Escape to Skyrim


When my children were little, their father and I played video games with them. Hours racing each other in Mario Kart brought us together as a family like nothing else did. We weren’t the adventurous outdoor family like those today that take their kids hiking and biking, etc. No, we were indoor folk. We watched television, read books, saw films, and wrote in our journals. And despite all the indoor activities, my kids are all grown, healthy, and happy.

Last Christmas, my son visited and got me interested once again in video games. I bought a Playstation 3 and some used games and started my adventures all over again. I must say I enjoy them now more than I did even then. Gaming has come a LONG way since the 1990s and Turok, Dinosaur Hunter.  Most of them now feel like I’ve inserted myself into a movie.  Take Skyrim for example. I love this game. It is a huge open world that is beautiful to look at and fun to explore. I’ve started three games so far with different characters and abilities and even though the quests are the same, there is always something new and different to experience as each character.

I’m sure that my husband can’t possibly mind. While I’m in the other room slaying frost spiders and necromancers, he’s busy talking on Skype to one of his ‘friends’. I’m at the point now where it’s good that he has others to keep him busy so I can play in peace. Sounds cold perhaps? Not as cold as shunning a wife who was willing to give him everything and was rejected for fetish talk and long distance relationships. I’ll stick to Dragon Age, Skyrim, and Fallout 4, thank you very much.


New Meaning to the Word “Monopoly”

You know those games you grow up with and think nothing of the title? Monopoly is one of them that comes to mind. Who knew that it was about Capitalism and the evils inherent therein? It wasn’t until I went to the Missives From Marx blog that I suddenly made the connection. Doesn’t the graffiti iconic figure at the blog look remarkably like the man on the Monopoly board game and cards that come with it? Fascinating.

Of Mad Men and Conspiracy Theories

I watch entirely too much television. How do I know this? Because I can’t seem to read enough books that I want to that’s how I know. I have stacks and stacks of books in my place and haven’t read half of them. So, some television shows have to go to make more reading time. It is indeed a hypnotic box that keeps us transfixed in front of it for no good reason. However, that said, I cannot give up good quality TV no matter what beckons me and there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 of those I spend sleeping and 8 working. So what am I watching and what have I given up? Let’s list those I’ve given up first:

Survivor: I’ve watched this show since it started. This is what… the 17th season? Unreal. I mean, how different can each season be? You watch ruthless people win through lying and manipulation and you watch the others lose because they weren’t willing to compromise their principles or friendships for $1,000,000. It’s the same thing over and over. What the losers don’t seem to realize is that it’s just a game and if you don’t play by the rules of the game, you’ll lose. You’d think someone would be learning this by now. The last straw was watching this season’s premier. Every season they seem to want to find the most unlikeable characters they can so people will watch who they LOVE to hate. I was sitting there listening to the latest blowhard talk about how smart he was and how dumb all the women were and how easily manipulated and I said, enough is enough. Here’s one woman who’s not falling for that again. End of story. I haven’t watched it since.

Lost: Like The X-Files, I thought I would watch this to the end; because I like Science Fiction and because I like mysteries. However, the mistake I made in watching the X-Files to the end was assuming that Chris Carter would give us some answers. Instead, I don’t think he knew any of the answers and just strung us along and made things up as he went along. However it was vastly entertaining and each episode pretty much stood on it’s own. Lost however grew tiresome very quickly. After watching two seasons, I wasn’t willing to take this trip any longer. I am convinced J.J. Abrams has no idea where this show is going or where it went in the last couple of seasons. He did an EXCELLENT job on the last Star Trek movie!! However, Lost is no longer on my list of “must see TV.”

The Mentalist: (Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.) I gave this show a whole season because I like the lead character played by Simon Barker. He’s amusing. But I can’t seem to work up any liking for Robin Tunney’s character. The plots aren’t compelling enough; not that they have to feature murders and gore. Mad Men supplies none of that and delivers the goods week after week. It’s just not substantive enough for me.

Shows that I continue to watch:

The Amazing Race: (Sunday nights at 7 p.m.) This is a fun show that uses my favorite game format: a scavenger hunt. The values promoted are worthy; play dirty and it usually comes back to bite you in the end. Take your time and read the clues and you’ll be fine. Rush too quickly and sloppily and something’s going to go awry. Plus you get to learn a little bit of history and see some cities along the way. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego for grown-ups.

Ghost Hunters: (Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.) Do I know it’s probably fake? Sure. But just the fact that there are no psychics on these hunts, that they have “scientific” equipment and that they are trying to debunk evidence and do many times, is enough to keep me watching. Oh and Jason and Grant and Steve are just the type of guys I’d love to hang out with especially while visiting spooky places. What more fun is there?

Supernatural: (Thursday nights at 8 p.m.) Well there are only two reasons why I watch this show at my age: Jenson Ackles and Jared Padalecki. ’nuff said.

The Closer: (Monday nights at 9 p.m.) I love the whole cast of this show. They work well together. However, Kyra Sedgwick’s character can be annoying sometimes and there are moments that even I want to slap her. The plots are standard police procedural and even though the whole premise was ripped off from the UK’s excellent Prime Suspect series starring Helen Mirren, it’s interesting enough to garner a TiVo slot.

Project Runway: (Thursday nights at 9 p.m.) The chief thing going for this show is to see how people can creatively design clothing and make it out of fabric. Fascinating. I can’t create a paper bag, let alone a dress. Oh and let’s not forget Tim Gunn! “Five minutes people!!”

Dancing With the Stars: (Monday and Tuesday nights at 7 & 8 p.m.) The judging is snarky and inconsistent. The stars only have nominal talent sometimes.  So why do I watch? Because I want to do that. I love dancing and seeing someone blossom into a good dancer is fun and rewarding.  The elimination shows are a complete waste of time however. Just post it on the internet already!

My new husband :-)

My new husband 🙂

Mad Men: (Sunday nights at 9 p.m.) Probably THE MOST intelligent show on television right now. This last episode should be Emmy material for next year because the underlying themes are so complex and intertwined and the actors so flawless in their delivery that you actually believe Sterling Cooper ad agency exists out there in an alternate time-line somewhere. Brilliant, brilliant is all I can say.

And speaking of conspiracy theories….Sadly, the books I managed to read recently I can count on one hand: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is only worth throwing with the other hand. I can only say the ending did not justify the plot or to put it in fictional terms: Did I have to wade through this stupid plot to get to THIS???  Ugh.  Someone let his own positive press over Angels and Demons get to him. Kind of like Book 6 of that other series people are wild about. Mr. Potter or Twilight whose popularity still stuns me as its horribly written and the main character is a stalker let alone a vampire!

On the good side, I read Ruth Rendell’s Adam and Eve and Pinch Me. (I hate it that some books are only available in the UK, like Barbara Erskine’s books. Why?) Anyway, Rendell’s was available, so I picked this up over there and finished it very quickly, which is saying something. Ruth Rendell is always, always a good read. I also did NOT know that Ruth Rendell wrote under the name Barbara Vine, whom I also like. Go figure. Why do people do that? Dean Koontz’s last Odd Thomas book Odd Hours wasn’t as good as some of his others either. I suppose some authors can’t be consistently good. Or maybe it’s just me and my tastes have changed. That’s probably it.  I seem to have less patience with some that are mildly books and more patience with some that makes my brain hurt. Perhaps I get a sense that time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted on such things? Age. Hmmm. Sometimes we have to let go of a few things to make room for others. This is a great time to do some letting go and to hunker down for winter. Gather the acorns, so to speak.

Where In The World Have I Been?

Hello everyone! Yes, it’s been a while and I feel as if my brain has been on hiatus for quite some time. Many, many waters have passed under the bridge, one of which was interest in church or religion, which I have not missed one scintilla since last we spoke. I had made an earlier attempt to go to church, if you’ll recall, for the love of singing in the choir and seeing people I knew. I also tried to renew what little faith in God I had left, but I must say it was a failed enterprise. I was also working up an extremely good case of apathy. Yes, those were the days.

Well, I’ve missed y’all, I really have. Some have not missed me. I had become quite intolerable to some of my readers. But others have been very, very supportive. And why must I always talk in riddles? Come, come, let us be plain speaking shall we? Perhaps in time. Right now, my secrets must remain, but my desire to continue blogging is renewed and ever strong. Why? Well, because I just can’t keep my damn mouth shut that’s why!! 🙂 I ask for your toleration, if not outright interest, as I do so! It’s good to be back.

A Reading List to Bring the Positive Back Into Your Life

Everyone should know by now that I read a lot of books. Rarely do I dip into fiction twice, let alone three or four times, but there are some fiction works that can stand a second or third reading. Non-fiction however is meant for such ‘dipping.’ This list reflects both kinds of books and a few odd choices, but still they are ones that feed my body/soul/spirit. I always come back to them and they are all sitting right next to me at the breakfast table within easy reach. In no particular order here they are:

  1. Women Who Run With the Wolves. I cannot understand why every woman has not read this book. It explains a lot about women’s soul and psychology through Jungian stories collected by Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ during her years of experience as a Jungian psychologist and storyteller. I avoided it for years because I didn’t understand what it was at first. Somehow it seemed inaccessible. But I ‘found’ it in my 40s, it was far from inaccessible and I’m turning over to you now.
  2. The Women’s Room by Marilyn French. I have read this book three times. Once in my 20s, once in my 30s, and again in my 40s. It is the chronicle of a woman’s awakening to herself over the course of three decades encompassing dating days, marriage and suburbia, and returning to university. Her growth is something I learn anew for myself each and every time I read it. A classic.
  3. Gifts From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Forever etched in people’s minds as the wife of Charles and mother of the doomed Lindbergh baby, Anne should be known more for the chapters she wrote while vacationing by the sea one summer. Written from a woman’s 1950 perspective, there are still some gems apropos to us now.
  4. Behold the Spirit by Alan Watts. I can’t get enough of Alan Watts. This book explains the appeal of Catholicism over Protestantism, image over word, eros over logos and the necessity for both to take literalism less seriously. I also love in equal measure The Supreme Identity (on the origins and nature of evil) and The Wisdom of Insecurity (living in the present with an open mind).
  5. The Cat Lady, The Witchery Series, and anything else by Laura Stamps! Fairly new on my list of nourishing reads, I discovered the existence of this woman when she exchanged emails with me over a blog post I had written. She is effervescent with a deep, deep lust for life. She exudes a spirituality, a completely whole sense of self, and a relentlessly positive attitude. I just want to sit down with her at a table and talk for ours. We share a love of rescued cats and many other things. Her fiction is poetic and nourishing and always gives me an uplift. You should give any number of her books a try.
  6. Imagine a Woman in Love With Herself: Embracing Your Wisdom and Wholeness by Patricia Lynn Reilly. This book has replaced the devotionals I used to read while a Christian and I am most grateful. Rather than reading every morning that you are unworthy or sinful or that you always need to confess every thought and stay close to a male God or you are gong down the merry road to hell, Reilly takes the opposite tack and feeds the whole soul that everyone is born with. She tries to bring forth the natural place in you that got corrupted with all the world’s so-called knowledge. There are 20 affirmations and exercises to get you started on the road to any kind of healing you are looking for.
  7. Pronoia and The Televisionary Oracle by Rob Brezsny. Anything by Brezsny is bound to get you out of group think and into realms of inner space and positive action that you never knew you had hiding within you. The man is a revolutionary thinker and makes you see things like no one else can. His web site Freewill Astrology is a must read every week. I own his band’s CD World Entertainment War which contains one of my favorite songs: “Kick Your Own Ass.” Something we should all do on a daily basis.
  8. Anam cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World by John O’Donohue. I picked this book up for the first time at the book store at Cawdor Castle in Scotland in 2001. I wasn’t looking for it but it found me anyway. I couldn’t resist the introduction, so I bought it and have been reading it ever since. It will definitely turn your ideas of historically taught Christianity upside down, even though it’s not new. I have been curious about Celtic wisdom when I discovered in some of my research that some of the saints of Ireland and England were dismissed by the Roman Church as heretical and were more in favor of the likes of Augustine and other dualists who emphasized sin and separation over nature and integration. Again wholeness of body/mind/soul are encouraged.

This is only a partial list of the books that I come to over and over as part of my daily reading regimen. They are diverse enough to keep the juices flowing and the soul open. But I sense a theme going here in most of them; integration. They are positive enough to counter any tendency I have toward pessimistic thinking and help me see that one positive action can counter years of negative ones. They also emphasize rejecting the bifurcation of mind and body, something that I need on a daily basis. Combating years of negative thinking is a lifelong job. But I sense that it is working with the help of these talented folks. Happy reading!