Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jerry Springer and Me - by Patty Mooney

There is this prestigious annual convention where all these studios, celebrities, and broadcast people gather, called NATPE - (National Association of Television Program Executives). Back in 1996, Mark and I attended it in order to sell our show, "Full Cycle: A World Odyssey," an "endless summer" with mountain bikes. This documentary won over a dozen awards but it has never been aired on television. In '96 the studios seemed more interested in horror than in mountain-bike love.

Anyway, Mark and I had the chance to meet a lot of interesting people, among them Jerry Springer. As you can probably tell from his baudy, rowdy show, he's a nice guy. Well, in person, he really is a nice guy. At the time he was just hitting his stride with his TV show, and he was quite approachable. He was nice enough to pose for photos with both Mark and me.

Later that evening, we saw him at a party for television executives at a local venue where the event people had set up a karaoke system. One thing you may not know about Jerry is that he loves to sing Karaoke.

And one thing you may not know about me is that I, too, love to sing Karaoke. Unfortunately, we did not get any photos of Jerry and me singing together, but it happened. So the day we can download data from our memory, that will be among the first photos I'll print out!

So consider this a shout-out to Jerry Springer. You rock, man! Keep on having lots of fun, and inspiring others to have lots of fun, too.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ladies, Do It For Your Lover - by Patty Mooney

At the time I thought it was a little cheesey, but now I am so glad I did it because it turned out to be a gift that just keeps giving.

What could it possibly be, you may be asking yourself. What? Why, a series of glamour photos of myself as a gift to my husband, of course.

About ten years ago, I found a photographer who was well versed in the ways of posing a woman's body to her best advantage. William Morton at Second Glance Studio in Escondido was a wizard at lighting, which is highly important. I brought along several different garments to wear, and some translated better on film than others. He used various backdrops and props, and now all these years later, I'm glad I did it. It froze time for both Mark and me.

If you've never had it done, and you always wanted to do it, then do it now. It's a lot of fun, and it makes you and your lover both feel special. I suggest looking at the portfolios of several photographers before choosing the right one. Some people are better at producing wedding photos or convention photos or action photos. You want the person who is good at making you look beautiful, who specializes in "glamour" or "boudoir" photography. Also, in addition to sexy clothing, I brought some business outfits, and had William snap some face shots of me that I use to this day in business-related press.

My boudoir photography session yielded some of the best photographs I have of myself. If you live near San Diego, definitely call upon William at Second Glance. Otherwise, you will need to find a special photographer in your area who can bring out your smiling eyes, your gorgeous smile and that lovely face that will shine on your bedstand for years to come.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Those Were The Days, My Friends - by Patty Mooney

As many of you may remember, mountain biking is one of my great passions. I have been riding a bicycle avidly since the age of seven, and switched to mountain biking in 1986. What I have always appreciated about it is that it takes you out into the lap and thighs of Mother Nature, which is my way of practicing spirituality. The mountain bicycle is a tool to get me into areas where I can smell the scents of lavender, sage, and even grape soda lupine (in the Spring time). I can hear the conversations of birds, the flow of water over rock, the faint buzz of bees, the moaning of frogs. I can be who I am without a second thought.

Back in the late 80's, in addition to riding 15 miles a day to work and back on a mountain bike modified for street riding, I would also participate in large group rides on Wednesday afternoons, and then all day Saturdays. I even used to race and had some good success in the downhill category. One time while downhill racing in Big Bear, California, where the terrain is comprised of volcanic dust, I was wearing contact lenses, and one of them happened to pop out. I screeched to a stop, and then, with one hand over the blurry eye, so I could see, I walked back to where I thought the lens had jumped. After a few moments, as a few other racers blared on by, I actually found it! I know, it seems unbelievable. I rinsed it with the water in my water bottle, placed it back in my eye, blinked a few times, jumped back on my bike, and ended up winning the race.

At that point in time, I could drink all the beer I wanted because I was constantly riding it off. Now, at the age of 53, I don't imbibe nearly as many carbs because I don't put in those kinds of miles anymore. Mark and I still ride on Saturdays, and I jump on a stationary bike just to stay in shape. But the good old days of riding with a large group of buddies are over. There used to be several women in the group, but they got married, had kids, grew their fingernails, and disappeared. So did several of the guys, for that matter. Many times Mark and I can't rustle up anyone else to ride with us, so we'll go alone. It's still fun, but there is a feeling that an era has passed.

I just read an article about Hulk Hogan in Rolling Stone, and it feels something like that. The time of Hulk the Greatest Wrestler in the World is over. Now what you've got is a guy by the name of Terry Bollea with blonde hair extensions and a frail back, not to mention all those razor blade scars.

Even after a Total Knee Replacement, I can still go out there and ride my mountain bike, and at least I can still be present in the land of sage, cactus and quartz. But I am so much more cautious now, far less fearless about jamming unconcernedly down technical, rocky single-track trails. It takes far longer to heal broken bones than when I was a kid, and the aches and pains stay with you longer.

But don't worry, I am not ready to hang up my bike. Not just yet. I'm going to savor mountain biking as long as I possibly can alongside Mark. Maybe it's time to find a whole new "posse" to ride with since the ones our age seem to have gone into retirement. Even if it's just the two of us, we always have a great time, and we know how to make each other laugh.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Family Times in Las Vegas, Part 2 - Photos and Story by Patty Mooney

It had been a long time since I'd been to Las Vegas. I used to attend an annual video software dealers convention (VSDA) there with my husband to distribute our video titles; the last time was 1994. So when my mom announced that she would be in Henderson (just south of Vegas) for her 88th birthday over the Memorial Day weekend, several of us decided to join her. Here's a small pictorial of our family gathering.

My niece, Aiyana, and sisters "Glamorous" Jeanne and "Tie-Dye" Rita prepare to leave the air-conditioned hotel room and step out into the fire tongues of Las Vegas.

Magi, the birthday girl, greets her son Joe and his daughter (her grand niece), Aiyana at the Henderson Elks Club

One major event was the shearing of Magi's lanky silver locks. She had a crew cut for my wedding in 1987. Since then it had grown down to her derriere, so she normally wore it in a braid. On occasion she would let it out and one or several of her four daughters would brush it out and then rebraid it. Magi had threatened to have it cut over the last several years, and this time she requested that my brother, Joe, bring his barber shears and do the deed, once and for all.

Magi is thrilled to have the weight taken off her shoulders.

Aiyana holds up the silver horse's tail; Magi plans to give it to an organization that collects hair for cancer patients who have lost their own hair. She mentioned, however, that they might not want it because it's silver.

Here's Magi at the center of a family portrait wearing her new "do." I love this shot because there is so much going on, both on and under the surface.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Good Family Times in Las Vegas - Photos and Story by Patty Mooney

Memorial weekend turned out to be a special one for me. Several members of my family met in Las Vegas for a small family reunion in honor of my mom's 88th birthday. (88 = Double Infinity, right?)

On Friday, four of us - my brother, Joe, my sister, Rita, Joe's daughter, Aiyana, and I all squeezed into Joe's 2005 Mustang convertible and commenced our six-hour drive to Vegas, which I call "the Furnace of Hell."

Imagine four tall people in a sports car. Well, it was fun because we chatted and laughed, played music and sang, shared stories and jokes, and the time on the road went by quickly (except for the stretch of highway near Baker which turned into one large parking lot where there was a traffic accident).

Because Aiyana had never been to Las Vegas before, Joe and I took her to the Stratosphere where my thrill-seeking niece convinced us to go on the Bigshot which shoots up into the sky from the top of the Stratosphere, and the XScream which juts out over the side of the Stratosphere, looking down at the Strip 900 feet below.
Sorry, no shots of any of the rides. You are not allowed to take cameras aboard, as anything loose will go flying and get smashed 900 feet below (in all probability).

But I did get this shot of Aiyana posing behind a mannequin which is pretty hilarious, I think.

More on this extraordinary weekend later.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Drunk - A Poem and Photograph by Patty Mooney

No one loved sugar more
than the drunk who
each morning took his post
at John's coffee stand.
Who knows where
the drunk slept,
his full head of Einstein
hair the envy of all
the balding strangers.
Every day
John granted the drunk
a bit of mercy -
a donut or a cinnamon bun
and a cup of sweet coffee.
And the rumpled drunk
would thank John
with a sweep of his hand
and a swagger
like Richard Burton,
homage of a free man
to indentured servants en route
to their towers, clutching lattes
and forcing their eyes down.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The King and Queen of Hearts - Story and Photograph by Patty Mooney

It was not pretty to watch my sister’s marriage collapse as her husband, Clay, failed to hold on to any job for very long, racked up a few debts, promised to be a better man and never did get around to it. After five years, it took a lot of courage for Jeanne to finally confront him with the news that she no longer loved him and wanted a divorce.

He spun away like a top out of control, leaving Jeanne with debts that dated back to before they’d even met. We later learned that Clay took up living with a single mom, whom he impregnated with twins, and then left. “Love ‘em and leave ‘em pregnant” was a pattern Clay had established twice before meeting Jeanne. Although it had always been Jeanne’s biggest dream to have a child, she was happy to have evaded Clay’s “downward spiral.”

Thank goodness for Theatre Sports, a local San Diego improvisational comedy troupe, to which Jeanne belonged. Being with her friends at practice and on-stage helped to alleviate the kind of anxieties a person experiences after the demise of a marriage, even a bad one. All the world knows that laughter is indeed the best medicine!

One of her Theatre Sports buddies, Andy, had a special fondness for Jeanne, and after the appropriate “grieving period” following Jeanne’s divorce, Andy began sending her flowers and love poems. It was already apparent that they shared similar interests. After a few bona fide dates, they learned that they had many things in common, including a love for children, art, the movies, good food and fine wine…

And then one day we family members received a wedding invitation on rolled parchment to announce that Jeanne and Andy were planning a Masquerade Wedding.

Family and friends all got into the masquerade spirit, some of whom attended in elaborate costumes. Even the minister, a long-time friend of Jeanne and Andy, wore a wizard hat and robe. Of course, the bride and groom were not to be outdone by anyone in attendance, and appeared in their royal attire as King and Queen of Hearts. Jeanne had hand-sewn dozens of sparkly hearts onto her gown, and looked happier than I’d ever seen her.

They say that when one door closes, you need only to look, to find another door that will lead you on the path of your desire. In this case, Jeanne stepped out of the gloom room and into a world of laughter where she is living happily ever after with her King of Hearts and their two little princes.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Down Under in Oz - by Patty Mooney

One of the most spectacular vacations of my life took place down under in Oz. It was 1990, and Mark and I decided to backpack up the east coast of Australia. We landed in Melbourne, hitchhiked to Adelaide, visited the oldest mountains in the world, the Flinders Ranges, then crossed over to Sydney, and headed up the coast where we ended our extravanga with a dive adventure to the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef on Mike Ball's Spoilsport.

Maybe I should back up a minute and tell you that back in the mid-80's we were the King and Queen of our own little video production and distribution business (New & Unique Videos) and produced a set of mountain bike titles which sold worldwide in bike shops and other assorted places, including K-Mart. These were the videos that every mountain biker had to have in their library, because these shows were the first of their kind. Now cycling DVDs are - how you say - ubiquitous. Everyone with a bicycle and a camera now has several crash-n-burn videos posted up on youtube. Well, those were the good old days.

A few people from Australia had purchased our videos, and so Mark and I wrote them letters (yep, snail-mail, can you stand it?!) to see if they would care to meet us if we came to their town. Two people responded, Alan in Melbourne and Gaz in Adelaide. To this day we exchange holiday cards and emails, and these friendships are certainly forged in titanium! (note: titanium is major ingredient in high-end mountain bikes). ahem.

When Mark and I landed in Melbourne, we stayed with Alan at his apartment and the next day he took us on a ride to Melba Gully which was simply gorgeous. I do hope that this area has not been ravaged by any wildfires, but realistically, I would not expect such pristine beauty to last forever. I also remember a short hike past some bushes which flung an inch-long leech into my left eye. At the time I didn't realize it was a leech; I just thought it was a piece of leaf or an insect. "Alan," I showed him my eye, "Can you see what is in my eye?"

"Crikey!" he exclaimed (or so my memory believes it remembers), "It's a leech!" He tried to pluck it off, and it had sucked on with such strength, it felt like it was taking the eyeball with it.

Alan did manage to pry it off, amidst more colorful Aussie slang, and then he drove us all to the hospital where there was no one in the waiting room. So I was seen nearly immediately. The doctor prescribed an ointment which he handed to me, and we were probably in and out of there in fifteen minutes. Oh yeah, and the visit and prescription were both free. So say what you wish about socialized healthcare, but this particular event has reigned in my memory for nearly 20 years with the caption: "Why couldn't this happen in the USA?"

So there I was with this bloody eyeball as we continued on our journey through Oz. I didn't mind though, because I couldn't see it. And I would forget about it until someone would do a double take. But we'd quickly get past that with the story of how I got the bloody eye, and we'd make friends, have a beer (best beers in the world) and go on to the next adventure.

One night in a place called Village Resort in Port Macquarie we happened to be having a beer when the proprietors announced they were having a Talent Quest, and was there anything we could do to provide entertainment? While Mark and a couple of our new buddies performed Men At Work's "Down Under" as an air band, I wrote the following poem:

Down Under In Oz

It was a mild day
in the U.S.A.
when the plan we made was
to fly to the land of Oz.
The flight was tiring
but the land inspiring
with no clue what yet we’d learn
when we touched down in Melbourne.
We saw fairy penguins come ashore
and much, much more.
First thing in the morning, cockatoos;
stiff on the side of the road, kangaroos.
Crocodiles, sharks and Vegemite;
and scariest of all, those New South Wales roads at night.
From Flinders Ranges to Coral Sea,
outrageous memories for my honey and me.
And I’ll never forget the night I thought I’d die
after a “Crocodile Dundee” and cold meat pie (no lie!)
We prepared to spend our lives in Byron Bay
up until Paul Hogan’s wedding day.
Rumors of Tom Cruise, Cher, Tom Selleck and Clint
put an end to that stint.
So north we went
till our dollars were spent
on cruises to islands, and port and rum
and the brilliant beers that turn your head numb.
Here’s a toast to the Aussies and their incredible land down under.
Is it all a dream? Am I aslumber?
Is it LOVE? Is it LUST? Or just plain FATE?
Down under in Oz, it’s NO WORRIES, MATE!

© 5/13/90 - Mother’s Day
1st Place, Village Resort Talent Quest

Yep, it took first prize, which was a horseback ride to a billabong with tea and crumpets in the outback.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Spiritually Healing Modalities of Clairvision - by Patty Mooney

A decade ago, San Diego hosted the Superbowl, an event that glorifies football, the body-breakingest sport in the United States. As the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers prepared for physical battle, the international staff of Sydney, Australia’s Clairvision School held workshops in La Jolla to facilitate the spiritual healing of attendees.

In the early ‘80’s, while a young medical doctor in France, Dr. Samuel Sagan (no relation to Carl), used regression to treat his more stubborn cases. Although contrary to what he had studied at medical school, the techniques worked. Dr. Sagan turned his attention to the spiritual arena, and consequently formed Clairvision, a school of meditation and spirituality, in Australia. The school’s major emphasis is to open up the student’s spiritual vision, by nurturing “a new ‘organ’ of seeing, the third eye.”

Clairvision offers a curriculum of several processes designed to explore and transform consciousness. Some topics appearing on Clairvision’s program are Healing, Stress Management, Supermind techniques on how to develop intelligence, and Sex and Energy Awareness. In January teachers imported two of the more quickly accessible healing modalities to San Diego, “Awakening the Third Eye,” and “ISIS Regression.”

“Awakening the Third Eye” is a systematic method to awaken the third eye and engage spiritual vision. As Dr. Sagan writes in the Introduction to his book of the same name, his intention is to share these third-eye techniques with “those who cannot be satisfied with only an intellectual understanding of spiritual realities and who wish to gain access to direct experience.”

He adds, “The more you are able to drop any preconceived ideas, the easier it will be to ‘see’...Even though several extrasensory perceptions will arise as you practise the techniques, the purpose is clearly to find the Self and to learn to see the world from the Self instead of seeing it from your usual mental consciousness.” He stresses that the Clairvision techniques are based on a “direct awakening of the body of energy,” and do not use channelling, creative imagination, positive affirmations, hypnosis or autosuggestion.

“ISIS” -- Inner Space Interactive Sourcing -- is an intensive method of regression therapy with a spiritual focus. It employs the awakened Third Eye and the assistance of a “connector” who focuses his/her energy to facilitate the journey of the “regressed.” San Diego’s four-day workshops were abbreviated versions of a long-term training course offered at the Clairvision school in Sydney through which participants can become professional ISIS therapists, as well as implement the technique unassisted on themselves.

Regression has long been utilized as a technique in psychotherapy. What is interesting about ISIS is that it employs both psychotherapeutic and metaphysical dimensions. According to a Clairvision course description, the essential characteristics of ISIS, a “Gateway to the Self” are:

* It is a means of self-discovery and transformation allowing one to reach an unprecedented level of depth in the psyche;

* It reveals aspects of the Self that one had never suspected, opening untapped potential and sources of inspiration and creativity;

* It takes one to the source of emotional charges and deeply-rooted traumas, while allowing a safe release of these blockages;

* It enables discovery of past, present and future energy patterns in the individual psyche;
* It is a highly effective method of energy-balancing;

* It works through a stimulation of the third eye and perception of the inner space.

Students of ISIS--including San Diego participants--have experienced a wide-range of benefits including:

* Improved mental clarity and emotional stability;

* Increased freedom from anxiety and stress-related disorders;

* Resolution of inner conflicts;

* Rediscovery of one’s spontaneity;

* A deep level of self-healing through reconnection with one’s true nature;

* A growing sense of Self-knowledge;

*An awakening of spiritual vision.

In his book, Regression, Past-Life Therapy for Here and Now Freedom, Dr. Sagan states that “Even in the first sessions, it is not uncommon to experience flashbacks that cannot be related to any experience in this life, but are accompanied by a deep feeling and an inner certitude that they refer to yourself. Hence the name 'past-life therapy' is often given to regression.”

He stresses that one need not believe in past lives or anything else to benefit from regression, and that indeed “the fewer beliefs you bring with you, the more chance of success, for beliefs generate expectations that tend to distort the purity of the experiences. Some of the flashbacks during regression have an extreme clarity and leave the client with little doubt that they are real. Yet what matters with regression experiences is not whether they come from past lives, but what sort of improvement they can bring to your present.”

Regression’s lesson is to open-mindedly explore what Dr. Sagan calls the “flavour of the Self,” a sense of one’s own continuity in time, and to apply one’s discoveries to the here and now. As the doctor says, “ISIS aims at unveiling your real nature, and cares little about who you have been.”
After conducting their Third-Eye and ISIS work in Australia for over a decade, the Clairvision team felt the time was right to share their knowledge with Americans. They wanted to show us how the techniques can be applied as a pure system unto itself, as well as incorporated into other professions. In 1997, Clairvision presented a workshop in North Carolina, which was so well-attended and -received, they came to California a year later to present another workshop (partially sponsored by San Diego’s Earth Energy Products) featuring the ISIS technique of regression which is based on three main principles:

1. the inner space of the third eye, accessed through the area between the eyebrows;

2. the interaction between two people--the ‘client’ lies down and undergoes the regression experience, while the ‘connector’ sits close by and monitors the energy during the session;

3. a systematic search for the source of all emotional imprints or “scars” and behavioural conditioning.

As a participant in the Third-Eye Awakening and ISIS Regression San Diego workshop, I can tell you that while the systematic techniques are simple to implement, one who has been involved in some spiritual process, such as Yoga, Meditation or Bodywork, will find the techniques almost “second nature.” Fellow participants and I felt there was more therapeutic value to the regression work ongoing over several days, as opposed to a one-shot session. As we worked in teams of two and sometimes three, it was beneficial to “change partners,” and experience different energies. During my most memorable “journey” as client, my two connectors and I shared a deep and powerful energy exchange which could be described as tantric, ecstatic.
We had all reached a spiritually vibrant destination that I like to think will some day be as accessible to all as the Superbowl.
Clairvision instructors present Third-Eye Awakening and ISIS workshops around the world. Visit the Clairvision website to learn more.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mistaken Appearances - A Poem and Photograph by Patty Mooney

The lemon on the high branch is not an orange.
The stick on the trail is not a snake.
The falcon that hit the window is not alive.
The latté mocha frappé is not a cup of coffee.
The man on the cross is not my father.
The circus is not your living room.
The fake sushi is not sustenance.
The Pontiac is not a Chevrolet.
The animals are not children.
The matron is not a mother.
The roaches are not guests.
The Buddhist is not real.
The wallet is not a pig.
The ceiling is not a floor.
The ocean is not a shadow.
The sky is not paper.
The frogs are not a chorus.
The hearse is not a limo.
The wine is not water.
The news is not the truth.
These cupped hands are not lotus bowls.
This breath is not silence.
These dreams are not science.
This life is not the end.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Miss Mission Beach Bikini Contest

Contestants - 2009 Miss Mission Beach Bikini Contest in San Diego

Our friend, Bill Salisbury, is the lucky guy who was hired to take this photograph. He specializes in these 360-degree photos. These are some gorgeous women, aren't they? As Spock from Star Trek would say, "Fascinating, Captain."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cars I Have Known and Loved - by Patty Mooney

All that I know about cars could probably fit into a thimble. Considering my father and his father before him devoted their lives to Detroit's automobile industry, this really tells you something.

I remember that the biggest curiosity I had about automobiles had to do with how many and what kind of insects I could find in the grill of my dad's four-door Dodge sedan whenever he returned from a road trip across the Midwest.

My own first car is worth writing about in that it provided a surplus amount of lessons for the naive, young woman I once was. To give you an idea of where it ranked in my own mind, I used to refer to it as the "Brown Turd." It was a 1965 Dodge Dart and I bought it in 1978 on the recommendation of a good friend who adored Dodge Darts. And my dad was a Dodge man himself, having given The Company 25 solid years of his life. Maybe I had a love-hate relationship with the Dodge even before I bought the one that "popped my cherry" because I certainly resented the lack of a father, as mine was always at work or on a sales trip. When he did come home, my mom admonished us to "leave your father alone" and let him read his paper while sipping his two nightly martinis.

The Brown Turd certainly caused its share of anguish in my early twenties at which time all I needed was a reliable mode of transportation to get me to work and back home. Prior to owning the car, I had ridden a series of buses, and before that I had hitchhiked. My friend, the one who adored Dodge Darts, frowned on the hitchhiking, disdained the busing, found me the Brown Turd, and I went along with it. He checked it out and everything seemed A-OK, so I signed on the dotted line, and the car was mine.

A few months after purchasing this "Sepia Lemon" I was on the way to the beach with my sister, Jeanne. Remember, I was 23 years old and so I found it appropriate to be driving around in my bikini. So when a cop pulled me over because the car was belching smoke out of its tailpipe (I was oblivious until he mentioned it), I stepped out of the car to ask, "Is there anything wrong, officer?" He let me off with a warning - I mean, what else could he do, right?

I took the car to a mechanic suggested by my friend (who I hope is not reading this!). Now that it is defunct, and because it is 30 years later, I think I can now tell the world that Ken over at Advance Automotive saw me coming (I had clothes on by then) and informed me that I would need an entirely new engine because there was a crack in the block. You know, $800 in 1978 was hella huge for a secretary like me. But I swallowed this news, and wrote him the first check of several installations, and let him and his crew go to work. It took them longer than they said it would, and I had to hitchhike and ride the bus around a lot more than I wanted to, but finally the Dart was ready.

Wouldn't you know it, but just a few months later the car was again spewing smoke. And when I took it back to Ken, he told me that it needed ANOTHER new engine, and that there was no warranty on his prior work. It was somehow my fault that this recently-installed engine had another crack or the pistons were crooked or whatever.

23-year-old clueless-about-automobiles girl + conniving bee-yatch named Ken = major fallout

That afternoon I was so perturbed about the whole series of events, I drove the Turd over to a collision shop that paid me $100 on the spot for the thing and I just walked away.

Thirty years later, I could write you a book on what to do and what not to do if faced with the same scenario. Instead, I will now relate the story of the first car I owned that I truly cared about, and that reciprocated in kind.... All who knew it called it the "Love Bug."

I found it myself through a classified ad in Pacific Beach where I was living at the time. It was a 1968 VW bug that had been owned by only one other person. It had been built in Panama and it was red, and it was adorable. The only thing was, I did not know how to drive a stick shift. So the seller taught me how, and I was on my way the very same day.

As much pain and disgust as I had experienced with the Brown Turd, it was the complete opposite with the Love Bug. It was a joy to drive it around. I used to change the oil myself. It was the excellent hippy-chick ride! At one point I had it painted purple, my favorite color. Then I was involved in an accident with a guy who should have been wearing his glasses, but wasn't, so that's when it became the two-tone purple bug. My husband now speaks fondly about it to our friends, mentioning how it was like being in the Easter Parade when driving around in it.

I didn't think I would ever bid goodbye to the Love Bug, except Mark and I decided to sell or give away everything we owned so that we could drive around North America, Alaska and Canada in a Chinook (small camper) in 1986, so my mom bought the Love Bug for my sister, Jeanne, who nearly immediately had it painted blue and didn't worship it nearly as much as I did. By then I was off on such amazing adventures that no mere possessions had any hold on me. I was fishing for trout in Oregon, walking around and through redwood trees, getting chased by a grizzly in the Yukon.

I never did take a photo of the Brown Turd (maybe I would have burned it if I had) and I only have this one existing shot of the Love Bug to illustrate my story relating this woman's love affair with her car.

When we returned from our nine-month journey, we bought a Honda Civic, the first in a succession of work-horse vehicles over the years. We now have a Ford Focus and my dad is happy it's a "Detroit product" but the charm that oozed from every pore of the Love Bug is nowhere to be found in our silver streamlined station wagon. The Focus is a wonderful piece of transportation, handsome and reliable. If I had the Love Bug today, I probably would rather hop into the Focus for a quick trip to the grocery store or the dentist. Maybe it's the time of life that the Love Bug represents - when Mark and I were poised together on the threshold of our dreams, curious, unscathed and unafraid, proud to drive around in a purple and pink two-toned Easter egg.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award - Whoohooo!

Thank you to Denise at Odd Imagination for this lovely award. Sometimes you just move forward in a ritualistic way, as with blogging, and then one day you see a virtual bouquet of flowers on your cyber door step - such a sweet and illuminating moment. Wow, someone has heard and appreciates my random and varied shouts into the blogosphere!

As a grateful recipient of this most auspicious award, and to keep it rolling forward to more creative recipients, I will now list six things I am truly grateful for.

1. My Soulmate-Husband-Best Friend - His name is Mark aka "Cuddles," "Cuddle-icious," "Cuddsly," "Love Bug," "Bugs," "Babe," "Baby-cake," "Slice'o Love Cake," well, you get the idea. The terms of endearment just keep on coming, and that shows you that the 27+ years we have shared together have been momentous, lovely, amazing, stunning, fun, adventurous, and did I say amazing?

2. Good Health & Enthusiasm - How fortunate I feel to have great genes (my mom is turning 88 this week and my dad is 85, so longevity seems to be in the cards) and my body has carried me through some awesome landscapes and adventures. Even now, eight months after a Total Knee Replacement, I have been out hiking in the mountains, riding my mountain bike up and down some rough terrain, and dancing on Friday nights.

3. Music & Art - I often wonder what humans would do without music and art? It seems like existence would be super tedious without the capacity to turn emotion, desire and experience into a melody or a drawing.

4. My Friends and Family - These are the people with whom I share my feelings, accomplishments and news flashes. From the fun and frivolity of birthday parties and family reunions to the gravity of funerals and inexplicable losses - we can and have shared it all.

5. Nature - Here is the place I love to be, just be, enjoying extreme close up views of flowers, waterfalls, and critters, listening to the birds twitter, the water flow, the insects buzz. This is "church" to me.

6. My Work - Not everyone has the great fortune - or could imagine how to manifest - the kind of work I have been engaged in for the 25 years, in video production. In the various roles I have undertaken as sound technician, editor, camera operator, and even at times as onscreen talent, I've had the great pleasure to encounter some very interesting people, including CEOs, doctors, scientists, astronauts, celebrities, musicians, healers, motivational speakers, and you name it.

Now it is time to bestow this award to the following bloggers. I hope you will explore their sites and learn more about what makes them tick. I was telling a friend the other day that reading other people's blogs is so fascinating, it fulfills my lust to read biographies and I never need to purchase another memoir again. I could disappear into the blogosphere for years!

Denise - Odd Imagination - She creates whimsical creatures as sculptures and beads that look as though they are about to come to life. Plus she recycles!

Toni - Seaweed & Gardenias - This is a very creative woman who has inspired me to dive into my own creativity in the realms of scrapbooking and "illustrating" my dreams via collage.

Suzy - Hollywood Where Hot Comes to Die - She has this gift of turning any situation into comedy and if you want some good laughs, go and see her.

Jo - A Majority of Two - A fascinating woman who says what's on her mind - which I thoroughly appreciate - and she also knows how to draw and paint beautifully.

Carl - Artistic Balance - He's an artist and a photographer who enjoys capturing extreme close ups of flowers, like I do. And he understands the underbelly of computer technology.

Jodie - Meringue Diary - She hails from Melbourne, Australia (aka "Oz") one of the greatest places on the face of the planet, and she writes all about it; oh and she makes these awesome bags and she knows how to have fun!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Death Gets Around - A Poem and Photograph by Patty Mooney

Death is more devastating
to the living
than to the dead.
It treads
in its deadly way,
the smart click
of its heels
on the floor
that gleams with wax.
It drifts lazy as nimbus
without need
of a parachute.
It waits behind gauze
curtains that lift
in the breeze.
It wears a knowing smile.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Day at White Beaver Dam - by Patty Mooney

This is one of the funniest videos I have had the occasion to post here or anywhere. The adorable Tammy and her daughter, Aiyana, joined Mark and me at one of our favorite watering holes in the San Diego outback on Mother's Day last weekend. For reasons that I will not go into any further, Mark and I call it the "White Beaver Dam." In this video, hilarity ensues as Tammy loses her footing, and then her glasses. She is a natural comedienne, and I just wanted to share this with all my friends in the blogosphere to pep up your Friday afternoon.

Something else worth mentioning: We had taken Aiyana and her dad (my brother, Joe) to White Beaver Dam on the Saturday before Mother's Day. It was their first time there, and Aiyana loved it so much, she wanted to surprise her mom with a day at White Beaver Dam on the next day, Mother's Day. We all splashed around in the water and had so much fun laughing with each other, it was really quite a remarkable day.

Unfortunately, White Beaver Dam will be practically dried up in the next month or two, as San Diego is in a drought and that's what happens to many of our water sources during the summer - they dissipate.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone, and make sure you get plenty of good laughing in!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Flowers of San Diego Zoo, Part 2 - Photographs by Patty Mooney

This is Part 2 in my "Flowers of San Diego Zoo" series. Like bouquets that will never die, I hope these flowers cross the realm of CyberSpace to bring a smile and a reminder of Nature to all who receive them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

They Keep the Alligator - A Poem by Patty Mooney

They keep the alligator
chained to a table
in the dining room.
He is mostly harmless
unless he's hungry
so they feed him chicken
parts from the brood
they raise in the yard.
Happy to have him
somnolent and fat,
they imagine the fine
pair of boots he will make,
and that matching hat band.

Published in Thunder Sandwich, 4/02

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Flowers of San Diego Zoo - Photographs by Patty Mooney

Just a small sampling of the gorgeous flowers to be seen at our very own San Diego Zoo. Spring is definately gallavanting along and Summer is fast on its heels. I hope you enjoy looking at these colorful blooms as much as I enjoy snapping them.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Big Rock, Chocolate and Sex - by Patty Mooney

Mark and I hiked up toward Big Rock. The sage and manzanita tickled my legs. We followed a single-track trail that took us higher and deeper into more sage, more manzanita.

“Chocolate is my favorite sweet,” I told him. “Sometimes I just go on what I call my Chocolate Diet, and eat nothing but chocolate.”

“But how do you keep that trim figure?”

“Oh, I pay for the use of the chocolate. I get plenty of exercise. My two favorites are bicycling and sex. You can burn a few calories with a good hot session of either.”

My mother used to embarrass me by the outrageous things she did and said. What I now realize is that she was set up by society in her youth to believe she had to get married and have six children. Being Catholic, she had no choice. When the Catholic “drug,” or nerve gas, began wearing off well after her sixth child was of school age, she had a nervous breakdown. Instead of controlling her life, life had spun her out of control into a direction she never intended nor desired.

She unhinged herself in an effort to find who she was, buried deeply within herself. She became caustic for many years.

Chocolate is a drug my mother felt safe to take. I knew where she kept her stash, up inside her clothes closet in a paper bag. It gave me a certain smug satisfaction to see that she was not perfect, that she had secrets to hide, like me.

Chocolate is perhaps the closest to sex a food can come. Was chocolate her way of reaching orgasm? I never heard Mom and Dad “do it,” even when I made an effort, ear to the heating duct leading down to their bedroom.

I knew of six times they had “done it” for sure. But it was not a topic they discussed with us, their six children.

“Hurry, Patty, we have to hurry to reach Big Rock before sunset.” By now the manzanita and scrub oak were battling us, leaving scratches on naked skin.

“Almost there!” Mark announced. We clambered up a mossy boulder, trekked around it, and Voila, there was Big Rock.

No wonder he called it “Big Rock.” It was.

“Let’s go!” He bounded up it like a monkey boy, and sat atop the rock, smiling down at me.
My eyes were not used to spotting the subtle footholds, so I took my time, paused, considered and waited, held my breath.

“Breathe, Patty. It helps to breathe. You don’t want to fall, do you?”

“No way.”

“So you won’t. Believe you can do it, and you will. But hurry. The sun’s almost at the horizon.”
I hugged the rock wall and stutter-stepped up, baby steps. My weight held. I did not slide down the face of Big Rock into the impervious manzanita below. I made it up to the top, next to Mark, on the rock throne facing west as the sun touched the mountain range.

“I have something for you,” Mark grinned. He handed me a magic wand, a rainbow star mounted on a stick tied with silk ribbons. “For you to remember love.”

High on love and the day Mark and I had shared, my magic wand mysteriously vanished by the time we had returned to the car.

By the time I realized the wand was gone, our car was hurtling halfway down the mountain back to San Diego.

We didn’t return to Pine Canyon for a month, during which time a fire raged across the slope leading to Big Rock. Most of the sage and scrub oak were gone and the once glossy red manzanita dotted the area like fat black skeletons. The magic wand was gone, perhaps the catalyst that had incinerated this power spot.

I was disappointed and did not yet realize the magnitude of offerings one needs to make to our Mother Earth, even involuntary ones like the wand.

When you take from Mother Earth it is right to give to Mother Earth. That way, the circle of a happy life continues.

The wand was one of several offerings I have made, involuntarily each time, with a protracted struggle to retrieve the beloved item, then a sigh releasing each one to the universe.

There was the beaded cashmere sweater stolen from the cloakroom when I was a seven-year-old Catholic school girl; a heart-shaped opal from Mark which slipped off my gold chain at the foot of Tres Cascades, a powerful Tahitian waterfall; an amethyst stone, the gift of a medicine man, that fell out of my pocket at Machu Picchu; and the Crazy Horse pin which popped off my jacket at Pine Canyon after I steered off a cliff on my mountain bike and came to a soft landing at the base of the only tree--an oak--in the vicinity.

Mother Earth has my tastes in ornamentation. I have found that she also savors M&M’s, cabernet sauvignon and scraps of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat. I am conscious of Mother’s place in my life. Without her I could easily become a mental and physical wreck, lost, stressed out, depressed. I need to feel her presence around me for my happiness to shine out from within me, like sunlight. I hope it touches others, too.

What would any of us do without her? Where would we be without plants and trees and the sounds of birds and running streams?

Just before Mark and I departed for our first travel adventure together, to New Zealand, Fiji and Tahiti, what would turn out to be our first grand “honeymoon,” he presented me with a magic wand like the first. It stands in a special vase in the altar of my bedroom where I can see it and remember our cache of shared memories. It reminds me of fire’s cleansing nature, the adventures Mark and I have enjoyed, the presence--and presents--of Mother Nature, her exceeding patience with humanity as she teaches by being.

No matter what we humans do to her--create negative and painful situations, abuse ourselves, each other and her--she springs back. I have no worries about her. Fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and tidal waves are her nature. She has been around a lot longer than we have, an entity of slow metabolism and vast intelligence. Her true nature is love. Can ours be anything less?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Puma at Pinyon Canyon - A Poem by Patty Mooney

His puma roar sounds
like the revving of a V8 engine.
The big cat, invisible,
triggers the sprinkler system
of my skin, drenching me fast.
My heart pulses
like cop-car lights.
The desert absorbs me.
Burnt brush reaches out,
barbed claws,
hisses in the faint breeze.
The big cat, tawny as sand,
commands a high ridge,
his yellow eyes trained on me
as I strain to feel his breath
in the cold hot air.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Art and About in La Jolla - Photos by Patty Mooney

Here's a small collection of art, sculptures and bohemian views in La Jolla, which is on the Pacific Ocean, half an hour north of San Diego.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In Search of Sheeps Canyon - a Poem and Photograph by Patty Mooney

On the Anza-Borrego desert floor
heat rises in cartoon clouds:
"Hotter 'n Hell!"
Ocatillo lean clutching red hankies in their claws.
A chuckwalla* scrambles for sparse shadows.
Yuccas fan out their arrays of poison-tipped blades.
The stream crossing is a delirious surprise.
Look and soak but do not sip.
Here is where the critters gather,
including flesh-eating flies,
invisible armies of them.
In the distance Sheeps Canyon shimmers:
palms and lush foliage,
pools of water, and a waterfall
cool as melted ice, cool
as melted ice.

[*fat black lizard]