It’s such a Trifling Experience

Raspberry-AmarettoTrifleBeing stuck inside a Wisconsin winter, even the easiest-going person can find themselves absorbed in the business of escape. Some plan summer vacations. Some make ice sculptures. Some bury themselves under layers of blankets and wait for the first ray of sun to melt a snow mound or ten.  Me? I watch cooking shows. Now, I watch the Food Network year-round. No biggie. But the it becomes a problem when I think I can actually COOK like the Iron Chef or the Master Chef.  Like, if I only took a few hours and paid attention and bought all the right food and wrote down every little detail, that my dish might look (and taste) like Iron Chef Michael Simon’s or Gordon Ramsey’s.

I imagine I could just as well try to paint like Monet or sing like Beyoncé.

I watched Master Chef Junior recently and was humbled by what 9- and 10- and 12-year-olds could do with a basket or a piece of fish.  I have seen what Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri’s kids did during a cook off. Then there’s always what the contestants on Chopped make out of pickled pigs feet and reindeer pate. Amazing. And, of course, there’s always Rachel and Robert and Guy and Alton who make gourmet out of kitchen scraps. I look at my jar of garlic powder and pound of lean ground beef and feel overwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cooking. I have whipped up many a gourmet dish in my time. My homemade spaghetti sauce is to die for (or at least good enough to have third helpings). I have tried trifles, coq au vin, and shrimp scampi. But with working full time and a few personal bumps and my anti-cancer meds making me tired and sunset before I get home and below zero temperatures — let’s just say my cooking aspirations have turned into mounds of grey slush. Kinda flat and uninspiring.

I know it will come full circle — that with spring flinging in a few months I will whip out the cookbooks or surf the Food Network website and I’ll be wowing my dinner guests and myself.

Until then, I think I’ll let my husband cook.

How bout you? Are you cooking away a storm these freezy days?

Goddess

JOURNEY 2011-8-16Have you ever “Googled” your name? Your blog name? Your friend’s name? Your address? The world of online fame and personal invasion is amazing.  And, depending upon what you’re looking for, frightening.

I tested my worldwide fame on a few levels this morning, and was amazed at what I found.

First I searched for “goddess” on Yahoo. My blog was nowhere to be seen in the first 15 pages. (The limit of my scientific research). No problemo. I tried the same on Google, and one of my blogs was 6th. Clap clap! Then I tried the word “humor” (almost as broad a term). Nothing in the first 15 pages of Google, the same with Yahoo. Now I know popularity is all in the name, and my name (Humoring) is different than Humor. So I tried MY version. Second page on Yahoo, first page on Google. Not bad, eh? So if anyone in the reading universe is looking for a chuckle, they have to pick the right noun in order to find me. If they are looking for a connection to the Goddess, I’m nowhere to be found.

I then decided to venture into the more personal realm. This is where it gets scary. My full name (who is actually me and not the doppelgängers). My name/blog appeared 9th in Google, Yahoo, not at all. But it starts to get creepy when all these sites tell you they can give me information based on my name. So I tried a few. Spokeo found me. The White Pages found me. USA People Search found me. Some had other family names attached to the info. For just $3.95 or $4.95 you can find out all kinds of things about me.

I typed in my address. There was my house on Zillow, with an approximate dollar value. There I was on Trulia, with a Google map tour down the road I live on and even down my driveway. They estimate the value of my house, my monthly mortgage payment, and how much I paid for it.   For $1 I could get a full report from Property Owners Org. about my house, including code problems, legal problems, square footage, and value of the property. I tried my social security number. E-Verify said they could give me court records, criminal records, phone number, and a half dozen other things about my personal life.

Suddenly free speech and public information isn’t such a great idea. What started out  as a fun search on how popular a name my blog was on search engines turned into a nightmare as I realized that, for a fee, anyone can find out anything about you. It doesn’t matter if the information is old or bogus; your name, your address, even your social security number is floating around in Internet Space somewhere. And if someone really wanted to wreak havoc with your personal (or public) life, it would only cost them $4.95.

It makes you want to become a hermit. Not a goddess.

My Muse is an Irish Wench

            Everyone has a Muse in their life — a spirit guide, an angel, who nudges them forward; an invisible energy who inspires us to be something more than a slug on the couch watching TV or a potato chip-eating machine.  I have one friend who insists his guardian angel travels with him wherever he goes; I have another who contacts one spirit guide for meditation and a different one for balancing her checkbook.  I know one woman who never leaves home without St. Christopher, and a fellow writer who swears he consults Shakespeare’s ghost every time he gets stuck writing his novel.

            St. Christopher and Shakespeare are fine and dandy, but what do you do if your creative muse is an Irish Wench?  The stories of leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day are bad enough, with their drunken rowdiness and stealing of gold for their pot at the end of the rainbow and all that.  But what if your Muse turned out to be a woman with a heart as green as the Emerald Isle who hangs around with those drunken leprechauns?

            A Muse is supposed to be your inspiration, your guide, through whatever creative endeavor you undertake.  Venus inspired Michelangelo; Cleopatra inspired Marc Anthony, Athena inspired Odysseus. The original Muses were daughters of Zeus, who presided over the arts and sciences. It just so happens that my inspiration is a fiery Irish barmaid who comes complete with cleavage and clover.  She pops up at the most inopportune times, standing and dancing on my shoulder or steering wheel or computer, rattling off in thick Gaelic who knows what, hoping to jumpstart my creativity.  Dressed in her flowing gauze dress with the girdle that pushes up her breasts in the most obnoxious manner, my little sprite demands attention right then and there.  And I’d better stop and acknowledge her, or she will turn everything upside down.

            For instance, one of my favorite short stories popped into my head while I was at work.  The push to get this written came across loud and clear – write me now.  Couldn’t my Muse have at least waited until lunchtime to rattle off her idea?  I tried to stall my creativity until noon, but it only got worse.  I’m sure some of my creative metaphors got mixed up in whatever I was typing.  Or how about the time that one of my book’s most romantic interludes hit me right in the middle of my son’s soccer game? It was pretty hard to make mental notes when I was screaming encouragements to his high school team.   And what about the poem that hit me driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour?  Or the full-blown idea of a murder mystery that hit me while  I was mowing the lawn?

            I am all for inspiration.  Sunsets are wonderful inducements to creative arts, as are walks through the woods or lying on a sunny beach.  Classical music or mellow jazz or even mind-numbing hair band rock can fine-tune one’s creative edge as they sew, paint, crochet or design.  How can you sit still and concentrate when her Celtic jigs blast through every thread of your body, forcing you to bob your head along with the tempo or sing along with the oh-so-familiar lyrics at the top of your lungs?

            Don’t get me wrong – my little wench has brought me much pleasure through the years.  She has encouraged me to write some really intense interactions and deeply emotional poetry. Her Wild Irish Rose attitude inspires me to write out of the box, to reach deep inside for feelings and fears that normally don’t see the light of day, and to let those feelings influence my writing.

            But I have to admit her timing needs a little work.  Driving a car or typing numbers in a computer is not the most opportune time to become inspired.  I can’t be pulling over to the side of the road every other block or flipping the light on in the middle of the night just because she throws an idea towards me that I cannot resist. 

          I do appreciate her help ― I really do.  But I have to teach her to work on her impulsiveness.  There is a time and place for everything ― even inspiration.  Great ideas often have to ferment in one’s psyche before they become full blown masterpieces.  And there’s no doubt that you have your own muse dying to catch your attention.  All you need to do is listen.

            Now, if she could serve me one of those Irish brews as often as she jumped on my bandwagon…on second thought, maybe that’s not such a good idea.  If she served me beer as often as she demands attention, I’d be drunk before I started.

Even the Universe Chuckles

1 Even the Universe Chuckles What exactly is middle age? 

You always hear people talking about their “mid-life crisis”: how one particular panic attack or moment of decision changed the second half of their life.  But what if your perception of reality has become tilted over time?  Would you even notice it?  I know I share the sentiment of many who feel their cosmic clock ticking away, day after day, year after year, without as much as an apology from said clock for moving near the speed of light.  Some of us reached this level of maturity easily; others bumbled and stumbled our way here.  But all of us have filled our hearts and minds with experiences that made the journey worthwhile.

Humoring the Goddess: Managing the Madness Magic of Middle Age mingles a bit of magic with the madness that surrounds us as we ease away from the dreams of our 20’s to the realities of life past 40. Magic, you say? The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that magic is nothing more than our point of view. Magic touches and guides us from within, a mixture of common sense, experience, and nonsense, taking us from dreams to reality and back again.  And since it doesn’t cost a thing, it can be tapped into over and over again.

Alrighty. We’ve chatted about middle age and magic. What about this blog? What can you expect from this corner of the universe?

Each week, Momentary Musings will bring you stories that twinkle with honesty, irony, and positive energy. There also will be Quimsical Quotations, witty words from some of the most fascinating minds in history; and Frivolous Facts and Falderal, useless bits of entertainment that have nothing to do with the world in general but keep you chuckling with the universe in particular. And believe me.  The universe chuckles.

Sometimes life twists and turns as if we’re traveling down some corkscrew highway.  We think we know where we’ve been, where we’re going.  Suddenly children and elves and family members come along and fracture whatever notions of normalcy we have.  What was simple suddenly becomes complex. We feel slower, chubbier, and denser than we ever have been before.  Other times we fly with the grace of a downhill skier.  We develop insight like Einstein and patience like Gandhi, making the circle of life complete once again.

Let me assure you, you are not alone in your misgivings about middle age, whether you are heading in that direction or already there. There is a thread of truth that rings through all my stories, a thread that connects us all with smiles and tears, sighs and adrenalin rushes. And hopefully you will come to understand that it’s okay to experience them all.

Enjoy your journey through Humoring the Goddess: Managing the Madness Magic of Middle Age.  Before you know it you’ll be humoring the Goddess yourself, no matter what your age.