Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Not My Fault

Every year - on the first day of the year - I watch the Lord of the Rings. I watch the whole thing, the extended edition, all the way through, start to finish. I totally immerse myself in Middle Earth, and I think about if The Lord of the Rings was real and true, and if I was an actual person in that real and true story - who would I be? who have I been? and most importantly who do I want to be?

I've blogged this before (Gandalf Changed My Life) - but last year I didn't talk about it at all. Which I find interesting. And because of that, I'm not entirely sure what my thoughts were - I do remember that I was pretty damn sure that I was a miserable failure at "being Aragorn." And since I'd failed time and again in my quest to personify the coolest character in the trilogy, I decided to try something totally different.

I decided that I'd give "being Frodo" a go. I had this idea that I would spend the year "taking the ring to Mordor." The ring being a metaphor for my sugar and crap food addiction. The idea being that how could I ever hope to achieve Aragorn if I couldn't even defeat the craving for a cookie.

And this post has been moved to my personal blog at - I think it's definitely worth reading all the way through, and if you're interested, you can find it here:  It's Not My Fault

My Ecology Rant for the New Year

So, I've been watching Public Television recently... and I saw this show about the glaciers in Greenland, and how they are melting faster than anyone thought possible. It was really interesting and I started to feel really bad about the ways I contribute personally to global warming. The biggest thing being the burn pile... which is where all my trash goes. (The why's and wherefore's of that is a whole other story).

Then, on the heels of that show there was another one about Antarctica and what would happen if all that ice melted... talk about gloom and doom...

I probably could have started to get really depressed and scared about the whole thing, but there was this wonderfully wicked part of me that was thinking how cool it would be if suddenly the polar ice caps did melt and the world was totally reshaped. It would be so exciting and dramatic - like a disaster movie - only for real!

I don't know if other people have that small core of wickedness.. but it's the same thing that compells me to want to drop everything and watch whenever a plane flies overhead... and then be mildly disappointed when it didn't drop out of the sky in flames... My dad would probably say it's the Devil in me, and I don't know, maybe he's right... nevertheless, whatever it is, I have it. And let's face it - I'm probably not a "good person."

Anyway - then I watched a movie called "Bag It." It was a documentary about plastic bags, plastic, and our ridiculous notion that we should make a gagillion disposable bags, wrappers, and containers out of a non renewable substance that will last virtually forever in the environment... Here's a trailer for the movie:

So I watched it, and then I did get depressed - and angry too. Seeing whales beached and dead because their stomachs were full of plastic bags... birds feeding plastic to their babies because it was floating in the ocean and looked like food... And then there's this whole thing about great swirling "isalnds" of trash in the ocean - take a look at this really interesting and cool graphic Through The Gyre after you watch this video:

The wicked part of me was not at all titillated... and I was starting to think that maybe I should do something about it... actually, the wicked angry part of me wanted to walk into the boardrooms of those giant corporations who care more about money than they do about nature and blow their brains all over the boardroom floor...

But... I don't have a gun... and well... I'd have to get dressed and get into my car... and figure out where those boardrooms are... find my way into them...get past security... and then there would be the screaming.. and the blood... probably a lot more cool in a movie than in person... not to mention the life in prison ordeal and having to eat crappy prison food... deal with other inmates... mean bitches way more wicked than me... the whole thing just seemed... well... like way too much work... Plus there's this other thing annoyingly true thing:  if we - the consumers - weren't buying what they were selling - that would be the end of it! Interesting how easy it is to blame the faceless "others" when it's really myself who holds at least some responsibility.

And then I hit on the ideal solution! Global warming! I just need to help Antarctica melt in a hurry - and ta da! Problem solved.

The planet could get really warm - people could die off in huge numbers - those that remain would learn a really good lesson about ecology and fossil fuels - all those gagillion bits of plastic would eventually be assimilated somehow -  and yes - I'm sorry about the polar bears and the penguins - but let's face it - some things have to be sacrificed for the greater good!

So... here's my plan. No more plastic bags from the store - and no more plastic bottles of water. At least - not if I can help it. And whatever plastic I end up with... well... hey! I'm going to burn it in my burn pile and pray for the Arctic ice to melt in a hurry... it'll be my sacrifice - my prayer - my ritual to the God of Global Warming. And if nothing else, I can have the comfort of knowing that none MY plastic bags will end up here:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

45 Tips for A Good Life

Here's something kind of mushy and sentimental - but still, it's nice. The piece was written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written.. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:"

  1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  6. You don't have to win every argument... Agree to disagree.
  7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone..
  8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
  9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
  12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
  13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
  16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
  19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
  23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
  24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
  25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?".
  26. Always choose life.
  27. Forgive everyone everything.
  28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
  30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  31. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  32. Believe in miracles.
  33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
  34. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  35. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
  36. Your children get only one childhood.
  37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
  40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  41. The best is yet to come.
  42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  43. Yield.
  44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where have I been?

It's been a while since I've blogged here at ShirleyTwofeathers - or anywhere else for that matter. And no - I didn't drop off the face of the earth - I'm never that lucky - but what I did fall into was a pandora's box called Cafe Press. 

My daughter and I have been busy making a little store filled with all kinds of cool stuff made from my mandala art. Naturally, I can't do just a few things and be happy with that. No. I had to make a gagillion different designs. Of course we got excited and made a bunch of stuff with those designs, only to realize that we'd jumped the gun and needed to get organized first, and then I totally over thought how to organize the shop (imagine that - me over thinking something), and finally, after redoing it 3 times - we now have a cute little store with about 1% of our stuff uploaded and saleable.

We called it "Cool Mandala Art" so go check it out. I did all my christmas shopping at our store - and they were all really cool. My favorite thing is the tile boxes, but the mugs were a big hit too...

Don't want to go visit the store? Ok... that's fine... I'll show you my designs anyway. Here's sampling of what's at the store as of today:

flower peace attraction
meditation butterfly
big heart balance
wake up happy
starburst retro divine
summer star power
smooth mandala

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Secret To Lifelong Happiness

I have discovered the secret to lifelong happiness and peace of mind!! How cool is that? Are you curious to know what it is? It's quite simple, actually, here's the step by step tutorial:
  1. Move in with a nice, easy to please person who already has a lot of money.
  2. Use their money and go on an extended vacation to a tropical island paradise.
  3. While you are there, say hello to one of the locals, and next thing you know the two of you will be hanging out together and on the way to becoming very good friends.
  4. Make an offering at an ancient temple.
  5. Accumulate good karma by being nice to people.
  6. When you get home from vacation invite your new friend to come for a visit. The two of you will hit it off and in no time at all you'll be in love and making plans for marriage.
  7. Because of your good karma, a mysterious person will leave a magic lamp on your doorstep in the middle of the night.
  8. When you find the lamp, keep it safe until you are in a really good mood, and then rub the lamp.
  9. A genie will appear and give you three wishes. Isn't that nifty?
  10. Wish for peace of mind. (Save the other two wishes for later).
  11. You will then be in a permanent state of grace - and lifelong happiness will be yours for the taking.
  12. Now, marry your friend from the islands, and when that person is in a really good mood, give them the lamp so they can wish for their own peace of mind... and the two of you will live happily ever after!
I know this to be true because I played the Sims all day yesterday and that's exactly what happened! Here's the back story:

I've been having this urge to play the Sims - which usually means there's an important lesson about life that I can learn from it. So I powered up my game and created a person just like me. And of course, right away I realized that she was going to be a real pain in the ass because I couldn't get her to make friends with anyone. She flat out wasn't interested in talking to people at all... and spent all of her time making sure her 3 cats didn't destroy her house. She didn't have any money, and she couldn't find a job she liked. It was sounding way too familiar!

So, I decided I'd populate my neighborhood with copies of me and see if I'd even like myself if I happened to meet myself on the street. I love social experiments like this... Anyway... she'd never talk to herself when she walked by - and if I made her stop and chat - she'd spend like... I dunno... 2 seconds saying "hi" and then she was out of there.

It was obvious that she was going to die alone and unhappy.

So I decided to try something different. I made a copy of my person and her 3 cats and then I moved her in with a total stranger, a nice, easy to please stranger with money. They hardly spoke and never became friends but now my person had someone to take care of her animals while she went on vacation - and off to the islands she went. Once there, she wanted to learn some of the local customs - so she said hello to one of the locals and they just hit it off. I had never seen my sim person so animated and interested in talking to anyone ever.

When she got home from vacation, their friendship continued, and somehow she accumulated some good karma and the magic lamp showed up on her doorstep. I have no idea how that happened. I suspect it might have something to do with the offering at the ancient temple... I dunno... but whatever it was, she is now in love and permanently happy.

Ok... yeah I know, life is not a sim game... but I'm just saying... all it takes is enough money for a cool vacation.. an offering at an ancient temple... and who knows...

Playing at Life

When I was a little girl, I used to fantasize that I had a box under my bed, and in that box was a tiny world of people. Miniature living people with hopes and fears, families and lovers, dreams and ideas. To them, I was like a God - sometimes I was a benevolent and gracious God and other times... well... it's safe to say:

Don't piss the God off,
Stay out of sight and well hidden when she's having a bad day!

And so, when I discovered The Sims - it was like having a childhood dream come true. A tiny world of people "alive" in my computer ... how cool is that?

Probably I've talked about this before... and you're bored stiff.. and wishing I'd get to the point already. So, here's the thing. Whenever I play The Sims, I learn something important about life. For example:

  1. Physical comfort is important.
  2. If you aren't having enough fun, you won't want to do anything at all.
  3. If you don't get enough sleep, you won't want to go to work. 
And probably you're thinking to yourself  "well duh" because you already knew that. But I was astounded by that realization - oh... when I'm tired I should sit down... and not only that, but I should sit down in a comfortable chair! I did know that all work and no play made Johnny a dull boy - what I hadn't realized was that all work and no play made Shirley a cranky bitch.

Other things (some of which I already knew) include the following:
  1. If you want to make friends you have to talk to people.
  2. It's impossible to get a good night's sleep if the TV is on in the bedroom.
  3. Untrained pets can ruin your house in two seconds flat.
  4. You rarely make good decisions when you are really tired and in a very bad mood.
  5. Just because you hire someone to do something, it doesn't mean they will do a good job.
  6. If you want to fix dinner, there has to be food to fix it with.
  7. Don't jump into a swimming pool if there's no way to climb out of it when you're done swimming! 
  8. If you don't know how to fix a garbage disposal - and you're not mechanically  minded - don't even try.
  9. If something in your house is on fire - don't just stand around screaming "fire" "fire" - do something! Call the fire department and grab the fire extinguisher, and if neither thing is an option, then at least get out of the house!
  10. Life is easier if you have a maid that comes every day and cleans up your mess.
  11. Even loners can get lonely.
So there you have it... some tidbits of Sim Wisdom. Coming up next I'll be sharing the secret to peace of mind and lifelong happiness - which I discovered just last night!

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