Archive for June, 2010

Ten Things

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I have a list. It is written in ink in my scrawlish handwriting and has a dead duck on it. Wait. Here:

 

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This is a schedule of sorts. Things I want to write about. A few things from the list:

Welsh rarebit story.

My love of the underdog.

Circus @ Wisc Dells…Burned.

Shamrock Hotel.

Mrs. Seipkowski’s head.

 

I haven’t yet written/blogged (TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!) (SOMETIMES!) about any of these topics yet. They’re all dead ducks. Which brings me to my point:

I need a jumpstart. A catalyst. A prompt if you will. Because sure as ducks can’t fly*, I’m not motivating myself these days.

 

So it’s a friend to the rescue with a “Ten Things That Make Me Happy” me-me.

 

It gave me something to write about today, and for that, I am grateful. Also, no ducks were plucked wing-to-wing in the writing of this post, which is always a good thing unless the duck is a turbo-quacking, butt-nipping cracker-stealer.

 

You know those kinda ducks?

Very unducky if you ask me.

 

Meanwhile, the list:

 

TEN THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

 

Family.

Both the one I grew up with and the one living in my house right now as I write. Every single of ’em is loud, randy, and pragmatically inappropriate. And those are my favorite kind of people, family or not.

 

Get togethers.

All kinds. I love the dinner parties, the impromptu driveway parties, girl time, boy time, appetizers-and-wine, dessert-and-spiked coffee, swappin,’ poppin’ and the hipahoppin’ parties. Each and every one.

 

Music

Oh shit, don’t even get me started. LOVE. Cannot get enough of…love it ALL, ALL, ALL.

Except for interpretive jazz.

 

Anyway, you know the drill: music instantly melts, transports, inspires, enlivens, mellows, stirs, bloodies, explodes, implodes, loses, finds me. Makes. Me. Happy.

 

Except for interpretive jazz.

 

And the latest cool-ass music I found?

THIS. I will play it in the background at parties and at private things that I do.

 

Words

Poems especially. The rawness and the sensibility and the unbounded emotion. The images. The detail, the non-detail, the enigma, the obtuse, the possibility of interpretation. Or not. Just let the stanzas wash over you. I like that too.

 

And lyrics.

 

And books.

 

It’s like words are blocks and we’re building playgrounds.

Or churches.

 

Tired metaphor. I need better words.

 

Putting together outfits and stuff.

I’m no good at it. But I like it, I like it a lot. Look, I have a friend who is an artist. She’s high-tops crazy and I love her like bananas. When we worked together more than 18 years ago (holy fucking shit), she wore the most inventive, ambiguous, awesomely concocted outfits your imagination could conjure. When she bought her white low-top boots and called them “Rick James Kickers,” I thought I’d die from the swooning.

 

Anyway. STILL. I try to be like her. STILL. She’s like the French: easily bizarre, irreverent and enviably fashionable.

 

And just so you know: THIS isn’t where attained the heights of fashion. I know that.

 

No need to rub it in.

 

Thrift stores.

I probably don’t need to cover this with you all again, but shit howdy on a stick, these places make me happy.

 

Suffice to say, in the last week I thrifted a Chinese-like puzzle table that sort of looks like the Hellraiser cube but less evil, a leaning bookcase, an asymmetrical black wall shelf, a floor lamp, wide-leg jeans, and a navy double-breasted, big-buttoned, spring jacket. For like $40. TOTAL. (Oh, and also a bathing suit. But it still had that pube-protector glued into the crotch so I am assuming it’s new. Bargain shopping hope springs eternal.)

 

Hills. And valleys.

I like not knowing everything, and I don’t like it, all at the same exact time. Which is my way of saying, change transforms you and in hindsight, that is a very good thing.

 

A good plot.

Dee-lish-us. When I sense the mechanisms of an effective plot (good vs. evil, hero’s quest, mentor encounter, etc.) in a book, movie, or even a song, it’s so satisfying as to render me speechless. Pancho and Lefty had it, Harry Potter had it, Star Wars had it, and most recently, Avatar had it. I love good plot structure from a creator standpoint AND as a third-party experiencer.

 

Inspirers.

My inspirers aren’t who you think. In fact, I think people who package themselves as inspirers (most of The Secret clan) are just that: packagers. Marketers. Inspirers to me are people who quietly live according to a code and don’t care how much attention they get for it. I have a few well-chosen inspirers, but I’m not publicizing them here, because they don’t want that, I don’t think. (You know who you are, BTM.)

 

To be determined.

And that’s the way I like it. Uh-huh, uh-huh. Gotta be something to look forward to.

 

*Do ducks fly?

 

Meme rules usually call for me to tag other bloggers to answer the same question posed to me (“What are ten things that make you happy?”), but this is what I’m going to do. I say think about it and post about this topic if you want to…and if you find yourself so inclined? Give me the link. I’d like to read all about it.

 

This’ll Be Quick…

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

So first day of summer vacation yesterday and…

 

…Is it August 25 yet?

 

Not that I don’t love hanging with my kids, because I do, but when you work from home? And try to fit in some of that work in between scooter time and dressing Polly Pocket for the 145th time? You start to wig out. And my wig is already out, so it’s crazy town over here.

 

From the second I woke up yesterday morning it was “What are we gonna do? What are we gonna do? What are we gonna do? Gonna? What? Do? What are we gonna do?” And as I have three reports to edit…all backed up waiting for me…all with analysts sending me emails asking, “When will they be done? When will they be done? When will they be done?” it got a little…frenetic.

 

Suffice to say that I didn’t accomplish one, not even one, work-related item all day and instead took the kids to El Pollo Loco, then Barnes and Noble, then to the longest playdate ever in recorded history.

 

They went to bed at 10:30PM. (I need to adopt some sort of summer vacation schedule that doesn’t result in 85-hour playdates, a million dollars spent at the book store, and midnight bedtimes.)

 

Clearly, I am already in trouble. Maybe I should just take the kids to Disneyland and really lose my mind.

 

PROMPTuesday #110: DLS

Monday, June 7th, 2010

For this week’s creative writing prompt all I ask is that you tell me everything you wouldn’t tell your closest friend. Also, in telling me, you will be telling ones, no dozens, of others!

 

Sounds tempting, no?

 

And if posting your dirty little secret weren’t enough, I must request that you do it in haiku.

 

It just must be that way.

 

It’s zen and stuff.

 

Way back when, when I first started blogging as San Diego Momma, I entered a haiku contest. And I submitted the following:

“Online all the time

Husband about to leave me

I blogged about it”

And I won! A prize! A prizedy prize of gifty proportions!

 

So. In that spirit, please post your dirty little secret haiku-style.

 

There will be no prize. Other than the glow that comes from a job well done.

 

Meanwhile, please post your submission in the comments OR post in your blog and leave a link to your blog in the comments.

 

First time to PROMPTuesday? Read a bit about it here.
Want to see what’s been written in the past? Catch up on the PROMPTuesdays archive here.

 

The Lesson Isn’t Always What You Expect

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

A few weeks ago, I received an email regarding my blog — and me — and this post — that made me simultaneously:

squirm

wince

blush

and cry.

 

It wasn’t “hate mail,” no, it was more like “concerned mail.” Concerned for my soul kinda, and for my life outlook, and in a nutshell? The email writer said…

“I really enjoy your sense of humor, but your continuous complaining and bitching and moaning is just unbearable to read, day in and day out.

So. There was that.

Of course there was more. The whole email was crafted beautifully and out of concern for my soul as I mentioned, and not mean in the least. In fact, it was written from a place of light that informed me,

“Your voice comes from how you feel on the inside. And your insides, apparently, don’t feel very well. That’s okay. As a matter of fact it’s perfect. You’re expressing all of that internal rage and that’s better than not expressing it.”

Other paragraphs followed. A few more that made me put my hands over my eyes and read the rest of the correspondence through shuttered fingers. Because? I knew what the writer said was true.

 

Sorta.

 

I know, oh yes I do, that I am a snark. I am not happy with all things. I can be a bitch. BUT. But, but, but. See. There is so so so much more.

 

I get frustrated, so I write. I get angry, so I write. I get BESIDE MYSELF, so I write. And also and in addition, I get happy, and so I write. I am touched, and so I write. I love, and so I write. I write, I write, I write. Somedays there is rage. Other days, not. If you write often and if you let it all hang out in a public forum, those emotions will be given a voice. And people will read — and react.

 

Still and yet, I let what the emailer wrote consume me. I must be bad, terrible, horrible, in need of intervention. Surely I’m full of rage and venom and vitriol. There is no saving me. Good God woman! Don’t even try. (Because she tried.)

 

And I thought and I thought. I love lessons, as much as I hate them. I know there is a grain of truth, maybe a pound, in who people tell you you are, so listen. I winced at the email because it resonated, because I knew, I knew some of what she said was true as true as the day is long.

 

And some was untrue. The writer of the email had never spoken with me, gotten to know me, absorbed me in any way shape or form to know that I am not full of rage and a constant bitcher/moaner/complainer. And if I were? IF I WERE? I’m not saying it’s right, God knows, but I am ON MY OWN PATH, and I will COME TO KNOW THINGS when the mile markers present themselves, and I know in my deepest nucleus that I WANT TO BE BETTER and sometimes? I AM NOT and the people I surround myself with? Are the people who are traveling on paths too. And if you’ve already arrived at the end destination? That’s wonderful. Wave to me from the bleachers. But respect that everyone finishes at their own pace. I had a friend who summed it up once: “If you are already enlightened, light up others, don’t rub your light in another’s face so they can’t see.”

 

I’m not saying the emailer did that. How could I? I don’t know her. And if she’s on her path, she may be at the point where she is reaching out to help others best she knows how. THAT is lovely and fine. Still something pulled at me, so I forwarded the email to a few trusted friends. Honestly? I wanted to hear that I wasn’t so bad and that those who knew my soul — the deepest, darkest reaches — could confirm it wasn’t full of rage soot.

 

And on and on. But one friend in particular, a beautiful, angel friend with wise words always to say, told me: “Maybe the lesson of this email is for you to be sure in who you are.

 

Words that struck a chord in me more resonant that the original email.

 

But I’ll have to tell you why later.

 

Right now? I’m still processing.

 

Swappin’

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I plan to submit something for PROMPTuesday soon, because I can’t stand letting a spooky “what’s in the basement” story go unexplored, but first: let’s talk more superficial things.

 

Like clothes and shoes and miscellaneous knicks and knacks.

 

So maybe you know about my passion for thrifting? I took it a step further last night, but wait:

 

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A moment of silence for the new Steve Madden shoes I found at the Salvation Army for two dollars and 50 cents ($2.50). New, unworn, and non-skeevy.

 

I can’t stop gloating about these shoes. It’s very unflattering and I do apologize.

 

BUT TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS!

 

Does that make me cool or trashy?

 

I haven’t decided.

 

In related news, I thought it’d be neat to put together a “swap” party, where us ladies brought the clothes we don’t wear anymore. Also the shoes, the jewelry, the unused purses, unopened beauty products, outgrown kids’ clothes and dusty household items for others to browse and take if they were so inclined. At first, I was doubtful it would work. Did anybody really want unused Dove deodorant in a baby powder scent?

 

Yep, someone did.

 

But backing up for a moment…

 

I methodically went through my closet and heartlessly ripped clothes off the hanger that I hadn’t worn in a year or longer. These items included the gut-hugging faux concert t-shirt, the tank top I never found the right bra for, and the tight dress I never fit into despite repeated sacrifices to the diet gods.

 

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I packed it all up, cut some pita, spooned hummus for an appetizer and headed to my friend’s house where we all gently laid tossed our clothes in “sectors” (pants, dresses, coats, shoes, etc.). Home goods and the aforementioned Dove deodorant hung out on the kitchen table.

 

clothes

 

I’ve got to tell you that at first there was shyness. No one wanted to adopt the crazed garage saler mentality in front of friends, so we quietly conversed and ate cake gulped wine/cookies/meatballs for about an hour.

 

Then, things went bananas.

 

First, my friend snatched up the Seven bootcut jeans (even though I told her they didn’t fit her right, which was a bald-faced lie); then there went the backpacks, the hurricane vases, the Banana Republic silk cami, the cookbooks, the wine caddy, even the freaking deodorant.

 

Lo! The swap party rocked.

 

Since my goal remained to get rid of stuff, and not accumulate more, I chose a few well-edited items:

 

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Just a few things for the girls’ room, an MP3 player for Toots, and a pair of Paper Denim & Cloth jeans. Because a girl’s gotta have 453 pieces of denim in her life.

 

I need to tell you: this party went off without a hitch. Everyone walked away happy and either unloaded old crap or left saddled with new crap. Even the potluck chocolate cake went to a lucky swapper.

 

And I’m not even kidding you.

 

I think you should have a swap party too.

 

Do it for the environment.

 

And of course, the 454th piece of denim.

 

P.S. To swap online, check out my friend MommyPie‘s, Swap Mamas site.

 

PROMPTuesday #109: What’s in the Basement?

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

You’re right. This story needs a good fictional ending. So please read it again and then tell me:

 

What’s in the basement?

 

Write the ending.

 

Please post your submission in the comments OR post in your blog and leave a link to your blog in the comments.

 

First time to PROMPTuesday? Read a bit about it here.
Want to see what’s been written in the past? Catch up on the PROMPTuesdays archive here.