Friday, October 30, 2009

Fancy Apples

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

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


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thank You, Nancy Reagan!

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

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


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

**Michael Jackson

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kangaroo Train

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


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Conversing over Coffee with Crusoe

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

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

Sunday, October 11, 2009

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

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


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

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

Sunday, October 4, 2009

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Alice In Wonderland

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

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

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