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Saturday, February 25, 2006

People Are Talking

"Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you."

-Unknown

When I was blogging exclusively on AOL, I swore that I was a member of the very best journaling community on the Internet. I didn't mind that AOL didn't have all the custom bells and whistles that other blog servers did. I didn't mind that there was irritating quirks from time to time with the software, because I had realized, not too long after I began Ellipsis, that it wasn't the bells and whistles...it was the individual people who wrote in those journals and blogs that made it the best journals community on the Internet.

Friendships formed on the world wide web can be difficult to maintain. The first friend I ever made, I met in a chat room. She was a lovely lady and we shared many things in common. We unfortunately parted ways over a situation that somehow couldn't be resolved, or at least it seemed so at the time. I still think about her often and I always wished her well, and I still miss her happy energy. Sometimes in life things take odd turns and often it really isn't anyone's fault, everyone has a comfort zone or a code of ethics and therefore they must do what's right for them. I miss her however...even to this day.

The next friend I made, I made by accident one day. I was lonely and decided to reach out so I decided to see who was online in the AOL member directory. I saw someone's profile who seemed to share a lot of my interests, and we talked for a little while, and we have been good friends ever since. It was a nice, happy surprise. I was weary of friendships of any kind, I was just beginning to emerge from Anhedonia, and was a little tired. I tried to go out on a limb, I mean, what's the worst that could happen? As a matter of fact...what was the best that could happen? That's right I made a very good friend.

But back to Journal Land. I think an even bigger surprise, then finding a good friend in the sea of strangers that is the AOL Directory, was finding a whole community of friends that shared my passions. Politics, history, art, music, cats, cooking, ghosts, museums, you name it, and along came a friend. I can't tell you how good it felt to learn little by little I was interesting to someone. I now have had some of these friends for nearly three years. People who I can email when I am in a panic and say, "I am scared, will you think good thoughts for me?" People who I can just be myself around, and who already understand before I even say what the problem is. Recently I asked some of my friends to do my Johari Window. I was surprised at how many took a couple moments to help me with that fun little meme. Thanks again everyone. I guess I take it for granted that I am nothing special, not because I have low self esteem, but because I am surrounded with people who possess great talent and who are compassionate and endearing.

When a good portion of AOL bloggers and journalists made the decision to join in the exodus from AOL to other parts of the Internet, I didn't fear for a moment that I would lose anyone who I had come to care about. I brought them with me and they are on my sidebar or in my bloglines listing. I have had some difficulty keeping in touch as well as I want to, but they are in my heart all the same. It's a good feeling to know that I am still among some of the finest people I have ever known.

Recently, when I needed some support due to some health concerns, I received some very special emails and comments, that both informed me about what to expect from my coming Mammogram, and suggestions about how to ease my nerves as the date for the test approaches. See, I wasn't feeling very courageous earlier last week, but with the help of my friends and readers, I feel good about going in for my test next week. And I promise to keep you up to date. In fact, I am taking the digital camera with me, so you never know what photos I might decide to post! WINK!

As if my heart wasn't warmed enough, I got a very nice email the other day from my darling Natalie, she emailed me to ask if it was ok if she wrote an entry about me. I was touched that she thought enough about me to do that, I smiled the rest of the day. After the entry posted, I found out that Paul, author of the journal, "Aurora Walking Vacation," had also mentioned me and my current journal in an entry and Karen said that she had as well. It was overwhelming, but in a very nice way. I have to admit, my first reaction is always, "what do they see in me?" A good friend responded to that question the other night with, " you can make people smile, and you listen...sometimes that all people really want...someone to listen." I like listening, when I do, I hear all kinds of music. Yeah, that's what it's like...each journal author is like a different song, playing for the world to hear, if the world will just take the time to listen. Natalie is a song, Karen is a song, Steven is a song, Paul is a song. I have always enjoyed all kinds of music, and I am so lucky to be just one note in such a beautiful symphony. And yeah, if I had met Einstein, I think he would have liked me. :)

PS If you haven't done my Johari Window yet and would like to join in the fun, just go here. And if you make one and want me to play along either email me the link or come back here and leave me a link. :)

-OndineMonet
Make your own silly Einstein pic here.

Note: I found the fun Einstein site by way of, "By The Way." LOL. Check out John Scalzi's entry here.

Friday, February 24, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #100: Facts From The Future!

"If you want to know your future look at what you are doing right at this moment."

-Tibetan Proverb

Weekend Assignment # 100: Share 10 facts about yourself...from the next five years. Imagine what you see happening over the next half decade and then tell us about it, in interesting fact form. You can be serious, or silly, or somewhere inbetween. But give it some real thought and then take a stab at your future facts. If you find 10 facts too much, just do five. Either way it will be fun.

Extra Credit: So, who will be president in 2011?

-John Scalzi

A Half A Decade Ago...
The "could be" account of the last five years.
(A maybe future as documented in semi-fiction).

It's a little past midnight on February 23rd, 2011. Five years ago, I decided to write down John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #100: Fact's From The Future, in a special journal to see if indeed I not only made it to this year, but also to see if my dreams and goals actually came to fruition. It's been so long, that I am not sure I remember them correctly, so let's open the special envelope that has held them for half a decade's time. Or is that really a good idea? Oh well, a lot has happened...so let's see if my future dreams came true or if my worst nightmares got in my way...

February 23rd, 2006 12:00 A.M.
Berkeley, California

Weekend Assignment #100: Facts From The Future.

Hmm...10 facts, about me, that will occur in the next five years. Jeepers. Well, I know that right now my number one concern is getting myself into a regular routine of (1) T'ai Chi and Meditation, with that working right for me, then I can finally move on to my goal of(2) attending the Academy Of Art University. I want to earn a degree in Digital Photography, so that I can walk into a gallery, or a magazine office somewhere here in Northern California and interview with confidence in my work so I can begin make a living through my love of photography. In the mean time, I still continue to work on my book, "Silver Key."(4). I have been pleased with the pace I have kept lately, so five years from now I would love to look on my book shelf, that sits above my desk, and actually see it in print. Because it has been difficult lately to take photos and write as much, and they way I would like to, I have taken up drawing. Alan seems to think I do well at it, and I have to admit I like how it relaxes me. The (5th) goal I have is to learn to paint. I would like to transfer some of my floral and still life photographs onto canvas.

On a more practical note. I want to feel better in five years. I will only be 47 and I want some of my energy back, that will mean keeping a commitment to myself to keep up with both my psychological counseling and my body, mind and spirit regimen. That is goal number (6). Goal number (7), would involve being able to finally let go of people, places and things that have hurt me over the years. Looking back is not a good thing, when all it brings you is negativity. There is so much to embrace about life. Maybe I will go back into volunteering. As I sit here right now, I don't have an 8, 9, or 10 prediction of the future. I think I will let future history write itself. When I get to February 23rd, 2011...I will know what those significant moments would have been, and I promise to share every detail, so you will just have to comeback and visit me five year's from today. :)

Extra Credit: I have been happily enjoying the first term of President Barack Obama. He and his Vice President, Barbara Boxer, have worked hard to unite the country and bring us back to hope. It's a good feeling indeed.

-OndineMonet
"Sweet Still Life"
San Mateo, California
February 23rd, 2006
Afternoon

Thursday, February 23, 2006

With Eyes Wide Open

"We ought not to treat living creatures like shoes or household belongings, which when worn with use, we throw away."

-Plutarch

Several years ago, on a warm, sunny autumn day, I was driving in my car, around Berkeley, just taking in all the sights that only occur in fall, only in Berkeley. Leaves of gold, crimson, yellow and dark brown falling silently to the earth, enthusiastic young men and women on their way to and from the grounds of Cal-Berkeley campus, and the mist off the bay, as it slowly floats up into the hills, each day, in the late afternoon. It can be intoxicating, if one just stops to observe it all at once. Clearly, to drink it all in properly, it should be savored slowly, by the observer, experiencing each street, each neighborhood with eyes wide open, to the uniqueness of it all.

Indeed, if you drive throughout Berkeley, you will find something off beat in each neighborhood that will stimulate the senses, be it a single flower in someone's well manicured yard, or an antique hobby horse on a driveway of a house in the hills. It might be an Art Deco sundial sitting near a recycle bin, or even the annual display of discarded sofas that sit, waiting to be recycled, in front of the frat and sorority houses that make up the neighborhood directly in front of the university. As I have emerged from my psychological coma of several years ago, I have come to realize that out that each season, there comes a different phenomena that happens unique to that season, such as the sofas in autumn. In winter, we seem to have a parade of shoes.


I went for a ride in the afternoon, this past Christmas Eve, looking for what Berkeley had to offer in the way of the unique, and mixed with the sights of late autumn, were the sights of the new winter. The sun with that certain glint that only occurs when the sun is close to the earth, there were fancy decorations proclaiming, "Peace On Earth," and "Happy Holidays," and everywhere mixed among the usual observance wishes, were apparent spontaneous displays of shoes. Sometimes they would be in a cluster of 20 or so hanging from telephone lines, or wrapped around the branches of trees, sometimes they would be placed with care at the front gate of a simple house on Collage Avenue. Or like in the case of the shoes in the above photograph, they might simply be placed in an open area, all clean and waiting for their new owner, as if fate would somehow lead the shoes to who they were destined to be owned by.

One incidence in particular I found fascinating, pertained to a pair of sneakers, that were placed on top of a Payless Shoe Source box that was sitting on top of a recycle can on Shattuck Avenue. They were used, but seemed to be in good condition, so I think what might of happened was, someone bought a new pair, took off their old ones, and instead of throwing them away, left them to be picked up by someone who perhaps had no shoes. What a nice thought. Sometimes I can't imagine what life would be like, if I didn't have my camera to see the world by. I think in the hectic flow of day to day life, I would miss a lot of journeys, both my own, and of others, if not for my camera. My camera slows me down, and shows me life has all kinds of views, if you look at it with eyes wide open.

"The journey of 1000 miles, begins with a single step."

-Lao-tzu

-OndineMonet
"The Shoes"
Berkeley, California
December 24th, 2005
Late Afternoon

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I SEE You

"The eyes see a thing more clearly in dreams than in the imagination awake."

-Leonardo da Vinci

Is this a cool picture or what? That is the Digital Retinal Scan of my hazel/green left eye. I wish I could say I took the photo, I think it is the coolest thing. I think it kinda looks like the Aurora Borealis. How about you? So tell me, what do you see when you look into my eyes? ;) Leave me your thoughts. :)

-OndineMonet
"My Green Eyes"
Walnut Creek, California
February 9th 2006

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tralalalalal Ho Ho Hee Hee Tee Hee Roflmao!

"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without it's springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road."

-Henry Ward Beecher

A couple more of the books I ordered from Amazon.com, "The Idiot's Guide To Meditation," and " The Idiot's Guide To Yoga," finally came in the mail the other day. I have been reading a lot lately, whether it be to understand my Fibromyalga, or to expand my meditation skills, or even to refamiliarize myself with Qi Gong, it has been a good feeling to learn additional skills in order to care for myself and learn to deal with the changes that have taken place since I was formally diagnosed. For example, I learned the other day, from one of my books, that in India, they use humor as a form of meditation. They take their humor seriously. In fact, they take it so seriously, that they actually have designated squares and parks where one can go and just meditate through laughter. You just start laughing. You don't need to have anything in particular to laugh at, you just jump right in and laugh until it hurts. :) I LOVE that idea. God, doesn't it feel so good to have your sides hurt because something has touched your funny bone just that much?

I learned to laugh at myself years ago. I haven't begun to tell you about all the weird times and situations I have found myself in over the years. Humor is just a part of who I am...and I have to say...I thank GOD for it every day. I wish however, that we American's could have a similar place to go, a park, a town square or something similar to let go of whatever stress we have in our lives, that might be taking not just future moments, but indeed future years off our lives. Stress causes all kinds of physical and psychological ailments to happen to us. Hypertension,and heart disease, just to name a couple examples. Laughter, on the other hand, boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, which are disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon, and laughter also releases endorphins, the bodies natural painkiller. Makes sense to me. I have seen it in action in my family. Those who had NO sense of humor, seemed to be sick constantly, while others who DID have a sense of humor were able to kick whatever affliction that may have come along. So I do have some practical examples to follow...and I plan to. :)

The sound of laughter seduces me. I love people who aren't afraid to laugh out loud and as loud as they want to when they feel it well up in them. God it's a good feeling, and really it is one that is to be shared...often. So tell me, when was the last time you made someone laugh? Did you tell them a joke? Did you make a funny face? Did you commit some kind of foible and laugh along with them? Share it with me. Leave your story in the comments section, and let everyone know what you did to help someone live a little longer, by giving them the gift of humor. Come on, if I can share, so can you. I will tell you right now what I plan to do this week, so hold on to your dentures. On whatever day I feel the best this week, I am going to go to the closet, open my box of found, fake boobs, put on an extra pair and go to the mall. Only maybe I will mix and match. You know, a size 32-AA on one side and a size 40-DD on the other. LOL. That will make the one side of my boobages to appear as a 84-DDDD! Yep, I am a 4.11ft and I have 44-DD's how I never tipped over is beyond me. LOL. Who says GOD himself doesn't have a sense of humor? :) Now go be funny...you know you want to. :)

-OndineMonet
"I Don't Care"

Monday, February 20, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Seeing Stars


Please click on the above image to see the larger version.

"You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star."

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture (or find a picture) of something with stars...the "twinkle, twinkle" kind, not the "famous people" kind. However, they don't have to be real stars: Fake stars...like the ones on Christmas trees, on neon signs or on the Hollywod Walk of Fame are just fine, too.

-John Scalzi

Don't you just love Nietzsche. LOL. I think he's right though, I would have to chaos in me if I gave birth to a dancing (star)fish. LOL. I have always enjoyed gazing at the stars, and these stars were beautiful. I stood at the tank, in the museum room at the Point Arena Lighthouse, for what seemed like forever. They just mesmerized me. :) They would stay in one place for a little while, then they would just let go and float for a while. They were lovely. :) It was a truly relaxing way to spend an afternoon...gazing at the stars. :)

-OndineMonet
"The Stars"
Point Arena Lighthouse
Point Arena, California
August 21st, 2006
Afternoon

I'm Hung Over You

Just goes to show you, even in the best of marriages, come those moments of total and complete exasperation! :) LOL :)

Precious And Few
By Climax

Precious and few are the moments we two can share
Quite and blue like the sky, I'm hung over you
And if I can't find my way back home
It just wouldn't be fair
Precious and few are the moments we two can share

Baby it's you on my mind, your love is so rare
Being with you is a feeling, I just can't compare
And if I can't hold you in my arms
It just wouldn't be fair
'Cause precious and few are the moments we two can share

And if I can't find my way back home
It just wouldn't be fair
'Cause precious and few are the moments we two can share

Precious and few are the moments we two can share
Quiet and blue I'm hung over you
And if I can't find my way back home
It just wouldn't be fair
'Cause precious and few are the moments we two can share.

-OndineMonet
"Precious And few"
Palace Of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California
Spring, 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Breast Cancer Awareness

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of it's sorrows, it empties today of it's strength."

-Corrie Ten boom

The other day my favorite girl in the land, Phinney, sent me a link to The Breast Cancer Site. They have a program running right now where you can help ladies who either have no medical insurance or who are low income receive a free Mammogram, just by visiting their site each day and clicking the appropriate button. That's right...every time you click on the "Fund Free Mammograms" button, or make a purchase at The Breast Cancer Site's store, you generate funding for women in need. It was ironic, Phinney's email came to me at an unusual moment, and a timely one, see I had just made the decision to schedule an appointment for myself to have a Mammogram. It seems that I have a lump in my left breast that wasn't there a month ago, and it is a pretty good sized one, which means it has grown rather quickly.

Yikes. Things might be getting a while lot more interesting for me. I first found it early last week, and immediately went into some very comfortable denial. I am prone to cystitis and therefore that is what it must be, or so I had decided to think of it. By Tuesday, I thought I better talk it all over with Alan. He is pretty level headed and he would more then likely tell me that it was nothing. Nope! He didn't let me off the hook. What a thing to discuss on Valentine's Day. Sigh. Wednesday, I went to see my therapist, and I took my portfolio book with me to show her the new photos I have done lately. It was a wonderful attempt at manipulating the conversation onto a safe topic. Somehow, I ended up telling her about my fears. Silly me. Another someone who wasn't willing to let me off that hook. I promised her I would make an appointment for a Mammogram sometime in the next month or so, as soon as I got my courage up. She was not pleased. :(

I went home, cried some, looked up some Breast Cancer facts on the Internet and called and schedule an appointment for about a month from now. While I was doing my Internet search a good friend "Dan" signed on, and we chatted for a few minutes. He asked me how I was feeling, and I mentioned, in passing, what was going on for me. It was the first time I actually told a friend. He got pretty angry with me. Someone close to him had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer several years ago, but she was lucky, they caught it in time and today she is doing wonderful. "If she would have waited another couple weeks for the Mammogram, it all could have gone a lot worse. These things change quickly Carly." Sigh. He had been the harshest one of all. He spoke straight. Before we signed off he made me promise to change the appointment. Since I promised him I would...I did. My new appointment is in 2 weeks.

It's just that it has been so much the last few years. One thing right after another. Can I handle this also? God, the thought of the test alone has me scared to death. Will it be painful? My current condition of Fibromyalga sends these missignals to my nerve endings telling me I am in pain, when it fact if it wasn't for the condition, it would be a minor annoyance and not the overwhelming aching I have most days. So, when I have my test, will it be unbearable or like I said, a minor annoyance of pain? Sigh. I have had some time to think it all over, and if it is cancer I really only have one option. Face it! Be prepared for additional changes in my life, so many brave women have gone through this, what right do I have to be a coward about it? So, with resolve to take things one step at a time, I got out my Breast Cancer awareness pin, put it on, and circled the date of my appointment on my calendar.

No illness will ever define me. I want to write. I want to take photographs, I want to be the kind of woman that people will be able to say one day, "she always tried her best." It makes me sad to think I might lose my hair, but I guess I could wear hats. It makes me sad that it will be difficult on Alan and Elvis, but they say we will handle it. It makes me sad that I might have to lose time in my therapy with Sarah, but she said we can have sessions over the phone and maybe the Internet. It makes me sad there might be one more reason that I can't take pictures, but like a good friend once told me, I can try setting up the tripod in the bedroom. There is just no good reason to not take care of this, except for the fact that I am scared to death I won't be good at it. Does that make sense?

OK, here is what I need from you. If you have ever had this test could you please leave me a comment and tell me what to expect? How long before I get the results? If they need to do a biopsy...how bad will that be? Please tell me whatever you feel comfortable sharing with me. Help me be more educated on this so I can take some of the fear out of it. The fear of the unknown is my greatest fear. I can hear the word cancer, as long as I have some idea where I go and what I need do next. And one more thing you can do for me...go and click that little button at The Breast Cancer Site everyday for those women who aren't as lucky as I am. Tell me I can do this. :(

-OndineMonet
"Transitions"
Berkeley, California
February 16th, 2006
Late Evening