2017/02/14

Happy Valentine’s Day, My Lovelies!

Da Goddess @ 10:46

Happy Valentine's Day or whatever

Here’s hoping you have a Sam and Molly* moment or, perhaps, a Nickie and Terry° moment (but only the part where they’re reunited, but without the need of a wheelchair) today.

Or better still, go listen to this. (Still don’t know how to do embeds from my phone.)

What I mean is: Happy Valentine’s Day!

* Ghost (1990) — the pottery wheel scene, not the whole Patrick Swayze dying and returning as a ghost part.

° An Affair to Remember (1957) — Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr version because #CaryGrant, obviously.

2017/02/04

My Official Valentine’s Day/Early Birthday Wish List Item #1

Da Goddess @ 03:41

I’ve written plenty in the past about my love for Honeyboy Edwards. I’ve talked many an ear off several unsuspecting friends about Honeyboy.

At this point, if there were even the merest chance that anyone I run into DOESN’T know Honeyboy is part of my heart, my soul, my very DNA, I’d be surprised if they were surprised by this first item on my not-so-distant wish list for Valentine’s Day, or birthday.

It is, of course, a brand new release of David Honeyboy Edwards. I want the CD. I want the DVD. And, God help me, I need another copy of his book in my collection (I foolishly loaned it out and never got it back, the bastards!).

So, there it is.

What do YOU want for Valentine’s Day?

2017/01/24

I Meant to Write More

Da Goddess @ 08:38

I really meant to write more this month, but I’ve obviously failed. Spectacularly.

Part of my problem is the fact my life is rather boring. Other than doctor appointments and various therapy sessions, I’ve done close to bupkis. Maybe not even that.

So, um, yeah. Boooooorrriiinnng! That sums up my life in a single word. You want a second word? Pain. Or painful. Either way, you can imagine how much fun that’s been.

Uh, we had a lot of rain over the weekend. So, I guess, there’s that. And watching (or trying NOT to watch) Fletch “love” on his stuffed rhino buddy. He basically goes into kitty biscuit making mode atop the rhino and it looks more than a little sexual. He can’t help it. He’s just doing what cats do.

And that, my friends, is why, despite my best intentions, I’ve failed to write.

P.S. I also did a bit of reading. Or maybe a lot.

2017/01/12

True Story I

Da Goddess @ 00:39

My kids didn’t like white bread when they were little. I only bought wheat bread for sandwiches, so that’s what they were used to. Offer them a slice of Wonder Bread and they’d practically run screaming as far and as fast as they could.

Then, one day, they tried a slice of warm sourdough at a restaurant and that was that!

Don’t get me wrong, they still had their sandwiches on wheat, but they no longer fainted at the mere mention of white bread.

Who knew growth came with sourdough?

2016/12/25

Merry Christmas!

Da Goddess @ 00:29

May the light shine upon you and those you hold dear.

And now I bring you my favorite Christmas song of all. It’s my favorite version and it wouldn’t be Christmas for me if I didn’t post it.

2016/12/24

Christmas Eve is Here

Da Goddess @ 15:17

Justin Hines, y’all. Please, pray for a Christmas miracle for him. Give him his breath and song again.

2016/12/16

True Love

Da Goddess @ 21:20

I laughed myself silly over this.

2016/11/30

Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

Da Goddess @ 07:09

Everything You Want Me to Be is a tragic, but oh-so-true-sounding novel about Hattie Hoffman’s life and death in a small town.

Whereas I normally don’t care for books with multiple narrators, Mejia deftly uses the construct to tie the not-so-distant past with the present and how Hattie’s death came to be, what impact it has on those left behind, and how her murder is eventually solved.

The teens ring true to those we know, especially in a world consumed with fame. The digital age plays a significant role in both the events leading up to the murder and in solving it.

Touching, disturbing, and heartbreaking on many levels, you won’t be able to put down this gripping tale until the last word is read.

2016/11/25

Death Comes to Castro

Da Goddess @ 23:03

Millions are rejoicing over the news of Fidel Castro’s death.

Cubans who vowed to never return to their home country until the dictator’s blood was still may now realize their dreams.

For all my Cuban friends, I say to you: ¡el monstruo está muerto!

2016/11/24

Happy Thanksgiving!

Da Goddess @ 03:33

May your heart be full of joy, love, and gratitude today and always.

Thank you for your friendship and love!

2016/10/28

Flexible Wings

Da Goddess @ 17:14

I recently won a giveaway on Goodreads.com for Flexible Wings by Veda Stamps.

Despite the fact this book is for tweens, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the lead character.

Here’s my quick review:

Flexible Wings is the charming story of Summer Stevenson and her struggle to find her place in a new neighborhood.

Being the daughter of a military parent is tough, but both of Summer’s parents have military backgrounds. Dad is recently retired and Mom is still serving our country. While many admire the Stevensons for their service, Summer just wants to have both parents at home and she wants to live in one place for a change. So, when her parents move the family to Valencia, California, Summer is NOT pleased. She has to leave behind the one home she really loved, has to leave behind her best friend, Esperanza, and worst of all, she’s going to have to navigate a new school and new kids.

The only shining light in the midst of this doom and gloom is – finally – the chance to join a swim team!

Stamps beautifully captures the voice of tweens and deftly illustrates the conflicting feelings of being a military dependent. Her characters are engaging and the story moves along at a good pace. Middle grade readers will easily make their way through the book, hopefully finding the strength and courage to tackle new situations and deal with bullies just as Summer does.

I look forward to reading more from Veda Stamps as she’s proven herself to be a wonderful storyteller.

2016/10/25

How Rude!

Da Goddess @ 12:53

If you go to the National Weather Service site you can find a list of all the names of big storms.

Don’t you think it’s kind of rude that they know about the storms so far in advance and don’t give us warning until the storms are practically on our doorsteps?

/Sarcasm

2016/10/18

Ramblings of a Failed (yet Successful) Parent

Da Goddess @ 21:32

I didn’t blog about L.D.’s birthday back at the beginning of the month. I thought about it. A lot. But I still managed to not post a single word. Perhaps it was my way of denying that my baby was no longer a teenager. Maybe it was just because I was finding it difficult to admit I missed him terribly. It was likely a combination of the two. Reglardless, I should have posted something and celebrated it with the few of you who still read the blog.

So, yeah, my Little Dude is now officially out of his teens. 20 is just the beginning of his adult life. I’m both immensely proud of him for being the sweetest, gentlest young man I know while simultaneously worrying about what comes next for him. He’d had his heart set on a military career only to have his hopes and dreams killed by a single hearing test. While the military’s test is admittedly inadequate, his documentation from his doctor that proved his hearing was fine wasn’t accepted. Since then, I’ve been full of concern over what will become of him, where he’ll find new inspiration for a new dream or two. He’s so smart, so creative, so thoughtful. He’s really a great kid…er…man. I wish so very much for his happiness and contentment, for him to find his path to a satisfying life, doing something that fills his heart and soul with joy. In other words, I fret like every other parent does as their children grow up.

Then there’s Mojo. She’ll be 24 in a couple weeks. She’s living so far from home, married to a wonderful man, and, yet, I still think of her as my baby. It’s just so wrong that we can’t shake those images of our children as infants. On the other hand, I never want to forget. I never want to forget the wonder I felt as I heard her heartbeat for the first time. I never want to forget the overwhelming love I had from the moment I first laid eyes on her. I never want to forget how she felt in my arms when I first got to hold this tiny miracle that somehow came from me. I feel that way about both kids, but I think it’s especially potent with Mojo because she was my first absolute and truest love. You never get over that. Nor should you.

I’m proud of her. Proud of how she’s followed her heart and found a man who truly loves her, believes in her. Mo’s educated herself (though I wish she’d go back and get a bachelor’s in something!), she’s filled her heart and home with love. She’s bright, funny, loving, generous, and all around swell. What more could I ask for? Turns out, I want more. For her and her brother, I want everything. I want the sun to always shine upon them. I want fortune to always favor them. But that’s what I ask of the universe, not of them. From them, I want only to know they’re trying and giving their best — to themselves and to others.

I hope they’ll forgive their old mum for my lackluster performance. I hope they’ll know that I’ll always love them. And I hope they’ll know — forever and always — that they are the best things I’ve ever done and ever will do.

I may have failed in a myriad of ways as a parent, but I’ve never failed in my love for them, nor have I ever regretted having them. As I said above (and many times before), they are the best of me, my greatest loves, the one thing I’ve ever done with the clearest mind and fullest heart. My failings should never be thought of as theirs. And their successes are theirs alone. One day, when my time is done, I will be able to say, with nary a bit of exaggeration, I’ve done something wonderful and left the world a better place if only because of them.

2016/09/11

15 Years After: Life Post-9/11

Da Goddess @ 05:39

After 15 years, my heart still beats a little too fast, my chest feels too tight, and I remember that sense of disbelief as if it were yesterday.

I also remember my neighbors gathering, not so much to talk, but more just needing to be together with others.

My children had questions. I had questions, too. But parents had to be strong and talk the kids through the scary news. We could only panic or cry in private. The kids needed us adults to be their safe haven. So we were.

I remember Mr. Rogers saying during times like these, when you’re frightened or feeling lost to look for the helpers. I keep thinking about that now. How many of us remember that? How many of us have become helpers?

I’ve been a helper and I have to say, helping others during terrible moments makes you stronger. It truly does.

I try not to be one who needs a helper now. I do what I can to be there for those who have no one else, who don’t know where to turn, who maybe just need a hand to hold onto.

I try. And I try very hard to support the helpers whose jobs require the support of the community. Whatever we can’t do, they are out there making sure it gets done. They work harder and longer than everyone else. And they need us to be there for them when all is said and done.

Today I think of the lives lost 15 years ago. I think, too, of those who have since died because of the work they did to put out fires, find survivors in the wreckage, or to reclaim the remains of the dead. I think of those who have flown over, sailed around, or walked in foreign lands in the name of securing our freedom, chasing down the evil minds behind the attacks on us. I think of all the innocents who’ve been caught in the crossfire.

Mostly, I think. I remember. I hurt. And I give thanks for all that remains.

Some far off day, long in the future, there will be no one left alive who remembers the attacks on American soil. It’ll be one more story in a history book. Until that happens, I will remember and I will speak of that day. I have to. I cannot forget, nor should I.

Never. Forget. Never forget. NEVER FORGET. NEVER. FORGET.

2016/09/04

On This Day 10 Years Ago: September 4, 2006 — Steve Irwin Died

Da Goddess @ 00:00

Over the years, I’ve written about the impact Steve Irwin had on the lives of my family. Below is a repost of something I wrote in 2009, which still rings true. I’d like to add a few thoughts.

Steve may be gone, but we’ve witnessed new generations carrying on with his mission. Irwin daughter Bindi is officially an adult and continues to talk about the need for conservation, advocates for the animals, and has become a true global ambassador for wildlife. His son, Robert, does the same. Though his younger years perhaps limit his visibility, he aims high and reaches or exceeds that mark with pure, unbridled enthusiasm. Both Irwin kids are passionate, educated, and very well-spoken, which is a testament to not only their mother, Terri, but to the foundation of keen interest and the solid work their father did in the name of wildlife conservation.

As I mention below, my own interest in wildlife began early. My parents were the leading contributors to this, but I was also intrigued by the work of Marlin Perkins, who was pretty much all my generation had in the way of a wildlife educator/promoter. There were others who followed, of course, but that was the start of my budding curiosity. I’m so very grateful for the path Perkins paved because it brought us Steve.

I’m grateful my children grew up in the Age of Irwin. I’m grateful for the first class shows they had, to see the world through khaki colored glasses, to see wildlife conservation as something exciting and important.

For those reasons alone (though there are many more), I continue to mourn the loss of the great wildlife warrior named Steve Irwin.

I’ll never forget the year LD turned two and on Christmas morning he went crazy when he saw one of his presents was a three or four foot plastic crocodile. He immediately jumped it, covered its eyes, called for Terri (his sister given a co-starring role in his funny little world of Croc Hunterdom) to get his shirt off and wrap it around the croc’s head. Yes, LD was two and had absorbed enough Irwinisms to run his own fake rescue and relocation in our living room.

Dressed in his regular uniform of khakis (the boy wanted what he wanted), we headed over to my sister’s house for more Christmas activities. The croc came along. Anyone speaking to LD that day had to address him as Steve. To this day, there are probably a few people who were dating relatives or friends of my sister and brother-in-law who really believe this is my son’s name. We probably should have considered it, but for the simple fact that the ex’s brother carries the same name and they weren’t on speaking terms at that point. Still, my little 2 year old had made his stand about the name and his goals for the day: he would be Steve and he would be on croc patrol. No cats, people, or food would go missing if he could help it! (Okay, maybe a little food, but that was only if it was near enough to a chair he could climb up to get at it.)

And he did it all with an Australian accent. My American born baby boy sported a fair dinkum Aussie accent. Because that’s how his hero spoke.

This was how it went for two and half years, give or take. Halloween costumes were, naturally, khaki and sported fabric paint representations of Australia Zoo’s logo, with the name Steve below that. We’d attached frogs, lizards, and snakes to his shirt (all plastic, of course…our collection was immense…still is) and his shorts or pants, and his hat, although the hat was from the Norwich Gators (close as we could get at the time). Our pumpkins were carved with crocs and “Steve” and occasionally a panda or regular jack o’lantern pattern. But they still represented The Man.

When the news broke during the early hours on Sept. 4, 2006, I was awake and editing for Blogcritics.org at the time. I heard it. And everything stopped. Then I started flipping channels and it was everywhere. It didn’t seem real. Finally, I emailed my friend Pat who lived at the zoo and received the sad confirmation that it was, indeed, tragically true — Steve Irwin was gone.

What unfolded after that was beyond anything most anyone anywhere would have ever expected. Despite the popularity of the Crocodile Hunter series and other spin off shows, no one could have predicted just how widespread this man’s infectious enthusiasm reached. Straight out admiration, parodies, and even a handful of naysayers…the man, his mission, had stretched around the globe and back a million times. He made the scariest animals important, even lovable (except leeches and I’m afraid I’ll never laugh as he did about them), he made us care about the animals he encountered, taught us why they were special, why we should want them around. His plans were grand and he was making great strides in realizing many of his dreams, which ruffled a few feathers and caused some backlash, but Steve did it all for one reason: to protect the land and the animals, and give our children more than just picture books filled with photos and drawings of animals and trees we once encountered on land. Careful management could and can preserve habitats and healthy populations of animals if we can find a way to work together — from land management, husbandry, careful community planning, caring individuals, and sensible care plans from government agencies to help keep nature a viable and valuable part of our heritage.

It’s a message I was taught by Marlin Perkins, local Native Americans, and even by my parents (except snakes, but that’s a cause I took up on my own). To me, what was the point of keeping the forest if there were no animals? What was the point of loving the animals if they had no home? I learned it early and have always carried this with me. My conservationist roots run deep and likely always will. I guess my kids came by it honestly.

And then one day, Steve and Terri Irwin showed up and echoed what I’d grown up hearing. They even went far beyond what I’d learned and gave me new ideas, a new means of understanding, new hope! It spread quickly. I wasn’t the only one looking for a way to learn. It became part of our watercooler conversations.

Then we got that punch in the ol’ solar plexus we never wanted to hear. Yes, Steve Irwin was a celebrity and we often roll our eyes when a celebrity dies. But this seemed to run a bit deeper. Here was a young man actively, passionately chasing the dream of educating the world about our natural resources. He wasn’t famous for kicking a soccer ball or wearing the latest styles or releasing a record of music he had little to do with. He was out getting dirty and conducting research that continues to this day to enlighten us on the habits and lives of creatures we previously understood little about. He gave us tools to learn and set us upon a course of caring.

It’s been three (er, now 10) years and it still hurts. Thankfully, there are people everywhere who have picked up the mantle and carry on.

It may mean nothing to you, but it continues to mean a great deal to this family. Each of us, in our own manner, have found a way to carry on educating friends and strangers about the animals we encounter, the land upon which we live, the land that surrounds us, and how important it is for all of us to work together to keep it working.

Steve Irwin may be gone, but plenty of people in this world are carrying out his work, sharing the knowledge, spreading the word.

We miss you, Stevo.

Gone But Not Forgotten

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