digress.

I haven't written for a month because I have been robbed of the normal use of my eyes. I scratched my corneas and they got infected. Then, after many visits to the doctor and many trial and error combinations of eyedrops and compresses and some gooey stuff I use at night, I have gradually regained my vision.


A bit of backstory here. I am terribly nearsighted. I've worn glasses or contact lenses since the age of 6. If I am somewhere unfamiliar, I can't go to the bathroom at night w…

Poetry Corner - Untitiled

5-22-08
KC McAuley

For my lover -

Every morning,
Before I open my eyes,
I feel your arms about me and I draw you closer.
Such safety there
Such love
Such joy.
Until I remember that you are not there.
I only dreamed of you.

Every day
As I go about my business,
I hear your voice nearby and I drink you in.
Such understanding there
Such love
Such joy
Until I realize that it couldn’t be you.
I only dreamed of you.

Every evening
As the day dissolves
I see your smiling eyes and I melt down to you
Such laughter there
Such love
Such joy
Until I blink and you have vanished.
I only dreamed of you.

Every night
Before sleep has pulled me down
I long for you and call your name.
I close my eyes and open my heart.
I hear your voice
I see your eyes.
I feel your arms.
Such love
Such joy.
I only dreamed of you.

Living on the Edge

Most of my life, I have felt like I didn't quite belong. My brothers must have picked up on this and would always tell me that I wasn't really their sister. That my real family was the crazy family who lived next door and Mom and Dad felt sorry for me and adopted me. Somehow this made sense to me. I was so much younger than my siblings. I was always on the outside of whatever they were doing...watching and waiting until I was old enough to play too. Of course, by the time I was old enough for that game, they had moved on to a new one. I was never quite part of the team.

My parents were much older and I went to cocktail parties and meetings where I sat in the dens and family rooms of other families, watching television or reading while the world went on on the other side of the door. There, but just on the edge. Waiting and watching.

For a time, I thought I had found my place. The theatre seemed to be a gathering place for the odd, the strange, the eccentric, the ones o…

Raindrop Review - THERE WILL BE BLOOD

THERE WILL BE BLOOD - (2007, Paul Thomas Anderson)

Paul Thomas Anderson has become a mature filmmaker. And THERE WILL BE BLOOD is his master American story. A tragic tale of a petty man who uses everyone and everything around him to assure his standing in the world.

Daniel Day-Lewis' Oscar winning performance is the soul of this film. The heart, if you will, of a heartless man. We are never given the full story of Daniel Plainview, but only glimpses into the soul, cracks and fissures, like the ones where Plainview finds his oil. His life blood. It is suitably black and dangerous.

Visually, I now wish I'd seen this on the big screen. The vast American landscape of the 1900's is one that I am attracted to. My father was born in Oklahoma in 1913. His father and uncles worked on oil rigs. I kept looking for glimpses of my ancestors in the blackened faces of these men.

Plainview's son H.W. (Dillon Freasier), is an angelic wonder. A gentle face and soul juxtaposed wi…

Raindrop Review - THE COUNTERFEITERS

THE COUNTERFEITERS (Die Falscher, 2007, Stefan Ruzowitzky)

The true story of the largest counterfeiting operation in history, this film is my kind of Nazi movie. When trying to present a story based on WWII and Nazi actions, I find that films tend to treat all Nazis as evil and all victims as saints. THE COUNTERFEITERS neatly avoids this by giving us a hero who is a known criminal. A man who is not even trusted in the confines of a concentration camp.

Salomon Sorowitsch, was the King of Counterfeiters, a master criminal, who on the very eve of his departure from Germany in the late 1930's, is seduced into fashioning a false passport for a lovely Jewish lady. The following morning, they are discovered in bed by the police and Sol is sent to prison. Five years later, he is sent to a concentration camp where he uses his gift as an artist to secure better food and privileges painting portraits of the officers and their families.

Suddenly he is taken from Mauthausen to Sachsenhaus…

Poetry Corner - City of Rose

I live in Portland, Oregon, known as the City of Roses and home of Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Coffee People and Powell's Books. For April, Powell's sponsored a poetry contest seeking original poems about Portland. The following is my entry.

City of Rose
KC McAuley

The sun slips behind the west hills
The light shifts and everything is bathed in color
City of Rose
Amber and violet
And deepest of blue.

The sun rises over the hooded mountain.
The light shifts and brings back the color
City of Rose
Amber and violet
And deepest of blue.

From my window
I watch each day as the light shifts across this city.
My city.
City of Rose
Amber and violet
And deepest of blue.

And here is a link to the winning poems. They are all lovely ones.
http://www.powells.com/poetrycontest/winners.html?utm_source=oneoffs&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=poet_winners&utm_content=Read%20all%20the%20winning%20poems

Are You Smarter Than A Hyena

I learned recently that when a kill is made, the females surround the kill and let the children eat before the males of the pack. The females mean business and they will attack any male that attempts to breach the kill. And I had to ask myself, are we humans smarter than a hyena?

Every 3.6 seconds, someone in the world starves to death. 3/4 of those deaths are children under 5. 75%! That is unacceptable and should be unacceptable to any thinking person on our planet.

What do you think would happen if all the women in the world surrounded our children and INSISTED that the children be fed and housed and educated before one more penny is spent on war. I think we might just stop war.

And think what the impact might be on the world economy. Farmers would be paid to grow food, not to NOT grow food. Instead of building bombs, we'd build houses and schools. Teachers and growers and pickers and canners and all those job forces would have to be increased. And with such a demand fo…

25

I've written before about my daughter, Bridgete. I've said often how proud I am to be her mother, how brave I think she is for finding her path and sticking to it, how much stronger and better I am for having let myself follow her lead. But today of all days, I need to say it all again.

She's 25 today. I still remember how I felt when after days of labor, no sleep, no food, no progress, I was being wheeled into the operating room where I would have a Caesarean section. My arms were strapped down so the anesthesiologist would be able to monitor my vitals and keep me numb. It's a very odd feeling to be awake and completely unable to move your body from the chest down. But while I was unable to feel pain, I was still able to feel pressure. My contractions were still happening, but it was as if there was someone pushing on my stomach. Then they hung a barrier up between my head and shoulders and the rest of my body. My husband could look over and see what was happe…

TAGGED

I got TAGGED!
What Ifs:

What if I could meet someone in the art world to chat with?
This is just too easy for me…SHAKESPEARE.I know, I’d probably be disappointed and find out he really was a mediocre talent at best and someone else didthe good stuff.But I love Shakespeare, so it has to be him.
What if I could have one wish granted for the benefit of all mankind?
I know it’s easy to say world peace.But it’s not easy to achieve.Peace is not simply the absence of war.It’s a state of mutual respect and acceptance whereby all beings are one.Pretty big wish.
What if I could travel anywhere in the world?
England.That blessed rock…so much there I want to see and touch and taste and smell.
What if I could live in a period other than the present, for 24 hours?
I want to be a player in Shakespeare’s company at THE GLOBE in Elizabethan England.

What if I could make over three areas of my body?
I have a very Germanic heritage… so…tummy tuck or liposuction, I’d love vision that doesn’t require corrective len…

April 8, 1913

The above date wasn't important in history, nothing of great note seems to have happened. Well, the 17th amendment to the US Constitution was made law. And if you know what that one was, good for you. But this date means a great deal in my personal history. This is my father's birth date. If you are calculating, then you would realize that means he would be 95 today if he were still alive. That would be a pretty amazing thing even in this day and age of longer life expectancy. But when you know that my father died 27 years ago, even you would have to say...he died too young...a mere 2 weeks short of his 68th birthday.

I was only 21 when he died. I didn't know then what an impact that would have on me. In some ways, I still am not aware of how deeply it effects me.

So far, this year has been one of loss. Dear friends have lost parents, which makes me aware of what I missed by not having my father all these years. My niece, who was only a year older than my own dau…

You have no idea what you missed...

I woke in the middle of the night with tears running down my face, crying out to my mother...."You have no idea what you missed." I was in the middle of one of those extensive cinematic dreams complete with the fabulous scene where the main character (me) finally confronts their obstacles (mother) and either 1) Hollywood ending - everything is perfectly and miraculously resolved. 2) Hero realizes that s/he cannot change the world and moves on to change his/her self.

My mother is 90. I'm 48. She isn't going to change. And the only person I can heal in this life is myself. So I guess I have ending number 2 now. But she really has no idea what she missed and it makes me very sad. What makes me even sadder is that she isn't the only one who doesn't realize what they missed by trying to make me the person they needed or wanted and failed to see the person who was standing right there. It hurts. And I'm tired of pretending it doesn't. I don…

Raindrop Reviews - NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and JUNO

I've been very neglectful of my blog. There have been things happening in real life that have kept me from writing. But as I have some time today, spring looks like it might finally be here and I feel like writing again. So some brief reviews of movies I've seen lately.

Firstly, the Oscar winning NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007, Joel and Ethan Coen) is just what you expect from the Coen's. Bloody, bawdy, and brilliant. Much has been said about this film already, so I'll simply add that Javier Bardem'sChigurh will live on as one of the most terrifying, sociopaths ever on film. A tragic vision of violence and evil, the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's book is a wonderful film, beautifully filmed by Roger Deakins, wonderful use of sound and silence.

Deakins is having an amazing year - With NO COUNTRY, ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES and IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH. Good films which all deserve a look on a big screen and a rewatch with a remote where you can stop the f…

Roll Out the Red Carpet

"It's the Oscar's! Get your fuckin' hair done!"

My friend Nancy has had an Oscar gathering for years. And her friend's Mark and David are best known for shouting at the TV one year at some young starlet who showed up looking a tad shabby - "It's the OSCARS! Get your fuckin' hair done!"

Aside from the laughter, I remember Mark and David every year at this time. This year, I don't get to make my trip to Nancy's house for the Oscars. Money, time, life...it all gets in the way. And I'm missing Nancy and her dear husband George. Once a year, they take me into their home, feed me, let me sit in the California sun and shed my Oregon winter blues. Nancy and I watch at least a dozen movies from all decades and genres. Then on Oscar Sunday...we are couch slugs. Potatoes would be too kind a comparison.

It's a time I look forward to all year long. The pampering and attention I receive lifts me up, makes me feel special and love…

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat

His name was Paws. But before long, it was clear that this cat needed a new name. At 6 months old, he weighed nearly 10 pounds and his paws were huge. Fully grown, he reached an awesome 25 pounds. He was over 2 feet long from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail and he frequently lay stretched out to his full length. His tail was a lethal weapon! So he became PWAS. Pwasimodo the Hunch Cat of Notre Dame. Pwas.

We adopted Pwas and his brother Ba (that's another story) when my daughter was 8. Our tiny house was soon overrun by these two playful tuxedos. Ba was the smaller of the two. Small only in our house. Pwas was the alpha cat. He chose where he slept, where he ate, what windows were his and who would pay attention to him. There was no ignoring this cat. If he wanted you to get up and feed him, his hulking mass sitting on your chest made breathing difficult, let alone opening your eyes to see him staring at you. His demanding "meow" let you know he …

Poetry Corner - Cowboys

My friend Brett has had a loss. His father died this morning after a long illness. Another friend, Pete, lost his father on Sunday. And my dear friend Chris is currently sitting beside with his father.

I wrote this for Brett on his last birthday. I post it here for him. And for Pete and Chris and all my friends who are watching our parents age, watching ourselves age and wondering when we all got so grown up.

Just a man and a horse.And a tumbleweed or two.During the day, The horizon had no end.At night, The sky held too many stars to count.Cowboys don’t have mothers or fathers.Cowboys don’t have brothers or sisters.Nobody tells them the way to go.Cowboys know the way.During the day,He’s just a man.But sometimes.At night.He dreams.He’s a cowboy.April 30, 2007KC McAuley

Poet's Corner - ROAD WORK AHEAD

Road Work AheadKC McAuleyDec. 2007
When she labored to give birthThe road to the hospital Twisted and TurnedThe sign announcedROAD WORK AHEAD.
When she sent her to schoolLunch box and loose toothThe bus pulled away The sign saidROAD WORK AHEAD
Every road had work.School and books and math.God and boys and drugs.Sex and love and marriage.College was long road from homeEven longer when she returned.
Together they traveled the longest road of all.Three thousand miles from coast to coast.They traveled broken roads,Mended roads,Detour roads, No roads,New roadsAnd old.
When she left her daughter The cab ride to the airport Twisted and TurnedThe sign announcedROAD WORK AHEAD.

2007 Movies in Review

I watch a lot of movies - many, many more than once. And every year, I keep track of the new (to me) movies that I see. This past year I watched 114 new movies. That's an average of 2 per week. So when I went to compile my list of the best movies of 2007, I was a little surprised to find that I couldn't come up with 10 "best" movies. I have 5 that I think will stand the test of time. And another 5 that I thought worth noting. I must preface this by saying that I have not seen what many consider to be the best film of the year - No Country for Old Men. Nor have I seen Juno - which is getting praise from many different circles of friends. So without further ado, here is my list of the Best movies of 2007

5. Zodiac (David Fincher) Based on Robert Graysmiths books about the Zodiac killer, this is a fine thriller. Fine performances all around especially from Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo. The film is well paced, taut, tense and everything a thriller shoul…