Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pass the Sun Chips

(Pre-Script: To increase muscle mass in the most flattering way possible while reading this post, you must first go down to the playlist and click on song #50 on the playlist, "Gone," by Switchfoot, then come back and resume reading this post as it plays in the background. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Discipline: The stuff you do because you have forgotten how hard it was the last time you did it. By the time your memory has been re-awakened, it is too late to back out of the thing. Why do human beings do this? Why do we forget all about the pain, but bliss out on the momentary high at the end of the thing? Is the high really that high? Or is the trauma of the pain so traumatic as to block itself out of consciousness memory, because if we could exactly remember the intensity of it, we would be freaky weird people all the time, more freaky and weird than we all already are, jumpy and skittish and startling at the drop of a dime, and we would also never get any of the "real" work done, the stuff that keeps the wheels turning, in our vehicles, lives, and world?
I do the same things every day, with mild variety. I don't always know what day it is. I wish to be wise without having to go through a discipline process to get there. the process usually involves pain, sweat, humiliation, raw nerve endings exposed, being taken to the point of what I can bear, and even beyond. I do not enjoy the process. I endure it. I would often not endure it if I could choose, but I have no choice. Although now that I think about it, if I were already wise, I would choose to endure the process, at least some of the time. And now that I think of it, I guess I have chosen to endure some processes, but it was because I didn't remember the pain at the moment of choosing to endure it, and by the time I remembered, it was too late to change my mind.
Every time I get on the treadmill, for instance, it is because I forget how painful it was last time. I have elevated the previous run in my mind;
"It wasn't that bad,"
I tell myself,
I endured it, and by the time I was done, I only felt the endorphin rush; I felt like a champion. I could hear the champion music in my head, and a crowd of screaming, ecstatic witnesses. I was ready to step up to the podium, accept my large bouquet of fire and ice roses (with blue delphiniums mixed in), and my sash, and give a speech: "Thank you all so much for believing; I'd like to thank the members of the academy for their support. You are all beautiful people..." RAAAAHHHH, I hear from the stands...that RAAAHHHH is accompanied the loud speakers blaring :
"We are the Champions, my friends, and we'll keep on fighting, 'til the end, we are the champions, we are the champions, no time for losing, 'cause we are the champions...of the WORLD!!!"
which becomes the background theme music of the rest of my day.
Then I get on the treadmill two days later. I am pumped about getting back up on that treadmill, until I actually have to start to breathe, which is usually in about no time at all. I look down at the distance I have gone or the calories I have burned in 2 minutes, and I am suddenly plummeting rapidly towards depression and despair. Only now it is too late to get off of the machine, because I am already on it, and I am not even a tenth of the distance I ran last time. I have not even broken a sweat. Kelly Clarkson is not even to her first chorus. Dagnabbit, why did I have to push it so hard the last time I was on this thing?? Now anything less will just be...well, less. And less, is not more, it is not even equal to. The fans in my head do not cheer so loudly on a "less" workout. They may do a soft clap for consideration, a nod in my direction, maybe a couple of them even throw rose pedals...but it's not the same. That's what I get for being a show off to myself.
It was the same with birthing babies. I did it once, forgot about the trauma and pain, the needles and my very great phobia and hatred of them, specifically of having them inserted into my body at various points, forgot all about the fact that a full term baby "in" needs a way to get "out," and there is no pleasant way to get a full term baby "out." and once he or she is "out," he or she leaves all of his or her "luggage" behind...often right on your behind...but I digress.
It is the same every time I decide that today would be a good day to bake a lasagne from scratch, and another one to freeze.
It is the same with cleaning the bathrooms.
Cleaning the kitchen.
Mopping the floor.
Oh heck, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.
Tomorrow, I might be too tired to lift a finger. I might not remember if it is April 23rd or May 2nd. But there will have been an as yet imperceptible increase in my muscle strength and endurance, I might not have to look down at the recipe card as often, those dagnabbit stains will be easier to scrub off, and I will know that I was really alive this day, and present...
'Cause I'm quite sure that the muscles of a dead person do not ache like this.
I was meant to live.
Someday I might maybe be wise.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So I guess the rumors are true, then. Gosh.

(Pre-Script: This post pairs nicely with the song," Superman," #10 on the playlist, so stop whatever you were just doing, including but not limited to, scratching your earlobe, biting a Cheetos, or examining your fingernails, go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and continue reading. I'll wait, right here...) (...still waiting...)
Come closer, my children, and you shall hear
the glorious tale of...
a strung out slightly neurotic girl.
Okay, it's not very glorious, actually.
By "Strung Out Slightly Neurotic Girl," I mean myself.
By "Myself," I mean me.
You may be shocked to learn that I am not a Superhero, and have never possessed any Super Powers, unless you concider my ability to turn white socks, tshirts, and underwear pink in the wash to be a super power. I have always thought of it more as a character trait than a super power...but I digress.
Sometimes I am too intense.
By "Too intense," I mean that I am too intense for other people. I have a tendency to be Overzealous, Over Energized, a Whip Quick Thinker, switching tracks and bridging the gap between my left and right brain, in a "Can't we all just get along" sort of dialog within myself,
running ahead, leaving everyone else in the dust.
I get very sweaty in the process.
Booyah, what?
Where did you all go?
OH, you're still on the couch scratching your heads?
I apologize.
I was too busy lambasting you to notice.
I was too busy bombarding you with words,
just a small sampling of my moment by moment deep, analytical, and/or totally superficial, cliched, hysterical thoughts,
to notice.
Maybe I should clarify:
I have in times past (and by "In times past," I mean "The entire duration of my life, up to the second in which you are reading this") had a tendency to be too intense for other people;
I am not too intense for myself.
"...but Michelle, excuse me, Michelle?"

I hear my invisible imaginary reader interrupting,

"Michelle, if that's true, then why is your toe throbbing?"

Gentle reader, how did you know about the toe?

"...I"m just saying, I find it interesting that your toe started throbbing 12 hours after you took your Aleve this morning...right when the Aleve would have worn off."

Gentle reader, I will have you know, I ran over 14 miles today, and...

"You were limping all evening."

As I said, Precious Gentle Reader, over 14 miles. Uphill. Does that even mean anything to you??

"Michelle, you should have stopped at 13."

Drat. Dagnabbit, gumblasted, Gentle Reader, you could be on to something. Possibly.

Y'all, I'd like to amend my previous statement:
Sometimes I am too intense even for myself. Sometimes.
Can I get a witness?
Yes, in the form of a non-specified throbbing toe. I will not specify which, but it is attached to my body, of that I have never been more sure. WHOLLY THROBBING DIGIT FULL OF NERVE ENDINGS...but I digress. Again.


So the question is, can you keep up?



Ah, Dern. Shelly might just have to learn to
(Just barely slightly)
(on occasion)
(And twice on Sunday)
sloooooowww dooowwnnnn....
Um, yeah,
Like I said, DagNabbit.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sometimes the egg must crack

(Pre-Script: This post pairs best with the song," The Story," #42 on the playlist. click it on, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting.)
Sometimes the shell of egg will crack
(it's actually quite thin)
clear to whitish murky mess will drip out
and yellow yolk.

The yellow yolk
does not always stay
together in one round yellow piece-

Sometimes the yolk breaks too.
The hard shell
only needs to be banged a time or two
on anything, really
and it will crack and out will spill
the insides
so have a bowl or frying pan handy

to catch the egg now dripping from the shell

(which seems firm and together on the outside,

but is actually quite thin)



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pepper Hughes

(Pre-script: This post goes down nicely with a cold hit of "Where I Stood*, by Missy Higgins, # 46 on the playlist, be careful to change the lyrics to the chorus to the way I have re-written it in the post script below the post. Go down to the playlist, click on that page, then come back and resume reading...I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
Every time I check out of Safeway, the Ever Efficient Checker pulls my receipt out of the cash register, looks down at it, and says "Thank you, Miss Hughes," and sometimes, "You saved 17.50 in club card sales." and sometimes, the Ever Efficient Checker even takes a pen and circles the amount of money I saved in club card sales. This is good, because maybe I am more of a visual learner than an auditory learner. In which case, just hearing "You saved 17.50." would confuse the daylights out of me. I mean, hypothetically, if I were a visual learner, and not at all auditory.
So after I am called "Miss Hughes," I usually just smile, say thanks, and walk out. I used to say "My last name is not "Hughes," and the checker would look at me with a concerned expression and say "Oh, it's not? Well, you can call the number on the back of your card and get that fixed. Oh wait, hold on, let me get a manager."
Like I want to wait around for a manager.
I just want to go home and get my ice cream into the freezer while it is still perfectly soft, but not totally melted already.
I never did call and fix the name apparently associated with my club card, because who cares. If I get the discount, why do I care if they call me "Miss Hughes?" It's not a bad name. I wonder what her first name is. I guess I can make one up. I will think about that, and get back to you...
Okay, I thought, and I came up with Pepper. So now in my mind, once I enter Safeway's doors, I now am a girl named Pepper Hughes, who totally knows all the words to every muzak song played over the sound system for the enjoyment of her grocery shopping experience. She also knows all the current celebrity drama and trauma from the covers of the magazines near the check out. One of these days, she just might apply for a Safeway club card. She is not at all self conscious when the checker announces to the entire line just exactly how much she saved on groceries today, down to the cent, not at all tempted to shout out, "Now that's getting personal!" When Ever Efficient Checker makes this announcent. Michelle might have felt that way, and be tempted to call the checker out on it, but not Pepper. Michelle might have asked for help unloading her grocery bags into her car, but not Pepper. Pepper does not need a bagger to help unloading the groceries, because she herself does not have to unload them; once she leaves the store, she is instantly Michelle again, and it's Michelle's job to unload the groceries...why should Pepper care? She shouldn't. Michelle doesn't mind it either, because loading and unloading the groceries is good for "the guns."
Now a funny thing happened last Sunday as I was checking out at Safeway. The Ever Efficient Checker pulled out my receipt, looked down at it, did a double take, then said something like, "Oh, that's odd, there is no name on your receipt." I said something like that it was okay, that I could handle it. I said "Is that what they teach you in Safeway training, to read the people's names before they leave?" (Because I know they don't teach them the proper way to give the customer back his or her change. You only need to shop at a grocery store anywhere to know that they never teach them how to properly give back change, or that the checkers, as a rule, fail to commit that part of the lesson to memory.) He said "Yes, it's supposed to add a personal touch." I said "That's interesting; it does nothing for my shopping experience to have my name called out. Have a nice afternoon...Tony."
Then Pepper walked out the automatic doors...and Michelle pushed the cart to the car and unloaded the groceries into it. I think she had saved 30.59.


*"Cause I don't know who I am, who I am at Safeway; all I know is that I should. And I don't know if I can stand another hand upon my...Safeway Club Card, all I know is that I should...'cause she will rock it, and not take things personally, more than I could, she who dares to stand where I stood."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

what you hold in your hand

Remember that what you are holding in your hand is precious

It is precious

it is precious

and you are holding it

in your hand.

What rings bind your fingers

or bracelet your wrists

need not

poke it,

stab it,

dig in to it uncomfortably, painfully,

and be careful of clenching, squeezing,

and be careful to be soft

to touch, be gentle

to feel because

what you are holding in your hand is precious

is priceless

is the only thing,

and you can never

make it stay or
get it back.

This Is My Earnest Plea

(Pre-Script: Please read this post as either the song, "How to Save A Life,by the Fray" #35 on the playlist, or "Closer" by Joshua Radin, #32 on the playlist plays in the background. If you choose the song "Closer," pay special attention to the line, "Only get closer to the point where I can take no more," for that nicely expresses the sentiment captured here in this post. Go down to the playlist, click on a song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

So, Where were we? Oh, right, I was at the gym. I don't know where you were. I am often at the gym, and you might have been there, too. If you were there, I hope you were among the "most" of us who wear deodorant when we work out. If you were not among the most of us, then this post is for you, and it is written in love. When I say "love," what I mean is that it is written in total disgust and nauseated feelings. Sometimes love takes that form. The simple message of this post, the simple, earnest plea is, always wear deodorant. No matter who you are. Even you. Yes, you. Even if you are only running into the 7-11 for milk. Even then, my dear children. Even then. It does not take more than a minute, I promise. And it covers over a multitude of...sins. I am sure. Maybe a person thinks "I am going to work out, I am going to sweat anyway." Baby, you should not be wearing your 'just rolled out of bed' funk to the gym. Oh, no, not even you. And yes, if you do nothing to combat "just rolled out of bed funk," then you are still residing in it, for it does not magically disappear on it's own. What I strongly recommend, (and when I say "strongly recommend," I mean "do this or I cannot continue to like you") is that you at least, at least, brush your teeth and apply anti-perspirant/deodorant. If you also apply some sort of body cream of lotion to remove any ashyness or dryness, that will be enjoyable, too. Folks, these are simple things that take almost no time at all. But they are a gift to everyone around you. The people around you will not realize it is a gift, they will not notice what is missing, which is good. If you had not taken these steps, they would have noticed, though.

"...but Michelle,"

My Imaginary Reader interjects at this point,

"...Michelle, what about you, are you being at all hypocritical in this call out post?"

Gentle Reader, Trust me, I do not believe it's a workout unless I am thoroughly drenched. I wear the strongest deodorant I can find. I enter the gym with brushed teeth and lotioned up skin, and maybe even a dab of Vaseline on the lips. No one wants chapping, and when I say "no one," I really mean just me, and I am actually only referring to my own lips. Vaseline is not a gym requirement. It's just sometimes a personal preference. Sometimes. But I digress.
My point is that even with the care I take before a workout, AFTER a workout, I would not recommend that you, you, or any of you sit or stand within a 5 foot radius of me until after I have showered. I am trying to imagine how it would be if I had never deodorized, lotioned, and brushed...and sometimes Vaselined...and I cannot even imagine the potential horror. I think I would pass out and not be able to complete my own workout. I know this is not a pretty thought, my people, but it is a true thought, and I do not mind making myself a humiliating example if it is for your this case, at least.
Now, it has come to my attention that there are people in the world who believe that they do not have any body odor whatsoever. When I say "it has come to my attention," I mean that people have actually told me this. When I say "people," I mean that more than one person has told me this. One person told me this about her spouse, "He actually has no body odor and can go without deodorant." I am convinced that he hypnotized her before he proposed and has not waken her up since. Come real close, people, my people, whoever you are: Anyone who makes these claims about not having any body odor is not to be trusted. I do not trust these statements. Ever. I certainly do not need it proven to me. Even if you believe this to be true of yourself, just wear the dagnabbit deodorant, already. When a person starts to make claims in public of, "I am not wearing deodorant because I have no body odor," it makes everyone else nervous. They will feel antsy around you, and jumpy, too, and not want to sit next to you anymore. by "everyone else, " here, I mean, "me," I mean that if I myself was around you and you made such an outlandish claim, I would have to excuse myself to the next room, and I assume this to be true of most other people, as well. Except for maybe your spouse, if you have hypnotised him or her. And besides, I would much rather smell the "Tropical Breeze," "Ocean Mist," or "Spring Bouquet" of your anti perspirant or deodorant of choice than your...natural "no odor" smell. Trust me, a little "toasted coconut" smell is a comfort.
Now, if you are new to the concept of deodorant, and don't know where to start, I will share even more intimate details of my personal life with you. It is painful for me to be so vulnerable in such a public setting, but like I said, if it helps a brother or sister out...
I, Michelle, Oh She Of Extremely Sweaty Workouts, am a long time fan of Secret Deodorant, the particular current make and model in my bathroom cabinet being: "Secret Clinical Strength Sport Marathon Fresh Scent Advanced solid." It's the best I can find, but it does sometimes make my armpits itch.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Maybe the very nature of its obvious nature is what is confusing.

(Pre-script: To get your money's worth out of this post and allow your mind to marinate in it's juice, I recommend that you first go down to the playlist, click on the song, " Blackbird," #15 on the playlist, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...and this is my best "I am thinking deep thougths" expression.)

"OH! OH! Pick me, pick me!"

I can hear my Imaginary Reader, getting antsy tonight. Okay, Gentle Reader, what seems to be the problem?
"Michelle, I have a question I have been meaning to ask you."

Okay, Gentle Reader, go ahead. You know you can ask me anything, right?

"Yes, Michelle, you have been very gracious with me in this regard. Thank you."

You're welcome. What's the question?

"Well, Michelle, I want to hear you answer the age old question, 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?'"

Gentle Reader, this is an easy and obvious one.
It was the chicken, of course.
Why does anyone even question this? An egg could never sustain it's own self. Even if it could, a hatched chick could not sustain itself. A chicken was first created. It says so in Genesis, that God created all of the fish and the birds on the 5th day of creation. It was not until after they were created that God told them to multiply.* I am not going to get into a debate right here and now about whether it was a literal or a figurative 5 days as one understands daytime in this day and time. But it does say that God created the birds and the fish...and then told them to mutiply. It does not say that God created fish eggs (aka "caviar") and bird eggs (aka, Mmm, breakfast for the humans who were about to be created on the 6th day.)

Um, no.

Can you imagine, all of those eggs rolling around all over the ground? Folks, an egg cannot sustain itself. An egg alone will die. A dead egg will smell to high heaven. And can you imagine the stench if that dead egg gets stepped on or crushed? Oh mighty...That would not be a pretty smell. All of the most fragrant roses of Sharon in all of the Garden of Eden could not cover over such a mutlitude of stenchiness.

"For lo, the chickens that had been planned for were never seen walking upon the face of the Earth;
They did not survive egg-dom."**

We would now be living in a chickenless world.

Y'all, I have dead egg smell fresh on my mind because it is 5 days past Easter, and the kids dyed hard boiled eggs the day before Easter at their Grandmother's house. 2 days ago, I came home and what to my wandering eyes should appear but two cartons of the eggs the children had dyed that had been left on my front porch by their loving Grandmother. Apparently she just did not want the children to go without. Fortunately, I moved the eggs to my own refrigerator before they could start to rot. Now I am left with the quandry of how to toss the eggs out without also tossing out the hearts of my children, now once again fastened to the eggs they had forgotten all about, and also without causing neighborhood stench. Disposing of old eggs is a process. Adam and Eve did not even have plastic bags in which they could have wrapped smashed rotten eggs. But at that point, there was no sin, no rotten smelly garbage to take out, and I will go out on what seems like a not so shaky branch and theorize that there were probably no eggs...yet.
Think about it, Gentle Reader,
For Lo and Behold, a great many things do actually make a lot of sense thusly when you put your brain power to the work for which it was created.

*20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
**This is not an actual quote from an actual reliable source anywhere, unless you concider the things I make up and pull out of my own ear to be completely reliable.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Housework makes me tired and other such nonsense.

(Pre-script: This post pairs best with the song, "Cornflake Girl," # 38 on the playlist, so please go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
Yesterday I vacuumed like I was the oldest person on Earth. It took every ounce of energy and concentration to push that dagnabbit contraption through the carpeted parts of the house. When I was done, I felt even older, if you can imagine a person who is older than the oldest person on Earth.
And then I did what any oldest person on Earth or older would do: I fell asleep in the parking lot of Target. Target is maybe 2 miles from my house, maybe. When I drove there, it was the middle of the windy afternoon, and it was a chilly wind, too. But the sunlight streaming through the windows of the minivan felt like a heated electric blanket to me. As soon as I parked, I leaned my head back, closed my eyes and...dozed off. The white noise of occasional carts rolling past kept me in a constant state of perfect 'lull.' I eventually opened my eyes and had this thought: "I had better get out of the car and actually walk into the store. Oh, but look how far away the door is, and there is wind outside, and I am the exact perfect temperature in here." It's kind of like if you ever try to take a bubble bath in the middle of the day while you still have children in the house. It's not a good idea, I do not recommend it.

"But Michelle, excuse me, Michelle?"

I can hear my imaginary reader thinking,

"Michelle, trying to take a hot bubble bath when you are the only parent home with the children is not something a good parent typically does."

Gentle reader, you are right, and I already know that, and they crossed my name off of the list for the awards a long time ago. But I also know that half way competent mothers sometimes may try this, with the bathroom door open, of course, if the children are all playing nicely for 5 minutes, their ever present need for food and various forms of attention and comfort having been met within the past 30 seconds, if she is just naive enough to think that she can manage sitting in hot water for a few golden uninterrupted seconds in between household chores. Reality will whip such a mother into shape in no time, though, Gentle Reader. Never you worry. Trust me.

"Michelle, thank you for the clarification. I thought you were actually advocating for middle of the day bubble bath indulgences in the mothers of the world."

Gentle reader, bite me.


Eventually I just did it. I got out of the car, gasped as the cold wind slapped me around for a bit, just had a good old time of it, nasty wind, and then I was through the doors and inside of Target, to get the one thing that I had come to get: Enviga Green tea, which I typically drink throughout the day. I confess: I drink cans of Enviga green tea like it is going out of style, and I enjoy every drop. But I had not had any yesterday, for I had been out of Enviga, and Safeway has decided to discontinue it's carrying of such a perfect beverage. But Oh, Lovely Target Store that had 4 cases of my favorite flavor in stock! Thank you, thank you. For I was all out, you will recall. So I bought all 4 cases. When I drove home, I was still tired, and it occurred to me: I am addicted to the caffeine in the Enviga. I have been suffering from withdrawals that turn me into a tired person. Oh, what a world, what a wicked, wicked world. And all that time, I thought it was the vacuuming that had done me in. Now I am without excuses not to vacuum. I was just about to pull the "I must be allergic to the vacuum cleaner" card, too. It now looks like I will not be getting out of housework quite so easily. Dern. I need a bubble bath.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Daily Damage

(Pre-script: In order for this blog post to flip your world all backwards and upside down, it's going to require your participation. You are going to need to go down to the playlist, click on the song, "Walk Down This Mountain," #26 on the playlist, then come back up and resume reading as it plays. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

OH, that the crisis's of the world would line up in a neat straight line and take a number. Wait until I have at least exfoliated and moisturized, thought at least one complete thought all the way through, and figured out whatever else is on my to do list today. And then give the memo to my children: "Your mother is busy now...trimming her nails, so please do not freak out about the whatchmacallit's and whatnots, please do not irritate and poke each other relentlessly, physically or psychologically, until after she has eaten a meal and taken 2 Aleve's with a full glass of water. Then when she beckons, and you will know she is beckoning by the slight nod of her head as she makes eye contact specifically with the child who's issue she intends to tend to at the current moment, approach her calmly, speak in a soft voice just above a whisper, enunciate clearly, and present the issue in the least amount of words possible that still convey the full weight of the problem. Then whatever solution she chooses, go along with it happily, call her mother dearest with a smile, at least in your mind, skip away and play happily for the rest of the day. You are done when she says you are done. In other words, There is no "But but but but..." required of you after she has appointed the appropriate solution to your issue, no whiny whiny, and no slobber.
... And all the children said AMEN!...
...:BUT no.
The crisis occurs when the crisis occurs.
swallow hard.
Often multiple crisis's occur in cluster form.
swallow hard,
They do not line up and take a number.
swallow hard.
They sneak up and jump out at you from seemingly nowhere.
swallow hard,
The individual in self perceived crisis is not calm or concise, but is a bubbly blubbery loud mess and the words coming out do not make sense in English, or any other language you may have studied in high school or college. Often you are stuck trying to put together the true nature of the trauma based on a lot of jumping around and wailing sounds.
swallow hard.
It may not seem like a crisis to you.
swallow hard,
In fact, 98.6 % of the time, it will not, I repeat, it will NOT seem like a crisis to you.
swallow hard.
It may require that your shirt gets crumbs or snot smeared all over it.
Swallow hard.
But even if the crumbs get smeared on only one corner portion of your shirt, it is still just as unpleasant as when they get smeared all over.
swallow hard.
This is how life works, wherever there are people.
swallow hard.
but you will get through it, I always have, even if just barely...
(and so will your peeps, even though 96.3% of the time they assure you that they will not.)
swallow hard...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh, the places you'll (never) go...again.

(Pre-Script: To experience the feel of this post all the way through your bones, read it as the song "The End Of The Innocence, #41 on the playlist, plays. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
Saturday night, I dreamed that I was in a really big house, Larger Than Life, you could say, and it was my Grandmother's house, that it was the very house I used to visit in Seattle every summer as a child, only in my dream it was totally not the house that my grandmother owned at all, but very colorful, and had been remodeled by the new owners. They had done all sorts of fancy things to the house; they had added a movie theater and a library, and the master bedroom walk in closet was huge. There were new furnishings, hard wood details, new paint and fabric. These upgrades were all wrong, though, because it was my Grandmother's house they had been done on, and it made me sad to see it becoming less and less the house of my earliest memories. I kept walking through the house and looking all around, reminiscing, feeling nostalgic, and longing to be able to have been the one to have bought the house. Instead I knew, in my dream, that I would never be able to go to Grandma's house ever again; that this was the final walk through. I woke up feeling nostalgic, thinking about how huge and vivid the images in the dream had been. Then I went to church and at the end of the service, the worship leader told a story about how he had recently visited his Grandparents in Hawaii. He said that at his grandparents church in Hawaii, they sang "Doxology" at the end of every service, in Hawaiian. So we ended our service that day by listening to him and the band sing "Doxology" in Hawaiian. And then we sang it in English, which was the way we used to always sing it at my Grandma's church at the end of the service when I was a kid, at the church we would walk to just down the street and around the corner from her house.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

B.I.L., aka "Bill," aka, "Kevin."

(Pre-script: This post pairs best with the song,"Talk," #18 on the playlist, so go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

I had a talk with Brother in Law today. Let's call him BIL. His real name is "Kevin" but BIL sounds cool; it is an acronym that sounds like the name "Bill." So I will call him "Bill" for this post, adding an extra "L" just because I have never seen the name Bill spelled with only one L, even though we only need one L for the acronym. I am sure that KEVIN has never been called Bill ever before, at least not that I have ever heard of.
BILL recently(last month) gained a new age decade (30) and lost an organ. (Gall Bladder. Apparently it contained a lot of stones.) Bill lives 2 hours from me, roughly, maybe 3 depending on traffic and how you drive. He's in town today because tomorrow is Easter, and we were at his parents house for egg dying and dinner eating and whatnot.

Today he approached me and said:

"I was going to leave a comment on your blog, but I was too disturbed to comment. I was worried about you after I read your last poem. The blood, the head banging, the walls? That was disturbing, are you okay?"

Me,:"Well, you read it, Kevin. I'm just being honest. I think I upset people sometimes with my writing. I think I anger people sometimes. I'm just being honest and real."

Bill:"Well, that was brave of you to reveal so much."

Me:"I didn't actually reveal anything. I think everyone can relate to what I wrote. I don't have to reveal all of my details to be real and universally relatable."

Bill:"Yeah, I guess that's true."

And then since my other B.I.L. Craig had put me in charge of his camcorder, (I have no idea why; he just reached over and handed it to me) I video taped Kevin building his turkey sandwich with ranch dressing; he even described how he toasted the bread first. It was a good recording, with the explanations and whatnot. Won't Craig be surprised at the footage I took on his camcorder.

Later, Bill and I sat and posed as I took about 17 pictures of us with my camera phone. Anyone who sits next to me is subject to being asked to pose Beckham style for a picture which I will snap with my camera phone. The people who pose with me either usually just smile or else sport what has become their signature pose. Some people have a signature pose. Some have a few. Or else they say, "What? What kind of a face are YOU making?"

Another conversation I had recently with Bill went something like this:

Bill:"Hey Michelle, have you read my blog? You haven't commented in a while, and you usually comment."

Me:"I usually read it. Sometimes it looks boring so I just skim it and don't actually read it."

Bill:(He was horrified) "What?"

Me:"I'm sure that a post about car parts is interesting to some people but not to me. It looked long, and you need to know what to leave in and what to leave out."

Bill:"It wasn't about car parts, it was about getting my car back after it was stolen."

Me:"Okay, I'll go read it then. Wait, stay on the line with me while I read it...Oh, this looks long. Okay, I'll read it. Okay, that part was funny, and that part, and that one sentence there is a universally applicable sentence. It's a really good sentence. You should highlight it somehow. But I still think you need to know what to leave in and what to take out. Some of these details are just boring."

Bill:"We disagree about that, apparently."

Me:"Okay, take it or leave it. But you have to be able to take criticism. Do you always read MY blog?"

Bill: "Sometimes yours is too long, so I just skim it."


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Toast Master

(Pre-script: To get the most out of this post, please read it with an ability to jump from thought to thought rapidly, and also while the song, " Big Yellow Taxi," #29 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.)
When I was a kid, most Sundays went like this: We would go to church and come home in our Chevrolet station wagon. I was the only kid who wanted to sit in the middle. I liked feeling cozy. The brothers all scrambled for a window. With 4 kids, one of them got stuck in the middle with me. It was all good as long as the boys did not decide to sit boy style, with their legs spread wide, and no regard to my personal leg space needs what so ever. I am not carrying bitterness from this event, at all. Let's move on. Lunch on Sunday was always taco salad with Doritos right in it. For dinner, we would not really have dinner. We would instead watch "Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" while eating cinnamon toast. It was like my parents were taking Sundays to be spiritual and declare a family fast from dinner... pass the toast, and do not skimp on the butter or the sugar. Years of this conditioning, and here I am, a 33 year old expert toast maker. I am skilled in the fine art of spreading the butter all the way to the edges, making sure to butter it RIGHT OUT of the toaster, or it won't melt right, leaving the 2nd piece of toast in the toaster until the 1st piece is buttered or IT'S butter won't melt right, either...and then you'll have one good piece of toast, and one not so good one that you are stuck with. NO ONE wants the butter-didn't-melt-right-because-it-passed-it's-peak-buttering-time piece of toast. Buttering to the edges is also essential. If you are in impatient toast butterer, you will be a disappointment to those to whom you are trying to serve toast. Please make a note of it.
The thing that could be considered a problem but which I do not personally consider a problem with being an expert toast preparer is that I must always prepare my own toast for myself. I can do other people's toast, but no one else can do mine. I don't mind doing it for myself. The only other person I can think of who I might allow to prepare my toast for me would be my friend Francesca. She has told me that she rocks the cinnamon toast skills, too, and for some reason, I believe her. I don't think I would believe anyone else who told me that, but I believe her. The other thing Francesca and I are both good at making is grilled cheese sandwiches. I know, because we had a conversation that went something like this:

Me: "I am really good at making really good grilled cheese sandwiches."

Francesca: "Yeah, me too!"


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Out of the box

(Pre-script: To fully marinate and saturate in this blog post, please read it as the song, "Ants Marching,"# 21 on the list plays , or as the song, "Superman," #10 on the list, plays. Go down to the playlist, click on one or both of those songs, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)
(...still waiting...)
I know a person who likes to try and fix things that aren't broken, namely what he or she sees as other people's problems which are not really problems in the mind eyes and heart of the other people.
("Michelle you are talking about me." )
(if it fits, gentle reader, if it fits.)
This person has a pat answer and if you say,
"I disagree,"
this person will say,
and then restate his or her pat answer.
You start to wonder about the possiblity of original thought.
Are humans capable. Are you or I capable.
Out of the box thinking does make people uncomfortable,
unless it is the out of the box that can be labeled and put neatly into a box.*
Maybe just a more decorative box. that works. I can still shove that in the corner next to the Christmas tree. the twinkly lights make it practically sparkle. Just never let it out, okay? Keep that one wrapped and pretty. Awesome.
Or maybe it's an out of the box like a jack in the box, that you wind, and you know when it's going to jump out at you because it's always at the same part of the song, the "POP" goes the weasel part, but it is still attatched to the box, so you can just push that little clown head back into it's box until you are ready to see it spring back up again, at the "POP" goes the weasel part of the song. When you are done playing with it, just put it back on the shelf where it belongs.


*People try to rebel against things they disapprove of and they are called "rebels," when maybe they are only trying to live in light and truth that has been watered down by culture or societal standards, and suddenly there is a description attatched to the particular form of "rebellion" that is supposedly the defenition of who they are.
Everyone but the "rebels" got the memo.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The dysfunction In Which I Function

(Pre-script: This post pairs beautifully with the song, "Bring Me To Life," #37, so go down to the playlist and click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting.)
Sometimes dysfunctionally is the only way I can function.
Sometimes I can't handle the dysfunction I see in you, if it
bumps into mine too closely or
does not allow room for mine to realize it's full potential.
Sometimes I think to myself,
"Dysfuctionally is the only way I
know how to function so
instead of trying to function, I
am going to stop
functioning for awhile,
fall asleep
here within
my walls four walls
with names I have forgotten
but their meaning can be felt
at every corner,
This is my space and
that is not graffiti on the wall, it is blood
from where I banged my head over and over
in a silent drum beat,
"let me go, let me go,
let me out, let me out."
until finally, the blackout
the sweet numbness of black nothing
which lasts for a night but
leaves scars in the morning
puke and guts and blood and puss
I can look over, step over, ignore
once again, or
I can start to scrub and scour.
I want to say that I will stay and scrub and scour but
sometimes dysfunctionally is the only way I can function.
Can I get an amen to that?


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Signs and Wonders

(Pre-Script: This post will reach it's highest "POW" factor if read while the song, "A Thousand Winter's Melting" plays in the background. It's #16 on the playlist. In order to experience this great goodness, you must now go down to the playlist, click on that song, (16) then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
Throw up can seriously mess up your outfit and plans for the day. Also a good night's sleep. Also your general good mood and kind wishes towards all of mankind. I had been sleeping for 7 minutes last night when one of my little peeps woke me up by saying "I threw up in my bed." I calmly helped the child, cleaned, re-pajama'd, stripped the bedding, started a barf load of laundry, re bedded, re tucked the child, all with softness and good wishes. That time. Then I left his room and said a prayer that went something like,"GOD, I cannot handle any more of this tonight. I need to sleep, I don't want my peeps to see their mother's rageful, hateful thoughts expressed in word or deed. Please heal that kid. Lack of sleep causes insanity. You've got to help me with this one, I'm begging. I'm not above begging when desperate. I might go insane otherwise, and my sanity is already questionable to begin with. As you know." Then I went to sleep. It was a deep, restful sleep. I didn't wake up until morning.
And in the morning, all my little peeps were well. The former barfer woke up reformed, happy, and hungry, and when I asked how his stomach felt, he said it felt "This much" like it felt last night, as he held up his hands in a sign that means "none."
I thought, "Wow, God, thank you for taking me seriously. The peeps don't always take me seriously, but You do; thank you. And thank you for that miraculous healing."
"But Michelle,"
I hear my gentle reader interrupting,
"Michelle, that wasn't a miracle."
Yes, gentle reader, it was.
"Michelle, the kid just had a temporary bug, or had eaten something bad. It was just nature taking it's course."
Gentle reader, it MIGHT have been nature taking it's course. But I think that nature taking it's course is a miracle every day.
How sad to go through your whole life and never recognize the miracles happening all the time, everywhere you look, and just beyond your peripheral vision, too.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dandelions in the grass

(Pre-script: This post best paired with the song,"Good Intentions," by Toad the Wet Sprocket. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and read the post. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
Ethan hands me a dandelion that he has picked from the lawn.
I say,
"Thanks, Ethan."
I think,
"I hope there are no bugs hiding in this thing."
Then he brings me another,
and another,
and another.
Each time, I say,
"Thank you"
"Thanks Ethan,"
and each time I think,
"I hope there are no bugs in this thing."
and then, "I would like to not have to hold these anymore, where can I put them down?"
But he is so happy to bring them to me, every time he finds one.
so I just hold them.
You may be horrified that there could be so many dandelions in one lawn.
Maybe instead of fretting about the bugs, I should teach the kid to pick these pesky weeks out by the roots.


All my screws.

(Pre-script: This post will be digested best if the songs "Only Hope," or "Beautiful, Scandalous Night" play in the background as you read it. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait.) (...still waiting...)
I think that God is often closest to people who aren't even aware of it. Anyone who is brokenhearted, God is near.
Sometimes people are turned off by the idea of a God or a Savior because the word "Christian" has been polluted. Some people get caught up in church culture, movements, denominations, rituals, music styles. Whatever happened to loving Jesus and letting the Holy Spirit change your life in ways human will alone never can? And I mean, even as I go through my typical day of doing menial jobs and eating too much ice cream?
Some people act "WE HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS-" ish,
"We have the t shirts and the bumper stickers and verses to solve your problems."-ish.
"We are dorkily happy all the time."-ish
"You can't trust us AT ALL."-ish.
Nobody wants to be associated with that. Okay, I can't speak for everyone; I don't want to be associated with that, and I already love Jesus. I feel like Jesus is very near. But I can't stand fakeness. I think that humility means being real. I think that pride is sometimes saying "I would never blah blah blah, fill in the blank, or associate with those who do." and feeling good about that. I think that insecurity is also pride; it's saying that your own opinion of yourself is more relevant than God's opinion of you.
I often talk to God like, "What is going on?" And I am earnest in the asking.
One day, I was sitting in church and feeling like the screwed up version of myself that I always am, but not willing to let go of the screws. Somedays I am sort of willing to give up the screws, but only for about 3 hours, tops. So I said, "Okay, God, I don't even have the energy or desire to reach out for you. All I can barely do is this" and I barely wiggled my fingers. And God said,"That's enough," and He reached down and grabbed my hand. I still wasn't feeling like letting go of the screws. But I had God holding on to me, as I tightly clutched my screws.
Today I read an article in a magazine about a famous person who I think is incredibly hilarious and brilliant and misunderstood, misinterpreted, and damaged. I thought, "God is very close to her. She might not realize it, though."