Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ginger beer, bourbon, and other necessities

The other day I was at Trader Joe's and I saw the most wonderful thing. Someone alert Oprah. It's a really pretty bottle of triple gingered beer. Non-alcoholic, so the kids can drink, and also anyone I might know in recovery or in some weird non-problem-drinker state of abstinence. Seriously, if you CAN drink, why don't you? Leave a comment.

Back to the ginger. It's super spicy, and it kind of burns your lips when you first drink it. Fourteen year old needs a mixer with it, eleven year old wants to guzzle it straight, and I fancy a bit of bourbon in mine. Bit more bourbon, please. Don't be stingy. There you go - that's a good pour. We're ramping up to Christmas in my family and things are getting weird again, as they do every year.

We're spending way too much money on presents, and while that makes us both good Americans who support the economy, it also makes us typical Americans who are buying more crap we definitely don't need. But it's a local custom and I like to fit in.

I've been doing small things to remember my basics this season: I'm trying to read things that are calming, I'm attempting to stay away from media hype because I'm thoroughly over the ratings grab that is any of the news outlets, I'm trying to check-in every day with my boys in a meaningful way about their day. We ask these three questions,

"What was good about your day?"
"What was a bummer?"
"How can tomorrow be better?"

In my own subversive way I am trying to lead them to gratitude and calm understanding in every moment. Some days the bummers will far outnumber the good things. Sometimes we won't really be able to figure out how to make tomorrow better. We'll have to sleep on it; to let the moon-rise give us clarity and the sunrise give us courage to try again. Because it seems like everything right now is more difficult if we allow it.

The Western Hemisphere is in its dark period and the sunrise is a squirrely event to catch if you want your courage. But you have to catch it, and you have to face all the tomorrows with a grateful heart and resolve to fix the bummers. You can do that. Trader Joe's sells a magical elixir to right your spirits for $2.99 plus all local applicable tax.

Pour a ginger beer, toast your day, whether good or bummer, and remember that your only requirement is to show-up. Show-up in all your tattered reality, in all your glowing happiness, in all your blah mundane mediocrity. Every day, no matter what, show up and try to help your fellow human shit-shows understand that we're in this together. We can talk together about what's good, what's a bummer, and what we can do to make tomorrow better.

That's really the only necessity.

**P.S. I lied. Bourbon is also a necessity. But that's just me.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Would you like fresh pepper on your froth?

Stick with me - this will all make sense. Maybe. 

I have generalized anxiety disorder. Of course putting that right there is a violation of my privacy rights, but since I did it to myself, I guess it's okay this one time. My anxiety is not the point of today's batch of useless writing, but is the background for what's coming next; because an even bigger mistake is taking place right now than my own self-disclosure of protected medical history.

I am actively avoiding any and all viewpoints which do not directly align with my own. EEP!

The other day I was scrolling through old things I wrote and a common theme has been emerging over the years in my public journaling, which you may or may not be reading. What do I care? I'm not the boss of you. Apparently I really dislike the manufactured drama, the constant spirals of anger and outrage, and if I type "self-righteous indignation" one more time (after this time) my keyboard might spontaneously explode. But there it is. All that froth is just extraordinarily distasteful to me.

And honestly I can't quite wrap my brain around those who LIKE froth.

Several years ago, my friend Matty T told me that he doesn't enter into debate with people if they are not open to changing their mind. Matty T has shown up in four previous entries (here, here, here and here) because he says shit that gets in my brain and takes up permanent residence. And that whole business of avoiding debates with someone who isn't willing to change their mind has simmered for years in my thoughts and has finally distilled into a kind of paradigm for my life. I can't argue anymore just for the sake of arguing.

It's not fun. Because I have anxiety.

Although I am open to changing my mind on a fair number of things (admittedly there are some closely held beliefs which are absolutely inviolable for me) I usually feel pretty solid in my formation of opinion. I like to read, I like to know things, and like to trust the foundation upon which I build my beliefs. So you can bet I'm relatively self-assured if I do enter a debate. But I'm almost always open to changing my mind or tweeking my philosophy if someones has better evidence, more compelling evidence, or a better reasoned argument.

It doesn't seem like I'm in the majority, though.

People's insta-rage is everywhere in every single thing they say or type or share. So I've tuned them out. I'm not allowing anything to make it through the gates if it doesn't align with my viewpoint. I am allowing no challenge. I wish the whole wide world would simmer down, take one giant step back and look all around the planet. The whole thing.

I wish people could understand on a level that reaches deep into their soul that we are all inextricably connected and that the left hand, which lives very far away from the right foot, does so much damage to the body when it hacks at the foot with a knife. The foot has different demands placed upon it; demands and living conditions that the hand can never understand. But to vilify the foot for its differences is cancerous to the body. The hand and foot don't need to be the same and, in fact, the body won't work correctly if they become the same.  The tongue and heart and thigh are all muscles. But you really wouldn't want them to be the exactly the same....and things would get pretty ugly in your daily life if they couldn't work together in concert with one another. The differences are vital to the proper functioning of the whole.

It's a parable for our families, for our neighborhoods, for our cities, states, countries and finally, our global family.

And until my global family understands that we function best because of our differences, then I'm afraid there aren't enough benzodiazepines in the world for me to continuously jump into the froth, fresh pepper or not.

Photo Credit: j-No via Compfight cc

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Celebration (with hate)

If you take the number 175, which is the number of posts I've published (seriously, that's the number..."Good God," you say, "it feels like 175,000"), divide it by five and then divide that number by seven, you get the number five. And in celebration of that incredible and wonderfully odd number, here are five things I hate:


Look, I understand its function. However, it should be treated like the automatic 18% gratuity for parties of five or more - except opposite. An email sent to any number of people over three should automatically disable "reply all". You should have to confirm that you really, really do want to reply all. Then you should have to follow up with a captcha entry that no human being alive could decipher. You should have to jump through so many hoops that you eventually say, "Fuck it, I'm only telling [insert sender's name here]." Because believe me when I tell you that there is absolutely nothing that YOU need to say to any organization at large. In fact, if we're being honest, there's really almost nothing that the organization at large needs to say to YOU. Delete and move on.

Yeah, like THIS ever happens.

Come on! Isn't there enough suffering in the world without adding to it the mind numbing MC Escher task of untangling paperclips? At least at Christmas, just before I throw the wad of lights into the backyard and walk away, I'm drinking a stiff egg nog.

Get some sleep.....
Of course I don't have to tell you that this is how all manner of spooky things (apparitions, serial killers, clown masks, possessed animals from pet semataries) get into your closet in the first place. Then they hide until you're about to fall asleep and start creaking around just to scare the shit out of you and possibly murder you and/or stomp around in your psyche and suck you into a staticky TV. Just close the doors when you're finished and I'll thank you from the depths of my chest cavity area.

What fresh hell is this?
*see also snack bags with naught but dust left inside
Can you just finish whatever it is and throw the carcass away? Because when you put it away, I think there is more. And then it's like drinking water when you were expecting 7-Up (*see also: vodka). It's just a real boner kill.

Uh, yes they were.
And speaking of boners, put that phone in your crotch where it belongs. You think Steve Jobs vibrated it that strongly so it could sit on a table top?? I DON'T THINK SO. He knew better than we what we need and want, so stick it. Of note: It really isn't any quieter when you leave it to vibrate and skitter across the table than if you just left the little dinger noise or bottle cap popping sound on. Enjoy the silence! And shove it into your lady/man parts.

Thanks for celebrating with me! What a thrill ride these past 175 posts of drivel have been.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My cat - and the litter box of life

He is totally judging you. And you're not doing well.

My cat is an asshole. 

He's been peeing in my kitchen in one specific spot for absolutely no good reason. He also likes to pee in empty laundry baskets. Now I admit that on occasion I do let an unfortunate litter box situation occur but as soon as I notice, I correct the problem. This time it's as if the cat is engaging in some sort of showdown with me. 

Because he's an asshole. 

But I forgive him, because well....he's a cat. And at night he lays on my chest and purrs and it's magical. According to some Buddhist someone or other (I can't remember who) a purring cat in your lap, or on your chest, is just about the most perfect moment of positive energy transfer that you can have. The cat's contentment is literally buzzing on you. So the asshole cat will live to piss another day because he purrs. 

I guess it's a quid pro quo relationship. Although I do feel that I give more; he doesn't even have a job.

I'm not so forgiving of others around me, however. I can't seem to extend to people the same amount of compassion or absolution as I do something that lets loose his bladder in the place where I live and eat. A wrong word, a wrong tone, a perceived slight or even a whiff of judgement cast my way...these are transgressions which can cost people their time with me. 

Assuming they want it, I'm not very free with my time, or my feelings, and I tend to clam up (idiom!) and retreat into myself when I've felt snubbed by someone. But I extend to my asshole cat a clemency he has neither earned nor deserves. When people say they're a "work in progress" I tend to bristle. Seems like a really great excuse and a nifty way to shrug off any responsibility, doesn't it? It's similar to the phrase, "I'm just keeping it real," which we all know is what you say directly after being a *total* douche. 

But if I'm going to "keep it real" then I pretty much have to admit that I'm a "work in progress." DAMMIT. I'm a woefully flawed woman, kind of an existentially unfortunate litter box of a human being. It can't be helped.There is too much wine to drink and food to eat and so very many books to read. 

I guess I need to treat others as I treat my cat. Maybe we should all treat each other as we treat our pets, or if you don't have a cat, then you can use how I treat my cat as a guide: he's an asshole. But I like how soft his fur is and sometimes he's nice. The times he's nice make up for the times he's an asshole. 

Can it be that simple?

Don't ask him. He doesn't give a shit. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Too Many Words

This morning the serendipity of one became my own serendipity. In the most unambiguous way, a happy occurrence of events took place. I saw something that shut me up (which seriously hardly ever happens) and made me realize that language and words get in the way of so many of life greatest and most meaningful events.

We usually think that talking is the means to understanding and that talking is the way to resolution or greatest depth of communication. But consider the following:

  • When saying hello to someone you've missed, it's the hug that conveys the most. 
  • When saying goodbye to someone you love, it's the hug. 
  • When walking next to someone in a moment of anxiety, it's the hand holding that brings comfort.
  • A baby knows nothing of language but understands the comfort and love being communicated in the cradling and the touch. 

I think it's why we love things like Instagram, Vine, even the nefarious Snapchat. We say the most to each other in moments devoid of words and language. This strikes me deeply, since words and language seem to be my gift. What I feel best at is something so trivial; it will never measure up to what I can say with a look, or a touch. 

My serendipitous moment came to me this way:

(Thanks, Carrie, for sharing what meant something to you and meant so much to me.)

They say nothing. But you and I both know after seeing this that they communicated something so profound to us. We know more than they could have ever explained with feeble words. At the end, he is unsure that she knows, and so he uses words but I don't think he needed to. We don't know what he says but we do. His words are entirely unnecessary insurance.

If I have one wish for you today, it's that you will think of your language when you are saying nothing. I wish that you will take a moment and reflect on what you really want when it comes to the people you love - friends or family. Because what I would want most, if I could have anything at all from the one I miss in my very core, is a hug.

The rest would be details.