Monday, March 30, 2009

90% of Unused Brain

(Pre-script: This song should be read as the song, " Carry on, Wayward Son," by Kansas, 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...)
I think that maybe human beings are not supposed to know a whole lot about Heaven, and how great it is. I think we are supposed to know a little bit, but not a lot. I think the 90% of our brains that go unused is space preserved for the knowledge of Heavenly things too wonderful to ever be contained upon this one planet, Earth.
I think if human beings could conceptualize more of Heaven in this lifetime, it would be such a distraction from what we are supposed to be doing on this Earth while we are still alive in a physical human body. I think that in order to do my job well every day, I need to be fully aware and present in this life, in this place, on this soil, in this physical body, in this head, in this heart. Most people I talk to like the idea of going to Heaven but are not generally really thrilled to get there soon, because it's unknown and scary, and how can you imagine something that's different than anything you've ever known? But I think that's how it's supposed to be. Better to be unaware of what I'm missing now and be amazingly surprised when I get there, than to have a taste of it now and have to live out the rest of my physical life a useless puddle of longing. I think I'd just be depressed to be stuck here, and that would not encourage very many people around me. Besides, I am already depressed often enough as it is. There are some things I am not meant to know just yet. Y'all, come close and let me tell you what I think, are you ready? No, you aren't how could you be? But here it is, anyway:
I think that the 90% of brain that I am not using is reserved for the knowledge of Heavenly things that would cause me to explode if I knew even the beginning of them now.
yes, that's right, I said that.
Nothing in my body or this earth could ever contain "it," whatever "it" is... I will know "it" in Heaven someday. For now, there is 10% of my brain awake to this lifetime, 10% of earthy logic and creativity, which says to me that the Heavenly stuff must be humongous, blinding to these human eyeballs, and very, very good.
I picked two lemons off of the lemon tree in our front yard this afternoon. They were ripe and huge, and I held them to my nose and inhaled deeply. I held them there for a long moment, and then I had to put the lemons down so that I could pick up my children. I smell my children's heads often. Sometimes they push me away, but I can't resist smelling them. They smell like fresh bread.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

All team members report to clerical for this evening's huddle

(Pre-script: To get the most of this post, please read it as the song,"Ants Marching," by Dave Matthews Band (On my playlist, the band is listed as DMB) 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 was in Target at 5:45pm ish this evening when I heard over the loadspeaker, "All team members report to clerical for this evening's huddle. All team member's report to clerical for this evening's huddle."
I think the girl making the announcement said it about 4 more times before she was satisfied that she had made her point. Each time she said it, I cringed a little bit harder. It's the terminology that I can't stand. The employees of Target are not "Employee's," they are "Team Members," and they are not going to "Have A Meeting," they are going to "Huddle." I wanted to shout back to the loudspeaker voice, "Hey, this isn't the locker room of the San Francisco 49ers or the Miami Dolphins, This is Target. Everyone here wears khaki pants and red shirts and never any padding or head gear."
Blink once.
Blink twice really fast.
Y'all, let me be clear: That's just stupid talk.
It reminded me too much of when I was 17 and worked at Chuck E. Cheese. They had a whole code of phrases and words for us, too; things that we were supposed to say that anyone feels stupid saying. For instance, if there was a spill on the floor, and you walked by, you were not supposed to "Bend Over And Wipe It Up With The Towel That You Were Always Required To Wear On Your Bright Red Polyester Apron," you were supposed to stop whatever you were doing and "Magic Clean" the spill. Which, being interpreted, means that you bend over and wipe it up with the towel that you were always required to wear on your bright red polyester apron.
If something needed to be done and you were busy doing something else that needed to be done, you were supposed to, I forget the term now, but I think it was "Make Magic Time," or something. In other words, you were supposed to "Make Something Happen That Is Impossible To Make Happen Because You Are Already Doing Something Else."
And Heaven help you if you ever slipped up and called a customer a "Customer." You always, ALWAYS called them "Guests." These were our "Guests" who were spilling all of their soda everywhere, bringing in birthday cakes from outside and never sharing with us, and demanding more tokens. But Chuck E Cheese was not my home. I know this because when I am home, I never, for instance, clean the bathroom every 15 minutes, (yes, you read that correctly) or dress in ugly polyester shorts, a polo shirt with a picture of a mouse on it, aforementioned bright red apron, red visor (indoors), all of which always smell like pizza and garlic, no matter how often you launder them. At home, I never run to the front of the room and do a choreographed dance everytime I hear the song "Mony Mony" start playing over the loadspeakers...a dance that anyone with half of a brain would feel completely moronic doing in his or her own bedroom alone in front of a mirror, let alone in front of a room full of paying customers. I mean "GUESTS."*
Y'all, have any of you actually ever been offended by the word "Customer?" I'll go first and share that I, at least, actually prefer to be called a customer. I just want to get my thing that I am trying to pay for and leave the establishment. While I am in the place of business, I do not want any of the employees sidling up to me and pretending that I am his or her new best friend, best guest EVER, and he or she is going to personally show me his or her CD collection. Um, pass. I choose my own friends, thank you. Just let me buy a freakin' lawn chair or blouse or Pringles or whatever happens to be on my list, or randomly catch my fancy. Take my money when I walk up to the register, whether it's cash, credit or ATM. Give me my stuff in bags. Let me leave. Call me "Customer." I, for one, have never been offended by that word. I already said that, but somethings are worth repeating. In fact, I feel weird when I hear the employees start talking to each other in "teammate" talk in front of me. Sometimes they get into it, and I think, "man, that guy is probably just lonely, and needs somewhere to belong, with an "inside language/code" that he, and only a select few, are able to understand and properly utilize. He and the few who are also the only ones who are allowed to walk BEHIND the checkstand and stand in that little cubby. Lucky dog. Let me buy my knock off Lucky Charms in peace, and no, I probably don't want to save 10% today by applying for the card, either, thankyoueversomuch.


*In fact, it makes me uncomfortable when employees are forced to do any kind of singing or dancing at what should simply be their after school job. The last time I was at Coldstones, I told the nice employee, "I will tip you, but please don't sing."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Meats and their Men

(Pre-script: To get the high dollar value of this post, which you have invested deeply in, it must be read as the song, " Carry on, Wayward Son," by Kansas, plays. So go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I enjoy watching 4 year old Ethan eat a hot dog. It's a whole process whereby he first bites little rat holes throughout the bun, then when he has decimated it enough, he takes the hot dog out and starts biting little rat holes throughout it, too, from the middle first.
I say, "Wow, that's interesting."
He says, "I'm eating meat!" (exclamation point included, because exclamation points are included in every sentence that child says)
then, "Dad, can we eat meat again tonight?"
There is meat in our freezer, and Ethan knows this. Ethan's father (AKA "Derek") brought home a huge box of meat last week. Yes, you read that correctly, I said a huge box of meat, and Ethan helped sort and unload it all into the freezer. Some people keep an extra freezer in the garage for such things as extra meat. We do not. Our one kitchen freezer is now completely full, on the bottom half with enough steak to feed a hungry village, and on the top half with enough ice cream to feed a hungry village, or me, for a week. (Don't judge me, don't you judge me...) It is no great feat of intellectual prowess to figure out which half of the freezer belongs to which half of the marriage.
Derek bought the meat cheap from a meat vendor who sells to a catering company that is located near his cabinetry business. Folks, if I didn't make my point, let me say it this way: It's a lot of meat, enough meat to feed an Alaskan family the duration of the winter. And I know about meat in Alaska in winter, because my friend Brian told me, "When I lived in a commune in Alaska one winter, when you got hungry, you would go outside and cut a steak out of the Caribou that the guys in charge of hunting would leave hanging there, and you would take it in the house and cook it. Tastes kind of like steak"
That was last Friday. On Saturday, Ethan said, "Is today the day we are going to eat meat?!"
He kept asking after the meat all day long.
He said, "I'm a vegetarian, but tonight, I'm eating steak."
Way to stick to your convictions, kid. I am very proud.

Soap nub

(Pre-script: This post pairs beautifully with the song "The Power of Love," by Huey Lewis and the News, so go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait.) (...still waiting.)
This morning there was a little soap nub sitting on top of the shower drain. I saw it and started to pick it up. Then I realised it was just the nubby, it had served it's purpose as a big bar of soap and been worn down to almost nothing, and now it was about to desolve down the drain. So I left it there, I did not pick it up. Some things should never be picked up again. By the time my shower was over, the nubby had already disappeared. That's the power of hot water and common sense.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Get 'er done

(Pre-script: To get the most out of this post, first click on the song, "Single Ladies," on the playlist at the bottom of the page, then come back here and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

It occurred to me on the way home from the gym yesterday that I have increased my running time. I can now go a farther distance in a shorter amount of time...if you can trust treadmill distances and times...and I do. I would never have known that I had increased my time, if I had not been paying attention. By paying attention, I mean bragging. "Hey, guess what? I ran such and such miles at so and so pace today!" high fives all around! But the change has been slow, endurance does not happen overnight, so I could have just as easily missed it if I wasn't paying attention. But I was paying attention, for bragging rights, and look what it got me. Bragging rights...and a t-shirt.
At the gym where I owe the majority to my sanity, there is a wall of t-shirts. You log in your personal I.D. number when you get there, and you earn points when you work out, a certain number per weight machine, a certain number based on minutes of cardio time. At first, you get a t-shirt when you reach 15,000 points. This can take anywhere from a couple months to 5 years. Usually somewhere in between. I joined this gym when I was 6 months pregnant with my 4th and final spawn; I have no idea why, because no matter how often I...walked slowly on the treadmill, slowly as to keep any contractions to a minimum, (this WAS a fourth baby, you will recall) I only continued to increase in size. Of course, eating 4x more than the baby needs will do this to you; the baby will not get fat from it, but the mother will. They don't tell you this in pregnancy nutrition class. Okay, maybe they do, but I was too busy planning what I was going to eat within the next 30 minutes to ever pay attention to such things as pregnancy nutrition, at least not past the part where I started to feel convicted. That usually took all of about 5 seconds of scanning any manual, "What to eat while you're expecting" and all of that. I did remember the big things, though, like take your prenatal vitamins every day, and FOLIC ACID FOLIC ACID FOLIC ACID. Got that. And then I still had room for all the other stuff, too. Like warm brownies.
So there I was, increasing in stature and wisdom every day, just like the child version of Christ. Well, the stature part, anyway. The wisdom part, well, here's the truth, peeps. Come close. Snuggle up good and tight to the screen; it's okay, we're all friends here. I knew the whole time that whatever I ate during this pregnancy would come back to bite me later. And bite it did. Bit me right on the hiney...and the...arms, and the...thighs. Bit like a pit bull with a clenched jaw, and would not let go. Even the baby eventually gave up and decided that she had to get out of my body, had to let go and find somewhere else to breath and grow. But the weight, man, the weight was heartless, as I knew it would be. Let's not forget that this WAS a 4th pregnancy, so it's not like I didn't know that I wasn't one of those people who pop out a kid, and then, whala, 2 weeks later, she is back in her sassy skinny jeans. Just the thought of those people* made me bang my head against a wall repeatedly, at least in my head. But I digress. The baby was out, the weight was on, but there is something else that happened to me every time I had a baby. For as much as I didn't care how much I stuffed my face and lazed about during the baby growing in my belly phase, once the baby was out, I became this inside out version of who I was during pregnancy, which, being interpreted, means that I became a turbo force exercise queen, shunning sugar and white flour at all costs. Oh, I had to chow somewhat, I was breastfeeding the little darling after all, Which also helped the jumbo jaws of death to loosen their grip somewhat- but man, when you want to be in one place, and you are in another place...well, it's' easy to lose sight of how far you have come, that you actually HAVE come someplace. But you have. I have. I just wasn't always paying attention. You plug away and plug away at the thing, you chip, chisel, sweat, and you get up and do it again the next day. And then one day you wake up and you are there, instead of over there, when you used to be over there, but now you are here, and you are still moving forward, you can run 13.5 miles in the same amount of time you used to only be able to run 10. You have no idea how you got there. But there you are. Here I am.
I'm up to the 300,000 point t-shirt...It's pink with black letters. I'm going strong for the 400,000 point shirt; I think that one's silver or golden, or some such color that will wash me out or make me look jaundiced, that I will never ever wear. I never wear those t-shirts, but at least they show me where I am.
Slowly, I am getting faster.

*When I was almost 9 months pregnant with precious darling #2, I asked my skinny friend Rennise to tell me what she had done to lose the baby weight, and how long it took her to lose it. She just very peacefully said "you know, it's funny, I had the second baby, and after 2 weeks, all the weight I had gained was just...gone." Um, yeah. In my postnatal dreams.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spin Doctor

(Pre-script: This post pairs best with the songs, "Best of Me," by Daniel Powter, or " The Story," by Brandi Carlile. Go down to the playlist, click on those songs, then come back and resume reading.I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)
Often I feel that I am not being taken seriously. I think that maybe, maybe people are really just laughing at me behind their hands, where they also whisper and stare condescendingly as I walk past.
I tell jokes for the same reasons that you do; because I want to be heard, and appreciated, and most of all because I want to be taken seriously. I tell jokes because they are the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Sometimes I am funniest when I am the saddest, and when the world is crashing down around me the fastest. I'm lonely sometimes, unsure at others.
Sometimes when I'm used to spinning in circles, to the feel and appearance of everything spinning around me, my heart pounding bright redness into my cheeks, the rush, the rush, the push to go again, faster this time. Harder this time...YES! and at first stopping, everything is still spinning, but then eventually it just...stops. And then I feel cold again. So I start the spin cycle again, things are blurry and nothing is quite clear; what am I reaching for? Doesn't matter.
And then I tell jokes, I tell jokes for the same reason that anyone jokes. because I want to be heard, because I want to be noticed, and appreciated, but the main reason is because I really, really just want to be taken seriously.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Take the healing where it comes

In small packages or in large packages;
sitting in the feeling
sitting and waiting,
i don't want to feel abandoned again
to jargon

abandoned again to words
that sound like the words that should be the right words
correct in their pronunciation
that sound like the words I
should cling to but
have you ever tried clinging to a word?
they are weightless,
they don't even weigh the breath it takes
to say them out loud.
I don't want to be abandoned to your rhetoric,
pointed fingers, pointing at me and wagging
in scolding,

abandoned just after
you layer on the shame blame guilt and list
of how I did it wrong
how to do it right
Who writes these things, any way,
and was He ever


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Speak Straight, Sista! (Obviously the obvious is not so obvious.)

(Pre-script: When I was thinking of a song to go with this post, the first songs to come to mind were " Good Intentions," by Toad the Wet Sproket, or "Say," by John Mayer, but then I heard "The Best of Me," by Daniel Powter, and I think that song captures the sentiment of what I'm trying to express here the best, paired with the emotion that the tune captures. Run, don't walk down to the playlist, click on that song, of then come back and resume reading...I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Sometimes things that I think will be obvious to other people are in fact...NOT. Take for instance the grocery store clerk at Safeway today. I think that if I happen to pay cash for something, and the cashier is going to give me change, that it should be obvious that I don't want him to give me a bunch of coins, paper money, and receipt all on top of each other in my hand. Actually, it wasn't just the guy today, ALL cashiers in ALL stores get this one wrong. They just do. Even when I make gestures to try to stop the imminent onslaught of money mayhem that is about to ensue. People don't do so well with subtle clues. In fact, subtle clues are the weapons of the very unhealthy and co dependant. In fact, people are often insulted by subtle clues when the person giving subtle clues is too cowardly to say outright what he or she means. No one wants to be talked down to or treated like that. In fact, people sometimes do well with being told straight up what you are intending to tell them. Not always, but sometimes, and sometimes is more than never. The message that you want to get across? Just say it. As a friend of mine often says to me, "Speak straight, sista!" In fact, I told that very friend a joke today. I thought it was an obvious joke, because I said "HA!" at the end of it. But guess what? HE didn't get that it was a joke, and I often say "HA" at the end of the non joke things that I say, too. So I have to be more careful with that joke reflex of mine; have to be better at that "Assuming people get when I am joking" reflex of mine.
"But Michelle,"
Yes, Imaginary Reader?
"Michelle, your jokes are very, very funny."
well, thank you, gentle reader.
"...I mean, you are downright WICKEDLY funny."
Thank you.
"...You are HILARIOUS when you joke."
And you are the slightest bit biased, gentle reader.
"Yes, Michelle, but isn't it good for your self esteem that I am?"
Sure, gentle reader. Sure. Thank you.
"You're welcome."
So as I was saying....
Oh, how people can freak out when you DO speak straight, though. It's like, "EEK, a MOUSE!" "EEK, she SPOKE STRAIGHT! WE CAN"T HANDLE THINGS LIKE TRUTH AND REALNESS!! HOW ARE WE TO LIVE IN DENIAL UNDER THESE CONDITIONS??AAAAHHHHHH!!!!! SOMEBODY TURN OFF THE BLINDING LIGHTS!" Alright, alright, relax; it's all good, you can go back to sleep now.
But if you ever decide to get your college degree in Store Clerking, please wake up and don't skip the course on Proper Change Giving 101. Take copious notes.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Blame it on the...Hmmm....

(prescript: To get the most out of this post, please read is as the song," End of the Innocence," by Don Henley plays. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

You can swallow these words whole
or exhale them like second hand smoke
like words you don't want infusing your lungs
and contaminating you with their cancer inducing properties.
My friend said that he understands escapism; it can be an exciting distraction from life, but ultimately it will destroy you. I said "So either your real life will destroy you, or your distraction will destroy you."
I only know how to break things, as far as I can tell. The entropy response/reflex in me is quite keen. So I have noticed.
When it's time to make repairs, I am all for it. I am just too tired.
I do have enough energy to complain about the mess.
What do you say to the children?
The ones who look to you for comfort and advice?
I couldn't tell you how to live if I tried, kid.
I'm still working on trying to figure it out myself, with limited results.
take a number,"
and for that they will blame you; for everything, they will blame you
and call you names,
and by "names," I don't mean "Mother Dearest."


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pass the peas, please

(Pre-script:I'm feeling cheeky today; Go down to the playlist, click on the song, "Gone," by Switchfoot, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait.) (...still waiting...)
So there I was, flying, I was flying, I was soaring on the treadmill, and the music was moving me along, to the highest of inclines, to the fastest of speeds, speeds so fast you'd get whiplash trying to watch, and I'd be tempted to say "Wanna see that again?" over and over as I broke some sort of light barrier with my speed...At least that's how it was in my mind... When what, to my wandering eyes should appear, but a trainer, in my face, making mouth movements to indicate that she was trying to both talk to me and get my attention. So I had to pull out an earplug to listen. And folks, what came out of her mouth was not music, nor did it translate as music once it hit my eardrums. What she said was "How long have you been on?" Friends, there are so many things wrong with this statement. I was forced to look at the time on the machine, which I purposely cover so that I will not have to see it. I have a rough estimate in my mind of how long I've been on the hateful device, but I cannot look at the time without also noticing the distance I have gone, and trust me, I don't want to know, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW!! Until the end!! Because knowing in the beginning or middle when you are in pain but know you are not even halfway done yet is very discouraging!! But she was asking me because all of the treadmills were full, and someone had just walked in and was looking for a treadmill. Blink.
Y'all, it's about to get all un-politically correct up in here, so this may be your place to stop reading. Unless you are a renegade, or at least have some renegade tendencies from time to time, and can handle some renegade thought. Here is comes, like a lightning rod smack down: The whole idea of sharing is so, so misunderstood and taken to unhealthy proportions in our society at large. I will even get biblical about it in a moment, but first let me explain: the gym's policy is that of many gyms, which is that if all of the machines are taken, and someone is waiting for one, you are supposed to adhere to a 30 minute time limit, then get off of your machine. This logic works for those who are there for the purpose of, oh, walking for instance. But for those of us in serious training, working on things like speed and endurance, 30 minutes is not going to cover it. And besides, I got there first. I got my butt out of bed and GOT There, and the other person, well, he or she sauntered out of bed and out of his or her house whenever he or she did, and then expected me to shorten my training. So that he or she could walk. You see my point, or you don't. I think it's a co-dependant policy.
Let's review the scriptures: I believe that Paul wrote that the fruits of the Spirit in a life are as follows: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.* At no point on that list do you see the word "Sharing." Jesus also did say to "Love your neighbor as yourself."** The indication there is that you of course already love yourself. In other words, you can only give out of what you have to give.
There is a children's TV program called the Koala Brothers on the Disney Channel, and it's theme song goes "Always try to help," and "Share what you have with others."
DON'T always try to help; sometimes it's not your place, and your motives are wrong, anyway.
Oh, and back to Jesus, remember when he fed 5,000 people out of one little boy's lunch?*** He did that because He was God, and He had the ability to take that food and physically turn it into much more than that many people could ever eat. The boy did not give up his lunch and have an empty stomach; he gave it up and could have eaten 10x as much as he had brought. The point is, if you are the only one in a large crowd who has remembered to bring your lunch, snaps to you for your foresight. Gobble that thing up, and maybe do it stealthily, so that you do not cause a riot from the hungry non-planners around you. UNLESS Jesus intervenes and says "Give ME your lunch." and then you give Him your lunch. Or your quarters. Or your whatever it is that God is asking you to give up, knowing that somehow, someway, He will not leave you empty for it.
There are 2 times in my life that I can think of when I felt like God was asking me to give change to homeless people on the street. One was as I was walking down a street in Berkeley. There were many beggars along the street, but I couldn't walk past a particular man without feeling a distinct tugging on my heart that I needed to give that man money. So I did. The look of joy on his face was priceless. In other words, what I got back from him was SO much more than the few dollars in change I had put into his little cup. There was another man, a few years later, a man with a red beard who was standing near the freeway off ramp. I felt it in my chest, that tugging, and I kept hoping it would go away, or that the light would turn green, turn green, turn GREEN already!! and FINALLY, it did turn green, FINALLY, after I had about 20 chances to give the guy the money that was right next to my hand, that I KNEW I was supposed to give him. And I drove away. And then I felt horrible. I couldn't get it out of my mind for WEEKS, and I tried to drive past that off ramp as often as possible so that I would see him again, but I never did...until one day, I did see him, and you can bet, I gave him that money so fast!! And he smiled, and was so, so grateful, and I was so relieved. You see, after that first missed opportunity to give what I knew I needed to give, the money meant nothing to me; it had lost it's value. It only regained it's value once it was in the hands of it's rightful owner, which was the red bearded man.
God loves a cheerful giver.**** When He prompts me to give, I will give. But I cannot cheerfully give up my treadmill when I am on mile 4 of a 13 mile run.


*Galations 5:22
**Mark 12:31
***John chapter 6
****2 Corinthians 9:7

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Checking my inbox ("Oh no she DI'-N'T!")

(Pre-script: This post will best be paired with the song, "My Name Is Luca," by Suzanne Vega, so please go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I am always amused by the spam in my Yahoo! email inbox. (GASP! Did Michelle just give away personal info?!? "Oh no she DI'-n't!") I did not, I repeat, did NOT open any of them; I know better than to open an email from, say, "CHUCK B." with the message subject, "Have I got a deal for YOU!" but the subjects alone are entertaining and informative enough. The most recent batch of spam (Mmm, mmm, spam. Mmm, mmm, good.) included some tasty morsels. For instance, apparently, there is a shortage of nurses. Somewhere in the world. And they contacted ME about this problem. I cannot handle needles and blood. When I was birthing the first of the 4 little people who would later come to live in my house, the doctor actually asked me if I wanted a mirror so as to watch the birth myself.
Swallow hard, again.

"OH no she DI'-n't!"

Oh yes, she DID!!

Needless to say, I declined the mirror...Because I think, and have always thought, that the point of having a baby is to get the baby out into the world safely, and for the mother to stay conscious...IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.
Folks, this is one way to tell if the person sending the message actually knows me or not. Sometimes it is not obvious, but other times it is so obvious that the clue phone has been ringing on LOUD and VIBRATE at the same time, and it is a bright red clue phone, as bright red as Batman's bat phone. Sometimes. They may have sent me an email with the subject, "Open this email to learn how YOU,yes, YOU can eat all of the broccoli and brussels sprouts you want!" and it would have had the same effect on me as the nursing shortage email did, which was to send my gag reflex into overdrive. I do not recommend training for a job that induces nausea and vomiting...especially if it is a job that is meant to do away with such things as nausea and vomiting...This is what is commonly referred to as IRONY.
(Tawlk amongst yowrselves...)
Another spam was from a group called "Big and Beautiful," with the subject, "Are you big and beautiful?" Y'all, Mama doesn't even need to comment any further on THAT one...except to say that it did give me a good chuckle. Thank you for that, spam doctors.
So I was happily clicking delete, delete, delete, to these types of emails and many others when one caught my eye that said, "Train to be a Sociologist." and something inside of me went, "DING DING DING!!" because what does Mama describe herself as everyday if not A SOCIOLOGIST at heart, by nature, by the nature of how I naturally look at, study, and over psycho analyze EVERYONE around me, whether I know him or her or not, in fact, I already have you, and you, and you, and yes, even you, too, figured out, dear reader, you complicated thing, so sit back and let me tell you all about yourself. Of course this spam leapt right into my heart. I did not press delete. Well, eventually I pressed delete, but not for at least another 2 minutes, in which I paid homage to the spam doctors that knew me well enough to send just the right spam message to just the right person.





Monday, March 16, 2009

Drama Mama and her pants

(Pre-Script: This post goes best with the song, "Suddenly I See," so go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

First born girl child can be a lot of drama. It's encoded in her DNA. It will make her a fantastically fun grown up, the kind you want at a party, as you never know what she might do or say to liven things up or get the room laughing. Now she is only 9, though, so this can cause some kinks in the wiring. Quirks are fun and interesting in adults who have the maturity, wisdom and grace to handle them. They are not so fun in children. Children with quirks* have the tendency to come unglued without any warning what so ever. This particular child was nurtured within the safe, warm confines of my body, then safely ushered out of my body, into the world, and now lives in my house. She likes to say things like "MOM, I have NO PANTS!! I NEED PANTS, I NEED PANTS right NOW!!!" This morning, it was, "Mom, I have to wear these same pants that I slept in last night to school today, I have no other pants." I said "What about your black pants, both pairs?" She said "One pair has a hole, the other is too big, and I have to roll them, and I HATE that." So I said, "What about the pants your grandma just took you to buy last week?" she said "I liked them at the store, then brought them home and realized I don't like them." So I said, "every time I try to get you pants, you don't like any of them. If you are going to be that picky, then you can't complain when you don't have stuff." She went off to sullenly get dressed, in her nothing of a wardrobe. When she came back, I noticed the jacket she was wearing, and said, "What about the pants that go with that jacket?" She said "Oh, let me go find them."
Oh, Wicked generation, how long will I contend with you??


*Children with quirks=All children, pretty much.

End of Life Labor

(Pre-script: This post is best paired with the song," Only Hope," go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I think that waiting for someone to die can be like labor pains. You go from moments of "he had a bad spell." clench, and everything tightens, squeezes the air out of the room, to then , "He had a much better day today," and aahhh, you can momentarily relax again. And sometimes you just voluntarily squeeze, clench as tightly as you can to the person, so that when the inevitable moment comes that you have no choice but to let go, release, you can. Hopefully. Maybe. Sort of. Almost. Labor pains at the end of a life, to let the person be born into his next life.
Even on the front side of childbirth, labor is difficult. No matter how many manuals you read or how many times you endure it, labor hurts. Some labors go on and on for a very long time. And then suddenly there is a person existing in a realm he or she did not exist in consciously before.
Derek's grandfather died last week. Everyone knew he was going to die; he was 92, and had had Alzheimer's and other medical issues for years. Still hurts.


Shaky Steps

(Pre-script: This post is best paired with one of my favorite songs of all time, "Walk Down This Mountain," by Bebo Norman. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait.) (...still waiting.)

Faith never was about, "Take every thing you think you know and throw it out your ear. Or the nearest window." It's more like, "Take everything you know, respect it, examine it, and then trust ME that what I know and see is even more accurate than you could ever know...because I'm God and you are human, and you only are using about 10 percent of your brain's capacity, anyway, that brain I put in your head in the first place."
Sometimes fear is the result of a thinking person actually thinking. I analyze everything. I like to know, understand, be able to wrap my brain around a thing. Wrap my heart around a thing. But some things are not brain or heart shaped. Some things may never make sense. I hate that. I hate just sitting with a thing. I'm more like an excited puppy dog, jumping up and down, so excited to lick your face, hoping that maybe you'll pat my head, and Pick ME! Pick ME!! Here I am! And if I had a tail, it would be furiously wagging!
A friend of mine wrote me a note recently titled "My Blah's," and in it she told me what was happening in her life, where she was going, what she was afraid of. Sometimes the only way through a thing is, dad gammit, through that thing. Dag Nabbit, you have to go through the thing. Gum blasted, I HATE having to go through the thing I don't understand. I hate that worst of all.
I can't make fear go away by will. Emotions are tricky like that. But I do the faith thing even though I am afraid. I am afraid because maybe I have been hurt before, and I remember it. So sometimes the steps are shaky; sometimes they are microscopic, detectable only if you were to take a long exposure picture, or if you were some hawk flying overhead. But still you are STEPPING, still I am stepping, because I know that what I know is not all that there is... This is crazy talk, but it's the only way I'll ever really live, in an actually being alive sort of way.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Carry a Large Stick

(Pre-Script: This post is best paired with the song, " Stay For Awhile," by Amy Grant. Please go down to the playlist, click it on, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
Who was it that said, "Walk softly, and carry a large stick?" I think it's Latin. My children are not Latin, so maybe that is why they do not understand the phrase. They understand the "carry a large stick," that part seems to be encoded into their DNA; they understand that it's best to carry a stick to ward off danger, real or imagined, to support yourself while walking, (even though they are limber and hyperactive and by my estimations will need no assistance while walking for 70 more years, probably), for imaginary purposes, and for randomly hacking away at the air, at the dirt, at, oops, their brother. Who was also hacking away at, oops, his brother. They also understand that there does not have to be an understandable reason to why a he or she is carrying a large stick. The child carries the large stick because he happened to have found a large stick, it was right there in front of him, or just to the left, or just to the right, where he was maybe exploring a bug or a rock or something, and the moment a child finds the large stick is a golden moment in his day, an "a ha" moment for any child, and so he (or she) picked up the stick. Because it was there. So he (or she) picked it up. Simple as that.
The "walk softly" part does not compute at all, and I don't know if it's just because my children are not Latin, but I think that in any language, you could say to my children, "walk softly," and if you could in fact open up their brains at that moment and observe the connectivity going on there, you would find a whole lot of firing in many different directions, and maybe eventually some explosions and burn outs, but never, ever would the connection make it to the comprehension center of the brain. It would make it, sometimes, instead, to the "I THINK I understand you, so I am just going to go ahead and do what I was already doing" center of the brain. And then you would have to close their brains back up, so discouraged by the mess, and you would look at me, and I would say to you, "I told you so." if you say to my children "Walk softly," they think it means, "Stomp as hard as you can, pound it out, and make wild banshee noises as you go, at the top of your lungs. And do not concern yourself with staying on the side of the path where you are less likely to get pummelled by intense, single focused runners or bikers who are 3 times your size, 5 if you include the bike. And then if your mother yells at the top of her lungs to your rapidly retreating frames, "STOP and wait for me," just yell back, "WHAT?? I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!" as you continue to get smaller and smaller in the distance." Sigh. It's a wonder that we ever make it home at the end of the day, that they get tucked into their beds.
I took the children down a trail along a river today. It was all of the above, and then, They did what all children should do. They picked up walking sticks, tall and not too flimsy. They found an off path that brought them closer to the water. They found rocks and sticks to throw or dip into the water, depending. They let go of somethings, and watched some things float away. They ran fast and effortlessly away from me. Far ahead, in front; boundless in their determination to run, and in their determination to keep going. With grass all around, they ran and laughed and ran some more, cheeks flushed...not afraid of getting so close to the water as to almost fall in, but avoiding a harmless plant, because, according to Jeremy, "It's poison ivy, because my foot bumped it, and now my foot itches."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Addictions and such

(Pre-script: To get the most of this post, please read it as the song,"Mighty to Save" plays, since I really believe in the words to this song, and I particularly like this version of the's the last song on my playlist. Click on it, then come back. I'll just be here...waiting...)(...still waiting...)

So I shaved my legs twice today, because at least I can control that. Hair does not belong on a woman's leg, never never ever. "Michelle, it sounds like you have subscribed to a societal standard." baby, if I subscribed to it, and subscribing to it is wrong, then I don't want to be right. Hold on, I'm on the other line, calling to renew my subscription to this belief for as many seasons as I continue to exist on this Earth.
Besides, it was one of those days when by 8 am, I was already considering the ramifications of trading in my ice cream-oholicness for alcohol-oholicness...., like "what if instead of skipping dinner and plunging into the ice cream at night, what if I just plunge into the alcohol instead? Would I consume less calories that way?" A girl always wonders. Then it occurred to me that my alcohol addiction would leave me feeling sluggish in the mornings, and THAT would seriously interfere with my running addiction. Whoever said that everything in life is a trade off was right; I wonder if that person was thinking of these types of decisions.
I guess we all cope how we can...then go,
"Wow, what a mess. who's that person in the mirror? Can anyone make sense of this? Jesus? Look at me, I screwed the thing ALL up again. Got some crumbs on my shirt and everything. Got some blood and tears ground in, too. Possibly some broken glass, from dropping something. I'm so, so good at dropping something. Yes, I know, I was supposed to come to You FIRST and follow instructions, and somedays I'm so, so good at that, really, I think, or at least sort of okay at that, or at least I pretend on those days, but other days it hits me that...WOW, I prayed, and I STILL feel horrible. BUT the ice cream...OH, the ice cream. Oh my, yes, the ice cream. Come here, baby...and other days, I don't know, chock it up to ADD?? Okay, in my case, ADHD? Don't forget the all important "H..."? A mild case?? Okay OKAY already, a MAJOR case, since it is ME we are discussing here??"
So today, maybe I wasn't the most fantastically healthy person in town. I wasn't the most mature and stable. I was maybe more like what you would call a basket case. I am still as ever on the verge of a breakdown. But my legs? Well, they were twice shaved, and I feel happy that at least that part went smoothly.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Damage Control

Jesus in the details
truck stops along the freeway
tiny flowers, too
but I feel so alone
windshield view
the ball of wax inside my chest is suffocating
the yelling inside my ears mind numbing
dumbing me down to the
lowest element
dirt, an accumulation
of particles that have been broken down,
ground down, used to be stones
used to be recognizable things
now i am elemental
Jesus in the details
rain and mud and paste of clay
mortar connecting cells like brick by brick
in the destruction and construction
of a life ask yourself
what am I building
who's being walled out
who's being walled in
what can grow over push up under
some special form of moss
green and fast in reproduction
not too proud to grovel
Jesus in the details
so easily I am reduced
too easily i
can be reduced
by just about anything.



Friday, March 6, 2009

Heart Calluses

(Pre-script: This post is best paired with the song, " Loving a Person," so go down to the play list, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait.) (...still waiting.)
I'm not very good at letting go of things. I think I must have calluses on my heart from constant clutching. I think I need a heart balm. I wonder if Burt's Bees Wax has a salve for that. The first thing I ever held that I really cared about was my baby sister. I was three, and she fit. And then she was gone. And so I learned to clutch with all of my might. The summer when I was sixteen, I decided to attempt the ropes course at summer camp. It looked like fun. I thought it would be fun. I knew I was securely harnessed to safe things, and that I was never going to fall. There was a well trained, strong person holding on to the other end of the rope. But I was terrified. I climbed to the top of the telephone pole and stood on the top, very slowly, while everyone waited impatiently below. I stood there...and was expected to jump out to reach a pole that was...just out of reach. I couldn't do it. I couldn't let go. Eventually, I had to be pulled down. I couldn't just dangle there forever. That's another reason to let go; you can't live your life dangling precariously from ropes.

What I have learned is that if I clutch things or people tightly in my palm, the things or people might at first feel warm and snug, but eventually, the clutching and clinging will suffocate and kill them, so I will lose the thing or person, anyway...and because my hands were clutched all along, when it/he/she is ripped from my hands, my hands will be torn up in the process.

If I keep my palm open, I might still lose. But I also might not. On my open palm, you are free. You can come and go as need be. You can stay, dance, jump around, or just sit still and quiet there, you can take a nap or eat a sandwich there, and there is room for growth, change, and space, and time for something beautiful to grow. And then if I do still lose you, at least I did not suffocate what might have been, and I will not tear my hands up. At least I won't need a salve for that part. Even if I fear the rest of it might just about kill me. But just about is not the same as all the way.


P.S. Just for the record, I hate letting go of things, even if I know I have to. Sometimes letting go blows chunks.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grief Like a Comforter

(Pre-script: To get the most of this post, read it as the song "Blackbird" plays. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait.) (...still waiting...)

Tonight, I was digging through my purse, desperate for some sort of paper and writing utensil. WHY is it that there are no less than 5 pens in my purse when I am trying to clean it out, but when I am in a moment of actually needing a pen, there is only...empty gum wrappers wadded up in the bottom of it? WHY haven't I learned to keep notebooks stocked with me wherever I go??? You would think that after almost 3 decades of needing to randomly write whatever is consuming me at the current moment, that I would have learned that lesson by now, instead of finding myself, oh, recklessly driving home and acting insane until I actually do get it all written down or typed out. But no. Fortunately for me, after the gum wrappers, I did eventually find a pencil with barely any lead left, but it was going to have to do, it was going to have to take me at least to the end of my thought. My thought was that I had seen a fat woman getting herself and her two children into their vehicle. I saw them in the parking lot as we drove past her, saw her for maybe 3 seconds, but they were 3 significant seconds. Because I SAW her. I saw her overweight but not quite obese frame, saw how her shoulders slumped forward, her head bowed slightly down, and mostly what I saw was how she wore her grief around her like a comforter. I saw how she wore the grief as if it was the thick top comforter on her bed, and she had wrapped herself in it, and now it was the skin she walked around and faced the world in, and I ached for her. I ached for the grief she wore. So many, many people walk around all day long wearing their grief openly, bleeding and blistering in the bright of afternoon glare, but so often it is misinterpreted. The woman in the parking lot, how often has her grief, worn like a comforter, been misinterpreted every day? People, we are so fragile. We are so fragile under that which we hide beneath and behind, and there is no way to know the exact details of a life, but the grief is the same grief. We all feel it. We all sleep beneath the thing we cannot bear to tear off. So I took note of her grief, the great comforter, wrote it all furiously, for the woman, because I saw her tonight, I saw her, and I felt her, and I wrote her, because she deserved to be written.


Delusions of Grandeur

(Pre-script: This post will be fantastically brilliant if you read it as the song, "Viva La Vida," by Coldplay plays. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading...I'll wait...)(...still waiting. You can't see it, but in this picture we are cutting birthday cake. Birthday cake could be a fabulous delusion of grandeur. Think about it.)
I was thinking this morning that I might be a person who suffers from the condition that causes you to have what are known as delusions of grandeur. You know the type. He/She talks about how He/She is going to become a major Soap Opera star, just as soon as He/She packs His/Her station wagon and drives to Hollywood. You listen and think, "Hmmm...someone's parents were maybe a LEETLE too complimentary to...Jim/Jennie here."
Reality is a good place to live, peeps. Sometimes. Okay, I take that back. Reality is a terrible place to live, sometimes almost tolerable. Delusions make way for...hope and happiness, In this world, and also in the world to come.
If you are always delusional, always telling people you will, yes, become the Governor of California, just as soon do, then you are always striving for it, then you have a reason to live, a goal, and that's the thrill of the delusion. And hey, if a heavily accented Heavy Weight World Champion and movie star who has also championed phrases like "It's not a tumor" can become the Governor, why can't you? Heck, Arnold Schwarzenegger probably lived his life based on delusions, too. He was probably so annoying to all of his Austrian friends during yodeling class, saying things like, "You know, I will someday marry into the most famous family in the United States of America, I will become a World Class Heavy Weight Champion, a Movie Star, and the Governor of California. I will be an icon." And the Austrian friends would roll their eyes and say, "Can't you just be content to move to America?"
Comments Arnold would probably not answer, except maybe to say to the nearest naysayer, "Spot Me," while breathing heavily through another tough bench press.

"But Michelle,"

my imaginary, some might say delusionary, Reader is interrupting, I can just hear it,

"Michelle, that's all well and good, but what are YOUR delusions of grandeur, per se?"

Gentle Reader, how kind of you to ask. The first delusion I have already mentioned, and that would be YOU, Dear Imaginary Reader.


Yes, you. You see, you have been interrupting my carefully thought out writing for some time now, and I have come to get used to your very inquisitive, curious mind.

"Wow, Michelle, I am speechless. Sort of crying now; I was getting a sense that you were tired of me, that you found me to be incredibly annoying."

No, gentle reader. I am touched that you care enough to ask me such personal and probing questions. Interrupt my thought process anytime."

"Okay, Michelle, okay. Aaaahhhh, can I say I'm so touched again?"

"Yes, but then I need to finish writing this."

"Okay...I'm so touched. Now I'm shutting up."


So as I was saying, there is the Gentle Reader delusion. There is also the Olympic Marathon Runner delusion. I think it's delusional because most people stop at, "I'm a runner." but I have to push the envelope. It makes me train that much harder, stronger, and longer. Is that so wrong?? Of course, I am also aware that I don't actually want to have to go to the Olympics and compete with people all around, who are sweating in languages I can't understand. I am aware that there would be boring ceremonies to sit through, running while carrying a heavy burning torch might be involved, some sordid steroids scandal that I would SWEAR, no, I did not inhale, no, no one rubbed mysterious cream on me during a muscle massage...but that's getting personal. There would be endorsement deals for products I don't actually care about... all that, when all I really want is a pair of custom made running shoes as often as I wear them out, and to look smokin' hot in that skimpy professional Olympic Running outfit. Never mind that red is totally not my color.
Another delusion: National Poet Laureate who writes and reads an original poem for the Presidential Inauguration. Except I really really believe that can happen, with all of my heart and soul and mind and strength.

"Ahem, Michelle,"

Gentle reader, why are you whispering?

"Michelle, I told you I wouldn't interrupt anymore, but I can't resist."

Alright, dear Imaginary Friend, go ahead.

"Michelle, you actually believe it. That's why it's called a delusion."

OKAY, Gentle Reader, OKAY, you have gone too far this time. That's enough. Didn't you read the part about delusions bringing hope and happiness to a life?? GOSH!!!!
And now I have to go. I've got to write a letter to the Olympics committee asking them if I actually will have to wear red near my face, and if so, can they please consider a nice blue red, as opposed to an orangey red, since I do not have an olive complexion, and then I have to practice running while carrying a large burning torch.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seagulls on the back of their very large vehicle

(Pre-script: In order to fully engage your brain and saturate your senses, please go down to the playlist, click on the song," Big Yellow Taxi," then come back and read this post. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
There is a new trend in car decorating these past, oh, I'd say 3-5 years, maybe. It's the trend of putting little sticker people representing the members of your family on the back bottom window of your SUV or minivan. I see these and then I know, like "OH, look at that, whoever drives that vehicle has 2 boys and a girl, in that height and presumably age order,and also a puppy. I would have never guessed that just by looking at the car." or "Oh, look at that, whoever owns THAT vehicle has (gasp) Triplet babies! All girls! and a kitten!"
Today, there was a large vehicle in the Safeway parking lot with the family members represented by their neat sticker characters, and these sticker people had names above their heads. At the end, there were two seagulls, each with it's own name. I am sure that the seagulls represented family members who have died, and now they are forever immortalised as seagulls on the back of an SUV. Whatever form your grief takes, get it out. However you need to express it, just express away. Everyone who sees that will wonder, what's the story? What were the lives that the seagulls now represent? Who were these people? They were deliberately placed there by someone who is not complete without them. A family unit does not heal around or fill in the void of the scabby scar left behind. Everyone drives around wanting to be seen. "This is me, this is us, these are the people I am building into, who are building into me. See us?" Everyone wants to be loved, known, and accepted, and vulnerable enough to be loved, known, and accepted. There is a family with their names written on the back of their large vehicle. At the end of the line up of people, there are two seagulls. I know that now. This morning, before I went to Safeway, I did not know that. But I know it now.

On the edge, or over it.

(Pre-script: To get the most out of this post, please read it as the song," Good Intentions," Plays. Go down to the playslist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
It is not much of a secret that I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I don't know how any mother of 4 could not be at least on the verge, if she is honest. Or maybe I've already had the breakdown; how does one know when one has actually gone over the deep end? Or are we just perpetually on the edge, us mothers and wives and daughters and sons and friends and whomever shall face the precipice and note how slippery the top of it actually is? I have no idea. I only know that the thought of enduring 16 more years of little people with vast needs too great to ever navigate correctly and fully is more than I can bear, most days.
"But Michelle,"
(I can hear my imaginary reader asking,)
"Michelle, they won't be little people for 16 years."
"Gentle reader, you are right, they will not always be little people, they will rapidly become big people with vast needs too great to ever navigate correctly and fully, more complex needs the older they get. Thank you for reminding me of that, Gentle Reader."
So I hold these truths to be self evident that...I can think no further than to the end of this day, the very day I am in, the very day I am living well or sludging poorly through, depending on the milisecond we are talking about, and at the same time, my arms ache to hold my little 2 year old Natalie. It is like my entire being is being channeled into my arms, and there is a physical ache to hold her tiny 2 year old body that is, yes, Gentle Reader, rapidly becoming less tiny, but will always be the tiniest one of the 4 of them. And yes, I see why so many last born children carry their last born baby of the family status into the rest of their lives, now that I will be contributing one to the world in about 16 years...but I digress.
So often I say, "Natalie, can I carry you?"
and she says, "I just wanna walk"
and I say, "Okay."
and I think, "DOH!
There she goes being independant again; how else can I stifle and squelch that irritating habit she has of growing up?"
And then when she DOES let me hold her, and she snuggles in and lays her head upon my shoulder and just...rests, like she could melt into me, and we could be forever a statue standing just like that. It's like a sigh of relief to see how she lets herself be loved and adored and taking it for granted, because you should be able to take it for granted at certain ages, age 2 being one of them.
But then a moment later she will begin a temper tantrum over her juice cup or her blanket being misaligned, the shreak that pierces my very eardrums starts, and I am in a profound state of "HOW many minutes until bedtime? And if I even begin to think about all the days after tonight's bedtime, forget it. Because I will start banging my head against a wall if I start to think past that.
I balance these extremes deeply every single day. Eventually, it's going to land me somewhere, in the hall of fame for having survived it, or in the psych ward for...having survived it.


Little Miss Sassy Boots (AKA her lip gloss pushed me over the edge.)

(Pre-script: To get the most of this post, read it as the song, " Suddenly I See" plays. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading...I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I was standing in the 15 items or less express lane at the grocery store. I was feeling sassy knowing that I had 13 items in my cart, but they were big items, so they looked like more than 15 items, I was sure, and I just liked knowing that if anyone challenged me on my relevance in being in the express lane, I could just point and say "Count for yourself."
I was also feeling sassy because I had applied a fresh coat of lip gloss just prior to entering the store, which in itself is not unusual or out of character, in fact, I think I do that every time I am about to enter any store, or in the world, but this time I had applied the lip gloss with a deliberate purpose. I was sure that the grocery store would yet again be out of my favorite ice cream flavor, since it has been in recent weeks, and I wanted to tell the manager that I deliberately come to this particular store looking for this particular ice cream flavor, with the hope HOPE HOPE that it will be in stock, so would you, could you, please, Kind Manager, take this into consideration the next time you are deliberating over store stock? Please, oh pretty pretty please with gumdrops on top? and he would comply, so sweetly, in my imagination, he would say "yes, yes ma'am," and when asked later why the particular flavor of ice cream had been brought back into regular stock rotation at this particular store, the manager would say, "I was on the verge of saying no, but her lip gloss put me over the edge."
But then I heard the lady in front of me complaining that the store did not have the right cereal in stock, why would they advertise a sale on a cereal and then not have it in stock? but the question on MY mind was, "Why would the woman in front of me in line, or anyone for that matter, come on the very last day of a sale and then be shocked that the store has sold out of the item that had been on sale for days now?? And then complain to the poor check out girl about it, because the check out girl had the courtesy to say, "How are you today?" I hate that. And for the record, I was not planning to complain, personally; I was only going to ask about the whereabouts of my favorite item, and to please consider reordering it. But I was not going to complain to the check out girl, only to ask to speak to a manager. And then to expect him or her to be compelled by my expert application of shiny gloss. That's all. The check out girl is just trying to do her job, of checking with a smile and a kind word. Let her, peeps. As it turned out, I did not ask for the manager. Not this day, because check out home girl just needed to see a friendly non complaining face, I could tell. So now you might be thinking, "Another lip gloss application, gone to waste." But gentle reader, you are wrong; there is no such thing as a fabulous lip gloss application gone to waste. Being fabulous is a reward in itself. Please make a note of it.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rain in Carmel

(Pre-Script: This post is best read as the song: "Closer," by Jars of Clay 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 wanted to go to the beach in Carmel today, but it rained in Carmel this afternoon. I had planned at the last minute to go down to the beach, to walk in the sand that is like sugar, like no other sand in the world, in Carmel, but it was raining, and the rain was cold and wet. There were other places in Carmel that were warm and dry, and they were all indoors, and none of them were connected to the Pacific Ocean, which connects on the other side to China and India, and I could put my toes in it from this side, and know that the waters I was wading also might be touching the toes of a small child on a far away continent, while an impatient or very patient Grandmother stood watch and chided the child to come in out of the water now, that it was time to go home. So I was never connected to that child today, who never had any awareness of me, either, because he is only a child, and at this point in his life, the world revolves around him, the world is contained inside of him , he is the whole world, and grandmothers would stoop to squash it, to contain it, to require the proper washing of hands and wearing of clothing, and all that is mundane . But I turned 33 yesterday, so I think of things like the child on the other side of the world, of the ocean that separates us; the child I will never know or watch grow up and mature on his own, to a place of understanding that he is not the world, but that he stands upon it, wherever he stands, and is connected to where and when he stands,and who else stands here, and when, and what small child might be standing on the other side of an ocean anytime he in his middle ages dares dangle his now very successful (I imagine) toes into it; that he at least shares that connection now somehow to that stranger child, who may well be a child or grandchild of my own, as I sit on the shore and say "Come on in, honey, ,we're going home now. "
Today was not the day to make such a connection. I let the rain keep me inside the warm dry bits, and instead made connections with other people who I could see in front of me, could touch, if I reached out to touch them, could hear their voices and make assessments of their weight and personalities. But in person, in coffee shops and discount stores, people do not tend to willingly touch each other either physically or emotionally, instead we say "hi" and "how are you" shyly, from behind some far away place the real us hides behind, and it is as if an ocean separates us, but at least when the ocean is between you and the other somewhere in China, you are reaching. You are wading as far out as you dare, and the ocean is not self conscious of also reaching out and knocking you both over at the same time if it wants, soaking you to the skin so your clothing sticks to you as tightly as possible, plastering hair to your head, washing away makeup so as to say "THIS is who she is, this is as real as I can show you, her real shape, her true colors. This is the real she that she does not show you, but it is very much like the you you also do not show, and it is very much like that other person on the other side of the world."