Words….Witticisms…Whimsy…Whatever!

My dad defies the mold

Happy Father’s Day!

What a swell day. :-) I just spent the afternoon with my dad, which isn’t particularly unusual for us, but it was Father’s Day and it was just the two of us and it was lovely.

Even though Father’s Day isn’t for my dad. Or rather, my dad doesn’t fit the dad stereotypes.

I thought about taking him out for brunch at a newish place near me, but I read their menu for today and it was very meat-oriented. Dads love bacon! And meat! With meat! And bacon! Except my dad quit eating meat when I was about four. So instead I made a caramel French toast that he loves, and it yields lots of leftovers, so he can enjoy it for a few more days. Yum!

Perusing ads and Hallmark stores, Father’s Day seems to be about meat and beer and tools and golf and sports and grilling (meat). And maybe neckties and wristwatches. Oh, and cigars. And shaving. (WTF? Who is giving her dad shaving paraphernalia for a present??)

I did manage to find a Father’s Day card that talked about memories of puking on road trips, and that definitely speaks to my relationship with my dad. He has a favorite story to tell about my getting carsick on a road trip home from Canada, in the rain, right before we approached customs. And another version on an airplane. Good times. :-)

I realized earlier this week that I didn’t have a gift for him – yikes! What to do? None of the above would do for my pops. I mentioned the veggie lifestyle. No tobacco either. He has a beard. He works from home, sans neckties. He doesn’t play golf. Doesn’t really like beer. (He also has an annoying habit of just buying things he wants, although I mostly have him broken of doing things like that around holidays.) I would have to go Father’s Day rogue.

Fortunately, I tidied up my desk Friday afternoon and found, buried in a pile of crap, a page I had torn out of a magazine, reminding me of something I knew would be perfect: a memoir in cartoons by the longtime cartoon editor of The New Yorker. Not only would he love it (and he did), it too seemed representative of our relationship. We have a long history of my dad loving New Yorker cartoons and me not getting them. (Sometimes I get them. Sometimes they’re funny. But sometimes, seriously, what the fuck?)

After brunch and presents we went bike shopping, which morphed into bike clean up and repairing. Us, fix bikes? Don’t be ridiculous! I know dads are supposed to fix things, but my dad taught me the value of having an expert address the situation, whatever that situation may be. Dad gave me the phone number of whom to call when my tree died and needed to be removed, and when the bats became too big a problem and had to be eliminated. And today we packed up our bikes and carted them to the bike shop to get them tuned up, and some tweaks made. We’re a little late in the game this year, but we’ve been busy, and better late than never. Plenty of good riding days ahead of us this summer.

All in all, a pretty good day. I’ve always enjoyed my dad’s company, but since his heart attack last fall I tend to cherish it even more, even though I don’t use words like “cherish”, and today was no exception. I have a number of good friends who have lost their fathers already, and I appreciate how lucky I am that he’s still here.

Happy Father’s Day to all, and to all a good night! Or something like that. :-) Hope your day was as nice as ours!

Ooh, and because the recipe is so good and so easy, here’s that, too. It’s one of those perfect recipes you prepare the night before and just throw in the oven to bake in the morning.

Caramel French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar (although I only had dark on hand and it was just as tasty)
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 6 Tbls. light corn syrup
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half (except I don’t use half & half for anything so I buy a pint and make up the remaining half cup with milk)
  • 1 Tbls. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 slices french bread – 1 1/2″ thick slices (But I end up using more like 15)
  • 3 Tbls. sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

In saucepan combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat. Stir until mixture comes to a boil. pour syrup into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Arrange bread slices on top of syrup. Mix together eggs, half and half, vanilla and salt. Pour over bread slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Mix 3 Tbls. sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle over bread. Melt 1/4 cup butter and drizzle on top. Bake 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Eat. Say “yum!”. :)

It’s Friday night. I’m on the couch in pajamas, eating pizza, alone, catching up on my DVR backlog.

If time-traveling 20-something Wendy were to appear right now, she would die. Oh, the horror! Friday night. At home. Alone.

Current Wendy could not be more content.

I used to consider it a failed weekend if I didn’t have something fun to do both nights. “Fun” = going out, unless I were having a party or some kind of social gathering at my abode. Now that would kill me. Or at least leave me exhausted and in need of a weekend. Today a quiet weekend at home with Ruby Dogwonkafonka is one of my favorite things, and if I go too long without one I get twitchy.

What a difference 10 or 20 years makes.

It’s convenient that I’m happy staying in, since at the moment I don’t have a lot of extra dough for going out. 20-something Wendy, I blame you – if you had stayed in a little more, maybe we’d have more cash reserves now – see, this is all your fault!

I’ve been contemplating age and aging and the giant hamster wheel of life for a while now. I feel like somewhere in my early 40s (which is where I still reside) I reached a point of clarity or something. I’m not young anymore, in spite of what people think. This is not a bad thing, even though when I refer to myself as “middle-aged” people recoil and assure me that I’m not. Hi, yes I am. In the US the average lifespan for women is something like 81 years, and I can do math. I’m also not old – I recognize this. The math thing, plus I have a 97-year-old grandma. She is old. She also reads my blog, so hopefully she isn’t offended by that statement. She shouldn’t be. Oldness has nothing to do with awesomeness, and the timing of this rambling contemplation could not be more fortuitous, seeing as tomorrow she is receiving an honorary doctorate from University of St. Francis. She is not your grandmother’s grandmother. (That makes me giggle.)

This awareness of what is and is not old seems to be one of the universal stupidities of young people. I remember saying things like, “I’m sooooooooooooo olllllldddddddd” when I was 25. Or 27. Or 32. And I hear/see on Facebook people in their 20s and 30s say things in this vein all the time. And now, I realize how stupid they sound. They’re not old. They’re aware of the passage of time for maybe the first time ever, but they’re obviously not old. And there’s no getting this message through, because they think they know everything.

Now that I’m in the middle and looking both directions, I don’t at all assume I know everything – that is one thing I have learned. You think you do, and then you get older, and you realize how stupid you were when you thought that. There seems to be a lot of realizing how stupid I was. It’s amazing that our parents don’t roll their eyes at us more often than they do. I can’t wait to see what I’m doing now that makes me laugh at 40-something Wendy ten or twenty years from now.

One pattern we seem to repeat is in thinking that our generation has it sooooooo much harder than any previous generation, and nobody understands our experience, and we are so maligned by the generation ahead of us. And then we get older and turn on the generation behind us because they’re whiny and they feel maligned and misunderstood. Except you’re not actually anti-the generation behind you, you just wish they understood all the things they could be learning from the benefit of your experience and hindsight instead of waiting 20 years for their own hindsight, but hi, they’re young and know everything. Hamster wheel.

I was reading a thread on Facebook last week with some millennials talking about how maligned they are by older generations (I really need to find another word for “maligned”) and it prompted me to send this note to another Gen X friend who I knew was also reading along:

Dear Millennials,

Here’s the thing…

It’s not about the label.

All young people are stupid. And not in their own way. In EXACTLY THE SAME WAY EVERYBODY ELSE WAS, BUT JUST A LITTLE BIT WORSE, because internet.

And someday you will get really, really, really old (like, 42) and you will realize what an idiot you were in your 20s, and you will see it in all the people who will currently be in their 20s, and you will laugh, and you will understand your parents better, and everything will be fine.

Love,

Gen X and the Boomers

 

I have a lot of friends who are younger than I am, and I hope you know that I love you, and I look forward to you pushing me around in my wheelchair someday. I truly don’t think you’re stupid except when you’re talking about being old. ;) And this isn’t supposed to be a “young people are idiots” post. It’s intended to be about how great it actually is being in that dreaded over-40 zone. Or how funny the passage of time is. Or who knows. It’s possible I lack focus tonight. It’s possible this is because I’m also watching Say Yes to the Dress while writing this. It is Friday night, after all. (20-something Wendy is dying of shame right now.)

But my 40s are great. So far, anyway. Another cliché proves itself to be true: so far every decade is better than the one before. I’m not so hung up on stuff like what do people think or what everyone else is doing. I’m less concerned about “should”; I’m more interested in what makes me happy. I remember clearly the night that happened, too. I had been invited to a going away party for some casual friends who were moving. The time had come to get myself together and as I was walking upstairs to change clothes, I realized I didn’t feel like going, and then it clicked that I didn’t have to. So I didn’t. I stayed home, and it was so nice that I started refusing invitations more often. I got way more selective about whom I spend time with. If I spend time with you now it’s because I really want to. I’m not sure why it took me so long to catch onto that one.

I thought I had a funny cartoon set aside about aging or clichés or something along those lines to accompany this, but I can’t find anything in my “hold” folder. What I did find is this picture of snuggling lions. I have no idea what I saved it for, but it’s adorable, so what the hell. When I find the cartoon, I’ll save it for the lion post that clearly I intend to write some day.

cuddling lions

In honor of Sylvia Day

I just had my annual little cry for Sylvia Day, when I pay special tribute to my first fur baby. (It’s not as though her memory is neglected the other 364 days of the year – I have pictures of her all around my house and her ashes are on my mantle in a lovely little purple piece of pottery.) I recognize that I get super attached to my dogs, and not everyone can relate, but they are my family, and I’m glad I decided to make a little holiday to remember Syl-beast. I read through all the emails and notes people sent me when she died, and it makes me sad, but also happy, to go back in time and remember her funny little quirks and what an awesome friend she was to so many. And I wear the necklace Kristin gave me as a token of healing.  I even got a card in the mail today from Ann Trina. I can’t believe it’s been six years. Bittersweet traditions.

 
I always post pictures of Sylvia on Facebook on her day, and it’s funny to me to see who mistakes her for Ruby, my current companion, but I get it. I don’t have a lot of pictures of Sylvia, at least not compared to camera-savvy Ruby who is a social media icon. But I do have a handful of lovely portraits of Syl and me from a fortuitous event right before it was too late, and it’s one of the memories I always pause on.

 
My then-husband had an opportunity through work for us to pose for a portrait photography class. It was an interesting deal in that they needed test models to practice on, so it was free and you got all the pictures and some of them were great and some were not. We had a time in the future we were scheduled for, and then Sylvia got sick and one of his coworkers asked if we wanted to swap dates with her (thank you, Carol!) so we could go sooner and take Sylvia (which was good for them too – opportunities to practice with kids and dogs were important). At first I thought maybe it was silly, and then I was uncertain if I wanted to subject her to it – I wanted things to be easy for my dog, and I wasn’t sure if it would stress her out. In the end we went, and I’m so thankful for that, because we got some beautiful pictures and it was a lovely moment captured.

 
And it was a nice respite, too. I was devoting pretty much all my energy to caring for and worrying over my dog, and this was a family outing where nobody knew anything was amiss. The students and instructor were great and Sylvia worked her charms on everyone as usual. Sometimes she cooperated and posed, but at one point she got up and walked around the room and greeted all her paparazzi one by one. They loved it. I found out after the fact that I was wrong, they did know she was dying, they just had the kindness and grace not to say anything to us, and for some reason that moves me every time I think about it. They gave us some normal.

 
One week to the day after our session, she was gone. Gone, but not forgotten. Never forgotten, sweet Sylvie-girl. You and our other furry friends live on forever in our hearts. And I’m so grateful that I have some pictures of my beautiful, wily girl.

 

2008-03-18 18.36.19-1

 

SONY DSC

 

Ah yes, the art of trying to get your dog to hold still, look up, and act casual. :)

 

2008-03-18 19.31.14

 

Dad and I went to see Crosby, Stills and Nash the other night at the Embassy. I got tickets for his birthday; he’s been a big fan forever, and a little of it rubbed off on me – I like the greatest hits album in my collection. And, you know, it seemed like it would be fun. How can you not enjoy some good, live music?

Lately (and by “lately” I mean for the last five or ten years), going to concerts has made me feel old. (Drunken hipsters annoy me.) (So do drunken other people, and not-drunken hipsters. But I digress.) This concert, pretty much the opposite: I was the youngest person for miles. Or at least rows. I know some of my contemporaries were there, but we were definitely in the minority.

And you know what’s awesome? Older people sit down at concerts. Maybe because they’re tired or standing for long periods of time is uncomfortable, but I think it’s because they’re more experienced and they’ve learned that standing at concerts is just plain stupid. Honestly, most of us can see better when we’re sitting.

This doesn’t mean it was some staid, subdued affair. To the contrary, people were rocking out. Just, politely, from a seated position, leaping to their feet to whoop and holler their appreciation after every song, then wisely sitting down to enjoy the next number. They were into it, man. It’s always great to see something here that is a) sold out and b) full of enthusiasm.

And the fellas on stage – they aren’t spring chickens, obviously. Crosby & Nash are 72. Stills is 69. Um, hi. That’s impressive. Even more so when I tell you that they played for about three hours. No opening act (perfect!) just them, killing it, with a short intermission (yay, pee break!).

And don’t worry, everybody stood up for Suite: Judy Blue Eyes for the encore, singing along joyfully. They definitely knew how to bring it home.

Of course, musing about the generational differences in concert-going also leads me to some universal truths:

  • There will always be two (probably drunk) chicks off to the side of the stage or in the aisle, dancing, even when the song isn’t remotely danceable.
  • Likewise, there will be some person near the front waving at the band. Stop it. They can’t see you. They don’t know you. Just stop.
  • The line for the bathroom will be stupidly long. At least this time the men’s line was at least as long as the women’s. Yay, equality! :D
  • Someone in your vicinity will be doing something annoying. This week I had two. The man next to me was the LOUDEST snapper in the world. I seriously could not possibly snap my fingers that loudly, and he was doing it for hours. Stop it, Dad! Oops, just kidding, it was the man on my other side. Oh, and he was just a tiny bit offbeat. GAH. Also, the woman across the aisle was screwing around with her phone the entire time. Texting, taking pictures, texting, answering at least three phone calls, texting, taking pictures – oh my god, just stop already!

Which brings us to tonight’s public service announcement. Anytime you hold your phone up above the heads of the people in front of you to take a picture (or, god forbid, record some craptastic video – who are you kidding?), you are interfering with the experience of the people behind you. Your pictures are probably going to suck anyway. And there’s no need to take so many of them. And as the person behind all of you, seeing lots of phones sticking up at any given moment is obnoxious. I was watching security; they were trying their damndest to get you to stop, but they couldn’t keep up. And this is something we think is a problem with kids, but clearly we older people are just as culpable. Be in the moment. Be in the moment. BE IN THE MOMENT!

Geez, it’s hard to imagine that I feel old when I go to concerts! Get off my lawn, you stupid kids!

Anyway, I feel like I took kind of an accidental hiatus in my concert-going a few years ago, and I’m glad to be back in circulation. I’ve had the opportunity to see some good stuff the last year or two. Here’s hoping I can keep that streak going.

Rock on, my friends.

If you think this post is about you, it’s not. And it is. It’s not directed at any one person or interaction, it’s based on weeks of everybody.

I am a Midwestern girl. I have lived here my entire life, and I like it. I understand the appeal of living someplace with perfect weather all year long, but I sincerely mean it when I say I wouldn’t want to live someplace where we didn’t have all four seasons.

And I really do love winter. I love snow. LOVE. And in case you live under a rock or are from a different country, it has been quite the winter this year. We’ve had a lot of snow. We’ve had some periods of extremely cold temperatures. And we’ve had A LOT of snow. Yes, so much that it merits being mentioned twice. And as far as I’m concerned, this is the best winter we’ve had in years! Usually we don’t get much snow, or it doesn’t last very long. Not this year. I was out yesterday morning shoveling the almost one foot of new snow and I was struggling to figure out where to put it. The mounds lining my sidewalks are already so tall that it was quite an effort to launch more snow onto or over them. I’m thinking of putting in a ski lift on the biggest one. I was exhausted when I was finished. And I felt great. A few hours later Ruby Dogwonkafonka and I went for a walk around the neighborhood.  Sidewalks weren’t clear and we traipsed through some stretches with snow almost to the top of my boots. We slipped and slid walking in the middle of the street, where ice was the layer beneath the snow. I almost wiped out multiple times. We had a blast.

Winter is a big adventure.  That’s my outlook.

And even though I don’t think I should have to defend my affection for the season, I will acknowledge that I have a good gig working from home, and that it makes it easier to love the snow when I’m not required to drive in it every day. I’m not opposed to driving in it though – I sometimes have a weather-be-damned attitude that causes me to venture out when perhaps it isn’t the smartest move. (I do this much less often now that I don’t have AWD or 4WD.) Getting the car out of my alley is usually the biggest challenge; if I can do that, I’m good to go.

Here’s what I don’t understand.

Why are people so angry with me for liking winter? Because they sure seem to be.  At the very least, they act like I’m crazy and that there’s something wrong with it.

I don’t understand people who like heat and humidity, but that doesn’t mean I think they’re wrong. We’re just different. It’s kind of like being a morning person versus a night owl. One isn’t better than the other. We’re just different. And as with many things in life, you don’t choose which you are, you just are what you are.

So let’s make a deal. You don’t have to like winter, but please stop trying to squelch my fun. If I get excited when more snow is in the forecast, remember that my glee doesn’t actually cause the snow.  I’m sorry you are cold and miserable. Get better socks.

And now, a list! Things I love about snow and winter!

  • A fire in the fireplace. Nothing is cozier or homier. And it might include s’mores.
  • Fuzzy socks.
  • The way fresh snow sparkles in the sun.
  • Watching dogs romp in the snow. Sylvia freaking loved snow. She would run like a maniac around the yard and dip her head to lap some into her mouth without breaking stride. She would stick her entire head into a snowbank. Dogs and snow make me happy.
  • Warm blankies, some of which I might’ve actually made myself.
  • The really beautiful socks and scarf I bought in Ireland. The socks are super warm and I would never be able to wear those without cold weather. My feet would explode otherwise.
  • My new purple coat.
  • Hot chocolate. Maybe with booze.
  • The way my dog sleeps smashed up against me when she’s cold.
  • My amazing red mittens that keep your hands warm and dry EVEN IF YOU DUNK THEM IN A BUCKET OF WATER.
  • Deciding to spend the day sitting inside wrapped in a blanket reading a good book. Or watching a favorite movie. Or napping.
  • Homemade chili.
  • Shoveling. Yes, I enjoy shoveling. I find it satisfying.
  • Karma points earned by shoveling for a neighbor.
  • The camaraderie and neighborliness of people helping each other get cars dug out, unstuck, etc. This happens a lot in neighborhoods where you have lots of on-street parkers.
  • Turning the heat up one degree higher on a really cold day.
  • The way the world looks after a wet snow when everything is coated and beautiful.
  • Snowmen, snow angels, snow forts.
  • Going for a walk while it’s snowing, and everything seems extra quiet and still.
  • Snow days! (I get it, we’ve had a lot of them this year.)
  • The fact that snow isn’t rain. 38 degrees and rainy is probably the most miserable weather I can imagine.

And as usual, Frazz gets me. :)

Frazz

 

ps….I wrote this yesterday; today I got my car stuck trying to pull into the alley to get to my garage. Really stuck. Four strangers with shovels dug and pushed and dug some more and pushed and finally got me dislodged. And this does not change any of the above. All part of the adventure! Thank you, strangers!! :)

A lot of you are friends with me on Facebook and are likely well aware that I am caught up at the moment in the fight against HJR-3, a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman.  I’m going to write more about that one of these days – I keep trying to get my thoughts into a cohesive lump instead of the ranty outbursts I post on Facebook. But today is not that day; today I have a little comic relief for you. But first, a little background.

Here’s the wording of the proposed amendment:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

The first sentence is bad enough, but the second is wildly troubling even for some who are opposed to marriage equality. It has opened up all kinds of questions and even led to a supporting bill theoretically defining the intent of the amendment.  

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to listen to several area representatives speak, and one of them suggested that even though he found the second sentence troubling, he still supports the amendment. I was (naturally) pissed. Today, however, he (with some others) filed an amendment to remove the second sentence.  I emailed the encouraging news to a friend with whom I’d been discussing it over the weekend, and got this back in response. It’s freakin’ awesome.  

But first, before we get to that, this is a wildly important issue, and if you are looking for more information or want to know how to get involved in the fight for equality for ALL Hoosiers, please visit Freedom Indiana (or ask me questions – I am happy to talk about it).

HOLY CRAP, while I was getting this together the amendment to remove the second sentence was passed! But this is still awesome and funny and timely so you’re getting it anyway. :)

I did not write anything below this line – all from my clever friend. (Sorry about the somewhat wonky formatting.)

__________________________________________________________

Good for him. Now maybe he – or anybody in the media – could start asking folks what the heck the second sentence does or means. We supposedly have an entire bill, HB 1153, that describes what the second sentence doesn’t do. Namely, that it’s not there to take away benefits, rights, etc. So why is it there?

If the institution of marriage between man and woman is so fundamental – a truism – that itself connotes only one meaning, then why would you need a second sentence? Its removal does nothing…unless of course it does exactly what it sounds like it does.

I’d like the exchange to go a little something like A Few Good Men

 

                                      WENDY

                              (continuing; beat)

                         Speaker, I have just one more question

                         before I call the Indy Chamber and

                         Indiana University: If you gave an order

                         that Marriage wasn’t to be touched,

                         and your orders are always followed,

                         then why would marriage be in danger, why

                         would it be necessary to have

                         the second sentence?

 

               And SPEAKER has no answer.

 

               Nothing.

 

               He sits there, and for the first time, seems to be lost.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Gay marriage is a sub-standard form of

                         union. The second sentence is offered

                         because –

 

                                     WENDY

                         But that’s not what you said. You

                         said the amendment was to protect “marriage.”

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (pause)

                         Yes. That’s correct, but –

 

                                     WENDY

                         You said, “Marriage was in danger”. I said,

                         “Grave danger”. You said –

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Yes, I recall what –

 

                                     WENDY

                         I can have the Court Reporter read

                         back your –

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         I know what I said. I don’t need it

                         read back to me like I’m a damn –

 

                                     WENDY

                         Then why the two sentences?

                              (beat)

                         Speaker?

                              (beat)

                         Why did you –

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Sometimes legislators take matters into their

                         own hands.

 

                                     WENDY

                         No sir. You made it clear just a

                         moment ago that legislators

                         could not take matters into their own hands.

                         Marriage is between man and woman. So

                         Marriage shouldn’t have been in any

                         danger at all, should it have,

                         Speaker?

 

               Everyone’s sweating now. Everyone but WENDY.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You little bastard.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Your Honor, I have to ask for a recess

                         to –

 

                                     WENDY

                         I’d like an answer to the question,

                         Counselor.

 

                                     JUDGE

                         The Court’ll wait for answer.

 

                                     WENDY

                         If Turner told his men that Marriage

                         wasn’t to be touched, then why did

                         it have to have a second sentence?

 

               SPEAKER is looking at Long and Morris.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (continuing)

                         Speaker?

 

               SPEAKER says nothing.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (continuing)

                         Turner ordered the second sentence, didn’t

                         he? Because that’s what you told

                         him to do.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Object!

 

                                    JUDGE

                         Legislators…

 

               WENDY will plow through the objections of LEHMAN and the

               admonishments of the Judge.

 

                                     WENDY

                         And when it went bad, you cut these

                         guys loose.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Your Honor –

 

                                    JUDGE

                         That’ll be all, counsel.

 

                                     WENDY

                         You had Judiciary hold a phony

                         Committee hearing –

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Counselor –

 

                                     WENDY

                         You doctored the committee meetings.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Damnit WENDY!!

 

                                     WENDY

                         I’ll ask for the fourth time. You

                         ordered –

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You want answers?

 

                                     WENDY

                         I think I’m entitled to them.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You want answers?!

 

                                     WENDY

                         I want the truth.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You can’t handle the truth!

 

               And nobody moves.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (continuing)

                         Son, we live in a world that has

                         walls. And those walls have to be

                         guarded by old white men. Who’s gonna

                         do it? You? You, Rep. Heuer? I

                         have a greater responsibility than

                         you can possibly fathom. You weep

                         for gays and you curse our

                         marriage. You have that luxury. You

                         have the luxury of not knowing what

                         I know: That squashing gay rights, while

                         tragic, probably saved lives. And my

                         existence, while grotesque and

                         incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

                              (beat)

                         You don’t want the truth. Because

                         deep down, in places you don’t talk

                         about at parties, you want me on

                         that wall. You need me on that wall.

                              (boasting)

                         We use words like honor, code,

                         freedom… we use these words as the

                         backbone to a life spent defending

                         bigotry. You use ‘em as a punchline.

                              (beat)

                         I have neither the time nor the

                         inclination to explain myself to a

                         man who rises and sleeps under the

                         blanket of the very freedom I provide,

                         then questions the manner in which I

                         provide it. I’d prefer you just said

                         thank you and went on your way.

                         Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a

                         weapon and stand a post. Either way,

                         I don’t give a damn what you think

                         you’re entitled to.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (quietly)

                         Did you order the second sentence?

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (beat)

                         I did the job you sent me to do.

 

                                     WENDY

                         Did you order the second sentence?

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (pause)

                         You’re goddamn right I did.

 

2013, you were all right

A year ago it seemed that the idea of a “blessings jar” was circulating all over Facebook. It’s simple enough. Write down the special moments in your life as they occur, put them in a jar, and review them at the end of the year. I’m not really good at resolutions, goals, and the like, but this was something I could get on board with. Of course, I didn’t have a jar handy so I used a vase (which was a present from my dad and created by my artist friend Kristi Jo Beber, so it was already all kinds of good stuff) but for the purpose of this post we’ll just keep calling it a jar. (Aside: Kristy Jo’s stuff makes great gifts. Keep that in mind that for next Christmas or anything between now and then!)  I didn’t always remember to tend to the jar, but by the end of the year it was full.  I wrote on post-it notes and scraps of paper. I scribbled just a few words and once wrote a page & a half about a particularly interesting day. Many of the notes had happy faces and/or hearts drawn on them, because I use emoticons even when jotting messages to myself apparently.  Most of the time I remembered to date them, but not always. And because I was doing it my way, I put other things in, too. Concert tickets. Notes from friends. A fortune from a cookie. An envelope that made me laugh. A series of postcards from my friend Greg. And then last week on New Year’s Day I sat down and read through everything.

Here’s the summary version: I’m a very fortunate person.

I appreciated little things. I appreciated big things. I reconnected with people from the past. I made new friends. I put aside old hurts. I paid off some debts AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, bitchez! I reveled in my family. I took trips. I was reminded of a moment when I was able to use the blessings jar to make myself find a positive spin in a situation that was making me cranky. The overriding theme was contentment, and how can you beat that? Reading through them reminded me of small moments that would have been long forgotten and made me laugh a second time over funnies and sillies.

And because I took my own liberties with the game, next to the vase was a bowl. And in the bowl I put all the birthday cards I received, and more recently all the holiday cards that came in the mail. And I reread all of those too.

Now I’m going to take all of the scraps of paper and notes and cards and package them neatly in some sort of cute container and label it “2013”. Because the vase already has the first piece of paper for 2014 in it. I hope I do this for every year from now until the end of Wonkaternity. (I’ve decided 2014 is going to be a banner year for making up my own words for the wonktionary. Earlier I coined “napportunity”; I intend to seize every napportunity that crosses my path this year!)

I won’t share all the paper scraps with you, because some are too personal and some would bore you and there are really quite a lot, but here are a sampling for the reading.

  • 3/18: The world has the Mondays, but I feel awesome. :)
  • 1/17: I had both blueberries AND grapes on my Rice Chex this morning.
  • 3/6: Awesome snow day! Shoveled like a badass. Made a snow Ruby with Dan. Lots o’ fun!
  • 2/13: I tried something new – tap lessons – and I loved it!
  • May: I went on a fun, relaxing vacation with some of my favorite people AND I was happy to come home. :)
  • 8/10: Mourtney’s b-day at the lake was a super fun day.
  • August: I can afford to have the work done to bat-proof the house. (This was the one where I was trying super hard to see the positive in the boatload of cash I dropped to prevent any more good bat stories for y’all. Oh, and the rabies.)
  • 6/8-9: Super fun weekend in A2 with Klondike and the Laheys. :)
  • First weekend in June: I felt a satisfaction with doing everything I wanted to do with my weekend. And the new purple curtains made me feel happy every time I walked into the living room. I love my house! :)
  • 9/7-8: Such a wonderful weekend in Ann Arbor! All day Saturday bumming around w/Caryn, victory over ND, and ton of fun and excitement at the game! Sunday morning w/Brannie, then loading up on food goodies before coming home. Top down all weekend. Happy heart! J
  • I can take advantage of being self-employed to go for a bike ride in the middle of a Tuesday with my dad. :)
  • 9/23: 1:09 cake  [IT WORKED!!!] (Did I tell you that story??)
  • 7/23: Ruby finally healed from her incision! :)
  • 10/31: A WHOLE BUNCH OF PUMPKINS appeared on my porch! :) Someone stole mine & now I have LOTS! And tap was canceled (kind of) so I’ll be home for Halloweenie!!!! :)  (two happy faces on one piece of paper)
  • I love my green sheets! :)
  • The day I wrote the long missive, I’d been to a funeral then out for lunch with my dad and grandma. One of the highlights was Grandma telling Dad and me that she had used up a pen, and when we asked what kind she said, “A pencil.” Which caused us to laugh and laugh, and if you’ve ever experienced my grandma laughing uncontrollably, you know it’s noteworthy. And also something a restaurant might not appreciate. And lest you be concerned about her answer, it’s a pen that looks like a pencil; she hasn’t lost her mind. ;)
  • And then there was this one, the most important one of. (Dad, I’ll stop talking about it soon, I promise.) dad survivedI draw a sucky heart, but you get the idea. And the little words surrounding it, which you probably can’t read, are the people who made it possible and helped us greatly: Doctors, Nurses, Friends, Family, Rachel, the Huffs.

 

Happy New Year, my friends! I look forward to your help filling my blessings jar!

 

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