Saturday, October 30, 2010

October Lessons

Brought to you by candy, of the sweet sort.

It's been an interesting fall, hasn't it?  Today was warm and yesterday, while setting up for our event, I was shielding my face from the sun in the hopes of adding not one more brown spot to this pre middle age face.  I'm not sure how successful I was.  I might start wearing a bag over it so if you see me and I don't wave, well, now you know why.

An interesting fall it has been and even a better October full of bits of learnings and lessons and things I didn't know and now I do.  And I don't mean know in a BIG way but in that small tucked into your brain way that hopefully gets to the juicy parts and does the right amount of damage.  You know?  Makes change, bit by bit. 

I learned...

1. If a woman comes up to you, in a witch costume, beer in hand and starts yelling at you take it with a grain of witch-beer-infused salt.  She's probably a little intoxicated and even though all of her meanness comes out in her heightened beer state and that witch costume might just be Business Casual and not for Halloween, chances are she didn't mean to curse you, your future children or children's children.

2. Saying sorries a decade later is good.  Saying them in a year is better.  Saying them in a month is really good.  The same week or day? Rather brilliant.  Imagine if you apologized immediately after making an ass out of yourself, you know, the very next moment?  That would be downright emotionally mature.  Plus it feels good to say sorry when you tell your bartender to, "Get this effin bar together.  Now!"  Yes, that was me.  Ugh.

3. Take responsibility.  If you screw up, don't lay blame elsewhere.  Own it.  Not more than your part and not less than your part, just your part.  Be the exact opposite of every politician you know and forget about putting spin on your story.  Simply, say, "I blew it but I'm going to try not to blow it again."  How quickly we could move on if we'd take some ownership instead of mastering spin.

4. Share.  Try your absolute hardest to think of someone before yourself.  I saw grown adults maul a candy bar and little kids stand there with empty trick or treat bags.  That's not right, folks.  If you look around you, see - you there looking to the right and to the left - there are other people besides you.  Notice them and include them and think of them when you are filling your bag to the brim.  I think our bags are filled to the brim in many ways and can be shared with someone else.  Who needs your share?

5. Talk to strangers.  I don't mean in that sordid pedophile way.  I mean talk to a stranger that is ten feet away from you and you've nodded at or waved to or thought of saying more than a hi or bye with for months.  Those strangers.  Have conversations that last longer than a sound bite.  Ask someone about their day or their life or their greatest love.  Imagine what you'd find out if you took the time to meet someone new.

6. Hot chocolate helps.  It helps everything.  Well, when it's 83 degrees out it's a little strange but on most October days if you'll trust me and order it and add whip cream even though that will be so anti-wellness of you, it will help everything.  You'll feel better and younger and you'll remember you from back when you

7. Like your likes.  My niece Kristina just got her license which technically means she could drive when we go to LACMA but I'm not much of the "driving with a brand new driver on the freeway" sort of girl.  I think if you get the blessing of having children then you get the blessing of their freeway firsts, too.  So, Darling Girl wants to Museum Hop with me which makes me ultra happy and as we chatted I realized her tastes in art are very different than mine.  I like that.  I don't need her to like my likes.  Are you liking your likes?  I hope so.

I ended today at a wake celebrating the life of a dear family friend.  Ninety-six years of life lived by a woman that chose to be full of grace and full of civility and showed love and kindness each time I encountered her.

That's my goal.  I want that in my life.  Bits of learning and changes and growth and being less like today and more like I want to be tomorrow. Oh, that's the plan anyway. Sometimes I blow it and sometimes my days are a smashing success. Today, well, today was a good one.

Much love to you as we peak our heads around the corner at November,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lessons in Best and Worst

Brought to you by my favorite cream sort of peasant top that I love so much I bought two.

I asked you. I did. I asked you two things.
1. What was the best part of your weekend?
2. What was the worst part of your weekend?

And normally I gear the question to the ladies cause you men tend to hold back your words but you answered too and I love that.Wanna know mine?

The Best
Sitting around a dining room table BS’ing with my brother and sister-in-law. Riding in the car with Baby Brother. Darling Nieces Sweet Sixteen. Setting out platters. Decorating for things other than work. Hearing the high pitched scream only someone in their teens can master. Hot chocolate. The slight mist of rain that almost isn’t rain but puts a glow on traffic lights. Losing weight and not knowing it cause the scale hasn’t been working but you have. The whooshing of wet wheels on wet roads. Getting closer to the finish line of my first race. Street lamps. Front porches. Remembering being Evil Knievel Brave as a child and thinking that might come back. Detailed dreams without endings. Three books, dog-eared. Inspiring a love of museums in you. Air conditioning and windows open…cause I pay the bill.

The Worst
A remembering cry of grief that came from my toes and out of the top of my head. The second row of the theater. An empty tank of gas. Not having a band aid big enough for your wound.

And then it hits me. The Worst are still good even when they are bad.

My cry of grief was healing and brief and beautiful and muffled and I got through it quick because I knew where to go. And the second row of the theater isn’t wretched. I mean it’s not like I didn’t have somewhere to live. It was more an arching of the neck sort of in the middle of entertainment complaint. How bad can that really be? And an empty tank of gas? That means there’s a car to be filled and that’s pretty cool because I can fill it and take a couple adventures! And not having a band aid big enough for your wound - your loss, your hurt, your anger, your frustration, your unknown. I do have one, I do. The only place I know to go is to God. Maybe you have somewhere else and, hey, make it happen if it works for you. But I’ve tried Mint Chip Ice Cream.  It melts.

You all shared some of your best and worst this week with me. I love when you share. It’s sort of like pre-school but for us Pre Middle Agers. Kinda cool, you know?

The Best
Homecoming. Cuddling with Sailor Boy. Discussing Rapture and sex in same bible study. Taking son and daughter to a college expo. Son and friend built me a fence. Sex, diamonds, whisky, loved ones. Dancing at House of Blues while my hub and kids were home sleeping! Did my 10th race.

The Worst
Laryngitis. Sailor Boy puking on fave pair of heels. Sudden migraine on lazy Saturday. Weekend ending. The rain and…it’s cold! A misunderstanding. Not getting enough sleep (baby didn’t care mommy stayed out late!) Suffering from injuries.

Much love to you this quiet night with one car whooshing past every now and then and the occasional rain drop,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lessons in Secrets

Brought to you by things my mother told me never to do and the fall, 'cause I like it.

My mother always said we could never
1. Get a tattoo.  I didn't and then she died so I never can.
2. Take out gum at church and certainly never in public unless "you have enough to share with everyone".  Everyone is a lot of damn people.
3. Whisper.  She hated whispering and to this day I do, too.  Whispering oozes of things you want to say to one person and not to many persons.  Whispering is about things that are private.  I'm much more the public sort. 

And to be honest, this past month has been a brainful.  So, until I could gather the thoughts in my pretty, dirty blonde, roots showing head I felt it best to stay on the silent side of things. 

The secret is though....the whisper in your ear though....the thing you know though is that there are things that sit heavy on my heart and for today, I'll share the ones that comes easily to mind:

I'm embarrassed for complaining about not having a car for two weeks, getting a rental today and then seeing a homeless man riding a bicyle with his belongings.  I'm tearing up now thinking about how ungrateful I sounded this past 14 days.  I have a beautiful, safe home and heat and water and sometimes electricity when I remember to pay the bill.  And there is food to eat and people to check on me.  And seeing a man near 80 years old quietly riding his dilapitated bicycle loaded with the contents of his life made me shudder.  I'm sad tonight about that.  It's not okay and being unsettled about it is good.

At my very core, I'm brilliantly scatterbrained.  I could start a million companies and, more than likely, at least ten more tonight with a good cup of hot chocolate in hand.  It wouldn't do you or me or anyone else any good.  I don't like that about me.  I want to do one thing well and then maybe add a second thing. 

I'm sort of selfish.  Yah.  I've been tired of late.  I've wanted Me Time and not You Time and finally understand when people have asked the same of me.  Occassionally you just need to put the "Closed For Business" sign up and mine is going up more often than it used to.  For sanity, for business, for the sake of growing a personal life that sometimes bleeds into a very public life, I need to once in awhile put up the sign.  I hope you'll love me in spite of that.  I hope you'll trust I'll come back more energized when I open for business each time next. 

I get frustrated.  I was sitting at Happy Nails getting a pedicure today and a grown daughter and her mom were sitting side by side completely ignoring each other on their mobiles.  On the rare occassion they would say something to each other but it was limited.  Then they would go back to their phones.  I wanted to scream, "Tell each other you love each other!  Say you're mad.  Say you're happy.  Say something!"  I wonder sometimes if it's better if I simply pick up a magazine and disengage but I'm not sure how to once I've put my life in Drive.

Those are some of my secrets.  The only time my mom said it was okay to whisper was in libraries or, I guess, at funerals.  Definitely, most definitely it wasn't okay to whisper to tell a secret.  "What you have to say to her, you can say to everyone."

So...Everyone...I'm a human being but you already knew that.  And I love that you love me in spite of that.

A couple more lessons for the road, shall we? 
1. Imagine closing every door gently.  Say goodbye to The Slam.
2. Celebrate things like National Peanut Butter Cup Day. 
3. Bake rather than buy.  Your perfect is prettier than their perfection.
4. Read your pissy emails three times before you send them and delete them before you send them.  So, umm, don't send them.
5. Let people cut in front of you to build your patience.
6. Don't pick Pre Middle Age fights.  You're too Pre Middle Age old.
7. Sure, McNuggets are made out of chicken bone and chicken eyelid paste (allegedly) but try to find a better Diet Coke.
8. Men - learn to hold doors for women even if no one taught you to growing up.
9. Women - learn to let men hold doors for you even if no one taught you to growing up.
10. Be nicer.  Not meaner. 

Much love in the loudest non whisper I can muster on this sweet fall night,
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