Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Too Tight for Comfort...humor about retail packaging...slice of life...

April 27, 2010

Too Tight for Comfort

Wedgied again…

Have you noticed things are getting harder to get into and I’m not talking about colleges? I just bought some new lipstick and, for my protection, it had no less than two plastic-encased side adhesive…units, rendering the package safe in case of a germ or nuclear attack.

And CD’s? Don’t the record companies get that it’s not itunes, Limewire and file sharing that have practically put them out of business? It’s their stupid industrial-encased CD’s that thwarted their sales efforts, forcing many of us who thought downloading meant one of the washing machine cycles, to access music through our computers.

I knew something needed to change the day I was attempting to open a new CD I’d purchased – Joss Stone, just for an interesting side note – while I was driving. We know texting and/or answering the phone while motoring is dangerous, but oh, boy, this CD thing was a new level of daredevil. I found myself using my teeth, so as not to be an unsafe driver but, really, when you’re hurtling along with a large plastic object dangling just below your eyeballs, that can’t be providing any positive peripheral enhancements.

As is the case with anyone whose life, situation, world has gone out of control, I knew this couldn’t continue and I would no longer buy music this way. Unless the record companies got a clue and a) created packaging that could be accessed as easily as a ding dong; or b) included industrial-strength scissors with the packaging, I was through.

And perhaps I wouldn’t have noticed this trend of overly engineered casings so much if, in a purchasing one-two punch, I hadn’t immediately acquired a new curling iron. Once again, I found myself searching for all manner of objects that may be utilized by people with opposable thumbs in order to gain access to something they want. This time I was even at home and I couldn’t get into the blasted thing sooner than what turns out to be my personal best of 10 minutes. Argh!

So, my message is really to all those retailers out there who seem to perennially scratch their heads over diminished sales statistics because they’re absolutely sure they’re providing the type of products we want and just cannot figure out why we’re not buying what they’re selling.

Make the products as easy to open as it is to use them. Stick that in your sales projections and tabulate it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

So Far Away...humor about aging...

April 22, 2010

So Far Away

Oh, the humanity. It’s finally happened and I noticed it in the shower of all places. I cannot read ant-dropping sized font, at least not without Dollar-Tree assisted eyewear. And how does the shower come into play? I’m glad you asked!

The shampoo and conditioner are not even distinguishable from one another sans the ability to read those names on the bottles, so I’ve been experiencing a reverse cleansing effect with my hair.

Instead of lather, rinse, repeat, I’ve got condition, wait, rinse out – uh, oh! Why is this stuff still so greasy when I just washed it? It’s humbling to realize that, at this stage of the game, I am more interested in sharpies (to create my own large-fonted labeling system), cheap magnifying glasses and magical potions as well as undergarments that will render me gravity-defying in every way than, well, anything else!

Oh, don’t get me wrong I still hanker for all of the “girlie” things that have me still playing dress-up and applying colors not found in nature; however, my beauty regimen is less about perfection nowadays, more about starting off on the right foot, or with the right bottle, as it were.

It’s sad, but I used to laugh at poor Mr. Magoo with his near-sighted big eyes and seemingly oblivious attitude toward the ill effects of not seeing the world clearly. (And now that I’ve conjured up that cartoon “blast from the past” you may be wondering how it is I don’t have a cane, glasses AND choice parking spot right up next to the designated blue area!)

Payback is a real witch and thy name is Myopia!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Wisdom of the Good Doctor...Dr. Seuss...inspirational quote...

April 19, 2010

The Wisdom of the Good Doctor

The only seemingly insurmountable challenge I’ve ever found related to Dr. Seuss and his words is spelling his blasted name correctly. After that, it was all green eggs and ham.

From the start, his books were a literary love connection for me, alleviating pressure from life’s challenges as his simple messages of hope, love and our status as world stewards were brought home to me time and time again.

Having long been enamored of his work I became even more so when I experienced the inspirational joy that was a “Kiddy Lit” unit in my teaching credential program. His genius is unparalleled and his books inspire me as much today as they did when I read, re-read and RE-re-read my very favorite, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

Today’s quote comes from the good doctor with a much-needed reminder to have fun – with language, with your life, with your work, with the people who you love wildly.

I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells.
--Dr. Seuss

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hair it is...dogs that have fur, dogs that have humor

April 17, 2010

Hair it is

Under the heading of “you learn something new every day,” it has come to my attention that some dogs have fur, while others sport hair. This becomes important if you are under the heading of “folks allergic to pet dander” because an “en-furred” dog will make you sneeze, while an “in-hair-ent” dog will not. (Note the fun I must be having, as an English teacher, as I turn the words, “inferred” and “inherent,” that are normally spelled waaayyyy differently, into humor. Cheap entertainment!)

We adopted a Cocker Spaniel about two months ago because, now that my kids are growing (grown), up it looked as though I was going to get a full night’s sleep and enjoy some independence. We couldn’t have that, so we adopted a dog for whom we are her third set of adoptive parents. This may give you an idea of her state of mind upon arrival. I mean, talk about your abandonment issues.

So, I thought this little cutie was a hairy creature, but it turns out she has fur, as I discovered when I launched into one of my unnecessary Google searches when I should have been completing any number of necessary tasks. In case you need some sort of cocktail party conversational fodder, here is a list of hairy, non-furry canines. A good rule of thumb let will help you remember the hair versus fur thing seems to be that if you can’t pronounce or spell the dog’s name easily, it can probably share your shampoo with you:

Bearded Collie
Bedlington Terrier
Bichon Frise
Brussels Griffon
Chinese Crested
Coton de Tulear
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Irish Water Spaniel
Kerry Blue Terrier
Lagotto Romagnolo
Lhasa Apso
Peruvian Inca Orchid
Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Portugese Water Dog
Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier
Tibetan Terrier
Wirehaired Fox Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Life in Four Frames or Less...a 4 x 4 visual on the rolling stages of life...humor

April 15, 2010

Pictures provided by Sacramento Magazine – Thanks guys!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Get on Your (Cheap) Hobby Horse...humor column about saving money...

April 14, 2010

Get on Your (Cheap) Hobby Horse

I made an offhand remark to someone yesterday, which is how I often remark; offhand, off the cuff, a bubble off level. You get the picture. It was a cute little interchange about hair and I made a joke that I’m growing out my hair because I need a cheap hobby and then I thought, hey, what other cheap (preferably humorous) hobbies could there be?

That inspired the list that follows which I call:

Hobbies That Cost Nothing
(I must qualify this list…first of all, it’s mostly humorous, but secondly, this doesn’t mean that engaging in the following activities doesn’t lead to future expenditures in the form of money or trouble but, technically, there is no money involved.)

1. Growing out your hair
(This is a goal you can really wrap your head around…or is it the other way around?)

2. Grass Clipping Collecting
(This provides the added bonus of accumulating items that are nature’s air freshener.)

3. Rock Collecting
(This provides the added bonus of creating a sub-collection of paper weights.)

4. Collecting anything that is not purchased and for which you will not be arrested.
(Note that last part, you permanent sign borrowers, you!)

5. Skipping
(As in “skip to my Lou,” skipping along the sidewalk. If you haven’t tried this lately, see how long it takes before you have to stop, bend over and exclaim, “My Gawd! And I used to do this every day when I was a kid?!)

6. Jumping
(As in “Van Halen might as well jump” jumping, anywhere you won’t hit your head. See #5 for same exclamation.)

7. Complimenting people
(Turn this into an art form and watch the look on folks’ faces when they realize you’re not making fun of them, but that you’re actually simply complimenting them, sans motivation.)

8. People watching
(This has launched many a writing career, this people watching thing. A word of caution, though. Don’t be too overt or creepy about it because it can get you on the police’s “people to watch” list, then you become THEIR hobby.)

9. Bird watching
(You’ll notice that cute little easy-to-love birds abound and there aren't just those squawky bluejays or disturbingly shifty-eyed, large crow-ish beasts that hover nearby as though they’re part vulture. I must insert some words of caution here too. Once you engage in this birdwatching activity you may become enthralled by all things hummingbird and be tempted to purchase a feeder for them, so this is one of those things that can lead to further expenditures.)

10. Any type of watching
(Let’s face it, given time, a piping hot cup of coffee and no money, looking at anything that doesn't equate to work becomes entertainment.)

11. Neighborhood sightseeing
(Have you been out there lately? Hoof it around and see what the neighbors are up to because maybe they've put out some of those free items that you didn't know you needed.)

12. Making lists
(I just realized I need to pick-up a few things at the store. Now where is that grocery list? Oh, well, I’ll just make a new one, which will be the second list of the day. And number 12 is now, officially, another one of my hobbies.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Venus is Her Name, Baby...womens humor...rhapsodic over the Venus razor...

Venus is Her Name, Baby!
Diane Dean-Epps• Member {View Profile}
Excerpted from MORE magazine
"Smooth and on the Move"
Photograph by Anne Green

It’s no coincidence that she is named after the goddess of love and beauty. All I know is she is the best thing to hit the women’s beauty market since the razor; the original razor. She is a goddess among many, but a rarity in and of herself. She changes lives with a stroke or two of shearing genius, leaving behind smooth perfection in her wake. She is a gift from the heavens. The chosen one amongst all razors. Her name? Venus. (Cue celestial music.)

When I first met Venus she was only available in a cool, serene blue. Naysayers thought She was a fad, but I knew better. I had an underarm feeling, if you will. Never mind that the razor blades for Venus cost more than a small grocery store run for my family of four, she was worth it, providing me with a non-bumpy close shave the likes of which I’d never seen, not having appeared in a single porn movie. The importance of this device and the technology that created it cannot be overstated. Just mentioning her name to another woman brings up an opportunity for bonding like no other.

I introduced Venus to both of my daughters at an early age. Why should they suffer needlessly, like their mother did, through years of torturous shaving that left rivers of bright red blood coursing down still partially hirsute legs? And how about razor burn? For those of you who may not have experienced this on your underarms or legs (this would also rule out guys, unless you are a swimmer or weight lifter) it is a stinging, ever-present pain insistently reminding you, all the livelong day, that your skin is a living, breathing organ. Every time you sweat, bend, or initiate a conversation those bumps radiate “owie” messages like you can’t believe. And just about the time the excruciating discomfort relents, it’s time to shave again.

Razor burn makes me think of that line from the eponymously named song, Venus, by the band, Shocking Blue: “Was burning like a silver flame.” What an apt descriptor of those nasty little bumps and Venus, as a “Goddess on the mountain top” saves the day by preventing that kind of thing. Needless to say, this female shaving business became a task that none of us looked forward to.

If only I weren’t in a relationship where I actually liked my husband I could perhaps do that whole Sasquatch thing, but the truth be told I’m not a big fan of the body hair either. It impedes my whole sweating process for one thing. I like the sweat to appear and then move on, gliding downward, effortlessly, sort of like my bank balance does. For another, excess hair can lead to whole different sizes of clothing and jewelry if there’s too much of it. I like sleek. I like how it feels when I slide under my sheets at night and they smoothly settle on my silky skin rather than stubbing on the leg stubble.

Venus and I have been in a monogamous relationship for some four years now. I try not to judge, but some of you are living a double life, seeing a variety of razors, hurting yourself and your shave-enslaved parts in the process. But there are choices; like the available colors and accessorized models Venus offers.

Even as I was extolling the many virtues of Venus, not daring to dream it could get any better, She came out in Barbie pink. I felt playful, just holding a fuchsia toy in my hand again. All things were possible. I could begin with my right calf, go up to the right thigh and finish in reverse order on the back of my leg, all with a brightly hued helpmate; the adult, female version of racing a Tonka toy across my gams.

Or I could while away my free moments, performing any number of mathematical configurations that suited me because with the first stroke of the razor my body wasn’t sending out painful messages like, “For the love of God, is it time to shave again?” or, “Why don’t we move to Paris and sip cappuccinos while we watch our hair grow?” or even, “Losing consciousness from blood loss…must hurry,” and, finally, “You’re kidding, right? That was only the left armpit? We’ve got ANOTHER one?”

I actually look forward to my alone time with my Venus razor. It’s “she and me” time, Venus and Diane, together with a can of bargain shaving cream, adding to the adventure of it all. And the sensory experience aspect. The sound the shaver makes as I am restored to the smoothness that is my birth right is much like the shooshing sound of a downhill skier. Rhythmic. Athletic. Clarifying. Built for speed. It’s beautiful really. I can’t imagine what could ever make the experience better. Unless they added some sort of lotion to the shaver or something.

Hey, wait a minute. What’s that you have in your hand? Is that a drugstore flyer? Venus has a new model complete with lotion loaded into the blade? Wow! It’s not even my birthday.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sanctuary as a State of Mind...Quotes About the Inspiration That is the Sea...

April 12, 2010

Sanctuary as a State of Mind

I love the word sanctuary, how it rolls off the tongue, emitting waves of serenity, even as I contemplate its meaning.

A sanctuary is a safe place where I seek my refuge, either figuratively or metaphorically. It serves as a shelter from danger, as a sacred place where fear need not take hold. In fact, the word “sacred” is just one letter reversal, one degree, away from the spelling of the word “scared” and I find that interesting, in that often fear precedes the seeking of a sanctuary, a refuge, or a haven. Facing fear, that False Evidence Appearing Real F.E.A.R., leads to growth and the gaining of a sense of self.

My sanctuary is the ocean and I’m not alone I know. There are a great number of inspirational quotes pertaining to the solace provided by the sea and all of the related elements; ocean, beach, water, sailing, sand.

Along with this picture I took in Santa Cruz not all that long ago, I’m including several quotes that I thought were moving. Some were spoken by famous folks, others maybe not-so-famous, but all of these serve to inspire me and I hope the same is true for you.


Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me. - Albert Schweitzer

Listen to what you know instead of what you fear. - Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has courage to lose sight of the shore. - Andre Gide

It is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea---whether it is to sail or to watch it---we are going back from whence we came. - John F. Kennedy

When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.- Rainer Maria Rilke

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)it's always ourselves we find in the sea. - e.e. cummings

My soul is full of longing

For the secret of the sea,

And the heart of the great ocean

Sends a thrilling pulse through me.- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. - Mahatma Gandhi

Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My life is like a stroll upon the beach,

As near the ocean's edge as I can go.- Henry David Thoreau, The Fisher's Boy

To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me. - Isaac Newton

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. - Jacques Cousteau

The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace. - Kate Chopin

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in an ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. - Mother Teresa

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ruminations with Rumi...thoughts on a child's birthday and what it means...

April 11, 2010

Ruminations with Rumi
There are countless poets whose writings resonate with me; Mary Oliver, Edna St. Millay, Allen Ginsberg, and Pablo Neruda to name a few, just off the top of my pointy little head. As I ponder my youngest child’s birthday this week, marveling at all that she is and all that she is to me, I’m especially struck by the work of another favorite – the fabulous *Sufi philosopher, Rumi.

Arguably one of the most well-known poets in the world, it is astonishing how compellingly his poetry still speaks to us, with its honesty, its wisdom, its emotional charge. He was born somewhere around the time of 1207 in ancient Persia, which is now Afghanistan, and the story goes that he was a scholar, theologian and spiritual leader who was transformed spiritually, which led to a mind-boggling body of work.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Rumi’s poetry, take a second and cruise on out to the information highway, making a pitstop at one of the many websites devoted to Rumi and his work. Just reading his words is chill-engendering and, dare I say, even transformational to the individual contemplating his timeless messages.

The poem I’m sharing today may be most aptly applied to a lover, but it resonates for me as expressing the love I feel for my daughter, who has inspired me to dance both literally and figuratively. (Sometimes, she has even said, “Could you NOT dance in public, then?”) She is a beautiful miracle for whom early predictions of “gloom and doom” about her health would prove all for naught and that is a celebration we share together, every year. In the beginning it was just she and I, battling the odds, and now it’s she and I, rejoicing in the victory that is her beautiful being.

Art as Flirtation and Surrender

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.

As an aside, this is what that “Sufi” distinction means:

*What is a Sufi?One who does not separate himself from others by opinion or dogma; and who realizes the heart as the Shrine of God.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Legacy on the Cheap...humor for the generations...

April 9, 2010

Legacy on the Cheap

I love letting people know about deals they can take advantage of and when I came across this one I knew I had to share it with all of you.

Did you know that for under five hundred bucks, $399.00 to be exact, you can deposit all sorts of mementos, including your DNA, in a Swiss vault? It’s true. The firm that is offering this up may be accessed via the Internet at Leave it to the same forward-thinking Swedes who brought us precision watches to bring us…well…US!

One of the items folks are invited to stow in their individually crafted, nuclear bomb-proof shelter conveniently located in Gstaad (oh, good, that’ll work well when my people meet there for our skiing holidays), along with your timeless DNA is your personal information. So I’m wondering what would be the nature of this information? Would it be benign stuff like your mother’s maiden name, a hundred things you want(ed) to do before you died or where to find the house key, if it’s not under the mat? It’s more likely it would be “one of us will die if I tell you these things and it better not be me” things like your true weight, when you REALLY lost your virginity or those incriminating photos you just couldn’t bring yourself to torch, don’t you think?

I love the tag lines on the website. You just can’t make this stuff up:
“Store your life, forever. Be there for generations to come.” As though having your DNA “there,” is the next best thing to actually being there by housing your DNA in your body? You know what the next best thing is to being there? Knowing that you’ll be there, at some point, even if it’s later.

I’ve been reading that there’s been quite a bit of hoopla, of late, over those Swiss bank accounts and their long-revered secret status the Swiss have enjoyed touting. Evidently, their time may be up, so good thing they have accurate watches, because the global market is making noises to “ix-nay” secret accounts, thereby denying them their bragging rights to bank accounts that boast better security than a Texas prison. I would imagine this has led to a great deal of concern amongst the Swiss business community and so they’ve launched this new marketing campaign for a service that every high-level, quality DNA-toting executive will want, right after they close out their formerly super secret Swiss bank account – their very own vault. Why, they can funnel a bit of that newly pocketed cash right into the financial “must have” of the accrual season, setting up a lifetime of wealth…in memories, right down the hall.

After I watched the demo video on the website I thought of a better gift for that discerning executive, costing substantially less than the $399.00 price tag. How about a scrapbook for $39.95 thrown into a fireproof safe? That delivers the same product cheaply, efficiently and with mobility, plus you could personalize it with a sticker that says, “Next Generation or Bust.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

MOMISMS...Number Five...pithy asides, succinct sayings and one-liners to live by, with, or in spite of...

April 6, 2010

Can you tell I’m hoping that my blog will be translated into (at least one) other language?! {:-)

Just as a reminder on my whacky MOMISMs – these are what I call the "apropos of nothing" parenting observations that constitute pithy asides, succinct sayings and one-liners to live by, with, or in spite of.

Along about mid-February I left off with MOMISM #4 which had to do with the fact that parenting IS a parenting contest, it’s just you’re not going to win. Today, runs along the lines of, “If I were going to write my memoirs…”

Actually, I have somewhat written my memoirs, what with my published book, MATERNAL MEANDERINGS and my finished, but not-as-of-yet published book, I’LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU…UNLESS I’M SOMEWHERE ELSE, but let’s just say that this fictitious, not-ever-going-to-be-written book about my personal life were ever to be published by me. I’ve decided what the chapters would be labeled which, in point of fact, works as:

MOMISM #5 “The Three Ways Our lives May Be Organized and Measured”

Family Time, Crying Time, The Right Time

Monday, April 5, 2010

Appliance Nags...taking the guesswork...and nagging...out of the home...humor...

April 5, 2010

Appliance Nags

These days the work has been taken out of that whole housewife nag thing by those #@$*& people at Maytag, as well as the makers of very fine coffee brewing systems, dryers and microwaves everywhere. It’s my birthright to be THE nag in my household and yet I find myself being usurped by non-sentient beings because my appliances nag me.

Heaven help me if I don’t grab something from the microwave within two seconds because I’ll be greeted by two sharp, admonishing blasts that threaten to force me into early Depends wearing. And the dryer? If I don’t get the clothes out of there on the double, it will buzz at me and huffily whirl the clothes around until the fuzz comes home.

My coffee pot has a nagging tendency to produce two double staccato huffing noises if I don’t pick-up my just-brewed joe in record time. I can almost hear it yelling, “Order Up!” as I blearily hop to it and retrieve my java.

This all reminds me of that commercial where the lady is “slaving” over a cool spatula to produce Rice Krispie treats for her family and it’s actually so easy that she has to fling flour and water on her face to make it look as though she’s slaved over hot marshmallows all day. (Did you ever wonder why she didn’t end up with paste on her face? Flour and water. That’s how we made paste in our day and, in fact, I may hold the world’s record for the earliest grounding, as at the tender age of five I proudly flour and water-pasted everything I owned on my bedroom wall, showing mommy my artwork AND my proclivity to make a product that would adhere to anything.)

Though I’m irritated by my appliances they have made my job easier, so I have time to do more and I’ve adopted ways to make it look more time-consuming than it is, much like the Rice Krispie lady. For instance, take hot chocolate. I make it seem as though preparing it is tantamount to knitting an afghan in one sitting when it’s so easy now, you just rip open the envelope – some even boast the requisite marshmallows – and add water. I am a bit disturbed by the fact that whenever I do perform some sort of task for my family I seem to be finishing up by emitting a “Beep, beep!” sound to let them know I’m finished.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Greetings to one and all!

April 4, 2010

I love Easter, chock-full as it is with all of the meaning, celebration and precious time with family and friends. Okay and chocolate -- there are mountains of chocolate from which to choose.

Today has me remembering one Easter when I was about 5 years old and I got quite the case of Chicken Pox (this was before vaccinations for this type of thing) when not only was I itching like crazy, but I felt miserable. My parents brought home a bunny named Pinky for me and I cuddled that little creature so much they worried about its life expectancy. It was a sweet gesture which made me forget about scratching the "Don't scratchables," for at least a few precious hours.

May you and your family enjoy this beautiful day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Diana...not a muse but amusing (humor) on a mother of a goddess...

April 2, 2010

Diana…not a muse but amusing

Ahhhh…sometimes life hands me so much to riff on I can’t make up my mind which topic to go for next. Today it’s my first name and the fact that it’s a derivative of the goddess, Diana's, name, aka Perpetual Virgin Goddess of the Hunt.

I don’t know why we feel the need to correct people when they don’t get our name completely correct. Witness my need to tell people that I’m Diane with an “e,” not Diana, with an “a,” when folks twist the name up just a skosh. This name deal has really provided me with a whole lotta comedic opportunities, be they small or large because when this happens I say, I’m a goddess, but without the “a.” When someone tells me they know another Diane I often say, “Oh, maybe we’re related.” You get the picture. Always with the funny, funny.

So today I was fooling around researching some things and I came across additional background on the goddess Diana that is unfamiliar to me, some of which is amusing, some compelling. As to the amusing part, the incorporation of virgin in to her whole appellation somehow tickles me as she is known as, Diana Perpetual Virgin Goddess of the Hunt. Or as I like to think of her, Diana Goddess of Perpetual Memory Loss because folklore does not exactly depict her as the Virgin Mary.

Just the “perpetual” part is intriguing, soon-to-be-entertaining, because perpetual is a word that means unending, everlasting, permanent and all of those words easily found in a thesaurus, but I thought you were either a virgin or not, much as you’re either pregnant or not. Evidently, there is a “permanence beyond your control” element to these things that has eluded me.

Also, the “perpetual” part is somewhat interesting as a linking adjective bridging over to religiosity given that many orders of nuns have names like, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. (And that last one may have to be another blog, I can get so much out of it.) This makes me wonder if the “perpetual” part has been added in our more “recent” history, like post some Pope or other. (One order of irreverence coming up!)

I never realized how aptly I was named until I learned that Diana is the symbol of creative insanity for poets and artists. It’s funny. I don’t think my parents gave a great deal of thought to my name, it was just a popular one of the time that my mom liked, along with the Debbies, Donnas, Connies and Sharons of the time. Back in the roaring twenties (?) our parents chose names, not necessarily because they were family ones, which I thanked them for – profusely – as my first name could have taken the form of so many hideous choices requiring quite a bit of phlegm to say correctly as my ethnic background, literally, covered an enormous amount of territory. Rather they selected names they liked the sound of and knew they would be calling for years and we all remember how that works.

Your parent, usually your mom, would yodel your first name out into the neighborhood, right along dinnertime, rendering even one-syllabled first names into multi-syllabic sustained vocalizations of wonder. And if you were in trouble? Out of the parental arsenal would explode the middle name usage proving, once again, that your mom was the quickest linguistic draw in the west.

Like so many of us, the goddess Diana experienced her own metamorphosis, not of name, but in deed, first being viewed as a lithe, athletic, hunting vixen, then as a protector of all that is wild and free (think animals and all things foresty) and then a symbol of lunar power. She has developed into a symbol of motherhood which makes perfect sense in view of the fact that many of her duties have been caregiving, protecting creatures and relying upon her wits to accomplish the impossible. Sound familiar to you mommies out there?

All of this information has done an amazing thing, in that I feel as though, when the situation now arises and someone calls me Diana, with an “a,” I won’t feel it’s so necessary to correct the innocent moniker mistake, but rather I’ll just politely say, “Thank you!”


Diane...The Once Upon a Time Virgin Goddess of Name Correction

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Day or Bust...a day of no fooling...

April 1, 2010

April Fool’s Day or Bust

The plethora of stories about the origin of April Fool’s Day appear seemingly, in and of themselves, as if they are April Fool’s Day jokes. There are so many different versions about how it all began, it is clear that this tradition inspired folks to work hard at purposely convoluting the facts surrounding this practice.

One story has this day of tricks has emanating from the fact that the calendar widely accepted all over Europe in the 1500s began with April 1st which coincided with all of that vernal equinoxy, spring, sap is rising stuff. Along about 1564 King Charles IX changed it so that the New Year began with January 1st and evidently the kingdom was none too pleased, retaliating with jokes and gifts.

Another version has it that in 1582 Pope Gregory adopted his calendar, the Gregorian calendar, confusing and irritating everyone in the process with the same results as King Charlie. (It seems it was all the rage to adopt your very own calendar, all the cool ruling people were doing it.)

When the New Year was recognized on January 1, those who continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1 were called April Fools. And, thus, another fine tradition begins for no sane reason, nor will it end for a logical one.

Some scholars who study these things say that all of the above is bogus because the New Year was actually associated with the celebration of Easter, so January was never the right time to celebrate the beginning time of a New Year and, wha-la, we’re back into another part of ecumenical history, rather than some simple wrangling due to dates and whims of the ruling classes.

Associated with wild goose chases and the general revelry that is intrinsic with celebrating spring the Romans and Celts, not to be left out, are reported as folks looking for a good time right around spring thaw time.

There were, in fact, real April Fools, the guys with the jester hats whose entire job was to make hilarity ensue. Usually these folks were on contract with kingdoms, but there are loads of stories circulating out there on the information highway as to their presence in other communities and venues.

As an aside, physical humor of the slapstick nature still made folks laugh back in the day and not just at each other as they donned those fluffy pantaloons. Even though the hilarity attached to the joke may have lost a bit in translation, it was a hoot when someone hooked a paper fish onto someone else’s back. Now those rabblerousers really knew how to have a good time on the cheap, never even harming real animals in the process. These days we use stickynotes that say, “Kick me!” but “same diff.”

Jokes, tomfoolery, urban legends, the plausible and the implausible abound when you’re talking about April Fool’s Day. For me it’s a poignant day because my sweet, beloved, joyous grandmother was born on this day and so our celebrations were not filled with jokes, but rather with chocolate cakes, her favorite African violets and anything lavender which was her color. I miss her, today and always, so it puts a completely different spin on this day. I am melancholy.

Having said that, I’m not unaware of the practical joke nature of the custom, so I did giggle when I launched a Google search which, in point of fact, turned into a “Topeka” search. If you haven’t seen this, it’s Google’s tribute to Topeka, Kansas for saying that if Google relocates to Topeka they would rename their city, Google. Google, as a joke, renamed their search engine Topeka, just for today, doncha know. It was a funny AND harmless practical.

Nevertheless, as this day winds down I can’t help but breathe that proverbial sigh of relief because I’m always afraid it’ll be my year to be pranked and I’ll be the last one to know. No fooling!