M Is For March and Moderation

Greetings and salutations! I hope and pray everyone is getting through this as well as possible. I, for one, have had enough of the toilet paper and hand sanitizer discussion. Yesterday, while wiping down doorknobs and light switches, and cleaning money — as if I committed murder and must erase all fingerprints and DNA from the scene of the crime — I stopped mid-spray and thought: this is madness.

So, I am turning to other things. It’s officially spring, time to start growing things getting outdoors and getting out of our heads.

I’m looking out onto a morning mist — it softens the landscape. I will walk today. I took a walk yesterday and after stopped at a Walmart. I ran into a few people I know and some of the folks who work there — let’s hear it for all those who work in supermarkets, large box stores, etc. who do it for minimum wage and at risk. All had smiles and we wished each other well (at the specified distance). As it should be.

As I walked home a police car came down the eerily quiet road. He slowed down and asked me how I was doing. We exchanged brief pleasantries and departed. How lovely and sweet those moments were! The people who care for us — God Bless them.

I can’t offer any advice that doesn’t sound trite, so I will remind. Get outside into open spaces and take in the sun (if it’s out) and fresh air and move your body. Read! Books! Non-electronically! Here’s a wonderful opportunity to travel and time travel – fill some of those gaps! Watch movies — obscure ones. Create an art house film festival for your family. Don’t your pets seem to be over the moon to have everyone home? Enjoy this time with them – they are wiser than we.

And for God’s sake help one another! Small or large the gesture: do it. You’ll feel better and so will the recipients. Don’t fret over whether it is returned. Let’s realign ourselves with God, the universe, nature — whatever is your thing and what is bigger than you.

If I hear the term the new normal again I am going to hurl. What is that anyway? When were things ever normal. It’s a new morning — time for some serious reflection on the upside of times that shake us to the core. Let’s reexamine our lives — who do we want to be, what do we really want to do with our time here on earth? Surely this cataclysm is pointing out the areas in our lives where we live so superficially.

There is always something to learn in a seemingly impossible situation. It is when ingenuity blossoms. Set up a new business model if that is your thing — this is oddly a time of freedom.

I will close. Much too long I went. This is as much an exhortation to myself than anyone who may read my words. To be sure there are assholes out there with carts and cars full of water, toilet paper and pasta (wtf?). Walk away.

We will get through this somehow. I do think universal love is a greater part of the solution.

Clare

Check back soon. I will post books, movies, recipes, etc. to entertain and amuse. At least that is my hope.

Photos by VenetiaJane’s Garden @VenetiaJane

M Is For March and Mayhem

Thoughts on the current end of days — coming soon. This weekend I hope!

The opening narration to The Road Warrior (1981):
“My life fades, the vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land. But most of all, I remember the road warrior, the man we called Max. To understand who he was we have to go back to the other time. When the world was powered by the black fuel, and the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They’d built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked, but nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. Cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men. On the roads it was a white-line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed. Men like Max, the warrior Max. In the roar of an engine, he lost everything, and became a shell of a man. A burnt-out, desolate man. A man haunted by the demons of his past. A man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again.”

M is for March and Men

Hello and Happy March! We’re on the launch pad towards spring and I for one am glad of it. I think we’ll start with beautiful men. They will help us through the gusty windy rainy days as Charles Dickens wrote: “When the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

Back to the male of the species: beautiful men are a wonder. I think it is because they are most rare.

Not only does a young man’s fancy turn to love, so does a young woman’s. Hell, it’s biology people!

So enjoy! We have some lovely images upcoming, as well as other topics of interests which I will not reveal just yet. Stay tuned and look out for some YouTube nonexistent-production-value test drives as I figure that platform out!

Clare

“…daffodils, That come before the swallow dares, and take The winds of March with beauty; violets dim, But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes…To make your garlands of, and my sweet friend, To strew him o’er and o’er!” The Winter’s Tale

The Month of Love

We couldn’t wait! We’re gearing up for February the month of luvvv! In the doldrums of this last leg of winter I figured we needed an upper. Stay tuned for more writing, more menus, and more artwork courtesy of my dear friend Blanca who is a superwoman! She designs all our wonderful collages, and she has done several so far for next month (I am hoping to talk her into one more), AND she’s five months pregnant with her first baby (super exciting!), she has an amazing job where she helps lots of young people, runs a house, and a million other things. She’s officially our Valentine here at Phantom.

Cupid and Psyche, Chatsworth

Check back soon! There’s more to come. We’ll be also be posting love related books, movies, fashion, etc. in our menu tabs.

Keep an eye out for Cupid’s arrow.

With love – all four: Agape (unconditional), Eros (erotic), Philios (brotherly), Storge (empathy).

Clare

Ruby Eclipse sunflowers

A False Start?

How is everyone’s 2020 going? We’ve had an almost war, impeachment in the Senate starts tomorrow, and on the Martin Luther King Holiday there’s a Second Amendment rally in Virginia. Which is okay, I suppose, since the First Amendment entitles us all the right to assemble. How heavily armed to the hilt is what I am wondering. We’re riding the whirlwind that’s for sure.

In the micro, it’s time to open up a big can of whup ass. My ambitions for a new template have not yet been realized. This penning would have been under a new menu – working title – “Quick Cuts.” At the moment that new website – and menus – exist only in my imagination, while certain people are absent from the task. I hope you’re reading this! And another person of my acquaintance owes me $40. Not a big sum, but needed all the same. I hope you’re reading this!

On the lighter side, it’s a beautiful frigid day and I’ve had time to read: Dostoevsky, Mishima, social psychology and anthropology. Joy! I have also been decluttering and am appalled at the amount of nonsense I keep. Satisfying work.

Despite the madness and frustration, I shall take the wider view. My octogenarian cat wants to play, have treats and guilt me into opening another can of food. A buffet on the kitchen floor.

None of this should stop me from writing, except the fact that the latest update of this template is counter intuitive. That’s a nice way of saying I f’ing hate it.

In the words of Admiral Farragut, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” The writing will continue. I hope you’re reading this!

On your mark, get set, go!

Clare

A New Decade – A New Look

Yeppers! Here’s hoping in the next weeks we have a new website! Praying all the planets align and the code gods cue up and we pull this off. Relying on the generous kindness of talented friends to bring their skills to the task with me. Thank you in advance & I do hope you will all enjoy what comes next!

Love,

Clare

Sunflower image: Venetia Jane’s Garden, Bedfordshire, England. Twitter: @VenetiaJane

Wrap Up

Welcome to 2020! I took time these last days to reflect on the year past, what I choose to leave behind, and what I hope, with a qualified expectation, for a new decade.

Personally, 2019 was a great year. New friends, reconnecting with old, love and support from my family of choice and birth – weddings, babies born, one on the way, harmony, a growing circle of love and joy, good people and kindness, expanding my work in holistic and wider ways, satisfaction and love for what I do.

Geo-politically, or outside my immediate world…it was an ugly year. The endless chatter talks about fatigue. Yes, definitely. I think this a large reason for my not writing much. I am deeply disturbed by all the rancor and vitriol that is rampant. I feel ashamed – for all of us – of images of children separated from their parents, held in unspeakable conditions, ill and dying, the world burning and drowning. The name calling, the glee in destructive action and rhetoric, the cruelty and lack of concern – it’s a leap backward from which I am not entirely certain we will be able to recover: to return to being thoughtful, intelligent, and inquisitive, questioning authority, having accountability, a thirst for knowledge, responsibility for our fellow man….etc. All the things we were taught and know.

Yet there is hope. All of us have the ability to seize the moment and call out this unattractive selfishness. It takes courage, but it is the call to adventure and action. Let’s rescue wisdom from the past. It’s not a us v. them situation – it’s You and I together time. Do the right thing – speak truth to power. Have no fear. In these situations, one grows in leaps and bounds and one discovers how much strength one has. We cannot allow cowardice and laziness to be the prevailing attitude.

Good luck. I’ll see you on the other side…

…check back for a big announcement!

Clare

The Last Time

Today marks the autumnal equinox and we’ve had a glorious September. Every ushering in of the early fall finds me in a restive state. This year I feel downright restless. I have stayed close to home and spend peaceful hours outside with my old girl, my 16-year-old cat Lizzie, watching her sunbathe. When it’s quiet – no lawnmowers, no electronic sound, we listen to nature. And Mother Earth is loud! The cacophony of crickets and cicadas and their music is mighty. How humbling to know that creatures so small make great noise.

This late summer/early fall I hear them saying to me: “Last time! Last time!” Their refrain fills me with an itchy feeling — it’s time to move on, go put down roots in a quieter cleaner place. The “last time” feeling also makes me think of Lizzie; I wonder is this the last summer we have, the last time we will sit and do nothing in the sunshine. She has days when she mostly sleeps and is low-energy, and then there are days when I find her jumping up on high window sills to watch the birds or the world pass by. It pulls at my heart – we are so fragile and so resilient at the same time. A mass of contradictions.

The clear warm sunny days with turquoise skies also remind me of the last early fall that my mother was still well enough to do things. I traveled to see my parents and we decided to go raspberry picking at a local farm. It must have been a weekday because we were the only ones in the fields, and the rows were situated to provide a wide vista of rolling hills and low mountains. I stood up from picking and looked at the view: my mother and father intent on their task. I knew that that would be our last time. The last time of normal fun activity — our remaining times revolved around sick rooms and hospitals.

I was corresponding with my friend MK who traveled by car cross country to return to college in California. He took his time and had the “experience.” His photographs are a beautiful travelogue. I shared my wanderlust feeling with him, and my science friend wrote this: “I believe everything will work out fine. I trust the universe, and its mechanisms. Ever since my move to the US it has always been by my side, bringing me one success/accomplishment/acquaintance after the other, and you are one of them. The one thing I do to make sure this rhythm stays in motion is wake up and take a few seconds to be grateful: for my feet that get me out of bed, hands that prepare my food, eyes that see, family, roof that houses me, etc.”

Well put. Here’s to a benevolent universe and to last times — and first times.

Clare

Cancel My Subscription

Greetings and salutations! Forgive the absence – November and December were a blur. I feel so rusty, and I’ve been indecisive on which topic to write. My folder is full of ideas, but I can’t get it together.

The last months were great – busy and productive, and the holidays were peaceful, non-materialistic, simple and not overindulgent. Amid feelings of bliss I am forced to encounter people who are…not happy…or confused?

Some incidents occurred, which at the time peeved me, but I had my outburst and it was over. Now, I am grateful because these nothings were so absurd, they offered up a treasure trove for me.

During my down time I caught the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. A line, from Larry, came up more than once: “I don’t subscribe to…” referring to a belief/custom/social norm – fill in the blank. The one I remember is he’s asked to take a house tour because Susie and Jeff move into a new home. Larry refuses. A screaming match ensues. Regarding house tours, I’m with Larry. Unless you’re showing me around Chatsworth or Highclere Castle, I’m not interested. We have to see the matching curtains and bedspreads – whatever (a major interior design violation in my book) in your daughter’s bedroom? What is the message we are supposed to receive – wow you have great stuff, you can recognize various hues of pink and put them together? What am I’m missing?

I wasn’t asked to take a house tour, but I’m citing Curb because I feel that the “I don’t subscribe to…” can fill a lot of ellipses in my observations of the world as I watch people go crazy or reveal some weird neurosis that is obnoxious.

Let’s start: “I don’t subscribe to your desperate need to be flattered, nor do I care how many people think you are amazing.” This is for an 86-year-old woman who is related to me by a misalliance of marriage.

“I don’t subscribe to baby talk or cutesy talk unless you are under the age of five.”

“I don’t subscribe to the use of the word ‘metrics’ in a sentence when talking about a person.”

“I don’t subscribe to complaints or bitching without a solution (no matter how half-baked), or trying to help (no matter how inept).”

“I don’t subscribe to your identity/victim don’t hurt me schtick, which you think is a hall pass for your shitty behavior.”

“I don’t subscribe to feigning interest in the description and explanation of your tattoos/piercings/Manic Panic hair color, etc.”

“I don’t subscribe to the notion that a person will have apoplexy or syncope if I say ‘fuck.'”

“I don’t subscribe to the contagion of business speak – speak in plain English!”

Example: “Utilize historical and predictive analysis to inform media decisions, develop media approach and strategic direction for various initiatives, define target audiences, create and execute plans designed to maximize efficiency and effectiveness, and use data and tech advancements to drive corporate and network goals. On-boarding new employees, training, growing and supporting direct reports and colleagues.”

I speak four languages aside from English, and I recognize the above words, but the arrangement baffles me. What does this MEAN?!!!

Maybe I don’t want to know. The list goes on, but I will end here and declare that I do subscribe to apologizing when required, while simultaneously encouraging the refusal to “buy in.”

Contritely,

Clare

PS. After writing the new post: “Pâté for the Partay…” I realize I have another “cancel.” I don’t subscribe to the “I’m a cat person,” or “I’m a dog person.” Why are humans so self-limiting? We have to chose sides? Can’t we love both…or better…all the lovely creatures?