Wednesday, May 28, 2008

666: The Mark of the Meme

Lee, in her unquinchable thirst for knowledge of me, has tagged me with the SIX meme.

The Rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write six random things about you in your blog post.

4. Tag six people in your post.

5. Let each person know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

The Random Things:

1. The distance from my wrist to the base of my index finger is 4 inches.

2. My shoe size is 6 1/2.

3. My jugs are my own business, thank you.

4. I once injured my left medial meniscus while walking down these stairs in Via Spiga black suede stilettos. I was on my way to a rosary at the funeral home.

5. Yes, I can be a little flashy.

6. My favorite color is ALL OF THEM.

The Tagees:

1. Jo
2. Meanie
3. Rubye Jean
4. Ellie
5. Anna
6. Patty

I Am a Rubik's Cube: I Simply Do Not Know What I Am Doing

Oh no, Lee has tagged me for another quiz. This one tells you what kind of puzzle you are. Let the truth be out:

You are a Rubik's Cube

You are engaging and popular. People are drawn to your colorful personality.

As much as they try, people can't stay away from you.

And while you seem easy to understand, people can't figure out what direction you're coming from.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Travel Tips for a New College Graduate

1. There will be lots of doors of opportunity. The trick is to find the right key to unlock one of them. If you don't put your finger on the key right away, keep looking. Success is 5% inspiration, 95% fumbling with your keyring.

2. When you've succeeded in unlocking a door, proceed with confidence and style, but don't forget to look back and reflect on the effort and focus that brought you to the place you are. It will intensify your enjoyment of accomplishment.

3. Standing on your own two feet takes strength, coordination, and a few falls. And sometimes you even need a little support.

4. Don't expect all of life to be neat. Some of the sweetest things create an absolute mess. Savor the sweetness. Celebrate the mess of it all.

5. When it comes to love, let your expectations be very high.

6. Scramble up to the challenges during rocky times. The enlarged view will amaze you.

7. The Wizard isn't approached by a yellow brick road. The Wizard is inside you.

8. When life gives you trash, turn it into a fashion statement.

9. The journey has many surprising turns. The learning curve is sometimes a hairpin, at other times a deeply relaxing stroll. Sharing it with others makes for rich travels.

10. Don't feel you have to reach for the stars. That will only give you a torn rotator cuff. Remember you are made from the very dust of the stars. You shine. Never shy away from your own radiance.

Flannery Leigh Merideth

Bachelor of Science, The University of New Mexico, May 2008
Summa Cum Laude
University of New Mexico Alumni Association Citizenship Award
Graduate with Honors in Psychology
Presidential Scholar
Mortar Board Honor Society
National Society of Collegiate Scholars
Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges
Dean's List
Two-time UNM IronChef Champion
Founder, Blue Plate Spectaculars Culinary Club
University of New Mexico Morning Runners
Finisher, P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half-Marathon
Resident Advisor (two years)
Agora Crisis Center Volunteer (two and one-half years)
University Hospital Emergency Room Volunteer
University of New Mexico Trailblazers
Voices for Planned Parenthood Volunteer
University of New Mexico Community Experience Volunteer
Los Alamos National Laboratory Intern
Research Assistant, UNM Department of Psychology
Research Associate, Mind Research Network

Friday, May 16, 2008

Feel-Good Friday: The Physics of Encouragement

Most of us are clueless. At least that's the way we feel. We stumble around in a zone of unsureness, tripping on our own question marks. Should I? What if? What would they think? Who do I think I am? It helps to get a little encouragement now and again.

One rule of the BIG E is that it can be given to one who has already received it. There are those who collect pig figurines or Happy Meal toys or armadillo drawings (by or of I'm not sure.) I've even read of a collection of celebrity toast portraits. But today I am presenting the Excellence in Blogging Award to a person who's a collector of kudos. And blogging awards. My informants tell me he was a finalist for both a Rhodes scholarship and a Walkley, Australia's equivalent of the Pulitzer for journalism. He's authored several coffee table books of photography as well as at least two novels. His photographs never rely on gimmicky, after-the-fact photoshopping but reflect a painterly eye, one with an unerring sense of composition and color. Not surprising, since he used to be a painter. His first novel was a bestseller in India and his essays have appeared in various publications. Talk about a Renaissance Man, a Citizen of the World.

This character must be insufferable, right? I mean his next book is probably called Full of Myself. Then again, that would be too expected. And this is a fellow who loves a good plot twist as much as the rest of us. So he authors a blog featuring his exquisite photographs, his retelling of odd news events, peppered with his prodigious puns (I forgot to mention--he is a pun-meister's pun-meister), an occasional memoir, all kinds of photography tips, tips on manuscript preparation, etc. etc. Probably the most remarkable feature of his blog is Post of the Day, wherein he lists several blog posts by others which struck him, either for their excellence in writing or photography or art, or their level of honesty, or their hilarity, or their very uniqueness.

My efforts have been encouraged a few times. And yes, I've enjoyed this. But even more so, I've discovered great new blogs by following his tireless hyperlinks. My blogroll continues to swell, in part thanks to David McMahon and his authorblog. As if you didn't know whom I've been talking about!

David McMahon, the blogger who had to install atomic generators to power his site meter.

David McMahon, Encouragement Maven of the Highest Order.

David McMahon, genius in the Physics of Encouragement: pass the Encouragement on to others--they'll keep passing it--then those guys will pass it still farther. Encouragement, it's exponential. It's Einsteinian. It's a wave. It's a particle. It's a boomerang. Pass it on. It comes back.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My mother never washed her hands...

...that was the belief I held until I was seven years old. My mother never washed her hands because my mother was not dirty. No way. She was a perfect supernatural being, on the same astral plane as the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. It was my neighbor, Margaret Veal, who shattered my cherished myth. Isn't there always a kid who serves as the Neighborhood Myth Shatterer?

Margaret was the kind of kid who loved to instruct the more sheltered among us in the ways of the world. She knew about Kotex and how babies are born (from their mother's navels, of course) and how to pronounce "deviled ham." She called it "d'villed." I found her rather sophisticated, but that afternoon, when she said, out of the blue, shifting the miniature pots on the stovetop of my Deluxe Dream Kitchen, "Now your mother has to wash her hands before she cooks supper because she could get germs on the bread," I flat out denied it.


Later that evening, as I observed Mama placing pieces of flour-coated chicken into the hot oil of her electric skillet, I casually said, "Margaret is so stupid. She said you wash your hands before you cook supper."

"Well, San, of course I wash my hands before I cook supper."

Say it ain't so.

I grew up with a mother who poured her energies into raising my sisters and me, a mother who enjoyed mothering and passed on that legacy. Although she worked jobs in various locations in the years before I was born--in the catalog office of Montgomery Ward in Chicago, for example, then later, of all places, a chocolate factory in Georgia--she settled into life as that fairly common presence of the 50s and 60s, a stay-at-home mom. My sisters and I never rode the school bus. Mama picked us up. We never ate the disgusting cafeteria food. Mama packed a balanced, flavorful lunch for us. At home we seldom had any food from a can. Mama cooked garden-fresh green beans and cream corn in the summer and in the winter, we ate the corn and the peas she had "put up" (frozen) in the summer.

She was a "room mother" at school, which meant she provided coconut-embellished chocolate oatmeal drops for parties, and we got to eat the leftovers. At church she was elected to the office of congregational secretary, which meant we always had a stock of communion crackers in the bottom drawer of our mahogany china cabinet. That my mother was entrusted with the solemn duty of purchasing the symbolic body of Christ, by the case, from The Baptist Bookstore, I took as clear evidence of her supernatural status.

Yes, those crackers were off limits as snacks. And yet I recall stealing into the dining room, sliding open the drawer, rummaging around for an opened box, and peeling back the wax wrapper. As I nibbled on one (or two) communion wafers, I recited in my mind Proverbs 9:17. Stolen waters are sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

Bennie and I are flying to Alabama tomorrow morning. Sunday will be the first Mother's Day I have spent with Mama in...well...I don't remember how long. I visited her last May, but that visit was timed to coincide with her cancer surgery and recovery. Actually, I may have arrived on Mother's Day, but I arrived at night, and on the eve of major surgery, so that doesn't quite count, does it? I would love to take my mother out to dinner on Sunday, for the entire family to gather around a big table and laugh over excellent barbecue, but that won't happen. Mama is severely disabled with arthritis now, and car trips, even short ones, are an ordeal for her.

It's disconcerting the way life has a way of circling back. The mother who helped me learn to walk now needs considerable help in getting around herself. Even so, that mother from way back when, who held me lightly, balancing my small upright body over my grandmother's lawn, who coaxed me to take my first steps, continues to wish me well and egg me on. And that young and beautiful vessel of energy who never washed her hands in her ever-so-lovely flawlessness? She lives forever within.

To this day, I cherish her. When I'm feeling unsuccessful or dirty or unloved, I only have to call on the Perfect Mother Within and I feel lovable and successful and very, very clean. I'm one of the fortunate ones: I had a mother who loved me so much I believed she was God. And in her way, she was. She taught me how to love, and in my book, that's worthy of worship. That's worthy of eating a little stolen bread in secret, savoring the taste of unconditional love.

Saturday I had the pleasure of bringing a new painting to the gallery, one I'd labored over, and selling it within a few hours. And Sunday I had the sublime satisfaction of reporting the incident with pride to Mama. She was just as excited as the day I brought home my first hideous homemade Christmas ornament assembled from Styrofoam and toothpicks. (It looked a little like a Sputnik.) I may have honed my technique a bit, but my mother's enthusiasm for all things made by her children never changes.

I love you Mama! I always will.