Monthly Archives: November 2007

The Bicycle Thief, Wow


I can’t explain this whopping oversight. Somehow, I managed to not see The Bicycle Thief until the other night (and no, I’m not five years old, and even took film classes in college). Incredible.  Other than Salt of the Earth, it’s the best social commentary movie I can think of. It reminded me of Salt, with the realism, the shots of ordinary, unglamorous, real people faces. You’ve probably seen it—probably everybody but me has seen it before now—but if not, you’ve got to. It’s a package , of course—the story, the filming, the scenery, but the expressive faces of the father and son make the movie.

Have you seen it? (Of course you have, but if you haven’t, please do.) What’s your favorite movie with a social message? (I realize that’s a limiting term, but hey, you know what I mean.)





Next time . . . a bit about Salt of the Earth, an incredible, beautiful movie from 1956.



Filed under film

The Sluggard’s Been Memed (and memed and memed. . .)

Tagged three times recently and what a sluggard, I haven’t managed any of them—busy, actually—working on that interbeing post at gartenfische and finding all kinds of cool, cool images and articles on the Internet (plus the usual life stuff). My mind is whirling. I apologize, friends, for my uncooperativity/invisibility. I’m writing up the most recent meme, that came from Jan, because it’s freshest in my mind and it’s short and I’ll never catch up with all the reading I have to do (your blogs!) if I write all three.

First let me say that memes like this are difficult for me because I seem to have the memory of a goldfish. But I’ll do my best. . . .

Name five of your favorite all time gifts, either given or gotten.

First of all, there was the beautiful meal-gift that I wrote about recently at gartenfische. That was such a beautiful gift because it was unexpected and he got nothing in return, not even a thank you. But I decided I want this meme to be about family, so I want to mention that one, but it’s not one of the five (well, actually . . . sigh. . . six).

1. isabelly.jpg For P’s last birthday (a month ago). Truly a gift that I was able to give this gift. She has touched our lives so deeply, and turned out to be a gift as much for me as for him. Click on the photo for a bigger view—if she’s not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, you’re not allowed to say it (and yes, she needs a haircut, we haven’t found a groomer yet).

2. The gorgeous homemade cards and jewelry that my daughter has given me over the years. I can’t express how much they mean to me (and no, I am NOT saying that because you’re reading this, J). Besides the fact that they really are beautiful, how great is it that she, who is busy, busy, busy, takes the time to hand make gifts?

3. Blue, the German Shepherd my mom got me when I was around seven or eight, who I trained and loved with all my heart (but this beautiful gift was also taken from me when my mom decided to move into an apartment and gave her away—this was the first time my heart was truly broken).

4. My dad’s stopwatch, from his days of high school athletics, that he gave me when I was a teenager. My dad used to do this thing where he’d give a gift and then say it belonged to the house (bizarre?)—which meant that it wasn’t really mine to keep (he did this with a stereo, a t.v., an electric piano). It turns out that these weren’t really great gifts, anyway—the best one was something that was meaningful to him and came out of his personal history.

5. The gifts that P buys me, because it makes me feel incredibly loved that he spends the time and energy to find things that he knows I’ll love. He may wait ’til the last minute, but he doesn’t run out and pick up just anything. Always thougthful, always from the heart, always beautiful.

6. Okay, I’m cheating again, but I can’t leave out my grandfather, who gave me so many gifts. He was the most generous person I’ve ever met. About seven years ago, he paid for me to have laser surgery on my extremely, extremely near-sighted eyes. This photo was taken at his surprise 80th birthday party. He died two years later.


This post made me cry! Didn’t expect that. It also brought home how most gifts really aren’t memorable—when we run out and pluck something off a shelf, it’s not often a heart-gift, it’s just a thing. It also makes me realize that I can’t think of any really worthwhile gifts that I have given, other than number 1. That’s sad.

In our family, some of us don’t buy Christmas gifts for one another anymore, we donate to an organization that we know that person will find meaningful. I like this.

I’m not tagging, but if any of you want to do this, please do, I think it’s a lovely meme (it’s a gratefulness meme!).

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I’ve been enjoying Sufjan Stevens Chrismas music thanks to the cranky hooker—I mean cranky hausfrau. (Husband likes it, too—especially Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing—which surprised me, because I thought he was just tolerating it.)


Filed under dogs, family, Isabel, lifestuff

Oh To Fly!


When I was a kid I often dreamt of flying. The dreams tapered off over time—the last one was at least fifteen years ago and it was probably the most spectacular of all. Even now I can almost feel the exultation of swooping and soaring. For something that took place in the mind, the sheer physicality of the experience was amazing. It was body.

I’ve never been afraid of airplanes; when I was a kid, I enjoyed flying—especially take-offs and landings, because the rest is mostly coasting along (except, of course, when weather determines otherwise). When I was around thirty, I read Richard Bach’s book, Illusions. His love of flying is contagious. I was still infected when I met my husband, and he bought me a calendar of women in flight, with lots of (well, about twelve) historic photos. I must still have it . . . somewhere.

This video, posted by Jan on her blog, reminds me of my dreams:

(I love the music—I wish I knew what it was—if you do, tell me!)

Looking at the photo of the Wright glider (1902!) and the video, I marvel at how these very mortal human bodies sometimes do amazing things. Flying! Flying with bodies unarmored, exposed to weather, to injury, to the real possibility of death. Oh, to do something awesome, in spite of fear—how I wish I could, but alas, I am too protective of this one body.

When I first came to Christianity, I found an art print of a woman flying; it was titled Coming Home. The image sparked me to realize that that was exactly how I felt: I was coming home, and I wasn’t just walking, I was flying.


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Do  you, or did you, have flying dreams? How can we—land-bound without the help of some apparatus or other—dream of flying so gloriously? I wish I’d have another. . . I don’t have the nerve to try a windsuit.


Filed under flying, lifestuff

Women, Age And Self Worth

I’ve been thinking about this topic for quite a while.

I watched my mother go from a woman who seemed self confident and generally satisfied with life, to a woman who—in my opinion—has crawled inside of herself, has lost her self esteem and looks at the world through gray-tinted glasses. This is a view from the outside, so I can only think my impression of her when she was younger was exaggerated, because how can a person do a 180 quite like that?

My perception is that her self confidence was not based on a sense of value that came from within, but from others’ reactions to her and feelings about her.

Let me ‘splain.

She was very attractive when she was younger. She loved male attention; thrived on it, I think. And she always looked young for her age and loved it when people told her she didn’t look old enough to have a daughter my age (of course, she also became a mother at nineteen, so when I was nineteen, she was only thirty-eight).

One day I was talking with her on the phone—this was probably ten years ago now—and she was upset about something that had happened in the little health food store she clerked at. A man came in—I think she said he was fiftyish—anyway, she asked if she could help him and he ignored her, turning instead to her younger female counterpart. Then the guy proceeded to flirt with “the other woman.”

My mother has brought this up in conversation several times, and I mark it one of the incidents that precipitated her “slide.”

The store episode happened not long after her partner of at least ten years left her for his previous wife. So it was like a body slam and then a kick.

I have watched my mother’s fall with a lot of sadness and a bit of apprehension. There go I?

My daughter and I saw a new dentist yesterday. We walked in and the dentist and his wife were standing at the counter and asked if people often mistook the two of us for sisters. It’s nice, I’m not saying it isn’t, but I think of my mother and I know I’ve got to wean myself from this stuff because it will end.

Our sense of value has got to come from within, not from others. For a female, appearance-approval is touted as the greatest thing we could ever hope for. Women pay a lot of money for this.

You are the princess. The beautiful princess.

I want to be a worthy example for my daughter; I want her to feel good about herself, not because of her looks, but because of who she is inside. She is an absolutely gorgeous young woman, both inside and out. Thankfully, she isn’t all that smitten with male attention, but our society hammers away at women: This is what’s important about you—your hair, your cheekbones, your body. I heard over and over and over when she was a teenager: She could be a model. Other parents couldn’t understand why I wasn’t trying to get her into modeling. I was watching my mother, I was noticing other middle aged and older women who seemed uncomfortable with themselves, I was watching myself. I was well aware of society’s over-emphasis on girls’ and women’s looks. Why in hell would I want to lead my daughter down that path? She could be a model. So?

I watch women. Of course I do, because I naturally watch people. But lately, I especially watch women. I watch younger women who are in love with being noticed. I watch middle aged women trying to hold on to that notice. I love to see women who look like they’re over fifty and feel good about themselves.

I think a woman’s mother’s attitude to appearance and admiration has a lot to do with how that woman sees herself and where she seeks approval—from within or without. But I also think that, if necessary, we can consciously work at over-riding her example and become whole from inside.

What do you think about this subject?

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What do you think of this theme? I like it, but I’m concerned that the font is too small and I can’t edit the css. Let me know. . . .


Filed under lifestuff

My Alter-Blog

So it’s good to start a new blog. It’s like a mini new life.

Why do it? Why a mini new life? Because I prefer to keep my other blog spiritualish and this will give me a space to write about other topics that interest me.

That’s the idea. We’ll see how it goes.

Please stay tuned. . . .


Filed under lifestuff