Wednesday, September 06, 2006

up in flames

sometimes i think that my empathy meter is defective. i feel far too intensely for others. feeling my own emotions is hard enough to handle, and boy do i feel those! but when i top them with feeling for my friends, i can either skyrocket into a blissful heaven or drill myself dizzy into the depths of despair.

i have been up and down about issues with my current vocation, a topic i strictly choose not to discuss here in this space. all i will say is that i am having to seriously reconsider my career choice, and for the first time in three years i find myself in a hallway full of doors of all shapes and sizes with absolutely no sense of direction. right now they all seem to be oddly shaped, mysterious and a bit spooky, but who knows what will happen when one opens? i sit befuddled in this hallway , driving myself dimwitted over the BIG questions of what do i really want for myself, my life, my love...

all this begins to spin in a spiral when one of my best girl friends calls to say she's splitting up with her husband. or when i go into work to learn that one of my favorite co-workers and friends here got his house burnt down... the fourth time this has happened to him in his life! with all these things happening to the people i love, my feelings of panic and depression over signing up for unemployment seem rather silly. but they don't go away. i just feel more helpless and hopeless!

thank the heavens that i have a place like judy branch for a retreat. i came home today and harvested okra. then i cooked up the most wonderful supper. i started by sautéing red onion, then adding chopped okra, garlic, chopped celery, chopped tomatos, black eyed peas (already cooked, but not mushy), some blanched green beans and a few bay leaves. I added a couple of spoonfuls of homemade salsa, some dried basil and cajun spices. i let it all saute on low while a pone of cornbread baked in the oven. it was light with a citrus-like tanginess from the fresh tomatos. much lighter than the cajun dishes i make in the winter (when i use canned, stewed tomatos).

there's nothing like fresh food to lift your spirits. i just wish i could use it to life my buddy's house out of the ashes.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


i celebrated a different sort of union this labor day weekend. twice.

two weddings. two couples who really seem to be a match for each other. four people who give me hope that a person can find a home in another's love. that we are not all alone in this world. and that this can happen when you're 60 or almost 30.

events over the past year have led me to find comfort in cynicism, especially when it comes to love and the human condition. couples i had thought to be the perfect match split up. i met someone with whom i feel a connection and attraction to like i've never felt before, but i'm beginning to believe that it is all just my imagination. i question my intuition and doubt whether anything i feel toward another person is actually reciprocal.

even if for a short while, this weekend gave me a glimmer of hope. i am hopeful for my newly betrothed friends. and after a weekend of dancing to cajun music with a few fine gentlemen, i am hopeful that i still have a few chances left at romance... or at least a few scandalous love affairs!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Labor Day

"Up, up mountain toilers and hear what I tell. In a land of plenty there's hunger and hell! We dig and we shovel. We weave and we sweat. But when comes the harvest, it's little we get... O this is the story of you and the rest. And if I'm lying, my name's not Don West ."

The "news" today isn't really news. Many of us have seen and felt it happening for years. Maybe even a lifetime. Minimum wage, benefits and workers' rights are at the lowest they have been in fifty years. The top echelons are seeing record profits, while the working people's wages are nowhere remotely alligned with the increased cost of living. What would old Don West be feeling if he were alive today? How is it that so little has changed in all these years? How is it that we end up back in that same old predicament? Won't we ever learn to not be complacent?

Where is my Don West today? Who is speaking out for our welfare?

"Your welfare ain't on the rich man's mind, oh no! You're welfare ain't on the rich man's mind."
I hope that Hazel Dickens' music will live on and remind people. I hope that they (and we all know who they are!) will never be able to keep us down for long.

I hope that I will find some hope on this labor day weekend....