Sista Monica – Live your Life – Brave and Bold

Note to my blog readers – I write a majority of my blog posts when Mr. C is still sleeping – very early in the morning. They are written fast, prior to me beginning to work on various, creative projects for my upcoming boutique. These letters are in rough draft format.  Please be kind when reading them. I thought that I’d show the world a peek inside of the process of imperfection prior to something transcending into perfection. I would much rather start somewhere, correcting my mistakes as I go, than never starting because I’m fearful of showing the world my imperfections. The support of my readers encourages me to move forward upon my journey towards greatness and fulfilling my dreams. Thank you for supporting me.  For those of you who have followed my blog for numerous years, thanks for remaining with me as I continue to adventure onward on this journey called – Life.

 

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5/13/2016 –

 

Dear Henry,

As I’m recalling all of the great people who I have met and have greatly inspired my life, as well as living through some of my most frightening moments in my life, I am reminded of an amazingly, talented woman – the late, great, blues legend, Sista Monica – 1956-2014.

During this time in my life, when I wrote the Sista Monica reviews, I was very young – my thoughts were continuously lost in my own world, my feet dancing to the unique beat of my own music.  If I would’ve known more about Sista Monica’s history, which has made her a legend in blues music history, I would’ve been much more frightened than I already was, prior to interviewing her.  I had to walk boldly where very few souls have gone before, moving forward, courageously, one step at a time, to get through my interview with a woman of vast greatness and the intense power of a Lioness.

I recall being terrified, as I was being led to the green room to meet Sista Monica, after she performed so vivaciously on stage. My entire body trembled like a high strung, Chihuahua.  I can still feel the tightness and trembling in my throat as I interviewed a woman with a strong, fearless presence, and how my voice quavered with apprehension.  I could hardly swallow the remainder of spit in my mouth because my throat felt very dry from nervousness.

I wrote this music review after meeting a powerful woman who continues to greatly inspire my life.  It was the beginning of my career as a published writer and my marriage to Mr. C – RIP Sista Monica.

 

Sista Monica

Live Review – Famous Dave’s

November 24, 2000

Mia Jennings

 

The week prior to Sista Monica’s live performance at Famous Dave’s in Calhoun Square, Uptown Minneapolis. I had just finished writing a review about her newest CD,

“People Love The Blues.”

 

Instantly, I fell passionately in love with her rich, sultry vocals long before I observed her perform magic live on stage.  The day that I’d finished writing Sista Monica’s CD review – our furnace had broke, only weeks after our water well pump had broken. To fix each – cost over sixteen hundred dollars. Needless to say – I wasn’t feeling very grateful the week of Thanksgiving.  The only thing which helped soothe the pain was the sound of Sista Monica’s voice, which played on her CD repetitiously, while I cried the blues.

A ray of light emerged when I was asked to write a review for Sista Monica, after she played live at Famous Dave’s in Uptown, Minneapolis.  I was thrilled.  At this point, a little bit of gratitude began to warm my ice, cold heart.  By the time I walked through the doors of Calhoun Square, on that Friday night, the feeling of appreciation was all around me and I could hardly wait for the evening to begin.

Sista Monica opened strong wearing a leopard print garment to match her ferocious style, as well as her deep purrs and seductive growls.  On stage she vocalized her extreme energy, her amazing spirit, and even revealed the most vulnerable areas of her soul, to many cold, Minnesotans on this particular, autumn evening – warming our souls.  Sista Monica brought a bit of the Santa Cruz, California sun with her. She overwhelmed and captivated the audience with her passion. She was so hot that she could’ve left sparks on forgotten, rustic, train tracks.  Eventually, each one of her sweet, soulful notes made me forget all about my troubles. They vanquished into the night, like ghosts at dawn.

In between Sista Monica’s vocals I could hear her joyful soul in the echoes of her deep bellied laugh. She performed with great animation, instinctively knowing just how to involve the crowd.  Her passion was exposed to all who watched her on stage and indulged their ears and soul with her music. Sista Monica’s a storyteller, informing her audience about her roots, her Mama, and her mother’s crock pot.  She sang, “Mama whatcha cookin’ in the crock pot?”  Mama says, “she’s cookin’ soul food.” Sista Monica vocalizes, “Good, because I don’t like Tofu!”  I don’t blame her, bleh.

Sista Monica sings with passion and sweat dripping down her face.

“Soul is just soul, it’s a feeling in your bones.”

That’s precisely where her music hits too – deep in the soul.  So deep you feel a good kind of ache in your bones.  Her music is sometimes the roots of the blues, sometimes the roots of Gospel, sometimes the roots of funk, and many times quite a bit of all each.  Sista Monica even had the ability to put tears in my eyes when she sang beautifully and passionately in acapella.  Her sleek, sad yet triumphant voice – wrapping her musical notes in a soft, velvet melody, richly bellowing out the words to, “Amazing Grace,” in remembrance of her past tenor/saxophone player, Ken Baker.  Her heartaches reached out, grabbing me with intense emotion – often stopping my heart – leaving me breathless.

This Blues Lioness drew in a great crowd, on this particular night, as well as a couple of well-known musicians.  Chubby Carrier was in the house enjoying the show, as well as The Steele family, who joined her up on stage towards the end of the evening, entwining their spectacular vocals together to make a memorable moment in music history.  To remind me that I shouldn’t worry and be happy, Bobby Mc Ferrin graced the room with his presence. I wasn’t supposed to make a big deal out of it, but since the shows over, I can let the cat out of the bag.

(I was unaware at this time that they were most likely other great Minnesota musicians in the house at Famous Dave’s on that evening in Uptown, Minneapolis – possible musicians such as… Jamecia Bennet – The members of the Sounds of Blackness – Ann Nessby – Paris Bennet – Toki Wright – Cynthia Johnson -) I didn’t learn of their greatness until I began creating the art work for the Minnesota Black Music Awards 2010 and 2011. )

The buzzing energy at Famous Dave’s was intense!  The service was wonderful.  Ron Healey, the head of security was an absolute angel, and Pat Nelson was very accommodating.  By the end of the night, I had my opportunity to interview – Sista Monica.  Her presence was warm, and so was her hand, which she shook with mine.  Because I’d just written a CD review on her, and had done quite a bit of research on Sista Monica’s roots, I didn’t want to ask the basic questions that I already knew the answers to, and waste her time, as well as mine.

(To be honest, Henry – Sister Monica’s indomitable force and strong presence scared the Mother Fucking shit out of me, much like riding the Big Shot Ride at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas). I could tell that the evening’s performance had taken quite a bit of energy out of this blues legend.  So I proceeded to tell her about how ungrateful I’d felt during the week, feeling blue about my furnace and water pump at home had broken.  I told her how her music on her CD eased me through my difficulties in life.  I told her how she’s touched me with her music that evening. I thanked her graciously.) 

The main question that I asked Sista Monica was, “How does it feel to know that you’re touching so many people with your art, and making a difference in so many lives?

Sista Monica’s response – “That’s the whole purpose of performing – touching others and making a difference.  When my band and I go out on the road, we never know who we’re going to meet, who we’re going to make a contribution to, but we always hope and pray that somebody out in the audience will enjoy the music, get a message out of it, listen to the music beyond just the groove, and get into the lyrics and what we’re saying.  When I write the songs I write from my own experiences, and I hope someone else can go through a process while listening to it.”

I don’t know how many other people who listened to her music beyond the groove and felt what I did after her performance on stage.  I don’t know how many people went home with a grin on their face as large as mine, and new hope ignited in their souls.  But I do know that this magnificent, blues legend – Sista Monica’s purpose – being a singer/songwriter – was met when I listened and witnessed her perform on stage at Famous Dave’s in Uptown Minneapolis.  Every one of her delicious notes and atoms of vibrant energy hit me deep inside with immeasurable intensity.  Her music, soul, as well as lyrics had the ability to move me beyond the grim and into the light.  Thanks Sista Monica for such a fantastic evening.  It’ll be a memory I won’t forget!

If you want to learn more about Sista Monica, check out her web site at http://www.sistamonica.com.  If you want to pick up her CD, “People Love The Blues,” you can purchase it at any Best Buy store, or Bestbuy.com, CDNow.com, as well as Amazon.com.

I was an extremely young – fresh as a published writer. I had never interviewed anyone until I met with Sista Monica, after her heart stopping performance.  I had walked forward with blind courage into a realm where people of greatness reside. Until this unexpected chapter in my life, I’d only written poetry. Soon after I met the highly, talented, Minneapolis musician, Ross William Perry, I began writing music reviews for the TwinCitiesbluesnews.com.  It was this young man with amazing talent, who encouraged to begin my life as a published writer, writing for the Twin Cities Blues News.

My great cousin, who is very special to me, is paralyzed from the neck down.  He has always had a great passion for blues music, ever since I can recall.  He plays harmonica just like my older brother.  I’ve listened to stories being told about how he has played his harmonica with some of the great blues musicians in Minneapolis.  I didn’t have an education in music.  I learned a little about music history when I was in choir – my junior and high school years.  When I began writing for the Twincitiesbluesnews.com – I didn’t know much about the history of blues music.  I only knew about poetry.  I felt that music and poetry have much in common.  Each took the pain in life, transcending it into something golden and timeless.  I didn’t spend my time researching the depths and the history of blues music, each genre, or the richness of where our music today got their roots.  I could only relate to the pain it took to create something timeless with words and rhythm.

I felt out of my league when I entered the green room at Famous Dave’s in Calhoun Square, Minneapolis, where Sista Monica was wiping the large, beads of dripping, salty, sweat from her exhausted face.  I sensed that she was on guard – and that she really wasn’t up for dealing with an interview from the media.  I didn’t blame her. I wanted to run, or stand there shaking in my shoes, speechless – peeing my panties like a small dog in fear.  This legacy, who has entertained millions all over the world, including ex-President – Bill Clinton, was staring at me as if to say, “If you start asking me stupid questions, I’m gonna beat you with the last bit of energy I have.”

I had just experienced the worst week ever.  I knew that if I could brave through a domestic nightmare, I could move forward, completing this interview.  My body melted into Mia Mush when Sista signed the cover of the CD which I had listened to, repetitively, time and time again, when our interview was complete.

It was Sista Monica’s music and her voice which comforted me, as I cleaned up ankle deep, water filled with shit in my bathroom, due to a broken sub pump, crying with frustration.  I listened to her CD relentless, as Mr. C and I did whatever we could to come up with enough money to fix our furnace.  I knew that I had to find the courage within me to finish this interview.  This was my one and only chance.  I knew that I had to ask this woman of greatness something that other interviewers might never ask.

I haven’t read this interview in over a decade. I was embarrassed to look at it, because it wasn’t written like other music reviewers have done. I felt ashamed that I didn’t know much about the music scene.  I wrote what was in my heart and gut. I didn’t know if Sista Monica’s music was the Delta Blues or the Chicago Blues, at this early age in my life.  All that I knew was that I loved her music, and that it greatly inspired me. I had reviewed numerous CD’s from blues musicians from all over the world before I received Sista Monica’s CD, People Love the Blues.  Her music was what I’d been craving for. It was the reason I was inspired to write reviews for blues musicians.  It hit in my soul, filling my darkness and vanquishing despair.  Her music was so rich and deep, like expensive, Swiss Chocolate melting on my tongue – savoring it as such – note by delectable note.

This morning, after re-reading the interview I wrote for Sista Monica, so long ago, I’m glad that I found the courage inside of me to ask this past, blues legend, who has shared the stage with numerous greats like Etta James and Koko Taylor – one of the most important questions I could ask – I will repeat it because I feel it is important.

“How does it feel to know that you’re touching so many people with your art, and making a difference in so many lives? 

Sista Monica’s response – “That’s the whole purpose of performing – touching others and making a difference. When my band and I go out on the road, we never know who we’re going to meet, who we’re going to make a contribution to, but we always hope and pray that somebody out in the audience will enjoy the music, get a message out of it, listen to the music beyond just the groove, and get into the lyrics and what we’re saying.  When I write the songs I write from my own experiences, and I hope someone else can go through a process while listening to it.”

 

Sista Monica’s words lit my dreams to become a better writer and successful artist, like an Olympic torch.  Unfortunately, this blues lioness is no longer with us on this plane of existence. Her memory remains vividly inside of her my mind – her words remaining to resonate deep in my soul. She died in 2014, from Lung Cancer – Synovial Cell Sarcoma – the same type of cancer my stepson was diagnosed with, years ago and is now in remission.

My next paragraph’s difficult to write, because once I do, I have to hold myself accountable.  It’s been difficult to smoke a cigarette, ever since I did a Google Search – Sista Monica – learning of her death.  It’s been an interesting 24 hours for me.  I’ve been working my way towards quitting for numerous months – it’s time that I take the jump – quitting this horrible habit of mine – for good.  I’ve done it once before – I can do it again!

I’m unsure of which road I will travel upon when I get to the fork in my main road, with the signs nearby reading, Smoke or Don’t Smoke – guiding me onward during my journey in life – my direction remaining my choice.

I’m uncertain if Sista Monica would’ve liked me when she was alive, because of her Gospel roots and deep passion for God.  Numerous people who believe in religion don’t really care for me.  I’m okay with this. I am also a big enough person to realize that deep beneath our differences, we are all the same. We realize this once we as humans, move beyond our fears and differences, and find something to converse about on common ground.  Do our fears keep us from being united – especially if we come from two, entirely different view points from such strong individuals?  I would like to think not.

Near the end of this chapter in my life – writing music reviews for blues musicians from all over the world, I experienced an incredible opportunity. Throughout my career as a music reviewer, I never really comprehended the importance in the words I wrote.  I felt like my reviews didn’t measure up with other music reviewers and other highly established, blues magazines.  I wasn’t as knowledgeable about the blues music scene as others. I wrote how the music made me feel deep inside – not about historic facts or musical terms and genres which I didn’t understand.  When I was faded from this chapter in my life, moving towards another, new chapter in my life  – Go – Go dancing at Ground Zero Nightclub in NE Minneapolis – an important publicists from Martin Scorsese’s office contacted me via email, asking me to review Scorsese’s documentary on the history of blues. Soon after, I receive a PR packet and a stack of videos in my snail mail.  I had the opportunity to watch several, but not all, of them, prior to airing on PBS in the palm of my hands.  I felt like the luckiest woman alive!

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I might not have written my music reviews in a conventional way.  I may not have used the correct terms, grammar, or proper language when my series of music reviews were published at Twincitiesbluesnews.com – but, I must have done something right in order to receive the opportunity of a lifetime.  I never wanted to read the pages I wrote, when I was at the beginning of my career, cringing at my errors.  I felt ashamed of my beginnings. I wanted to leave them and my past far behind, like a hitchhiker with a creepy disposition, along the side of desolate highway.  Presently, I look behind me for awhile, at all of the metaphorical miles I have adventured upon – the twisting roads, hills, rugged mountains, flat terrains and deep valleys.  I smile, appreciating the beginning of my journey, and all of the fabulous people who I have met along my way, much like the little girl from Kansas, Dorothy, in the story book by Frank S. Baum – The Wizard of OZ.  I feel an intense rush of warmth thinking about the individuals who have offered me wisdom, insight, their time and intelligence,  shared their stories about courage and adversity, their compassion, guidance, generosity, and most of all the courage to live my life being the person that I am – the person that I’ve always been – Me.

To me, Sista Monica was like a brave, yet compassionate lioness.  As I type this letter to you, Henry, I can hear her singing the blues, her voluptuous body appearing in a thin, opalescent vapor ( FYI – I don’t really see this – don’t fill my blog comment box up with how you see ghosts).  Sista Monica bellows out rich, musical notes with a maternal scold on her face –

“Put that smoke out – I see you – uh huh – don’t pout

If I was alive I’d swipe that cig from yer lips

As fast as my hands moved from my earth shaking hips

You don’t wanna mess with this Lioness – uh huh – that’s right

I’ll sing to your soul –  All day and all night

I’ll sing ‘til you can’t stand no more

When you’re up late at night – pacing the floor

Be true to your words – follow them in what you do

Live your life bold – don’t sing the – I can’t win blues

Stay young in the heart – don’t let it grow cold

Live life out loud – live it bravely  and bold

Or I’ll sing to your soul at twilight, dawn and in the hot afternoons

Don’t mess with this mama  – don’t mess with this mama – don’t mess with this Mama blues.  

My brother recently moved to Chicago where Sista Monica’s roots are as a blues musician. I believe that she’s originally from Evansville, Indiana (please don’t kill me if I am wrong about this). – I’m looking forward to getting to adventure and eat my way through the heart of Chicago. My older brother’s a passionate, harmonica player.  Some may have heard him at Grateful Dead type festivals.  I think I recall my bro telling me that he’s learning much more on his harmonica from some of Chicago’s finest musicians.  I love his new girlfriend, who he recently moved in with. I hope to see him perform on stage in Chicago in the near future.  I’m my brother’s biggest fan.

I wish that I was a restaurant reviewer or food critic – so I could afford to eat at the wonderful restaurants in Chicago – upscale to low scale – except Mc Donald’s.  I’m dreaming of dining at Chef Graham Elliot’s Bistro – even if I have to save for a year to afford it.  I enjoyed watching Master Chef and Master Chef Junior (My favorite)- and viewing the culinary world through Chef Graham Elliot’s artistic glasses, when I was feeling the most ill from my hyper-thyroid condition. I wanted to eat anything that wasn’t glued into my fridge and cupboards. I think Chef Gordon Ramsey and I would get along well.  Can you image the interview, Henry –

I’m ending this letter, Henry – I am excited to start working on the Picasso Project.

Bisous, Mon Amour,

Mia

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Don’t Think – Just Do

Don’t Think – Just Do – Mama Mia Mantra

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.
James Stephens

Note to my blog readers – I write a majority of my blog posts when Mr. C is still sleeping – very early in the morning. They are written fast, prior to me beginning to work on various, creative projects for my upcoming boutique. These letters are in rough draft format.  Please be kind when reading them. I thought that I’d show the world a peek inside of the process of imperfection prior to something transcending into perfection. I would much rather start somewhere, correcting my mistakes as I go, than never starting because I’m fearful of showing the world my imperfections. The support of my readers encourages me to move forward upon my journey towards greatness and fulfilling my dreams. Thank you for supporting me.  For those of you who have followed my blog for numerous years, thanks for remaining with me as I continue to adventure onward on this journey called – Life.

 

 Dear Henry,

Good morning.  I went to bed last night, completely exhausted, thinking about my life – past and present – my dreams, individuality, perseverance, and doing really brave things in my life, and never knowing just how brave my journey through this part of my life really was, until long after my acts of courage.

Before I speak about a wild adventure which I had in Las Vegas,  a long time ago, I read about this contest Cyndi Lauper and Boy George are doing on Instagram.  If a person donates $10 to their cause, one can win VIP back stage tickets.  I recall my occupation assisting people with disabilities to locate and maintain employment. I worked with this very, unique, colorful individual – who possessed energy which shined like a star.  I am going to name her –IWant2be-Boy George

“Sometimes we are here to lift up the lesser.  We are not here to think that we are greater than anyone else.” Quote by Mr. Curmudgeon – from this morning’s deep conversation.

“She’s probably in denial that she’s a great big ball of insecurity and I’m quite well aware that I am one. – Quote by Boy George – 

Some would say that Miss IWant2be – Boy George, was delusional, strange, very colorful and bizarre, as well as completely out of her head – coo coo for coco puffs – kind of strange.  Her passion for music and for 1980’s controversial, music sensation – Boy George.  This young lady glowed so bright, like the sun at high noon, that it scorched everyone who was in close proximity – especially the pious, conservative ones. Miss IWant2be – Boy George lived in a large, group home, where numerous individuals with disabilities live in the heart of Minneapolis.  A majority of the staff who worked at this large, residential facility were completely burnt out – not having much to offer anyone, including themselves. Their work load was high, so were their student loans. There pay was low and so was their passion and dedication for their occupations and clients on their large caseloads.  Their vacant eyes and non – joyous, blank faces appeared to me like exhausted, empty vessels.

My young, vivacious client had a huge passion for music – preferably if it had anything to do with the unique and charismatic – Boy George. I was very young and extremely passionate about my occupation as a  vocational, case manager.  I worked harder than some of my co-workers with advanced degrees from top colleges.  I had my life experiences, much hands on, job experience, compassion, empathy, intelligence, and a Korean Mother who spoke very little English.  It taught me to use my gut instinct and intuition – educating me to read body language in others and in animals, which I will tell you about later in another letter.

I was only the age of twenty-one, a very young, female, minority, who didn’t have a college degree. I knew that this young lady would never become famous like Boy George.  I admired her passion and persistence. Why couldn’t I locate her some type of occupation doing menial tasks, like sweeping the floors in a record store, instead of working at Burger King?  This client’s passion to dream big ignited my passion to dream big, continuing to do so in my present life. I have always enjoyed helping others achieve what they want, or to come close to it.  I recall how draining my occupation could be, feeling as if I’d left the car headlights on, long after being parked, advocating for others struggling their way through the system.  Most often it was much easier to give up and go with the flow of the norm. It didn’t take as much of my energy, courage, fortitude and inner strength.

Every time I had to write a rehabilitation plan about Miss IWant2be-Boy George, and discuss what her goals would be for the upcoming year, I attempted to bring up a plan that helped her inch towards her dreams.  The team would shut me down, informing me that it was wrong to help a person who was delusional, mentally ill, mentally retarded, follow their dreams.  I was told by a large team of highly educated professionals, who carried their HUGE ASS cell phones (early 1990’s) with self – importance, that I shouldn’t be fueling a crazy dream for a crazy person.

I wasn’t suggesting that Miss IWant2be – Boy George become a famous singer, or work directly with Boy George – or even work the cash register in the music section at Wal-Mart.  I was just suggesting that we get her a job in an occupation that was more suitable to her passion – such as sweeping the floors at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis, where she loved to be.  No one would move an inch on this subject, speaking to me in bland, dispassionate, condescending tones.

“It’s not good to encourage her. Please remove that goal from her Individual Vocational Rehabilitation Plan, we do not support it.”

Near the end of my career as a vocation rehabilitation case manager, I gave up on my ambition to assist Miss Iwant2be-Boy George.  My passion to change the world fizzled like a damp sparkler on the fourth of July. I succumbed, becoming one of the ordinary people who worked hard in an occupation that I didn’t enjoy, with vacancy in my eyes and heavy chains of regret weighing down my soul.  I had become part of the collective – the fear based   – BORG.  Their negative toxins poisoned my soul, dimming my passion for life, devouring my self-motivation. The more that I told Miss IWant2be – Boy George, that she couldn’t pursue her dreams in the music industry – the worse her obsession to be Boy George or to meet him, became.  Numerous years later, I greatly admire this person for remaining true to her dreams and never letting go.  She has taught me so much.

I recall how burned out I felt after a long day at work, dealing with a large caseload of the worst clients in a non – profit agency.   I remember one, late afternoon when I was driving home after a very long, exhausting day – listening to my favorite radio station during this time in my life-  KDWB. Suddenly, my jumble of thoughts were interrupted when I heard a familiar voice, coming from a caller to the radio station, “Hello….will you please play Boy George…I want to meet him someday…someday, I’m going to be just like him.  Can you tell him I called, please?  Please play one of Boy George’s songs?”

I knew that familiar voice – very well. Back then, I became furious when I overheard Miss Iwant2be – Boy George’s voice.  My face reddened with fury, every muscle in my body tensing with stressed out, irritation – my jaws clenching down like vice grips on metal, my teeth grinding in frustration. This morning, as I write this letter, I grin large – thinking fondly of that daring girl who let nothing stop her from achieving her dreams. I hope that she never stops dreaming big.

I wish that I had her brave spirit to imagine anything I want to be, without any fear – which reminds me of a very daring time I had in Las Vegas.  I was celebrating life and turning the age of 30 – the beginning of the best decade in my life. This was my second trip to Las Vegas.  I treated my boyfriend, during this chapter in my life, to a memorable adventure in a highly creative destination. It wasn’t a lavish vacation in an all exclusive resort on a Caribbean island. It was what I could afford.  i made the best of what I had.

My boyfriend was a gentle, quiet man, who worked in the computer industry. He believed in science – not in a great, almighty sky fairy.  He was the first person who made me search beyond what I had been told, brainwashed and believed by religious individuals for so many years.  I think that he was a computer programmer. He loved the solitude of the deep, northern, Minnesota woods whenever he wasn’t working.  A few months prior to our trip, he almost tragically died from a bee sting in the beautiful, Nemadji State Forest, near Duluth, Minnesota. My quick thinking, my ingenuity, my first aid training, my intuition and my previous experience being highly allergic to bug bites saved his life. I had Benadryl with me. Those were the days before cell phones. If we did have them, we would never have received cell phone service.

During this transition in my life, my grandfather was dying, with only a few months to live. I was entering a new chapter in my life – living it to the fullest.

bigshot

I recall visiting the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino for the very first time. I believe that it’d just been constructed.

“Do you want to go on the Big Shot ride?” my boyfriend asked me.

“Sure,” I replied without thinking.  I had absolutely no fucking clue what I was getting myself into.

I recall riding the elevator to the observation deck with several other people. My mind was in observe mode, I was not analyzing the danger before me and the courage which I would eventually require.

“Wow…You sure are brave.” I recall a plump, middle aged, woman, appearing somewhere from the Midwestern United States, telling me when she saw our tickets in our hands for the Big Shot ride.  Her eyes appeared wide with amazement. I had no idea why.

I’m thinking, “So, what?  It’s just another ride, like all of the other rides that I’ve just been on.” – The Star Trek ride, when it was located at the Hilton, off the strip, and all of the virtual reality rides inside the Luxor Hotel and Casino.  I don’t generally go into to the casinos to gamble.  I get bored easily.  I feel my money is better spent giving it to the street performers or to enjoy new experiences. I feed my imagination by the creativity which surrounds those money sucking machines, black jack and poker tables, even if it’s cheap and fake, much like scenes on a Hollywood Movie set.  I find it stimulating. I love to observe the variety of individuals who tour the strip. I love how this electrifying city was built with creativity, dreams, and hard work, on a desert terrain during the depression, where no one believed that anything could thrive.

I truly thought that we were going no further than the Stratosphere’s observation deck, Henry. All of my thoughts were completely vacant, my mind was recording this memory like a video camera, so that I could write about it later. I wasn’t paying attention to the present moment. When we get to the top of the Stratosphere, I’m admiring the view of Las Vegas, which appears itty – bitty below us.  I’m stunned in awe by my view.

“Let’s go. It’s time.” My boyfriend said to me. I stood up straight, removing my face that was squished firmly against the glass – my thoughts lost somewhere deep in the magnificent skyline with the thick, fluffy clouds which appeared like light and airy, baking soda biscuits.

I’m nothing more than a robot, obediently following my boyfriend, outdoors – to a destination where the wind roared much like a lion at a predator.  I concentrate on my breathing pattern, moving my feet forward, one step at a time. I couldn’t look down as we were being strapped down inside of a chair type thingy. My heart pounded in fucking fear, beating loudly in my ears like warrior drums. Yet, my mind remained a blank space.  The writer in me was attempting to capture the complete essence of this truly, terrifying experience.  I wanted to quit, but the curious side of me moved forward like an actress playing the part of a heroine in an Indiana Jones’ movie. I couldn’t resist moving forward on this heart pounding adventure – regardless of the horrors it may bring.

I had a piece of hard candy in my mouth, because I had just quit smoking cigarettes. When I’m completely secured into this strange contraption, high above one of my favorite cities, I’m still not fully comprehending what’s going to occur next and I have to pee really bad.  I always have to pee – especially when I’m nervous. Suddenly, I’m shot 160 feet upwards towards the top of the Stratosphere steeple at 4G’s in 2 seconds.  My life flashed quickly inside my mind in fast forward, the city of Las Vegas appeared like an ant village, small and insignificant, down below.  The skin on my face was dragged downward by the diabolical G- force. My eyelids were squeezed tight.  I thought that I had died in those brief seconds. My bladder wanted to release – my hoo – ha (vagina) muscles clench down fast and hard, like gates at a dam, so no urine could flow out, soaking my panties and my blue jeans. The hard piece of candy in my mouth is suddenly forced backwards, lodging in my fucking throat, blocking off all of my gasping air.  My face turns blue after a shade of shocking red – my heart beat felt as if it had stopped after exploding in fear. I think that I’m floating over this city – a terrified soul who’s about to shit herself.

When the ride is over, and I’m being released from this NIGHTMARE – a horrific string of my swear words burst from my mouth, “Holy mother fucking cunt…shit!  Oh my fucking god…what the fuck…what the fuck….fuck you…fuck you….what the fuck….I thought I was going to pee my fucking pants! Mother fucking …cock sucking bitch of a fucking whore…holy shit….this ride’s bullshit….fuck…fuck…fuck!! oh Hell no…fucking hell no!”  My eyes had bulged out of my head like a frightened Chihuahua – my body trembled with the after – shock of experiencing the most horror which I have ever experienced in my entire life. My heart beat rapidly with an overload of intoxicating, fear fueled, rush of adrenaline. The inside of my head spun like Reagan in the iconic movie – The Exorcist. My mouth wanted burst with green, projectile vomit produced from sheer terror.  My knees felt incredibly wobbly and very weak.  My urine wanted to flow fast like the rapids of the Colorado River.  My bowels wanted to release a hot, volcanic stream of shit that stank of pure trauma. I had PTSD – I wanted my mommy!  I needed to get the fuck off the top of that almighty, Las Vegas Building – Now!

When I’m finally being released from the Big Shot ride, by men wearing, well made suits, I break the candy loose where it had been lodged in the back of my throat. I gulp for air, attempting to breath again and restart my poor heart, willing it to beat below 150,000 beats per minute. I am forced to do Kegel exercises, my butt cheeks clenched tight, my upper thighs are shaking, in order to contain my bowel movements and urine flow from escaping my weak body.  I desperately pray to the fictional Gods who seemed only inches away, laughing at my pathetic existence, that I can rapidly locate a restroom, once we return inside. I knew that I would never repeat this moment in time, except with the written word. Numerous years later, I’m grateful for the wonderful and terrifying experience. I drifted off to sleep last night, with a smile on my face, thinking about it.

This morning as I typed this letter to you, Mr. C wondered why I was giggling and my body convulsing with laughter.  I told him about the conversation which I had with my previous boyfriend, after we rode the Big Shot ride, soon after we entered the casino again.

“Your face doesn’t look so good when you are terrified. We aren’t going to buy these photos of you riding the Big Shot.”

The Stratosphere, Big Shot ride has a scary ranking of 8 out of 10. There are two, new rides on the top of this tall, casino – X Scream and Insanity. They rank 9 and 10.  Fuck yeah to those who experience it.  You’re much braver than I.  Fuck you to those who tell me that I should try them or ride the Big Shot ride again –  NOT GONNA FUCKING HAPPEN!

 ( This is the complete description of the ride…I was so scared that I didn’t recollect the entirety of this ride.  I must have blocked out some of this ride to protect myself from the fear which was instilled.  The Big Shot Ride s the one that made the Stratosphere famous. You’re strapped into a chair with your legs dangling, and then they shoot you straight up the tower’s steeple, 160 feet in two seconds, at four G’s. Then they free fall you so you get negative G’s, then shoot you up again, etc. If this ride started at ground level it would be scary, but add to that the fact that you’re a fifth of a mile from the ground and it’s terrifying. As you’re going up you worry that the brakes will fail and you’ll go straight off the steeple and land down the strip at the Sahara. Minimum height for this ride is 48″.  (Notice in the picture that I posted above – before beginning this horrific tale – you can see Insanity on the right-hand side.)

Don’t think and just do…

Whenever I begin a new, creative project – I don’t attempt to over think what’s before me or how long the task might take me.  I simply let go, as if I’m dancing high on a catwalk at Ground Zero Nightclub, surrendering to every moment in time, in synch with the music, and at peace with the world.  I don’t think and just do.  This has been my best tool to use surviving as an artist and a writer for over a decade of my life.  I just begin whatever it is that I want to do, and don’t over think what’s before me – permitting my adventure to move onward, as if I were journeying into the beautiful pages of a story book.

When I began working on the Minneapolis Television Network Mural in the late summer – early fall – 2008, I didn’t think and just took the project one brush stroke at a time.  I thought that my time there would be short.  It took me six months to create the first wall in the main hallway at the MTN studios near the river front in NE Minneapolis. My muse or muses are fucking, obsessive-compulsive, sadistic monsters.  After six months of creating in a dark, dim, dirty, depressing work space, where the energy and the lighting was low, I had to do something to bring some hope, happiness, and positive energy into a destination where so many creative minds thrived or wanted to thrive.  I continued forward with the next walls on the second level and inside the Mars editing room. The walls were dirty and dark, I couldn’t stand looking at them, each time I passed by to go to the third level of MTN studios to clean my paint brushes. They called to me and I answered.

I thought to myself, “If I paint something basic and ordinary, it might or might not catch attention of many viewers.  If I do that, then why am I here? I have a great opportunity before me. Why not take advantage of my opportunity and help others along the way.  If I put everything I have inside of me, as well as my hard work and dedication, to this creative project – I would eventually be recognized as a Minneapolis artist. From day one, I took the Minneapolis Television Network Project – one brush stroke at a time, until the pain in my feet, neck and back became too severe to endure standing for so many hours a day, and my hand’s trembled uncontrollably. I felt dizzy – light headed, nauseous, and my heart beat near or over 100 beats per minute, much of the time.  This mural was an obsession of mine for numerous years and some of the best years of my life. Near my end of this chapter in my life, it became difficult to type on my computer, return text messages, and hold a paint brush or marker in my hand to successfully create art.

I am inserting a link to a video, which the highly talented, video-agrapher and musician, Keith Porter aka Father Time, created for me, in dedication this my Minneapolis Television Network Project. Thank you for preserving this memory for me – https://youtu.be/tv2dv3NPc58

Today, I don’t take my gift to paint for granted of the ability to feel my fingers fly swiftly across my lap top keyboard, composing new letters to you, Henry.  I had a thyroid condition and didn’t know about it. It’s something that runs in my family.  My health issue was resolved, well over a year ago. Presently, I greatly appreciate every single moment in my fabulous life, especially when my hands can dance over a surface, with words or with paint, creating something magnificent out of nothing. Even though the Minneapolis Television Network mural no longer exists – I would’ve much rather lived my life attempting to create a tribute to television history, discovering so many new facts and learning a variety of television genres, learning new artistic styles and techniques along the way from past and present artists, than wasting my time sitting in a lazy boy chair, my muscles wasting away, watching television, playing video games, or reading non important stuff online – such as Facebook. I’d prefer to live my life as a great adventurer who has a thousand memories and life experiences. I want to be the woman who smiles because she’s loving her life.

I disappeared from the Minneapolis Television Network mural like a ghost in the night. My point in telling you about the Minneapolis Television Network Project is because I recall someone unique and beautiful, asking me one day as I was painting.  I believe that she’s a unique someone who beams with so much passion that she overwhelms others who are unprepared for her indomitable force – Queen. She has a creative presence online and at Minneapolis Television Network.

“How do you endure such long hours, creating art with such intricacy and fine detail? Where do you get the patience to stand for so many long hours a day?”  This beautiful woman with an amazing soul asked me one day, admiring my creation in progress.  (I never think much of it, Henry. I just move forward until I feel my creation is done.  I’m unaware of its magnitude, intricacy or difficulty, until I step away from the project for a long period of time.)

“I don’t think. I just begin. I just do – moving forward one brush stroke at a time. I’m always amazed at what I create, when I finish, knowing something more powerful than I, helped me create something unique and memorable.  It’s like magic to me.….”( NO…it’s not God…please refrain from filling my blog comment form up trying to get me to think otherwise.)

I believe it was the power of the people who encouraged me a long the way, watching this mural be born, encouraging me with their words and appreciation for my talent, dedication and hard work.  It was the first time that I had permitted others to observe my art being created from the beginning and to witness all of the mistakes I made a long the way, and how I rectified my errors, tried again, or completely changed my direction for the better of this project.

Presently, the MTN mural, Tribute to Television History – no longer exists.  It was destroyed when Minneapolis Television Network moved to a new location in NE Minneapolis.  I intended on returning to finish the mural once my thyroid issue was under control.  My intentions when I first began, was for it to be a dedication to television history. I wanted it to be a place that educated others on how far television has come.  I wanted to bring something nostalgic and light into a dark place, where hope and inspiration was needed.  I don’t know if it helped others, or if it stirred other people’s creativity, but it taught me so much as an artist, as a human, and as an individual on a great adventure.  I really loved quietly observing others go after what they were passionate about, using the resources which MTN offers.  I observed Minneapolis Television Network as a busy hive for creative individuals from all walks of life.

Even though the mural no longer exists – I have my experience and my memories.  Nothing can destroy them, not even Alzheimer’s Disease or other medical reasons, because I am taking the time to write my best memories down, versus watching Game of Thrones.  This amazing project was a necessary step in my life, teaching me great things as an artist, making me grow as a human being, helping me become a better, stronger, more refined individual. I still have a long way to go….don’t we all.

Mr. C and I engage in numerous, profound conversations with each other, early in the morning.  Most often we are silent, living our lives together in the same room, doing individual tasks. When we break the silence, our language is meaningful.  Mr. C is a great teacher to me – my mentor, my hero – my inspiration.  I hope to tell you more about why that I think so in another letter – very soon. Yesterday morning, he and I were recalling our struggle at the beginning of our marriage.  Mr. C says, in between a burst of escaping laughter, “You know…I always fear the worst moments in my life right before I’m going to hurdle another fucking obstacle.  When I get to the other side, I think to myself that it was those moments in my life which taught me the most important lessons in my life. I’ve met the most interesting and intriguing people. I’ve been astounded and disappointed. On my most difficult roads I’ve observed the most spectacular, unusual scenery.”

Mr. C also told me a tale which he heard from someone who has a business in the building where his office resides.  He told me that this person has been in the presence of some of the most frightening individuals he has ever met.  He told my husband with wisdom resonating in his voice, that once each person moves beyond their individual fears, finding a common ground to communicate with each other on – everyone is basically the same – we are all human.

I believe that I’m married to a man of great wisdom, as well as a man who surrounds himself with great wisdom. I feel fortunate.

Mr. C had to go to a funeral this morning.  My heart’s a bit heavy for his loss and his friends, who live next door to us.  Sometimes, the best one can do is move through life as fast as possible, taking a deep breath when the worst is over.

I want to work on the Picasso Project today, after composing this letter.  It’s much larger than I anticipated. I’m enjoying the progress that I’m making on the Picasso Project. I’d rather work on it for a few hours today, than not at all.  My old pal, Gia the Jack Russell, Rudy’s mama just puked, and I have to clean it up – Gag! Gross! Bleh! Don’t think…just do…don’t think…just do…Don’t think…just do…

*sidenote – The burlesque shows which I used to produce at Ground Zero Nightclub in NE Minneapolis – Dr. Farrago’s Burlesque Theater stream every Friday evening – Minneapolis time – 11:30pm – at MTN.com – enjoy!

Bisous, Mon Amour,

Mia

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Frank Herbert

“Seeing bored – looking fans staring at you while you DJ is about as horrible as it gets.” – Boy George.

 

 

 

Bisous, Mon Amour

Mia

Humorous Text Messages Exchanged Between Mr. Curmudgeon (Mr. C) and Me #1 –

Humorous Text Messages Exchanged Between Mr. Curmudgeon (Mr. C) and Me #1 –

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*Note to my blog readers – I write a majority of my blog posts when Mr. C is still sleeping – very early in the morning. They are written fast, prior to me beginning to work on various, creative projects for my upcoming boutique. These letters are in rough draft format.  Please be kind when reading them. I thought that I’d show the world a peek inside of the process of imperfection prior to something transcending into perfection. I would much rather start somewhere, correcting my mistakes as I go, than never starting because I’m fearful of showing the world my imperfections. The support of my readers encourages me to move forward upon my journey towards greatness and fulfilling my dreams. Thank you for supporting me.  For those of you who have followed my blog for numerous years, thanks for remaining with me as I continue to adventure onward on this journey called – Life.

5/11/2016

Dear Henry,

My husband can be such a dick head sometimes. It’s awesome. I never know what’s going to come out of his mouth dripping with sarcasm. I thought you would get a kick out of these text messages which I received from him this evening. I sent him to the grocery store to pick up a few items, after he finished a very long day at work. We were supposed to do it this morning, but I wanted to buy paint, return home and work – ASAP.

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I received these messages while I was attempting to pee.  I like to make good use of my time, returning text messages, posting to Instagram, editing blog posts and returning emails, as I’m walking to the toilet, sitting on it, or returning to my work area. I chuckled so hard that my urine only trickled out of me. I couldn’t pee in full stream because my body was convulsing with laughter – the muscles in my full bladder constricted tightly with each belly roll of exploding humor.

Here’s the exchange of text messages – these may not be as humorous to others, but it sure brightened up my day. I believe humor can heal the human soul.

I’m determined to make it as an artist, writer, and boutique owner. I’m definitely going to self – publish my first, fifteen letters to you as soon as I’m able to afford it.  I’m using everything I have to get there. I’m spinning my life experiences into gold, much like the girl in the story of Rumpelstiltskin, who transformed basic straw into precious metal. All that it takes is my determination, perseverance, the imagination to dream big and the ability to work hard, applying thick coats of elbow grease.

Mr. C – Good thing there is ONLY one kind of Ramen…huh! – Beef…chicken???

Me – Beef…sorry… (Oops – I wrote list in a hurry)

Mr. C –  BEANS? Black and Lima… This sounds like blah blah blah blah to me. ( I wrote on the list DRY Lima beans – he gets confused easy when he has to purchase anything other than hamburger, ice cream, pizza and ketchup)

Me – LMAO…forget it…Great writing material, baby…Lol

Mr. C – In cans or wtf?

Me – Forget it…

Mr. C – FUCK…There’s bags too!

Me – I want the dry beans in the bag

Mr. C – No lima beans….6 different kinds of black beans 😦

Me – Lol…Like I said before in my previous texts messages – forget it – – I must document this conversation…quite the classic curmudgeon moment…bravo dick head 🙂

Mr. C – Beans …beans…good for the heart

A million kinds that will make you fart. 😉

Mr. C’s such a shit head…I love him with all of my heart…what an ass!

 

I have much to get done today, Henry.  I need to begin writing another letter, about another person who I met when I began as a published writer, reviewing music reviews for Twincitiesbluesnews.com – It’s about the greatness and the passionate power of a female, blues artist, who scared the Mother Fucking crap out of me, as I interviewed her, one night at Famous Dave’s – Calhoun Square – Uptown, Minneapolis – so long ago.  This was at the beginning of my writing career.

P.S. The biggest lesson I’ve learned during the past year as an artist is to make sure that my overall straps are not dangling in the toilet bowl prior to peeing.  It’s a fucking bitch when that happens. You should hear the swear words that come flying out of my mouth when it does. 

Bisous, Mon Amour

Mia

 

 

Never Give Up – Fraidy Frida Transforms into Fearless Frida

5-9-2016

Never Give Up – Fraidy Frida Transforms into Fearless Frida

*note – these letters are published on my blog in rough draft format. Please be kind when reading them. I’d rather start somewhere, correcting mistakes later, than not starting, fearing my blog posts won’t be perfect.

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Dear Henry –

Ever since I can recall I have been determined and a survivor.  I was born in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, weighing only four pounds. I spent the first month of my life in an incubator. I didn’t have the warm, nurturing touch from my mother. I felt the touch of machinery to keep me alive.  I was all alone, fighting for my life, inside of a glass container. My mother had lost a son, one year and two days prior to my birth due to a premature death. His name was Andrew and only lived for two days. My mother, who barely spoke English, was still grieving for her lost son.

I’ve always been the type of person that if I wanted something, I found a way to get it. Near the age of two, I wanted to get the fuck out of my crib.  I was inventive even when I couldn’t really understand the concept. I would twist the bars on my crib until they fell out – one by one. I was an escape artist at a very early age.  This continued to frustrate my parents, until one day my legs became trapped in those wooden bars, breaking both of the bones in my legs completely through.  I spent one month in the hospital – in traction. This was my first experience with bondage and restraint and I fucking hated it. I didn’t want to remain in one place for such a long period in time. I also didn’t like hospitals and still don’t.  I can recall how frustrated I felt by my situation, very easily, as if this tragedy occurred yesterday.

When I was finally discharged from my long stay at the hospital, the doctors put my legs in a cast, in crawling position. There was a spreader bar between my legs made from the cast materials. This was awkward – but workable. It was better than being in traction. If I wanted to get somewhere in my small home in Crystal, Minnesota, I would drag my body, from room to room, leaving a trail of chalk marks created from the cast on the carpet. I was unstoppable.

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When I was the age of four, I almost drown in my parent’s good friend’s pool in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.  Like I have told you in a previous letter, I have Forrest Gumped my way through life – which can be a good and a bad thing. I recall that the pool was filled with parents and neighborhood kids. Everyone was having fun, splashing, swimming, and tossing a large, beach ball to each other. I naively followed my father towards the deep end of the pool, without any fear. I didn’t know how to swim, but that didn’t stop me. Suddenly, I was submerged beneath water. I can still vision all of the activity below the surface as I struggled to get to the top for air. Before I completely sunk to the bottom of the pool, I felt my older brother, who was the age of seven, attempt to help me.  That’s when my fight for survival began. I didn’t care if he was my older brother – I wanted to live. I recall the horrific struggle beneath the surface of chlorinated water, as I pushed my brother’s body downward, fighting to the top for air. Before we both passed out from the lack of oxygen, my father rescued us. My parents never put too much attention on that horrifying afternoon. Because of this, I learned to swim in the pool that almost took my life.

Most often, I am grateful that I can live my life in a Forrest Gump kind of way. I have always had a large appetite and passion to experience life.  I participated in numerous, extracurricular activities in junior high school at Hosterman Junior High in New Hope, Minnesota. I was on the gymnastics team, participated in the drama and Spanish club, synchronized swimming, choir, and the basketball team.  I played the center on the B team. I wanted to be around my friends. I wasn’t super fond of basketball, but it was stimulation.  Half way through the season, Mr. Wall, our coach said to my good friend, Amy and I, “Girls, you aren’t very good…in fact, you are terrible. I suggest that you leave the team.”

At first I felt offended by his brutally, honest words, before my rebellious side took over. “He didn’t say that we had to quit,” I said to my friend, “Mr. Wall just said that he suggested that we leave the team.”

Amy and I finished out the season. We never gave up, holding our heads up high.

Fraidy Frida transforms into Fearless Frida –

I want to tell you about an itty – bitty, adorable Chihuahua who greatly inspires me every day.  I named her after Frida Kahlo – Frida Kahlo Malone.  Her brother from the same litter, Diego Rivera Malone (Diggy) is super huge. They are both approximately nine months old. They are freaks and I love them so much! I deal with physical pain on a continuous basis. My neck and spine are a mess and have been ever since I was young. My mother suffered through the nightmare of starvation when she was a young girl, escaping from North Korea to the South. She witnessed a man killing another man for the last bit of tree bark on a tree, because it was edible and they were starving. My older brother, my younger sister and I, all have issues with our spines. My mother does as well. I’m assuming it’s caused by the malnutrition my mother experienced growing up. My siblings have endured surgery. It didn’t help. I refuse to go through any more surgeries, so I deal with the intense pain. My little Chihuahua inspires to live each day to the fullest, much like Frida Kahlo.

Because little Frida is so tiny – much smaller than the average, tea cup Chihuahua, her world appears large.  She has been frightened to explore beyond two, small spaces.  For the first eight and a half months of her life she lived in a restricted, fear based world. She only felt comfortable remaining in my husband’s lazy boy chair, and the small area which she eats at and pees on a puppy pad.  Over the past two weeks, I have been pushing little, Fraidy Frida to move beyond her fears. I began taking her outside with the larger dogs, pushing her to move beyond what frightened her, every day. I almost gave up on her, assuming that she would need to be carried in a cute bag or puppy pouch for the rest of her life.

I’m glad that I’ve been persistent because Fraidy Frida proved me wrong. For the first few days outdoors, Frida quivered in fear like a vulnerable leaf in the wind, standing upon my paint stained, tennis shoes. Near the end of one week, she was walking in tiny circles around my feet. I continued to praise her each time she moved beyond what frightens her, encouraging with soft, soothing words. “You can do it. I know you can. You are so brave.”

Near the end of two weeks of continuous encouragement, Fraidy Frida has become Fearless Frida. Today, she presently hops fast and joyously, like a bunny through our tall, overgrown grass, with what appears to be a large grin on her face and her tongue hanging side ways out of her mouth. We are generally the last ones to mow our lawn in our suburban neighborhood, due to Mr. C’s busy work schedule. I’m sure that this pisses our neighbors off – the ones who use their yard to impress others. The more it angers the neighbors the more my husband and I leave our yard be as a way to say, “Fuck you, I’m glad my yard pisses you off. I hope it hurts your eyes and makes them bleed.”

On Mother’s Day, Frida and Diego had the opportunity to explore outside of our home and large yard. We took them and their Mama Chi Chi to Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. It’s one of my favorite, Minnesota destinations. What a marvelous day!  My stepdaughter gifted me a great card, a picnic lunch from Lund’s in Uptown – Fried Chicken, mash potatoes, gravy, sliced mango, sliced watermelon, delicious, cole slaw and soft, sweet, Hawaiian buns.  I hadn’t had a hot meal like this is several months. I practically cried as I gobbled it down, sharing tiny pieces of chicken to the Chihuahuas.

My stepdaughter also purchased me a very cute, pink, puppy pouch to carry Frida in. I had asked for it when I thought Frida would never move beyond her fears.  I wanted to show Frida the world. I thought it was a shame that she had already lived eight and a half months constricted by fear. The day before Mother’s Day, Frida fell off my shoulder, where she loves to be, to observe life, as I was taking the big dogs out. She had the wind knocked out of her, remaining listless on the floor for quite some time with her tongue hanging out of her mouth. I bawled like a baby, willing Frida to survive her fall. I was so relieved that she was okay. The fall didn’t stop her from wanting to climb back on my shoulder – brave girl!

I love keeping Frida safe in the new, puppy pouch. I’m sure that she feels much more secure. She and her mother Chi Chi love being carried around in the puppy pouch, which they tested out at Lake Calhoun.  I wish Diego would fit in a small bag because he is really heavy to carry. He’s the size of a Jack Russell dog. He was very frightened by all of the stimulation on the walking path. I had to carry my big boy, so that he could enjoy the view of the lake without fear. He preferred to remain in the grass near my husband and stepdaughter by the shore to watch all of the flocks of ducks swim.

Frida explored the beach, experiencing sand beneath her paws for the very first time.  She appeared to enjoy the experience – more so than Diego, who definitely didn’t like the feel of warm sand beneath his paws. I have never heard Frida bark before. I’ve only heard her whine loudly when she wants Haagan Daz Ice Cream, which my husband shares with her after a long day at work.  When a large dog approached our picnic area, it was Frida who barked and growled protecting her family. Diego was scared.

When we returned home, Mr. C went next door to visit his friends who recently lost their mother, to console them on their loss, as they worked hard on Mother’s Day to clean up their mother’s home.  He let Frida roam the yard as he conversed with them.  Frida hopped like a quick bunny through the tall blades of grass.  At times, she was more than a football field away from him. I think that Frida feels more secure to roam when Mr. C is outside – she is his spoiled baby. He was in awe at how far Frida has come in such a short amount of time. It’s frightening to permit any of our dogs to roam freely in our backyard, due to the family of foxes, deer, and other wildlife, we share a small woods with. We fear they may run after them if they see them. We’ve always had them on leashes, grateful we haven’t encountered any wildlife as of yet.  I don’t let my dogs free of leashes at dawn and the early evening, when the chances of that might occur.

I still mourn the loss of my dog, Rudy Patootie. Observing Fraidy Frida transform into Fearless Frida in such a short amount of time is amazing.  Mama Mia beams with pride. She’s inspiration to me.  I’m glad that it distracts me from mourning the death of Rudy Patootie.

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I must end this letter and get some painting done. Before I say goodbye – I want to show you photos of the really great Mother’s Day Card I received from my stepdaughter on Mother’s Day….it’s an unconventional card for an unconventional mother with Tourettes. The first photo is the outside of the envelope. The second image is the outside of the card. The third image is the inside of the card.  I love my Stepdaughter! She knows what I like!

Bisous, Mon amour, Mia

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Greatness Hovers with the Stars above Washington and Idaho State

In Memory of Holger (Hal Jensen) Jensen – December 26- 2013 – RIP

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“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remember that you are going to die is the best way I know how to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs.

5-7-2016

I met one of the most intriguing man with a warm heart in late, April 1987 – He was a groomsman in my wedding to Mr. D.A. (My first husband) – We were wed in a small, Minnesota town – 5-2-1987 – our marriage lasted a decade.

“How the Hell did you ever meet this girl?” My ex – husband’s uncle (Holger (Hal) Jensen) asked him. “What did you do to deserve her? She’s special, I can tell. You got lucky. She’s a feisty one.”

I knew right then that I liked this gentleman. Uncle Hal always treated me with kindness and deep respect, unlike his nephew. I didn’t see in myself what he saw in me, but I felt genuine warmth that was difficult to deny. I also felt a deep sense of greatness in him and observed kindness in his heart and eyes. If I did see myself as Uncle Hal did, I would never have married his nephew. That would’ve been a shame because I never would’ve met this fascinating, inspiring soul.

This letter’s difficult to write because I am over emotional and exhausted. I’ve been working hard for numerous months, without taking the time to rest. I have a severe, ear infection that I have been battling for months with a fever and chills. My energy’s low. I am in intense, physical pain. The drastic, fluctuating weather during the spring in Minnesota can be a bitch for people with old injuries. The medication prescribed is making me so drowsy and nauseous. I don’t like it. I want to create and to write. I don’t have any Mary Jane to help ease my pain and nausea. We can’t afford it. We are once again waiting for checks to clear the banks. Big companies don’t seem to empathize with the small, business owners who are attempting to strive, and sometimes take their time to send payment. I am hungry – cupboards are bare once again. Mr. C and I live one day at a time. We only think about the now – the present moment – in order to survive. We live our lives second by second in order to continue forward on our journey upwards towards success.

This afternoon, I felt like giving up on my dreams. When I feel this low – my flames of passion spark but never ignite. I feel grief for my best friend who passed away this week – my dog, the alpha of our dog pack, Rudy Patootie – my protector. I feel sorrow for the neighbor lady who passed away two days ago. I just found out this morning. She had been a dear friend of Mr. C’s mother for a very long time. Her sons played with my husband growing up. I can see them grieve today as they take care of her home and say goodbye to their mother. My empathetic soul feels their pain and loss – especially since tomorrow’s Mother’s Day. I also feel my husband’s sadness. The neighbor lady was one of the last, great women on our block who was here long before most of our neighborhood. Mr. C’s working a long day to distract himself from his melancholy. He’s been working very hard lately – his energy’s low like mine is. We need to rest, relax, have sex and recharge our batteries.

I’m trying to work, but it’s difficult to focus. My mind’s foggy. I wanted to paint beads for my Mary Godmother (I’ll tell you more about her later) who has supplied me with most of my beautifu,l burlesque costumes throughout my burlesque career ever since I began, making me feel like Cinderella at the ball. Tomorrow’s Mother’s day. My heart aches with anguish because my children don’t appreciate their mother and never really have. They call me a bitch. My son told me I was a fucking cunt in a text message many months ago because he didn’t get his way. I punished him with silence. We have not communicated for months. He doesn’t get why I won’t let him live with me. It’s unfortunate that both of my children feel this way. I’ve always attempted to do my best at raising them. I wasn’t a perfect mother, no one is, but I never gave up trying to be.

I feel my daughter’s pain because the love of her life tragically passed away on Mother’s Day 2013. I’m going to nick name him Mr. Motor Head, because he loved cars. Unfortunately, his life was cut short, because a car tragically fell on him as he was working on it. Because my daughter and I are not talking to each other, I can’t comfort her on the worst day of her life. I would think that she would learn NOT to treat the ones she loves like crap after he passed on, because she treated him poorly when he was alive. I know that she regrets it because she told me so on numerous occasions. Near the end of his life my daughter continuously complained about him, and all that was wrong with their relationship. She acted like a horrible, spoiled brat. She’d been searching for another relationship, hoping to move on. When this very special guy passed on, it was dramatic and the end of the world for her. I’ve told her repeatedly to never treat family or loved ones poorly because they are the only ones who will have her back when she needs them the most.

Mother’s Day will never be the same for me or my family. I cannot think of this day fondly. I spent the day with my stepchildren at Como Zoo when I received a horrific phone call from my daughter about this tragedy. She and Mr. Motor Head lived seven hours away near the South Dakota border. Mr. C and I abruptly left the zoo, rushing to get to her. It was a slow, agonizing, heart wrenching, road trip.

Victim-Victor

A caterpillar named Victim inched his way through the tall, spring grass

Until a young boy scooped him up and placed him a tall jar made of glass

Victim cried out, “Woe is me – I’m so small –

If I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”

At the bottom of the jar the boy scattered tiny newsprint

Victim’s eyes caught one line no larger than a small piece of lint.

It read – one can change the way they think 

with just a nod and just a wink

Victim thought – “Why not?

My life couldn’t get worse than life in a jar

I’ll dream of wings and fly like a monarch.”

Transformed by thought the monarch bloomed

A glorious creature born from cocoon

Victor had bloomed from Victim’s circumstance

To soar high in the sky on the winds of chance. – Mia Malone – Jennings 2001 – Whispers of Gold.

I don’t believe in the Hallmark moment bullshit. I would appreciate it if my children showed me respect, love and appreciation on every day – not just a Hallmark holiday. My daughter wants a mother who will coddle her – especially when she complains about being a victim in life and how the world has done her wrong. I’m not a Leave it to Beaver type of mother. I’m not June Cleaver and I’m never going to be. My daughter doesn’t understand that I’ve had to be the maternal and paternal figure in her life, which is difficult to do and exhausting– especially when I was dealing with working three jobs, attending college full time and enduring many surgeries when I was her age.

Her father has Peter Pan Syndrome. I don’t think that he will ever grow up and become responsible for his life or his children. I don’t wait for him to do so. I have had to do whatever it takes to do make sure that my children survived when I was raising them during the early years in their lives. They have no clue what their mother is about. It’s a shame – maybe someday. Until then, I’m living my life.

I’m grateful for my stepchildren. My stepdaughter, is one of the closest people I hold near and dear to my heart. I admire her bold strength, uniqueness and intelligence. She’s in her early 30’s and a clone of Mr. C. She graduated from a top, Minnesota college and presently works for a great publishing company in Minneapolis. Sometimes she has to be the matriarch figure in her relationship with her mother. Neither of us have the perfect mother and daughter relationship with our blood relations, making us love, cherish, respect and appreciate each other much more. Our relationship’s deeper than blood, bonded by our love, not by relation. I think that she’s amazing –  a survivor and a great inspiration to me. She’s one of my heroes.

My stepson’s a lot like me – I’ve helped raise him since he was 13 years old. He’s a cancer survivor. He doesn’t have a college education like his sister does, but he works harder than anyone I know. He kicks ass. I’m so proud of him. They both demonstrate how much I mean to them all of the time through their actions and not words. They don’t wait for designated days to do so. They rock!

I get to spend Mother’s Day with them tomorrow with Mr. C and my fur babies – Mama Chi Chi – Little Frida and Diego (Daring Diggy). They are amazing chihuahua We are having a picnic at the Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis – one of my favorite destinations to have a picnic and enjoy the fresh air. In Minnesota, you learn to appreciate the warm, sunny days – never taking them for granted.

As I reflect upon my life while creating items for my upcoming boutique – during my long days and evenings, I think about people who reflect greatness inside of them, to keep me inspired. I think about Uncle Hal, recalling how excited he was about his career when I visited him in Everett, Washington. He spoke with excitement and great passion about his career as an engineer, showing me blueprints and explaining his intriguing occupation. He was influential in the Washington State Transportation System – appearing proud and passionate about it. I loved his energy and his enthusiastic spirit.

My best memory of him was when he introduced me to coffee lattes at an unfamiliar, coffee shop at the time – only heard of in Washington State – Starbucks. This is right before they were known throughout the United States. After one sip – I fell in love. Uncle Hal made me a coffee latte every morning during my stay with him. Unfortunately, my kidneys don’t like high, zipping doses of caffeine. He spoke with vivacious energy about all of his favorite places in Washington – taking me to his favorite destinations like the Victoria Islands, the Puget Sound and Friday Harbor. We dined at some of the best restaurants in Seattle. He pointed out destinations which he greatly influenced, by the work he did as a successful engineer.

The reason why I am writing you all of these letters about my life experiences and the great people I have met during my amazing journey is because I need to reflect on my life and gather inspiration from all the fabulous people that I have met directly or indirectly. I am grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know, Holger (Hal) Jensen, who is of Norwegian descent. His nephew – my ex-husband – didn’t have much inside of him to inspire me. He took a lot of my energy, devouring my soul like a vampire feeds on blood. I was exhausted a majority of my marriage to him. I was also extremely young and very rough around the edges. I didn’t become a more refined individual until I left my ex husband and turned the age of 30.

Uncle Hal didn’t live in Minnesota. He was much too smart to endure the crazy, brutally cold, Midwestern weather. He was originally born on a farm in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota and the youngest of nine siblings. From the moment I met this amazing person, I knew that his soul required more than an ordinary existence. I admired what appeared to me at this time early in my life, a high style, jet set life, whenever he would fly to Minnesota to visit and he’d speak about some of the exciting things he was doing in Washington State. He was much more refined than his relatives – his soul shone bright like a star. He was an important engineer in Washington State and Idaho. I say was, because he tragically passed away, December 26, 2013.

Near the end of Uncle Hal’s career he worked for the United States Bureau of Reclamation. He slipped on icy terrain at Pinto Dam, falling 35 ft to his death at the age of 62. I didn’t attend the funeral, my ex – husband did. I hadn’t been apart is his family for over a decade when this tragic accident occurred. It doesn’t matter because I don’t need to attend a funeral or visit a grave site to recall such a great man. He is with me in spirit whenever I think of him and how much he had to offer this world.

Hal left the Midwest to get away from icy conditions. It’s ironic how he died. I’m saddened by the way his life ended. I haven’t mourned his death until now, as I’m writing this letter. I miss him and his sister, who is living out the rest of her life in a nursing home. When I was married to Hal’s nephew, I never thought that I’d ever get to live an exciting life – so I admired him from a distance in a small, boring town in Minnesota. It wasn’t until I left my ex when I began to start living an adventurous life, never wasting a moment of my time.

Uncle Hal’s older sister – Bunny – was always good to me. She was my second mother – always thoughtful, kind and loving. She treated me like the daughter she never had. She always believed in my talent. It was her who had the patience to teach me to use a sewing machine. She told me that I could be a fashion designer if I put my heart, soul and talent into it. She spoiled my children with extreme love, possessing a warm, loving touch. It’s a shame that my children didn’t appreciate it, until she was unfortunately diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. My children lived with their grandparents, right before she began her slow descent into a horrible illness. They treated her poorly, throwing tantrums if they didn’t get their way – often physically hurting her and verbally abusing her. She was softer in the heart than I – more pliable and patient. I wouldn’t permit my children to treat me in the same way that they treated her and they think I am a bitch for that. She never gave up on them until she couldn’t recall who they were. She offered them so much and they took advantage of that.

She wasn’t as strong in spirit as I am. She lived her life in fear and regret, much of her life, relying on God and the Catholic church to save her soul. She often punished herself for having her son out of wedlock. She could be easily manipulated, which’s why my children didn’t want to live with me and their stepfather. They didn’t like structure or rules. It was easier for them to get their way with her. She spoiled them, giving them everything they asked for, and they repaid her with violent tantrums.  I continuously drilled into my children about the law of karma ever since they were young. When they did something wrong and I had to punish them, I would say, “What comes after action? Consequence comes after action – especially if it’s a negative action.” I hope someday, when my children are older, they read some of my letters written to you, Henry, and they really get to know who I am. I hope by telling you this story about their great uncle Hal that they’ll recognize that greatness runs deep in their bloodlines – and that it’ll inspire them to be great individuals who follow their passion. I wonder if my children will appreciate me after I pass on and regret all the time they wasted hating me when I was alive.

I can’t recall the year Mr. C took me took a great book store in Stillwater, Minnesota . It was on Mother’s Day, well over a decade ago, to purchase a first edition book of yours, Letters to Hoki.  This is where my journey with you began. I had recently watched the movie, Henry and June. I fell in love with your spirit – needing to learn more about you. My empathetic soul felt your pain when I read your letters to your fifth wife – Hoki – about how sad you felt whenever she didn’t write letters to you. After a few years, and several of your books later, especially the ones containing the letters you wrote to your lovers and friends, like Anais Nin and Lawrence Durrell, I was inspired to begin writing letters to you, telling you about my magnificent life. Thank you for the inspiration.

I didn’t have much respect for my ex husband, but I had a deep respect for some members of his family like his uncle Hal – Holger (Hal) Jensen and his older sister. As I read about him online today, I discovered more about his life and occupation which I was unaware of. His tragic death at Pinto Dam made me think about the magnificence of Hoover dam – the only dam that I’ve ever witnessed in real life. I’ve visited Hoover Dam numerous times. I’m always in awe at how something so magnificent and powerful was created during the depression. The dam inspires to me continue forward on my adventure, knowing that buried within the ashes of despair, great things can emerge and ignite. I can see that the area of Pinto Dam is gorgeous as I view images of it on Google. At least Uncle Hal departed this plane of existence at a gorgeous and powerful destination. The magnificent way that Holger (Hal) Jensen lived his life with purpose and passion inspires me to go after what I want and never stop.

“Washington is a marvelous state,” Uncle Hal said during my first visit to Washington. “Seattle’s awesome, if you ever get the opportunity, Mia, you should leave Minnesota and live here.”

Even though I love the state of Washington, I was never brave enough to make the move to another state that was located a long distance away. If I would’ve been aware of burlesque, its roots and Gypsy Rose Lee, I would’ve moved there in a heartbeat. But, if I did I would never discovered the importance of Minnesota’s burlesque legend, Lili St. Cyr. Several years ago – Mr. B – my past benefactor/lover took me to Seattle right before my granddaughter was born. I thought about how Uncle Hal had greatly influenced this city with his engineering talent as I explored it while Mr. B was attending business meetings.

I’m ending this letter, Henry. I will tell you about the first edition book of yours, Letters to Lawrence Durrell, that I put on layaway, when I purchased, Letter’s to Hoki.  This book contains something very special taped to the inside cover. It took me months to purchase it because it was expensive – more than I have ever spent on a book before. The tale that goes with it is a seductive adventure and the beginning of a wonderful journey with you. It’s an erotic tale about the gentleman who entered my life briefly, shortly after I read your book, Letters to Hoki.

Good night, Mon Amour – Bisous

Mia

RIP Holger (Hal) Jensen – Your spirit remains to be a part of me. It was wonderful to get to know a man of such greatness. Thank you for the inspiration and believing in me. Xoxo

To my blog readers – these letters are in rough draft format – please be kind when you are reading them. I’d rather start somewhere, correcting mistakes later, than never starting. Follow me on Instagram- Mia Malone-Jennings – to see progress on the projects I am creating for Mia Malone’s Shabby Chique Boutique & Thrift. Thank you for your support.

Former Everett man dies in fall at construction site near Ephrata

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Associated Press
Published: Thursday, December 26, 2013, 7:16 p.m.

 

BOISE, Idaho — Authorities have released the name of a Boise-based employee of the federal Bureau of Reclamation who fell to his death earlier this week at a dam in Washington state.


Holger “Hal” Jensen, formerly of Everett, apparently slipped Monday on icy concrete and fell about 35 feet onto concrete at a construction site at the Pinto Dam east of Ephrata.


Jensen, 62, was taken to Samaritan Healthcare in Moses Lake but died.


The Grant County sheriff’s office said this week the state Washington Labor and Industries will investigate.


Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor said the agency’s “hearts are heavy” with this loss.


Jensen lived in Everett before moving to Idaho two years ago.


He’d worked for Reclamation as a construction inspector from 1972-80 and rejoined the agency full time in 2011.LOCAL NEWS

Local newsStory
THURSDAY, DEC. 26, 2013, 9:45 A.M.
Dam worker dies in fall near Ephrata
From staff reports
Holger “Hal” Jensen, 62, worked for Bureau of Reclamation

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A 62-year-old Bureau of Reclamations employee died Wednesday of head injuries sustained during a fall at Pinto Dam near Ephrata, according to a news release.

Holger “Hal” Jensen fell about 35 feet to the concrete at the facility, which forms Billy Clapp Lake in eastern Grant County. According to the Bureau, Jensen, a civil engineer, was examining construction at the dam that would enable the storage of more water when he fell.

A graduate of Washington State University in 1983, Jensen previously served with the Bureau before obtaining his degree in civil engineering and taking a job with a consulting firm in Everett, according to a news release. Jensen then moved to Idaho, and rejoined the Bureau in 2011.

In a statement, Lorri Lee, regional director of the Bureau in the Pacific Northwest, called the incident “heartbreaking.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Hal’s family as they face such sadness especially at this time of year,” Lee said.

Jensen was being treated at Sacred Heart Medical Center, according to the release. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was informed of the incident, and the Bureau is investigating the fall as an accident.

Bondhus, Bellasario & My First Love Affair with the Keyboard

Stephenking3

Dear Henry,

There have been so many people who possess greatness inside of them, whom I’ve met, and I didn’t even know it, until numerous years later. When I was nineteen and at the beginning of my marriage to my ex-husband, Mr. D.A. – we both worked at Cable Value Network aka C.O.M.B. in Plymouth, Minnesota. I believe it was located in the old, Litton plant on Xenia Lane. It was the beginning of the era when you watched products on cable television being sold. Back then, not many could afford cable television. I honestly didn’t think it would work and it would come and go like a flash of lightening in the sky. I believe Cable Value Network merged or sold to Home Shopping Network. I think that they came before any of the home shopping network channels. Cable television was very new in the late 1980’s. I thought it was a strange idea, but it was a job.

This is where I fell in love with a computer keyboard. I worked on the sales floor answering phones. I spoke to many stupid people. The job utterly bored me. We were not permitted to read books while waiting for customers to call. I was impatient and irritated with having to deal with stupidity for eight hours a day. I also disliked wasting time and sitting still doing nothing while waiting for phone calls to come in. I had a kidney stone the size of a quarter in me, during this time, which I was unaware of. I felt sick with high fevers  – always having to pee – suffering from really bad, back pain. I was written up on numerous occasions for being absent due to illness or being too rude, impatient or blunt with customers.

Ring…Ring…

“Hello, Cable Value Network, how can I help you?”

“Yeah…um…I’m interested in the cubic zirconia, diamond earrings that are on the T.V. right now. Are those real diamonds?”

“No, they’re man made diamonds, sir.”

“Oh…so they are real diamonds.”

“No sir, they are man made diamonds.”

“You are telling me that they are real?” (actually he spoke like this – “Yer tellin’ me that they’re real?)

My reaction – face palm – doh! – click…ooops sorry we got disconnected….please try again until a more patient operator answers your call. I know…I know…I sound like a curmudgeon – Mr. C rubs off on me. Not everyone I spoke to was stupid. I enjoyed some of my conversations – even though they were few and far between.

When the call volume was low, I would get asked to work in data entry.  That’s when I fell in love with a computer keyboard, much like Mozart did when his fingers first touched the keyboard of his piano. ( I was born on the same month and day Mozart was born) I would challenge myself with each entry, attempting to get faster and faster with my typing. I loved the sound of the keyboard click clacking like music to my ears, as I typed quicker and quicker – honing my skill. I also loved how my fingers could fly swiftly upon my keyboard. I would often laugh to myself whenever I was processing a check and it read – Cat Victor Nancy – in the payment to section, instead of CVN- Cable Value Network. I’d often tell people who wanted to use a check instead of their credit cards – “Make the check out to CVN – C as in Cat – V as in victor – N as in Nancy. LMAO. (Doh! * another face palm.)

Sometimes I would get asked to model products on air – often modeling for Colleen Lopez when she first began her career in the realms of cable home shopping. I didn’t really like being in front of the camera, never really have, but it got me off the sales floor for awhile. I wasn’t very confident back then and lacked self-love. There were times when the other women I worked with became jealous and would talk behind my back and the other models’ backs (haters will be haters) They would call me and all the other models whores. The only crime we committed was modeling things I would never purchase – except for the long, full length, silver fox fur that I modeled on air one time. (sorry PETA people…I live in Minnesota where a fur coat is a necessity) These were generally very heavy women, who appeared not to like themselves very much – sour, bitter and mean.

I’ve always been one to challenge others…I spit in the face of adversity – much like a rebel.

“If they are going to call us whores,” I said to my beautiful, blonde, long legged friend, “why don’t we dress as whores just to piss them off.”

So we did. On that day, after all of the male managers gawked for an hour in the management cubical behind us, they eventually sent us home to change because the bitter girls were making complaints – bitches.

“We have an issue with your attire – um…it’s not that we don’t like it – it’s just that it’s not appropriate, business attire – people are complaining. You will need to go home and change.” I was sent home on numerous occasions for wearing clothing that people complained about. The large girls could wear leggings. I was always sent home to change if I wore them.

I will always remember this on air salesman – Tony – and the huge mistake he made on air, when I was working the second shift. He had been talking to an older women on the phone about a product she liked on air. When he thought she hung up and was no longer on the air with him and they were not taping – he said aloud, “What a stupid bitch!” or it might have been “What a dumb fucking bitch.”  I can’t recall his exact words. I just recall that it was a very strange moment in home shopping history.

Presently, I type extremely fast. I don’t really like typing or texting with my thumbs on my phone or post to Instagram with a lengthy description of my images. They are full of mistakes. I’m frustrated that I can’t feel the same magical flow that I feel when I am typing with all of my fingers on my computer keyboard. My brain moves very fast and so do my fingers. I don’t always catch my mistakes.

There were two women I befriended, who weren’t models, they appeared quiet and book worm-ish. I liked them – they appeared genuine, intelligent and true to themselves. They never sought the spotlight. They were wallflowers – Tammy Bondhus aka Tammy Bondhus Morimoto – (the daughter of the man who owns Bondhus tools, John Bondhus – Monticello, Mn) and Julie Bellisario – Donald Bellisario’s daughter – David Bellisario’s sister.

bellisario1

Julie and I would often sit together at a cubicle – she would show me photos of her and Tom Selleck with their arms around each other in a friendly manner, on a beach in Hawaii, when we waited for phone calls to come in. I didn’t watch television often. I didn’t have the time. I worked second shift at Cable Value Network and at a restaurant on Main Street in Elk River, Minnesota in the early morning. I hardly slept. I knew of the actor Tom Selleck – Magnum PI, but not enough to be really impressed. Her personality didn’t match the daughter of a big named, Hollywood Producer.

I was unaware of the importance of the Bellisario name when I was 19 years old. I have an artist’s mind – it’s always in the clouds, day dreaming, or I’m having long conversations with you, Henry, inside my mind. I’m like a female version of Forest Gump – naively moving through life to the beat of my own drummer. I continuously meet famous people and don’t really know it at the time. I don’t think Minnesotans really care as much about celebrities as they do in other states. Because I was naive, her importance never intimidated me – she was human much like everyone else. I wish I had the opportunity to get to know her in this present day. I bet her creative energy is powerful and inspiring.

* side note – Julie Bellesario Watson – if you read this blog – you probably won’t – you are much too busy living life and creating – but, if you do…know that you are inspiring to me. Your success is motivating me to move forward with my life – strong and confident- until success and I converge and explode like fireworks in the sky. I wish you could know the creative side of me and not the telephone sales representative side of me. Thanks for being so nice, humble and intelligent. Generally, other females hate me. I try to be nice. I’m never one to follow the crowd or want to be like everyone else. I’m glad that you never acted like you are a hot shit, Hollywood celebrity and befriended me years ago.

I had the opportunity to get to know Julie Bellasario more intimately off the sales floor when we moonlit (I guess it would be called sunlit, since we both worked second shift) as perfume sales solicitors before going to work at CVN. I am pretty sure the job of a telephone sales representative was as boring to her as it was to me, otherwise we wouldn’t have been trying to find other jobs. I’m not sure about Julie – but I greatly disliked being a solicitor, selling knock off, designer perfumes. Their sick, poisonous fragrance made my head hurt – Gross! I also loathe solicitors and couldn’t stand having to go from business to business shoving my products down their throats as they were trying to run a business. (I’m such a bitch when solicitors pester me) When I got over my disgust for what I was doing, I did well at it. I could’ve made a lot of money – if that was my passion.

As I read Julie Bellesario Watson’s online IDMb profile – she went on to do great things, such as produce episodes in the television series – NCIS – JAG – Quantum Leap (my favorite). I was watching a Family Guy episode last night on Netflix – Three Kings – an episode which parodies three, Stephen King Movies – The Stand – Misery – Shawshank Redemption. At night, after my husband comes home after a long day at work, we will often watch two episodes before going to bed. We love that we can laugh, let go, and not take life so seriously.  In an imaginary dimension in time and space, I am married to Seth Mac Farland. In the whimsical, cartoon world of comedy, I am wed to Stewie Griffin, and having kinky affairs with Brian and Quagmire – (sick and weird, right?)

familyguy2

Mr. B – my ex – benefactor/lover, lived in NYC for a long time, after graduating from Columbia University, prior to moving to Minnesota. He greatly resembled Mr. Carter Pewterschmidt. Whenever we went to NYC together, others would ask if he was Ted Turner. My children always called Mr. B – Mr. Pewterschmidt. I laugh whenever I see this awesome, cartoon character with gorgeous, Asian hookers in numerous, Family Guy episodes. I adore Seth’s humor and wide range of extreme talent. He’s a creative mastermind. I’d love to meet him someday.

bellisario5

Photo discovered on Google – this is how I remember Julie Bellisario.

When I was watching the Family Guy episode, Three Kings, I saw David Bellisario’s name, reminding me of Julie. I Googled Julie Bellesario aka Julie Bellesario Watson and saw that she moved beyond stinky perfume sales and talking to stupid people on the phone as a telephone sales rep. – Awesome!

The other employee I worked with at CVN – Tammy Bondhus. She used to date my ex-husband, years prior to him and I meeting. She was very quiet. One would never know that she derived from a very successful family. Her father, John Bondhus owned Bondhus Tools – Monticello, Minnesota. She appeared humble to me and at times awkward. I always enjoy befriending the ones who don’t live their lives as if they are screaming for the spotlight, “Look at me – look at what I can do.” I like socially awkward people – I can relate.  I also admired that she never shaved her arm pits. She wore her individuality much like Sarah Jessica Parker wears a vintage, designer dress and pair of Jimmy Choo Shoes.  I Googled Tammy Bondhus last night. It appears as if she is very outspoken today from the posts I have read online – fabulous! It’s pleasurable for me to see others evolve into a stronger version of themselves. It’s inspiring.

I’m ending this letter and going to bed, so I can start working very early in the morning. Mr. C has to work an overnight shift. He won’t be home at his normal time – we won’t be eating pizza and watching Family Guy tonight – awww! He has been working since 8 am this morning. Poor guy! He is going to be such a dick head from being over exerted – oh yay!..fun!…but, I love my Mr. Curmudgeon – good and bad.

Bisous, Mon Amour

Mia

Quote by my cartoon love – Stewie – How you uh, how you comin’ on that novel you’re working on? Huh? Gotta a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Gotta, gotta nice litte story you’re working on there? Your big novel you’ve been working on for 3 years? Huh? Gotta, gotta compelling protaganist? Yeah? Gotta obstacle for him to overcome? Huh? Gotta story brewing there? Working on, working on that for quite some time? Huh? (voice getting higher pitched) Yea, talking about that 3 years ago. Been working on that the whole time? Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience? Yeah? Yeah? (voice returns to normal) No, no, you deserve some time off.

Donald Bellisario Biography

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Work of Donald Bellisario

As Producer

“JAG” (1995-present) TV Series (Executive Producer) “Tequila and Bonetti” (1992) TV Series (executive producer) “Quantum Leap” (1989-1993) TV Series (Executive Producer) “Last Rites” (1988) “Airwolf” (1984) TV Series (Executive Producer: 1984-1985) “Tales of the Gold Monkey” (1982) TV Series “Magnum P.I.” (1980-1988) TV Series (Executive Producer) “Mission Galactica”: (1978) (TV) (supervising) “Baa Baa Black Sheep” (1976) TV Series (associate)

Director
“JAG” (1995) TV Series “Quantum Leap” (1989) TV Series “Last Rites” (1988) “Three on a Match” (1987) TV movie and unsold pilot. “Airwolf” (1984) (TV) “Battlestar Galactica” (1978) TV Series

Writer

“JAG” (1995) (TV) “Quantum Leap” (1989) (TV) “Last Rites” (1988) “Three on a Match” (1987) (TV) “Airwolf” (1984) (TV) “Magnum P.I.” (1980) (TV) “Black Sheep Squadron” (1976-78) (TV) “Kojak” (an episode) “Quincy” (an episode) “Crowfoot” (CBS, 1994)

The Belisarius Players

If you are a fan of Donald Bellisario’s shows, you will probably have seen
several of the same actors appear in one show and then another and another.

These actors are part of what some fans call “The Belisarius Players”.
Actors who have appeared in 2 or more of DPB’s series.

One of these actors is Larry Mannetti. Better known for his work on the series
“Magnum P.I” he had also appeared in DPB’s “JAG”  (“Ghost Ship” and “Ghost of
Christmas Past”). In Quantum Leap he appeared in “Tale of Two Sweeties”

Another is Jeff MacKay who appeared on “Magnum”, “Black Sheep Squadron” and “Tales
of the Gold Monkey”

There is Charles Rocket  who appeared on “Airwolf” and “Quantum Leap” (“A Little
Miracle” and “A Leap for Lisa”)

A perennial Belisarius Player W.K. Stratton appeared on “Quantum Leap”,
“Magnum PI” and just about every series that DPB has ever done.

Ernest Borgnine appeared as a regular on “Airwolf” and also appeared on “JAG”
(‘Yesterday’s Heroes’)

Charles Rocket who appeared in “Tequila and Bonnetti” also appeared in
Quantum Leap.  (“A Little Miracle” and “A Leap for Lisa”)
Also members of this group of players are 2 of DPB’s children.

Michael Bellisario has appeared on  “JAG”,  (Pilot ep,  “Ghost Ship”,
“Wedding Bell Blues”, “Adversaries”,  “Surface Warfare”  and “Ghost of
Christmas Past”)    He also appeared on  “Quantum Leap” episodes.
(“Camikazi Kid,” “Play Ball,” “A Tale of Two Sweeties” and “Mirror Image”),

Troain Bellisario appeared in Quantum Leap’s  “Another Mother” and JAG’s
“Tiger, Tiger”.

Two other of Bellisario’s children also work in the entertainment field.
David Bellisario, as Associate Producer of “Quantum Leap” and “JAG” and
Julie Bellisario.

But not only are actors a common thing on DPB’s shows, but other interesting
facts as well. Such as birhtdates.
Magnum’s birthday is the same as DPB’s.    Harm Sr’s  (JAG) birthdate is
the same as DBP’s father.

One of the characters in Airwolf was named Saint John, pronounced Sinjin,
a name which later resurfaced in Quantum Leap’s Edward St. John V.

The character of Harriet Simms (JAG) is named after JAG’s Audience Liason
and long friend of DPB’s, Harriet Margolis.

KIP, is the name of Harm’s childhood dog (JAG). KIP happens to be one of the
production insiders Of JAG.

A character in JAG’s “Washington Holiday”, Secret Service Agent Culp, is the
real name of one of the actors who appears as a reacurring character (Clayton
Webb) on JAG.

Tequila and Bonnetti, names of the characters of the show by the same name, are
almost identical to “Tequila and Boner”, the names of the two pushers in the
“M.I.A.” episode of Quantum Leap.

Character names such as LoNigro and Ibold and Bonnick tend to turn up
repeatedly on DPB’s series, as do dogs, (Magnum PI, JAG, Tales of the
Gold Monkey and “Tequila and Bonnetti”). Also a reaccuring theme is Vietnam
Veterans (often P.O.W./M.I.A.)

Read more: http://www.quotesquotations.com/biography/donald-bellisario-biography/#ixzz47tVYGFoc

Trial and Error & Blue Clay at Hugh Beaumont’s Cabin

5/5/2016 –

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Dear Henry,

Early today – after hours of editing my previous letter to you – I attempted to make air dry, porcelain clay to finish my project. It didn’t work. I have to make another batch of paper mache clay. It sucks because paper mache clay can take up to a week to dry. I wanted this project done by Mother’s Day. I am not going to spend money I don’t have on purchasing Sculpy. My husband jokes when I have had paper mache clay pieces and beads drying under several lamps before we go to bed, “Shut off the lights to your easy bake oven.” (only people who grew up in the late 70’s – 80’s and 90’s might know what an easy bake oven is. I’m unsure if they still make them.)

 

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I now have to cut up cheap toilet paper into tiny, itty-bitty pieces. I use toilet paper so cheap that you don’t want to wipe your ass with it. It’s amazing how I can transform it into clay with the right mixture of ingredients. The process seems long and tedious to me. I’m not really pleased with paper mache clay. I like to use cookie cutters and it doesn’t work so well with this type of clay.

I want to tell you, Henry, about my first love affair with clay. When I was a little girl, we lived next door to a very loving family – The Peeks. My mother has no blood related family in Minnesota – most live in South Korea. They treated my mother as if she was their daughter. My older brother, my younger sister and I called them Grandpa and Grandma Peek – until they passed on.

These wonderful people with large, open hearts owned a small cabin in the deep woods of northern Minnesota, near the Canadian Border. My family would spend a few weeks every summer at their very austere, rustic cabin. This cabin was serenely nestled between two beautiful lakes. One was very deep and the other one was very shallow. I played a lot on the beach of the shallow lake. I was too afraid of the really deep, murky lake, fearing big fish would eat my toes.

This cabin used to belong to Hugh Beaumont – aka Ward Cleaver – from the vintage television series, “Leave it to Beaver.” When Hugh Beaumont retired as a Hollywood actor – he owned a Christmas tree farm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where Judy Garland was born.  His cabin was still a distance away from Grand Rapids. I loved spending time at the cabin. There was no electricity, no television, no bathrooms – only outhouses- and no running water. If you wanted to drink water, cook with it or wash up – you had to pump icy, cold water from a rusty, red well, outside. I hated peeing in the outhouse-yuck – smelly – gross!

I often got really bored on those long, summer days and would walk through a gorgeous meadow, where deer elegantly leaped like ballerinas in the early morning or at dusk, leading to the beach belonging to the shallow lake. Several feet from the shore there was a giant pit of blue clay. I would wade to my favorite destination, and squat, plunging my hands into the water and pull out as much clay as I desired. I would be entertained for hours. I was also highly allergic to bugs, especially deer flies. I would slather that blue clay on my bug bites to soothe the sting and lessen my reaction to the toxins it released beneath my sun tanned skin. One time a deer fly bit my foot. It swelled up until it was three times its original size. I barfed for 3 days, until I could be taken to a physician who I believed prescribed me Benadryl.

I recall overhearing my family talk about Hugh Beaumont retrieving clay from the lake and gentle creek that flows serenely in front of the cabin – right before he passed on. I also heard that there were people who wanted to turn the cabin into a tourist trap. Grandma and Grandpa refused. I believe the cabin still rests quietly in the deep, northern woods in Minnesota.

What I loved most about retrieving the blue clay from the lake was that it was completely free – didn’t cost a dime. I really wish I could travel to the cabin today and get some of that beautiful, soothing, blue clay to create with.

I must get back to work – back to the drawing board – trial and error – trial and error

Bisous, Mon Amour,

Mia

“Sometimes my work as an actor presents a conflict with my ideals as a clergyman. I don’t believe in the old saying that the end justifies the means, and no money that I can earn as an actor can accomplish so much good that I would feel justified in violating my ideals to earn it… If the question ever arises in a serious way, of course I would have to give up my acting.”
~ Hugh Beaumont

In honor of Hugh Beaumont, an American actor best known for his role as Ward Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver, who was born on this day in 1909.  He was an ordained minister with a Master of Theology degree.

Hugh Beaumont was a deeply religious man and obtained his Master of Theology degree from USC in 1946. He only turned to acting after he was assigned as pastor to a community that couldn’t afford to pay him. To supplement his income, he first did ads and serials on radio. When he made the transition to television, he was usually cast as the “bad guy” until Leave It to Beaver came along. Beaumont was always professional on the set and friendly to the kids, but he harbored a deep sadness that he blamed on the show. He lived with his family part of the year in Minnesota, and he usually drove his crew to L.A. when it was time to work. However, because filming on Beaver began rather abruptly after the pilot sold, Beaumont had to fly to California, leaving his son Hunter to drive Beaumont’s wife and her mother out west. Hunter lost control of the car along the way, and Beaumont’s mother-in-law was killed in the crash