Friday, September 01, 2006

On Being Grateful

Things I am grateful for today;

That I am alive!
The beautiful weather.
That my behavior matches my beliefs.
Today was a productive day.
The whole family was together for dinner.
For my son volunteering to clean the dishes.
The comfort of my home and the fact that I have one.
For the strong bonds I have with my family and friends.
For not giving into temptation. Dammed Texas Double Chocolate Cake, it keeps calling my name. Somebody please make it stop!

I hope all of you have a safe Labor Day Weekend! Please don't drink and drive.

N Posted by Rain at 9/01/2006 02:57:00 AM

Thursday, August 31, 2006

For Sam

Having it Out with Melancholy
by Jane Kenyon


When I was born, you waited
behind a pile of linen in the nursery,
and when we were alone, you lay down
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore.

And from that day on
everything under the sun and moon
made me sad -- even the yellow
wooden beads that slid and spun
along a spindle on my crib.

You taught me to exist without gratitude.
You ruined my manners toward God:
"We're here simply to wait for death;
the pleasures of earth are overrated."

I only appeared to belong to my mother,
to live among blocks and cotton undershirts
with snaps; among red tin lunch boxes
and report cards in ugly brown slipcases.
I was already yours -- the anti-urge,
the mutilator of souls.


Elavil, Ludiomil, Doxepin,
Norpramin, Prozac, Lithium, Xanax,
Wellbutrin, Parnate, Nardil, Zoloft.
The coated ones smell sweet or have
no smell; the powdery ones smell
like the chemistry lab at school
that made me hold my breath.


You wouldn't be so depressed
if you really believed in God.


Often I go to bed as soon after dinner
as seems adult
(I mean I try to wait for dark)
in order to push away
from the massive pain in sleep's
frail wicker coracle.


Once, in my early thirties, I saw
that I was a speck of light in the great
river of light that undulates through time.

I was floating with the whole
human family. We were all colors -- those
who are living now, those who have died,
those who are not yet born. For a few

moments I floated, completely calm,
and I no longer hated having to exist.

Like a crow who smells hot blood
you came flying to pull me out
of the glowing stream.
"I'll hold you up. I never let my dear
ones drown!" After that, I wept for days.


The dog searches until he finds me
upstairs, lies down with a clatter
of elbows, puts his head on my foot.
Sometimes the sound of his breathing
saves my life -- in and out, in
and out; a pause, a long sigh. . . .


A piece of burned meat
wears my clothes, speaks
in my voice, dispatches obligations
haltingly, or not at all.
It is tired of trying
to be stouthearted, tired
beyond measure.

We move on to the monoamine
oxidase inhibitors. Day and night
I feel as if I had drunk six cups
of coffee, but the pain stops
abruptly. With the wonder
and bitterness of someone pardoned
for a crime she did not commit
I come back to marriage and friends,
to pink fringed hollyhocks; come back
to my desk, books, and chair.


Pharmaceutical wonders are at work
but I believe only in this moment
of well-being. Unholy ghost,
you are certain to come again.

Coarse, mean, you'll put your feet
on the coffee table, lean back,
and turn me into someone who can't
take the trouble to speak; someone
who can't sleep, or who does nothing
but sleep; can't read, or call
for an appointment for help.

There is nothing I can do
against your coming.
When I awake, I am still with thee.


High on Nardil and June light
I wake at four,
waiting greedily for the first
note of the wood thrush. Easeful air
presses through the screen
with the wild, complex song
of the bird, and I am overcome

by ordinary contentment.
What hurt me so terribly
all my life until this moment?
How I love the small, swiftly
beating heart of the bird
singing in the great maples;
its bright, unequivocal eye.

From Constance by Jane Kenyon, published by Graywolf Press. © 1993 by Jane Kenyon.

N Posted by Rain at 8/31/2006 12:12:00 AM

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

His Eye on the Sparrow

Ethel Waters was born on October 31, 1896 in Chester, Pennsylvania to Louise Anderson and John Wesley Waters. She attended Catholic school through the sixth grade. Ms. Waters pioneering career opened theatrical doors hitherto closed to black performers of her day. She fought hard and long to achieve solo star status in the white world of vaudeville, night clubs, Broadway theater, radio, films and television.

On July 11, 1927, she made her New York stage debut in Africana at Daly's Theatre. Her career continued to escalate in such black shows as The Blackbirds of 1928 (and 1930) and Rhapsody in Black. In 1939 she was acclaimed in Mamba's Daughters, which role gave Ms. Waters the distinction of being the first black actress to star on Broadway in a dramatic play. Her Broadway career continued its spectacular ascent with such hit shows as At Home Abroad and Cabin in the Sky. In 1950, Ms. Waters once again made theatrical history as she took on the lead role of the Broadway smash-hit The Member of the Wedding. In 1929, she made her film debut in the new talking films, singing "Am I Blue?" and "Birmingham Bertha" in On with the Show, remade a few years later as Forty-Second Street. In 1933, her sensational rendition of "Stormy Weather" at the Cotton Club made her the talk of the town. Ms. Water's last years were spent touring with the evangelist Billy Graham, still performing occasionally, until her death on September 2, 1977, at the age of 80 in Chatsworth, California.

This advertisement appeared in the Chicago Defender, the nation's most widely read black newspaper. "Ethel Waters," advertisement, Chicago Defender, Nov. 5, 1921, p. 7.

"When I first went on the stage I was 17 and under the legal age for performers." Ethel Waters

"I have reason to be shy. I've been hurt plenty. "Ethel Waters

"I just ran wild as a little girl. I was always a leader of the street gang. By the time I was 7 I knew all about sex and life in the raw." Ethel Waters
"I never felt I belonged. I was always an outsider." Ethel Waters
"I never was coddled, or liked, or understood by my family." Ethel Waters

Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Ethel Waters in Stagedoor Canteen, 1943

"Actors were not allowed to dance on the stage on the Sabbath and couldn't wear anything but street clothes while performing." Ethel Waters

"The greatest acts in colored show business had long made Harlem their home and favorite stamping ground. "Ethel Waters

"Hoofers and singers from all over Harlem wanted to work in our place so they could get their cut of our big kitty." Ethel Waters
"No one in the world can beat Ella Fitzgerald as a riff singer." Ethel Waters
Ethel Waters, Eddie Rochester Anderson and Lena Horne

"I had a sweet, bell-like voice. However, I seldom depended on my voice to win social recognition." Ethel Waters

"Asking what I considered an impossible salary when I didn't want to work for someone has boosted my pay again and again." Ethel Waters

"I could always open shows, perform through the middle, and close shows." Ethel Waters

"I've never been able to feel that there is anything undignified about making your living by the sweat of your brow." Ethel Waters

Ethel Waters and Eddie Rochester Anderson in 'Cabin in the Sky.' (1943)

"I know the most terrible thing that can happen to a woman. That is the gang-up. Men put you to sleep with their drops and one man after another goes in and takes you. "Ethel Waters

"I want affection and tenderness desperately, but there's something in me that prevents me from handing it out." Ethel Waters

"I never posed as a saint. I would have slept with a man for nothing if I liked him well enough." Ethel Waters

"All the men in my life have been two things: an epic and an epidemic." Ethel Waters

Ethel Waters, Brandon de Wilde, Julie Harris(film debut)
Member of the Wedding
Director: Fred Zinnemann1952

"Though I was a Catholic, I recognized that Protestant churches had something." Ethel Waters

"I never neglect to pray to my God before I step out there. "Ethel Waters

"Somehow, the things my mother wanted to do, the release in evangelism she sought with such frenzy, were transferred to me." Ethel Waters

"I wondered what I would do if I didn't have my God to turn to and be able to read the Book He had divinely inspired." Ethel Waters

"It has been an ache and a joy both to look over this big shoulder of mine at all my yesterdays." Ethel Waters

I have just finished reading To Me It's Wonderful by Ethel Waters(1972) and I found the book to be an open, honest and compelling autobiography. She also has another book His Eye Is on the Sparrow(1950) .

It's very late and I have a busy morning ahead of me, I am off to bed. Goodnight Everyone! Comments are always appreciated.

N Posted by Rain at 8/29/2006 12:23:00 AM

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday Hunks

Thank you Benita!

N Posted by Rain at 8/28/2006 12:00:00 AM