Sunday, December 30, 2007

End of Another Year. Or Age.

“God is a concept,
By which we can measure,
Our pain,
I'll say it again,
God is a concept,
By which we can measure,
Our pain… “
(John Lennon - “God”)

So, we’re back at the inevitable end, eh? Well, not “the” same end, but, like a spiral, the end of another year … This year surely kicked my butt in more ways than one… I don’t believe I had ever contemplated death as much as I have this year. Death and birth both. As Bono says: “the two biggest events of our lives that we have absolutely no control over”.
I feel at least 10 years older now that on December 30, 2006. And judging by my gray hair, you would say the same thing too…My sister hates my gray hair. Not because she hates the color. She hates being reminded that time passes and we grow old. I love it, though, and I told her: embrace it! Embrace the wisdom you’ve gained in living! And this year, more than any other, this really holds true for me!
I have been taught so many lessons in loving, living, dying and hope this year that I don’t believe I learned all my 32 years put together…
If I feel anything at the end of 2007, is … tired … Tired but not wasted. Just tired and melancholy. Not bitter, surprisingly enough. Maybe even sweeter and calmer. I have always been the never-ending, absolute control freak … till this year – when I realized God laughs so hard at us control freaks! And He shows us who the boss really is every once in a while, JUST to set us straight!
God is so great. So awesome and unbelievably, overwhelmingly all powerful! – I have found …
I have learned how strong humans can be, and just how much pain one human body can take at one time. And how much morphine really doesn’t help on some wounds. I have learned the strength I can muster when I put my heart and mind into something. I have found the depths of my love and giving are bottomless indeed! And I am grateful I was born that way! I have learned that no one dies on my watch. At least if I can help it!
I have found out that maybe long distance romances can work, if true love and truthfulness are involved. After all, I have fallen in love with my folks all over again as an adult, and I have been 5000 miles away from them for 10 years now. But I still don’t believe in the soul mate stuff.
I have found out how picky I truly am about humans. I love them all, for letting me get to know … humans… but I am indifferent of them all, for my own self-preservation. At least thus far.
I have learned that it takes time but mostly patience and open-minded-ness to make a good friendship and just a fleeting whim and/or moment to break it. I have also learned life’s too short for some people to be worth the bother of making friends! I have also learned I am expendable to others. So much the better: I am glad they beat me to the punch of “breaking up” with them. :-)
I have found new friends, rediscovered old ones I thought lost and lost others. I have no regrets! After all, that’s my religion: to live with no regrets, right?!
I have found new music, new books, new art to enrich my imagination and feed my writing voice and world, in general. I have a new found confidence in my writing voice, for which I thank God every night.
I have found a new home and after cooking a few meals in it and putting up a Christmas tree in it, I really feel that it suits me and it’s my abode! Not some other’s … And I am now eagerly waiting to share it with the world, and with friends and family and a new life, too …
I have found out how much I can really love my kin! And how much I didn’t know about them. How much I took for granted and how many lessons I owe them, in love, and acceptance!
I have really understood the truly deep meaning of this: “Life is what happens when we’re too busy making plans”. So true! And that’s why I got no plans for the new year. Other than to stay open and be ready to soak up LIFE. I was way busy this year, making plans! HHmm… yeah …
I have learned that age is irrelevant in dating. You can be 40 and still in diapers, you can be 27 and have lived your life and be ready to die at Christmas time.
My brother in law taught me to hope and be grateful. Be grateful for love, one another and health. He also taught me he and everyone else is a yin-yang kinda being. We all have bright spots and dark ones, and it all makes up a beautiful, unique whole. And we all should be blinded by the bright spots, and love, and appreciate and value those, and never ever waste time even noticing the dark ones. And for that I will be forever grateful to him.
Some of my friends taught me patience (although I need another 2 decades of work there) and others taught me love. I’ll promise I’ll continue the research religiously on both and will deepen my understanding of the two.
My sister taught me love and the unconditional kind, too…AGAIN! God bless her; she is my true guardian angel! Always taking care of my soul!
A stranger taught me about death on Christmas, when we celebrate the most glorified Births of them all! And he taught me that all is relative, here on Earth! One day, you love, live and build your dreams, and another one, you’re lying cold in the morgue of a foreign country in an unknown hospital, 5000 miles away from home. “The trouble is we think we have time” – we really don’t!!!
Happiness, I found, is what you can find in one day that’s worth not crying sad tears for. The non-pain of every day should be good enough sometimes, if not most. If not all times. And if anything, that’s what I am wishing myself and all for the new year: more happiness, whatever our understanding of it is!
It’s been a sad, gloomy and tense year – if I have to put a label on it. I wish for an easier one, but like birth and death, I feel we have little control over it …I’ve lived enough to know that after terrible lows, we get magnificent highs, and I am hopeful! At the threshold between the years, I am hopeful…
At least now, I know I have the strength to pull through whatever the year might bring…Really?! I don’t even believe that statement…’Cause, trust me, the year can bring a crapload of stuff you’re not ready for!! We’ll see…
And I am happy that I am here, writing this, with heart full of hope…
Happy New Year, all! And thanks!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Family for Christmas

It's the first time in 5 years since I could be with "some" member of my family again, for Christmas ... It's surreal and I wish I could devise a plan, or a way to bottle up these moments and keep this magic going all year long, when I am alone... Every time I see my baby sister, I am amazed at how much I can love... Me, the perpetual selfish A., the never-ending self-centered, feminist bitch... - is capable of such love and such depth in my giving and forgiving and generosity and patience! Yes, even patience! Unbelievable how much goodness she can dig out of me!... She renders me breathless with love and overprotected-ness when I am around her.

This year, I am spending this wonderful time of year with her in her "grown-up" home for the first time ...
We cooked all our family holiday foods together for days on end, we bickered about who dad or mom loved best (I am sure they both loved us immensely just the same), and because she is 4 months pregnant, we fought over how a child should be raised. At the end of the day, we go to bed together, and we re-live our childhood when we shared the same bed till I was 21. We kiss each other good night and I always have a “good night” thought to give her before I hug her into her deep sleep.
It's a magical time indeed. I feel SO loved, so safe, so ... calm and peaceful. I can speak dirty, and bare my soul in front of this one person, I can be clumsy, and unguarded, and I can always guarantee you she will smile and kiss me and love me whole, the way I love her, with no restrictions... There is so much I am sure I take for granted, but THIS, this love and acceptance, I will make sure I won't ...
She's always been my “baby” sister in the true sense of that word, and every bit as helpless, quirky, unguided and just … basically, lost ... But now, pregnant, and overwhelmed by Christmas preparations, she is ten times as helpless and overwhelmed... And I am 10 times more in love with her! She is cute and ten times as small ... It's such a treat. Such a love feeling... Coming in at the most perfect time!
I have found peace and family once again and this is no small gift! I am trying to give and not to take much. I am trying to help without being in the way. I am trying to re-create "home" for both of us, away from the family we both miss, the language, the home, the “true” foods … And we both somehow managed to re-create that lost universe we left back years ago, in the black depth of
Eastern Europe. We even relived memories of teachers we shared and we shared movies and books we both loved back as teens and young adults. Such a sense of togetherness and common life, such a sense ... of family and soul-mate-ness...

All we’re missing is a couple of kick-a$$ parents who drive us nuts and a small, furry Dolly cat to purr in our ear at night … But we both have big hearts and they all live in there – always … Merry Christmas, all. And rest assured: love truly lives in the hearts. No mater how many continents or years they travel, it’s always there. Untouched.

For pictures of Canada weather and love, click here...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Random Airport Thoughts

Note: ... and I really do mean "random"... so, don't look for coherence here ... (much)

- 6:23 AM - Greensboro Airport, December 22. Going to Montreal...My baby sister's pregnant with her first one: almost 4 months... Excited and numb. Growing old's no fun ...
- Still very sleepy, since I went to bed at 12.30 last night ... Missing my cats, but excited about the trip. Hope it won't snow, so they get fed. First trip during winter...Should be a lesson. Any trip always is...
The plane is delayed (surprise?! hardly!) "because the crew is asleep, ma'am! They got in late last night and they have to sleep so many hours!" - "Oh, by all means, I would NOT want to fly with an asleep crew, Sir! So let them sleep! I can surely wait!"
- How do they know how many of those 'so many hours' are real sleep, and how many are sex with the flight attendant, or ... insomnia?!" - I wanna ask, but ... I refrain!
That gives me time for a bagel, coffee and The O'Reilly Factor. And, as always, for eavesdropping on other future passengers. There is a family of four, all overweight people, but I decide to leave my judgmental streak at home, so I'll stop there... Only one comment: sweat pants! I am the first one to vote for comfort over style, but sweat pants... are ... a sure sign you have given up on being a human! You can watch tv in them, and even step out of the shower in them ... but going on a plane on them: sorry. It' your abdication from ever having a life of any amount of humanity! So, yeah, I have an aesthetic issue with watching your rags falls off your fat butt and showing off your "pretend" knees! Yuck!
Other than fat people in sweat pants, I once again feel so at home in the airport. I think, for me, the airport is the closest to life: always moving; always changing; always in transition; always at home ...
I love airport coffee: it's weak and flavorful. Drinkable, too... Not the Starbucks or Brueggers crap, that you have to chew...
- Finally on the plane. I notice that the aisles in First Class (and the seats too) are twice as wide as the ones in Economy. Why?!- I wonder. Do you require to have wider hips in First Class?!; it feels like the Airline is telling us: "Nope, all you narrow-hippers, go to the back!; the ones with 'wider hips for breeding' ", as one of my friends would say about women, in general, "are allowed only in the front of the plane".
- Why do parents of toddlers who have their face covered with crumbs and leathered with jelly don't clean their faces up?! Even long after they have finished their eating, their face disgusting and goopy, the parents let them roam out in the world all dirty and sticky. Why?! I guess you must be a parent to get it ... I mean, why would you want your kid to look either sick or retarded... when they're not?! Beats me!
- I will NEVER make fun or criticize the over sized carry-ons! Never. I have learned that some folks don't bring checked luggage; smart people and if anything, I am jealous! If I didn't have half of WalMart to haul to Canada or Romania every time I go back "home", I would do the very same thing! So jealous ...
- In a (calendar) time of "Thanks", I am amazed once more at how ... un-thankful Americans are for what they have over here! This Indiana 30 some year old coming back from "a job in Cambodia" is shocked beyond belief that I personally chose America as my home because I think that it is the most amazing country in the world. She can't believe it, and from her shock and her story I gather she can't be convinced , either. So, I don't try. I never try. You have to come to it yourself to actually get it and make it matter ...
Americans still don't understand what it truly means to be able to have even a low paying job like cleaning the tables at MacDonald's, after hours, and after that affording to walk up the street and be able to afford a meal for less that you make an hour, definitely, less than in one full day. To be able to eat 3 meals a day. To just have them... available! Warm, filling meals that you don't have to hunt for, or cook yourself. That alone demands "thanks" every minute of every day... But oh, well, don't we always set out on the big journey in the world, only to find out the Holy Grail sits tucked in back at home?! (maybe this "Interviews with Bono" book I am reading is getting to me...); so I stop the judging once more ...
- You know the airlines are full of shit, when you see at least 2 flights from the same airline scheduled to leave at exactly the same time: 8:53 - both one flight to Chicago and one to Atlanta! Anyone who's ever flown has been on at least one wait on he runaway, when you can't leave the place because other planes are taking off.... Yep... Full of shit! But yet, the computer does not "budge" the schedule by even one minute!
- No more pretzels or peanuts on planes ... No, Sir nor Ma'am! Just drinks. At least in Economy. Pretzels for First Class only ... Economy used to get pretzels or peanuts "before" the Industry went to crap ... But no more... The First-classers need to keep growing those hips, for their wide aisles and seats! So, feed THEM the carbs!
So, what's next, I wonder?! No drinks for Economy, just for First Class, and then?! ...then what?! No more perks. Just requirements of "large hips" with no perks... Pretty sad. And pretty much the "American way" in the skies anymore ...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

‘Twas the nightS before Christmas …

So, it’s THAT time of the year! Yes, you got it. That time when we all get a lobotomy and we forget common courtesy, how to drive, how to say thanks and please and hello, and we see only one light at the end of the tunnel: the one that’s at the only open cash register in the store!
It’s running against time, to make it to that deadline of December 24th, 11:59 PM with ALL gifts under the trees and the biggest, juiciest ham in the fridge. Or the fattest car in town in the garage, or … whatever The Joneses have this year!
It’s INSANE time, people!! Every year I tell myself I won’t be on the roads, and I won’t fight the crowds, and I won’t … etc… but I got “obligations” too… And I love to see my friends smile just as much as every other Scrooge out there! So, I shop! But … I lose my patience online, waiting for my pages to upload and I am never happy paying $20 for shipping, handling and self-pleasuring charges per item, either! SO, the store it is!
It’s a whirlwind in Garden Ridge. Oh, my Gosh, have you seen that store on Sundays around this time of the year???? It’s a tornado!!!!! If you find WHAT you’re looking for in there, I will throw a Christmas party for you for FREE! No, you find (and fill up your basket with) 1000 other items you are NOT looking for, and you most likely don’t need, but you cannot find, say … stocking hooks! Impossible! You have to stand in lines JUST to get in an aisle!!
The most accurate barometer of how crazy it is are the faces of little kids, caught in between carts colliding, little fingers clutching, big eyes bulging, and mute with despair when yet another cart is coming their way, head-level! They must feel like in those “Matrix”-type movies (bear with me, I am not a movie buff!!) where cars are flying out of control over people’s heads in the narrow streets of a 2222 Manhattan! They’re fretting, but standing still, since there is NO safe way to go!
And the Dollar Tree??? Oh, God! You would think the Dollar Tree has THE best deal of all, and now they’re actually giving stuff away for free, because again, you wanna stand in line to just get in! The cashier calls his manager in and demands that he’ll be replaced, because “he MUST use the restroom. No, Sir, this one CANNOT wait. I must go now”… - he says in a very loud, and very convincing voice! Hhmm… There are 20 people in his line, and we’re ALL shouting in one huge choir voice: “GO!!!!!”. Nope, we don’t mind the wait!
And the driving??? Holy crap! People have one thing in mind and that is their destination! They will brush off, drive over, shove aside, disregard anything, anybody, and massive body that stands in their way to get there! Nope, they’re oblivious at one way signs, “no U turns”, red lights, yield signs … The only light they see is Wal-Mart, and that’s across that big wide road, called Wendover!
I finally found out why crap-for-brains blonde women, soccer moms, or high maintenance single chicks have SUV’s! No, it’s not for the drooling toddler who is mostly absent in all and weighs 2 lbs anyway! No! It’s for flying over the speed bumps at Friendly Shops while looking at the Ann Taylor window without whacking their fancy cars off of alignment! That’s why! How else could they speed in a 10 MPH zone with bumps as high as my knee?!?
‘Tis that time again, of car crashes just because and rubberneckers… That time of looking at the balance on your credit card and telling yourself: “Oh, well, there’s that trip to Madrid I’ve been wanting to take for 10 years! Gotta get that grill and those shoes for the brother in law. Oh shit!(insert sigh and eye roll here)”.
They say Christmas brings the best out in us… Really?! It’s the opposite that I see…
My favorite story this year?! This little girl is lost in a huge department store. Frantic, and well… lost … she gets pulled over by a stranger who’s trying to find her mommy.
Honey, what’s your mommy’s name?”Silence and sighs…
You gotta tell me your mommy’s name, so we can find her, hon’!”.
Her name is Mommy!”. :-)
Oh, humanity!!! Now go smack your kid when they call you Mary, and John, and Ann, and Bill!
Oh, headaches! And fast heart rhythm! Nothing an Excedrin, a tenormin and a huge glass of eggnog, 10% Bacardi would not fix! Quite a cocktail, I know!
Happy shopping, everyone! Umm… I meant … Holidays! :-)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My musical dad's heritage ...

“Everytime I stop drinking, can’t stop
Thinking ‘bout what I took for granted
And I thought I’d never lose
So I put down the booze and I pick up the blues”
(Steep Canyon Rangers – “Pick Up The Blues”)

“ When you let the instruments tell the story you would otherwise tell with your words, and it all makes sense, that’s when you know you have good music and a good band” – my dad’s words.
With that prerogative in mind, I very much felt like I was listening to a great band, tonight, at the Steep Canyon Rangers gig at the Church of the Covenant.
As luck would have it, the number one vocalist of the band, Woody, “had the laryngitis” – which reminded me of June Carter in Walk the Line:” Bieell, I can’t sang tonight! I got the laryngitis”. Poor thing. Can you imagine being robbed of your instrument and being pushed on the stage in front of the crowd: PERFORM!!! ?!
Of course, we missed his voice, but he and every single member of this band is such a virtuoso of their instrument that … well, they let the other instruments (voice missing at most times) play and boy did they come through!
You needed the sound of a trickling stream in the mountains? A swishing wind in the trees? A crying baby, or a mother in pain?! Even a speeding car on the race car track?! You got it! The fiddle, and banjo, and mandolin, and bass and guitar were there to give them to you and deliver the story…
I was amazed at how well they all conversed with each other. Dad and I used to listen to rock’n’roll bands, like Cream, and Gary Moore’s, and he always made me close my eyes and listen to the “dialogue” the instruments carry on. And “if you feel like the instruments carry on a successful dialogue, with no additional questions, unanswered, at the end, you’ve got great music”…
There is so much to great music: great playing is half of it, and then there is the dialogue with each other, but also the unique sound, that no other bluegrass band will come with, and also showing your roots, the forefathers of what you create today! We all have genes, and so does the music. Also, to me great art is when you make it look like pleasure, and not pain!
And I can tell you, The Rangers have all that, and then some, down pat! They play their instruments mistake-lessly, and they let them "talk" to each other like people who have been married for 50+ years. They don’t miss each other’s beat! And also, what’s my favorite: you can trace them WAY back through the Deep South, all the way back to Irish music. The sound is clear as a crystal bell, and the stories, like all the good bluegrass stories, are every day and common, and special to every mortal soul because of that!
And they all make it look sooo…easy! You know what you look like and sound like and act like when you talk with your best pal?! Well, that’s what they look like and sound like when they play their music! So relaxed, and matter-of-fact! You feel like what they have through their blood veins is bluegrass and that's what their eyes are spitting out too...
Another line from dad’s arsenal of music education came to mind also: “how can 5 people make SO MUCH NOISE???” – that was, he said, his first reaction to hearing The Beatles (well … 4 people there…). It’s amazing what kind of emotional, artistic, and spiritual “damage” 5 people can make, when they know their stuff… They can make a statement and leave you quiet and in awe. You're in a "presence" and you're not sure how to qualify it, but you know it's not commonplace.
It was the perfect way to end a quiet, unwinding, very colorful, and mostly sick weekend!
Very enlightening, and of course, it’s always a blessing to add another page to my musical memory album!
I’ll be shopping for Rangers music now. Started tonight…
And in moments like these, of great musical pleasure, when I always thank him for opening up my musical pores, I wish dad were close, to share them with me!
Love you, dad! Always, and more each day!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sprouts - I finally got it!

I think sprouts are a misunderstood food. And I am a sucker for misfits, of course. I am talking about the bean ones. I never had sprouts growing up. They’re inexistent back home.
Since I moved to the States (the lessons never stop, even after 10 years), everyone I have ever met warns me how sprouts are to be stayed away from. They order the sandwiches “without sprouts” and oh, no, I have never seen a grocery list with sprouts on it.
So I never put them on my list either, but, the ever adventuresome eater that I am, I never take them off my sandwiches when they “come with them”. Nooo… I wanna keep them there, to try them at least once, or twice… or …. .
My first thought when I had them was: “oh, THIS if different, all right. I AM eating, well, SPROUTS . And nothing besides!”… but I kept having another bite. It was one of those feelings of “not-sure-I-like-it-like-it-but-I-don’t-hate-it-either”. So for years now, I have had sprouts… They’re not on my grocery list still, but they’re on all the sandwiches that come built that way.
A chronic sufferer of acid reflux and a champion burper, I figured out tonight what, exactly, is my relationship with sprouts. You know, I came to that point in the relationship where you either move in or move on! Well, they moved IN! The sprouts that is!
Oh, yeah, this is love! And one “healthy” burp (don’t talk to your GI doc, trust me, the adjective is right here) helped me figure that out: I love sprouts and now I know why: they’re earthy! They’re simple, and plain, with no claim to polish-ness and high-class. They’re dirty and earthy. They come from the ground and tell the soil story! And they bring into your mouth the aroma of their mother earth!
And that’s just so simple, and whole and uncomplicated, that I love it, and melt for it. It’s the same reason why I love trout and carp (yes, I said carp!!): because they taste like muddy waters. None of that fancy, garlic and whine sauces can take that aroma away. It’s un-fancy fish, it’s un-messed with, and elemental.
Man was born to be a hunter-gatherer… and when I can smell, and taste and chew on the simple elements, like the water, and the earth and the mud, and sometimes the air … yeah… that’s when food is turning me on! It’s when I taste the grape, or the pear, or the strawberry in the wine that I go ga-ga for it, not “when I taste the barrel or the steel”…It’s breaking the bread, instead of cutting it, and when I pull the chicken off the bone, and not cut it, when it “doesn’t come with a bone” that I love eating meat…
Mom tells everyone this story of me as a restless toddler, eating potting soil. One of my favorite things to do when I was 2 or so, was to walk up to a potted plant, stick my tiny fist in the moist soil , grab a handful and eat it, muddy cheeks and lips and all. No, I was not hungry, nor underfed, I was an “obese kind, so fat in fact my big fat tongue would not fit in my mouth and was always hanging out” (mom’s quotation and translation here), but I loved to eat soil for some reason…I loved the taste, I bet!
Maybe eating sprouts is the “OK” from the civilized world to be one with the elements again. To eat my potting soil again. And it’s a welcome reunion indeed! Not to mention, quite delicious!
But I do understand the fear people have for sprouts… Those same people who want “fish with no eyes and chicken with no bones”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Asheville Trip: Thankful Trails

Life is just a lonely highway
I’m out here on the open road
I’m old enough to see behind me
But young enough to feel my soul
(Lenny Kravitz - "Can't Get You Off of My Mind")

They had to bribe me to get out of the house when we were little. My sister was up with the roosters, feeding the chicken and freeing the cows into the pastures, cleaning the pig stables and sties and soaking up the morning dew long before breakfast was ready and I’d finish my beauty sleep. I slept in, showered, bird-bath style, and then I’d spend my days lingering inside, reading books and doing nothing much but moving myself from one bed to another. I loved napping too!
Now, my sister watches several movies a day, has a husband to do house chores daily, cooks once a week and bundles up inside in the winter, while I spent maybe 4 days at home in the past 11 days! I’m always on the road, always on to the next trip, and on to the next thrill! Weather, tiredness, loneliness matter not when all I do is look forward to the next upcoming corner, to see what hides behind it.
No, I didn’t get hacked up in little pieces in Norfolk, although some said the hotel I picked was “at the project limit”; and no, I didn’t freeze to death while sleeping in 29 degree weather last weekend, while camping, although I’ve had a cold that would not budge ever since. And no, my friend didn’t strangle me after our weekend in Asheville, although we all know that I can be too much for even 24 hours, for the most patient person alive! Being cooped up with me for sightseeing and every meal fir several days is indeed a challenge, even for me at times!
I love peace. I do! And simple-ness and easy-ness. But somehow there are storms all around me, either in the lives of people I know, or just thrown my way, to interfere with my own life. Sometimes, literally, too! Just to keep things… interesting … I guess.
The Asheville trip was fun, as usual. A couple of snags could not put a damper in the overall success of the weekend: the big, loud parade we were not expecting on Saturday that kept us away from our hotel (and car) for hours, or the silly “no photography” rule at Biltmore! I hoped, maybe, that for the Holidays, they’ll allow photography inside, but no. Yes, I snapped a few indoors pics, before I was admonished by the older “Guest Relations” man and then I stopped! I really did: I was good!
The weekend was a success though: the art and woodworking at Biltmore, the attention to detail, the local art galleries, all over downtown, the general “laissez-faire” air of the Asheville inhabitant, the bras-less waitress at Tupelo Honey, with her confident smile, the delicious foods and impeccable service, the new beers we had to try, the crisp mountain air all added to unforgettable memories.
The last day (Monday) we saved for driving up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, for visiting Grandfather Mountain (for its large vistas from the mile high swinging bridge) and for eating fresh trout sandwiches at the Speckled Trout, in Blowing Rock.
Well, that’s when the storm happened. Literally. The 72 degree forecast turned right after we left Asheville and it got progressively worse as we got lost a couple of times trying to find the Parkway Detour, as the Parkway had been closed for reasons unknown to us, for portions of the ride.
Once we reached Grandfather Mountain, despite the thick fog and blasting wind, and occasional rain, we drove to the top, as my friend had never been there and we figured we could get some close-up pictures of the wild landscape and natural life.
When we finally got to the top, we were driving through “pea soup” smoky fog and it was raining steadily. Once we got out of the car, the wind wanted to throw us off the peak! It was the very same feeling you have in a blizzard, only with rain instead of snow: cold, piercing wind, and sharp drops of cold rain! Trying to put on a coat, with my purse balancing on the back bumper and the trunk open proved to be a dumb idea! The wicked wind closed the trunk shut, with only the handles of my purse peeking from the trunk, as if in a hopeless cry for help. Everything else we had, keys included were now locked up!
It’s amazing how limit situations like these make each of us react differently and make us know each other better!
I was forcing the locks, while my friend was repeating that we might have to break the windows. I was trying to remain calm, although I wanted to scream to his face: “ ONLY as a last resort, pal! Only if the other option would be for us to die of frostbite here, on top of the mountain!”. Hell, no: I’d force those locks and I’d beg the people at the gift store for help, before I’d drive to Greensboro with a broken window, in the rain, the week of Thanksgiving, and with a cold! Plus: no garage at home, either!! Hell, no, we ain’t breaking any windows! And we didn’t.
Half and hour (longest one I have lived!) and three park rangers later, I found out that this wonderful world we live in has a whole kit of cables, complete with a manual, with directions for breaking into each car, each make, model, year, ever made. My comment was: “WOW! I can be a car breaker-inner, and make a ton of money”. It was amazing how documented and easy it was to break into a car. And thank God for manual locks, too!
And thankfulness is what this piece is all about. I was thankful, once more, for being in the South, and having such folks to offer to come to my rescue! They went way beyond their call of duty to unlock my car, with not as much as one scratch to the vehicle, in the middle of nowhere, and in the middle of a wicked storm, wearing no gloves, no hats in 20 degree weather with a 70 mph wind, on a mile high peak!!!
Everyone at the top, was so nice, so calm, so helpful. The gift shop lady, feeling sorry for our wet and frozen selves, offered hot chocolate or coffee. We didn’t have any. We couldn’t pay- I would have felt bad! The guys who eventually unlocked the car said to me that the only reward they need is for me to promise I’ll have a good time. Well, I was having a blast (no pun intended) already, when my door was unlocked!
I am going to remember the Asheville trip always, and not just for the Early Girl Café which makes the best vegan sausage in the world, or for the Endless Summer beer, brewed in Black Mountain, which is probably the only microbrew that tastes absolutely heavenly to me!
I’ll always remember this trip for the thanks I have been woken to give to everything and everyone I’m blessed with: thanks to my health and the ability to work and travel, thanks for the friends who want to join me, no matter how difficult I become, thanks to great strangers with big hearts who help unconditionally, thanks to the peaceful world we live in, in NC and America, for the most part, the safe roads, and towns, and mountain tops, thanks to the honest people, the beauty of nature that keeps me drawn to the road. I give thanks to whole car windows and to alternatives out there to break into cars without damaging them. Thanks to my sister, who reminds me that staying home, catching up on movies, books and … naps is important, too! I give thanks to God, for all these and so much more, and for my innate willingness to keep at it, too.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
For pictures, click here:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Waking Up To Life, or Nature, again ...

It’s coming home smelling like a slab of bacon, forgotten in the smoke house for 2 weeks that I missed. It’s the burning of the cheeks either from wind and cold or sun, 4 hours after I finally got home that I missed, too … It’s the fire pit and the cool stories; stories about people and their weird diseases they would not admit to when they’re sober, and “proper” in a dining room; stories about their kids, and the imaginary monsters or friends they have. Did you know “elephants” or “monkeys” can be code names for bodily functions?! Well, you’ll find that out at camping sites …

I also missed using … whatever handy for a plate when eating around the communal table; like the top of a Tupperware dish for a plate, or using a mug for your soup bowl, or a paper cup. Missed the creativity and simplicity of living … Did you know you can boil an egg on the fire in a paper cup?!

I missed the way food tastes when it’s “improvised”, and half-way cooked! Because when you come back from a 10 mile hike you really don’t care what goes down the throat… Everything at that point tastes heavenly, and you learn, again, to be grateful for someone else handling the fire and feeding you, even if all they do is throw every meat and every veggie known to man in a huge cauldron full of Swanson broth. That beats any Iron Chef gourmet dish ever cooked, I swear!

I missed falling asleep listening to the wind, and realizing that there IS wind and a whole world of sounds out there. Have you noticed how oblivious we are to Nature when we’re trapped in between our homes’ walls? Out there, you have nothing else to put you to sleep at night, but the wind, and the swishy trees … Crickets are gone right about now…
I missed the dry skin that you get when you skip your lotion treatments twice a day. I missed the long, hot shower you take when you get back home. We only take short, insignificant and routine showers daily. None that “matter” on any kind of higher level.

I missed the numb, sore body that comes back with us from sleeping on the ground for a couple of days. I never knew I had muscles that can hurt, in so many places!

And I thank life, and chance, and good friends for bringing all that back to me this last weekend! I felt like a slumber-full, barely awaken Rip Van Winkle. Only I was happy, not sad, to finally wake up to the same beauty of life that I left almost 5 years ago, when I camped last! Finally happy to wake up smelling like smoked meat again!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Funky mood - funky season

Current mood: cranky!
Bacovia was right: fall IS the season for neurotics!

Timing sucks, lately!
I have always loved colds. Colds remind me of my dad. And of very snowy, cold winters back home, when you could not see through the windows, they were so thick with ice. And they make me crave soup, and warm clothes, and dad’s story telling and watercolors… For the first time, this year, I am hating my cold. It could not have come at a worse time, and I want to tell it to go away and come back when I am in the mood for it. If only one could have such understandings with their viruses…
Because of this cold, now, I am not looking forward to a trip I have waited to go on for years! Typically, I am ecstatic about ANY of my trips. There is nothing that makes me happier, makes me smile more, and make the time go faster than the imminent approach of a trip. Any trip. But this one – has been planned and wished for for years: Christmas at Biltmore. Yeah, yeah, I know, all the Scrooges out there will tell me that’s overrated, and it may be, but I love Christmas celebrations. I always think I am not doing a good job of that, and I am fascinated with people’s creativity around this time of the year. Part of it is because I never had them growing up. My Christmases were low key, under wraps, as they were “illegal”.
So, I have saved, and waited, and now finally I am going, and well… all I’d rather do is cuddle up with Mr. Fero and read a good, long, cheesy, girly book and burn my throat drinking lemon tea! Not go out there, and face the world and the chills of Asheville… Not that! Anything BUT that!
This season is killing me, too! Or should I say: weather, because, what is the season, really?! If you look at the trees, it’s still fall, and in some parts, early fall, too. But do you realize that Thanksgiving is here in a WEEK??? And Christmas fasting starts tomorrow, which makes Christmas … 6 weeks away?! Yeah! The Holiday Season, The WINTER Holiday Season is here NOW, so … is it winter?!! I cannot get into the holiday mood, and I cannot start making lists, and buying cards, and buying family gifts because … I still see leaves on trees, and 65 degrees on the thermometer downtown, and I have not worn gloves nor scarves to work yet!!! Barely worn my leather jacket, much less my winter one, too.
But I have scraped frost off of the windshield a couple of times … so … yeah, I am confused. And I don’t like confusion… I don’t like gray. I don’t like this autumn-winter deal, nor this sick-but-gotta-stay-healthy deal either…
I want the stars to align, make up their minds and stop funkying me around !!!
I still miss dad, though. I can hear him say, in his thick accent:
“Funky? What is funky? Honky? Honky-tonk woman? Obla-di, obla-da?”… Are you confused? So was I, when I heard him say this!!
I miss dad. And I want my soup now …

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dirty Thoughts

Note: bear with me ... :-)

Just because the weekend is coming and I just had THE best strawberry wine of my life … or maybe it was my good friend D. and her story about back pain… whatever it was… I just feel extra …silly …tonight.
So here’s a thought for everyone, for the relaxation-ful weekend, and before my bed time.
I am not sure about you gals and guys, but these lyrics from the Squirrel Nut Zippers ring wicked dirty to me:

“Under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me … “


Sorry, the young and virgin eyes reading…

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Statements Trees Make

There’s always been a love-hate relationship with me and Fall. I am the one that’s doing the loving and the hating … I love the crisp air, and the dew, the frost, the smell of wet soil, the apple and cinnamon candles, the stacks of pumpkins dressed up in “don’t shoot me” orange; I love all the colors, actually, and I hate the feeling of getting old.
I fall in love the easiest in the fall, and I don’t even tell myself to be careful anymore. I love the falling in love, and the love affair I develop, even if it’s just with a new food, a new book, my cats all over again, or an undeserving human… I love the lovin’. And I hate the aging…
Watching the leaves today, I gotta tell you: trees and people are alike. Their colors just about now give that away.
Some of them are puritans. They pick a color, just one, and they so agreeably turn ALL their leaves that color! Same shade. Uniformity. Spotless uniformity. All the same yellow…or the same red… All alike.
Others are “hippy” trees. All sorts of shades, and colors, a tie-dyed rainbow on the whole tree. They seem they can’t decide whether they want to stick with red, or yellow, or would much rather favor to not even turn, and they would like the green to stick around… They’re so confused, their edges turn brown and wrinkly from so much thinking and deciding…
Others are stubborn and look like humans that age well: when everything around is withered, they’re staying green. No, these are not coniferous. They’re oaks, and maples, and ashes, but they’re not ready to show age yet. They are stubbornly deep green, and they look like they don’t belong. Like they were just planted here, where it’s been Fall for a while, just a minute ago, and they look around, feeling out of place. You gotta think the others look at them with jealousy, just like we as humans look at that 60 year old with no wrinkles that runs a marathon and bikes 20 miles a day still. With spite and envy.
And there are the “artist” trees; the originals, that will not turn gold, not red, nor brown, no shade of those colors. They decide they will rather be their own unusual color, like … pink. And in the whole landscape they just show up like an open, bleeding wound, or like a scream: “ I AM PIIIINNNNKKKK”… You can’t ignore them! They surely are one of a kind! Flamboyant!
I find that I feel smaller when it’s getting to be fall, too. Maybe I shrink, like metal does, in the fall/ winter … Geese do the same, it seems… I had the hardest time catching them with the wings spread today. They looked cold, and humble (yes, geese did!!), and they looked gloomy, they were muttering to me to leave them alone. I disturbed and intruded!
With nostrils full of fresh, cold, crisp air, with shoes full of wet NC clay, with camera filled with voyeur pictures, and with my arms filled with golden leaves, I came home. Another love-hate affair has started. I feel old, and in love once again. I think I am going to warm up my apple strudel now … and sigh while sinking in a chair with a book…
Enjoy the voyeurism, here:

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Zippers

Imagine you fell at the bottom of a glass filled with your favorite cocktail. And you can taste 2-3-4-5-10 different amazing liquids and you can’t even name them all, but you love the whole mixture and you just forget where you are, who you are, what you’re witnessing. You’re high, and happy.
That’s what The Squirrel Nut Zippers “feel” like. Because, yes, they “feel” like, and not just “sound like”.
You hear rock’n’roll and old Louisiana blues, and bluegrass, and you hear French chansonnettes singers, maybe even Edith Piaf’s trembling voice?!, and Italian canzonets, and Spanish accords, and you wind with the rhythm and you’re not sure where you’re taken next? Broadway? (it’s a vaudeville, you know?!), New Orleans?, Vegas?, Italy?, Mountains of North Carolina?, France?, the Mississippi delta?, or maybe Spain, too? … You hear every instrument invented for an orchestra, violin and trumpet, a sax, and even a tuba, a mandolin, drums, piano, and all sorts of “noise” makers, including little baby cow bells!
It’s all a harmony of sounds; they all dialogue with each other, and they have this amazing, kaleidoscopic conversation that seems never ending and peaceful.
Although they’re all dressed up in suits and she’s wearing a classy 50’s “puffy” dress, their shoes are a mixture of everything as well: from cowboy boots to tennis shoes (Jimbo, of course), to stilettos and moccasins, you name it, they’re wearing it. Then you have hugely metro-sexual-looking fellows, mixed with raggedy looking heartthrobs, and clean cut piano players, see a cowboy hat and freshly done salon hair!
Again: take a sip and enjoy the mix!!
What Katherine (Whalen) does with her legs and shoulders would hypnotize the coldest of souls (or bodies?!) and is only surpassed by her so “eclectic” voice, climbing up and down and allures all the guys on the stage around her. Such a heartbreaker! You can’t help but thinking that what seems so easy and sexy and “easy” (the other meaning of “easy”) is oh so calculated and precise, to fit the role! Having done this for a million years, she knows the tricks! And they all work. She’s such a star.
The guitar and sax players (of course) were the handsomest to me, but the violin player was amazingly talented!!! And my favorite of course was Jimbo! He will always look to me like a little kid wearing his big brother’s pajamas and loving life! Every pore in that man’s body breathes music! The wide-open-eye look of his face, always curious, his dance, his incredibly powerful voice for such a feeble body, his guitar playing which is so mighty fine, as he would himself say, are all the pure expression of his love, his un-denied passion for what he does. He brings it all on stage. Leaves nothing at home. Watching him, you have the feeling that all he owns, all he will ever own, is right there on his stage. He’s quite naked otherwise! That’s the sign of a true artist, I think. He is one with the art. You can’t picture his digs, his car?!, God, no! As long as that man has that guitar, he will have a grin on his face and his feet will be moving! And he will be alive. Everything else is … accidental… He plays with the simple and sincere joy of a kid that just got the toy he has been saving for for a year! His innocence and honesty about what he does are transparent and so refreshing! He is hypnotic, too, for different reasons that Katherine…
Yes, I was drunk without even drinking anything at this one. Drunk with happiness and purity… One regret: they should not have this show in an auditorium. It attracts way too many tight ass people and no one dances. This fantastic music is made for people to FEEL it. Next time, by God, I will make the show at Ziggy’s, so I won’t have to do the Scarlett dance all night, you know: sitting on the chair and allowing only your feet to move! Not again! My hips are jealous of my feet now …

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lost and Found Dilemma. Mostly Lost …

I have asked this question before, of myself and others… but have never gotten an aswer, really, although speculations abound: does anyone know where socks go when they get lost in the wash?! I put in 3 pairs, 6 socks total, and come out with 5. Or 3… Always an uneven number … Where do they go?
Now, today, I have another question: where do all my Sharpie pens go?! I keep bringing them to the office, a whole pack, or just one by one, and they all grow legs overnight and they walk away…
I am partial to Sharpies! While growing up, the felt-tip pens were my favorite. They always smelt like alcohol and they were soft to write with. They never scratched the paper. They were the hardest to find back home. All colorful …and soft, and smelling sooo good. When I took the cap off, and the smell was not there I panicked: that meant they were almost dying! They would start scratching the paper, and become dry, and that was the end of that! Sadness.
When I moved here an I discovered Sharpie pens, it was like you just bought a color TV for the first time! That was the Evolution of felt-tip pens for me! They were the 21st century version of a very precious tradition I cherished! So that made them that much better!! And, here, I also discovered, they make the Sharpies forever! Here, they seldom die! And being in a computer office, we always have cd’s and dvd’s to write on, not to mention cables. They are the best for that! So reliable! I love them on paper, too, of course! Especially doing art work on math paper!
I work with guys, so I figured, if I had the black and blue Sharpies, that’s why they keep picking them up and walking them away with them. So I started getting what I thought were “girlie” ones: all purple. They started walking away too!So my wonderful and very thoughtful friend special orders them for me from and has MY NAME put on them! And writes (well, did) in bold letters “Back off!!!” . He orders what seemed a never ending supply of them, but I don’t dare take them all at the office! I took just ONE. And I make sure I stash my one pen in my drawer every night … And today I find out that … it’s gone! A poll around the office didn’t help! My good, fresh, reliable, alcohol - elixir of pen, not to mention in my favorite of colors, not to mention with MY NAME on it AND a pretty straightforward threat belongs now to a stranger?! Or to a landfill?? :-(
That is just wrong!
I feel violated… And I need my familiar smell when I am lonely, and jaded and so tired at work! I need a smile! It’s like coming home every night, for years to the same show that makes you laugh, and one night you find out the night before was the last episode! So empty!
The only thing I’ll have to start doing is to walk around and steal theirs! And they’ll get the message, hopefully. No, I can’t use theirs! But just collect them, the way they’re collecting mine …
I hope wherever my Sharpies went, over the 3 years I have been here, they’re as much loved and appreciated as they would be with me …Even lost … And I hope they don’t give back to the thieves what they give to me. They must be stingy! Frowning …

Monday, October 22, 2007

I am fine. Really fine. Picky, but fine!

Thanks very much for asking…;-)

I have said for a while that until I meet the man who’s worth of a blog, I won’t write about dating any longer. I won’t waste time and web space (and pc storage for sure) to write about folk who’re not mattering to me… But this dating world, I have decided, is way too interesting indeed not to pause for a while and write about. Plus, my friends are begging me to write, and I love them, so, here I am again…
I didn’t know what kind of blog this will be: funny, sarcastic, philosophical, matter-of-fact?? Maybe a little bit of everything…??... Not sure yet, but here it is:
OK… so, yes, just for the record, and for those who have emailed me all worried: I AM FINE! Just because I have no “weight around my neck”(that’s from dad!) …hhmm… I mean “regular man in my bed”… I mean… regular boyfriend, doesn’t mean I am not fine! Life to me is so much more than a mate and a child. Really. Sure, I’ll take those (or at least one of them) any day of the week, but I find pleasure and happiness in just … being … and seeing the sun in the sky every morning, and in having Gypsy asleep on my ankle right now, as I write, and I am not miserable, by far. I am happy, and grateful, and looking forward to life and meeting new people, I am busy and cannot wait for Christmas! I am in love with my family still and in love … just with people and life…
I am fine, and yes, still accepting applications for the “mate” position. But, seriously, people, I hope you’re reading! I wish dating would be like interviewing for a job. These are the skills you have to date ME. You’re lacking some? Need not apply! Really. It’s a waste of time…But dating is not that. It’s more like jumping into the pool, without testing the waters, or better yet, off the pier into the ocean: You have no clue whether you hit warm waters, or a cold current, jelly fish or shit! a shark!!!! No clue, till you’re in it, and you’re far from shore, and so help you The Almighty!
Lately, all the “interviews” have failed, miserably…After each one of course I am left smiling. The world is indeed funny.
I will just rant here, on what I want/ need, and what I find instead in the world; on what relationships are to me, or dating in general, and I hope it won’t be boring…
First off, I do NOT want to marry every guy that I am going out with. It seems to be a misconception out there into the big “sea of fish” (can you tell I miss the Ocean?) that all we women want is to walk that aisle to the altar from the day we lay eyes on you. Not the case. Seriously! Don’t flatter yourselves, boys! In this emancipated world we live in, we typically have dated BEFORE we met your royal ass (sorry, yeah, we’re not that pure!), so, you think we don’t know that what we see at first date is just the polish you just sprayed on? Gold leaf to blind us from the real truth, like farting at dinner with family and smoking pot and mooching and not taking the trash out… We know that we need to find out SO much more about you to really be willing to say “yes”, and we all know that most of you disappoint, so chill! We don’t want to marry. We want to know ya. That’s all…It’s like telling an employer they want to promise a hire for each interview they get. Not realistic!
Ever since I was maybe 16?! … my idea about dating has always been the same as wine tasting, and with the risk of repeating myself, I’ll refresh your memory: you see a bottle in the store, and the bottle looks GREAT; and that’s what prompts you to pick it up; and you start reading the label and learn more about it; if you don’t like what you read, you put it back, “No thank you, Sir, you’re drooling at dinner, I won’t have you”, but if you like what you read on the label, you take it home; with the risk of spending $10 on shitty wine, you take the plunge. Uncork and … taste. You like it, you’ll have a couple of more sips. You’ll have the whole bottle. If you REALLY liked it, you go out and buy another one- that happens rarely. Or … maybe you don’t like it. But if you really hate it, make sure you dump that sucker in the sink to the last drop! Just for good, clean Karma, you know! Same thing with men – you do the analogy. And unlike some sorry ass doctors out there, I don’t believe in “two glasses a day for men and one a day for women”. It’s a bottle each and have it at your own pace…I am not a doctor, yeah. I am a sassy bitch, if you will, who can’t be less than a man.
But back to dating…Several things I have found lately, while being single, and dating, and boy, did I think I already knew everything!
I ONLY speak from experience, and I am sure things are even more weird out there, but these are my own experiences.
I found out on one of my blind dates that there are “rules” for dating. The emancipated ME (yes, I know I am repeating myself) found out she had to play by rules on first (blind) date. OK. I said to myself: “Self (Thank you, Emeril!), you gotta go check this shit out.” - ‘cause no one, not even my boss nor parents set rules for me. So, I instead of saying “oh, sorry, I don’t do rules”, I needed to see what the rules were. One of them was: he’s going to pay, no questions asked. Well, he lost points right there. Usually, the theory in my head stands as this, when guys fight me for the bill (not that anyone ever asks ME how I feel about it, but …): “OK, Mr. Short Penis, it makes you feel like a man to provide for my grub, you do it, but you just started at MINUS 1000 points with me, see how you’re gonna catch up now.” I have never been wrong yet. ;)
Another rule he had: “don’t try to sleep with me” cracked me up. Hhmmm… My first question to myself was: “Why? ‘Cause you’re going to try that FIRST with me?” – I see where this is going. You want to be the boss; good luck with that too.
Another date tells me: “you gotta like riding convertibles real fast to be with me” – again, to respond to such very well defined pretenses: you can’t have a short penis complex to be with ME, so, nice to know ya… Not really!!
Along the few days we were “seeing” each other (doesn’t qualify as that even, but ok…), I was completely ignored by this one guy. Not that I need a lot of attention, but yes, I would like the guy to scream the right name in bed, so that’s a requirement: you gotta know my name, at least! … We were under the same roof, in the same house, even at the opposite ends of the same virtual line, in an email, and I felt like he was completely ignoring me. It was always about him, and what he did that day, and what he’s going to do that night, and week, and what he’s doing right now, while I am on the couch and him in the recliner …
You want “rules”, folks?? I’ll give you some rules: how about: ask me who I am… where I come from… what I DO for a living (that’s right: I DO work and pay for my own damn food, not wait for dates to feed me) … ask me if I have a family, pets, if I like chocolate or vanilla before you order my dessert for me, ask me if I have a sense in life, a meaning… Don’t turn on the football game and completely ignore me when you want to have a “quiet dinner at home”.
I am sorry (well, not really “sorry”, but…), I am not against guys’ passion for sports AT ALL (I am picky, not dumb!!), but if you invite the girl over for dinner in the SECOND week of knowing her, and it’s just the two of you in the room, and you watch football while ignoring her, you’ve got a problem! - and it’s not that the girl is against sports.
Another guy is over 40. He rents; he’s never owned. Why? “He’s scared to death of commitment”. He’s had the same job for MANY years, you know why? Figure it out! I tell you: people should read the requirements before they apply! And you, Mr. “Chicken” or “Momma’s Boy”, think you’re in the dating world because that’s “free” of commitments?! Again: good luck!
Another guy wants to “tuck me in”, while I am going to bed the night he met me at this party. Wants to come over and go out of his way to do that. It’s nothing but just “tucking me in and telling me good night”… Hhmm… Yeah… And I am a virgin also! Is that what kids call it nowadays? “Tucking in”?? I must have missed that blog, really, ‘cause that was news to me.
And then there are the guys, oh, yeah, they’re out there, who already know I am “the one”, want to take me away out West and live happily ever after, in our little no-lit cabin… on a ranch in the Rockies… Again, these are first dates, or just “meets and greets” as I call them…And they already KNOW I am “it” and I rock their world. Wait till I wake up one morning on the wrong side of the bed, people, and then give yourself a chance to run! Really!!
And yet, I come back for more, and never say no to an invite. This is too rich. This is my favorite entertainment lately…I know, you’ll say I am easily etertained and cheap, right?! Well, no, I am telling you: this is rich!!! It really is. I do it to learn about folks. I call it “life lessons” and they really teach me a lot. Like I said: I am finding out every day that I didn’t know everything.
I even said yes to a guy who approached me at Lowes Home Improvement. He had a line to go with his plain and wrinkled and rusty self, too: Him:“Are you single?”; Me: “Why?”; Him: “Because you’re hot (I AM NOT, just for the record), and I wanna ask you out”. I said yes, you know why?? Because he was honest! No, I am not hot, but HE thought I was hot, and that was his reason! I’ll take honest over wishy-washy and fake any time of the day now. Unfortunately the only interesting thing he had to say to me was that line, at Lowes.
And then the break-ups. They’re so cute. They make me smile and move on… Richer, with plenty of topics for yet another blog or diary entry… They are either “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of break ups, which always cracked me up!!!!! I fell like saying: “Then, FIX yourself, and move on!!!”- that line is so weird to me!!…
Or ”oh, sex made it more difficult”… Hhmm… for whom? I am not crying! More difficult for you?! Then why did you have sex if you have even the slightest clue (you have to have, since you're calling it so poignantly!) this might NOT work out, AND you think (you should know this about yourself, at 40 something!) sex will make it difficult!!! No, sex didn’t make it “difficult”. It made it embarrassing for you, in my eyes.
Or… there is the “foreplay” ones … that are not quite sex but then they forget all about you… They never call or follow up in any way. But boy, if you ever dare to mention it ever again, they either disappear, or they look at you as if you were trying to stalk them. I date, but I don’t go out kissing on strangers and grabbing or letting them grab my parts. I am not a prude, but if you do THAT, then that requires a follow up. It’s not every day we walk into a restaurant and do that to strangers… So, “pretend” like you know me the next day you kissed me and felt a boob! Just pretend! Don’t avoid, ‘cause again: you’re lame.
I think these observations go for both boys and girls, but of course, I am talking as a straight woman. Not meaning to stereotype, but I am speaking about guys. And if you recognize yourselves in any of these, the resemblance is purely coincidental …. I mean… if you recognize yourselves in any of this: SHAME ON YOU!
One thing I did find out while dating. We’re all very lonely people. And very self-absorbed. And here I am preaching: remember THAT next time you try to meet someone!
The point in meeting people, I think, is to build bridges and be less lonely. I think the reason we all “date” (for lack of a better word, maybe “go out” or “reach out” would be more accurate) is to be less lonely, not to marry. Gaining a friend that’s helping you to be less lonely should be the ultimate goal. And if there is more, then go for it …
But friendship needs to be earned, and not expected. So, whatever you’re going to end up being with that person, in the beginning, be nice. Be kind. And respectful. Act like you care, just for that human being alone, without labeling that person yet. Obviously, there was SOMETHING that singled that person out from the deep sea, that caused you two to end up in a room together, alone. THINK of that and be kind.
There so much instant gratification we expect from the world nowadays that we forget that things don’t and shouldn’t work like this with people! We can’t be “processed” in one hour like Wal-Mart does their pictures! We can’t have a “same week” policy return like CarMax has for their cars. We’re people and not merchandise! We need to respect each other with shadows and bright spots. We can’t be perfect and we need to take the time and patience to learn people and see what brings us together. I know, a foreign concept in today’s world, but sorry… look at the divorce rate. We need to stop looking at people like at cars and shoes and cell phone options! One thing people have that things don’t is feelings. And some of us also carry common sense and good upbringing, too. So, we care; if we’re ignored, hurt, lied to, or … “returned”, we care!
That’s the problem the world has! People have to be with or against us, while we wallow in loneliness at the end of Desperate Housewives, or another lost season for the Sox and at the end of the popcorn bag! A good friend will be there to share that with us. A jaded ex will not. Take your pick before you open up your wallet or the zipper of your pants! And for God’s sake, ASK me if I want to pay for my dinner and respect my choice. That’s common sense nowadays. Nothing to do with romance and being gallant. Step out of the cave, why don’t you, folks?!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Ring

Every year, on this day, I stop and think of Maia. No, I really stop and think of her every day… Today, I spend a bit more time remembering what she was like and felt like…
Her velvet-like voice, her sweet smell, her perfectly arranged hair, her curious eyes, her strong arms and capable hands, her hair which mine reminds me of, her cooking… I got SUCH a craving for apple strudel today. I could picture myself making it JUST like she did, with the phyllo dough, smeared with egg, with fresh apples minced in the middle and some sugar, fold the dough tightly and bake it for half an hour. Heavenly! I hate sweets. I hate apples. But that’s angels’ food!
That’s what she feels like today: angel-like. She’s always here, smiling, approving or disapproving of what I do, or don’t do but am supposed to do, always having an opinion, always leading me by example!
I wore her ring today. It’s a ring I don’t talk much about. It’s my secretly favorite ring, but I don’t want to say it too loudly, because it’s just such a “not me at all” ring…It’s gold and old and big and frail, and “sculptured” almost. And I asked for it from her when I was maybe 6. And I had no sense, and said “Can I have this ring when you die?”. She smiled and said: “Sure”. And now I have it. I’d give the world right back to God if I can exchange it back for … her… If only life would work like that!
I wear this ring when I have a hard day; when I am lonely; when I crave love and togetherness; when I have a surgery, or when I want to cry. She is right there with me, that moment, and everything seems easier. I never attach to things, but I am not sure what I’d do if I’d lost this ring. It’s part of me, and who I am and who she was!! It gives me the strength of 10 mothers and 10 gurus all in one. The strength of 32 years of experience and life, too…
I miss her when I even drink this sip of beer. She liked beer in the summer, with any kind of grilled food. She loved food, and loved life. She loved to dance. And she loved everything and everyone she touched. She loved me and Andy. She loved her loved ones, and I really mean “loved”. Unconditional and unbounded love like I have not seen before. She put her heart into everything and her love came with her heart…And when that big heart failed her, she was gone…
Daffodils will always remind me of her, as she always gave them to me for my birthday; red, yellow and orange leaves remind me of her birthday. Just like Fall, she was noble, and wise, cool but incredibly warm, too and “ripe”. She was timeless, and always changing at the same time. She never stopped learning, and never stopped living, no matter how hard and unbearable living got. She never stopped living in death! I hope our family will have a little girl soon. Just so we can call her … Maia.
I miss you, dearest. The more time passes, the more…

Monday, October 01, 2007

Paul Miller or “I love it when I act like I am someone important”

Have you ever hated waiting in those long, long, long lines of cars, which seem endless, when you’re going to the fair, or a concert?! I know I have! You’re there to have fun, and in this particular story, to get out and taste some wine (we were at a wine festival), and all you can do is wait your turn in line, and then park 10 miles away from the place of fun, because you got there an hour too late, and 8000 of wine’s best friends are there!

By the time you get to the tasting, you’re tired, hot, mad, and exhausted, and you’re starting your only day off on the wrong foot!

Well, let me tell you the story of my friend, let’s call him “Sam Smith”, who will teach you a trick that works like a charm!

So, we get to the vicinity of the grounds of this wine festival, and there is a line of cars for miles. We bitch and moan through it, but we wait.

And when we get to the first parking lot, we can’t even see the setting of the festival we want to be at: we’re still a good walk from it; good enough where we would have to take a shuttle to take us there. (well, maybe not in the “real world”, but this is America, and the majority is lazy!).
So, my friend, who is otherwise subdued and very quiet (seemingly) has a brilliant idea! Earlier in the weekend he had parked a car he has for sale at the very entrance of the wine festival. What if he would tell the security dude that “Paul Miller” called him to come right away and move his car from the entrance, or else he would get towed?! So, “Sam” tells all of us in the car to keep a straight face and he will do the talking, “like he were someone important”.

Now, you know that this one bag has more holes in the bottom than cheesecloth!! But “Sam”’s confident. We pull up to the first security man, who directs us to the first available parking lot (at least 15 minutes away from the festival), and “Sam” does his spiel, while the 3 of us are sitting there, with straight faces (as “Sam” instructed), although we’re about to die laughing, and he starts: “Hi, I am “Sam Smith” (in this deep, Johnny Cash-like voice, waving his ID in the man’s face). And Paul Miller called me to come right away and move my car, which is parked ahead, and I gotta go move it, so I gotta get through.” The man looks confused. “Sam” adds (speeding up his speech): “I am not sure who Paul Miller is, but he called me and I need to get my car moved”. The old man stumbles but, although we could tell he’s full of doubt, waves us through and tells his co-worker: “he’s gotta move his car”… “Sam”’s rolling so there is no time to wait or ask for specifics!

Now, I would like to ask, if I were Security:

- Who IS, really, Paul Miller? Is he Police? County Sheriff? One of our workers? How does he know your phone number? (how many times you got a “warning” for towing?!)
- Can I see and make a mental note of your ID, in case you ARE an impostor?
- And obviously: why can’t you park here, and walk there and pick it up??!!

But no! It’s hot, and it’s busy, and the festival has a better turnout than last year, and hell, who cares, it’s just ONE car!!! So, the little man, in the little white festival security outfit waves us through. And thus we park several yards from the entrance, and feel like 16 year olds loitering in a public park after dusk! Such freedom! Such relief! The sweet taste of getting in trouble! AND … getting away with it!

“Sam” tells us all: “See?! You didn’t have to take the shuttle, like ol’ people!” – feeling proud!!!
We love “Sam”! He’s so creative! He doesn’t say much, but man, he saves the best ones up only for special occasions!

And I tell you: It works! I have never seen the rules bent so easily and so fast, so nonchalantly, and so efficiently!!!!

I swear: try it next time and tell me I am right! And as “Sam” reminded us: “We ain’t lyin’- he said: “We’re just stretchin’! We’re stretching the truth. No lying!”. :-) After all, he DID have a car at the entrance, and we DID take it home that night. After we drank all the wine and danced and shopped … Just remember: it ain’t no sin, since it’s no lying!! Just “stretchin’”!

PS (acknowledgements): thanks, Shannon (and Steve)!
Pictures from festival:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I command you to be named Dan, IF you’re my mechanic that is …

“Don’t ever be named Dan, Andy. Dan rhymes with ‘man’ and men j…k off” (“40 Year Old Virgin” disgruntled female character)

Dan was my mechanic. I liked Dan. Dan was tall and never shaved right, and I bet you he thought he was cute, too. He was such a flirt! Dan had the sweetest Southern drawl and he always called me “sugar”, “hon”, “ma’am”, “honey” and although he was middle aged I never took it the wrong way from him. I usually let people 60 and beyond call me all those things (well, those people and the people I REALLY feel I am the “honey” and the “sugar” for, too). Dan was maybe 45?!? Bad teeth but a cute smile. You know, kind of like your dad's stinch of sweat on a summer afternoon; or your grandma's dirty sponge, stinking in the sink: gross, but familiar, so you miss it when it's gone. He was simple, awkward, and sweet, and he was my trusted mechanic! Do you know how HARD it is to put those words in the same phrase: “trusted mechanic”?? Have you any idea what it’s like out there, especially as a woman, to find that?? That is even harder than finding just a “nice ordinary guy”. Honestly!
Dan worked at this place, a franchise mechanics shop, and he did all my oil changes and maintenance on my car(s). I loved Dan! I used to come in and, looking at the price on the wall, that read “ $29.95 – oil change”, I would ask: “Dan, how much for an oil change?”; he would say, smiling, in the sweetest Southern accent: “Weel, you see what it is, honey, but it’s $20 even for you,’cause you’re a regular”… And he would charge the customers the advertised price, once they came in and they were newbie’s, but he would charge me my special price! Always made me feel good!
His parking lot was always full when I pulled in, but I never needed an appointment. He would always take my car for anything, always do exactly what I asked, and always with a smile. He’s the reason I never much used those coupons for the dealer oil changes they give you once you buy a car, and they are free! I like HIS service the best and I didn’t mind paying. My car always ran as he told me it would, too…I would trust Dan with my car like I trust my cardiologist with my heart. He knew best!
Well, this last time, I went to my usual place to find the store (with the same name outside) sold to a young couple. I thought it strange that the parking lot was empty when I pulled in, and yet it was a Saturday, one of the busiest days… So, I take my car in for oil change and a “funny noise”… They say sure, we’ll get you in right away. The lot was empty, so I thought: lucky day, I’ll be in and outta here in no time! I asked if they just bought the place, but didn’t ask where my friend Dan was … Didn’t ask … They said, yes, new owners…
3 hours and $200 later (the noise was belts cracked, and I knew about them so I replaced them finally), I come back to pick up my car .
While waiting for my check and all that, the woman’s (it’s a couple that owns it now) cell rings, and her “ring” is some song that blasts in the waiting room: “yeah, I am a crazy bitch…” – the lyrics go. The people in the shop look at each other (me included) thinking “OK. Not appropriate for a semi-public, professional place”. Eyes pop! Her husband looks at us, shakes his head and shrugs. So, HE finds it inappropriate, too. He did strike me like the hen-pecked kind. She answers (in a Hick, no, no, not Southern!!! Accent) : “ Yeah …. Yeah … I am FREAKING WORKING (raising voice), what d’ya think I’m doin’?! Sure… yeah… Well, tell Angie to kiss my butt, then!” – again, we stare are each other, the 2 people that are in the waiting area … and we sigh… Never in Dan’s time, when he would pick up the phone with “ Thank you for calling your friendly Such-and-such shop, where we feature a $19.95 break check. This is Dan, how may I help you today?”. Very much not the same!
I get in my car and after the waiting room circus, I think the whole time:” last time here! For sure!!!”. But when I get into it, I definitely think that IS the last time!! My wheel, my speed shift, my dashboard, AND my door handle are all covered in black, greasy oil! Never in Dan’s time did I have to clean up like this! The fabric on the door is completely ruined, for sure! I looked closely on the windshield, and there is a huge blob of oil right in the middle of the windshield! My first instinct is to clean it, with the wipers, but it makes it worse! So, frustrated I drive away!
Back, in Dan’s time, I never had to feel sick about driving my own car. Never had to be listening to obscenities in the waiting room; never had to pay the full price (even AFTER I had told the numbskulls this was NOT my first time there)! I never had to clean up my car like some kind of cave men worked in it. I am not some kind of prissy lady, either! I don’t want my car detailed after every service (although my dealer does that, as a “thank you” service), but I do notice common sense: clean up after yourselves, folks! Yeah, I would never be back to the new people, who never had the decency to introduce themselves! Oh, yeah, and having to take the car right back, because my “check engine” light turned on at the first light after I left the parking lot is not speaking too much in their favor, either!
I will not be back! I will CALL back! Oh, yeah, I will!! But the only question I will have will be – you know it: “You know where Dan moved?”.
Thank God, for guys named Dan that own car shops! I miss mine!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

No more band aids...

I have been asking for band aids. And so they came. And now, I am not sure. Are we ever happy with what we do have?!
I want cures now. Cures for sad eyes. And cure for pain. So much of it in fact that I don’t remember what it feels like to have none.
Most often, I am aware of the blessings I have, and the ones I share into the world, and somehow at the end of the day all I feel is pain. I am not a complainer and I never want to believe that I whine out of nothing. And I am not whining now. But I do wish I would have some peace. With me and the world. Where can one buy peace? Or be given it away?
I want one afternoon with no plans and no pain. And no fixin’ what’s bleeding… One afternoon without spreading myself too thin… for the world around me. For friends, and family, and work, and the world in general. One hour where no piece of my flesh or my brain leaves this tired body, and just stays put. One afternoon for me. One afternoon at the end of which I can tell myself: “The world IS right, for once: I AM selfish!”.
I have not done something for me alone, just out of selfishness for so long I forgot what it feels like. Without realizing, I’ve let myself being dragged by life into the “caregiver” role, into the “mother of all wounded people” and my own ego and myself are drowned somewhere in the midst of all that. Like a broken pitcher, I am giving water out through all my orifices, without being able to replenish myself, nor keeping myself full. I am getting dry… And I am cracking!
I usually feed off of the beauty of life. But for the past long months the life around me has given me no beauty. Just pain, and want and punches. Not as in “fruit punches”, but the kind you get in the gut.
I still have no regrets, amazingly enough, but I don’t want to harden up! I want to stay juicy and lively. I want to replenish the water. I have no regrets. Only lots of gray hair and wrinkles. Only that! And a lot of pain. And an unexpected penury of painkillers in all markets.
PS: about the title: finicky as always, ain't I?!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back home

July 25, 2007, Iasi-Romania – brief and disjointed notes on a trip back home, and, as always, back in time, too …

Uneventful trip by plane to Bucharest and then further yet, to the hometown of Iasi. I have meant to mention the $5 beer on the flight over the Ocean, because once again it rubbed me the wrong way (you know which way that is). But I am not going to say another peep, because I was all over the “appallment” of it last year! This year, the surcharge for the extra luggage went from $25 a bag to $50 – something to note for next year! No more shampoo for mom then! And so on, the less courteous, customer (DIS-) service woes continue.

No other details worth mentioning, before I made it home.

The ice-cream treat with dad on the bench in the airport was priceless and timeless. Long awaited and so loving. No quarrels and no fuss. We talked about the family, and the friends, and politics, and music. We talked about how we’re getting old and we change. We talked about missing each other. And in those moments I swear to God and to me that no matter how expensive this trip back home gets every year, I have to take it! He bought chocolate ice-cream. I bought the vanilla, of course. He asked me not to tell mom he bought the chocolate, because it’s bad for his heart and she doesn’t allow. I did tell mom. She shrugged and added: “that’s your dad!”.

The airport in Iasi is like no other: minuscule to non existent. You land in the middle of grass and dusty trees. There’s hardly a building there. More like a barrack. Quite deserted field. In the middle of all the tall, yellow, sun-scorched grass, about 5 to 10 coke machines, abandoned, all still bright red in their “Coke” attire. They look like bleeding scars open to the sky in the middle of the yellow field. Do crows and hawks get thirsty for coke?! I laugh and wonder. My sister reminds me: “Hello, Romania!”.

I pull out the camera to shoot them, and an airport worker comes running towards me, yelling: “ No pictures allowed in the airport! Illegal!” For the life of me, I don’t understand why; it’s the trees and the sun, and the silence of a hot summer day; a handful of people and their pilot, an old, small plane. Who cares? And why would they? Apparently some do! I bet there is no written law against pictures in airports, but there is such a thing as the self-importance of the Romanian public worker that is stronger and louder than any law. Romania!

Same thing in Bucharest: no pictures in airport! So, I had to “steal” a shot of a beer machine: this coke-like machine, filled up with beer cans for sale. Yeah, we have a law against taking pictures of an open, scorched field we call “airport” but we got no drinking age reinforcement! Oh, I love my country! I do! There’s a surprise at every corner indeed.

This year, Romania is hot, too. But really, “hot” doesn’t even begin to remotely describe it! You’re literally (read carefully people, this is NOT a metaphor; this is the REAL, painful word: ) STEWING in your won sweat! You feel like you’re going to start sizzling soon. It’s gross and it’s defenseless. The flowers and plants look sadder than dying sadness even with plenty of water. They’re stewing, I tell you, too!

People’s faces look like Dali paintings, decomposing, liquid, flowing, running … Cats passed out on wheelbarrows, and dogs buried under piles of wood where the sun can’t reach them. Cats and dogs silent for once, and refusing food, because of the heat. They don’t want more calories, and they have nothing but their own body to burn up! They are silent and given up!
And mom cooks! Every day the kitchen is an oven. I want to scream but I have no air and wind left. None. The fan only blows hot air. The illusion of a draft. Waking up in a pool of sweat on the spongy mattress. Icky. But home! Icky but sweet!

Small babies in nothing but diapers and cranky. Gypsy kids knocking at the gate for a handful of grapes, to tame the thirst. They say they never had grapes before, and they’re thirsty. Mom cuts a bunch of grapes for them and threatens to kill them if they steal the grapes! Romania …
At night, the guests (me included) are sharing stories from abroad, of the easy life, the cool air in the A/C vents, while mom and dad share painful stories of living here. You deal with so many jerks and you become one. Otherwise you don’t survive. The nicest people have roughened up and are hurting they’re so blunt at the edges. And it’s hot and the heat makes them even harder …Crankier…

I have reached the end of everything: my will power, my physical strength! I am stripped down to pure sensation and pure need. Nothing philosophical anymore. But I will keep one random thought of high persona: I am indifferent of how hot it can get down here, or how expensive, or how amoral, or even how absurd … I will do this trip every year, most likely, just to sit on that bench with dad and eat ice-cream, and look at the busy airport people and tell each other how much older we are and how much love we share! Everything else is just an accident.

Pictures from trip:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How weird are we, really??

You know… one must meet and know one to know their funny habits and laugh at their own contradictions! We never realize how “funny” (as in “different” and “odd”, not as in “ha-ha”) we are in our own behaviors and “typics” and how “set” we are, until we meet someone else and compare. Asking them about “theirs” is like holding a mirror in front of ourselves and seeing us for what/ who we are…
Do we ever touch our noses? Do we pick them? Do we think that’s OK? They’re “ours”, after all, and we “touch” other much “grosser” parts of our bodies, right?!
Do we use toothpicks or floss?
Garlic breath –ok?! A turnoff?!
Do we drink coffee in the morning? Can we stand the sugar? What about the milk? Half
’n’half? What’s pretentious? And what’s the norm? To whom?
Do we read fiction or non? Does it matter, as long as we’re readers?
Chewing gum or mints after dinner? What flavor?
Do we like comforters or blankets? Cold or hot in the room when we sleep?
Do we like paper towels or Clorox wipes? What’s the difference? Does it matter?
Would we be willing to give these up? At what cost? Why not?!
It’s amazing what I find out every day that is part of “me”… I have always thought I am pretty flexible. My motto, always: “you don’t bend, you break”… And it’s funny to find out that little things which build up our (MY) “routine” are important, nevertheless, just for my immediate comfort! Well, not set in stone, but that they would bother me in the least should I ever be asked to knock them out!
This brings me back a million moons ago, when someone asked me to get used with used, wet towels on the floor of the bathroom every morning. I divorced him! Well, he divorced me, after way too many fights over the wet towels.
And this bears the question: how annoying are we really to others? How weird do we appear? And do we care?! When we do see someone with opposite quirks than ours, do we classify them as “weird” or try to understand where they’re coming from? How bendable are WE, after all?!
And these are just the really “non”- important things in life, one might argue, and I am sure one does argue! Values, political views, life/death matters, families are a different story!
Oh, I love humankind! We never cease to entertain our own selves. Ever! And we never cease to trip on the ... smallish speedbumps, just in the desperate hope that we remain "true to ourselves". But are we, really?!

Friday, June 29, 2007

We carry our scars with us ...

We carry our scars with us. Into the grave we go. Every scar, and every healing patch goes with us… All the experiences and relationships, go buried and never returned… Every “brown eyed girl” song, and every sunset on the beach that reminds us of a certain relationship; every time we made love in a tent, or on the beach, or in a club, every time someone said we’re “hot”, or “ I love you”… every time we smell hey… every time we drink from the stream, the cold stream, running shallow and fast over the peaks…Every crisp morning in the mountains…
Every fearful step we took towards building a “relationship”… it all gets marked, yes, as a “notch on our … flesh” … and gets buried with us. Who cares? Where does it all go? Is God going to quiz us on it? Is St. Peter? What about Paul? Who cares?! By the time we’re done here, it’s so much part of “us” that it doesn’t matter…
We’re richer and maybe wiser (who’s the judge of that??) after every person we meet touches our life (and everyone we meet does! Positively or not – no judgment here…they just all do)… But who do we share this richness with? No one and every one…
We are who we are because of all the little spoonfuls of sand that everyone that knows us added to the big pile! And we’re different because of all of them. Unspoken, unmentioned “mentors” and “sand-adders” – they all contributed.
Each one of them added a feature to our character.
Because of a song, because of a castle, because of a high mountain, because of a fear we overcome, because of a breathless sunset and a blistering winter somewhere … we are different… We are … who we are at this moment…because of all of them… “casualties” (really??!!)…in our path…
They drag us down and they carry us through… They are our cross to bear and our Golgotha to climb… That’s why we accept them all so unconditionally… We have no choice, but surrender.
We share them unconsciously every time we take the next step without them… And they’re silent pieces of what we show to the world as “us”… They deserve some credit… Some; but who’s willing to give it to them?
I am just … giving “thanks”… to adding a little piece of “something” to the already over-complicated “me”…

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Completely randomly… dislocated thoughts …

Aren’t you happy that you’re not 18-20 anymore?? I surely am! I am happy that I am not 18 when we tend to torture ourselves for the sake of attention. At 18 our poor brain must really feel like if we don’t go out of our way to f(*&& ourselves up completely, life is over! I was never much focused on my appearance, because I was brought up to invest time and money and passion on what lasts, and clothes, makeup and accessories only last while the season is in, so I never wasted any time. But I was always fascinated by my peers… You know: when you’re 18 and you dye your hair this hideous color (purple? Pink? Blue? Whatever the hell strikes your fancy when you drink too much and you don’t see the daylight clearly), and pierce your eyebrows, and your lips and your nose (oh, especially your nose!), and your cheeks and God knows what else visible, because it has to be visible, and then you stand still and hope someone notices. And you walk slow. And you stare. And you hope that people see you. And all people can think of when they see you is “ well, yeah, you’re weird! And you’re hurting! And you look like an idiot! And your parents are failures! What’s your point?! What else you want me to see there? ’Cause it ain’t that deep!” – and you know that … but every day, you go out into the world with your tight jeans and piercings that don’t allow you to eat or kiss, or f(*^%, and you feel “noticed”… And being weird is “cool”. It’s better than being … nothing (in your shallow mind, because at 18 I swear kids’ minds are about half of an inch deep, hormones and too much “book learnin’ “ just clutters it altogether!). Oh, but all the ridiculousness is all worth it! … when you’re 18… sure it is!
I am glad I am past that! I am past being a monkey at the zoo!

People from MySpace, please, I beg of you: learn how to speak English (Romanian?!) BEFORE you email me! “ I like you/ your profile, so why don’t you hit me up” ain’t gonna do it, dude! Like I said before: I would hit you up … over the head, but I got no time to find your ass! So, stop spamming me!

And please: your MySpace default picture is … a PickUp truck??? Pray tell me what THAT is gonna do for me?! Ok, yeah, very attractive indeed! You haul dead or smelly, run down, pieces of junk. And my interest would lay where?! Not in THAT bed, I assure you! I hate any kind of car-show-off-ness as it is, but c’mon! PickUp trucks??? I know we live in the South, but you must have a clue that THAT is not a “pickup” … car! It is JUST a “pickup”! At least borrow your rich cousin’s Camaro, or something … Please, show a little “class” (I hurt myself laughing again…)…

I find lately that dating is as hard as hanging art on the walls: so rarely do you hit a stud! Yeah, you need a magnet … but without one, you’re lost!

You know who wore rings through their noses in my country? Pigs! We put rings in their nose, thick metal ones, so they would not dig the soil; it hurts their nose, you see, and they start bleeding and that way they don’t dig the yard all over the place! Oh, I am so glad I had my mom to remind me of that when I was 18!! So glad!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Blue Couch Wake

“The moment I let go of it was the moment I got more than I could handle…” (Alanis song)
PS: I can only hope so…

OK. I admit I do have the occasional T-Shirt I used to go to bed in when I was 14 and had a crush on Al Pacino (I figured he might like it …). Yes, I still have the elephant print tank that I stole from a production line back home, when we went into a field trip to a textile plant in 4th grade; and yes, I still wear it, when I miss home. And don’t we ALL keep our college jeans that will never, ever fit us?! (I swear my bones grew!).
But to get attached and emotional about … a couch? I mean, I have been able to pack very little belongings into ONE suitcase and move across the Ocean into a different continent once. I have lived in 6 homes in less than 10 years now… I have had 4 cars so far (less than 10 years again)… I said good bye for good to people, and places that I loved and adored. I have seen the love of my life die, and still lived to tell the story… I have just left a place behind…
Every spring and every fall I get rid of maybe a quarter if not half of the contents of my closets (all of them). I have been known as a “thrower”. I believe in physical and emotional cleansing, as often and thorough as it’s necessary… I always hear my grandmothers tell me: “Honey, when we go, there is only so much you can fit between 4 boards. Learn to let go of material things”.
But this couch, somehow, is different. For some reason, something about that couch I threw out tonight just made my heart shift! It was the first couch I had in this country; the couch my then future husband first mentioned we might get married on, the couch of many naps in lazy Southern afternoons, and the couch of my cats’ first naps under my roof, too. It was the “coming of age” marker for me. It was a dark blue couch, nothing particular about it, a little bigger than a love seat, with annoying sliding pillows everywhere on it… And yet the thought of just telling it tonight “you’re dismissed”, “you’re no longer needed”, just like that, and the image of leaving it out there, in the rain, and the damp weather close to breaks my heart… I hoped someone would come and pick it up, and give it another second life, but no one came. The darkness fell on it; and then the rapacious rain. And then my heart sank… I just don’t know how to let go of the silly couch!
I guess for so many years and lonesome nights it was the anchor of my home, in the main room of my home… I just never imagined my living room without the blue couch, I guess. It’s even been replaced already, by a bigger, queen size sleeper, that’s beige-green and has no personality (yet?!). My old, torn and stained couch had memories, and life, had proof that people, and cats and kids have shared it and have loved it. Had … personality. It’s weathered the last 10 years of my life. And I know the cats are missing it, too…I feel like a traitor and a bad, bad mother…
I guess the feeling of ending, and impermanence, and disposability that even us humans, not only “things” share is just so vivid, when I see it sitting at the curb, that it makes me cry. “All good things must end”, huh?!
I am always excited about the door opening and can never see the one that just closed. But this one couch really closed that door tonight, with a bang! Or it never yet closed it fully. It still wants to peek in…
I know, I am becoming neurotic and I need to stop. But I can’t. Tonight, I’ll mourn…

Monday, June 04, 2007

One word on dating. Or not.

Maybe I am old. Or maybe I am just boring. Or maybe… just maybe, there is a chance that I have always been boring. Or old. Or both. Who knows? I have always been picky about people (maybe about everything…), and partners, and I have always accepted aloneness to so-and-so relationships. People admire that. I sometimes hate it (oh, it would be so much easier to just suck it up to a guy to just have a date for that office party and not feel like the third wheel for the millionth year in a row, or for that family wedding). But right now, I really enjoy it. I really enjoy knowing what I want and how I want it. I really have learned over the years two things: how to live in the now, and how to live without regrets. And they are interdependent: if you live in the now fully and completely, listening to your heart, NOW, wonderful memories get created and you never have to regret anything. All you have to look back on are … well, wonderful memories… But I digress, because these are matters for another page.
The point I was trying to make tonight is: yes, I have been single for a while and sometimes I know it’s because of my choosing. It’s not for lack of attention from people. But for lack of tolerance towards the casual, so-and-so, lukewarm relationships. I’d rather be here, writing, resting, listening to Chris Isaak and drinking my wine than be out there, having a boring dinner with an annoying Joe, “just because maybe it can turn into something special and I might not have to spend Fourth of July alone again”… or Thanksgiving…or Christmas… or … whatever…
Sometimes I tell myself that I am quick to judge. For instance, this stranger approaches me in the store, and “wants to hang out, ‘cause I tell him I am single and he likes my hair” (sic). (I guess the small iota of common sense he had left prevented him from allowing himself to tell me what else he likes). And I refuse to go out, of course, because, if you go out with me, even for “just” a dinner, you gotta like more about me than just my hair. Or you have to be sophisticated enough to invoke loftier reasons. I thought everyone knew not only that are a ton of fish in the sea, but also that if you intend to catch one, the bait’s gotta look decent, too! And to me, it’s never “just a dinner”. It’s an hour, two, three , who knows of my time which I will never get back. Yeah… I need a better, MUCH better reason from a complete stranger to give that dinner time away, my friends! Sorry.
Yeah, I may be an elitist and demanding and … I also think I am worth it. If I am not going to be all that, who is? And why sell myself short? Why? When at the end of every day all I have left for sure in that bed is this one person with certainty, why not treat her with the care, love and respect she deserves? If not me, who else is going to do that? And I always feel like I am not 18 anymore, so I can’t just have the excuse that I am “experimenting” either. NO. I have done that. And now I know exactly what it is that makes me tick. And you either have it or you don’t and I can pretty much tell what “first impression cues” are there and what aren’t. I think I am that good, yes. And I am old fashioned too: first impressions do matter as they always have…
At any rate… I guess I am not looking to date or not NOT looking either. I am just being myself every day, and I know that kind of truthfulness will pay off, eventually.
But I am not holding my breath, either. I look at dating as part of life, of course, but not as its air. I look at it, at least now, and for a while now, like a good, really great trip I might take one day. If the money, and resources will allow, it will happen and if not, I’ll read about it in books and magazines, even see a documentary about it – oh, well. And just like that trip: when the time is right and I am ready for it, I will be picky about the hotel, the airlines, the carry on bags and the brand of my suitcase; about the music I bring along, and the books I carry. About the aisle or the window seat and about the beach front or the beach view room. Just like that. If that makes me old and picky and boring… oh, well, again. There is no one else to please by that one person, that I find alone in bed every night now. And that person happens to be pleased.