Sunday, January 30, 2011

What Would Your Jacket Cover Say

It's no secret....I LOVE BOOKS!  It is also no secret that I desperately wish to write a some point.   Truth be told (oh goodness...I am cringing) I actually wrote a book in the 8th grade.  There we go....the secret is out!  I spent the better part of 6 months NOT paying attention in class (sorry Mom and Dad) and ferociously penning what I thought would be the next great, adolescent, angst-ridden, terribly dramatic, slightly inappropriate novel.  Of course....I was the troubled heroine sitting at the apex of a wicked love triangle....I was the object of the affection of two "men."  (You know this is fiction because nothing so glorious has ever happened in real life!)  Anyhow...I digress.

One of my favorite "parts" of the books that live in my house is the "jacket cover biography."  In four or five short lines I feel I "know" the author simply because how and where they live and work is revealed to me.  And EVERY TIME, WITHOUT FAIL, I experience the tiniest pang of jealousy.

I've been thinking about this for a few weeks.  What would my jacket cover....IDEALLY say?  What life, what location, what circumstance do I think would be the "perfect" blend and combination to inspire daily writing?

Warning: The following are grossly out of proportion with reality; but are fun to consider and go swimming in the "what if" pool of ultimate fantasy....

Patricia Vela received her Ph.D. in both the classics and English literature from Oxford University.  She is currently the chair of the English department at the University of Texas.  In addition to writing several novellas, memoirs, books of fiction and a Tony award winning play, she is a regular contributor to Vanity Fair, Harper's Magazine, Texas Monthly and The New Yorker.  She lives on a working farm between San Antonio and Austin where she tends to her lavender, chickens, goats, two large dogs and any cat that comes to her door!  When she isn't at home she can be found in her Airstream visiting the Texas coastline.

Wow....I just smiled and laughed out about a fantastic life!  I can't top that one with anything else.  I am not even going to try.  I know I promised "several examples" but that one just summed it up!  That would be my ideal jacket cover!

As for the book from 8th grade....I eventually got tired.  I had over 200 wide ruled (no college ruled paper in middle school) handwritten pages stuffed into a blue flimsy binder with no conclusion in sight.  See....I have ALWAYS been long winded!

What would your jacket cover say?  And is it impossible to think that even one fantastical line of your jacket cover is actually within your grasp?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Comfortably Numb

On a day when I feel like a big, huge crab apple blossom....I am issuing a challenge to myself to find the celebrations of TODAY....

The sun was out!  My hair cooperated!  My oatmeal with blueberries and pecans was pretty damn amazing!  I talked to Ciara!  A student actually called me "Miss Vela" and not just "Miss."  I adjusted my office chair to a moderately comfortable position; as opposed to the terribly uncomfortable position it has been in the last few months!  Generous donors to Silent Auction!!!!!!  A visit to CBCST and friend Meg was there!  Gracie let me hug on her for a long time!  I talked to my mom and dad today!  There....good!  Good!  This is good!
Paris: Men suck!
Rory: They do suck!
Paris: Can't count on them.  They never have your back.
Rory: No, they don't.
Paris: They make you love them and then they let you down and you are walking around with a stomach ache for the next six months.
Rory: Is that how long it lasts?
Paris: I don't know.  I hope it is only six months.
Rory: Yeah, me too.

You're funny!  You know they say pretty women aren't usually funny because they never had to be.  Were you fat as a child?
-Shell Sossman (Chicken/Poultry Supplier)
I downloaded a 30 day trial of Aperture.  Here are a few of the photos I played with....

Any thoughts?  Worth the 200 dollars?  It was fun to play with....I might make the purchase.....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Are We There Yet?

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
Martin Luther King, Jr., delivering his 'I Have a Dream' speech from the steps of Lincoln Memorial. (photo: National Park Service)
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eating My Words
It has happened.  I have learned my lesson.  Never shall I say "NEVER" again.  Never shall I make fun of a group of people who feel so fervently, so passionately, for a book series/movie saga again.  (I mean...look at me an Gilmore's Girls for crying out loud.  I should have never been making fun of the "Twi-hards" in the first place!)

As many of you may know my cousin, Marisa Quintanilla is currently filming Breaking Dawn.  She is playing the part of Huelin.  I have not actually read any of these books so I don't know how to describe her character.  But I know she belongs to the "vampire" clan, as opposed to the "werewolf" clan.  Ever the proud cousin (oh yes, I DID sit through Road House II-how many of you knew there was a sequel?  Rent it...she's in it.) I decided to jump on the band wagon and familiarize myself with the movies.

To be honest I fell asleep through Twilight three different times.  It took me a number of attempts to get through it.  It was dark and sleepy and she was maudlin and annoying me.  However, I persevered.  I owe this to my cousin, right?  Immediately after I finished Twilight, I fed New Moon into the DVD player.  I stayed awake for this one.  Oh wait, no, I fell asleep...that was the week I was operating on little sleep and high emotion.  I can't help it...these movies lend themselves to snuggling up on a dreary day and drifting off into a netherworld of vampire clouds.  Admittedly, I am still a little lost about why Edward went away to Italy and the whole Voltari thing but I enjoyed New Moon.  It was during New Moon I pledged my allegiance to Team Edward.  I can't help it.  He is a 109 year old man stuck in a 17 year old body.  Seriously?  What 35 year old woman would not find his gentle and tender way of loving Bella intoxicating?

As expected...after New Moon I was eager to get my hands on Eclipse.  Now...I am just left waiting, wondering, how does this story end?  Actually....I coerced a friend into telling me how it ends.  In the erstwhile (oooooh...I like that word) I have become obsessed with the Eclipse soundtrack; and in particular this one song called "My Love" by Sia.  So haunting and mystical....the background to Edward's know with the vintage ring?  Sigh!

Heightening my foaming anticipation of Breaking Dawn are Marisa's daily texts and varied phone calls.  She can't say much, for obvious reasons.  But what I can say is that EVERYONE she has worked with, from the biggest names to the lowliest wardrobe person, have treated her with kindness and respect.  She seems to be having a positive experience and for that....I am even more grateful to God.  He answered our prayers by allowing her this opportunity and is sweetening it with genuine individuals.

I can't wait!!!!!
"My Love"
by Sia

My love, leave yourself behind
Beat inside me, leave you blind
My love, you have found peace
You were searching for relief

You gave it all, gave into the call
You took a chance and
You took a fall for us

You came thoughtfully, loved me faithfully
You taught me honor, you did it for me

Tonight you will sleep for good
You will wait for me my love

Now I am strong (Now I am strong)
You gave me all
You gave all you had and now I am home

My love, leave yourself behind
Beat inside me, leave you blind
My love, look what you can do
I am mending, I'll be with you

You took my hand added a plan
You gave me your heart
I asked you to dance with me

You loved honestly
Did what you could release
Aaaahhh oooh

I know you're pleased to go
I won't relieve this love

Now I am strong (Now I am strong)
You gave me all
You gave all you had and now I am home

My love, leave yourself behind
Beat inside me, I'll be with you
oooooohh ooooh
Du du du ooooooh 

I am a sucker for Twilight now......Dang it!  I hate having to retract all my sarcastic Twilight comments.  Lesson learned.....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

X Marks the Spot

No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it.  The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expansive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company.  All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need.  The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.
-Barbara Taylor Brown from An Altar in the World

My eyes looked over that last sentence at least 20 times before I went to bed last night.  Allow your eyes to linger long over those words.  When is the last time you gave yourself consent to be where you are.  I have a friend who always encourages me to do this.  She challenges me to give myself permission to feel what is presently being "asked to be felt."  (You know who you are, dear friend!)
Lane: How'd you like it?
Rory: It's great.  I burned a copy for my mom.
Lane: You know, it is people like you who are destroying the music industry.
Rory: Oh, now!  Britney's gotta shoulder some of the blame.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thank You Notes

While nothing can compare to sending and/or receiving a personalized, hand written, Thank You note....I have found this is a lovely, quick way to send your gratitude!  In a time when etiquette is having to shift and adjust for technology; this is the best, most sophisticated way I have found to send something that looks as close to "real" as possible.  Click here to sign in and create an account with Paperless Post.  I believe you get your first 25 "stamps" to email letters free.  After that you may either "earn" or "purchase" additional "stamps" to keep sending Thank You letters, Invitations, Birthday Greetings, Valentine's Day Cards, etc.....

Happy Funday, Monday friends.  I am so pleased I woke up at 4am today!  I was able to work on Silent Auction, send Thank You notes via e-mail and blog all about Paperless Post.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


For some this will make me feel better.  Anyhow...people are constantly encouraging me to "be who you really are."  Given that I seem to hear this with a significant amount of frequency...I can only imagine people assume I am being someone else.  Here's the truth.......
1)  I am a people pleaser.  I want to make everyone happy all the time.  So....while I am "being me" I think the confusion lies in the fact that ultimately I want the world to be satisfied...very often at my own expense.
2)  I am a fault.  Here's how I figure it: there is by ONE judge and it isn't me.  God has asked me to forgive.  That doesn't mean I necessarily am commanded to forget.  But....forgiveness does not equal relationship.  Forgiveness means I release you into Christ because He loves each of us equally.
3)  My heart is very, very, very, intensely tender and breaks easily.  This has served me adaptively in a number of ways...and maladaptively in other ways.  
4)  I am a "thinker," "processor," "talker," "analyzer."  That's it...too bad...take it or leave it.  It is what it is.  I do not accept actions until I have sorted them out in my brain and in my heart.  Yes, I can strangle situations to death....but that is how I need to do it.  In as much as I want to respect the way others process situations; I expect the same respect in return.
5)  I don't have secrets.  I will tell you about my life.  I am certainly not perfect and a lot of things have happened in my 35 years.  I am not ashamed.  If my life and my stories can provide explanations, answers and comfort to another human being; then I am willing to share.  (Yes, at the risk of judgment.)  
6)  I am a "perseverate-or" and don't let go of things easily.  This likely drives others to the point of wanting to pull their hair out....but those of you who have stuck with me have certainly earned their place in heaven.
7)  I am a flake.  Really.  I mean...on some levels I am very organized and have excellent follow through. However, I VERY often say "yes" to plans and flake out.  My friends know this.  They know to expect it and love me, anyhow.  Thanks, friends.  Trust me....your patience is not lost on me!  
8)  I suffer terrible dreams...nightly.....I always have.  As far back as I can remember my dreams are vivid and macabre.  This is probably where I work out all the "perseverating" mentioned in #6.
9)  I am a procrastinator.  Sometimes I am top of things; mostly I am not.
10) I am loyal....very loyal.  In a relationship I am a serial monogamist.  Once you have my have me for good.  I expect the same in return.  Unfortunately this has rarely been the case.  I am currently challenging and revising my notions of fidelity.  No, I am not revising.  I am standing firm and not giving in to the zeitgeist.  I am old school.  You are either on board or you aren't.  If you aren't...there is the door.
11) I am a "Beatles" and not an "Elvis."  And what's more, I am a "George Harrison."  His songs are the  most pleasant to my ear.
12) The things I find most beautiful in other people: humility, honesty, wisdom, compassion, selflessness, grace.
13) The things I find most odious in other people: pompous arrogance, dishonesty, ignorance, self centeredness, judgment.
14) I have been (and might always be) attracted to pretty,  bad boys.  So, I am no longer doing the picking.  If I see a man and I am attracted to him I am immediately walking the other way.  If I like him, there HAS to be something wrong.
15) I love God, I love Jesus.  They love me back, it is clear.  I am certain I disappoint them on a daily, if not hourly basis, but I try.  I am humbled by God's grace and can't believe that salvation is so simple and yet so many people refuse to accept it.  (But this is about who I am...and I can not speak on behalf of others.)
16) I have made some wrong decisions and I do have a few regrets.  There, I said it.  (Or wrote it....same  thing.)
17) I compartamentalize.  I just realized this.  This is a big revelation for me.  I have a difficult time incorporating all the roles I play into one "grown, adult woman."  I would probably be less exhausted if I could just "be."
18) I have been tortured by self-doubt and insecurity for years.  NO MORE!  This is how smart I am, this is what I look like, this is how tall I am, this is what I weigh, this is what I have accomplished, this is what is left to be done.  (Sure, I can make adjustments to some of these things...but right now....who I am is perfectly imperfect and I know that because, in the words of my girl, Loretta Lynn, "God makes no mistakes.")
19) I am, by nature, pessimistic.  The glass is half-empty.  It is a daily struggle; but a daily victory if I can frame things from the opposite perspective.
20) I don't always consider others.  This is not because I don't want to.  As I said in #1 I am intent on the satisfaction of others.  Sometimes my brain is honestly so over-loaded with my over-processing, perseverating, procrastinating, etc....there isn't always space left for everyone.  For that....I apologize.

Dean: I've got a five year plan.
Rory: Five years?  Cool!  I've got about the next two and a half hours planned and then there's just darkness; and possibly some dragons.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Eyes Open; Refusing to Close

"I'm impossible to forget; but I'm hard to remember." 
-Claire Colburn (Kiersten Dunst in Elizabethtown)

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Trash Bin Returns

The tarty little trash bin arrived Saturday morning, New Year's Day, after what I can only imagine was a "trashy" night out on the town.  She came home empty; but filthy!  She is covered in a layer of dust suggesting a roll in the dirt that I don't really need to "know" about.  

As with MOST situations in my life I have jumped to a conclusion.  I ranted and tossed accusations and thought really terrible things about the imaginary really terrible people in my head.  Really....someone obviously just needed an extra bin for their celebration.  But I stand firm: JUST ASK ME NEXT TIME!  I am happy to lend her out...for the right price! ;)
The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Metaphor or Irony...or Both?

And in one final act of defiance....2010 irritated me at the last possible moment!  2010 looked me square in the face and said, "Fudge you, Patricia!"  Oh I said on Facebook...."2010....good riddance to bad luggage!" (Gilmore-ism, of course!)  Literally....

In the words of my dear friend, Jace'...."What had happened wuzzzzzzzz.....".......I left my house at roughly 8.15pm.  As I backed my car out of the garage I noticed both my blue recyclable and brown waste bins were snuggled comfortably in their place of honor; just outside the garage.  I thought to myself, "Damn...I forgot to put the waste bin out today.  It is full!  I am going to have to wait one more week!  Oh well.  Nothing I can do about it now."  

Upon my return at roughly 10.45pm....aforementioned brown waste bin is GONE!  Yes...the city issued brown waste receptacle is mysteriously missing and my blue recyclable bin is slightly askance, sad and missing a few of it's contents.  

Now, it has NOT at all been lost on me that things have recently gone missing from one, if not both, of those receptacles.  For instance, I threw out a set of (circa early 1980's) plastic mini blinds that had squatted in the garage since I purchased this place 8 years ago.  They sat poised to be hauled off to the land fill (I can't possibly compost EVERYTHING) for a few days.  Then....they were mysteriously missing.  

I understand if there are people who NEED my STUFF.  They can have it.  I have no issue with them ransacking my waste bins for things that are of value to them.  Come talk to me, ASK ME, I will say, "Yes...undoubtedly."  And...knowing me I would probably invite them in for cookies and coffee and say, "Look around....anything else you need?"  

It is an entirely different story when you STEAL MY CITY ISSUED TRASH BIN!  Now...I am inconvenienced.  First of all, I have to call "the city" and request a new bin.  Who KNOWS how long that will take.  Second, what the hell am I suppose to do with the trash that collects in the "por mientras?"  (The mean time!)  Shall I beg my neighbors to allow me to borrow their bins?  How embarrassing!  I don't want to burden them with my garbage...which is mostly disgusting pet refuse because I try to compost/recycle most everything else.

If you NEED my STUFF...take it.  But call "the city" for your own trash bin!  There is only so much "giving" one person can do before they (Patricia Vela) just become pissed and resentful!  I realize this is the grander scheme of life who really cares about a trash bin.  That isn't the point.  It is NO LONGER the point.  The theme of 2011 is: love, laughter and adventure.  Oh....and NO MORE DOORMAT-ISH-NESS for one Patricia Vela.  I am going to use the voice I was given, open my mouth, and tell people (politely) just how I feel.  Of course...I can't exactly chastise my trash thieves....because I don't really know who they are.  But this...this is MY forum!

Here's the irony.....all that was in the bin was old cat litter and a piece of old luggage that my cats had vomited on!  As I said....2010....good riddance to bad luggage!  And really, "2010....fudge you!"  

Today starts a new day, a new year and a new pledge to "really living".....any seeds of ill will shall fall on barren ground.  Happy New Year dear friends!  Look for the new, improved, Patricia Vela 3.0 and remind her (gently) when she is falling back on her old ways.  "I'm (not necessarily) mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it (foolishness of others) anymore!"  
I gotta keep you on your toes.  When you think I'll zig, I'll zag and then when you think I am gonna zag...I DO zag just to mess you up for the next time I might zig. -Lorelai

A solution would have been birth control.  Too late, move on. -Jess

I don't need you to be "sorry!"  I need you to be "there!" -Lorelai