Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Identifying My I.D. Habit





Not only is TV addicting, TV may be ruining our lives, according to an interesting article on Yahoo!  (Of course, the internet, including Yahoo! may be ruining our lives, too.)  Anyhow, I have been thinking about my own tv habits - particularly one show - and it ain't pretty.

My theory is that tv is our panacea for exhaustion.  We are hit every day with so much, TV has become our "comfy blanket" at the end of the day.  Who hasn't snuggled into a CSI: Miami at the end of a long day, or enjoyed pizza while slumped on couch watching Modern Family?  We deserve a little downtime.

I love a cable channel called I.D. (Interesting note: I know many women who love this channel.  Why?) It's a channel that shows real-life crimes, and how they are solved, including the shows Dateline, Wicked Attraction, and more.  I was starting a bad habit where I was watching from 11 PM to 12 PM every night.  Murders, crimes - that's what was going into the old noggin every night before sleep.  I actually heard myself say to my husband Fred, "what's great about this show is that the stories are real."  Can you imagine?  I said that.  So, I need to cut waaay back on my I.D., even on the terribleness of that comment alone.

Do a review of your own habits; and read the article contained in the link, above.  Life is short; let's not spend it watching others live it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lion-Hearted...


This post tonight is about my dear sweet horse Nello, and how he continues to inspire me.  He is one of my life's biggest teachers - I'm so grateful for him and also for his ever-improving strength in his legs and overall good health - more like exuberant health, truth be told. 

Nello has arthritis, and I have been antsy with him lately, increasingly wanting to do more on horseback - learn more, become better, learn the art of dressage or even jumping, maybe.  And Nello, though gaining strength at our new barn with his 24 hour turn-out, just can not do these things - he's a good-time laid-back Charlie who can trail-ride and walk and trot, and that's about it.  (Oh, and lots of snuggles, carrots, and lazy walks on wooded trails together.)  But for me, with my fancy new ideas about my skill, and getting somewhere with all of this, Nello was looking like an increasingly bad bet moving forward. I heard people use the phrase "my first horse," and "the horse I started out on."  Is that what Nello is for me, I wondered, in the big scheme of things?  Could I find him a great home, and move on to my second horse, the horse I could increase my skill with?

Well, I actually connected with someone who offered me what seemed to be the perfect home for my boy - he said Nello would spend his days grazing and napping, and would be tucked into a cozy stall at night.  The only thing missing from his description of Nello's new life were the Disney woodland creatures; bunnies and blubirds and cute skunks gathering around at night underneath Nello's stall window to visit him.  I was impressed, but did some "detective work" on this person, and found that he is a horse dealer - Nello would probably be sold within a week or two of arriving at his new home for rough work - or worse, meat.  There was no Disney ending for him there.

My eyes stung with tears the next time I was standing next to him, rubbing his knobby knees and tacking him up to ride, combing his beautiful black mane and carefully cleaning his feet, the feet that have walked so many miles in the past, before I acquired him, as an over-used carriage horse.  I had come so close to losing him, all in the name of going faster, doing more, becoming more skilled.  I had forgotten commitment - not to myself, or to riding as a sport, but to him.

Nello and I went into the large outdoor ring at the barn, preparing to do our usual walk - maybe trot - before thinking about going out on the trails.  I noticed a pep in is step after I mounted up and we began making large loops around the ring, and soon we were trotting at a pretty fast pace; definitely fast for Nello.  "What's up, boy?" I said, reaching down to pat his shoulder as he continued trotting faster and faster.  Suddenly, with what felt like a lurch, we were galloping down the straight-away.  Hooting with delight and surprise, I had to slow Nello down from a slow gallop into a relaxing canter, which he was really reaching for, and sustaining.  Together, we were flying.

He was telling me, as sure as I sit here typing this, don't give up,  I can do this.  Have faith.

Thanks, buddy, for the lesson in life, one of several that you have taught me.  You'll always be good enough, even when riding is just a memory for us.  I'll be there, and I will worry more moving forward about whether I'm good enough for you - and your huge heart.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bob Marley Movie a Winner

A week or so ago, my oldest son, a musician, invited me to see the movie Marley, a documentary about Bob Marley and the Wailers.  We went, and I'm so glad I did.  (Marley and I almost have the same hair, after all.) The man and his music are imbedded in my mind this week - if I sing the chorus of "No Woman No Cry" one more time I am going to drive myself crazy.  (One of my top five great songs of all time, by the way.)  I highly recommend this movie - there is so much more to Marley and his music than what we have been told.  Westerners have been sold a pre-packaged, pot-smoking, dread-locked cult leader who developed reggae through a haze of marijuana while fathering multiple children with different mothers on the side.  That is selling him way, way short.  In fact, browsing Youtube for some interviews about Marley in the 1970's, he was presented as a bizarre creature who made Jamaicans wild with his "revolutionary reggae beat."

My son has been asking me to get to know Bob Marley's biography and his music for some time, and I have always resisted, afraid, I guess, to support him in any way in my son's mind.  I was imagining the Marley listed above - I judged without knowing.  Bob Marley was, in fact, a shy but determined outsider (his father was white and mother black, making him an immediate outsider) who followed strict Rastafarian laws (Rastafarianism is the worshiping of the King of Ethiopia Haile Salassi as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ) and played and wrote music ceaselessly that demanded change in his country.  He was almost assassinated at one time, and in an historic free concert quelled violence in the street by joining the leaders of the two opposing political parties together on stage for a handshake (and a hug; Marley was thrilled and wrapped an arm around each one as the people, hungry for peace and any measure of prosperity, cheered and cried.)  Marley had become a voice for change in a world that initially shunned him.  And he wanted peace.  Such an over-used phrase, but still beautiful in it's actual meaning - peace for all people.  Did he smoke pot?  Sure.  But it was used as a sacrament, and went along with some pretty strict Rastafai laws - the women were to wear no make-up and dresses in the Nazarite way, and the men were to treat the body as a temple and stay fit and in pursuit of happiness and peace. They were looking for Jah.

I am much different from Marley, but see a lot of beauty in his life.  And I'm proud, now, that my son thinks of him as a great inflence in music and in life.  Me too.

 One love.