m Celtic Cross Celtic Cross - Average Everyday Sane Psycho Supergoddess

August 30, 2004

American Girl in Paris

Francais or Espagnol?
I chose to take French for my elective language in high school. Honestly, my decision was made based on the fact that I thought it sounded cooler than Spanish. Little did I know...my decision would have a tremendous impact on my life.

French came very easy for me - it was a breeze. I didn't really have to study as it came so naturally. I had a psychic guy tell me years later that I had lived in 17th century France in a past life and that's why it was so easy (that's another story entirely). I enjoyed the class tremendously.

Foreign Exchange
My French teacher approached me during my second year and asked if I would be interested in participating in a foreign exchange program. I enthusiastically dove in and, with my parents' cooperation, signed up. We had a young girl named Florence Chabert come visit us that summer. She stayed with my family and we had a wonderful time showing her the ways of the U.S.

The following summer, I went to France and stayed with her family. They live in Moutiers - a small town nestled in the heart of the French Alps. It is not far from Albertville, where the winter Olympics took place not too long ago. I cannot begin to describe the beauty of this place. We skied, we hiked, we went on vacation to the French Riviera...it was an absolutely fabulous experience.

Thus, my love of France and the French people was born. I found the French to be warm and welcoming, fun-loving people. They are nothing like the snobs you hear about from non-French speaking Americans who visit Paris.

French Major
I decided, after returning to the states, that I wanted to major in French so that I could teach. I attended college at Central College in Pella, Iowa, where they had an excellent, nationally known language program and foreign study program.

Université de Paris, Sorbonne
My Junior year of college was spent studying in Paris. I attended the Université de Paris, Sorbonne and took a wide variety of subjects including economics, geography, arts, writing, and lots of literature (sorted by century). The classes ranged from sizes comparable to what you would find here in the states, to absolutely huge. Some of my classes were so large that they were held in a giant amphitheater - 300 to 500 students in one class with the professor on stage with a microphone. Of course, all of the courses were taught in French, and there was very little tolerance for asking questions - none whatsoever in the larger classes. Miraculously, I passed both semesters. This is no small feat since an average of only 20% of the participants in the program pass.

17th Century Lit.
I'll never forget my 17th Century Literature professor. He was ancient - I would guess him to be in his late 70s going on 100. At the beginning of class, he would hobble onto the stage, sit down at the desk and proceed to yank at the microphone to adjust it to the proper position, wringing it's metallic neck causing horrendous screeching noises and feedback. When the microphone was in position, he would let out a long, heavy sigh. He would the proceed to ramble on about various writers and their works for the next 3 hours. It was mind-numbing, at best. No wonder I ended up failing that course. You'll understand more about that in a bit.

Blending In
Anyone who has ever seriously studied a language knows that the best way to master it is to live it. Live it, I did. Some of the other Americans that were there through Central chose to spend their time with other Americans, speaking English and seeking out the McDonalds and Chicago pizza joints. I, on the other hand, dove head first into the culture. I did everything I could to just melt right into Paris, and it consumed me with voracious passion. By the end of the year, I could convince a native that I was French with surprising ease (any hint of an American accent I had could be masked by adopting the accent of my French family in Savoie).

L'Ile St. Louis

While in Paris, I lived on the Ile St. Louis in the 4th arrondissement. L'Ile St. Louis is 4 blocks long and 2 blocks wide. I lived in a housing complex there that was run by nuns (not as bad as it sounds) on Rue Poulettier (chicken farmer street). The complex was comprised of three buildings that were built before the USA was a country. The Seine, which runs through the middle of Paris, has two islands - the other being the Ile de la Cité which is the home of the famous Notre Dame cathedral. I would walk through the back gardens of Notre Dame every day on my way to and from school.

I used to sit on the walkway you see in this picture to read and watch the boats go by. It was a wonderful place to live.

Maison de L'Enfer
Each semester at the Sorbonne, Final exams had to be taken. Unlike our grading structure here in the states, your grade is based on your final. That is it. No tests, assignments, papers - nothing else is taken into consideration. They didn't even take attendance. The final exams are held at a place called the "Maison des Examens" (House of Tests). My room mate swore she hadn't seen my face for 3 weeks (only the back of my head buried in a book) when I departed for this hell-hole in the suburbs to take my tests. There are two days of testing...all of your exams are on those two days, so you have to study for all of them at once - talk about brain overload. I arrive on the metro (subway) at the appropriate stop, and ascend the stairs. As I come out of the stairway, I look up to see this huge, ominous building - the Maison des Examens. I swear, there was a huge dark cloud hanging over the building.

Some of the tests were four questions. They were essay questions and we were expected to write a lengthy answer to each one (using proper grammar and spelling, no less!). For one of the tests (fortunately, you get to choose which one) you write a baccalauréat - that's one question. Only one question out of an entire semester's worth of materials! Yipes!

I chose to take my baccalauréat on 17th Century Literature. I felt that I had a good understanding of the writers involved. I expected the one question to be about some of the romantic writers of the period - Corneille, Moliere, Malherbe; but NO! The question was about some bloke that wrote funeral marches for the king. I failed miserably. Fortunately, my grades in my other subjects were good enough to offset the damage and I still passed.

Next Installment: Fun in the Metro

August 27, 2004

Hypocrites, Butts & Boobs

Why, in this modern society is the nudity so taboo? Some say that it goes back to our puritan roots, but haven’t we advanced as a society enough to make this a non-issue? This is a society of double standards and hypocrisy – a man can walk around with no shirt on, showing his breasts and nipples and no one even notices. But a woman, on the other hand, can not do this. She can’t show too much for fear that she would be arrested for indecent exposure.

Hypocrites and Lawbenders
Even though a woman should be able to expose her breasts, according to the law, we all know that the laws in this country are enforced at the discretion of the individuals enforcing them and they are stretched/twisted/adapted to meet with the arresting officer's opinion. They may not be convicted, but they are going to jail until they can have an attorney and judge agree that they did not break the law.

The law states:
Indecent exposure.
A person who exposes the person's genitals or pubes to another not the person's spouse, or who commits a sex act in the presence of or view of a third person, commits a serious misdemeanor, if:
1. The person does so to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either party; and
2. The person knows or reasonably should know that the act is offensive to the viewer.”


So, why can’t a woman walk around with no shirt on without fear of being arrested?

???

Breast Feeding
Of all things, why in the world would a woman breast feeding her baby in public be such a scandalous thing? It is the most touching, natural thing. No one would have a problem with a mother pulling a bottle out of her diaper bag to feed her hungry child. There is a plethora of medical research that shows that breast feeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby, so why wouldn’t we support it?

I breast fed my baby in public. I believe that the most appropriate way, however, to do this involves a bit of modesty. I never blatantly bared my entire breast to the world when doing this. I would cover my chest with a blanket with my baby under the blanket, he would latch on have his feeding, If anyone saw anything, it would be the quickest glimpse. I realize that there are some mothers that are not this modest. It is not that I was ashamed, I just didn't want to deal with any gasps or staring.

Recently, a young mother was in a local restaurant when her baby was crying with hunger. She breast fed her baby in the restaurant, and was kicked out of the restaurant by the owner because of it. The next day, a large group of young mothers set their lawn chairs on the sidewalk in front of his restaurant and proceeded to feed their babies in peaceful protest. He was ashamed, to say the least, by the negative publicity.

Nudist Ideals
Nudist organizations claim that families who spend a considerable amount of time in the nude allows everyone, including children, to have a better body image, learn respect and have more self esteem.

They preach that being nude is fun and good for the soul. It promotes body acceptance, age acceptance, family unity, freedom, and increased self confidence. It helps prevent the immoral disrespect of our bodies and the media’s ideas that bodies are shameful, disgusting, hair in the wrong places, and need to be plucked, tucked, stretched, starved and draped in cloth at all costs.

The European View

I really feel that the Europeans have it right as far as nudity is concerned. You see television commercials for shower gels that show a woman in the shower, breasts exposed, and no one is shocked.

You can go to the pool or beach and only wear bikini bottoms and no one cares. Some wear tops, some don't. It doesn't matter! They say you call tell who the tourists are because they're the only ones staring.

I went topless on many occasions when I lived in France. It was liberating and free-feeling. It was also nice not to worry about ugly tan lines. No one runs around exposing their genitals (well, other than a few deviants) but breasts are no big deal and that is how it should be. This is what our law actually dictates, so why can’t our society deal with it!?

August 26, 2004

Tattoo of the Day

Today's tattoo of the day is dedicated to Vadergrrrl and her wild fantasies!



Spanks & Whistles to you, my friend!

August 24, 2004

Questions, Anyone?

I would like everyone who reads this to ask me 3 questions, no more no less. Ask me anything you want. Really. I'll answer. This should be fun.


August 23, 2004

Higher

No time to blog today...derned work. I just have too much to do. I hate days like this.

So, in place of an actual post (several in draft, begging to be finished), I thought I would share the lyrics to one of my favorite songs with you. I connect, on a very deep level, to the lyrics from some songs. They feel like they came from my very soul. This song is one of those...

***
"Higher"

When dreaming I'm guided to another world
Time and time again
At sunrise I fight to stay asleep
'Cause I don't want to leave the comfort of this place
'Cause there's a hunger, a longing to escape
From the life I live when I'm awake

So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay?

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets

Although I would like our world to change
It helps me to appreciate
Those nights and those dreams
But, my friend, I'd sacrifice all those nights
If I could make the Earth and my dreams the same
The only difference is
To let love replace all our hate

So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay?

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets

So lets go there, lets go there,
Come on, lets go there
Lets ask can we stay?

Up high I feel like I'm alive for the very first time
So high I'm strong enough to take these dreams
And make them mine

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets
***

Oh, how I would love to stay in the dream that I had last night...

August 18, 2004

The Power of Thunderstorms

One of my favorite things is a thunderstorm - a big, nasty, butt-kicking thunderstorm. I've always been fascinated by them. They are, to me, Mother Nature's performance art. It is when she displays her authority, her wrath, her power.

I love to go out in a thunderstorm and watch it. I am so enthralled by the dark, swirling clouds that hang low and churn around. It is so thrilling to watch when some clouds are going one way and they are crashing into or passing below other clouds that are going another way. One time I stood out in a field on a hill top as a nasty storm was brewing. I looked straight up into the black clouds and they were so low, swirling around me, that I felt like I could reach right up and touch them. I tried, reaching up, up, up as high as I could and it felt like they were going to fall on top of me. I felt their power - their pent up rage which was about to boil over. It was a very thrilling and moving experience.

In the midwestern USA, thunderstorms are a part of our lives. They can be quite nasty, and often tend to spawn tornadoes. We have had over 100 tornadoes in Iowa so far this summer. Luckily, they usually hit out in the country in sparsely populated areas so losses are minimal. Occasionally, though, they hit towns. I remember several years ago when two small communities near my home town were completely wiped out by a tornado. There was simply nothing left. One of them rebuilt, the other one did not and no longer exists as a town.

I have chased four tornadoes - three knowingly and one unknowingly. One tornado that I and a friend chased was a pretty good sized one that was ripping up trees and barns in the country outside of town. We jumped in his bronco and roared out there, just to see it get sucked back up in the cloud. The other two I chased with the same friend. They were together, coming out of the same storm cloud side by side. They weren't very big, and were jumping from hilltop to hilltop, not doing much damage at all. Still fascinating to watch, however. They went off into an area that was inaccessible by vehicle, so we watched them jump away.

Tornadoes are not always easy to spot and identify - there are so many different types. There are stovepipes, ropes, cones, multiple vortex, elephant trunks, and wedges. Wedges are the ones, in my opinion, that can be hard to identify.

One rainy afternoon, Chris and I were driving South on Highway 71 between Kansas City and Joplin, Missouri. There was a rain storm we were following over to the Southeast and it was moving away from us. We noticed a section of the storm that was very white and it extended all the way to the ground. It looked a lot like how rain looks when you see it from the side coming down out of a cloud, but it looked very peculiar. We kept commenting on how wierd it looked as we followed it. It slowly crept away from us to the East as we traveled South. When we arrived at our destination, the people who were waiting for us asked if we saw the tornado that was very close to where we came through. It all became clear then - that funny looking white thing was not rain. It was a wedge tornado. It was a little frightening that we didn't realize what we were following.

I can't wait until the next thunderstorm. They are forcasted for tonight. We'll see...

August 17, 2004

Things That Make Me Happy

~ the scent of fresh rosemary
~ the way my son runs across the playground and leaps into my arms when I arrive to pick him up
~ the way my favorite songs make my rear view mirror vibrate when I turn it up
~ silver celtic knotwork jewelry
~ petting my wonderful kitty, Leonardo
~ fresh raspberries frozen inside ice cubes
~ laying on a hillside on a velux blanket and picking out shapes in the clouds
~ fireworks
~ the sound of my son's laughter
~ the way apples and cinnimon smell when they're baking together
~ thunderstorms with lots of thunder and lightening
~ the way the outdoors smells right after a thunderstorm
~ Bailey's Irish Cream
~ walking through the forest and the way the sun filters through the trees
~ the little dance my dog, Pugsley, does when I come home
~ iced Mocha Cafe
~ trying out a new recipe and finding that it's delicious
~ rhubarb
~ doing something really nice to surprise someone I care about when they totally don't expect it
~ the way fresh cheese curds squeak when you eat them
~ floating down the apple river in a tube
~ camp fires
~ finding new and wonderful friends who you feel like you've known all your life

August 13, 2004

Covert Operations

Sorry about the lack of posting, friends and neighbors. As some of you are already aware, I am working on a top secret project that is taking a considerable amount of time to compile and coordinate. It will all be worth it, indeed. You might just have a little surprise in your e-mail (if you don't know what I'm talking about), or maybe not. he he he

"We will return to regular programming shortly. Thank you for your patience."

August 12, 2004

Tattoo(s) of the Day

I realized that I have been neglecting the tattoo of the day...



I airbrushed her nipples out just to keep in a little more on the PG13/safe for work side. I was going to do a blur-box for the whole breast area, but I didn't want to obscure the tatt between them. For some reason, it really irritates me that I felt compelled to censor her. I just don't want anyone doing to "D'oh, jeez! Click!" think if they open my page.

Very intriguing tatts, don't you think?

Is this good enough for you JP? Well...is it??? LOL

August 11, 2004

Jumping on the Bandwagon

The \\
Last Cigarette:about 12 years ago
Last Alcoholic Drink:night before last - Peach Boones - shut up, it's good
Last Car Ride:to work this morning
Last Kiss:this am when I dropped my son off
Last Good Cry:yesterday
Last Library Book:probably in college...I usually buy or borrow
Last book bought:The Angel of Darkness - Caleb Carr
Last Book Read:see above
Last Movie Seen in Theatres:Spiderman 2
Last Movie Rented:Hell Boy
Last Cuss Word Uttered:shit
Last Beverage Drank:red bull
Last Food Consumed:runts (do they count as food?)
Last Crush:I'll never tell
Last Phone Call:coworker asking about ordering chinese for lunch
Last TV Show Watched:morning news
Last Time Showered:last night
Last Shoes Worn:my fave sandals - have them onnow
Last CD Played:mix CD I burned with lots of faves
Last Item Bought:ice cream
Last Download:cswshredder
Last Annoyance:losing internet connection
Last Disappointment:supply clerk didn't order my stuff!
Last Soda Drank:I don't drink soda
Last Thing Written:addendum to a proposal
Last Key Used:car keys
Last Words Spoken:ok
Last Sleep:right before 6:30 this am
Last Ice Cream Eaten:snookie twist cone
Last Chair Sat In:office chair I'm in now
Last Webpage Visited:Evil Science Chick/Bondage Chicken

CREATE YOUR OWN! - or - GET PAID TO TAKE SURVEYS!

August 10, 2004

Fromunda

Well...(deep subject, I know)
I am feeling much better today. With lots of love and counseling from beautiful Aimee, the support and kindness of several wonderful blogger friends, and a considerable amount of rational discussion and reconciliation at home, things are looking up.

Soleil Levant - Claude Monet

The man is still going to Canada. I am still going to have to do some creative financing to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and get this new adventure up and running. I will very soon have two full time jobs - my current and business manager of a home building company. It may be rough at times, but I know I can handle it. Hell, if I can handle finals at Universite de Paris Sorbonne, I can handle anything!

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming swimming..." - Dori

August 09, 2004



got in a huge fight with my man
he's losing his job
financially screwed
i'm an idiot
too much stress
he is leaving for Canada.
I will be alone in a very dark place.
What more can I say?
If anyone needs me, I'll be under that big rock over there.

August 06, 2004

Au Revoir Super Freak

Rick James
Rick James, party animal, super freak and funk singer has died at the age of 56. He passed away at 9:45 this morning due to what was reported as "natural causes."

Tell Jim Morrison & Elvis I said "hi", dude.

August 05, 2004

Substance, Melancholy & the Blue Moon

Seems that there has been a kind of plague going around. Melancholy, self doubt, and depression have been running rampant. I have found myself to be (in the last week) down, nervous, restless and practically neurotic. I haven't been able to write anything significant - anything with any substance to it whatsoever. Today, however, I feel relieved. I get the impression that lots of us are feeling relief, spirits uplifting and relaxing a bit.

The Blue Moon
The Blue MoonOn Saturday, July 31 we had what is referred to as a Blue Moon. Technically, this is simply the second full moon in one calendar month. Since the moon is on a 29 1/2 day cycle, this happens roughly once per year.

I have become much more aware, in recent years, as to how the moon affects us.

Lunacy
University of Miami, psychologist Arnold Lieber and his colleagues decided to test the old belief of full-moon “lunacy” which most scientists had written off as an old wives’ tale. The researchers collected data on homicide in Dade County (Miami) over a period of 15 years — 1,887 murders, to be exact. When they matched the incidence of homicide with the phases of the moon, they found, much to their surprise, that the two rose and fell together, almost infallibly, for the entire 15 years! As the full or the new moon approached, the murder rate rose sharply; it distinctly declined during the first and last quarters of the moon.

To find out whether this was just a statistical fluke, the researchers repeated the experiment using murder data from Cuyahoga County in Ohio (Cleveland). Again, the statistics showed that more murders do indeed occur at the full and new moons.
He and his colleagues shouldn’t have been so surprised. An earlier report by the American Institute of Medical Climatology to the Philadelphia Police Department entitled “The Effect of the Full Moon on Human Behavior” found similar results. That report showed that the full moon marks a monthly peak in various kinds of psychotically oriented crimes such as murder, arson, dangerous driving, and kleptomania. People do seem to get a little bit crazier about that time of the month.

That’s something most police and hospital workers have known for a long time. Indeed, back in eighteenth-century England, a murderer could plead “lunacy” if the crime was committed during the full moon and get a lighter sentence as a result. Scientists, however, like to have a hard physical model to explain their discoveries, and so far there isn’t a fully accepted one. Since we know that the moon controls the tides of the oceans, Dr. Lieber speculates that perhaps the human body, which, like the surface of the earth, is composed of almost 80 percent water, experiences some kind of “biological tides” that affect the emotions. When a person is already on psychologically shaky ground, such a biological tide can push him or her over the edge.

But can planetary cycles directly affect individual human events? If the answer is yes, then cycle research begins to look pretty much like astrology, a subject most scientists aren’t too fond of.

Those Crazy Astrologers
An Atomic Energy Commission-funded project at Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, came up with a report entitled “Intriguing Accident Patterns Plotted against a Background of Natural Environmental Features”, which correlated on-the-job accidents of government employees over a period of 20 years with various natural cycles. This preliminary report (the researchers suggested further study was in order) found that accidents peak with the sunspot cycle and — even more intriguing and “astrological” — that people were more likely to have accidents during the phase of the moon the same as or opposite to that under which they were born.

Some really hard and startling evidence might have come out of this research had it been allowed to continue. But alas, that was not to be. Shortly after its completion, the report fell into the hands of Time magazine, which did a spoof on it in its January 10, 1972, issue, under the heading “Moonstruck Scientists”, complete with an old woodcut of maidens dancing in a frenzy under the rays of the full moon.

That was all the Congress needed to kill the project and suppress the report. When I wrote to the Atomic Energy Commission and Sandia in 1972, they stated the report was not for distribution and that no taxpayer could not see it.

Blue Moon in Aquarius - the Water Bearer
Water, in occult studies, refers to emotions, and the water sign Moons are the most emotional of all. With Moon in Cancer or Scorpio, a considerable amount of energy is invested in discovering, experiencing, and digesting emotions. Paradoxically, Moon in Pisces, which is potentially the most emotional, constantly attempts to escape from unpleasant feelings, leading in some cases to an addictive personality or to living in a fantasy world.

Water sign Moons are also very influential in responsivness to other people's feelings. This could explain all of the hurt feelings, comment flaming and stepping on each others' toes that has been going on.

Blue Moon The primary difficulty with water sign Moons is people getting so hung up in their emotions that they lose some effectiveness in dealing with the outside world. With emotions, as with most other things in life, we all need to strike a balance. This moon in Aquarius made us feel restless, and with a full moon at full power, the high-tide swelling emotions and feelings of restlessness, in some, became quite overwhelming.

So, we can all breathe a sign of relief as it has passed. Get ready for the end of this month, though...August 29 is our next full moon. It will be, my friends, in Pisces.

August 04, 2004

August 03, 2004

Amusement

Just a few tidbits of net fun that I found to be amusing today...


uh...nice moves, there.

This guy is a reporter for msnbc.

I'm just a little freaked out by him.

They have just gone too far...
Krispy Kreme donut flavored drinks
Ug! I don't think so.

A groovy little blast from the past...
Come Together

...and, I FINALLY FOUND A PICTURE OF DASTARD!:

(love ya, buddy...come back soon)

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