About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Advent of Atticus

What an odd day. A fairly intense earthquake rattled the eastern part of the U.S., which is unusual. Hell for hot in Las Vegas which isn't unusual in August, but is still hell for hot. To the right below is a truly bad picture of one corner of one of my monitors. Oh, you get in between all the stuff through which I had to maneuver, and produce a grand photo. This is simply for illustrative purposes. You can just about make out that you're seeing WeatherBug. In the red strip across the top, it reads "Alert". The alert is for excessive heat. Ambient air temperature 107 at about 3:30 p.m., though when I got into the car, the sensor was reading 118-degrees down on the blacktop. I display the Microsoft jellyfish on my desktop, though it looks more like flames in my poor photo. I thought that was appropriate, given the temperatures.  "Leslie, is that a jellyfish?" I said that it is. "Is it pooping?" I said I didn't believe so and that I thought that was just part of its body streaming along behind. "I wouldn't want to be the nature photographer who has to follow behind wildlife to take pictures of them pooping." I said it might be time to return to one's own desk and leave me alone to contemplate other things.

I had an itch - a yen - to make art and it couldn't be Asian in theme, because that's virtually all I've done since I very recently found ways to express myself again. I used a purchased large black initial "L" that I embellished with sand dollars, two fountain pen nibs, faux versions of the Penny Red Brown stamp that sells for many thousands of dollars each, a London postmark, a European house address number in metal, a glass stone, and paper images of a postcard and old sheet music. Art. I made it for me, the newly anointed Stamp Girl. Not sure what the two shiny, scuzzy looking marks are about. They don't appear in real time. And speaking again of shitty photography, this one is going to show more of my efforts if one clicks on the picture and gets the larger version.

My friend and I made a pilgrimage to Hobby Lobby. We'd printed the coupons, bought the Starbucks just before going in, wore comfortable shoes, carried pads and pens so we could scribble ideas. Hey, we know how to do this. We share or go halves on some art supplies, but playing the coupon game forces us to check out singly, each applying her coupon to the most expensive item in her basket. Our mothers didn't raise any fools. We already agreed we'd spend a long time there, each going her own way and then meet in the middle to ask "Did you see . . .?" or "Do you want to go in on this?" I came around the end of one aisle, having found some wonderful items marked 50% off. That's when I saw him. My blue eyes met his very dark ones and I looked away, trying not to appear too interested. I don't know if he was onto my game. I gave another sidelong glance and decided I'd sashay right past him like I was unaware of his presence. My decision didn't hold. I stopped right in front of him. To my surprise, I reached out my hand and touched him, only moments after first laying eyes upon him. I am compelled to confess I took that fella home with me to stay. I've wanted a male like him for a very long time and he seemed the perfect one, from his size to his sweet face. I made him my own.

This is Atticus, my new guy. Yes, that is the reason I named him Atticus. I don't know very many other Atticus references from which I would have drawn. He makes me smile from ear to ear. He reminds me of Amber's sock monkey, Martika, whom I bought for her at a street fair when the child was still riding in a stroller. Martika was my girl's good friend for years and we changed her up a little as Amber grew older and more fanciful. I made dresses for Martika, sewed on long, fluttery eyelashes, beaded a bracelet right onto her arm and occasionally exchanged her eyes for a new pair. We made up songs about Martika, and that sock monkey became one of the family, essentially a lovable relation who could be tossed into the washer and dryer when she got grungy. She wasn't ideally suited to going into the bath with Amber, but nobody is without shortcomings. Martika was right there beside us in good times and bad. She went into bed with a little girl who was sometimes happy and sometimes sad, scared from time to time, excited upon occasion. Once, on the night before I had a surgery, I'd invited Amber for a sleepover in my bed with me. We were scared about the surgery and both of us cried and held hands during the night. Martika was there, too. Remembering that simian sister makes me smile and feel a little tender around the edges. I hope, if she no longer goes into bed with Amber, that she at least has some protected spot in a closet, and hasn't been thrown out or lost across the years. If Atticus brings me half the joy I think he will, then I will long consider myself a golden child upon whom have been showered many wonderful gifts.

I'm at university to take a degree in juggling. After a year of reduced activity and reduced life, I'm on a fast track. If I hit warp speed, I will harm myself. I need and want to work, keep working my AA program, write, make art, read . . . and it's not all fitting with the frequency I'd like. I'm painfully aware of which of those things must take priority, whether it makes me happy or not. So ~ ~ every day another lesson or ten. Do not read this as depressed, down or anything negative. It is only "new". Something to be learned. I'm a good learner.

In my ears right now:  Yep, I like it in its original form, as well.
Farewell, 58. Contained within you were the worst and some of the best days of my life so far.


  1. Today is Wednesday and I want to wish you a Happy Birthday !

    The Weather people are saying it will be a record high today in Tucson sooooooooooo, from a sister desert city....
    I think today is a good day to stay inside were it is cooler and eat cake !

    cheers, parsnip

  2. @ angryparsnip ~ Desert Sister, I am floored. Had I revealed the date to you before? Or did you deduce it from my farewell to 58? Either way, thank you. Yes. Today is the day. I am 59. When the next one rolls around . . well. Others have gone before me and survived it.

    Today we expect a record high of 111, so I'm taking your advice to remain inside. No cake, though. Maybe Chinese food.

  3. Your last before crossing over! Happy Birthday!

  4. @ Everyone ~ Friend Doozyanner is a good egg over there in Abu Dhabi where she is likely frying or boiling like an egg, since she claims her heat wave trumps my heat wave. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Dooz!

  5. happy birthday, les!
    you had said in a previous communication that you didn't want any hoop-la on this day, so i, with heretofore unheard of restraint, refrained from hoop-la-ing you into this next year.
    i do hope that some that some sort of frivolity is planned, and that it includes cake and/or ice cream.
    rock on!

  6. Happy Birthday, Les. x

    Seems only fair you get baked after we got snow in Auckland t'other week.

  7. @ rraine ~ Yes, you didn't misunderstand me. I said exactly that. The frivolity is rocking already: a huge chocolate buttercream cake with edible flowers (half enjoyed at the office, the other half going with me to AA), the mortifying singing of the dreaded song at high volume, and a generous gift in the loveliest shade of green that requires me to go shopping to enjoy it to maximum capacity. Chinese food with a friend after AA. It's all shaking out as it should, in a way that's comfortable to me. Thanks for popping in.

  8. @ Rachel ~ Thank you my friend. I appreciate you. I wonder where we could meet up where we'd neither bake nor freeze?

  9. "This is, Atticus, my new guy. Yes, that is the reason I named him Atticus. I don't know very many Atticus references from which I would have drawn"

    I can only think of one, so here goes: Is To Kill a Mockingbird a favorite novel of yours? Or is it that you're a Gregory Peck fan?

    Anyway, happy birthday, Leslie.

  10. Hell for hot in Las Vegas which isn't unusual in August, but is still hell for hot.

    Late August here in South Carolina is called Dog days because of the unrelenting heat and humidity is weighing heavy on everyone to the point they are exhausted.

    For some reason sock monkeys scare me.

  11. @ Kirk ~ You hit it on the head, Kirk. My sock monkey is named for one Atticus Finch, father of Jem and Scout, friends' father to Dill. I re-read the book at least once a year and rent the movie every couple of years. It's held up in a way that many b+w films have not over the decades. It is a most beautiful story and I feel sorry for anyone who has not read To Kill a Mockingbird. You'll recognize some themes in the book that are important to me, since you know me pretty well.

    OK, bear with me. I don't have your breadth of knowledge about movies or actors, etc. So I can't say I'm a Peck fan or not. But I can say that I think there is every good reason he got the Oscar for the role. I recently read Harper Lee's bio. When Peck got the role of Atticus, he went to Alabama and met many times with Lee's father, upon whom the character was based. Peck immersed himself in the man, the locale, Harper Lee's recollections and descriptions . . he played a perfect role. The night he went up on stage to collect his Academy Award, Mr. Lee's pocket watch was in his hand, Mr. Lee having died and Harper Lee presenting the watch to Peck as a gift and tribute. SHE thought he nailed the character just right, and that's saying something. Oh, the timbre of his voice while reading to his children, while speaking with Calpurnia, while representing Tom Robinson and while sitting outside the courthouse to prevent his client from being lynched . . there is such pathos and beauty woven in this story. You can tell I like it, right? :~}

    Thanks for the birthday wishes! I had a great day.

  12. @ BeachBum ~ we get monsoonal spells during the summer. In fact, one is expected this weekend, with overcast skies and temperatures of 109. Our humidity can't compete with yours, but it's still miserable. BTW, I've spent some considerable time in Florida, so I get what you're speaking about.

    I'm sorry Atticus and his tribe scare you. I get it. Sock monkeys are lovable to me, even though most simians terrify me (Travis, the now-deceased chimp who tore off a woman's face due to his demented head wrought by his stupid human owner's pathology comes to mind.) For me, it's clowns. Can't abide the sight of them. I'm always afraid of what lurks behind those painted-on faces. Oh, and horses. I'm afraid of horses. Glad you popped by.

  13. Sorry I'm late for the party. Many happy returns and all that implies. Take Care.

  14. @ Mike ~ You didn't miss anything, Mickey. It was intentionally meant to be very quiet and low key, because that's how I need it to be. And, actually, between work and AA, it inflated a bit beyond my comfort level, though I kept myself pretty well together. However, I happily accept the good wishes of a good friend, and - BELIEVE it - I am taking care.

  15. did i mention i love sock monkeys? maybe not.
    green goes with everything.