December 18, 2014 | 2:22 pm
December 18, 2014 | 2:22 pm
I couldn’t face my stupid and boring and businessy post I just posted, below, so I wrote another better one and have posted that, too. Here you go!
Have I mentioned I’m in more of a Christmas spirit than since I don’t know when? That I hauled a full-size, Silver-Tipped Birch up my stairs? That I’ve been listening to Christmas music voluntarily? Who am I?
Someone that is feeling somewhat carefree and is trying to redefine the concept of holiday, family, and happiness for herself, that’s who. And maybe it took her nearly 12 years to work through some of the deep, intense grief and sadness that this time of year brings, since, you know — mom.
Here are some proof in pictures. Maybe I’ll see you before I head out for my yearly reconnection with really frosty weather. If not, have a nice, nice time.
One of the many odd creatures that my mom liked to have around her, especially at Christmas. This one might be my favorite! Who is this holly-covered little beast with a party hat and no features? I don’t know but I love him.
The Christmas tree lot was staffed by burly, manly, bearded, lumberjacky dudes from Oregon. Happy merriment to ME!
Angel with the giant hands/Upon my Christmas tree you lands. Surprisingly not from mom but from a weird and wonderful ornament exchange party, which I’m happy to say is resuming after a hiatus in 2013. A hint to what I’m bringing, below.
I made these ornaments! They are not wooden throwing stars, you snarky internet friends. I designed, laser cut, sanded, stained, assembled and glued them, all without losing a finger or mind!
Here’s a poor picture of a completed one in action. Lots of laser wood projects going on around here!
I had a great Thanksgiving in Palm Springs. Here’s Molly in Joshua Tree.
What a trip! I get to write the coda of my dishware saga, thanks to seeing and purchasing what was juuuuuust under these decanters.
One more picture from Palm Springs, summing it all up: A one man band playing bluesy Christmas originals and singing into a red megaphone at a Tiki Bar.
December 18, 2014 | 1:51 pm
I have tried to keep on top of things, obligations, chores. So far, it has (sort of!) worked. A 4-year bootcamp of taking care of another adult yet helpless human has really changed things for me. (for the most part!)
Oh, except. Except. Yeah, except a few things, most notably a massive procrastination effort that almost screwed me, big time. It’s complicated, as anything to do with HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS is!
Really? I’m going to be a dull gasbag who is about to drone on about health care premiums? During the holiday season? When I post, like once every other month?
OK. Let’s just say:
I finally broke down and confessed to my boss that I had put off all of this crap, time was almost out, I was going to owe a whole lot of money, I’m a terrible person, etc. She paused and then confessed pretty much the exact same story to me.
So, hand in hand, we faced our worst fears, which were not that bad, ultimately (which is an outcome that often happens). With a whole lot of elbow grease, we got everything back into motion, with pretty much zero repercussions. Hooray!
Not only that, but she came over the other day and started poking around my apartment and opened a closet (I should mention here that we’ve been good friends far longer than we’ve worked together). I shrieked, because it happened to be my closet of shame where a lot of unfiled papers have been living (procrastination project #2). She actually SNORTED DERISIVELY, because it was such a small mess compared to her mess at home, generated by a home office and six children.
So, not only do I feel better, since my shames turned out not to be very shameful things in the big picture, but ALSO MY GOD the feeling of relief flooding my system!!!! So good. So good! I have missed that feeling of finally getting to something, and finishing it successfully against all the self-imposed odds, after all that heartache.
Not enough to make it a habit (again!), though.
And, with one last backward horrified look at the grammar of that last sentence, I move on.
December 2, 2014 | 1:29 pm
[Expanded from my Facebook Post from Tuesday, December 2 – also known suddenly by the internet as Giving Tuesday]
I’ve had a lot of conversations recently about giving and about being of service and how, within a couple generations, a lot of people (including myself) have ceased to weave charity into the fabric of their existence. A lot of people my parents’ age sure seemed to have it down. At the end of the year, my parents would sit at their desks with their checkbooks out, and methodically give to all the charities that sent them letters. Not only that, but volunteering in a very community minded way was a given, not an option.
I certainly know people who are younger than my parents who too have it down and also sit down at the end of the year with their laptops and credit cards. Who volunteer their time with no other intention but to do what they can. Not to post a video on Facebook, not to show the world their selflessness, they JUST DO.
Personally, it took me a long time to figure it out and to fit it into my life — going from a lower middle class to a middle middle class citizen helped a lot; realizing that giving back (both by providing service and financially) improves my life on so many levels; and focusing on a few specific causes helped me not feel overwhelmed.
My humility falls somewhere between my non-Facebooking selfless friends, and the icebucket-dumping knuckleheads that infested my timeline last summer. I try to use social networking to entice and excite people into giving, themselves. And I am not shy about directing people to the causes I personally believe in. See below!
Take a leap and try directing your hard-earned simoleans to a worthy cause. Volunteer your precious time! Raise some awareness! It stings a little, but you are helping in a very real sense.
If you can’t think of causes to help, well, here you go!
November 24, 2014 | 12:02 am
Being a blogger (not a monetized blogger or gun for hire blogger) is being adrift on a silent sea.
But hey hello, I am very busy (and not in the superficial, half-lying, “oh gosh I’m just so active and popular”). It is hard to make time for this because I am not sure what it is I am making time for. If you are reading this, thank you for reading this!
To continue. Here are some things.
This year’s theme has “I’m not myself,” has it not? I think I’ve mentioned it plenty. I have been grappling with my new life, my new life with many fewer obligations and the fact that the only person that depended on me doesn’t anymore (his being dead and all). After the heartbreak of last year, the backbreaking will execution, and the planning/organizing of the family thing this summer, suddenly everything screeched to a halt. Family left, obligations settled, stepdad fully interred in the ground.
I’m starting to realize that I was seeking my old self, my pre-taking-care-of-John self, and that person is no longer. It’s new self and new chapter that I am struggling to find and define.
Over the fall, I crashed deeper into depression, it going from a little sullen (but relatively quiet) demon on my shoulder to a lead weightedness that made it hard to swim with. It’s getting better but I’ve had a few hard weeks. I thought I was hiding it well but there was an undeniable sadness about me that only a few people accurately identified as depression (and not stick-in-the-mud-ness, or boring-tiredness).
So I’ve made an attempt to be busier with new obligations, to be of service in various ways, to rededicate myself to my support group, and to start caring for myself again. Hard road! Hard hard road! So hard!
A lot of remarkable things have happened in a short amount of time, things that I planned on mentioning in breezy detail in this post (but no, this post had a downer mind of its own). One good thing that happened is that I’m not feeling blank horror at the holidays that we are hurtling toward, for the first time in … when? Maybe it’s because I don’t have enough time to think about all the shit I should be doing, if that makes sense, or maybe my support group work is working (despite my best efforts!), or maybe I’ve learned to make do with it all. I dunno.
Another good thing is that I still have this quiet, happy, clean home.
And another thing is that I feel valued for my knowledge and my talents.
And there are more things. But I’ll leave you to ponder this sort of sad, sort of hopeful, sort of grateful post. Happy Thanksgiving if I don’t check in before.
October 20, 2014 | 11:05 am
About 20 years ago, I went to a self-actualizing weekend workshop. A lot of crying and writing and woo and meditating and “I” statements. It was okay. I did have a revelation that I was as angry at my mother as I was at my dad, but that is so totally a different subject. At any rate, it was a very typical 1990’s Marin County happening.
At one point, we were encouraged to go up to a microphone and talk about our biggest issue (or something like that).
A very earnest, very tie-dyed lady stood up and tearfully said something like “I don’t know how to save Mother Earth!”
And the still-smirky punk nihilistic in my soul rolled her eyes a little bit. Not so much at the notion but more at the delivery. Same mental place from which I ordered “Save the Whales” checks ironically in the 1980s.
I smirked, even though some troubling articles had come out already, about the puzzling and concerning global temperature increase.
I smirked, even though I knew better. And BOY do I know better now.
Human destruction of earth, ladies and gentlemen. All in my little lifetime.
October 2, 2014 | 10:16 pm
This post and the last post were designed make you love me despite everything!
September 23, 2014 | 3:47 pm
I like the word repugnant and I think I know what it means. I’m a little unclear on how it’s pronounced, and probably won’t ever use the word in spoken conversation. I think probably that’s because when one expresses disgust, one doesn’t need fancy words — just the ability to arrange one’s facial muscles in an appropriate horrified grimace.
[note: I originally wrote the paragraph above about the word puerile, which I thought mean “disgusting” but it totally does not! I’M LEARNING THINGS]
Let’s make a list of grossness. I’m sorry or you’re welcome, depending on if you like talking about what I like talking about. Consider this my therapy. Hang onto your hat.
Wow, I’m getting the whirls! I’m going to stop here and not even going into my fascination with infectious diseases.
I do have to say that my two public vomiting experiences as an adult have reduced the general anxiety that most people have around the idea of vomiting in public, but increased my anxiety about the (likely) likelihood of it happening again. But this is something I can prepare for — with planned exit routes, stashed plastic bags, and an earnest search for migraine medication that works for me.
Yep, a post about vomit, dedicated to Polly.
September 13, 2014 | 7:49 pm
… et voila! How not to make a dress!
[I had fun anyway, weirdly. Just some circumstances as well as limited brain function on my part. And lovely teacher is committed to making sure we’ll learn what we need to learn to actually finish this gosh darned garment. Gosh darned ass-accommodating besleeved garment.]
September 2, 2014 | 5:10 pm
Here is your soundtrack to this post. Good ol’ Beachies. Hit play then read on.
It’s Labor Day, a grim-sounding day that takes on the grim task of being the unofficial end of summer. And I can feel a long-shadow melancholy, even though A. there’s three more weeks of summer technically; B. (but) the summer ended weeks ago for the majority of kids going to school in the area; and C. it’s hotter and sunnier than ever in this drought-stricken, perpetually sunny socal weirdo weather.
What has occurred since my last post in this spindly, neglected blog? The west coast finally had to give up my nephew Peter so he could return to Massachusetts and to school. It was an outstanding July and August with that man, and our relationship will never be the same, for the absolute better. I’ll miss you, funky spaceman.
Then our little theater had an improv festival (as we do every year) just to exhaust everyone completely before the end of the season. It was good this year, a little dialed back, a little disorganized, a little FUCKING SWELTERINGLY SCORCHINGLY HOT ON STAGE, and a success. I was struggling with a little bit of a health thing that is new and not welcome and rhymes with banic battacks (what the hell!) but managed to rock my time on the stage, have some fun, and pause for a moment to appreciate my hard, marketing-monkey toil which resulted in getting decent numbers of of asses into the seats.
A picture before our Friday show. I’ve been very much enjoying marveling at the specific facial muscles I employed to make my face do this:
Saved that one to the ol’ Pinterest board reserved for things that make my sister and me laugh a lot.
I am partial to this take, as well, because Kyle’s face in the center (hi Kyle!) is extra good.
There are actually some smiling “come to our show” friendly takes, as well, but what’s the fun in that?
We can all agree this has been a good summer for me, yes? I agree!
So, just to bring things down whu-whuuuuu style as is my favorite thing to do, here are some bad things that happened this summer.
Oh wait! I also had a fantastic visit from my friend Ellen and she brought me a box of Miette and she spotted what was to become my new plates and coffee cups at Super Thrift, and we did this!
And earlier in the summer my nephew and I caught the glory that is La Gloria Market.
Ok, NOW I’m done.
August 6, 2014 | 5:51 pm
I had to poke around the ol’ hamblog today, sending links to my epic “health care, we have a problem” series to a person I recently met who is starting a nonprofit related to end-of-life matters and I am SO EXCITED for it to come to fruition. For if there is one takeaway from my experiences as a caregiver, things need to be a lot BETTER and EASIER for the dying. And that is what she hopes to accomplish.
But never mind that, I am writing because I’m all logged in to WordPress and my poor blog is neglected and blinking-cursor-ing at me and well, hi. Here are some things in my head.
This “I’m not feeling myself” refrain of the last few blog posts continues, but I’m working hard on getting reattached to me. In fact, I’ve been seeking out — and receiving — outside support and it’s going really well. This past month could have been so anxious and complicated and hard; I have been in person-to-person contact with many family members in many configurations over the past few weeks, and will continue to be for a few more. This could have just done me in, since family = stress (usually), but instead I’m, well, kind of dealing with it like a grown up and EVEN ENJOYING MYSELF.
In related news: wow, I sure have been angry for the past dozen or so years!
Yoga is back to kick my non-yogaed ass. This ass thought the “Yoga Over 50″ class would be easy on me, but no, I was just schooled by a bunch of ripped and flexible 70-year-olds. And so it goes, one wobbly half moon pose at a time.
The memorial for my stepdad was lovely. I am proud of the eulogy I wrote, proud that it came together really well, and so grateful for friends and family who showed up to make it awesome. I put together a slide show of utter gems found in the photo box.
Just John and his sister with a goat and a cart, 1929.
I just got back from the eastern Sierras. I was a soft weak sea-level baby, compared to my siblings and nephew, who fal-do-ree and fal-doh-rah’ed circles around me as I gasped in the thin air and demanded lots of hiking breaks. But: heaven! So beautiful! No picture available: us, lying in natural hot springs of graduating heat. One could soak deliciously, while keeping one’s head shaded inside a small cave, letting cool rivulets cascade from the rock above down upon one’s face. When the heat became too much, one could plunge into the crystal clear rushing river and scream like a banshee. This is before both a heard of cows and of sheep decided to join the fun — dozens of livestock crashing down the hillside, mooing and baaing and splashing into the river and chasing us away.
I brought back my nephew P from the Sierras. He is an east coast nephew, and I usually only see him in conjunction with the rest of his family, so this one-on-one time is incredibly special. These weeks are full of excitement — so far, he tried his first jicama, we nearly vomited on the Zipper at the Ventura County Fair, he walked 16 miles in one day, and we talk talk talk talk talk about everything under the sun. He is going with his other cousin to Outside Lands in San Francisco this weekend, and will get to see two additional cousins — all of them are offspring of different siblings, and two of them have never met. This fills my heart in ways I can’t express here — to see all these fine young adults connecting and reconnecting. I know, I just know, my mom is smiling about this, wherever she is.
Life is delicious.