In: Rad Red

Who can forget the creepy sound of Danny’s imaginary friend speaking through the little boy about the heinous crimes committed at the Overlook Hotel? To me, it is right up there with the two notes, “Duh dum” that introduced Jaws to a scene. In fact, my ex-husband was so freaked-out by it that I could invoke the voice and chase him around the house saying “Redrum” and have him nearly crying for mercy. Hahaha, that was fun.


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Beware of the Redheads!

In: Mish-mash, Rad Red

Aaahhhh, the allure of the redhead. We are everywhere and in hot demand. But as a young girl, being a redhead was a cause for ridicule, not adoration. So what changed? I’d like to think that I was part of that change. Yes, you heard it here folks..I was one of the 200 plus women who were part of the Redhead International Club that opened the doors to redheads being models, actors (other than, whores or comics), and the envy of all. What a sight we were walking through Universal Studios and Knott’s Berry Farm, clad in white t-shirts and with the varied hues and wide age-range. I was the youngest at fifteen and the eldest was a ripe 35. Women were so desperate to prove the authenticity of their color that one woman pulled down her knickers and flashed her fanny.

Over the summer, there were several events, including a beauty pageant with the one and only “Ginger” as one of the judges. And other than the “flasher,” there was only one incident that was bizarre or “witchy” which took place between the two women who would be crowned winner and runner-up. Apparently, the one was accepting help from the other with her make-up and the temptation to mess it up was too much for the one who painted a big swathe of emerald green across the other’s face. 30 years later, I can still see the seething auburn beauty hissing before exploding. I always wondered if she won, not because of her incredible beauty, but because we were all terrified of her.

Other than the redhead dressed in a fetching red gown, parading her buxom bodaciousness as a fated captive on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, the most impactful use of redheadedness, to me, has been the following video by MIA. Whether you like her music, or not, the message is undeniable. And how clever of her to have used redheads who, according to scientists, are doomed to extinction by 2060, not by murder but by breeding. So whether Jews, Aborinines, or redheads, the segregation of one type of people by another for the purpose of extinction is immoral and when seen in such a harsh manner as the video, one can easily surmise that fact. The insightful step is to see how that bullish and forceful behavior translates into other oppressiveness by one group over another. Straights over gays, rich over poor, citizens over immigrants.

Rather than use force to influence your thoughts and ideals upon a person or a society, let what the Redheads International Club did be a template of how you can change hearts and minds through example rather than force, fraud, or coercion. It is moral; it is lasting; and it is peaceful.


Love Be Near and Dear

In: Rad Red

There is speculation about the history of Valentine’s Day. But as with so many holidays that are steeped in the tradition of sacrifice, martyrdom, and blood, it seems to have originated with the Catholic Church and her attempt to hijack an otherwise pagan celebration. Despite the horrors upon which it was founded, there is a cheery aspect to it like Christmas stockings, Easter baskets, and Halloween treat bags that I find fun and charming.

I very much enjoyed cutting and pasting with my children when they were grade school age. Spools of lace and ribbon cluttered my Roche Bobois table that we all sat around, along with some of their friends, eating cookies and decorating the much-treasured, handmade cards. Sequins, glitter, pearls all attached to the card stock with glue, as well as affection and excitement as we all anticipated the delight with which they’d be received. An opportunity to give with one’s whole heart without fear of being made fun of. That table has traveled across the continent with us and you can still see the smudge where glue was spilled causing the finish to smear. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, its wear is an indication of its value.

It is agreed that Geoffrey Chaucer is the first known poet to be credited with a “Valentines’ Day Poem”.meadow Several lines of it are found below in modern language, though the original is fun to read, too. I say, keep the candy and flowers; I don’t need jewels nor stuff. But write prose and lyrics that speak of your quenchless desire to twirl a tendril of my hair around your finger, losing yourself in the perfume of my skin, drowning in the abyss of burning passion, then resting in sweet reverie. And let it be spoken in the middle of a meadow where God’s creation is all about, with the warm sun tingling our skin and the fragrance of wild flowers competing with lust’s musk.

From “The Parliament of Fowls”

A garden saw I, full of blossomy boughs
Upon a river, in a green mead,
There as sweetness evermore enough is,
With flowers white, blue, yellow, and red,
And cold well-streams, nothing dead,
That swimming full of small fishes light,
With fins red and scales silver bright.

On every bough the birds heard I sing,
With voice of angels in their harmony;
Some busied themselves birds forth to bring;
The little coneys to here play did hie.
And further all about I could see
The dread filled roe, the buck, the hart and hind,
Squirrels, and beasts small of gentle kind.

Of instruments of strings in accord
Heard I so play a ravishing sweetness,
That God, that maker is of all and lord,
Had heard never better, as I guess.
Therewith a wind, scarcely it might be less,
Made in the leaves green a noise soft
Accordant to the fowls’ song aloft.

Th’air of that place so a-temperate was
That never was grievance of hot nor cold.
There wax also every wholesome spice and grass;
No man may there wax sick nor old;
Yet was there joy more a thousandfold
Than man can tell; never would it be night,
But always clear day to any man’s sight.

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The Redheads

In: Rad Red

Years ago, I received a card that read, “A best friend is not one who bails you out of jail; a best friend is the one sitting next to you saying, ‘That was fucking awesome!'”

Tonya, a bestie since our junior year of high school who has been my biggest fan, thinking more of me than I did myself most days, IMG_0107braved parenting a couple of years ahead of me. She has bailed me out of anguish more than once and set my fears to rest regarding parenting. As you can see from the photo, we like to laugh and have fun and do so more with each other than nearly anyone else. We have hurt each other’s feelings, disappointed each other, and missed more of one another’s big events than we will ever be witness to. However, I am certain that if tomorrow I were to be given the worse news of my life, she would be on the next plane. But, we aren’t going there. Instead, we are planning the next time we will reconnect over more than just the phone or cyber space. We still have a lot of adventures in front of us. Even if they won’t include professional ball players, fist fights, and someone going to jail as occurred the night this photo of us was taken.

I feel so blessed to have met her when I did. She was in awe of my verve and confidence while I secretly hoped that her southern charm and gracious ability to keep her lips zipped would rub off onto me. (They didn’t.) Over the years, when I’ve heard the song sung by another redhead, the fabulous Bette, it was Tonya who I thought of, smiled, and recalled our zany, bitchy, crazy, loving friendship. She is one who is closer than a sister.

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Texas “Red” Grapefruit

In: Rad Red

Grapefruit is so special that it invites a unique eating style. And the Texas Red Grapefruit is so special that I await its arrival with much anticipation. Of course it would have been known as “the forbidden fruit”…it’s red, juicy, delicate, sweet…kind of reminds me of a vagina. The irony that it would be the first patented fruit is not lost on me. As if one can own God’s creation…but that is a different discussion. Grapefruit invokes beautiful visions of home life to me. It seems appropriate actually…

429px-Forbidden_Fruit_TreeWaking up to the smell of bacon and coffee at my grandparents’ home is a vivid memory that is punctuated by the vision of the grapefruit half that was placed upon a smaller plate than the one that would soon be filled with my grandfather’s eggs, bacon, and toast. Perfectly toasted bread, slathered in butter, a hint of homemade jam to be dabbed on a corner before the crunch that came from his polio- affected mouth that had somehow made him even more handsome than he had been before.  At the time, I preferred melon season, but I could tell even as a young girl that the preparation of the meal and the way it was presented, then eaten, was a dance of respect between these two seemingly ancient people.

As went the morning ritual, except when the Ruby Reds came out. My Grandpa would then operate the toaster and butter slices while Grandma finished cooking so that they could sit down together before “the forbidden fruit”. The ritualistic dance had become a ceremony. I am not even sure if they were themselves aware of their change in protocol. But it was lovely and became a standard by which I would judge food and mealtime traditions. I wish they were still here for me to share with them the Texas Ruby Red which has become the ultimate grapefruit, the consumption of which delights my senses and fills me with nostalgia and inspiration.

All this because of an exceptional fruit…


“Seeing Red”

In: Rad Red

ban free speechThere is speculation about the origin of the phrase, “seeing red” but all understand in the English-speaking world that it has to do with the blood boiling, the heat rising, the anger fuming. That phrase has never been equated to violence, as a necessary outcome to the emotions however, until recently.

I was deeply troubled to read of a teenage girl who was suspended from an alternative school (one for “troubled teens”) in California prior to the Christmas holiday, although I cannot say that I was surprised. Apparently, in this post 911 society, being able to empathize or sympathize with a person who suffered from anger, feelings of isolation, and frustration, is now punishable…

Thoughts themselves are not crimes despite the current US institutions insistence that they are. In the Bible, it says, “In your anger, do not sin” indicating that there is a difference between an emotion and an action. We have a neo-cortex, unlike animals who act according to their limbic system, which means that we have choice. Courtni Webb said this: “I didn’t say that I agree with it, I said I simply understand it,”…”I feel like I’ve really been made to almost look like a monster by my school and I don’t appreciate that at all.”

The lesson here: do not express yourself outside of the politically correct speech authorized by the US government and its institutions. And even worse than the over-reaction of the teacher and the school are the comments on the sites posting the story; the ignorance and irrational fear spewed out by the majority of posters is terrifying and with one look, it is easy to see how censorship has been so supported in the “land of the free”.

The upside is that Miss Webb is in good company as the list of once-banned books includes longtime favorites To Kill A Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451 and The Catcher in the Rye, as well as a few surprises, such as the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, works by William Shakespeare, and more recently, the The Hunger Games series.


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Happy Poinsettia Day!

In: Rad Red

Indeed, December 12th is the day of the Poinsettia. Who knew? Here is a little history on how the plant came to be here in the United States, although indigenous to Mexico. “Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first United States Ambassador to Mexico being appointed by President John Quincy Adams in the 1820’s. At the time of his appointment, Mexico was involved in a civil war. Because of his interest in botany he introduced the American elm into Mexico. During his stay in Mexico he wandered the countryside looking for new plant species. In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers growing next to a road. He took cuttings from the plant and brought them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina. Even though Poinsett had an outstanding career as a United States Congressman and as an ambassador he will always be remembered for introducing the poinsettia into the United States.” (Some website…)

And for those who are looking for the ultimate Christmas flower, the Ecke Family is credited with being the largest grower in the country, and I can personally attest to the brilliance of the gorgeous plants grown by the southern California family. They are spectacular and if cared for properly will last way past Christmas. I have kept one alive and thriving for several years myself. Red, white, pink are only three of the most popular colors but they come in quite the assortment of varied shades. I naturally prefer red!

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Why Christmas Red?

In: Rad Red

Pungent fir wreaths, boughs of holly, intensely-colored poinsettias, spiral-striped, candy canes, and Christmas trees with apple-colored, decorative balls have all been part of my Christmas experience. I have often wondered why, but until now have not known the purpose of the use of red and green. I must say that I am amazed that the tradition was not taught to me, particularly since I was raised Catholic.

The Christmas tree decorated with red and white round balls apparently has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Eastern Christians are said to have revered Adam and Eve as saints on December 24th as early as 1000 AD. Though the Catholic church did not embrace them as saints, Medieval Christians maintained the tradition, imparting the knowledge of the mystery story to illiterate believers through a reenactment that came to be known as the Paradise Play. An evergreen was used to symbolize the two trees in the Garden of Eden with red apples and white wafers being hung upon it to symbolize the fall of man and his redemption through the body of Christ. So, yes, there is Scriptural meaning, but not in regard to the birth of Jesus but rather His death and resurrection.

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