Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tomorrow is the day I begin.....again.

It's been a while since I blogged here at Veni, Vidi, Vici, Vickie....Sort of....Maybe.  In fact, the life I have now no longer resembles the life I had when I started this blog back in 2010.  Back then I was married, just starting college, had been retired from the service for one year and my son still lived at home.  What is clear now that was not so clear back then was that my life was already beginning to unravel, everything I thought my life had been about turned out to be an illusion: the family unit was coming undone. 

These last four years have been many things: challenging, rewarding, happy, sad, tough, peaceful, chaotic are but a few of the adjectives that I can think of to sum up my life.  I have lost a lot but I think I have gained a few things that are pretty substantial: independence, intelligence, compassion and wisdom.  The intuition that I was born with has made a return engagement and I am glad to have it back...and I am listening to it.

In 2010 I was 45, today I am 49 years and 5 days old.  Tomorrow I am leaving my beloved Mid-Century modern house, my son and my two Shelties (who will be staying with my former spouse who is a good friend) in the Southern California desert and driving 1400 miles to Texas, the land of my birth. I am taking a sabbatical from my life....it seems that a lot of other people are being called to do the same thing these days.  I am leaving everything that I have known for the last 15 years and venturing out to conduct a walk-thru of my childhood, to try and find and understand what it is back there that summons me. 

I will be making the drive with my 68 year old mother; she and I have had a somewhat complicated relationship from the moment of my birth.  5 days, 1400 miles, 2 dogs (two rescued Miniature Schnauzers) and my mom...a scenario that four years ago I would have never seen coming but here I am, on the eve of the journey. 

"Please don't retouch my wrinkles, it took me so long to earn them!"

Anna Magnani, you've got to love her. She didn't want her wrinkles retouched and her hair always looked like she just fell out of bed, a natural beauty, one of Italy's finest actresses. Check out Mama Roma, it's classic Magnani.

Black Orpheus....

We just finished watching Black Orpheus, I saw it many years ago with my parents, but this was my husband's first time seeing it. This 1959 classic won numerous awards (The Palm D'Or at Cannes and both an Academy Award and Golden Globe in 1960). The film is fondly remembered for introducing Bossa Nova music to the world as well as introducing us to one of the loveliest African American actresses to grace the silver screen: Marpessa Dawn. Born in Pennsylvania, she traveled to Europe as a teenager, eventually married the French Director Marcel Camus (controversial at the time, he was white) and went on to star in her husband's movie Black Orpheus. Ms. Dawn passed away in 2008, but she lives on in this wonderful film which captures the beauty of Rio De Janeiro during "Carnaval", the emergence of Bossa Nova music into the mainstream and Ms. Dawn in her absolute lovely celluloid prime. If you get the chance (and you can handle subtitles, the film is in Portuguese) watch Black Orpheus.

Coming Around Again aka "My Absence Proves A Point About Being Distracted"

In the word of inconsistent bloggers/blogging...I rule, I reign supreme.  What is it that gets in the way of setting aside time to just write down a few thoughts?  Or share an observation or two..or twenty? Life I say.

When I started this blog (3 or  6 years ago) the landscape of my life looked different from today.  As the world approaches the end of 2016 and faces what will surely be a year of uncertainty, what I have come to realize is that in the time since my blog was born what I was trying to do was identify who I am.  In that time I have changed my appearance, changed my mindsets and formed opinions (opinions are something I prefer not having..they are wasteful thoughts that manifest into wasted words), judged others, tried to convince myself that I was/am moving in the right direction and finding inner happiness. As I write this what I am seeing are all of the things I didn't get quite right and that's ok because what I have come to realize is that the reason they weren't right is because the intention behind those things was not right.

Materialistic wanting, wasteful spending, not being as present and mindful as I could or should have been..selfish and self-serving motives...these things will never produce a fruitful harvest for the heart, soul and mind.  It isn't that I have done anything criminal or so heinous that I could not recover from, it's more a feeling of having strayed from my path, having allowed myself to become distracted by the very thoughts and feelings that I had identified as barriers to growth and abundance.

I recently lost my beloved Schnauzer, Fritz, who was my teacher and a living, breathing 4-legged litmus test for gauging levels of distraction and mindlessness.  Fritz was the first dog I was rescued by, he was so old and rag-tag looking when I first saw his ad on the rescue website: it was love at first sight.

Five months after I was rescued by Fritz, another miniature Schnauzer named Ralphy, decided he too needed to join the effort to save me.

A month later the three of us left the home we had in California and set out into the unknown.  We had everything we needed to live in the trunk of the car; the only thing that was lacking was a sense of direction.  I lost Ralphy last year to Chronic Kidney Disease and Fritz died a little over week ago.  I now have Rex and Chesty, my two other Miniature Schnauzers who stepped in to do their part in rescuing me.  Fritz and Ralph were both from San Diego...Cali Dawgs.  Rex and Chesty on the other hand both found me in Oklahoma....I won't call them Sooner Dawgs.

I came to Oklahoma 2 years ago: I did not intend to stay in the Sooner State this long and am planning to leave it at some point in the next year or so.  Nothing against Oklahoma, it just isn't the place for me.  I am a city dweller...a surfer, artist, musician, culture-loving individual.  Oklahoma is just too rural for me: it is also too far away from the surf and the laid-back mentalities that I am used to.  I was born in Texas which is kind of like home but California IS home.  I love the West Coast...I love the West period.

In these last two years I have moved up at work, my disabilities have worsened significantly but I am doing alright..given the circumstances of still being a bit of a stranger in a strange land.  What I have come to realize in these two years is that I was trying to run away from who I thought I was back in California.  What else I have come to realize is that you cannot run away from yourself because if you do, guess who you end up running headlong and crashing into? Yeah: YOU. So...in 2017 I will be coming around again...a combination of the older California me and every version of me since then..infused with what I have learned during my journey thus far and slightly salted and seasoned with things to come.  Stay tuned..and please read. Thank You from my grateful dog human heart! It is good to be here again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why "Veni, Vidi, Vici?" I am so glad you asked!

Who wrote it? Julius Caesar
Who was he writing to? The Roman Senate
When did he write it? 46 B.C.
Where did he write it? Zela
What does it mean? "I came, I saw, I conquered."
Why did Caesar say it? He was describing his  swift victory against Pharnaces II of Pontus

                       For your listening pleasure while you read the rest of the blog:
         The U. S. Air Force Band plays "Veni, Vidi, Vici" (1896) by Robert Browne Hall

I have known "Veni" for a long time, having first heard it years ago when I was a kid studying Caesar.  Years later, when I was serving at Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, I was presented a mission patch from the "Hammerheads" which read "Veni, Vidi, Vici."  The patch now occupies a special place on my old leather flight jacket.

When I decided to become a runner again I purchased a pink Ipod Shuffle and had "Va, Va Vickie Veni, Vidi, Vici" engraved on the back:

Side note: Re "Va, Va Vickie....years ago, before I joined the Coast Guard and dissapeared for over 24 years, I lived in Texas.  Once of my friends, Ginger Griffin, had a very tiny little brother named Kevin who was around the age of 3 and a tiny little sister, Kellie who was...maybe 2, neither of whom could correctly pronounce my name: they said "Bickie."Their mother, Sharon, would lovingly reply "no, no...it's not Ba, Ba, Ba, Bickie...it's Vickie...Va...Va...Va....Vickie."  Sharon's method worked like a champ and both Kevin and Kellie soon pronounced all of those letter "V's" with much eloquence, clarity, perfect elocution and accurate alliteration. 

PS: If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the blogsite, you will see the very first Veni blog; observe the date...24 July 2010. Today is July 22, 2014...almost 4 years to the day that Veni was born.  Interesting....

Veni, Vidi, Vici Vickie.......maybe.........all over again

I started Veni back in 2010; my life today is nothing like I would have imagined it four years ago.  In 2010 I was married, had retired from the military and was attending college.  My ex spouse and I had grown apart, as much as two people who never really grew together could do.  We met in the service as he was getting ready to retire: I still had 10 years remaining before I could hit my 20 year mark and call it a day.  With the exception of the first two years of marriage, we were hardly ever together...we just never had the opportunity to get to know each others good sides.  I am thankful that the relationship is over.

I can remember when I started this blog, I can also remember the many emotional highs and lows I was experiencing at the time, (mostly lows) that in some manner, influenced my decision to write and also informed how and what I would/should write about.  Blogging became a sort of outlet (when I had the time to do it), a way to communicate with others.

Over these last four years I have earned a Bachelors and Masters Degrees, got divorced, rescued two Mini Schnauzers who are my constant companions, got rid of a lot of stuff (still have even more to get rid of), woke up, made some stupid choices, tried (unsuccessfully) to get back into the dating pool, sent my son off to college, became an empty nester, bought too many pairs of shoes (over half of which I gave away brand new), tried to re-examine Catholicism (not very successful) and now I must find a new place to live.  I love California and want to stay there but it is expensive.  My family all live in Texas; after spending the summer in the Lone Star State I don't think I am a good fit. I am too much of a liberal and radical, the "weirdo" in the family...the rebel rouser, the troublemaker, the alien, the outsider.  I have exactly zero ounces of conservatism in my being, I am about as non-religious and non-traditional as they come.

Veni has served multiple purposes during it's four year existence: a sounding board, a place to vent, a Web 2.0 tool for educational purposes, a gathering place, a hiding place...the list goes on and on.  Likely it will continue to evolve, much like the author will do.  It is here that I will share the experiences and lessons learned from spending summer 2014 in Texas conducting a cosmic walk through of my childhood.  To quote The Dead: "What A Long Strange Trip It's Been" and boy, it's been all kinds of strange!  Every experience, either pleasant or unpleasant, occurred because of choices I made (or didn't).  It's about that attraction thing: what we send out is what we attract.  I know this, I believe it but for some STRANGE reason...I forgot it.  You see, writing this blog made me remember...so many thanks to Veni for serving as a virtual signpost, a as cosmic way-point.  That's two more purposes to add to the list of Veni's varied versatility and purpose.

So here I go blogging.......again.....Veni, Vidi, Vici, Vickie....maybe....all over again!

Friday, May 10, 2013

I love documentaries, in fact the bulk of what I watch these days are documentaries.  I got rid of Direct TV over a year ago and now I stream Netflix, via Roku.  They have an impressive array of documentaries and one of the most well done, thought provoking docs I have watched recently is "The Myth of Pruitt-Igoe."  This documentary details the Pruitt-Igoe housing project that was first occupied in 1954 and the first building demolished in 1972 and the final demolished in 1976.  Pruitt-Igoe is considered by many to be a textbook example of urban decay and the failure of the government's housing project program.

If you get the chance please watch this documentary, I feel it is a very important social commentary that not only presents the housing projects but also introduces the viewers to some amazing people who lived there as children and, as adults, give some pretty heart-felt testimonials to what it was like to live inside of Pruitt-Igoe.  
Some blame the architects for the design of the buildings, claiming that the design was conducive to creating modern slums that replaced the old ones.

        What started as a ambitious project to provide housing for the less fortunate turned into a nightmare...

      But is important to remember that Pruitt-Igoe provided a home for many people during a time when people were living in some of the most unacceptable conditions ever.

 Pruitt Igoe was home, a place where children could safely play...it was a place, that for a time was Utopia.
 The residents of Pruitt-Igoe crossed all ethnicity and races