Put the "P" in Percolator

I think I've finally recovered from the awesomeness that was last Friday night's Muse concert. It was a really good show. In fact, Muse is so good that watching them for an extended period of time is mentally exhausting.

My husband described the experience best. He said Muse is a little like the genius elements of Prince, Smashing Pumpkins, Rachmaninoff, Jimi Hendrix, Depeche Mode and Queen all in one band. Seriously out of control. Seriously legendary. Go see them if you get the chance.


The only downer was the pot-head sitting next to me. He got mad when I politely asked him to put his joint out. "What are you gonna do, call the police?" he snarled.

Ugh! I can't stand drug use and I didn't go to the show to get a contact high so I told him, "If necessary
." He was probably ten years younger than me and I gave him my "teacher / black momma" look so he'd know I wasn't playing.

After 30 seconds of cussing, huffing and puffing, he finally put the joint out and then ended up leaving early...missing over half of a Muse concert to go smoke a blunt. What an idiot.


We got home at around 2 in the morning because the drive home from Irvine took an hour and a half. We were having a torrential downpour and I thought we might die because folks out here either drive 80 mph or 5 mph when it rains . It was our first rain since spring and the first September rain in Los Angeles in over 25 years. Does this mean El Nino is coming again? Do I need to buy another umbrella?


Anyway, even though I'm recovered from the show, I've been sort of brain dead today. I'm sure part of it is that I have a really bad cold. Kleenex is my new BFF!

So I figure it's perfect timing that I've been tagged by the wonderful Ian over at
Or So I Thought. My task? I must come up with seven subjects beginning with the letter "P" that are meaningful to me. So, let's get it on and poppin' with my seven "P" subjects.

1) Prayer: I have this picture up in my kitchen. It always makes me think about how I can't figure it all out by myself. I don't have all the answers. And I need to improve myself infinitely. So, I pray.

I remember how when I was a little girl, I was absolutely afraid to go down into the basement of our house. The only way I could get down those stairs was to say one of the first Baha'i prayers my mother taught me.

"Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!"

I believed that God would remove my difficulties and protect me, so I said that prayer on every single step, all the way down, while I was getting clothes out of the dryer, and while I was going back up the stairs.

I've taught this same prayer to my children and my eldest son says it before he goes to bed every night. He tells me that he's asking God to protect him from having bad dreams.

Of course, prayer is infinitely more than asking God for stuff. It's not about closing your eyes and mentally reciting the fantasy material possessions list, as in, "God, I need a new car. Can you help me get a new car? Oh, and I need some new Chanel perfume too."

I really believe that prayer is a process of making yourself better, having a conversation with God, and becoming more humble. We all think like to think we're "the bomb" so when we pray, it's like admitting, "No, I am not the end-all, be-all of this existence. Plus, true prayer needs action. I can have my conversation with God, humble myself, and then I need to decide what action I'm going to take. God doesn't just solve everything for me. Nope, I have to make things happen and make decisions based on something other than my own ego.


2) Parenting:
If I'm not a parent to my kids, then MTV, peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, gangs, promiscuity and materialism are all too happy to step in and help raise my sons. I'm clearly not trying to have that so I have to be vigilant about being a good parent. Now that I'm working from home, I have the joy of spending more time with my little boys. Being around my three year-old is such an ego check. He told me earlier today that my earrings are ugly. Then he sniffed my socks and said my feet smell. But he's coming along nicely in Pre-K so that's putting a smile on my face.


3) Peace: I read today that violent crime in this country is nearing a five-year high. That has nothing to do with Al Qaeda.

Then again, there's a whole lot going on over in Iraq that has nothing to do with Al Qaeda...

Yes, peace takes more than letting some doves out into the sky and singing Kumbaya. It takes more than fancy speeches and treaties. Clearly, we need to stage some interventions on our world leaders. Their wars make money for their friends and cause misery for the rest of us.

As far as our own personal peace interventions, we can start off making peace with our families and with our own neighbors. After all, how many of us have some relative that we can't stand? How many of us hate the neighbor next door or the girl who sits in the cubicle next to us. Granted, there may be good reasons to hate the person but sometimes, we have to just let it go. I think I'll challenge myself to make peace with someone I don't like too much. How about you?


4) Please:
I am a big fan of people asking for stuff politely. I hear too many demands for service these days and folks just seem to leave the word "please" out. How many times have I heard someone say, "Can I get another Coke?" to a server?

Hello, folks! It's, "May I have another Coke,
please?"

Even Britney Spear's latest song is "Gimme More". I don't think I heard the word "please" anywhere in there. Then again, I might have missed it since I haven't listened to her song other than hearing it every time I turn on the news.

Really, I think our entire country needs to go on a manners and politeness binge.



5) Poetry:
I've been writing lots of poetry lately. Sonnets have been my favorite form over the past couple of months. I hadn't written any poetry in years, and then, two days before Memorial Day, I got inspired. I've posted two sonnets to this blog. You can read them if you haven't already:

A Sonnet For Dreamers

A Sonnet For Remembrance and Love

I might be posting more in the future. I'm not sure yet.


6) Percolator: All you Chi-town house music heads know this one. It's been FIFTEEN years since this song came out and folks all over the world are still working it out to Cajmere's monster house hit. I will forever associate this song with a particular time and place in my life, one that was heavy on the going out and dancing, especially to home-grown favorites like this. It's impossible not to dance to this song. There are a great many clips on YouTube of folks dancing to this song. This girl breaks it down though.

I don't think my old behind is moving like that anymore!



7) "Personal Jesus
: No list on this blog would be complete without a mention of Depeche Mode! And, in case you think that my extolling the virtues of Muse means that they've replaced DM in my heart, um, no. Never.

Luckily, there are several "P" named songs by Depeche Mode that I really enjoy. I was tempted to pick "Policy of Truth", "People Are People" or maybe "Photographic". But the live experience of "Personal Jesus" is truly something to behold.


The song came out in my senior year of high school and even though I'd been a Depeche Mode fan for many years at that point, hardly anyone else I knew listened to them. "Personal Jesus" changed all that. It was Depeche Mode's first really
really big hit. And no, the song isn't literally about Jesus. The title is a metaphor for Priscilla Presley's relationship with Elvis. So if you think about what you know of that relationship, you'll understand it.

We've probably all put our faith in people in ways that we shouldn't, elevated them to a status they don't deserve, pinned all our hopes on them when we should've known better.

Or at least if you've never done that, I know I have.

So there are my seven "P"' related things! I can't remember how many people I am supposed to tag for this. But, I think I'll pick three lovely ladies living in the Chi because I'm missing home today and I miss you all a bunch:

1) Mamita Umita

2) Ready, Set, Blog

3) If I Only Had A Blog

If anyone else wants to take this on, go for it! Let me know and I'll come by and read your responses.

Comments

thailandchani said…
Great list! Really! I especially liked the ones about prayer and parenting. :)


Peace,

~Chani
http://thailandgal.blogspot.com
Anonymous said…
I am so jealous that you saw Muse live.
Dena said…
i'll get right on that! hmmm. "p" words are a little tricky, but i'm sure i can come up with something. and....i miss you too! (look out for me in l.a. sometime early next year)
I think too many people believe that when they pray, their work is done. Prayer is just the beginning, a centering so that we can see the problems that need resolving clearly. It helps us to focus on what is important to us so we can change it.

I liked your words on peace, but are you saying that I have to find something to like about my sleazebag neighbor?

I'm trying.


Still trying...

Can I pick someone else to dislike less?

Isn't Toussaint a little young to be policing your wardrobe? But isn't it GREAT to be of such interest to the little man? Ah, sons. :)
Anonymous said…
Thanks for this post, I have been a bit down this week, it picked me up some :-)
Liz Dwyer said…
Chani,
Those two "P" topics were actually the two easiest to think of! :)

Mojan,
Seeing as how they've been on tour for eternity, maybe they'll make their way over to Haifa. They really were amazing.

Dena,
I was trying to think of dancing related things for you. Pirouette?? :) I can't wait till you're out here for a visit!

Heart,
LOL! Yes, you can pick someone else other than your neighbor! I figure that with these kinds of things, baby steps are completely acceptable.

Yes, Toussaint is full of advice and commentary for everyone. He tells me that he says these things because he's a toddler. If my other son tells me I look pretty, guess who's there to give an opposing view? What would I do without Toussaint to keep things in perspective?

DJBA,
I'm glad it put a bit of a smile on your face. We all need that...now go do some percolator moves because I'm sure you know how to do it! ;)
Jameil said…
"It was our first rain since spring and the first September rain in Los Angeles in over 25 years. Does this mean El Nino is coming again? Do I need to buy another umbrella?" i know it "never rains in southern cali" but i just really can't fathom that. its so foreign to me!! i've always lived places where it rains incessantly (hampton, pittsburgh, charlotte (charlotte being the least rainy)) -- at least 3xs a week most of the time, and its not unheard of for there to be a 7day stretch where it rained every single day.

even tho she doesn't say please, gimme more is the joint! lol. i like that song. that girl worked it OUT on the percolator! i miss home, too. lmao @ your baby & the socks & earrings!! hilarious.
Unknown said…
Liz,

I've never heard of Muse before, but from your description, they sound like the 2007 collective graduating class of The Berklee College of Music, where my son Marc marched across the stage and accepted his degree in Professional Music last May. Berklee students often compose and play some of the most eceletic music I've ever heard. Most of it is amazing, although some of it gets close to the edge of insanity. I've enjoyed listening to the music my son has sent me over the past four years. For the finale of his senior project, Marc arranged a salsa version of George Gershwin's "Summertime." It was wild and fun.

I think I'll check out Muse, too.I don't know if any of the band members attended Berklee, but it seems like that they have that funky Berklee kind of vibe.

I love what you said about prayer and parenting, too. :)
Anonymous said…
Hi Liz,
I love this entry! You've described a very meaningful life--very inspiring! And that fact that you worked Depeche Mode in there is quite impressive. Looking forward to SEEING you soon! Yay!
Unknown said…
oh, man. i'm with moj - SO envious you got to see muse! one of the things i really don't like about living in nashville is beautifully talented and amazing bands like muse do not come through town on tour. boo for me. for now. but anyway, muse rocks. awesome you got to experience them live! yay!
Ian Lidster said…
I love the way you responded to this Liz, and was intrigued and enchanted by your responses. I agree with virtually every word you wrote, and it was good to get to know you better.
M said…
Oooh, love the poems!
1969 said…
Great list. And I am cracking up that you threw in the Percolator!!!! LOL

I can still do all of those moves...uh....in the house. :)
Liz Dwyer said…
Jameil,
The lack of rain does take some getting used to. I really never imagined it was possible to live in the desert -- that's basically what LA is without all the imported water. It kills me that there's so much water wasting going on in this city. We really need a conservation program.

And yeah, my son, girl he's being Jack Sparrow for Halloween and he got his costume yesterday. He thinks he's the bomb now.

Angela,
You've got to be so proud of your son! That's great that he's living his dream and doing music. Muse is from the UK though so they didn't go to Berklee. The other thing about them is that they're huge conspiracy theorists. And they sing about a lot of social issues...I really like that aspect of them.

Laura,
LOL! Sometimes it takes a little bit of thinking about how to work the Depeche Mode into things, but this time it was easy. Can't wait to see you either.

Delara,
Hey! How are you? Glad you came by and said "hi". I love Nashville. It's really really pretty there...but I can definitely see how it would be hard to see bands that aren't country bands. Gosh, where would you have to drive to? Atlanta?

Ian,
Well thank you for tagging me! You helped me get to know myself a little better too! :)

Maia,
I'm glad you like them! I like them too. I'm really glad I started writing poetry again.

1969,
Yeah, I try to do all those moves in the house too. My sons think it's pretty funny. I recently got asked, "Is that how you used to dance when you were a teenager?" LOL! Yeah, I seriously can't believe I used to go out and dance for hours on end.
I like this list! I just might have to do one of my own...

Is "P" the only letter up for discussion?
Liz Dwyer said…
Cloudscome,
It was really fun doing this so definitely give it a go. But, according to this meme, "P" is the only letter...but I suppose you could start another meme with a different letter. :)
Nerd Girl said…
I accept your challenge of making peace with someone I don't like. I've already got someone in mind. Thank for the reminder to just let it go.

LOL at the 5mph/80mph driving. Definifely one of the things I don't miss about Cali. Here everybody turns the road into a NASCAR track and just guns it!

And if I throw my shoulder out trying to percolate here in my cubicle, well, I'm just going to place the blame squarely at your feet. "It's time for the percolator. It's time for the percolator." (Were those the only lyrics?!?) Girl, you took me back!
Liz Dwyer said…
Nerd Girl,
Isn't it funny how the person we need to make peace with instantly comes to mind? :)

Yeah, I can't move like that anymore. I seriously might sprain something. Watching that girl made me feel like a granny...and yes those were the only lyrics! Can you believe!
Lydia said…
I love this post! Mostly because it has my 14 year old dancing around the house trying to do "The Perculator"!!
Liz Dwyer said…
Janie,
LOL! That's so funny! I remember being that age and putting on little dance performances for my parents. :)

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