put this antique on the roadshow…a life less lustrous

Standard

it is nighttime, not typically the right time for my write time, but this first day of a brand new year begs for words to greet it. tiny christmas lights twinkle their last wishes my way as i finally sit down and start to play with my words. mmm, words…they tickle and comfort me with soft ideas and breathy inspiration, so close to my heart they change its rhythm sometimes. so special is the feeling, that most of my reflections on the passing of 2011 fall on how i found my words again.

my writer’s mind started this day by reading again a “note” i posted the same day last year. i was in a similar mood. new year’s day seems to find me pensive if not a little melancholy…i’m noticing a trend. i wonder if it’s always been that way.

at that time, i timidly published those private thoughts on facebook, shared among friends, and was humbled and warmed by the responses. i had no idea why i would make public what amounted to a typical, front porch, rocking chair-style journal entry. i quiver a little now at the implications of that morning and of those words i released into this balance of electricity and magnetism we call life.

i’ve often claimed i was a writer, the declaration always carrying the casual, apologetic tone of weekend artists and idols.  i hadn’t earned the right to describe it as more than a hobby, often started, often stopped. i still haven’t. i’m still scared i never will. and so i was afraid to talk about how i was feeling, that my words were coming back to me, flirting with me, teasing me…that it felt like they were coming back to stay, maybe to change my life.

but seven months after describing what i could only hope was an awakening and not just another lucid dream, i started this blog. during those seven months, all filled up with other kinds of living, i almost let it happen again…the steam evaporate from my passionate breaths and dreams. but something tugged at my focus, sending reminders on airplanes to denver, pulling my emotions to the surface on the surface streets of jack and dean’s LoDo, painting rainbows over mountains and monuments like a child in a coloring book. the awakening continued.

i write. i can say that now, at the beginning of 2012, without the internal wince of a fearful fraud.

woven throughout my post last year is a desire to break through my apathy. i desperately wanted to give some things to myself in 2011. i was hoping i could find the “discipline” or “motivation,” to make and break some habits, imagining what it would look like when i got everything right. the fantasy view. knowing how my soul rebels against the words “discipline” and “motivation,” i pushed a prayer out there with a promise to myself to keep down the  “shoulds,”  embrace when possible the “coulds,” and not worry so much about making them “dids.”

looking back today was a spiritual moment. i had prophesied my year and then fulfilled it. i didn’t do it with resolutions. i didn’t do it with promises. i gently gave myself the right, not the obligation, to keep trying…to know we never really get it right…to be happy that i’m doing my best, even when my best doesn’t impress me very much.

i spent 2011 making and breaking habits i’d struggled with for years, decades, a lifetime in some cases. i was afraid to mention a single one loudly for fear i would flag again and shrink further from those who had encouraged me.  the jinx i would deliver myself was ever-impending and inevitable. i preferred to try and fail in private…no need for the world to know the weakness of my follow through.

but i did mention it…in  some detail, out here for the world to see, and on display in my physical world too…and the jinx never came. my cautious, intentional steps toward things i finally really wanted continued, even as i sensed the heights i was reaching, even as i lost touch sometimes with the earth beneath my feat. and feet.

i grew to love 2011. i imagine it will always be a favorite, despite its pits and zits. it’s in the record books for me. it started with such a lackluster opening act, but at the time, i wasn’t really interested in lustrous things anyway.  i wanted to see everything at its rawest, most naked…where i could trust it and my own perceptions. i knew that recently, as the luster had worn from some of my treasures, i found i’d been fooled by a more than a few.

sometimes your favorite things turn out to be pretty unspectacular, even ugly, when all the sparkly parts are gone.

sometimes under a little patina you find a masterpiece aging with its own tasteful hue. and that was me. my life in 2011. i found the masterpiece under all of the shiny tragedy and fantasy.

and i found out that sometimes luster can be restored. a little can be nice.

i started it all by putting it out there on facebook. my private words and thoughts. i only apologized a few times for doing it, and i will only apologize once here. i still don’t know what i’m doing. but i’m doing. and i’m less and less afraid to do it out loud…to live my outrageous life as outrageous me.

i kissed 2012’s arrival much more sweetly than 2011’s.  last year was like a rocket launch with all of that potential energy on the launchpad, not much movement at first…then slowly it rises…until it inconspicuously hits cruising speeds that barely translate in the earthly mind. and that all fits neatly into my lustrous little world view. 2012 sounds so space age to me. i think i’m cruising for a while, with some good systems go.

i’ll see you same time, same place next year, alphabet. you and me…we’re good together. and to my friends and readers, happy new year…again.

bah-humblog – 12 reasons the 12 days make nice people curse

Standard

i know that part of my grump is that i haven’t found (or made) time to write much here this december. i’ve got a bag of excuses…er…reasons, but the ultimate result is that i get cranky at the world and physics for denying me peaceful blog-writing mornings. and, no, it’s not my fault for over-committing…it’s everyone else’s fault for scheduling stuff i have to do in addition to what i want to do.

i’ve been rather grumpy all season as i navigate a metro exploding with %$@&# cheerful holiday traffic and mirthy #%$@?! shoppers. this happens to me often here in the DC area. i’ve lived a lot of places, including NYC, and never had such difficulty simply moving about the county…or my neighborhood…as i do in this region. it is virtually paralyzed with self-entitlement.

so on the one hand, i giggle at my christmas decorations and the gifts i’ll wrap for littlebean. she’s finally old enough to have santa intrigue and it’s getting fun. we drive around after daycare, just as it gets dark, looking at festive lights plus santa flying an inflatable “hoppa-hopter” next to a charlie-brown/snoopy blowup doll…er…inflatable decoration. her excitement is infectiously simple. on the other hand, my disgust is palpable and my lip curls as it tries to wrangle curses against humanity back into my mouth before littlebean or santa call me out on the whole “kindness” thing.

so here are 12 things that suck the joy right out of joyous this season, leaving me only with -ous, which, all by itself and hanging on to that “o,” is worth less than that lump of coal santa illegally mined for me and smuggled around customs with the help of his evil elf cartel. by the way, has anyone checked that guy’s tourist visa lately? what makes him so special that border patrol just stands and smiles at those reindeer leaping effortlessly over every entry point? can he still deliver to arizona, or is that now an asterisk in his terms and conditions? (better known as Clause’s Clauses. nerd flag – contracting humor).

  1. elves on shelves. i will buy one and post pictures of it doing silly things right after i finish reading the Twilight trilogy. (i’m ok with you guys that post the really twisted ones…not like “whisky elf,” more twisted…like “homophobes-gone-wild elf.”)
  2. people who are offended by the phrase Happy Holidays
  3. drivers who do 60 in the shopping center parking lot because their spot proximity and shopping urgency are clearly more important than the health of their souls or the more “pedestrian” lives of others.
  4. the “pedestrian” girl on her phone who stopped mid-crosswalk, close enough to touch the passing…FIRETRUCK, lights flashing, sirens wailing…after it slowed down and gunned the engine a few times in efforts to suggest that she back the #@?* up! 
  5. people who keep talking nasty politics out of one side of their mouths while chirping merrily about good king wenceslas and his alms to the poor out of the other.
  6. the argument between the shopper coming in through double doors and a be-wheelchaired old lady’s caretaker trying to exit with her charge. hey, caretaker lady, you both set off the automatic doors at the same time…shopper lady politely said, “excuse me” and stepped to one side as she entered. i’m sorry that no one set up a parade route with cones and cops to celebrate your attitude or trip to the car.
  7. the fact that three vendors from whom i tried to order my perfect new tree-topper cancelled only a few hours later after realizing they were out of stock. that sounds so lame…a tree topper obsession and complaint from someone who throws up a little in her mouth at “christmas all year” stores. (sheepishly) it was a really cool and funky tree topper that would have matched my cool and funky purple and amber chandelier, ok?
  8. the fact that regular stores don’t carry skydiving ornaments
  9. that there are no “free gifts” available were i to purchase myself some department store make-up…only “sales” on holiday gift packages full of crap i don’t want. (ok, that sounds SO high maintenance. department store make-up. ha. but if you are strategic, you can cheap out compared to a drugstore. oooh-  there’s a blog post to get me Freshly Pressed…Beauty Bargains: 5 ways to get department store make-up at drugstore prices!! i might even make Yahoo Shine!)
  10. trying to split a toddler’s christmas for the first time between two loving parents whose love for each other wasn’t enough.
  11. the memory of the last two holiday seasons that we celebrated in a our own vacuum of sorrow and pain
  12. the attack tree i bought by accident and had to decorate with long sleeves and yard gloves. tip: if you’d like to keep pets and children far from your christmas tree, go for the Colorado Blue Spruce. and a bottle of bactine.

there, maybe by sharing some of this rant, the season will quit chapping my ass. or maybe i need to put on the assless leather chaps from my mardi gras costume. i remember being in a really good mood in those chaps. hmmm. a perfect new actionfiguretrish holiday tradition.

my kid is SO gonna be the one with the weird, embarrassing mom.

where would you go with two cranky reindeer and a sleigh full of scowls?

Standard

irascible:   adj.

  • (of a person) easily made angry
  • characterized by or arising from anger

synonyms: irritable, quick-tempered, short-tempered, testy

it’s friday. so why is this word my refrain for the morning? friday is funday when the world is spinning correctly on its axis of gregorian work weeks, but this one finds me moping, and doing it with attitude. i have no particular reason for my ill-tempered blues, and trying to figure one out only makes me feel surly and ungrateful.

so i’m reaching for the reset button inside me instead. i started with some simple, whole food that didn’t taste nearly as good as the first time i prepared and ate it beaming with self-satisfaction. grumble, grumble, whine, whine. it appears that my button is caked with grump, which prevents me from pushing it all the way in no matter how many curse words i hurl while trying. no click, no reset.

now, with this post, i’m trying the soft, damp cloth of catharsis to try to loosen up the cranky crust. honestly, i’d like to go ahead and shut down the main breaker for a while…the switch is next to my tempurpedic, under the pull for my imaginary black-out curtains.

so why do i need a reset? my life is mostly grand. i’ve got a christmas tree for my littlebean and a weekend to decorate til i’m glittered-in-the-face. i’ve got littlebean. i’ve got a great guy who gives great relationship and often keeps me sequestered, smiling and sighing, on my quiet, nine-numbered cloud. i have all these advantages plus a good full-time job. what am i missing? a freshly polished silver spoon full of chocolate free-time? rick(y) schroeder and jason bateman as the perfect pairing of puberty and pretention?

maybe it’s cumulative. what was previously my anniversary just passed and what became the doomsday (a.k.a the “antiversary”) of my marriage looms just days ahead. my trip to see the folkses was good…save for the typical emotions of black sheep at family events. i don’t have a Reagan tattoo, so they can’t get 5 minutes or 3 comments into even a non-political conversation with me before i’m labeled a socialist with Pelosi on speed-dial. nevermind that i’m really an independent and quite moderate…certainly more moderate than my hysterical right-wing family would know from the micro-conversations that take place before names are hurled. it’s a real drag sometimes.

(on an up note, my obnoxious, overly-opinionated, dismissive older brother and i had quite an enlightening quasi-political, philosophical conversation in the calm of a Saints sunday night football blowout – sorry Lions, but thank you. your sacrifice did much for my familial relationships. all those penalties were almost too much…blush.).

add to that the slightest pinch of rejection. my test article for a cool writing gig may well pay off down the road, but i couldn’t quite pull off the impossible request to write from another writer’s heart. we writers…we have such particular relationships with our words. intellectually i’m not disappointed, but the pouter is still periodically poking at my heart.

(hey writers…for a cool look at how your brain parts create your craftiness, check out this article: Brain Mysteries – How the Brain Strings Words into a Sentence.)

however, if i sum my days since my post-thanksgiving-post, they are too good for complaining. i’ve made progress on my business, hugged and drank and scratched mosquito bites with best friends i rarely see, visited family including my ailing mother, caught up a lot at work, whooped some paper monsters at the homestead,  surrounded myself with loving support and inspiration and watched my daughter mature.  she’s even being extra good just in case there is something to this Santa-presents-good-girl thing mom keeps throwing around. with some help, i’ve improved my home and started christmas festivities. even my health is improving, and today i will be chiro-ed and acupunctured somewhere closer to sanity and stable blood chemistry at a wellness clinic i found up the road.

so WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? perhaps it’s one i don’t need to identify. perhaps it’s just stress, impatience and a little subclinical blues presenting as irascibility. over dumb shit. pissed on a friday. i mean, the NERVE of my sunglasses to misplace themselves! i needed them for my 10 minute roundtrip to daycare and they let me down! ack! help! my eyes are bleeding! and what about the part where i’m obviously a failure though i’m not yet sure of what? i do know (today) that it’s something profound enough to color all the remaining years of my life with despair and futility.

winter blues already? SAD? normal life? the oft left-behind reindeer pair, Basher and Bitchy? the shoppers driving slower than a sleigh on flypaper?

it’s friday. i’ll fix’em…the reset button, my attitude and all these frickin-fracken fickle feelings. me and my reindeer will work it out together.

 

 

 

more punk rock than the sum of its parts

Standard

just to be clear and open, music is a soulful, historied, irrational thing for me. i’m not exactly a “purist” about any of it, whatever that means. i try to give the people what they want…or, at least let them enjoy whatever freakishly horrible mass-media taste they feel the need to express as long as they aren’t around me. as a captive be-vehicled listener, i have no criteria for the range of tunes i cruise to, other than i need to like them. in the end most of my rather large collection is rockin’, bluesy, sentimental, moody, sexy and/or staring-out-the-window-at-the-american-landscape dreamy…all subject to opinion, of course.

so i dj’ed in the car this weekend, as the solo passenger, with a driver whose musical tastes are as varied as mine and whose ears can tolerate “my music” way better than i can tolerate music outside my pretentious, picky little world. i actually brought cds, not an ipod. well, i did have an ipod, but got lost handling liner notes the way i love to do. (anachronism – lovely word.)

i may take the role a little too seriously, but i have so much freakin’ fun doing it when i’m allowed. i was a college radio dj and music manager in northeast mississippi (WMUW 88.5) back when we still played vinyl records along with only a single row of cds in a tiny crate. (it were new-fangled technolology, and played on faincy cd players that barely worked…cd players that were later stolen by my freshman advisor who then disappeared forever into a fog of radio slacker breath and intrigue.)  i went through LOTS o’ music phases (and would like to know, at what point does a succession of “phases” become a credible definition of taste?). one thing i learned is that “punk rock” means myriad things to myriad people…me? i can’t include Green Day or the Offspring (excuse me a second…vomit…back of throat…(guhlp)…shiver) and can’t exclude patsy cline or death metal.

and with this post, i establish my official and final definition of punk rock: n. pure fucking rebellion.

and in honor of all punk rockers and rebellions before me: i give you my blues-heavy, mountain roadtrip musical showcase, Thanksgiving 2011:

  1. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
  2. Come Dancing- The Best of the Kinks 1977-1986 (give that a listen using your “today” ears…timeless and oh so relevant)
  3. Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia (one of the best solo projects i’ve ever heard from the classic rock world)
  4. Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly
  5. Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Trouble is (remember he was 21 when he released this record and as young as 17 as he wrote it)
  6. Girls – Broken Dreams Club
  7. Patsy Cline – Love Songs
  8. KISS – Destroyer…scored on saturday for 5 bucks at a Super Walmart in a Luray, VA! (that’s LOURaey for those of you unfamiliar with southern english. the “ray” is actually pronounced as two syllables in a grammar part i can only identify as lying somewhere between a hiatus and a diphthong.)
  9. Dinosaur Jr – Without a Sound (who i will see on the Weezer Cruise in january…plus all kinds of j. mascis solo glory…teeHEEEE. so excited)
  10. Roger Miller – King of the Road
  11. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

eclectic. also a lovely word. comments please? all jabs, jeers, cheers and how’bouts accepted.

we have happiness on tap, plus 2 for 1 mixed drinks and metaphors

Standard

inevitably some time this week, i will feel a satisfied shrug as i watch my cup runneth over. i plan on catching all of that run-off with a mouth eager for the adult beverage foaming over the top of the glass, which, as the head disappears, we will see is but half full.

i woke this morning feeling only half full of gratitude, which is more optimistic than half empty, but is still a long enough tilt of the cup to fool me…for the physics of ice-shapes and cups to dump the emotion suddenly, unceremoniously down my gullet, over my muzzle, around the corners of my mouth and onto the leaf applique that decorates my new holiday sweatshirt.

i don’t actually own a sweatshirt with a leaf applique, but the analogy as a whole brings to mind a new holiday toast: may my clothes be half drenched in gratitude. that may remain a solo toast, completed here in my quiet, baby-free house before festivities begin outside my sister’s kitchen.

i mention all of this not to publish my “i’m grateful for….(family, fortune, love, people who bring booze as their hostess gift, mute relatives who do dishes before heading back to their hotel rooms on their unicorns…).” i do this because as soon as i opened this page, my layer of happiness and joy wiggled a little closer to the top, and like blubber, wrapped me in a blanket of warmth and promise.

so here’s me, in a hooded-snuggie of whale fat and calm, heading into the day and the holiday chaos of a major metro. here’s me, finding my gratitude first thing. i don’t even have to be that specific with myself anymore…gratitude as a notion has become a lifestyle for me, never more so than in these last couple of years.

the coming long weekend could have been…and still could be, i suppose…hard for me. it’s packed with fractured memories and a few broken dreams. the wounds they left still get warm sometimes. the healing continues. my thankfulness is healing me. it kept my heart open just a crack, until my drive and joy and love from others could swing it wide and let in the light.

just a few musings this morning, to get my head right…i’ll soon make myself late, obliviously drunk on this gratitude, until i wake up in just minutes with my usual hangover of rushing and cursing.

happy friday-colored wednesday, everyone. stay connected, stay in love with this life, stay safe and be loved.

i’m 99% ok with 99% funny, or A Room With a View

Standard

content disclaimer: these 99%s are wholely and completely unrelated to the more famous 99%s recently occupying streets and headlines

i’m having this strangely nervous, giddy weekend. there are a number of i’ve-never-done-this-before elements at play, one characteristic of which is to warp my internal age meter, distorting and disrupting the natural order of aged things.

that food is fresh. the baby is young. that is a kitten. i’m a grown woman.

the natural, obvious order of aged things.

inside this scrambled up noodle, and connected to this dramatically sentimental heart, is my inner thirteen year-old. this weekend, the inner thirteen year-old is meeting the outwardly mature and composed 20-something daughter of the man this 39-year old dates. that man is also of an obscure age, so our peter pan and action figure selves live in an ageless physics all their own, disturbed now by weird things like his kid being old enough to have my kid.

in the natural world, my 39 year-old self feels young and looks young (thanks to mom, dad, DNA and the tigger spring shoved up my attitude), while the person looking out of my eye sockets feels a variety of ages, situation dependent. feeling old is uncommon and typically brief…like that moment every few years when you bother to read the counter sign that announces “You must have been born on or before a date in the model year of my car to buy cigarettes or alcohol.” or when you jump in a pickup game of anything and realize in eleven seconds just how far you and your body have drifted apart.

feeling young in good and uncomfortable ways is more common for me. the “good” part of feeling young is a consistent theme in my posts. so let’s talk about uncomfortable. do you find that certain people and situations can reduce you to a range where “-pubescent” with some prefix can still apply? that characteristic has followed me from puberty through quite an independent, responsibility-filled life, but it does feel like it’s changing the closer i get to 40. i wonder if sometime soon i will feel like a real grown up…not “my age” exactly…but if a point will come at which the maturity lag will still place my most snickery self within the adult age range.

that’s not this weekend though. i remind myself that the 20-something i’m talking about sees the world through her own eye sockets and i try to revisit mine at that age for some perspective. but she seems so mature. that’s not how it’s supposed to work. “kids” today are supposed to mature later and still be ridiculous, use the word “like” too much (at least more than i do), and look 16 forever. maybe it’s because she’s taller than me? hardly any girls are. perhaps it’s a physiological observation affecting my psycho-social reaction. (see all the grown up words i know?). maybe it’s because she’s kinda quiet. maybe i just shouldn’t expect to know what to expect.

you might call all of this confusion immaturity and insecurity. i call it a life of youth and whimsy. what’s amazed  me this weekend is that part of life still feels like the lunch room in junior high. maybe that’s a good memory for some…for others it makes Paradise Lost read like a travel magazine. but those lunch tables left over in my mind are vestiges of the character building that formed my compassion and empathy…both for myself and others. looking back i think i was kind of cool kid to kids even less cool than me…but that didn’t leave much feelin’ cool to split between us all. i didn’t like how some of my peers thought of me then…or didn’t think of me…so i had to find my outrageous self another way.

perhaps writing about it here will help me merge my “selves” into a life of youth and whimsy, maturity and security, with lots more i’ve-never-done-this-before elements to process. or maybe i’ll always factor in the view from the lunch room…maybe that legacy of adolescence never truly fades to 100% funny. it’s ok, i am and always have been part of the 99%. and i like it. there is a lot of room for weird in here.

20 Pieces of Flair – A week so positive you’ll want to slap it

Standard

it feels like a drug, writing after that two-week crash-sojourn. i just had to cram in a post…short, sweet and blatantly rushed. i’ve got 30 minutes. i’m here because i can’t help it. this just keeps getting better and better, especially the more i read out here on our sarcasmosphere. (and i firmly assert that my enthusiasm results only partially from drinking three times the daily recommended amount of caffeine…while my typos and the light sweat between my fingers and keyboard may be 100% attributed to that factor).

so, i’m going to throw out a cop-out post and list 20 things that can make a week spectacular if you are me:

  1. enough hours and sick leave to take off a huge portion of the week
  2. enough drugs to make sick leave more enjoyable than work
  3. enough health to enjoy coffee if not much food. (no doubt supportive of improved health, at least on my action figure planet*)
  4. progress on my very own business adventure in copywriting  (hardheadcopy.com)
  5. watching my ego squirm as my heart takes command
  6. a good boyfriend
  7. humbling synchronicity unmatched in detail and delight
  8. firming up family vacation plans for a yummy thanksgiving
  9. an upcoming itinerary carrying littlebean and me to see one of my besties and then my family
  10. a family located on the sunny coast of floreeda
  11. tickets to see my all-time favorite band, widespread panic, all acoustic, all kinds of intimate, before they head out on hiatus
  12. a mystically managed last-minute surprise plan for someone special (see item #6)
  13. mystically managed last-minute plans that include such coolness for me that i want to burst
  14. looking forward all week to plans tonight, both serious and hilarious (a family member introduction…at a comedy club. i must say, it’s nice cover for awkward laughs)
  15. several more interesting and unusual plans for this weekend (and how cool and social they will make me look to my FB friends)
  16. not being too sick to participate in those plans
  17. babysitting older sisters (and brothers in-law 🙂 )
  18. a bunch of extra hits and likes on posts thanks to a little outreach
  19. this forum for trumpeting my own horn
  20. the other trumpeteers i’ve stumbled into out here who crack my shit up

*barista sold separately

pretty good,  yah? i’m savoring. people tell me life can be this good. sometimes i tell others that. i could do a better job telling me that, but the fear of disappointment gives my demons something to do while i live the good life. happy weekending and thank you to each and every person who hit this blog, any page on it, thought enough to like something and in some cases, inexplicably and perversely signed up for more. for those of you that stick around, you’ll watch an evolution. the evolution of my outrageous, loving self. and i take pointers…so if you figure out something about this life before i do, please feel free to share.