Monday, December 28, 2009

Bad to Worse to Better Again

(Pre-Script: This post best digested as the song, "Superman," # 9 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
If I have learned anything so far in this life, which is questionable, it's that sometimes things have to go from bad to worse before they start to get better. This, I believe, is a good thing. It's good to give yourself space to breathe. The other option is either perfectionism, or complete slovenliness. If you live your life always having to be perfect, you will be frustrated and never able to rest. If you live your life in complete slovenliness, you will be frustrated and never able to rest. Also there will be bugs in your bed and your hair that never allow you to rest. Also in your clothes. Also your own stench will keep you awake.
It's healthy to remember that there is a season, time, place for everything, but that not everything is for every season, time, and place. Sometimes it's time to make the mess. Sometimes it's time to clean up the mess. Sometimes it's time to add to the mess before you clean it up. Sometimes if you try to get to it right away, you will be too tired to do it well. Then you will be snappy and sharp with everyone around you. Sometimes, just sleep on it and get to it the next day when you are rested. Or sometimes, just add to the mess the next day, before getting to the clean up part THE NEXT day. It's healthy. It's breathing, and giving yourself space to be breathe and be what you are. You are not a perfect robot. You are not a lazy slob. You are human. Be gentle with yourself. Be graceful towards yourself. Be kind to yourself. Only then can you be gentle, graceful, and kind to others.
*Someone wants to stop me here and say, "NO, it's not true, Michelle; I am harsh with myself, but kind to others." To which I say, whoever you are, you are fooling yourself. Trust me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

...And you thought I was from Detroit...

(Pre-Script: This post will remind you exactly where you came from when read as the song,"32 Flavors," #21 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
You have heard it said before: "You can take the girl out of her clothes, but you can't take the clothes out of the girl." Or no, you probably have not heard that before, seeing as I just made that up.
I met a lady at church today. She told me that she and her family came here from Washington D.C.. Folks, when that woman told me she was from Washington D.C., I believed her. Granted, she's lived here for the past 9 years, but when she told me she was from Washington D.C., I believed her. She seemed, Oh how do I put this? She seemed Downright Political. I'm not sure if it was the conservative bob, or the confidence in her tone when she said, "We're all a part of the same country," and the gleam in her eye when she said it, too, but I believed her. Even her wedding ring looked Washington D.C. to me. Even her quilted brown jacket. Even her sensible shoes. And I won't even tell you about the man sitting next to her whom I assumed to be her husband. (Oh, okay, you twisted my arm hard enough, here's a teaser: He looked Completely Congressional. Don't ask me to describe his physical appearance, because I just did.)
Now folks, this bothered me because I realized something very important. I realized that I have a problem. I have lived in San Jose, California, my entire life. By "My entire life," I actually mean not my actual entire life, just the entire part of which I have a conscious memory. My parents tell me that I was born and spent the first two years of my life in Portland, Oregan, but as I have no working memory of anything Oregonian, they could have filled in the blank with any location, and it still would have remained just a blank space in the canvas of my memory, on which they could have colored any geographical landscape.*
The fact that I have basically lived in one city my entire life (except for the few college years I spent living in the cute town of Saratoga, which is attached to San Jose-: literally attached, as in, you can stand with one foot in San Jose and the other in Saratoga in certain spots-I forgot about that until just now) means that I am not as diverse and cultured as I would like to think that I am. I have been tricked into thinking that I am a vast, diverse, well rounded person because I live in a place where people who actually are vast, diverse, and from everywhere else in the world come to live, and to work, and to enjoy the crazy good weather conditions, overpriced standard of living, and close proximity to the Pacific Ocean and also to the mountains. Don't hate me because this area is beautiful. Hate my parents for that.
Can you imagine how it feels to realise that you are not diverse among all this diversity?? Oh the irony. At least if I had grown up in Nebraska, I would know that I was Midwestern, because everyone around me was also Midwestern, and positively landlocked. Not that you can't get out-just that I am guessing here, and by guessing I mean totally stereotyping but meaning no harm when I say it- that I doubt there is as much cultural diversity in Nebraska as there is in California, if only because California is connected to an Ocean, and Nebraska has no Oceans attached to it, and studies over thousands of years have shown that places attached to Oceans tend to draw people in, if only the people who are in boats looking for a place to land. This is true.
When I was 16, I spent 4 days in Ohio. When I got off of the airplane in Dayton or somesuch city which escapes me now, I instantly believed that I was in Ohio. Even without the signs on the wall reminding me. I think it was all the khaki pants and penny loafers in 1992. I'm not sure. There was definitely an air of "We are by and large a more conservative population than the culture from which the flying bullet from which you just emerged has brought you; we are behind the fashion about 2-5 years, but we are really okay with that. At least, for the next 2-5 years, we are okay with that."
I wonder if I were to move to another part of the country and live there for 9 years, if people would still be able to instantly tell that I came from here. Not the Northern Part of California; too Mountainous and Nature Loving; not the Southern part of California; too Carb-ophobic and Overpriced Vehicle-ish; but the middle part, the busy Silicon Valley part, just an exact mix of the Northern and Southern parts that combines to make it's own diverse combination. Or at least I sure like to believe that it does.
Hi, My name is Michelle, and I live in San Jose. Still.


*(I do have a memory of a visit to the Pediatrician's office when I was a child. When I recounted this memory to my mother, she said "you just described the Dr.'s office you went to in Portland." this could have been any Dr.'s office anywhere in the world, but that's not important here. What's important is that I was not yet 2 when this remembered event took place. I believe that individuals with this young of a memory are classified as either "Brilliant" or "Extremely Gifted;" the exact label alludes me just now; I digress.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Snow in the background

(Pre-Script: This post pairs best with either the song, "Winter, by Joshua Radin, #29 on the playlist, or the song,"Winter, by Tori Amos, #32 on the playlist, or both. Go down to the playlist, click on one or both songs, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
From my vantage point, There were low hanging clouds, and above them, snow on the mountain tops. But since both the clouds and the snow are white, it was hard to differentiate between the two. It looked like white mash with a smattering of green specks; mashed potatoes topped with chives.
For the past few weeks, I have been eating as if the government depended on it. As if the Queen declared, "let them eat cake," and I took it on as my personal mission. Freedom for the people. Freedom to eat cake, and have your cake, too, and if you run out of frosting, there is more in the bowl where that came from.
It's hard to sleep when your stomach aches from hunger, and from freedom to overindulge. It's hard to sleep when the same stomach aches for both things simultaneously. But on the hills in the distance, I see snow, and the clouds hang low, so that if you were there on that mountain, all you would see is fog all around, and not landscape, and certainly not the summit, though you may be very close to it. From this distance, it looks like aching beauty. It looks like a metaphor for everything I could never put into words.
But in two hours, the clouds will lift, the snow will begin to melt. Things will be clear that once seemed to blur together. I'm not sure which I like better.
Actually, that's not true. I like the white haze of everything better. I like the uncertain cold, the permission to freeze myself indefinitely, too; freeze away from movement, freeze away from feeling; Numb stillness is pretty. Movement creates sweat. Movement creates. What am I responsible for, and what
do I merely look at from a distance? From what do I walk away, or up towards?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Safe Place

(Pre-Script: This post will chill you to the bone when read as the song, " A Thousand Winter's Melting," # 15 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Sometime between when I entered Target to when I exited Target this evening, the sky began to pour. And pour. And pour it's little heart out. Imagine my surprise as I pushed my very full-of-heavy-things-including-but-not-limited-to-milk and-the-free-carton-of-orange-juice-I-got-for-buying-3-Quaker-brand-cereal-items out the exit door. Me, in my thin sweater, completely impractical but hopelessly cute peep toe high heels, jeans which everyone knows are the worst item of clothing to have to wear while wet, and no sort of jacket or umbrella, just getting mercilessly dumped on.
There was a man in my peripheral vision whom I was keeping peripheral track of, for he struck me as the stalker type. I thought it odd that he was in the same pharmaceutical aisle as I at the same time as I, then later as I backtracked for something else I had forgotten, he was also there at the same time, then at the checkout, he was the customer just behind me. Mmmhmm, you see? A girl can never be too careful of these things. He seemed to be answering his cell phone just before he walked out, which could only mean to me that he was signaling his other thug buddies who were hiding out in the parking lot that *I*, unsuspecting prospective victim of the evening, was about to exit the building. so I was leery of walking out the door of the Target, into the night.
Oh, how dark, how black a night can become. Mind you, night time is full of creeping things which do not creep about during the day, and the pouring rain does not stop them. At least I don't think it does. And one of those types of creeping things that comes out at night, besides owls and opossums, is stalker-ish men with ill intent, and their buddies. So I kept this man in peripheral awareness, and as I exited the Target to my well lit parking spot, I called out a quick but fervent, "Help me, Jesus!" up towards The Very Heavens which were pummeling me.
I made it to my car, where I still had to unload the cart full of heavy type grocery items and sundries, all the while being rained on, bitter cold, arctic rain, apparently the only kind that comes out after dark. Or maybe it's the only kind that comes out after dark when it is aiming itself at unprepared girls in thin sweaters, jeans, and hopelessly cute peep toed high heels. I kept thinking, "this is uncomfortable, and man, it would be even more uncomfortable to be knocked down by the dude or his thugs in this bitter cold rain."
However, and this is a huge however, Stalker type dude did not follow me. Or maybe he tried to and was stopped by a blinding angel which only he could see, which terrified him speechless and temporarily paralyzed, and instantly and forever cured of any desire to ever stalk, thug, or terrorize, or hang out with those who do. I hope so, because it makes for a better story. All I know is that the inside of my car was dry, the doors locked instantly, and I drove home through the rain as it poured down all around me.
It's a crazy world of unpredictable bouts of rain and pouring and bitter cold, often when you least expect it, and have done nothing to prepare for the inevitability that something might just maybe start dumping on you from who knows where at any given moment. It is also a world full of stalker-ish men, who sometimes turn out not to be stalker-ish at all, but just fellow Target shoppers with inconvenient, extremely annoying timing.
As I pulled up to the house, I saw that my world contained one safe dry spot, just one, and it was under Derek's truck in my driveway.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chocolate is both a Vegetable and a Dessert.

(Pre-Script: This post will satisfy your appetite for that which you hunger if you read it as the song, "Going the Distance," by Cake, #53 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. * I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Like so many of you, I live in a state of perpetual frustration. Don't everyone break out in gigantic sobs at once. It's just that I would love to be invited over to someone's house for dinner, arrive, and have them say, "Guess what, we're having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner." But no one would ever does that. No one would ever do that. Instead, they decide it would be better to wear themselves out cooking some variation of a meat next to a vegetable medley on a plate. I married Derek, the King of Vegetable Medley Eaters, (0r, DtKVME) so at least he's got the whole "if someone invites us over for dinner" thing going for him. They neglected to take into account the fact that I hate the vegetable medley with a fierce passion, so I have to sit there and figure out creative ways to shift my vegetables around so no one notices my shunning of the dish... Or, better yet, a way to push my portion onto Derek's plate, and hope that he scarfed his down fast enough that the host will not notice, but will only think, by Derek's lack of knowing how to take bite sized bites, and my slight of hand and deft speediness at vegetable plate transfer, that I was in fact the one who scarfed down my vegetable medley with all the grace and agility of a speed skater on oiled ice with a slightly downward slope.
"Don't blink or you'll miss it."
"Wanna see it again?"
Then the host might look at me, famished as I am from only eating the smallish portion of meat that I was able to chew and gnaw to swallowable size and consistency, see my emaciated facial features and say,
"You must have really loved those vegetables. Would you like some more?"
To which I will swooningly say in an understated manner,
"No thank you; I am saving room for dessert."
At this point, Derek usually looks at me with an expression of,
"How can you be thinking about dessert at a time like this?!? I am still contemplating a third helping of the vegetable medley, but first I must tell a really long, drawn out, detailed story about the inner workings of a gizmo which you have heard in painful detail already every other 79 times someone invited us over for dinner."
When at last the gracious host brings out dessert, it will be served on a tiny dish. In tiny portions. Microscopic, even. It might even just be a sorbet with fresh berries on top. I don't know who decided to move the fruit from the main meal course to the dessert course, but let's be clear: I was never fooled.
It doesn't really matter if the host serves warm brownies, soft chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, fudge. Just give me chocolate. Give me ice cream. Give me cakedy cakness, and frosting, frosting, frosting! For I do a lot of exercising, and run a lot of miles, just to be able to indulge in dessert. But after the initial microscopic dessert plate, including the metal rim, (just in case a taste of sweetness got stuck there, and was missed by my teeny tiny spoon) has been licked clean, I find that 99.7% of hosts do not offer seconds.
Now stop right there, go back and recall with me, if you will, the reaction the host has to my hasty excavation of the vegetables, namely the part where he or she assumes I want more, and offers it to me, hardly taking my repeated "no's" without things turning to almost physical blows...Almost.
Yes, there is an inconsistency here, some plot to destroy me. Derek does nothing to further my cause, for two bites into his dessert, he pushes his dish away and says "Oh, man, I'm so full." Blink.
"MAN, that broccoli was PERFECT! Michelle, you should get that recipe."
*no comment on if I got that recipe or not.*
"Um, Excuse me, Michelle,"
my Dear Imaginary Reader is thinking,
"...but aren't you being a bit ungrateful? You sound like such a *045#$*%)!!!! right now!"
Dear Imaginary Reader, I can see why you would think this, but I'm afraid you have mistaken my one tone of voice for my OTHER tone of voice. I am not ungrateful, I am merely suggesting that the people inviting us over need not go to so much work.
"Oh, now I understand. Carry on."
Thank you.
So in short, Darlings, it's just what I told my Imaginary Reader just now. Don't wear yourselves out so much. Just break out the P.B and J's already.
In the meantime, Derek thinks he died and went to Vegetable Medley Heaven.
You see what I go through?


*All claims made in the Pre-Script are purely hypothetical, 64% of the time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I read a book about a horse and bought a new nailpolish within the same week.

(Pre-Script: This post will bless your heart when read as the song," Sweet Pea," #22, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

...Aren't horses always named things like "Blessed Assurance," or "Sweet Passage of Time?" I have never been a horse person, per se, but that does not mean that I am not pro horse,* and if I had one, I would name it horse-ily.
The other day, I bought a bottle of nail polish called "Plum Licorice." I was in love. I was ready to name a pet or 5th born hypothetical child Plum Licorice. This is no shock to anyone who knew the inner workings of my brain over 10 years ago when I was finagling my first pregnant belly around, dreaming up lists of names. Even when baby A's name had been decided, I continued dreaming up names. It's fun to dream up names. Throughout the pregnancy, I would throw out the idea of naming my firstborn Plum. I was slightly Plum obsessed, as evidenced by the plates still in my kitchen cabinets, with large red plums in the center. Gwyneth Paltrow has since named her daughter Apple. I may not have been a famous movie star, but even I could tell that naming one's offspring a fruit automatically sounds like you are bestowing upon him or her a blessing of gorgeous health. Come home to Mama, Plum.
I was vehemently vetoed.
I moved it to my Pet Name List instead.
Let me point out here that the Pet Name List is a hypothetical, since I am not warm enough to the idea of anyone living in my house who is not human. This list is also readily available if any of you wants to name something, but has hit a naming block. Just ask me, I'll bestow name after name upon you, golden names I have cherished even without an actual living being on which to bestow them. Come to me, all who are harboring nameless pets and/or children, and I will give you names.
Here is a small smattering of the names you will hear:
"But Michelle,"
I can hear my dear imaginary Reader interrupting me just now,
"Michelle, did you just say Licorice, like in the nail polish color you mentioned earlier?"
Gentle Reader, how very astute of you! Yes, Licorice was always on my list, even before I ever saw the nail polish. I am so glad you are paying attention to my words, not just skimming.
"Of course Michelle, that's what Imaginary Reader's do. We read, pay attention, absorb."
And I love you for it, Gentle Reader.
Moving On...
In short, Plum Licorice now has a place of honor on my Pet-And-Whatever-Else-You-Want-To-Name-List, and though I stole it from a nail polish, I love it as if it were my own. The merging of two beautiful things I already love packaged into one?
Gone, I tell you. I am completely gone.
My name is Michelle, and If I had a horse, I would name it Plum Licorice.


*Don't get me wrong, horses are fantastic! I just don't think my neighbors would like having to call me repeatedly about fence repairs after my horse breaks down theirs, then starts eating off of their fruit trees and their lawns...and there goes the neighborhood again.
**You may have been appalled when you noticed that the pet names lost their wholesome goodness to sugary confections. Live a little, people. Gosh!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Inside Always Looking Out

(Pre-Script: This poem enjoys being read as the song, " Blackbird," #14 on the playlist, plays softly in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, lower the volume, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

the leaves have changed brilliantly,
the sky is trying
to rain.
There are places
between dark flat bottom clouds
where sunlight is, so
I am convinced
there must be a rainbow, though
I can't see it.
we have eaten,
we are warm, mostly clean.
Inside, we are always looking out.
I hear laughter and someone softly singing,
which does not mean there is no ache
for what is missing,
but we are here now,
with what we always have,
with what is all around and deep within us.
We are here
We can look at each other,
smile, frown, blink.
We can look at each other.
We can draw brilliantly colored pictures
and subtly colored pictures.
Inside, we look out
Unsure of the places where out and in meet-
Inside, we look out
the window and wait,
each for something different,
but something the same, too.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

What's so obvious about the Moon

(Pre-Script: This post becomes obvious when read as the song, " Mysterious Ways," #23 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Tonight when we were driving,
He said, "The moon looks cool right now."
I looked up at it and said, "thumbnail."
He said, "You can see the whole outline of it, if you look closely and concentrate."
I looked closely and concentrated. I could not see the whole outline of it.
He said, "It's about the size it is when kids sit on it in pictures."
I thought, but did not say out loud, "with a fishing pole hanging down."
Out loud, I said, "I think that when the kids sit on it, it's a little bigger than that."
He said, "You think?"
I said, "I think."


Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Reeses Peace

(Pre-Script: To fully enjoy the moment you are in while reading this post, you will need to read it as the song, " Little Wonders," #55 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
In my world, going to the movies is really just an excuse to eat candy. Specifically Reeses Pieces. I don't know about you, but when the lights darken in that theater, and I am sitting in front of that huge screen watching preview after preview after preview after-hey, what movie did I come to see again? I forget, so many previews I have been watching!-Ahem, anyway, at this moment, when I place a Reeses Pieces piece in my mouth, it is like a brilliant moment in history. A historically moment of brilliantly executed perfection wherein all of my senses are in perfect alignment, together letting out a collective sigh of rest and enjoyment. Soak it in, my darlings. Soak it in. For this moment does not come very often, and is therefore all the more precious to savor.
Oh, to sit in a large cushy chair with a bag of candy for two hours in darkness and look at a large screen.
Y'all, It's the simple things in life that get me.


On second thought...

(Pre-Script: This post will make you feel alive and well when you read it as the song that makes you feel the most alive plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, pick a song to click on, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I'd like to amend myself: The part where I said "just say 'no' to drugs," what I meant was, "just say 'yes' to the right drugs!"* I am about to embark on a multi-drug venture. Relax, they are all perfectly legal in the country in which I reside. My brain is thanking me over and over again for taking them, too. This is because my brain can actually function again! Woo hoo! I like that! I am not merely living in a fog world wherein my head is detached from anything, and just floating around, looking for a pillow on which to fall, then rapidly lose consciousness. Life is not viewed as a fight seen in "The Matrix" when I adhere to my tight Dr. prescribed regime of complex prescription drug mixing. Hello world, I am back...sort of.


*Only legal and prescribed by your Doctor, of course.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blame it on the Swine

(Pre-Script: It is possible that this post will keep you from dying of the latest pandemic when read as the song, " How To Save A Life," #33 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Everyone don't gasp at once, but I have symptoms of a cold/flu. I know, I know, it's probably the Swine Flu, this being 2009 and all. But we aren't supposed to call it Swine Flu, are we? We are supposed to call it, "H1N1," so as not to offend the swine and those who love them.
At one time, Oprah said she would never eat cow meat again, and it caused an uproar. Apparently, those who love and raise cows were worried that this steak and burger loving nation would forget their hearts desire, their "Steak, it's what's for dinner," *and "2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun,"* and "Where's the beef"* commercials and completely abandon all cow meat because Oprah said she would, and everyone knows who Oprah is. The cow advocates forgot that public figures who are also members of this here United States of America have freedom of speech. They also have freedom of opinion. The rest of the members of the nation being run under such a Constitution also have the freedom to have their own thoughts and opinions, and are not required to live exactly how Oprah is saying that she is going to start living, even if she is encouraging her fellow everyman to "Live your best life."* The rest of the country is able to decide if living their best lives involves steak or not. If it involves swine or not.
I bet that Swine and Those Who Love Them are offended by the term, "Swine." It is negative to pigs and pork. Swine sounds dirty. Pig sounds so very Wilber. Pig is a pink word. "Swine" is the color you get when you mix all the watercolors in the Crayola Watercolor palate: Some indescribable mesh of gray brown pea green. Gross. Swine are germ and fly infested. Pigs inspire gleeful snort laughing. But let me remind the lovers of swine and pigs that these lovable creatures were discriminated against long ago, as far back as the Old Testament of the bible,WAY before the word "Swine" even existed.
These days, relax, I don't think anyone who loves bacon, "Everything's better with bacon,"* pork, "The other white meat"* and ham, "The pink Easter meat"** is going to hightail it out of there anytime soon, claiming to have "seen the light." Pigs are in business, baby. Big time.
As for my own personal case of Swinus Influenzus,*** can just go now.

*All various slogans that I gently borrowed here.

**I made this one up all by myself

***AKA "Swine Flu."****

****Only I made up the Latin Name for Swine Flu, too.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Easy Living

(Pre-Script: This post is likely to make everything in your life 22% better if you read it while the song,"Closer," #16 on the playlist, or "Closer," #31 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Now, some of you are thinking, "I don't need no stinkin' people. I am happy with my ice cream, treadmill, direct TV, and decent Internet access." some of you really do think this way, and by "some of you," I actually mean "me." I think this way. I am a person who can live on little; just ice cream, a treadmill, Direct TV, and decent Internet service, as previously listed. That's only 4 things.
Now, I know what you are thinking: "How can she be so completely low maintenance?"
But let me caution you: don't envy me. It does not flatter either one of us.
And there are these people who are really good with computers. There are these people who fix your cable if it has issues, or you want to upgrade or downgrade. There are even a handful of them that I might possibly allow to work on mine, should my fantastic Internet access and/or cable prove not to be enough, and I find myself asking myself, "what is wrong here?," then having no answer because if I knew the answer, I would never have had to ask the question of myself in the first place.
I mean, all I know is that I just clicked a few buttons and bam, here's a blog...but that is beside the point...
So I need the people, at least some of them.
Oh, and let's not forget the gal who works at the grocery store that sells my favorite ice cream.
And sometimes, dag nabbit,
I even like the people. I am, after all, an extrovert. That is, if you trust every personality test I have ever taken.
Well, not all of the people, all of the time, and I definitely require my people to smell good. Or at least, not to smell like any smell of skin and dirt and "I just woke up this way"-ness.
and I certainly am not feeling bff closeness with the guy who just ate raw onions for lunch, and they have yet to clear completely out of his pours.
But beyond that, as long as you don't do anything to hurt or irritate me, we can be friends. And if you are naturally witty, but also capable of deep, analytical conversation, and above all, a firstborn in sibling birth order,* and if you don't have a tendency to take your own needs for superiority, validation, and a sense of self worth out on me in passive aggressive or just full frontal aggression ways, then we can definitely be friends.
blink blink
like I said, "low maintenance."
(don't envy it.)

*I have a tendency to be naturally drawn to firstborns like a magnetism in the universe, which cannot be helped, and I usually don't find out they are first borns until later...then I go, "Duh, no wonder I like you!" However, I do have a small smattering of non first born friends, as well. Or at least, I put up with them. Hee hee. ( Joke, people. Please don't take offense.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fancy Apples

(Pre-Script: This post is fancy and crisp when read as the song, "Everybody's Changing," #56 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

I tell you the truth; there is much rejoicing in this city over one Target deciding to add a full grocery department, complete with frozen and perishable items including but not limited to meat and produce, than over 10 new grocery store chains. The Target closest to my house has decided to do just that. This is great news. I have already been there and purchased perishable items which were previously unpurchasable at this store. I have brought home boxes of Honey Crisp Apples, which my family and I have devoured like ravenous lions. Honey Crisp Apples from Target! Who can imagine such a glorious thing?! They were crunchy, delicious, and the sounds of the children crying, "Mom, may I have an apple?"
"Mom, may I have an apple?"
"Mom, may I have another apple?"
could be heard throughout the house. Possibly the neighborhood. You'll have to ask my neighbors. This was usually followed by a child saying, "I am going to get all the seeds out of the middle, then plant them in the backyard, and grow my own tree."
"That's nice, dear, (I would then think to myself,) You plant your seeds, you water that soil...and in 50 years, your grandchildren will maybe be able to eat from the fruit of your labor." I don't tell them this, though. I don't mind if they keep eating apples, planting the seeds, and expecting to be harvesting apples next week. I am not one to squelch their dreams. Dream big, children. For you never know when YOUR seeds will be the magic seeds that actually produce full grown trees with fruit at Ripley's Believe It Or Not speed. Which may actually not be that improbable these days, since the apples I purchased at Target had probably been injected with hormones anyway; isn't everything injected with hormones these days? So I am just saying.
Last night, I brought Derek into the newly remodeled Target. It was his first visit since they went full grocery on us. He made sure to tell me that he wanted to peruse the new perishable section. He wanted to actually see for himself the mind boggling reality of cantaloupes, salad kits, and whole frozen chickens (Oh MY!) being sold in Target, our Target, the Target we have, let's face it, taken for granted over the past, oh, 15 years or so. Well, no longer, I tell you. It will take us at least a month or two for the shock and wonder of this new fangled Target to wear off, then we will go back to our regularly scheduled take it for granted-ness. In the meantime, we perused. Then Derek asked me, "Did they have to join the Grocers Union?"
Y'all, go back and read that again, it is worth re-reading.
I at first said nothing, that's how offended I was by his failure to once again realize that I am not as omniscient as he likes to believe. In my mind, I answered, "Well, when I sat in on the Board meeting last month, they had decided that..."
But out loud, what I said was, "I have no idea what you are talking about."and, let's face it y'all, frankly, it did not even occur to me even care to know such facts; I already keep track of so much in this relatively small brain of mine, I mean seriously. It is a wonder some days the thing doesn't just explode on me, so full it is of mindless prattle.
As Derek made himself delirious paroozing the new produce aisle and tossing out produce questions I'm sure I'd have had to have gone to agricultural post graduate school to be able to actually form a coherent answer to, I set my eyes on the spot where I had previous purchased crisp, neat boxes of Honey Crisp Apples, only to find that the crisp, neat boxes of Honey Crisp apples had gone the way of last years purple acid washed denim from the Juniors Section of this very store.
In their place was a bag labeled "Fancy Apples."
What kind of apples are "Fancy," you wonder?
I know, I wondered the same thing. What could be more fancy than Honey Crisp, right? RIGHT? Right.
The Apples in the bag were Gala.
That's right, folks, not Fuji, not Pink Lady, heck, not even Golden Delicious. Just plain, old, mushy when you take a bite, and not even Granny Smith uses them for baking, Gala.
So There goes my new fangled Target with newly remodeled full grocery section, already losing it's lustre.
So I guess you could say, there goes the neighborhood.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thank You, Nancy Reagan!

(Pre-Script: This post will wane nostalgic when read as the songs, "100 years," by Five For Fighting, #2 on the playlist, then "Gone," by Switchfoot, #48 on the playlist, play in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on these songs, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

When I was growing up in the '80's, and they showed us that commercial with the fried egg that went, "This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs, any questions?" I was pretty sure that I had no questions. This doesn't mean I never had one too many cookies as a form of subtle self medication, therefore becoming a momentary drug to me, or never made decisions that, in hindsight, it is clear would have been better had I remembered to "just say no."
But you see, I already lived through the '80's, and I would like to think that I am moving forward with my life, not going backwards. So when I walk into Target and the first thing I see is a flashback to that era through which I already passed and emerged only slightly scarred, I am reminded that a whole new crew of teenagers is cropping up. A whole new batch of teenagers is constantly being created, apparently in very much the same mold, and now, apparently, much of the same clothing, as the teenagers that appeared throughout my own adolescence, and now still appear in my occasional nightmares.
"...but Michelle, excuse me?"
Oh, of course, it's my Dear Imaginary Reader, interrupting my thoughts yet again...yes, what is it, Gentle Reader?
"Michelle, aren't the teenagers these days more sophisticated, technological than teenagers of the past?"
"Gentle Reader, the entire world is more sophisticated and tech savvy than it ever was before. Yet you will recall that there have always been tech savvy, sophisticated teenagers, in all eras, apropos to the time.
"Wow, Michelle, I guess you are right. I am going to have to think about that one for awhile. Please, continue. I am fascinated to hear what you have to say next."
Yes, well.
I was just going to say that I recently heard a famous designer say that if you were here to wear the styles the first time they came around, don't wear them the second time around.
I am not one to live my life by the sayings of clothing designers, but to this comment, I say, "Thank you, famous designer who I am choosing to keep nameless!"
Although, if you happen to see a resurgence of pegged legged jeans wearing 30 something's around town, just know that I may or may not have been one of the spear headers of this campaign. So I am just saying, don't be surprised if you see it.
although between the period of time that I walk around as the solo peg legged woman in, oh, Safeway, for example, or the local park, or whatever, and the time period when the trend actually catches on, I'm going to have to get used to getting a lot of funny looks and snickers.
-Someone wants to stop me here and say that I am trying to recreate my youth. That's not it, though. It's more about separating the wheat from the chaff, now that I am older and wiser. And, um, I'll decide later which was which.
Happy Pegging.
And remember,
"Just say no."
-it still applies, you PYT's*.


*Pretty Young Thing's, which is a nod to MJ**

**Michael Jackson

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kangaroo Train

(Pre-Script: To catch a whiff of where this post may be taking you, read is as the song, "Going the Distance," #53 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
If you don't do a thing, it doesn't get done.
The sock on the floor that annoys me every time I walk by it does not magically put itself away in the middle of the night as I sleep, yet somehow I never give up hope (hope hope!) that it will be gone the next morning by the time I walk back down the hallway. Yet the next morning, when I see the sock still lying there in a foreign place where it does not belong, (unless it is still on a foot that is standing on that exact spot) I am abruptly awakened by a sense that I have been deliberately defied. I am shocked as if I have been slapped in the face.
Curses, foiled again! a sock.
My 5 year old son Ethan gets undressed like some sort of creature shedding it's skin, leaving pieces of itself all over. I would have said "like a snake," but snakes are much neater about the shedding process. They at least leave their entire skin in one spot, for some happy go lucky young child, such as my Ethan, to find and carry home as a treasure, and quite possibly *dazzle* his mother with in the process.
But I digress.
Nothing about Ethan has ever been very snake like. He is much more likely the distant descendant of a kangaroo. This is why he can never leave just one neat little pile. This is why the offending sock is in a random spot where socks currently not on anyone's foot do not belong. Meanwhile, Ethan has happily bounced along to the next thing, and he is not at all bothered by any wayward socks, as the moment it left his body, it was completely erased from his consciousness. Do you hear what I am telling you, people? My own offspring, flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone, is definitely not mind of my mind, completely NOT bothered by that which bothers me to the point of near itchiness.
So I can either remove the offending sock myself, or, more annoyingly but ultimately more important, (at least this is what I, and every parenting magazine I read, [which is none, but I catch a whiff of here and there] have been telling myself) I must remind him.
This is not easy to do, since his entire focus has been recaptured, and whatever now has his attention has completely swallowed it, and is not going to willingly give it up to anything resembling his adorable mother, especially if she is the same one who tends to tell him to do adorable things, like pick up his socks.
"Socks? What socks? I don't know of any socks."-so says Ethan's unconsciousness to his consciousness; for his unconsciousness DOES remember the sock, it does, it DOES!! But it does not WANT to remember, does not WANT to have to concentrate on anything beyond that with which it is currently consumed!
Yes, BUT!
After all, I am his adorable mother, and I understand this train of thought!! For I am 33, and it has taken me, yes, 33 years to derail my own train that I used to ride gleefully down that same track, back and forth, happily WOOT WOOTing along, (Okay, so I still ride the train from time to time, let's not kid ourselves.) and as such, I know that if I don't call his attention to his piles and piles of "stuff," and require him to pick it up himself...well, just imagine a fast moving freight train picking up momentum and speed as it leaves piles of junk in it's wake of dust, with a bouncing kangaroo conducting at the wheel. Woot woot indeed.
Go pick up your sock, kid.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Conversing over Coffee with Crusoe

(Pre-Script: This poem is intended to be read as the song, " How To Save A Life," #33 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

If I have been rescued from a deserted island
by an unexpected hovering helicopter with a step ladder
(I was looking up at the sky as I climbed it's rungs,
I was noticing how bright the clouds were,
like no clouds ever before -)
If I sat on the flight and shivered, remembering;
If I was taken to the place from which I had been exiled
by choice or by happenstance,
-who can say how these things
come upon us-
(but I see now that it is a small inkling of both,
intricately woven together like a cruel cloth that covers you,
making you lose all sense of direction, "where's the compass again?"
and before you know it your raft is too far gone,
your cries are not heard above the noise of waves that crash
and crash and crash into the shore
of someplace you never thought you would be.)
If I have been rescued from that, would I
then go back to dig up my treasure
(I buried it carelessly in the sands of that desolation
I was careless with what was a treasure,
do you hear me?)
Should I now look back?
Would I choose to forget that as I climbed the ladder rungs of an unexpected helicopter rescue
how bright
the clouds hung, as I focused on the sky?
I cannot go back and dig up what I left there, I have come too far
what is lost, I lost, I lost,
(beats my heart and my chest and my lungs- breath deeply-
scour the shelves of what is still inside, create-)
Time, space, water, good soil
will grow something new
that has never flourished before.
what I have is what is in front of me;

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kanye Moments: "I'm going to let you finish..."

(Pre-Script: This post will hit you like a one-two punch if you read it as either the song,"Good Intentions," #19 on the playlist, OR the song, "Everybody's Changing," #56 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on one of those songs, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
There is a cultural phenomenon that happens every Sunday morning in churches of every size and denomination all over America .* It sounds like this:
"I didn't mean to interrupt"
this is most often said by a person who has just interrupted someone else;
it is horse you-know-what, and should be regarded as such.
Usually, the interrupter has approached two people engrossed in conversation before or after church and just started talking talking talking over whatever the current conversation is, or talking to the one party without acknowledging the other. The person addressed is then distracted from the first person he or she had been talking to, and the person not addressed is left standing there feeling irritated and slighted, but with a smile on his or her face as he or she waits for the interrupter to finish talking with the person he or she had been talking with first, then leave...although now the conversation will be different because who knows if they will remember what they were talking about, and the tone will be different, because it is always different after that, and because a little bit of the interrupted person's light has been quenched in that moment.
"I didn't mean to interrupt..."
"I'm going to let you finish..."
...the interrupter then says, with a smile or a nod in your direction, some sort of fill in the blank apology, some sort of "carry on," and blah blah blah good wishes.
horse you-know-what.
Of course you meant to interrupt.
Hello, has the wisdom and logic of Yoda** been lost to this generation? "There is no try, only do?" Because that's true, you know.
There is no "try," only "do."
If you interrupted me, you did not try not to interrupted me. You did Do interrupt me.
You did Do devalue me as a person.
The person who interrupts thinks that he or she is justified in this behavior; his inner dialogue probably goes like this:
"I am in a hurry."
"I have not seen this person all week."
"It is really important to me that I tell this person this thing."
"Everyone is waiting for me at Denny's, and I am starving."
Dude, your crispy hash browns are not more important than the people standing in front of you.
And also, guess what, the person you are interrupting's inner dialogue probably went something like this:
"I am in a hurry."
"I have not seen this person all week."
"It is really important to me that I tell this person this thing."
"Everyone is waiting for me at Denny's and I am starving."
So who's crispy hash browns are more important?
Let's review a little courtesy 101:
DO NOT approach two people engrossed in conversation and immediately start talking over them.
DO NOT approach two people engrossed in conversation and hug one, even if you are silent.
DO NOT stand awkwardly close to two people in conversation so as to let them both know that you are impatiently waiting to talk. Stand a comfortable distance away.
DO THEN let them acknowledge and approach YOU when they are ready.
Hey, maybe churches should have that posted on signs in their lobbies. I mean, the gym I go to has a sign that says "please allow others to work in between sets on weight machines," which is a common courtesy, so why not signs in churches?
"But Michelle, what if it is an emergency?"
-so says my Dear Imaginary Reader.
To which I say, It never is, Gentle Imaginary Reader. It never is.
I have been attending church my entire life, and have been both the interrupted and the interruptee, and trust is NEVER an emergency. It is just inconsiderate immature rudeness.


*This does not only happen at church, but church is the most common place where I have witnessed this particular violation in common sense good manners.

**Of Star Wars. I am not a Star Wars girl, but I know a good bit of wisdom when I hear it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

As God is my stylist, I will never wear ugly again.**

(Pre-Script: This post cleans up nicely when read as the song, "Unwritten," #5 on the playlist, plays in the background. So go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (....still waiting...)

Living free is not just a destination, but a moment by moment choice to be consciously owning and making the best choices which lead to freedom, freely living in a wide and spacious place in which to run freely...
"But Michelle,"
Oh, there is my Dear Imaginary Reader, interrupting my freedom train.
"Michelle, you have used the word 'free' in some form way too many times in that last sentence."
Gentle Imaginary Reader, I am so glad you picked up on that. I did that deliberately to embed the word 'free' into the mind of the reader. Free is the word on the streets. Free is the word of the day.
Now, Gentle Imaginary Reader, if you don't mind, I will now continue where I left off.
...because you got there every second of staying awake and choosing the better thing. Every heartbeat of a moment, choosing the best way. Even when it goes against what everyone else is screaming at you in your face that you are supposed to do.

"You are now free to move about the country."*

But humanity is so greasy and so grief-y, too. Sometimes we identify with our pain and grossness too much. Instead of acknowledging it and doing what needs to be done in spite of, around, and through it, we pull it close like a shawl, our shoulders droop under the weight of it, we burrow our heads in as deeply as we can. "Cover me. I am not living life. I am covered in my greasy grief-y shawl. I am going to just lay here and roll around and around and moan and groan until I fall asleep."
Folks, how do we deal with grease in a pan?? We don't rub it all over the pan, we don't say "This is the pan's natural state, so let it be, let's all ignore the stench and be sympathetic towards it. Let's send it to a workshop or a class." No, we squirt dish soap and hot water into the pan, we scrub it. We get that grease OUT. We leave the pan clean smelling, dry it, put it away, and the next time we need to use the pan, it is ready to be used.
Then, delicious, nutritious things are cooked in the pan. Warm things are served out of the pan. The entire kitchen is enlivened by the smells that emerge from a pan properly used.


*Airline commercial. However, I have forgotten which airline.

**This title is my own little inside joke with myself. You are free to wonder about it.

Alice In Wonderland

(Pre-Script: This post turns itself right side up when paired with the song, "Cornflake girl," #36 on the playlist, plays in the background, so go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

We are living in a backwards world, as though through a mirror. The landscape looks so good from here, even while it is backwards, and awkwardly upside down.
What funny white rabbits we chase down holes that take us deeper and deeper into places we never meant to go...
It's a very confusing way to live.
It is confusing because it is backwards.
Here's how it was originally designed: There are constructs in place, unshakable and sure, and within the confines of these constructs, we are meant to be free, to run, to breath, to laugh without fear, to hope and dream and accomplish much.
What happens instead is that society bashes and kicks at the constructs sturdy base, almost on accident and innocent seeming at first, but with ever increasing determined violence and volition. They try to knock down every construct, they say this leads to freedom, and then they nitpick the areas where we actually are supposed to be able to think and be creative and free.
Go back and read that again.

If our understanding of freedom is backwards, then we will be running full speed ahead in the wrong direction, we will only be gaining momentum, never slowing down until it is too late and we are trapped. The more entrenched we become, the more we will believe we are free, even as the opposite is true.
We are now free- to run into the chains and addictions and heartaches that clench tight. Yet when chains are all you know, and all you see in the lives of those around you, you don't even recognize them as chains, you are numb to muscles you never knew you had, since they have never felt what it was like to be unleashed and exercising.
"The sky's the limit!"
Some may say, but then as you are looking at the sky, society encloses you behind it's own thick glass window, stale and tight.
We are now free-to run straight off of what was meant to be a protected and flourishing land, into the trap that has been deliberately set. The chains get tighter and tighter, even rusting on individual lives.
We are now free- to pay through the nose for keeping up with everyone else around us, yet so long have we been enclosed that we don't even feel it any more. This is not freedom. We are backwards, running towards our own demise.
It looms large.
It is right in front of us.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Adequately Lashed

(Pre-Script: This post will open up to you like a secret crypt when read as the song, "Big Yellow Taxi," #28 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Be wary when you see a commercial that suggests that something about you may be inadequate, but when the term "inadequate" is not actually defined.
Let's define the term "Inadequate Eyelashes," which appeared in a recent commercial for a product that supposedly causes your eyelashes to grow longer than they already are.
An inadequate eyelash would be one that does not keep dirt and dust particles out of a person's eyes. An eyelash that does what it is meant to do, i.e., keep dirt and dust particles out of a person's eyes, is adequate. There is nothing wrong with it. But when a commercial starts off by saying "If you have inadequate eyelashes," it sends a deliberate message:

"You are inadequate."

and yes, that message was deliberate. Insecure people buy more things.

the word "Inadequate" makes a woman feel that there is no choice in the matter...


(wait for it, this is a very big "BUT.")

In this particular commercial, the term "Inadequate Eyelashes" is never defined. They just say "IF you have inadequate eyelashes," the lack of definition makes a woman wonder if she has this malady, makes her assume that yes, she most likely does, and she just never realized it before. Then she feels she needs the product, there is no choice in the matter, she had better sign up today. She becomes one of the cattle who must silently not ask questions, but must stand in line and take a number and buy the product, just buy it already.

-Someone wants to stop me here to tell me that my logic is becoming circular.

I already know. It's a good point though, and was worth repeating.

"Just moo and don't ask questions. You do not need to ask. Just assume the worst about yourself."-says the beauty industry, which is controlled by...

"But Michelle,"
(interrupts my Gentle Imaginary Reader),
"Who do you mean by 'we?'"
Great question, Dear Imaginary Reader.
"We" is the little person (or people) behind the curtain who pulls (or pull) strings and makes (or make) a lot of noise...

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
I would have no problem with a commercial for the same product that simply said:

"Use our product if you want longer eyelashes."

This statement does not assume that anything is inherently wrong with the woman, and it gives her a choice. What if a woman does not want longer eyelashes?

But see, if we lose all of our choices, if we all look the same, we cease to be individuals, we start to seem like stereotypical robots. If we start to believe this about ourselves, start to dress for it, talk and act like it, too, we will begin to restrain our natural impulses and question and quench our own original thoughts and ideas, especially if they differ from what we see happening in the world around us. This is very convenient for certain types of governmental systems, systems which no one says they want, yet everyone secretly wants. They want it because they want to sleep walk through life and not have to think or be responsible for personal choices. When personal choices are taken away, people have no one to blame but everyone else.
The buck stops at Big Brother's door, the same Big Brother who vowed to protect and nurture you.
But you see, I am getting way ahead of myself and talking goofy talk now.
Silly me, I'm just a girl...a girl who's eyelashes may or may not be adequate...what do I know? .


Sunday, September 27, 2009

What's wrong, honey?

(Pre-Script: The natural beauty of this post is enhanced when the song, " Closer To Love," #54 on the playlist, is playing in the background while it is being read. So please go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Who has the strength to be a woman anymore?
I am not strong enough.
The short story is that I have decided to stop reading magazines. They are not for the faint of heart. My heart is not strong enough to withstand the grief with which they bombard me. They make me feel bad about myself, and discontent when I realise that I want a whole bunch of stuff I cannot afford...on way more than financial terms. Why would I want to subject myself to that type of torture daily, weekly, monthly, when I was not feeling discontented or bad about myself before I opened the magazine? I dream of a world where make up and products are FUN, where experimenting with hair color and outfits is FUN, an expression of whim or whimsy, of how I am feeling that day, not something that affects my value as a human being from one day to the next.
One problem with the magazines is that the girls pictured therein are either 15 or airbrushed, or most likely, both, with every possible flaw edited out, and this is to what real world women are comparing themselves, even as each year they are growing another year past 15, another life experience past airbrushed.

...but wait, there is Botox, honey.

...but wait, there are things you can inject into your lips, darling.

...but wait, you can be cut open and have anything you don't like removed, anything you wish for added, my little love dove.

My hackles start to stand on end when purely cosmetic procedures for cosmetic sake are becoming more and more clinical and medically stale. When what was once fun and artistic starts to become standard and medical, it is no longer seen as a fun and artistic option, but is now seen as a necessity. The more women who have medical procedures done to them for cosmetic reasons, the more it becomes unacceptable if you are a woman who has not had a procedure. It does not always matter what the procedure is, but you surely have to have SOMETHING done, even a chin implant or SOMEthing, because no one is born with perfect everything, and perfection is becoming more and more not just a lofty ideal, but a necessity, the only acceptable way the world can stand to look at you. Oh, and This Makes Me Angry! (Said she, with a frown line marring her otherwise unruffled brow.)
It makes me angry when I see a commercial for eyelash growth, in case my eye lashes are "inadequate." (I believe this is the word they use) A commercial is telling me that yet another thing might be wrong with me that I had not yet considered.
...BUT, dear, it's okay, because we have this product here, and yes, it is medical, so see your doctor about it, YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT YOUR INADEQUATE EYELASHES, DO YOU HEAR ME, PEOPLE??? And then get this procedure done, oh, even though it may cause blindness. It's a small price to pay on your own personal road to perfection. WHERE DOES IT END??? IT doesn't ever end.
I dare you to find one woman who is content with herself, comfortable in her skin, not striving, striving, striving, not feeling inadequate in at least a lot of ways, when nothing is really wrong with her. All of her parts are working just fine. All of her eyelashes are the length they have always been. Her body type is the type it has always been. Her bone structure is the same one that has supported her frame for her entire life.
Here is what I think: I think that having yourself cut open and having unnatural things placed inside your self is not a good thing. Silicone does not grow naturally in or on a human body. Having your bones shaved down to fit a certain size ideal in a certain society or time period is not a good thing.
Botox injections are actually a form of a toxin that can kill you. My baby daughter was infected with Infant Botulism and hospitalized in the Intensive Care unit at the hospital for 8 days. When we brought her home, she had to be fed through a tube in her nose for a month. She was 2 months old. It's the same stuff that is in Botox injections. It's a muscle relaxant. But guess what, people, your muscles were meant to move. Even the muscles in your face. It is the purpose for which they were created.
It's one thing to brush on make up that you wash off at the end of the day. Elective cosmetic surgeries and injections are self mutilation in one of it's most highly applauded and socially acceptable forms.
With these standards getting higher and tighter the closer you get to perfect, each woman is an island on her own, against each and every other woman in the world. It's lonely. You can never rest, you can never rest because you must stay on this formula, this plan, to spend more and more and more money and time on being less and less and less okay.
So let's all keep trying to look more and more like each other, let's all keep correcting the things that were never wrong with God's design for your face or body, let's keep getting these things done to us, and let's see what it does to the next generations, how it weakens them. What messages do they receive when their noses do not grow to match the perfect noses that their mothers have had surgically fitted, but are instead the noses that their DNA said she was supposed to have? How can you love on your daughter what you determined was not okay on yourself? Better set up the fund now, the Forever For Every Generation Paying Through The Nose For The Nose Jobs Of All Of Your Descendants fund. (or, FFEGPTTNFTNJOAOYD.)That's what life's all about, right? RIGHT?
The perfect ideal of looking exactly completely just like everyone else?*


*Have you noticed that in the financially wealthiest circles, the women tend to look the most exactly alike? Doesn't it ever get boring?

Monday, September 21, 2009

My First Autumn

(Pre-Script: This post turns a whole new leaf when read while the song, " Everybody's Changing," #56 on the playlist, plays in the background. So go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

When I was ten, I met a girl named Autumn. Before this, I had never known that girls with names as exotic (to me) as "Autumn" existed. When you are a ten year old girl, and you meet a girl named Autumn, instead of hearing it as a beautiful, artistic name with a nicely flowing rhythm, your thoughts tend to veer to the left, and go something like, "How unfortunate for her. What a weird name." Most 10 year old girls do not appreciate variations in the names of their peers. Fitting in is the ultimate. Being status quo and just like everyone else is the epitome of everything, to a ten year old girl, or at least it was to the ten year old girl who was me.
As grown ups, we appreciate variations and rhythm in names. We appreciate the flow and sound and meaning of a name, and if anything, when naming our own children, we probably tend to steer away from the most popular names of the year. You don't want your kid to be one of the 10 with the same name in his or her Kindergarten class. But we forget that to a Kindergartner, it's FUN to be one of the 10 with the same name. It's like you are a part of a special club. At least, it was to the Kindergartner who was me. I used to make mental lists of all the Michelle's or Michele's I had ever met. Spelling didn't matter so much, as long as pronunciation was the same. I was always pleasantly awed to have a new Michelle to add to my list.
So when I met a girl named "Autumn," I felt for her, in a "Sucks to be you" sort of way. understand, the empathy of a ten year old only goes so far, in certain least, the empathy of the 10 year old who I was. In other areas, my empathy was off the chats. The sight of an old man crossing the street could make me weep, for example. So I guess there was a trip in the wiring of my brain's empathy system...But gosh, I was only 10 years old, I was not half as mature as your 10 year old child, my Dear Imaginary Reader...For I am sure that you are reading this, thinking to yourself, "Not MY 10 year old son or daughter. MY precious little angel is ALways completely empathetic and sympathetic towards others."
Well, good for you.
But I am not your 10 year old.
To be fair to myself, though, let me back the truck up for a moment and explain that even as a 10 year old, it would never have occured to me to tease this girl. Make fun of her in any capacity?
Deny her friendship or kindness?
Feel sorry for her and SO SO glad not to be her?
Yes, yes, sure.
Here's what I remember about my first "Autumn": She had reddish hair. She lived in a house with a lot of cats. She ate brown sugar out of a little dish as a snack. She ate it by dipping one finger in, then licking the brown sugar off of her finger. She ate brown sugar for a snack because her Grandmother told her that it was good for her. That sounded fine to me. In fact, it sounded down right revolutionary to me. I have always been a big fan of brown sugar, so I was all in favor of this non conventional way of enjoying brown sugar that did not require a bowl of Malt O Meal or Grape Nuts. I was ready to launch a campaign for brown sugar snack time in my own home. My ten year old self was, anyway. My 33 year old self is more suspicious of these things, and will stick to happily eating brown sugar on Malt O Meal. But let's not forget, folks, that a certain percentage my 33 year old self is made up of my 10 year old self, that certain percentage being roughly just under a 3rd.
My 33 year old self wonders what Autumn is doing now, if she likes her name, and if she feels that she has grown to inhabit it. I also wonder if she still eats brown sugar off of her fingers, if she ever got rid of all of the cats.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nurse Punch and Pastries

(Pre-Script: While choosing a song to pair with this post, I was struck by songs with titles like, "The Story," "The End of The Innocence," even "Bring Me To Life," but in the end, I decided that the song, " Therapy," #43 on the playlist, sums it up completely in that one word, so please go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

I am a big fan of current cultural craze called "The Modern Hospital." I think it's an ideal place for a woman to give birth, and to be pumped full of numbing drugs while doing so. However, there is a little known Post Partum Nurse policy that says something like, "In order to work in our fine hospital, you are to have very strong opinions on feeding and burping the newborn baby, and you are to give this advice whenever you enter the patient's room, and above all else, it must be advice that completely conflicts with the nurse that was speaking to this patient before you, and with whichever nurse will come after you. It must also conflict with whatever the new mother is currently doing." I swear this policy must be in the fine print before you can work as a nurse in The Modern Hospital, and that there is some sort of "disagree with each other" drug they put in the Nurse Punch.
"Michelle, there's no such thing as Nurse Punch"
How would you know that, dear Imaginary Reader? Hmm??
"Well, Michelle, I don't, but..."
Then stop interrupting, Gentle Reader. How else do you explain it?
"Good point, Michelle. Carry on."
Yeah, and with the drugged up nurse punch they are fed "tell the patient your opinion in very strong terms" pastries. Since nurses work long hours and are very hungry, they happily enjoy this free and tasty snack, and they never suspect what they are being fed.
I would even venture to guess that there is a reason for this exercise of new mother badgering until she feels thoroughly confused, hopelessly guilty, and utterly incompetent. The secret reason behind this policy is that they are instilling into the mom the idea that no matter what she does, there is always going to be someone who disagrees with her. This is a lesson she had better get used to from the very beginning, because it does not end once new born mom and new born baby leave the hospital.
But gosh, it's a hard initiation.
Maybe it's time that the punch got revoked.
Maybe, instead of obliterating the new mother's sense of common sense, the nurse on duty should please oh pretty please tell her own home birth story. She should remember to include the part about the *certain something* that ended up being stored in her home refrigerator for weeks and weeks until it could be buried beneath the cherry tree her husband kept forgetting to plant in their backyard.
"But Michelle,"
Oh, back again Gentle Reader?
"Yes, Michelle, I just wanted to tell you that that last part doesn't happen to everyone, it's just what happened to you."
Gentle Imaginary Reader, I guess you are right...
...And I purposely remained vague about what the *certain something*was that was stored in the refrigerator after the home birth, to spare you from sudden fits of horror and nausea. Let's just leave it at, I know too much about what is buried beneath the tree of a certain post partum nurse to ever eat any cherries she offers me from here on out.
It's all I'm saying.
Happy Birthing.