As 2016 limps to a close…

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HAPHAZARD OBSERVATIONS THAT YOU CAN READ IF YOU WANT…

  1. Warmth is preferable to cold. This farm girl has to breathe fresh air every day even if it’s only from the balcony, but the fireplace when she comes back in is the bomb.
  2. Coffee is like a miracle drug and I can’t muster up any shame over how much I love it. We’re best friends until noon every day or until the pot runs dry, and then I bow to the requirements of my other great love – sleep. It’s all about balance.
  3. People run scared most of the time, whether we’re aware of it or not, and our ingrained fears rule us to a distressing degree. Most of the ways in which we hurt people are rooted in trepidation of some sort – fear of loss, fear of being wrong, fear of failure, fear of change, et.al.
  4. There are people in my world who give me hope for the future and make me want to stick around for it, and ironically they’re the people who most doubt their contribution, which I guess is fitting – humility tends to make for a more lovable human being.
  5. We’re all holding our breath for 2016 to give it up, and for a bright spanking new year to make its debut. Unfortunately, spanking is likely to be the operative word as 2017 unfolds – just the facts, kids, life is life. People die, babies are born, shit happens, good and bad, and planet Earth just keeps on rollin’ along. We have just enough context for dealing as it happens, so our only viable choice is to relax into life and exert whatever positive influence we can.
  6. We’ve grown unaccustomed to people standing firmly by their convictions and backing that up with actions, so when individual protests capture media attention (I’m looking at you, Janet Chamberlin) we’re sort of in awe of those people until we remember that’s OUR job, too. No real exemptions – if we’re breathing and occupying space on the planet and we have a working brain at our disposal, we have to be all about the things that are important. Do we need a refresher list?
  7. Human beings come in every sort of configuration under the sun – physically, mentally, spiritually – and our physical being, in the end, has little to do with who we are. In that context, we discover our own entertainments and distractions, and then ridicule other people for their choices in those areas, while feeling smug about ours. It’s obvious and it’s silly, but fully human. Who will save us from ourselves? Just us, so we’d best get crackin’.
  8. Most people know that my husband Kim does all the cooking here. It’s a wonderful thing (and the only way I went for living with someone again, I’m selfish and lazy, so sue me). He makes dishes that are the best to be found anywhere, but I’m up for eating out whenever one of us calls that shot. It always feels like a date, morning, noon, or night, because we don’t both have books open in front of us, the eye contact is stellar, and the conversation is more intimate than at home because obvious reasons – nobody else in the room wants to hear what we’re saying. A fun lunch at Zen Zero today prompted that observation.
  9. There are times for talking and times to stop talking, and I generally blur the line between the two. Enough said.
  10. Spending time alone is an acquired taste, even for raging introverts, but it’s worth hanging in long enough to become your own best friend. And that, too, is self-explanatory.

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2017 encroaches…

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lull before the storm

gather your wits about you

flight is an option

JSmith 12/28/2016

 

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It was the best of times, it was the…

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Everybody’s hating on 2016, wishing it over and done, hoping for a better road ahead. My heart tells me that isn’t happening any time soon and I feel a little sad for 2016 and its aura – blamed for so much, scorned and feared.

But a “year in the life” didn’t set out to do us harm and break our hearts without letup. We’re the survivors (she whispers, because the year isn’t over) of a perfect storm. For one big thing, the baby boomers got old or are on the way (raises hand and signs guest book), so in spite of how it feels, the artists and other great minds we’ve looked to in our generation are likely not dying in greater numbers than before…it’s just that it’s all about time and we’re feeling it – because that’s what we do. When you’re in the next-oldest human demographic, statistically speaking, it registers every time a compadre takes leave, and it will always feel too soon.

For another thing, the world changed while we were busy implementing plans. Global communication is a fact, but while we’re far more aware and informed than ever before, we’re mostly stunned into ennui by the sheer weight of what we see and hear. Things are happening around us that we didn’t expect to have to deal with in this lifetime, and with each death that makes the Breaking News report we feel a little more isolated, a little lonelier, wondering if we’re being abandoned, rattling around just hoping to make it through.

While we were spaced off living life, as you do, we missed a lot and the world political climate made a big switcheroo that we’re just now starting to wake up to. There may be times ahead that will make 2016 look like a Sunday School picnic (do they still have those?), although every last sane person hopes NOT. Or… life may turn rosy and sunny for everyone, and wouldn’t that be wonderful.

It’s all gonna be okay, even if it isn’t okay.

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The Fix…

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there are remedies

for what breaks our hearts in two

but they are unknown

JSmith 12/26/2016

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The Right Stuff…

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The magic was always in the secrets and the rush and the crazy, trying to make each holiday season the best one ever, the gifts perfect, the food exactly according to tradition, all for that elusive (illusive) Old-Fashioned Christmas.

On this December 24th, in the year (of our Lord?) 2016, the magic lies elsewhere. It’s in the big messy bed, the fog hanging outside our windows, the Salted Caramel Bailey’s swirling into the coffee mugs, the Kim Breakfast because Saturday, the spa tub filling.

Tomorrow, Christmas Day, Santa will bring the Zen all over again – Black Forest ham, scalloped potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, lovely rolls, easy munchies. Vino, always. A Pentatonix Christmas, we love those sweet babies. And later, when we’re in our cups, Bad Santa. Saving Hudsucker Proxy for New Year’s, 2017 apropos.

The Real Christmas was always at my maternal grandparents’ house, where one long, very long, table was set up through the living and dining rooms, and pretty packages spilled far past the tree while Grandma and her daughters and daughters-in-law still frantically wrapped gifts in a spare bedroom, giving the door a kick once in a while to keep nosy grandkids away. My mom was one of nine offspring, who were themselves fairly prolific, so Christmas dinner could involve 40 people or more, with additional afternoon drop-ins.

The women cooked the enormous meal, the kids raised hell, and after dinner my good-looking uncles rolled up their sleeves, stored food, picked the turkey carcass clean for leftovers, and washed the dishes, no rugrats allowed in the kitchen. The uncles, former Marines, Korean War, could be intimidating when they put their foot down, and were no doubt laughing up their collective sleeves at us every year. Omigod, we were insufferable.

They’re gone, those people, and I can’t even find a photo this morning to honor the first Christmases of my heart. The pictures are here somewhere, in an album online or on a shelf, old Kodachrome color snaps – upwards of 60 or more of us crammed into one glorious photo with the tree barely showing in the back and wrapping paper still strewn. That’s how my heart remembers it.

I hope your Christmas, old-fashioned or otherwise, will be sweet. Tuck it into your heart…those memories belong to us forever.

 

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When adulting sucks…

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blankets piled in waves

bed still warm and welcoming

must resist ’til dark

JSmith 12/19/2016

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When you think too much…

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An observation: When you don’t go anywhere you need far less personal crap. It bothers me a tiny bit – but only that much – that I’ve been schlepping the same little black bag around for years, barely looking at it, scarcely acknowledging its existence, and we’re not tired of each other yet. That’s unlike me, collector of kitschy stuff that follows me home because I make eye contact with it and then turns up as more stuff to place for adoption. That sort of thing is happening less and less because 1. I don’t shop, and 2. I want to haul away half of what’s already here. Sufficiency. That’s a quality word. Enough, plenty of, ample. Sounds like a warm fire and a good book…

Another one: After more than twelve years of marriage, Kim brought home a jar of Ovaltine the other day. I mean, why now, what triggered that? He doesn’t know, and I’d forgotten it existed, but it’s my new guilty (sorry, not sorry) pleasure. Hot chocolatey creamy goodness, get into my belly. I can’t believe I left you behind with my Baby Linda doll and vague aspirations of being a teacher.

Teaching what, dear?

I don’t know, maybe literature incorporated into grammar and language or vice versa.

Well, yes, that’s fairly vague…could be why it never happened…

Lost, by which I mean squandered, opportunities – how many have there been? No, don’t tell me, I can’t handle the truth – it might crush my soul to know.

And yet day after day I sit here squandering more. Letting the minutes tick by. Staring out the windows at the gray and cold. Or the sunshine – an attack of the morbs doesn’t care either way.

Buck up, little buckarette, nothing persists forever. Spring comes again. That thing that’s eating your lunch goes away or gets better. You remember that happiness is always an inside job, and you truck on.

Cheers to happy endings.

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An Accidental Anarchist*

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It’s an odd sort of experience to morph into an activist’s soul late in life’s trajectory, and The Goggle is disappointing me this morning with its lack of historical references, by which I mean naming names. Gimme the skinny, interwebs, I know it’s in there – people who sat on the sidelines for decades, absorbing life’s blows while they found their voices, and finally said, “Oh, so that’s how it is. And they expect me to keep my mouth shut about that?”

Annnd, after a swift kick to the tires, Google spits out a nearly endless list of not only names but faces, all female, because that’s what I asked for: Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Nina Simone, Ida Tarbell, they’re on the roster, along with so many more women whose courageous voices changed the face of our society and moved it forward. I’m privileged to add my own small cries to the weight of what was accomplished on my behalf long before I decided I was brave enough. I hope I will never again be afraid to add my affirmations and my pledge of support for the righting of injustices, toward common goals of love, peace, and acceptance.

Since November, our mutual progress toward those goals, most notably that of the past eight years, hangs in the balance. Crucial change for the lives and futures of LGBTQ citizens may not be fully realized any time soon despite the massive amounts of blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into coaxing the human race into the 21st Century.

People who are NOT Real Americans – anything other than straight, white, Christian males – may be in imminent danger, how much remains to be seen. These people are our friends and neighbors and we have a moral responsibility, and hopefully a genuine desire, to be their advocates in a hostile environment.

Women’s burgeoning independence is mos def at risk, no question. Our silly concept that our bodies belong to us, having gained little to no traction over all the years of constant battle, will be DOA. It’s sobering to look at that roll call of strong women, from young to long dead, and think that we might drop the ball on our watch. What a travesty that would be, so let’s not. I do not want to disappoint the likes of Malala Yousafzai, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dolores Huerta, Audre Lorde, Rosie Batty, et.al., do you? Didn’t think so.

More than ever before in our lifetime we have to be on our game. Women are the heart and soul of a society and much is squandered when our influence and input are rejected. The world needs healing – but it won’t happen without what we know and who we are, so please find your voice and use it, for the sake of the race.

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*Title borrowed from a fellow blogger – thanks.

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Be like a tree…

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Image: Lars van de Goor

Be like a tree, and let the dead leaves drop.

~ Rumi

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It’s about life…

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Our daily adventure on Wednesday was something entirely new – we were rear-ended twice on 6th Street, by which I mean twice in quick succession, as in BAM!…BAM!! I screamed (ever wonder how you’ll react in a sudden crisis?) because it felt and sounded like we were being run over by a tall heavy truck, which we were not, but if we were I should have been saying “Kim, I love you. Forever. For always. No matter what.” No, I’m not the quick-thinker of the family. Kim – who is – calmly, with a hand over his bleeding right ear, steered us to a safer area, followed by the offending “truck,” a shiny late-model black Lexus, out of which hopped an adorbs young woman saying basically “Omigod, omigod, omigod!!”

She could not believe she hit us, but what she couldn’t believe MORE is that there was no visible damage to either car. Her words were, I believe, “Omigod, and I hit you HARD!! TWICE!!” The sweet virgin backside of our sparkly new red Mazda 6 GT was unmolested except for one teeny-tiny nick in the precise center of the lower bumper which we all vowed never to speak of again. The Lexus may or may not have experienced a miniscule brush with road rash of some sort, which wiped away with a touch. What I’m sayin’ is that they’re both leases and all is well. We’re confident my “whiplash,” and Kim’s eardrum will experience happy endings, too.

Meanwhile, we got to meet Terri, yet another lovely Lawrencian, whose intriguing business card bears this quote from Virginia Woolf: “One cannot live well, love well, or sleep well, unless one has dined well.” Amen, Ms. Woolf, and that’s why most of our daily adventures somehow end up revolving around food…

Final comment before parting ways? Terri told me my hair was cute, which strikes me as so quintessentially #lfk. What was the Love Level at YOUR last fender-bender?

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