Because all experiences are valuable.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"I've Got you Babe"

I love the movie Groundhog Day (starring Bill Murray). Have you seen it? I have seen it repeatedly, possibly more than any other movie. This strikes me as beyond ironically hilarious, because as you may know, this movie is about the same things happening to our erstwhile hero day after day after day. The point is of course, that he must master certain lessons of character before anything will change and he is allowed to move on. I could bring in a lot of thoughts on karma, ice-sculpting, Jeopardy!, and Sonny and Cher songs, but I won't. If you haven't seen it, suffice to say I would highly recommend it.

That's what today felt like to me. A deja' vu sequence from a bad film where the director went out for coffee and left the camera rolling by mistake.

More feeling inadequate for not supplying the proper groceries, reading the right book in toto, not communicating "clearly" enough with someone who wasn't listening anyway...rushing around to get things done for Monster Child #1 (I call my kids this because my 18 yr old and 14 yr old are both 6'1" and were each like 20 lbs at 3 months old... Monster size, not personality), having deep discussion with #1 at Five Guys Burgers and Fries (a favorite spot for deep discussions with MC #2), and watching fretfully as he backs ever ever so slightly into another car for the second day in a row and has to get the owner's amused release yet again. (I swear the next time anyone dings me a bit...they are home free.)Showing up at the right place with the wrong documents, and wondering for the maybe tenth time if it is okay for me to let my teenager sleep until 3pm in the summer.

I warned you this was not a well scripted film, didn't I?
It has to be obvious I have something to learn here. Let's see...what does Bill Murray learn on his Odyssey? Hey, having said that, why don't we throw in Odysseus himself.

Uh oh. I just realized that one of my top ten favorite books is the Odyssey. Coupled with Groundhog Day, I sense a theme here. Bill Murray has to learn to step outside himself and appreciate the tiny occurrences in life, the "little people" in all their folksy glory, and especially the delightfully psychic titular rodent. Odysseus had to learn humility, discernment, and some serious crew management skills. (I don't think letting my bunch get swallowed by Scylla or Charibdis is really an option.)

So, I'll look for good things and good people. The financial aid counselor at GSC who told me to just put zero if my ex refuses to provide numbers for the FAFSA form under investments (bless you, I can move on), the kind and chatty security guard at the Best Buy who couldn't believe I had an 18 yr old, the counter girl at Five Guys who thought my son was cute and gave him a massive amount of fries, which made us both smile inside and outside. The beautiful campus at Brenau University that I feel so lucky to be attending soon, the good news received on a broken SeaDoo (broken no more), watching Reid play Nintendo, getting nice text messages, knowing that I know how to make a really good cherry sauce out of $6 worth of cherries that need eating...

Some days aren't as deep as others. Some days aren't as delightful as others.
Sometimes the best thing that can be said at the end of the day is, "I survived."
And unlike poor Bill Murray, I get a different one tomorrow.

Now, where can I get a groundhog? Because that scene where the Groundhog drives the car off a cliff?? One of the funniest damn things ever.

A Day in the Life

I am a closet Beatles fan.
This is both the absolute truth and a wild exaggeration. I laugh. Because I'm not in the closet, but no one ever asks me if I'm a Beatles fan. (I suspect no one cares.)
However, I enjoy the drama of grand pronouncements like the above. An exaggeration because I think a true fan would be able to list off all sorts of facts and titles, lyrics, periods and interpersonal scandals. Sorry, I just like the music. Snippets of Paul's lyrics invade me at the oddest times. Or maybe the most perfect ones. (As an aside, I read today on a friend's blog that William Safire says do not start a sentence with a preposition. I learned that, too. Or something like that. hahahaa)

It was a busy day dawning on a busy night of intense emotion, demon wrestling, and re-dedication to a cause far greater than one person's needs, but instead the need to create something real, and maybe save everyone in the process. Grandiose? I honestly don't know. I will blog on this sometime, the injuries I have suffered in the past... the things I learn everyday from my sons about topics like pornography. Their astute advice and intimate boy knowledge offers a blunt for the blades that have sliced me. Someday when you all know me better I believe I will even tackle my kidnapping at age 16.

I did indeed find and purchase the little car of the cosmos I hoped to find. It did rather come to me, and I decided not to vex myself with worry over alternatives. A victory for me...my dear sister Christin could regale you with the story of my purchasing and returning four sets of towels before finally settling on one. Towels! I am definitely doing better on this front.

So, as usual, Guy said something inspirational. He quoted Winston Churchill, "When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened." That is a good one to remember. Clever, witty, and true. Some of the best things for sure. But it was looking that one up to transcribe it properly that lead me to this one...

"If you're going through hell, keep going."
Winston Churchill

That sums up so much that I need to hear and keep with me these days. Oh, Winston, I apologize that I have not given you your due before now. I was acquainted with your genius and achievements, but mentally dismissed you from view due to your unattractiveness. Silly, shallow thing that I occasionally am (pokes self with sharp stick. Wink.)

I never thought of it quite that way before, but it is so obvious. Like McCoy in the Star Trek episode, Spock's Brain. "It's just so simple, why a child could do it..." You can either stand around wallowing in Hell, or you can keep going. Eventually you will walk out of it. Keep going.

That's where Paul McCartney's lyrics trotted their infectious little way in here.
One of my very favorite Beatles songs is "A Day in the Life." That song just seems to vibrate at the same frequency as my mind.

I saw a film today, oh boy,
the English Army had just won the war,
A crowd of people turned away,
But I just had to look,
having read the book...

Thank you Winston, thank you Paul, thank you genius British guys...

And it all reminds me of a deeply touching poem I read by my new blog-pal "Wrinkled Man." His blog is wrinkledman.blogspot.com. The poem is entitled "When" and published 5-08-10. Check it out. He starts it, " I'm seized by the pain of reading literature." Sigh. So appropo. But I just had to look...

Let's just all keep going.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I think about words a lot. Maybe this is because I use them...poet, commentator, observer, philosopher. To me, a true intellectual has an arsenal at his disposal, and needs little else. Maybe its because my mother was an English teacher, and the finest I ever had. Maybe its because my father was a professor of foreign languages: Spanish, Portugese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese (several dialects), Korean, Russian, Latin...and more. It was an odd way to grow up. My father always had all the words, in all the languages.

Tonight, I'm thinking of these words: adore and abhor. Aren't those precocious synonyms for love and hate? I must always equivocate if I ask myself that, and believe me equivocating with oneself isn't easy. Yes, I suppose, those are synonyms for love and hate, but they define synonym as directly substitutable for another word and I would argue that each and every word has its own distinct meaning and purpose. Oscar winner is synonymous with Tom Hanks, but they aren't the same thing. I'm just pulling your leg with that one.

I have read in metaphysical books that what you put your energy into is what truly matters to you. Workaholics may say they love their family most...but we all know the end to that one. Most people believe their true "love" lies in one spot, and then focus their energy elsewhere. It doesn't take a particularly large or shiny mirror to see what you really love, if you are open to self-reflection.

To abhor something, to loathe it so extremely as to be horrified by it (the root of the word abhor)...that seems a lot of energy to expend. And if I expend that much energy, then by the above principle, do I not love and adore the very same thing?

There's a line of Leonardo DiCaprio's in a marginal movie, that I enjoy anyway (The Man in the Iron Mask, I always enjoy Randall Wallace's directing). Speaking as Louis XIV, Leonardo delivers this line as he orders his twin, Phillipe, back into the Iron Mask. "Wear it until you love it." I can't think of many things more horrific than a life in prison in an iron mask. Wear it until you love it...

That's what we do, you know? We wear our hatreds, unstudied emotions, ill-formed opinions, and harsh judgments of others until we love them. That is where we put our energy. We adore our own egotistical satisfaction. It becomes the iron mask we cannot remove, and cannot remember why we would even want to.

My ex-husband likes to tell me that I'm the one who taught him this valuable lesson. He says, "Hate is not the opposite of Love, not caring is." Naturally, this drives me batshit , because that mismashed can of Who-hash is nothing this particular Grinch would offer up, heart as yet grown three sizes or not.
The opposite of Love is Indifference.

What I am indifferent to, I give no energy whatsoever. Ralph Waldo Emerson said this, "Know this to be the enemy: it is anger, born of desire." We abhor what we adore, and are denied....

My plans for the future, MY future, are to think upon the things that I abhor, and to strive for indifference, such that the things which I adore are of my own choosing.

"I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him." Booker T. Washington.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

of Raves and Ravens

This isn't all I want you to know, it's just all I have time to tell you now.
Full moons are unique, and what a memory book you would have if someone recorded what you were doing each and every full moon of your life. Just that. Kind of a lunatic idea, I know.

Every day I feel the pull of the ravens that sleep behind my eyelids, and why my eyes fly open in the night sometimes. Guy just told me of a dream he had recently. It was scintillating and unusual. Almost never does anyone tell me of a dream that I can see just as they are seeing it, feel like I'm in it while they talk. It must be the moon, but I swear I could have been there myself. The part where someone had invented a spray that coated your tongue that made it react to black light and he was at a party full of people, all drinking and dancing. Someone should invent that. And when he awoke and his father had goggles fitted with a jewelers' loupes, and was peering deep into Guy's eyes and he thought...oh shit...he's going to know I'm drunk.

Oh!!! The breathy intake of recognition, the absolute terror that can strike in us, oh shit, someone is going to know. Someone, for example, who thinks I have things figured out is going to look at me and see the roiling chaos bubbling over on my stove. Just past the edge of my vision, that raven- unimaginably huge like a crow that ate the vegetable bounty in Gilligan's radioactive garden- that raven fluffs his chest feathers and settles down again to stare at me accusingly.

I said to a friend the other day that Reid was worried about lying about his age and felt bad about it, but explained that I had instructed him to lie. But it only weighed on his conscience briefly, because he is a teenager...and because he is sensible when it comes to the wasted energy of guilt and worry. I termed it "fleeting remorse."

When is remorse genuine, or even necessary. Is it only something that appears in that "oh shit, they know" moment? That's not what we are taught, but it's like that dream that feels so real. Most of us will continue drinking and dancing at the rave under the full moon, feeling only fleeting remorse, if any, until someone comes and flips the klieg lights on.

Now that we know that the results of any experiment are inextricably tied to the observer...is it only the raven that keeps one from the rave? Does anything happen at all if no one is watching?

You will forgive me, yes? for letting the Moon bewitch me when you were not looking.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Golden Calf

I need something. I don't really want to need it, but still, the need exists.
Sigh. I need to go buy a car. What seemed exciting in days past, seems like drudgery now. My requirements... really cheap, reliable, good gas mileage, can fit a set of marching tenor drums (hopefully without much effort). It need not be particularly pretty, it may be showing its age...what it really needs to do is come to me, instead of me looking for it. Is there somewhere I can order that up?

How did it happen that cars became the golden calves of modern society? Why didn't I ever notice this before? I like to think of myself as completely outside the car worshipers, (though this may be a truly pathetic delusion on my part, I own a Jaguar baseball cap.) I feel like a jungle denizen, peering through the rainforest leaves at the edge of the clearing, watching the civilized folk dressed in white lawn and cotton duck sip tea and sherry around their appropriately sized campfire. Adding to the oddness of my disassociation is the fact that I used to work for a Toyota Dealer, eons ago, and also worked in Tag and Title for county government.

I have fear of car shopping. If I do not conquer this fear, indeed, master it, I will...get screwed.

Or is that not reality, and only the fear itself? I fear...I will make a mistake; I will not get a good deal; I will be lied to; I will end up unhappy with my choice; I will get something cheap and adequate then it will break down and cost me a lot of money. I fear my life will be negatively impacted by my damn car! I FEAR, and this is huge, that someone else will tell me I made the wrong decision, and how much better some other choice would have been. The tea swilling, pith helmeted Judge of all my decisions will pass me a crumpet and mildly remark, "Well, you know Dear, my cousin is an importer of xxxx and I could have gotten you yyyy and did you consider zzzz...."

Okay, so now, I look at that last paragraph. What a false god the automobile is.
I appreciate your doing this exercise with me. I feel better knowing you are with me. Why do I have these fears?

Makes me think of something Dr. Phil says, though tongue-in-cheek. He says, "How do you know when a teenager is lying?....His lips are moving." I might change that to fit here, "How do you know when a car salesman is lying?"... And why do I have excessive fear of breakdown and repairs? Because I have owned a VW Passat Wagon and a Jaguar. Anecdotal evidence, sure, but cut open my brain and look for the large mass of scar tissue and tangled neurology filed under "VW." (How do you know a VW salesman/mechanic is honest? No one has killed him yet)

Okay, then. The pep talk. I believe I can, and will, find a cheap little car that gets good gas mileage to run back and forth to my classes, that I won't fret over if it gets dinged up, that won't become attached to any part of my ego, and will happily get its oil changed at any darn oil change place I happen to drive by. (Unlike the albatross I call my Jaguar) I can and will get a good deal, and I can and will be satisfied with my choice, because I made it.

On my knees, I prayerfully ask of you, little car of the cosmos, to reveal yourself to me.

Golden calf? Now it all makes sense. Pass the sherry and throw another log on that fire while I surreptitiously remove the bone from my nose. I say, nice party, chap!
(pay no attention to that angry bearded man throwing those stone tablets off the mountain over there...)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Perfectly Animate

Tonight my son, Guy, said something so insightful, that I said, "I'm going to steal that." Which is what I like to say when someone says something particularly pithy. (Pithy is such a good word! You may steal it) He said, "Well, people are 3-D."

Isn't that exactly right?

Why is that so difficult to remember? I know I say things like...people have different sides, and a favorite of mine- you can't really know what goes on inside someone's home/relationship (very true). But tonight I think those sorts of adages are yet another way of dismissing the formation of true knowledge of others. If you can't really ever know someone else completely, if all people are actually multi-faceted and indeed, "multi-faced," then why put in the effort to understand them?

Meanwhile I can do a really nice pucker-up and lip-service acknowledgment of how everyone is different, blah blah blah. I want to really examine my own beliefs on this subject under the twirly fluorescent bulb that is my son. "People are 3-D."

What occurs to me about 2-D vs. 3-D is that in 2-D, you can only see what is presented to be seen. In three dimensions, you can see behind. You can see inside.

Under, over, around, on top of, slightly off plumb, whatever. Apply your favorite preposition to someone you love today!! Why does this seem so different to me than just saying people have different sides? Maybe because even a 2-D paper cut out has different sides. The back of a paper doll is equally as dull as the front. It means nothing to my hands that itch for texture and structure and things to wrap around.

Right now I'm thinking of my own body...things I think about it sometimes. Things I think about others, too. Too much flesh on my inner thigh, a scar under my eye, hairs that curl at the slightest bit of moisture all around my ears and stick out like a bad Einstein impression. I'm thinking about people...the almost endless subtleties of skin, moles, teeth, flesh, smiles, eyes, expressions, emotions, hands and arms and legs, talents, abilities, and stories- from the sparkling to the sad. Victims and amputees, fashion models, fresh-minted babies...and, the dying.

I want to know them all. For an instant or for a lifetime. Whatever fits. I want to tell them they are all perfect. Perfectly animate. Perfectly, beautifully, 3-D.

I may not ever fully understand them...maybe they don't want me to. But I can show others that I see them. YOU are here. I see YOU, and that fact Matters.

Here's the thing...

So, yeah. That is something I say a lot...here's the thing. Likely indicating that I am about to get to the point, then pulling a bait-and-switch and going off on some tangent again. However, if you can stay with me, I will always come back full circle to the beginning/here's the thing.

Today, June 22 (yeah, so it's after midnight. If I'm still awake, it is the same day for me)the Thing is this: Change is Not Difficult. Yes, I said it. I flew in the face of common wisdom. I challenged you openly to "www"- wake up, wise up, and walk on.

The second you decide to change something, it already has. Let's see...a simple example. A microwave oven heats and thus cooks food using "waves", right? What kind of waves...ever wonder? They are radio waves! These waves are at a frequency that affects water, fats, and sugars especially. We've all seen the power of a microwave on a defenseless, unsuspecting bag of popcorn.

So, what is it that our brain emits? Electrical brain waves. Am I saying you can prepare popcorn with your mind as the only cooking element? No. But I am asking you to just consider for one moment your brain.

Nothing you can do (while alive)can stop the emission/transmission of your brainwaves. You cannot stop them; they are there; they are you! Literally, what else do you think that you are? (I certainly do not dismiss the soul, I'm speaking of your organic self.)

Who is in control of you? If you aren't operating your microwave, yourself, then you are just the popcorn...lying dormant in the bag...waiting for, what?

No one else can control your brainwaves. Believe me, if they could, they would...and "they" certainly try. When you say, "I changed my mind," when did this change occur?
Your thought process leading to the change may be complex, or simple. But the change is instantaneous. Think of a lowly cupcake. Pick a flavor...I pick spice. Now think, no, I want chocolate. The picture in your mind changed instantly, didn't it? You didn't have to tell your brain to visualize something different. You didn't have to browse and upload.

Change occurs the very instant you decide to change.

And that's the thing...