Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks

On this pre-travel-and-Thanksgiving day, I’m giving thanks:

To the manfriend who’s sticking it out. And not just his penis, although every day is Penis Day.

That with the exception of occasional (okay, regular) morning aches and pains and the addition of Advil into my daily routine, for good health and a strong frame carry me yonder and fro (blisters on blisters reminders of legs and a structure that works as it should and my fondness for inappropriate shoes).

For forgiveness. Instead of turning the volume up to 11 on childhood monkey mind voices that howl failure or worthlessness or you got what you deserve, when I slip and fall I reach for hands to pull me back up, help me stand, allow me to repent, to learn and move on. Clean. Like forgiving myself that half-bag of Salt and Pepper Canyon Cut Kettle Chips that made it into my chute last night.

For water. See above.

To the 14-year-old cat who threw up directly into the sink this morning instead of the white, overstuffed chair and ottoman as she did (twice) last week. Note to self, pick up a new, overstuffed chair and ottoman.

To a family of dozens, the people (both biological and magical) who love me when I don’t, smile when I arrive, tell me the truth, listen when I talk, remind me when to stop, watch the cats when I'm out of town, take me seriously and simply love me.

Simply.

And for mashed potatoes and gravy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Debate afternoon in America


Re-watching (well, listening into) a replay of the first Presidential debate since a couple “Facts of Life” reruns took precedent last night and I'm trying to determine my “class.” What defines middle class (or sub groupings of “low” and “high” and “working") in America in 2012? It's such a big political sound bite. Is it defined as money, education, values, size of household? Conspicuous consumption and the reason IKEA exists?

So I did what any American would do. I Googled it (off topic and ironic, I came across an article here about how Google is dumbing us down) and found a quote…

“Everyone wants to believe they are middle class. But this eagerness has led the definition to be stretched like a bungee cord, used to defend/attack/describe everything. The Drum Major Institute places the range for middle class at individuals making between $25,000 and $100,000 a year. Ah yes, there's a group of people bound to run into each other while house-hunting.”

Cheeky. And I still don’t have a solid definition, how one gets into the middle, how much cash and how many children to bring. But I know learning is key to ongoing financial security (oxymoron or not) which surely must fund "class." What we learn in school, kindergarten on, opens the mind to endless and seemingly crazy possibilities. I know because when I moved out on my own 17, even after a childhood with parents who hit more than parented and drank to forget how unhappy they were that they chose each other and one nasty divorce and an eventual new blended family moving from rental to rental before we were evicted and cars repossessed in the middle of the night (plural) and mostly being ignored, I believed there was nothing I couldn’t find a way to do. I had to because it was out there.

My first job post high school was on a factory assembly line, on the night shift so I could take one or two exploratory interest classes at the community college, paid out of pocket. But I knew I had to go to college, not Grade 13, so I stapled an almost good check for $50 to an application and wrote an earnest essay and was accepted without means or method or manner to pay. So I figured out how and found as I did it took me along with it like being caught up in a snowball rolling down hill. And aside from a couple small (and surprise) grants and $500 I begged off my Dad to buy books, five years later I had a bachelors degree and thousands and thousands of dollars in student loans. That I’d pay back. Eventually. I'd figure it out how because my history told me I would.

 “…a trickle-down approach has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams.”

That thinking is off because no one—no one—will ever work harder for you than you will. My desire to 1) not be my mother and reliant on men or 2) work an assembly line doing the same job for the same pay as a 17-year-old dreamer who talked endlessly about her love of words and Duran Duran stoked an inner fire that, even when it dimmed or blew nearly out at times, never failed me. Even during the months financial aid fell through and I put night classes on a Visa card to retain enrollment status, and for every time I changed clothes in the Chick-fil-A bathroom between the mostly full time job and mostly full time course schedule.

I understood then and I understand now, to get a fair share I must do a fair share. So do we all. And although I’m certain the rules have changed in the 100 years since I put myself through university, the idea and the ideal is the same. I wanted more, selfishly, for myself. I wanted a future of possibility. I did my share to get my fair share.

And I got even more.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Word, forward

As I sit and reflect on another spin around the sun, still on the good side of the grass, I realize how much I squander. How much I waste in time or words or failing to forgive or the vitality vampire that is self doubt. Powerful, wasteful stuff.

I fritter away hours in front of the telly instead of giving life to the stories that fill and swirl in my melon, although admittedly Honey Boo Boo had me at “Why can’t my two sides be meat?” Say what you will, Mama June and posse love each other exactly as they are and to the core, 11-fingered babies and all.

I’ve talked for months—if not years—about visiting friends coast-to-coast, their hearts and homes at the ready. Instead I clean house on weekends, everything in its place to satisfy my obsessively tidy compulsions, chasing the dragon of lemony freshness and crisp sheets.

As glamorous as it sounds to produce collateral in your underpants, working at home is lonely. It’s easy to shut one’s self in and off since there’s no need to shower or paint the barn or put on shoes. But I’m too young to wear pajamas in the daytime. I'm a paid marketing copywriter (they says it's the same, but it isn't the same) but I don't write for me, leaning on the excuse of fatigue and bemoaning how I have no words left. It’s a cop-out I cover with after five cocktails and saying I can’t so I won’t and therefore never fail.

Wow. I just heard a voice that sounded like mine say, "Maybe you’re not as good as you think you are.” In the seconds it took to come out of my hands and on to the keyboard I recognized pure fear talking. Fuck you fear. Thank you and fuck you. Wow.

So the food blogging is done. I love my food and I love my city but sometimes you just want an ice cold beer and an onion ring, hold the pretentious foodie adverbs. I'm going to tell stories and give them a home here. Again. What I started in 2006, I'm not finished with.

I’ve been wasting light. We’re here on earth for a blip and the light goes out before any of us really want it to.

So today I got up and when for a bike spin. And then a cupcake.

So I give this year more words. Word for word for word, forward.

So I give this year more listening instead of waiting to talk, sharing words to be heard and not to simply fill up space.

So I give this year more health and appreciation that even though it hurts sometimes and cute shoes with good arch support are hard to find, my feet hold me up and my legs are strong to carry me where I need to go. My heart shines and I breath in and out effortlessly.

So I give this year more going outside, spreading arms wide out and spinning in the grass until I get dizzy. And worry less that the bed's unmade or the cat has vomited in the litter box. Again. 

So I give this year over to love and trust and actions over words. I want to try because I want to believe I’m worthy of it.

And if I could, today I buy you all cake.

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