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Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

Slowly it dawns on me that writing is not easy, that all of the voices that say this is not real work deserve to be put to rest.

I’m not the first to say this, but it is my dawning. A mechanism turning inside of me, a key, letting me know what this is, my writing.

I can’t remember the last time I wrote a new poem.

I jotted down a dream a couple of weeks ago, a vivid dream of a thin emerald-green book of unusual size, leather-bound, the cover rich in color and texture.

But no poems per se and not much desire to share my thoughts here of late.

Sometimes the time quickens, sometimes it drags.

What is this calling? I appreciate silliness and I love to write nonsense. But I only want to write down the most important of my thoughts just now.

Yesterday, we drove from Massachusetts to Northeast Ohio. It had been a very long time since I’ve made this trip in the car—the last time was the summer of 2009. It is close to 600 miles.

I have never read Watership Down, but we have been listening to it in the car for long stretches on this trip. The narration is excellent and I am reminded of how much I love to be read to, how much of a pleasure to all humans this gift of stories being told aloud is. I feel thirsty for it now and I have decided that I will read at open mics even when I don’t have my own work to read.

Such is the thanks I would like to give. I love reading out loud as much as I like singing out loud. It is a great pleasure to me, like the emerald-green book from my dream. The richness of the color I can summon in my mind’s eye. How I would like you to know it, too, to take it from me. I will hand you the book so you can feel its richness, the animal skin, the creamy parchment of the pages, crisp and soft at the same time.

I want to leave politics behind, the truth of war and rape, the way humans have of tearing down what cannot be shared.

I want to take and drink and give back.

Thanks Giving and Thanks Taking

Peace

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1. bras for bikes

You have seen them and so have I: bras for bikes. No, not bike bras.

As if it’s not enough to have an abundance of breast cancer and pink ribbons, we in the West are so affluent that we must protect our expensive bikes from bugs and such with bras. I’m not saying one should not protect an investment that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars, but I do think it’s a sign of us all going to hell in a hand basket. Not only that, but there’s something disturbing about the way the bike bra looks, like bondage gear for a bike; or is it just me?

2. I did not realize until recently that the word pub derives from public house. DUH! I do know, however, from whence the word pube derives even if spellcheck says it’s not a word.

3. I had a client who told me the key to to getting what you want in marriage is to make your husband think he came up with all of the good ideas. I still don’t know how she did it; maybe I never really applied myself to see if it would work.

4. Another thing I learned late in life: that the suffix ham in a place name is short for hamlet.

5. How is it possible that it takes my teenage daughter 20 minutes to get ready to go to Home Depot with us, her uncool parents? HOME DEPOT for chrissake. It’s not like any cool boys are hanging out there, only single, lonely, middle-aged men (trust me on this).

6. Why was I raised to be polite to all men, even fucking perverts? Why aren’t men taught not to be fucking perverts to women and girls of all ages and stripes in the first place?

Today a man at the grocery store held up a HUGE carrot. I mean HUGE—8-9 inches long and 3 inches in diameter—and asked me to take a bite of it. I can’t remember what he said exactly, something completely stupid and simple like would you take a bite of this? WHAT THE FUCK, dude? Do you not understand being creepy or was that the point? I simply said no and politely chatted about the local carrots this time of year being very small because it’s so early in the season and that this must not have been a local carrot. I walked away and the fucker kept talking to me.

What is wrong with me that I didn’t tell him to fuck off in no uncertain terms, like by saying FUCK OFF YOU PERVERT. I could even have eliminated all doubt about what went on and avoid the swear by saying: YOU ARE BEING CREEPY AND PERVERTED, STAY AWAY FROM ME.

But I only think of these things in hindsight. I’m almost FIFTY for chrissakes. Will I please get this together by my birthday?

Red White Blue

Generally I am not a fan of the color red. Red is a hard color. Hard to use in decorating, hard to wear.

I did eat some amazing local strawberries today, from the same store where the CreepAss was, and they were a beautiful red color.

I did not go to fireworks, but I usually like to. I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

These are my kid’s nails. She can really rock the red, white, and blue.

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Me? I’m too jaded to feel patriotic and I look like shit in that shade of American red.

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I would title the post Love, but it looked and felt wrong. My next thought for a title? LOVE. Then, love. You can see what I finally chose.

Love is a kind of choosing, isn’t it? Even when we’ve been taken by love without our consent. Like the photos of adoptable dogs I pore over or the way I feel when I see my friend’s 3-year old son. That love comes without effort, question, or want.

I suppose Valentine’s Day is the most fun of all holidays if it is not taken too seriously. For if you take it too seriously, you will find something in which to be disappointed: I have no boyfriend/girlfriend; my beau didn’t get me flowers, or enough or the right color; my beau didn’t propose to me today; my love didn’t give me chocolate, a dinner out, a blowjob. Single people could be bummed out and feel less than; paired off people could find fault; so why not take it with a grain of salt? There is enough love of many kinds to go around.

All the years with children have made it fun indeed. Decorating cards to hand out in school when they were little, decorating the breakfast table, cutting food into heart-shapes. Chocolates and flowers some years, some not.

I finally got excited for Valentine’s Day at about 4 in the afternoon yesterday and went on a chocolate-buying spree and made plans in my head for the girls’ breakfast. At 4 am, I woke and paper-punched some tiny hearts all over the table, crawled back into bed and at 8:30 am (one day a month is late start day for the school), I made batter for waffles.

In the past, I would have used some sort of cut-out heart to sprinkle a heart pattern on top of their waffles, but I could not summon more motherly love than I already had. Sigh.

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I’ve always loved Rickie Lee Jones doing this, but Chet Baker comes in a close second. Be still my beating heart.

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25 years ago at Thanksgiving dinner at our family friends’ house in a suburb of Detroit, I took my last drink of alcohol. I’m sure I had a glass of wine at least. More than one glass? A beer? That I don’t know. I was never picky. I loved all alcohol. If the occasion called for wine, that’s what I’d be drinking.

I remember driving north, probably on I-75, then I-94, to their house. I have no idea what suburb. Was it still Southfield where they lived or had they moved on? I remember the barren fields, the low winter sun, the flat landscape on the highway. Did we pass the huge tire on the side of the highway, did we pass one of the first super-flashy moving digitized billboards I’d ever seen in my life?

My mother lived in Farmington Hills, Michigan at the time. Paul and I would drive up on the weekends and visit her, stay in her ranch condo, rent about a dozen movies from the arty-farty video store a mile away, lock ourselves in the den and watch movies all weekend. Sometimes we would fight, inevitably we would have sex, sometimes we’d go out to eat, even if just for lunch, sometimes take a walk in the sterile “neighborhood” that was like all of the other hundreds of condo neighborhoods in the suburb I grew up in for a few years when I was still in elementary school. The condos and sprawl came later, after my family moved away to a suburb of Toledo.

I had skirted around AA for about a year, hanging out at Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings with another friend of mine from college. After the meetings, we’d go out and get drunk at one or two of my favorite townie bars in Kent.

When I finally went to my first AA meeting, after being invitied by a woman who I banquet waitressed with at a sprawling restaurant in Hudson, Ohio, I felt happy and at-home right away; not like I felt when I was around the dragged-down energy of the people in the ACoA meetings. The alcoholics were a happy, gregarious lot; the codependents were pissed off and low.

It only took me a month to know why I was so comfortable in the AA meetings. These were my people.

Last drink, Thanksgiving Day, November 1987.

And that’s all she wrote.

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Happy Thanksgiving to all of my loves!

 

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And am I born to die? To lay this body down!

Easter is not a holiday I feel much of an attachment to. However, I was reminded this week of a specific time in my life, a new friend I once had, her life and death.

8 years ago, I began singing Sacred Harp every Tuesday night at the Helen Hills Hills Chapel on the Smith College campus in Northampton, Massachusetts.

I got to know Mirjana Lausovic at the Tuesday night sing a few years later after she moved back to the area from Minnesota with her husband and 2 young children.

Minja, as she was known, was one of the strongest women I have ever met—happy, practical, full of joy and life, big in presence and physicality; loved her kids, huge heart. Everything about her was open and present—she was buxom, full-lipped, had big eyes and a big smile, and of course, a powerful voice. Formidable was the word that came to mind the first time I saw her. She was easily approachable and had a humility I draw from to this day.

Minja had beautiful silver hair and it was cut short. I, too, kept my hair short and we joked together about haircuts, how it didn’t really matter who cut it or how: no muss, no fuss. I never knew why her hair was short and gray; she was, after all, a couple of years younger then me.

When I began to sing in the Sacred Harp group, in 2004, I had a difficult time socially. If it hadn’t been for my fierce love of the sound, my determination to add a creative endeavor for myself after years at home raising my daughters; if it hadn’t been for my training as a teacher of the Alexander Technique, I would have bagged out. I found the group strange and clique-y; I didn’t understand the social dynamics. I heard a lot of talk of “welcoming the newcomer,” but my presence seemed less than welcome. I was baffled and spent many a Tuesday night filled with the joy and satisfaction of learning a new, powerful way of singing, but with an undercurrent of my own sadness and anger at feeling on the periphery of a group [supposedly] dedicated to a communal tradition of song.

Minja was a remedy for all of that, a breath of holy spirit.

She died less than 2 years after I met her. It was a shock to me because I didn’t know her history—she had had breast cancer and pulled through several years earlier and this was apparently a recurrence. They left town one day in July of 2007 and she died 2 weeks later, on my birthday, something I recognize as a great gift.

I remember the evening before Tim and Minja and the kids were leaving town. I had prepared a little card and a bundle of ribboned lavender from my garden. When I handed the card to her, my instinct was to walk away so she could open it at her leisure, no pressure to say she liked it in case she didn’t, nor to respond to the words therein. But she said, emphatically, “Can I open it now? I want to open it NOW.” It was so much her, living for the moment, taking a bite out of whatever life presented.

♦ ♦ ♦

Today, I watched as my daughter’s Agricultural Arts teacher introduced 5 new colonies of bees to the existing hives on the school’s campus. Nicki told us that the worker bees, all of whom are female, do not lay their own eggs, in deference to the queen’s laying.

I saw the first tulips open in my side garden bed.

I am preparing a dish for dinner with eggs from my neighbor’s chickens, a salad with greens from a local farm.

Sometimes I receive emails from a fellow parent at my daughter’s school and they close with the statement “Walk in the light, wherever you may be.” Some days I begin to know what this means.

Today is Passover; tomorrow is Easter. I know I have been delivered, here and now, to the center of a swirl of abundance that I call home, the earth.

♦ ♦ ♦

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One of my favorite Tim Minchin songs (you can read my earlier Tim Minchin Music Monday post, too):

I don’t have much to add. The Advent calender is coming along beautifully, I haven’t figured out much about Christmas presents, and we don’t have our tree yet.

Oh, and Tim Minchin’s daughter’s name is Violet–he gets bonus points for that, as if I didn’t like him enough already.

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