Wise Women Friday (a bit late): Carrie Fisher

Words of wisdom from Princess Leia: 

Cry all you want; you'll pee less.

Back in my century, Big Girls did not cry, and I was a "big" girl -- plump as a pickle, but that's a different story -- so I did not cry.  For probably thirty years I did not cry.  

But this is a new and improved century.  We bring our own bags to grocery stores.  We worry about polar bears.  We acknowledge feelings and pain and personal crises and emotional losses and the horror of bad hair days.  So we all get to cry, big and small alike.  

It may be premenopausal, but some days I feel like all I do is cry.  It's not so bad really.  It's very cathartic and seems very noble and sincere, and, if I pee less in a day then that's one more time I can stick Marley and Me in the DVD player.  (The dog dies!  It fucking dies I tell you!)  Has anybody got a Kleenex?


Goddess of the Week: Bast

Tick, tick, tick.  Time.  There it goes, slipping away.  Oops! Some more passed just there.  Ah-- and some more.

Are you an ant and never a grasshopper?  Are you so busying doing what you should do that you never do what you want to do?  If so, then the goddess for you is Bast.

Like our last goddess she is an Egyptian of the feline persuasion.  She has the body of a woman and the head of a cat.  She used to have the head of a lion and rule over the sun, but, alas, in a disturbing power struggle, she got saddled with the mere moon and her head was literally downsized.  But there is no use mewing over spilt milk.  You can move on or you can wallow, and Bast doesn't wallow.  Bast plays.  She has a good time.  She knows that in a world of shoulds and oughts and musts, fun and pleasure are the weapons of revolutionaries.  Gods and man may take your mane, but they sure as hell can't take your moxie.  Only you can sacrifice that.  Don't do it.  Don't "find time" to do the things you want.  Take time.  Steal time.  Kill the shoulds.  Drown them in bubble baths.  Bury them under good books.  Stitch them up with colorful embroidery floss and then burn them with those little creme brulee torches.  Be like Bast.  Stick it to the man.  Play.

Channel this goddess: when overwhelmed by errands, laundry, dirty dishes and that little voice in your head that always tells you to work harder, go faster, get more done.  The clock is ticking.  Don't waste it pushing a vacuum.  

Petrea: This one is for you.  

Anybody want to be next?


Wise Women Friday: Muriel Rekeyser

Words of wisdom from the American poet Muriel Rekeyser (1913-1980):

The universe is made of stories, not atoms.

What distinguishes our species is not that we have thumbs or that we make tools; it is that we tell stories.  Our brains turn data into narrative.  The stories change.  How we tell them changes.  But the universe is made of stories.  We are the stories we tell.  So choose your stories well.  



Bacon-flavored vodka.  That's it.  That's all I'm saying.  

Ok.  Maybe one more thought.  Me?  I'm your basic suburban-mom drinker.  I like my booze sweet and syrupy.  I'm looking for a dessert that gives me a buzz and that I can drink through a tiny straw.  So Bacon-flavored vodka.  It's not working for me.  But you probably like little onions and pickled carrots in your cocktails, so go ahead.  Knock yourself out.  


Goddess of the Week: Sekhmet

Feeling thin-skinned?  Discouraged?  Does it seem like all you get is rejection, criticism, and neglect?  Then the goddess for you is Sekhmet.  This Egyptian warrior goddess, whose very name means powerful, led the pharaohs into battle and gave them the strength to defeat even the most passive aggressive mothers and anal retentive enemies.

With the head of a lionness and the body of woman, Sekhmet reminds you that fingernails were made for clawing, teeth were made for gnashing, and when people do not appreciate your obvious genius your best response is to roar.  Crawling under tables, bawling like a baby, and giving in to self doubt is for Babylonians -- not warrior goddesses.  So stand up straight. Get yourself a good hair cut, maybe spring for highlights, and put yourself back in the fight.

Channel this goddess: When you feel lower than pond scum and when untalented, arrogant hacks try and bring you down!**

**Cautionary note:  Channeling Sekhmet is best done sober.  One time, when she was so mad that she was trying to destroy humanity, she was tricked into thinking that the Nile was full of blood, when in fact it had been spiked with beer and pomegranate juice.  She drank the whole thing and turned into Hathor, the goddess of love!  She spent the night Karaoke singing Karen Carpenter, went home with a crocodile, and ended up throwing up on her mane.  

Pasadena Adjacent: Per your request, this goddess is for you.


Wise Women Friday: Teresa Calderon

Words of wisdom from the Chilean poet Teresa Calderon:

No one is right.
The labyrinth, without a doubt,
does not lead to the Minotaur.

Here's what I know:

1.  The labyrinth does not lead to the Minotaur.  It doesn't have to.  The Minotaur will find you when it's good and ready.

2.  When the Minotaur finds you, you cannot hide from it in the labyrinth.  You have to face it.  You have to walk right through it.  That's the only way you can defeat it.

3.  No one is right:  Sleep matters.  Friends help.  Money counts.  Bathrooms need to be cleaned.  Beyond that, there are few absolutes.    


Goddess of the Week: Calypso

Goddesses can be so demanding: Honor me.  Worship me.  Sacrifice a dozen virgins for me.  Kill a monster for me.  Blah, blah, blah.  Sometimes you -- meaning, in this case, Altadena Hiker -- just want a goddess who does all the work for you, who just lets you laze around eating peeled grapes and watching your banana tree grow.  If this be the case, then the goddess you need is Calypso, the Greek sea goddess who put the cal in "Calgon take me away." 

When the Greek hero Odysseus washed up on her uncharted island -- alone, bedraggled, barely alive -- Calypso nursed him back to health.  Her invisible servants gave him food and wine.  They set him up in an enormous downy bed and answered his every need.  Calypso dressed Odysseus like a king.  She gave him dominion over her island.  She took him on romantic sunset walks and gave him her secret recipe for Mojitos -- the very one Hera had been begging Calypso for for a thousand years.  There was nothing that Odysseus asked for that Calypso did not provide.

Well, there was one thing.  Odysseus wanted to go home.  To his wife.  Penelope.  Who Calypso finally got so sick of hearing about that she magicked up a ship and let Odysseus leave on his merry way.  But she truly loved Odysseus, and even a goddess suffers when she lets herself become the other woman.  Poor Calypso.  She gave away the milk, even though Odysseus already had a cow, which just goes to show: even goddesses don't always get what they want.

Channel this goddess: When feeling depleted, unappreciated, and overcommitted.  When you pamper yourself, you will find your inner Calypso.  Get a massage -- or how about a manicure or a mojito?  And when you are ready to return to the rat race, Calypso will bow out gracefully.  She's got a lot of class.  


What's more fun than crossing the Golden Gate Bridge: Part Two

Good news.  The Golden Gate Bridge is really quite sturdy and can withstand the weight of 7,500 Girl Scouts, assorted joggers, many cars, buses, RVs, and me!  

You knew that, didn't you?  Well, fine.  Be as smug and superior as you want.  All that matters is that I had a great time in San Francisco, and my Girl Scouts were awesome.  There was one unfortunate incident involving a bottle of Sprite, and we did lose two girls down at Crissy Field.  Yeah.  That part was kind of bad, but can I please say that we did wear matching shirts in preparation for just that scenario.  It's really not my fault that about 6,000 other Girl Scouts did the same thing and that we all chose purple.  Besides, we did find the girls.  Eventually.

The point is  -- and if you obsess about those misplaced ten years olds you are really going to miss it, so enough about them; this is my blog -- the point is that I was a little afraid to cross the bridge, but I faced my fear and I crossed the bridge.  That's the lesson here today.  I faced my fear, and I survived.  In fact, once I got to the bridge, I wasn't even scared.  I am evolving, you see.  I am maturing.  I am one of those women facing middle age with courage and dignity and poise.  And let's face it, those girls are in fifth grade!  If they chose to wander off in a sea of grapes I can't be held entirely responsible.  So here's to me!  Woman of strength!  Woman who walks through the fire!  Woman who loses children, but -- also -- finds them.  Thank God I'm home.  


What's more fun than crossing the Golden Gate Bridge?

Crossing it with 7,500 eleven-year-old Girl Scouts!  

Tomorrow, I am flying to San Francisco so that I can spend Saturday walking across the Golden Gate Bridge with my fifth grade Girl Scout troop (luckily, only ten of the 7,500 are mine).  

Some wicked person somewhere, at some point in time, decided it would be a good idea for Junior Girl Scouts to "bridge" to Cadette Girl Scouts by actually walking across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Now, thousands of Girl Scouts do this every year -- although this year is the biggest event ever.  

You will remember that I am afraid of practically everything, so, of course, I am a little afraid of bridges.  But I will cross the bridge with a smile and while holding sweaty hands because that is the kind of Girl Scout leader that I am.  Damn it.

Pray for me.  Even you, Petrea.  


Goddess of the Week: Saraswati, the goddess of mentoring

Having been tagged by Susan Kitchens to blog about mentoring, I give you the Hindu goddess Saraswati.  Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, creativity, and the arts.  She has four arms, each of which symbolize the qualities we must possess if we are going to learn:  We need a mind, we need the intellect to use it, we need alertness and focus, and we need a balanced sense of self.   Saraswati is considered the mother of the vedas, which are the sacred texts of Hinduism, and the study of which are viewed as essential for enlightenment.

Now the fact is, every goddess has something to teach you, but perhaps not every goddess would be a good mentor.  Mentors need patience and enthusiasm and the ability to maintain a sustained interest in someone who is human, and thus inherently imperfect.  This is a lot to ask of a goddess, but Saraswati is up to the task.  Her entire existence revolves around opening minds and helping people find their own true path.  That being said, she is not one to coddle.  Good mentors know that nothing good can come of that.  She does not give you enlightenment.  She does not give you genius.  You must work for it.  It takes study and hard, time-consuming effort.  But she is not one of those hard-ass teachers either, the ones who yell and scream and fill young minds with fear and judgment.  No.  She waits for you.  She grants you the knowledge you need when you are ready for it, which is no small gift.  Indeed, we should all be so lucky to learn what we need to learn when we need to learn it.

Had I channeled a mentor like Saraswati in my youth, I hope I would have learned the value of perseverance and the importance of keeping an open mind, especially about my own future. 

You should channel Saraswati: when you need a mentor, when you become a mentor, and when your creative well has run dry.  After all, all of us need the help of a goddess from time to time.


Wise Women Friday: Paula Johnson

Words of wisdom from writer/marketing guru/web designer/stand-up comedian Paula Johnson:

You must double-dog dare yourself 
to try new things, especially if there aren't 
a whole lot of reasons to think you will succeed.

I've told you that I am not a risk taker, right?  I am the one person you can count on not to parachute out of a plane, SCUBA dive, rock climb, watch a horror movie, read a scary book, eat raw fish, skateboard, snowboard, quit my job on a lark, sing in public, tell jokes in public, drink too much, or search for buried treasure.  I like safe.  I like staid.  I'm boring.  I know.  I try to fight it, but, for me, fighting it means trying a new restaurant.  This is who I am, and it's fine with me.

But I admire risk takers.  I especially admire my friend Paula, who is always at the cutting edge of everything because she is always ready to try something new.  And now she is trying something really new.  She is publishing a flash fiction blog called Rose City Sisters.  All the stories are under 1000 words, all use hyper links to explore the story-telling potential of the web, and all have some sort of Pasadena angle.  It's very exciting.

The very first story went up today.  And, if I may be so bold to say, it's by me!  It's called "Slipping."  Click here to read it and to check out this great new site.  Then...write your own story and submit it.  There is room here for beginning and experienced writers.  Even I could take this chance, and you are much braver than I am.  So...write.  Submit.  Now.  At the very least, book mark Rose City Sisters and check out the great stories that it promises to post.