Bill’s Saturday Musings and Observations

Happy Saturday everyone!

I had a great life win this week. My Sweetie and I traveled to Mendocino for four days for a late 25th wedding anniversary getaway. To call it a scenic trip is an understatement. Highway 128 curved through beautiful farms and vineyards, snaked around beautiful redwood pillars and opened to an expansive vista of the North Pacific coastline. Even with waves thundering against high cliffs in the bright afternoon sun as we entered the village of Mendocino, it was a calming experience. The village is laid back with a 1940ish façade and populated with folks with a laid back sixties and seventies sensibility. No packs of pedestrians walking the streets unconsciously while texting, no overly loud cellphone conversations interrupting dinners. Just people walking and talking WITH one another, not just AT one another. It was the most picture-perfect, relaxing vacation we’ve had in years and we promised each other we’d do it again next year. Here are bits and pieces of some of the scenery:

redwoods-road

MendocinoVillage1

From the Flow

Speaking of life wins, I hope you all will take the time to vote, Tuesday, November 4, if you haven’t already cast your absentee ballot. Having your say in the way we run our government – no matter how fruitless the effort may be – is one of the ultimate life wins that we all can have. One of my pet peeves is to hear someone complain about how are city/county/state/country is run, only to find out the idiot didn’t even take the time to register and vote. Personally, I know too many people who sacrificed for my right to cast a ballot for me to throw away the opportunity. And I get angry every time I see what Republicans in many states in this country are doing to turn back the clock and deny voting rights to those who do want to vote. Don’t be passive namby-pamby. Don’t be a non-committal wuss. VOTE November 4!

Well, guess you know how I feel about that subject. Don’t forget to check out my brother/sister bloggers here at life wins. I think you’ll find Miss Thursday’s internet dating experience intriguing  (and it sounds like this is just the first installment), and JK’s piece on “Inexpressibles and Other Types of Victorian Shame” will bring a smile to your face.

Have a great week. May yours be filled with “life wins.”

Bill M 

This blog is a collaborative outlet for English 400 Creative Writing students. Each member of our group posts one day a week to share the favorite “life wins” we experience. I’m Bill M, the Saturday “post-man.” I hope you enjoy my musings and feel free to comment on them. I look forward to hearing and learning from you.

 

Bill’s Saturday Musings & Observations

Good Saturday to you, sports fans!

A nice sports win for me this week. My hometown St. Louis Cardinals edged the L.A. Dodgers in the first game of their matchup in baseball’s National League Division Series last night. I have to admit, I don’t watch much baseball ­– I’m more of a hoops junkie – but I do love my Redbirds and I watch them when I can, especially during the playoffs. St. Louis is a HUGE baseball town and our fans are loyal, even when we’re spread across the country! I’m rooting for them to win this series and face the Giants again (like last season), with a different result this time – the Cards winning.

A couple of wins this morning, on a family note. My son’s oldest daughter, Kaitlin, turns 18 today! And what is she doing to celebrate? She starts her first job this evening at a local restaurant. Cake and ice cream to be served tomorrow. It’s also my sister’s birthday, but we won’t say how much younger she’s going to be today. 🙂

But my really big (and best) life win of the week was a phone call from one of my cousin in New York (The City; the REAL one, San Francisco!). She told me that she and my 93-year-old Uncle Henry are flying to Sacramento in November for a surprise 90th birthday celebration for my Mom, his kid sister! They also have an 87-year-younger brother, Uncle David, but he won’t be able to make it here from New Orleans. These three are the last of a brood of 11 born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana during the Great Depression. They are not only long-lived (my older Uncle David passed away a year-and-a-half ago at 93) they’re vibrant! Mom and Uncle Henry are both cancer survivors – Uncle H. just finished chemo a few months ago and is slowly regaining his strength – and they both are active in their communities and church and travel when they want, which is fairly often. Do we have good genes, or what? Here’s a shot of Mom and here husband Marion (two years younger – I told Mom she’s a “cougar”) in Las Vegas just after her 88th birthday):

Mom and Marion In Las Vegas 2012

We’re flying Mom and her Marion out here for her birthday week and she thinks it’s just to take them sight seeing in the Bay Area and Reno/Tahoe (Mom loves the slots), and to a quiet birthday dinner here as part of the package. But that birthday dinner won’t be so quiet with family coming in from New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta to join my wife, my kids and me in a big surprise (we hope) dinner and jazz set at Mama Kim Eats! I get more excited as the day draws nearer; it should be a lot fun.

No links today, but I leave you with this quote:

“A family with an old person has a living treasure of gold.” — Chinese Proverb

May your family unit, whoever it consists of, bring you happiness and strength and may it have at least one living treasure within its folds.

Peace,

Bill M.

Bill’s Saturday Musings

Saturday salutations everyone! I hope your week was filled with wins, great and small.

I was thinking that many times a win for me is just being able to open my eyes in the morning and know that I’m not staring up at satin or dirt, you know what I mean? Laying there in the early darkness, hearing the breeze nestling itself among the chimes outside my bedroom windows and watching the sun peek a growing glance over the gate to my yard. Sensing that this is going to be a good day, a new start, another chance to leave behind any of the silliness of the day before. Anger, hurt, jealousy, dissatisfaction, petulance, sadness, weariness – all gone.

Yep, that win is just knowing I’ve got another day to smile more, care more, love more, share more, and being grateful that I realize I’m here to do it all and do it better than the day before.

And as I roll slowly out of bed, my smile turns into a grin as I hear the soft padding steps come up the hallway to the bedroom and, “Good morning, Sweetheart,” as the Lady of my Life enters the room with a smile of her own. Yep, some life wins are simple and sweet…and right in front of us.

Of course where there are wins, there are also losses and this week I think our nation suffered a big shock and loss when

Attorney General Eric Holder announced he would be resigning from the Obama administration in December. I believe having this man run Justice as long as he did (six years) was a big win for the country in the first place.

AG Eric Holder (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

Mr. Holder was the first African-American attorney general of the U.S. He set the justice department back on an even keel, especially when it came to civil rights issues for everyone, especially Gay and African-Americans. He held his ground in the face of a recalcitrant, and often nasty, partisan Congress. He pushed back when many states (a few successfully) tried to roll back voting rights laws to the pre-1960s era. From reforming criminal sentencing to defending the legal rights of those in the LGBT community to forcing voting rights onto the national agenda, Mr. Holder can legitimately claim to be the most activist attorney general since Edwin Meese spearheaded Ronald Reagan’s legal revolution in the 1980s. I think Mr. Holder lives by the principle of the following proverb:

Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him, and then choose that way with all his strength. — Hasidic Proverb

I do foresee at least a couple of wins for Mr. Holder as a result of his resignation. He will be able to spend more time with his family and have a diminishing interaction with that headache up the street known as the House of Representatives. Good luck Mr. H!

By the way, if you want to read a real good news story and an unexpected life win, check out this post from our fellow student at feelinthegoods: CELEBRITY SPOTLIGHT – HERE WE GO AGAIN!

Say NO to the demands of the world.

Say YES to the longings of your own heart.

– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Blessings and see you next week!

— Bill M

Bill’s Musings – Art-is-in

Happy Saturday! Music and are were my big wins this week.

First, I discovered that one my all time favorite groups, War, just released a new CD, “Evolutionary.” I found out quite by accident. Came home early one day, turned on the TV and there was War jamming’ on a new cut, “L.A. Sunshine,” to close out the Queen Latifah Show! A pleasant surprise for any of us who have followed the group since it’s inception in the 70s when they were the band for rocker Eric Burdon. Their distinctive West Coast R&B/Funk style — filled with rhythmic jazz riffs — still moves through your body and makes you wanna dance, as evidenced by Latifah’s audience. They joined the band in the chorus and danced ’til the show ended.

My other win was a trip to Crocker Art Museum last Sunday. Wonderful, thought-provoking art and photographs. Here’s a review of my favorite piece that day:

The Crocker is full of amazing collections, and I hadn’t even intended to visit this particular part of the gallery, but am I glad I did.

As I turned the corner into an unfamiliar part of the museum, there it sat, occupying prime real estate in the center of the cavernous exhibit room. A near gargantuan, three-dimensional portrait of a cowboy lassoing a steer on a wild plain screamed for attention among the mutterings of its neighboring canvases and sculptures.

“Progress II” is easily the most impressive piece in the room. Made up of a resin composite over a metal frame, it’s not just big – the detail glistens from every surface. The electric (literally) eyes of the steer and the mustang blaze with ruby ferocity as they strain at opposite ends of the lasso. One is attempting to escape, the other to hold fast.

The brown mustang’s nostrils flare, exhaling gusts of hot air from the effort of chasing down and holding the lean, muscular steer. His tail flares over high-kicking rear hooves and dust seems to fill your nostrils as his front hooves break the dirt to gain purchase, so close together that you know he’s done this before. He’s preparing to dig in so horse and rider can pull the stretched-out lariat tightly around the steers’ neck and pull him off balance.

The cowpuncher is nearly standing in the saddle, leaning back over his steed’s haunches, one hand keeping the tightly wound rope on the pommel, the other flying back to grab the brim of his Stetson. One can sense his leather chaps chafing against the saddle, sweat soaking through his long johns and red flannel shirt, muscles screaming from the strain of pulling this maverick in.

The steer. His horns are so long and sharp that you know the horse and rider are aware of the danger if he ever gets to turn and face them. You can practically feel the strength in the sinewy muscle and tendons that propel him airborne like a rocket in his attempt to escape. His bared teeth speak to the effort and you know he’s screaming with combined fear and rage.

And then, in subtle contradiction beneath this Old West prairie battle scene, you spy other signs of existence. There’s the huge, green-and-mustard hued rattlesnake coiled quietly under the mustang’s forequarters. A desert owl a few feet from the rattler, raises his mahogany, white-tipped wings as it to wave off a nuisance. A broken Native-American lance protrudes from a gnarled tree trunk.

I loved cowboy flicks growing up, and this sculpture reminds me of my favorites, from the old black and whites like “Destry Rides Again,” to the more modern big-screen magic of “Silverado.” What great memories!

Progress II

Finally, with all the bad news the National Football League has generated this few months, here’s a bit of good news that got lost in the shuffle. The Cincnnati Bengals re-signed a player they had just cut so that he’d have the insurance and money needed to pay for his four-year-old daughter’s cancer treatments (NFL Team Re-signs Player to Help Pay for Daughter’s Cancer Treatment).

Got any life wins you want to share? Drop your comments here! Have a win-derful week!

Bill M.

Bill’s Saturday Musings and Observations

Happy Saturday, everyone! My name is Bill and this is the site of my blog contributions to our team’s site. I’ll try to invoke humor and contemplation with my observations on life in general and end with a “Life Win” for the week, either my own or someone else’s that I think is noteworthy. I’ll also post photos or videos that inspire me about Life Wins. (Hey, anybody remember when these began as “web logs” years ago?)

Here’s a small life win from the Vendanta meditation gardens. It was the last one in the pond, surrounded by leaves and gorgeous dragonflies. A true win of solitude and contemplation for anyone visiting that day.

Evendanta Water Lily

A little bit about me. First of all, I tried to think of a catchy nickname that fit, but nothing else appealed to me, so-o-o…I guess the original fills the “Bill.” I love my family, music, photography, reading, writing and people. My tastes in all these areas are eclectic. I love music from the Temptations to Vivaldi; authors from Thomas Paine to Walter Mosley; photography from Ernst Haas to my own. I enjoy being around and meeting new people, making new friends and acquaintances. People make life interesting. Exciting. Noteworthy. Where would be without them, or they without us?

Oh, yeah, and I love good food. And trying new foods. I was born in the Midwest (St. Louis) but I’ve got Southern roots (Baton Rouge and New Orleans). I’ve lived and traveled in Southeast Asia, Turkey, the East Coast and the Southwest, so I’ve tasted and loved all kinds of cuisine. I’m lucky that my wife is a wonderful cook (I say she’s a chef). She comes up with wonderful new recipes all the time — from Thai to “N’Awlins” Creole — and is a master of making something from nothing when it comes to dining.

Enough about me and on to today’s musings.

Have you noticed that, even with all the bad news in the world, you can find something good in it? Let’s face it, we all get frustrated with religious wars (that’s a real oxymoron to me), institutional racism, stories of poverty and homelessness, and just out and out violence. If you read the papers and watch the TV news reports you’d think we all hate each other.

But when you get past page A1 of the Sac Bee or the L.A. Times, or watch to the end of the newscast sometimes, you’ll find stories about  “Life Wins.”

You know if we just take the time to look around us, observe, and even talk to one another, we’ll find the good stuff hidden inside. That’s a life win.

Oh, and my personal Life Win this week? A date with my wife to dine at Mama Kim Eats on Del Paso. Great food and a jazz trio in the background. That’s a win, baby!

By the way, check out my teammates’ blog posts through the week. And you might want to take a peek at some of the nice pics on PhotoandaPhrase.

I challenge you to find your Life Win this week. See you next Saturday. – B