Love Ya

DafodilsImage by Diamonddavej via Flickr

Ack! I've been tagged. Is it contagious? Stacey at the fabulous Entropified challenges me to say ten things I love.

Hmmm. Must try and impress you with my unique and charming ways. The only problem is that you probably already know my unique and charming ways. They are in limited supply, after all. What don't you know? Maybe that I love:

1. Mondays, when all my beloveds go back to work and school and leave me in peace.

2. Clogs. They're just so darn comfortable, and they have their own dance!

3. Dafodils. Have you seen a more resilient flower? Rain smacks them down. Out comes the sun and -- pop -- they're straight as flag poles.

4. People who intuitively recognize the unique genius of my children. Diamonds in the rough, people. Diamonds in the rough. If you can't see that you're blind.

5. Pajamagrams. Psych! Got one for Valentine's Day, thank you very much.

6. Soup in the winter. Salad in the summer. Enough said.

7. People who make me laugh. Like her and her.

8. Scripps College. My wonderful alma mater. Almost everything good in my adult life took root there.

9. Rescue dogs. They are dogs that you rescue and -- sniff -- who always end up rescuing you.

10. My marriage. I got lucky. (See 5 and 8.)

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Goddess of the Week: Devi

Cafe Pasadena wants to know if there is one all purpose, multi-function goddess. Who can blame him? The good thing about monotheism is that it streamlines the whole worship process. There's no this temple for love, that temple for war, this sacrifice to the hearth goddess, that sacrifice to the lava goddess. Monotheism is like the supermarket -- it just makes things easier -- and the supermarket of goddesses is the Hindu goddess Devi.

Tridevi: Lakshmi, Parvati, SaraswatiImage via Wikipedia

Devi is kind of like Plastic man. She can look however she wants. By doing so, she can be whatever kind of goddess you need. She can have ten arms and be the goddess Durga if you need a warrior. She can have blood-red eyes and be Kali if you need some destruction and/or rebirth. She can put on a party dress and look all June Cleaver if you need Parvati, the good mom. I could go on and on. She can become your water goddess, your wealth goddess, your boons goddess, your compassion goddess. You could channel any of these manifestations of Devi, or you could just go straight to Devi and channel her. It just depends upon your need.

Let's say, for example, you need cash. The manifestation of Devi you need would be Lakshmi. Shibang. Channel her. But let's say you're a fricking mess. Not only do you need cash, but you need to be nice to your kid who everybody is teasing, you need to kick some butt with the administration of her school because they're doing nothing about it, you need to find your kid a new school so that she can have a fresh start, and, to top it all off, your toilet is overflowing. In that case, you can straight-up channel Devi. (Then, for godsake, get yourself some wine because you need a fricking drink.)

Devi reminds us that we, too, are more than the sum of our parts. We may be daughters, partners, mothers, workers, lushes -- we may be many things. But, always, we are fricking Helen Reddy Women! Hear us roar! And don't be messing with our blood-red bent on destruction eyes. Out of them, whole worlds are born.

Channel this goddess: when a piece-meal goddess just won't do, when you need the whole package to save your flipping mind. Also, when multi-tasking.

Need a goddess: I got goddesses! Post a request and I'll see what I can do.

Also: You might want to read my thoroughly ungoddess-related opinion essay in today's Pasadena Star News.

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More Joyology

CocktailsImage by Cayusa via Flickr

Sending you this joy cocktail for the weekend:

1. Start with one visit to the multiplex to see "Ghost Writer," the political thriller starring secret boyfriend number two, Ewan McGregor. Writers, in particular, will like this one, but so will anyone who'll enjoy a wee flash of Ewan's butt -- just a flash though, he's pretty busy escaping bad guys, solving intrigue, and looking perplexed.

2. Add a friend. You could bring your husband, boyfriend, etc. But ask yourself: will said friend appreciate Ewan's butt? If not, maybe one of the girls is a more worthy choice.

3. Sneak in food. I recommend the chocolate See's eggs you're saving for your children. (Childhood obesity is on the rise, after all. You'll be doing them a favor.) It really doesn't matter what you bring, however, as long as you can be filled with the earnest glow of knowing you're sticking it too the man, who, after all, totally tries to stick it to you with gazillion dollar popcorn.

4. If you can add a twist of free parking or found money, so much the better.

Mix together and enjoy.

On a budget? We're sending our children to private school next year so I can relate. Here's a worthy alternate, but you have to like Star Wars.
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Goddess of the Week: Elpis

Pandora (1861), by Pierre Loison (1816-1886). ...Image via Wikipedia

Missy AKA Little Messy Missy asks for a goddess to "brighten or uplift one's spirit or mood." For her, we have another Greek one: Elpis, goddess of hope.

This story starts with fire. Prometheus gave it to humanity just to be nice, but Zeus was all, "No way! I never said they could have fire. Now they will suffer!"

So Zeus gets all the gods together to make the first woman: Pandora. (Her name is often translated to mean all-gifted because each god gave her a gift.) Pandora goes down to earth with this box -- really a jar. She opens the box and -- wham -- disease, pestilence, blah, blah, blah jump out and ravage us forever. Pandora puts the lid back on the jar and traps the one thing left: Elpis -- goddess of hope.

Now, let me tell you why I don't like this story. First of all, let's blame the victim! Humanity didn't ask for fire, but Zeus still took Prometheus's sin out on us. Totally unfair. Two, Let's blame the woman. Sure, she'll open the stupid jar. Everything's her fault! Three, what's with leaving hope in the jar? Does that mean hope's a prisoner in the jar and we have no hope? Does that mean hope was the last BAD thing left in the jar and hope is a bad thing? Is hope a good thing and can come and go from the jar? And what's up with a goddess being stuck in a jar in the first place? You can't stick gods in jars. They're not like lightening bugs. They'd totally shatter the jar and stick the pieces up your nose.

So, no. I don't buy it. Revisionist history all the way. (If you don't believe me read this.)

Here's what really happened, and here is why Missy AKA Little Messy Missy can trust in Elpis.

Pandora isn't made by the gods. She is the god. In fact, she is the Great Goddess, Mother Earth. Her name doesn't mean "all-gifted"; it means "all giving." She created life, and she reminds of this every year by giving us spring. Her jar isn't full of evil; it's full of blessings: renewal, beauty, love, life itself. It is these blessings she gives to humanity. Alas, as beautiful as these blessings are, they do indeed flee from us. We lose the people we love. Our beauty fades. Our bodies get weak. We die. These blessings are transitory because the greatest blessing we will ever know -- our own wonderful life -- is transitory. Only one blessing can spring eternal: hope.

Elpis stays in the jar so that hope can be given to us over and over again. When we despair, when we are depressed -- even when we are dying -- Elpis points us toward the light. Elpis tells us that in a world of constant change, we can have faith that the bad things change too, that things get better, that good news is possible. If Elpis can't lighten our moods, what can?

Channel this goddess: when you're feeling down, when blessings seem few, and when no one will publish your very superior novel.

Need a goddess: I got goddesses! Post a comment telling me what you need or would just like to know about, and I'll see what I can do.
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Goddess of the Week: Hestia

The Giustiniani Hestia in O.Image via Wikipedia

MamaJosephine kindly requests that we give Hestia her due, and so we shall.

Hestia was the Greek goddess of the hearth. She was not like her sisters Hera and Demeter, who liked to flit around and have their dramas. Hestia was a homebody. She stayed home. Always. She never married -- although she had her chances -- and she cared little for glory.

How little Hestia cared for glory became apparent when the gods were arguing about where to seat the the newly appointed god of wine, Dionysus. See, Mt. Olympus is no different from any other real estate market. It's all about location, location, location. The original twelve gods had their thrones, they liked where their thrones were, they liked the space between them, and they liked who they were sitting next to. They were like kids in a car. Every one of them was riding shotgun, and every one of them wanted to keep it that way.

Except Hestia. She was all, "Dude, take my throne. I don't care." She just moved on down to the hearth and sat there. It was easier to tend the fire anyway. Plus, she totally didn't have to deal with any of the politics or the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know how long-winded the omnipotent can be.

The Greeks appreciated Hestia's modesty. Every home hearth was an altar to Hestia and was kept burning at all times. The first sacrifice of every day was made in her honor. Families knew: sometimes you need to give up your chair if you're going to keep the peace. Cities knew it too. When new colonies were formed, they lit the fire of their new town's central hearth with fire from their original town's central hearth. The hearth, the home, the willingness to sacrifice one's own comfort for the good of the tribe, were the very definitions of community.

Channel this goddess: When you're feeling lost, out of place, or rootless, when longing for the comforts of home, when someone takes your place on the couch, or when making smores!

Need a goddess: I got goddesses! Leave a comment in the comment section telling me what you need and I'll see what I can do.

In the meantime, keep those home fires burning.
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Goddess of the Week: Benzaiten

THE GODDESS OF BENZAITEN -- A Heavily Costumed...Image by Okinawa Soba via Flickr

Jess needs a goddess for when life seems overwhelming, for when too much happens at once. What she really needs is a goddess of flow, a goddess like Benzaiten, the Japanese goddess of all that flows.

Not surprisingly, Benzaiten is a sea goddess, and she reminds us that when the current runs too swift and too strong, we need to work with it, not against it. That's true for all things that flow, whether we're talking about eloquent words, changing fortunes, or the passage of time.

Benzaiten says, "Relax. Find your rhythm. You will get where you're going, and you'll be less tired, if you trust in the laws of buoyancy and let yourself float. By all means, definitely avoid that pesky Butterfly stroke. I can't even understand the mechanics of that one. How was it even invented? It doesn't even seem normal and, I'm telling you, in times of flux and stress, you don't need to spend time figuring out how to contort your body and flip flop like some crazy dolphin. You need a great big floatation device wrapped round your belly and a martini glass filled with a pretty pink Cosmopolitan.

Of the seven Japanese gods of fortune, Benzaiten is the only female so she definitely knows what she's talking about. She plays with the big boys all the time and she always survives. Like this one time, this annoying dragon dude was totally pestering her. He blew smoke in her face; he tried to set her favorite lute on fire. Worst of all, he dissed her in front of the other six gods of fortune. He was all, "That bitch Benzaiten thinks she so great, but she is all full of salt water. Plus she smells like kelp." The other six gods of fortune totally expected Benzaiten to go all war god and smote him, but Benzaiten just stayed in the flow. You know what she did? She fricking married the dragon dude and reformed him. She pulled him into the current and let the water extinguish his flaming snout.* It actually worked out pretty well. He turned out to be a very good form of air transport.

The point is, when you are stressed out, resist the natural urge to make for the shore. It might seem safer there, but life is more manageable when we focus on the journey and not the destination.

Channel this goddess: When your load is too heavy, when your responsibilities are too many, and when you feel like your drowning. Remember: relax, float. It's all about the journey.

Need a goddess: I got goddesses! Leave a note in the comments section telling me what you need, and I will see what I can do.

Jess: This should serve you well when you move.

*Warning: only goddesses have the power to change annoying dragons into sweet little sea horses. Mortal women should stay away from mean dragon dudes. We cannot change them. They only bring us down.
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