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Monday, February 27, 2006

CONVERSATIONS WITH MYSELF

MONDAY, Feb 27/06

Last week my Memoir group's assignment was to imagine two or more sides of yourself as distinct characters each with reasons to be angry with or love and need the other part. The results were both interesting and amusing. I decided to try one myself and this is the conversation I had with me and my alter-ego all day yesterday.

ACT ONE: TIME: 9 a.m. PLACE: In the bedroom

WYNN: Okay, I know it's Sunday but you've slept in long enough. There's lots to do today
and it's time to get up.

RUTHAKI: Mmmmm...I don't feel too good...

WYNN: Honestly, why do you do such stupid things! You know if you drink any more than
three of whatever you're going to feel rotten in the morning.

RUTHAKI: I know, I should have come home early. But it was Carlito's birthday...

WYNN: You're so stupid!

RUTHAKI: Don't call me stupid. Maybe I'm foolish sometimes, but not stupid.

WYNN: You are! Now get up!

RUTHAKI: Aaagh...Maybe you're right. I shouldn't have had that fourth spritzer...

WYNN: After being at the Cottage Bistro half the afternoon you ought to know better...

RUTHAKI: Oh well, it was a special evening.

WYNN: Yes, and tonight's a special evening too. Remember? You've invited people for
a Moroccan dinner party so you better get with it.

RUTHAKI: Okay. I'm up now. I'll feel better once I've had some breakfast. And please, don't
call me stupid any more!

WYNN: Okay. Well smarten up then. You're not twenty-five or even forty any more!


ACT TWO: TIME: Noon. PLACE: On the Drive

RUTHAKI: I wish I had more energy. This cold weather saps your strength. I get tired just
trying to stay warm.

WYNN: It's not that cold today. But I agree. And you've been tired all weekend. But you
just had to go and overdo it again, didn't you?

RUTHAKI: I do pretty well for someone my age.

WYNN: Yea, yea. I know. Always the party girl!

RUTHAKI: I have to admit, I'm not really in the mood to prepare this dinner party. I don't
even know who's coming, except the guys both confirmed with me.

WYNN: Well...you should have phoned Astarte during the week. And you waited til the
last minute to invite Vicklyn.

RUTHAKI: You're right. I should have phoned Astarte when she didn't reply to my email.

WYNN: Anyway, lets finish the shopping and get home. You can always have a nap once
you get things prepared.

RUTHAKI: Maybe it was a bad idea to have this dinner party. Buying all the extra groceries...

WYNN: And that's another thing. What happened to that budget you so carefully worked out
last week? You already spent way over the last two nights.

RUTHAKI: I know. I'll never learn will I? But I thought I had it all figured out.

WYNN: Sure, another stupid oversight. Now how in hell are you going to buy those U.S.
traveler's cheques for your trip?

RUTHAKI: I know, I know! I totally forgot to calculate for the utilities and phone bill!

WYNN: When will you ever learn?

RUTHAKI: When will I ever have enough money to cover all bases? I'm sick of being
broke all the time. I stayed home all last week because I was penniless.

WYNN: Well there's no use getting all stressed out over it. You always squeak by in the end.
And there are those cheques still to come in. But still, you need to use your brain...

RUTHAKI: I'm not stupid. Just mathmatetically challenged...

WYNN: Saving money never was your forte.

RUTHAKI: I'm not going to worry about it. Everything will come together one way or
another. And by the way...I've figured out why I felt sick this morning...I didn't
eat supper yesterday. Remember that? I had that big lunch that Anne's daughter
made for us. Then at the Cottage I couldn't eat, so I just had some tofu with the
beer...

WYNN: Stop making excuses for your excesses. How many jugs did you gals go through?

RUTHAKI: You know it's always an extravaganza when I'm out with Cheryl and Judy.

WYNN: Right. Then of course Iva and Jeff came too so it was a special event. And hearing
Steve play all those all those tunes he's written for the new CD was cause for
celebration.

RUTHAKI: I did have a nap before going to the Latin Quarter with Iva and Jeff.

WYNN: And you had the good intentions of coming home early.

RUTHAKI: But I decided to stay and wait til Carlito arrived so I could wish him
"Feliz compleanos".

WYNN: It was fun dancing and talking to your friends. But really... was the fourth
spritzer necessary?

RUTHAKI: Okay, okay! I agree. Live and learn, eh?

ACT THREE: TIME: 11 p.m. PLACE: My apartment

WYNN: Honestly, I don't know how you do it. That was a magnificent dinner!

RUTHAKI: Trouble was, I didn't have the appetite to enjoy it. It was exhausting preparing
everything, and disappointing neither of the women could come. I really
should have phoned Astarte earlier to confirm. And Vicklyn was sick.

WYNN: Oh well...Just think of it...You and your two guy friends...That gorgeous Babylonian
and your long-time good friend George. What more could a single gal ask for?
There you were, the elder of your friends, entertaining two fascinating men.
You're amazing Ruthaki!

RUTHAKI: One has a reputation to keep up!

WYNN: And you didn't overdo it tonight either! Good for you! Now let's get to bed early
because you must get some writing done tomorrow.

RUTHAKI: Yea..and all those other Monday chores too....But hey! at least I didn't have to
clean up after dinner. George always loves doing the dishes. I'm grateful for that.

WYNN: You're lucky to have such nice men friends. And really, I should quit calling you
stupid. 'Cause really, you're not.

RUTHAKI: I know that. I just get carried away when I'm having so much fun.

WYNN: That's you. Always the party girl! You rock, Ruthaki!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

THE THURSDAY THIRTEEN

THURSDAY, Feb 23.
I haven't figured out how to do the Thursday Thirteen meme as yet with the proper links etc, but decided to try it anyhow, just for fun.

THIRTEEN THINGS I HAVE TO DO BEFORE I LEAVE FOR MALAYSIA

1. Get my spending money together.
2. Buy a new bathing suit. (I've got one picked out)
3. Buy a new day-pack and pull-along luggage. (also picked out)
4. Buy some beach thongs (yes, those are picked out too)
5. Buy some hiking sandals or light canvas runners (maybe)
6. Figure out where to get the extra money to buy all that stuff!
7. Sort out the clothes I'm going to take. (I've mentally chosen most of them)
8. Get serious about the diet (or I'll look like a blimp in the bathing suit!)
9. Buy suntan lotion; diahorrea med; over-the-counter sleeping pills (the flight takes 20 hrs 40
minutes from L.A.)
10. Organize whose going to come in and water my plants. (I already have a bird-sitter).
11. Arrange a ride to the airport.
12. Get my income tax stuff figured out and sent off so I'll be rich when I get back.
13. Get lots more writing done before I leave.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

MORE MEMES: COME PLAY WITH ME

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22/06 10.15 A.M.
Okay, Sam has a new meme in her blog http://samanthawinston.blogspot.com and sent out the challenge to other bloggers to play along with her. So here's my contribution.

Current Clothing: Black wool pullover, jeans, striped cotton cap (my 'thinking cap' which I have to wear or the bird nests in my hair and bugs me when I'm trying to concentrate at the computer!)
Current Hair: It's a mess! Needs coloring and cutting but I'm trying to hold off until just before I leave for my trip to Malaysia. Consequently I'm wearing my caps a lot these days.
Current Mood: Woke up feeling fine and rested, ready to face a day of writing.
Current Refreshment: Just finished a cup of Greek coffee.
Current Annoyance: My bird Cheeky (a cockatiel) who thinks he's a writer too and has to hang out on my shoulder whenever I'm at the computer.
Current Avoidance: Sorting out all the material I have to yet write up about past travels. (As travel writing is my bread-and-butter, I have been terribly lax in this area. And now I'm off to Malaysia on an assignment/holiday I need to catch up and send some new stories out.)
Current Smell: The Greek coffee, I suppose.
Current Thing You Ought to be Doing: working on my novel!
Current Things on your Wall: My room is a gallery of Greece with pictures of the Muses, a turquoise plaque of Sappho, postcards of the Acropolis, a print of Achille's Triumph, a poster board with current outline for novel and other writing related stuff tacked on, a plaster head of Alexander the Great with a wreath of artificial flowers above it.
Current IM Person you're talking to: What's IM? The only 'person' I'm talking to is the bird. He thinks he's a person.
Current jewellry: A silver dolphin ring; a silver ring in Greek key pattern. Oops, I forgot to put on my earrings!
Current Book: Fellow blogger Scott Oden's novel "Men of Bronze". He's an awesome writer and an expert on Egyptian history. (see Scott's blog and website: http://scottoden.blogspot.com

Okay, so do you want to play along with me? Go ahead, it's an easy challenge and kind of fun.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

LOST AND FOUND

SATURDAY, Feb 18

Earlier this week I was at the swimming pool doing waterfit. I noticed then that my rings were loose and worried about that. Later that day I realized my favorite little dolphin ring was missing off my finger. It's a clasp-around ring, silver, with two dolphins facing each other. It compliments another ring, silver with the Greek key-design, that my friend Ingrid bought me last summer when we were on the island of Kefalonia. My dolphin ring is also from Greece.
I thought perhaps I'd dropped it around the apartment, scoured everywhere but couldn't find it. Yesterday I asked at the fitness centre if anyone had turned it in, but they hadn't. My left hand ring finger has felt naked all week and I worried that losing the dolphins (a good luck symbol) was a bad omen.

Then today I was rooting around in my backpack, cleaning it out, looking for loose coins, and spied a little glint of silver. My ring! Ah...my hand and I are so happy to have it back! Funny, isn't it, how you can be so sentimentally attached to something that hasn't much monetary value but a great deal of sentimentality. I have this thing for dolphins and Greece and it meant a lot to me though it's probably not worth more than $10.

Part of my mind has been in Greece this past week, partly due to my writing and also because I knew this weekend Patrick would be flying there for a quick visit with our mutual friend Dinaz. So I was so pleased this morning when they phoned me, first Dinaz's sweet cheerful voice, then Patrick's. They had been walking around the Pnyx and Agora yesterday. I told them I have been there too, this week, writing part of my novel that takes place there. In fact, last summer Patrick and I had gone up around that whole area so I could make setting detail notes. So they said they'd go back again Sunday, and take me with them. Oh, how I wish I could be there. But I have Malaysia coming up and that's pretty exciting too.

So the ring is back and I think it brings the luck with it. Hopefully this will be a fruitful week of writing (and mentally cruising around ancient Athens). Dolphins are a strong symbol of luck and happiness.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A VALENTINE MEMOIR


APHRODITE’S ARROW
A quick-silver spark
like a diamond’s prism
strikes me.
Aphrodite’s silver arrow
turns this cafe bar
into the galaxy.
Reality escapes me.
Fleeting,
swift,
it hits its mark,
sets aflame
the dark night
of my heart.
Written in the Latin Quarter one romantic night.
Given the fact that this Gemini is such a romantic one would think that St. Valentine's Day would hold a special meaning and be celebrated with romantic relish. Not so for me, not for a long time anyway (though somewhere in my heart I hold out some vague glimmer of hope that for once it might prove different.) Instead, for me, a single woman, it's become a more 'dreaded' celebration than New Years, at night which I've learned to cope with, even spending a few N.Yrs. Eves home alone enjoying my solitude.
Looking back to my childhood, Valentine's Day was a time to make pretty cards for friends. I still remember one time when I was home sick in bed, and I spent hours of convalesence cutting, colouring and pasting hearts to take to my school mates. But I always, even then, had some dread that I wouldn't receive any cards myself (though I must have). When I was a daycare supervisor, we always made sure the children had name lists so that no child would be left out when the cards were handed around. I think the last Valentine's Days that I remember as happy events, were the Daycare years.
A long time ago, when I was married, my husband always remembered the day with flowers and gifts. Since that time, though, my memories of Valentine's Day have not held any particular outstanding remembrances. Except for one, sixteen years ago.
I had recently had a surprising reunion with a man who had been my teen-age love. It had seemed exciting and romantic at first, but within weeks the truth about him and his long years of addiction came out. Although he kept professing to be "Born Again" and vowing he'd never again "use", this soon proved to be a line designed to entice me. I saw very quickly that he was obsessive, dependant and dangerous. We had planned a party the weekend before Valentine's Day and by that time it was too late to cancel it. But I knew that somehow I was going to have to show him the gate, quickly, before things got seriously out of hand.
Valentine's Day followed and we had plans to go out for dinner. I didn't want to go and when there was a sudden severe snowstorm that day I felt relieved. He lived out in the suburbs. There was no way he'd be able to drive into town. No buses were running. The snow was a foot deep. I had to walk all the home from work which took me some time. But when I got there, who was parked in front of my apartment but him! Heaven knows how he drove all that way in the storm. He was an incompetent and dangerous driver at the best of time. I was actually furious at him. There was no food in the fridge -- at least not appropriate food for a Valentine's Day dinner, as we'd planned to go out. Now we were stuck there in my apartment while I fumed and tried to figure out the best way to break the news to him that I didn't want to see him again.
Meanwhile, he produced a number of extravagent gifts for me. A huge Valentine's card (at least a foot in height with a soppy verse in it); a gold filigree cross (which he later admitted buying me to impress my Baptist minister father who had never approved of him), some chocolates, probably some roses and a large sum of money. I thought to give him back the money but the previous weekend at the party he had ruined my new answering machine by spilling wine over it so I figured the money was the least he could do to replace it.
I can't remember how I got through the rest of that Valentine's Day. It was horrible. Needless to say, by the end of that week he was out of my life (along with all his belongings which he had been bit-by-bit moving into my apartment.)
Now when I think of Valentine's Day that seems to be my most vivid memory. Not a nice one,
however there haven't been any memorable Valentine's Days since then, perhaps once, a couple of years ago, when Anibal, the object of my affections, fantasies and obsession and I were exchanging e-mails and poetic notes. I recall he made a special point to dance a bolero with me. That was romantic. Since then though, there hasn't been anything 'romantic' happen. No roses, no cards, no dinner invitations. And now even Anibal, my love, has gone. So this Valentine's Day seems particularly nostalgic.
The whole concept of the day has, like Christmas, and Hallowe'en, turning into a commercialized celebration and seems to have lost it's meaning.
Centuries ago, St. Valentine, imprisoned , sent his friends notes to tell them that he loved him.
That's what it's all about. Telling your friends and partners, that you love them. But shouldn't we be doing that more often, not just on St. Valentine's Day?
In spite of the lack of romance this days brings me, I'll always remember to send my friends loving notes, sometimes romantic, sometimes funny Valentines. I've receive some myself, mostly email messages but nevertheless loving thoughts. (My son just called and said he was dropping by tomorrow with my Valentine card -- he's been driving the chocolate truck and he's been busy for this holiday -- but he always remembers the tradition.).
Because I don't have a romatnic interest to bring me chocolates (I'm on a diet anyway), or flowers...I bought myself a little pot of tiny red roses. I set them on the shelf by Anibal's picture. Tonight I'll light a candle for him, and have a glass of the New Zealand wine I won at the art exhibit reception the other day. And I'll remember all those loved ones who have departed and those who have graced my life over the years.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet,
And so are you!
A tradition verse written in Valentine's Day cards

Saturday, February 11, 2006

AS THE MOON TURNS FULL, SOME GOOD THINGS HAPPEN

SATURDAY, Feb 11/06

"I don't want beautiful dreams. I want beautiful realities."
George Bernard Shaw "Fanny's First Play"

I was going to stay home last night. Then my friend V. called and suggested we meet at the L.Q. I didn't expect much to be happening (as it hasn't, these past weekends). However, a big surprise when I arrived.

I was shown a seat at the bar and guess who was sitting there next to me? The lovely Frenchman, J.P., just returned from his holiday in France. I was flabbergasted! Didn't expect to see him at all let alone sit beside him all night and then (*sigh*) have him walk me all the way home! I thought this morning, though, how slow on the up-take I am. I should have invited him in for some hot chocolate and Napoleon brandy. He enjoys talking and we were having such a good conversation all night long, except the music was so loud at the bistro it was difficult to hear everything he was telling me.

On the way home we passed A's old apartment and I was explaining to him about A and me, and how he died, my feelings and everything that has happened since. He was a very symathetic listener. He is a wonderful, kind person and one I consider to be like a 'guardian angel' because every time we've met he has done kind things for me, and is such a gentle man.

So when I got home, what did I do? Had a hot chocolate and brandy night-cap and ate a couple of those special chocolates Patrick had sent me from Germany. I expected to have nightmares from the chocolate (it happens!) but instead I slept fairly well. Woke up thinking of J.P. and wondering when we'll meet again. If it's destined, it will happen, but I'd sure like to get to know him even better and spend more private time with him.

There is definitely an upswing in events this past week. I've been getting extra offers of writing-related work, my classes are going super well, the SUN has actually been shining ALL WEEK! YAY! and then all these other great things, unexpected happenings. And yesterday,(to start the day off right!) I received my tickets and hotel vouchers for Malaysia. What more could I ask for to top off the week?

Today is also a promising day. J.C. said he might show up at the LQ tonight - maybe --but he's going out to another music bar with his son and I'm going to a media reception put on by tourism New Zealand. First, an art show, then a reception and dinner at a posh hotel downtown. Wow! I wonder if I'm lucky enough to schmooze a free trip to N.Z. It's a destination I've always wanted to visit.

You never know about dreams. Some of them actually do turn into realities!