424: Fabric Fairy

For all those who craft, quilt, sew or do anything creative with fabric – you will totally understand. This is my second fabric fairy, and she is gracing the walls of my little casita here in Panama.


Everybody else: move along, nothing to see here……




423: Sex Drive

download (7)The human sex drive is a good thing, designed by God for the preservation of the species. It is natural, normal. Unless you have had a total hysterectomy, in which case, who would ever want to do THAT? EEEUUUWWWwwwwww.

And then come the replacement hormones, especially, for me, the replacement testosterone. Testosterone, for those females who do not know, is Viagra for women. Times ten. Your husband will die a happy man.

Small problem. My husband is currently living and working in the United States. I am currently living and working in Panama City, Panama.  Well.

Like I said, it is normal and natural, even if the desire is a bit rusty, and festooned with cobwebs from lack of use. It is, however, embarrassing to catch myself checking out the male derriere on display (available or not). Sheesh. Some of those boys are WAY too young to come out and play. Seriously. Besides, who wants to fool around with their grandma?? Nobody, that’s who – thank goodness. Keeps me honest.

So, in the meantime, I have lots of energy I am devoting to getting accomplished all those projects at home that I have been putting off for months now: gardening, sewing, crafts, painting canvases, resting (!), and all those other creative things I love to do, but WAS casting a weary eye over when I got home from work each afternoon -when I shook my head over the project, and took my exhausted self to bed – to SLEEP until it was time to get up and go back to work again.

I might even select a few books out of my must-read stack and settle down in the front porch hammock with a tall, frosty beverage and a warm, purring lap kitty for a few hours of escapism – without falling to sleep in the middle of page one, like I have been doing for the past few months, before the replacement hormones took effect.

Life is so much better when you don’t spend every spare minute trying to recover from the rest of the day! I don’t know about you, but my ideal life scenario never consisted of work consuming all my waking hours, and things got pretty grim when I realized that was exactly what was happening. Thank goodness things are improving with the replacement hormones, even if some of the side effects of the hormone replacement therapy are a little embarrassing.

Don’t worry, though – the sex drive thing was never so important to me that I lost my control, unlike some politicians I could name………!


422: Dance Band on the Titanic

download (6)Harry Chapin wrote this song, the title cut on the album of the same name. It is written from the viewpoint of one of the band members that famously played on as the ship sank. They kept up morale, and did what they could do, small though it was, during that dreadful tragedy at sea, when so very many lives were lost.

I keep getting that feeling lately, reading the news. Like I am playing the violin while the world burns. I am concerned with what is happening on the stage of the larger world, there just does not appear to be a great deal that I actually can do to ameliorate it. Or even influence it, even to the extent of keeping up morale. All I can do, apparently, is to live a moral and ethical life myself, which I am working at doing. I’m in the dance band, on the Titanic………

421: Uncertain

An artist is supposed to be the authority on a work of art they create, insofar as to what it means, or reflects, or is supposed to represent. Artists are not necessarily the best authorities on their own work when it comes to value, or even if the piece is a good one. However, they are supposed to be the one who knows the meaning behind the piece – the inspiration.

Well. Sort of.

Sometimes, when one of us (read, ME) gets through with a piece, we are as flabbergasted with what we see as anyone else looking at it. Is that a reflection of being “in the moment” when the thing was under construction, or is it a reflection of absolute schizophrenia? Not too sure I want to inspect that too closely, either.

This piece is one of those.

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I am not sure if it is guilt, or sorrow. Regret, sorrow even, surely, but guilt?  Where did that come from? What is going on here, and is it something I want to reflect upon, or do I just go with what I see….and let the analysis fall where it may?


420: Well, dookey.

I have four days off from work. This is fabulous, since for the past two months, I have been doing very, very little other than get up, go to work, work, go home from work and work some more at home, go to bed and freaking DREAM about work. I THOUGHT I would really be able to relax and get some OTHER things accomplished that I’d RATHER be doing besides work.  Yeah, right.

What is actually happening is that I am paralyzed with indecision about what to do next, since every available minute is not already previously scheduled. This stinketh mightily.  I have a lovely stack of fabric just begging to be stitched up into some creative fashion statement limited only by my fertile imagination, I have a box of beads just waiting to be transformed into wearable art, and I have a partially completed canvas that is calling my name to come and complete. What do I do? I clean the house. PHULEEEEEEEEZE. I cleaned the house. AAAUUUUUGGGGHHHHhhhhhhh!

This is what happens when you get free time so seldom that when it finally happens, you don’t know how to handle it. Kinda like when your love life is going really, really well (for ONCE) and you freeze in terror that something horrible is about to happen, because it is going TOO well, ya know? It is like being in prison and then finding yourself suddenly paroled, free in big sky country – and freaking out because it is too much, too soon – and you don’t know how to deal with all that space and free time and….and…and FREEDOM.

This is embarrassing. I have got to get a grip. Like, NOW.


419: Staying Put

I am reading a book about religion. I have had this book for more than five years, and I am less than half-way through with it. That is a profound indication of how difficult this book is for me. I can read five books or more in a single day, easily. I am the speed-reading paragon of reading books. Except for this one.

This one is about giving up on being offended. OUCH. Twinged my toes just typing it.

Being offended comes, according to this author, from a few sources: feeling that someone owes you something you are not getting, knowing you owe someone something you are not giving, and finally, feeling that God (who is the One who ultimately controls everything) owes you something you are not getting. Most of it, therefore, is the fact that I am not getting something I think I deserve, or that I want, whether I think I deserve it or not. The rest is knowing that I owe something to someone that I am not willing to give to them – mostly forgiveness for something they did to me, but occasionally it is an abject apology, or restitution, for something I did I am not particularly proud about having done to them.

I have discovered, reading this book, that I have a world view of an ordered, logical existence. Regardless of the inescapable fact that this world in which we live is not that sort of world, I WANT it to be that sort of world, and I am offended when people in positions of leadership are idiots. Particularly when they are in positions of leadership over ME.

I want a calm life, and I am not getting it, dammit.  *sigh*

Back to the book……….

One of the things it says is that God has you in the position where you are, to help you learn the lessons He wants you to learn, so you are not supposed to bail when things get tough, you are supposed to buckle down and learn your lessons. If you flee, you will just have to learn your lessons in another place and time. God is very patient, unfortunately. And here I was, filling out job applications for another school in  another country, looking forward to being able to bail on this current position (and country, for that matter).




418: Whipper-snipper and other local colloquiliaisms

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Today in Panama, outside my office window, I heard the unmistakable sound of a two-cycle internal combustion engine, commonly used to operate motor scooters and lawn trimming machines: weed whackers, weed eaters, whipper-snippers, and other imaginative names for a fairly functional device. Taking a peek out the window confirmed the sound – seven, count ém, SEVEN men, dressed like Muslim women in pants (completely hijabéd in fabric from any contact with grass – in 95 degree weather) were busily mowing, by hand, with these weed eaters, an area of ground I estimated conservatively at five ACRES.

While this is a fairly common sight in Panama, it would be a very uncommon sight in America. In America, where the minimum wage for a laborer is over 7 bucks an hour and rising, there is the impetus to mow maximum grass in minimum time, and equipment is acquired which facilitates that aim. This is not a concept that has penetrated the Panamanian psyche. In fact, maximum work in minimum time is not a concept that has even introduced itself to the Panamanian psyche, much less cozied up to it and taken it to bed. Panamanian work psyche is still virgin territory, totally unpenetrated by anything approximating a work ethic – much less an ethic of efficiency.

It is perfectly reasonable, when you pay a worker twenty dollars a day (or LESS), to give him the cheapest piece of equipment you can find (I have seen men cutting grass on the roadside with machetes – I kid you not), expecting it to take him three or four days to mow what one Kubota triple-swath tractor could cut in two hours.

This attitude of it takes as long as it takes, using the cheapest equipment we can find, permeates this society. It is one reason I ride to and from work in a 20 year-old reconditioned BlueBird school bus, shipped down from America once it was retired from school service there, smartened up with a wild coat of paint (Jesus and a busty, suggestively posed bikini-clad girl jostling for the prime space on the back), tricked out with flashing neon lights and outfitted with a blasting turbo-charged horn, since that is what Panamanians drive with, anyway.

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Well. It does make life interesting, in a drop-your-jaw and stare sort of way…………