Hope is a state of mind…not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good. Vaclav Havel. The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi
So thankful today that I can read and enjoy and sigh with pleasure.
So much goes through on, all around, time is swept away. Pictures of the sunrise, grabbing weeds, swinging lunch, dishes/laundry/household, what is really important is set aside. It seems so selfish as I write just for me. There is no real benefit and I’m sure I don’t really ‘enjoy’ as it sparks every perfectionist bone I possess, and there are so many, exhausting and failing. I am good, stasis might be a word but that would mean I would have to look it up to be precise but now I must make lunch.
Sort of. An utterly delightful gift entered our lives a year or so ago and her name is Clementine. She is a bright, shiny, creative ball of enthusiasm. Every time I am with her, my world is opened.
On the last evening of our trip to Seattle, a troop of us went to a barbecue on 3 Trees bay.
The troop - Chester is hiding!
No words will suffice to describe the beauty of the bay, so I will not even try. Words are a poor substitute for a photo, which is again a poor substitute for the real thing, so we must go; preferably on a perfect evening such as we had with smores.
Clem’s creative juices were flowing and she decreed Robb and I were to be married. Well, who can resist a beach wedding? She christened us Poseidon & Aphrodite and proceeded to create the perfect wedding dress of seaweed, seashells, and driftwood – three of my very favorite things! Could kick myself repeatedly for not snapping a pic of the dress – who doesn’t take a picture of the dress? Emoji for frustration!
Once the dress was ready Clem, proceeded with reading the entire ceremony (how many weddings has this girl witnessed? She did a remarkable job!). Clem served as officiate and bridesmaid, not her first wedding and certainly not her last.
So Robb and I are officially married! Sealed with a Kiss! How cool is that?
I don’t want to die but I will. Perhaps I’m deluding myself but I think I’ve always known that I will die. Sounds strange but I do not have children so I’ve not witnessed another begin to understand this reality. For me it’s similar to swimming, I don’t remember learning to swim but swim I can. Don’t remember learning about death, but its just there.
Strange how varied people’s experiences are. My norm is reading about how people develop, a favorite John Waters quote,
“And for god's sake, don't let me ever hear you say, "I can't read fiction. I only have time for the truth." Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of "literature"? That means fiction, too, stupid”
Thank you Mr. Waters.
In my former life, I spent a great deal of time talking about death. If you meet someone in an ER after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, then you talk about death. Conversing with almost any person wrestling with mental health issues, you talk about the meaning of life and the meaning of death (and sometimes how Pink Floyd songs guide their days – fascinating topic). Mental well-being and contemplating the meaning of life and inevitably death go hand in hand.
In social engagements people stutter when they encounter my unique brand of honesty. Lately I’ve witnessed the lead balloon of death and dying in social discourse. I try not to bring it up – but sometimes mental musings just fly out my mouth. Often I pretend to look around and ask, “Who said that?” but it’s usually just me. Awkward pauses abound in my social interactions.
I need a poll, how often do others think about death and not in a horribly destructive manner but more “I’m going to do die so how should that inform how I live? And how should I prepare for it”. Just wonder if others are adequately prepared. Not like I know the when and the wheres of it but if anything happens to me, my sister will be devastated so I would like to make all the crappy decision stuff go easy for her. And I’m controlling, pretty adamant, about certain issues, like don’t put my in a casket in the ground – on so many levels that freaks me out. And pooh on people saying, I won’t know so why should I care, well I do so there.
So for all of the above, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande is dear to my heart. I want to ‘force’ everyone who is going to die to read it. Particularly anyone rages on about ‘death panels’, anyone who has health insurance or doesn’t, and everyone who has a say in Medicare and insurance, and just everyone. My most sought after, dreamed of super power is to fly but if I could control others I would force them to read. Damn!
John Oliver Last Week Tonight is absolutely brilliant. For multiple reasons, I adore this show. It’s news I can use. The “How is this still a thing” segment is standing ovation worthy. This tag line reverberates in my head when I notice anything that forces me to ask, “How is this still a Thing?” Most of the things I apply this appellation to are far less weighty, like the dude with the flipped collar in Starbucks? Come on how is this still a thing?
Other things that truly incite my ire: single use items, prejudice & using the U.S. military in an imperialistic, resource grabbing, scorched earth manner are too inflammatory to my soul & far too complex for me manage in any way but useless raging.
John Oliver could.
Suggestion box Mr. Oliver, please!
For a John Oliver segment that I absolutely adore, please just click the link – I dare ya!
Just keep swimming.
Beware of fuzzy things munching on the Hibiscus! Brushed by the bush and ouch! What the hell? Looked closer and discovered this cool looking guy (or gal – how can you tell?) was chomping on my Hibiscus bush. I ran to look him up, as I want caterpillars as they lead to butterflies – something I want to encourage – but how do you know what caterpillars turn into butterflies? Not sure so I looked him up and he turns into Lo Moth, eke! It’s a moth. I have limited understanding of moths so of course I kill all these caterpillars – what am I George W? Opps, politics showing. But wait, are moths bad? Butterflies are easy – oh pretty accompanied by zombie gaze – but moths? Moths are yucky right? Experience with moths: cedar repels moths, there is all sorts of things at the Container Store that repels moths & vague memories of moth repellent in my mother’s sweater bins, smelled yucky – Moths = Bad, right? Not so fast as with all things there is a spectrum, variety, some good, some bad, Lo Moths are good, I think, there is probably evidence out there that they are bad but I’ve killed them all anyway so does it matter now? Again the memories of WMD and Afghanistan haunt me, must be that American Sniper movie, maybe killing things that threaten us is in the U.S. genetic code? Knee jerk reaction but as always this maybe wasn’t such a good idea. But I was given a reprieve, after frantically searching for a lone survivor one was found.
Sorry but this whole kill first ask questions later, haunts me, as I think we are better than that. Perhaps it is because I write this on Martin Luther King’s birthday, he was 39 yo when he died, yikes! I’m 50 what the hell am I doing?
Cooking is hard – Have I said that before? I’ll say it again. I think cooking is hard. My litany of ‘hardness’ is long but today I will focus on the pleasing others aspect of cooking. Creating a meal is like creating a margarita – everybody likes it just a little bit different. Blame Burger King – have it your way, my hiney – should be ‘sit down, shut up, eat and be grateful you have food to eat because most people don’t’ – not a great marketing campaign. My friend of a certain age (I’m that age too and believe it to be a fabulous age as what is the alternative?), but my friend Ann, says, ‘don’t you remember when we were kids and were told just to eat what was on our plate?’ I shake my head yes, but I also remember sitting at the dinner table, refusing to eat my green beans regardless of how long I had to sit there AND eventually learned to puke on command if forced. Yep, I puked on command, not to lose weight but to force my parents to give up on the whole veggies thing. It was the 60s, 70s and my mother will admit that she killed those veggies dead – forced to eat boiled the crap out of anything and you will learn to vomit on command too. How did I get here?
Back on message (I went rogue!). Cooking is hard because everybody likes it just a little bit different. To illustrate from a gathering last night. When served asparagus wrapped with prosciutto, the response:
Robb – “Needs more prosciutto”
Christian – “Not done enough”
Zela – “Oh no, done perfectly but prosciutto too salty – is it Italian prosciutto or is it from Detroit?”
Jen – “I’m a pescatarian, I don’t eat prosciutto.” (I firmly believe ‘pescatarian is a made up word)
Erin – “No I think the asparagus is cooked just right” – but she was a new guinea pig they are always kinder.
Oh goodness – sounds like the five bears, just right! Granted whenever I cook for friends, I ask for feedback – how else can I learn? Gloves off let me know so I don’t screw up with people who don’t care about me. Everyone invited to my home table, quickly admits they are grateful that someone preparing food for them BUT imagine if they were at a restaurant where they were paying for this? Or worse yet guests on a yacht offering feedback to the stewardess while the chef stands in the galley?
And by the way, cooking is hard but like all things difficult – completely worth it.
Whenever anything happens, I always want to tell people. I want to ‘share’ what strange verbiage, we are a culture that enjoys gussing up innocuous sounding actions into something with verbiage. We go from tell to share – (how I do digress)
Anyway, I tell people stuff, usually unusual or considered ‘bad’, who wants to share good stuff? Response to good stuff shared - ‘Oh really, yawn, yawn, eye roll, that’s wonderful’ said in that distinct tone of voice which really conveys, ‘boring’. Boring = worst thing ever!
So I usually want to tell ‘bad’ things, lost a tooth, fight with a family member, crazy charter guests etc. Yes, not really bad stuff i.e. loss of a child, horrific medical diagnosis or somebody stole all my money a la Bernie M; these are not present in my life so I must complain about my ‘bad’ stuff. It never goes as planned.
Those around me instantly put my ‘bad’ stuff in perspective:
Me: Waah! – I lost a tooth –
(Fancy word alert!)
Cohort: Well, my friend lost four teeth and they were crammed up into his jaw while he was driving a sailboat in a race & he still won the race! He was spitting bits of tooth for years.
Me: Wow! Really, I guess mine wasn’t so bad.
Me: Waah! – So and so family member was mean to me –
Cohort: Well, my family member refused to accept the $400 gift for Christmas, as they wanted the larger one.
Me: Wow! I guess mine wasn’t so bad.
Me: Waah! – That charter guest treated me like poop (yea right, I held off on the s*#t word – working on it as always)
Cohort: Well, this guest pooped in his bed, wadded it up in the sheets and threw it in the laundry basket – took us all day to discover why the entire vessel smelled of poo.
Me: Wow! I guess mine wasn’t so bad.
You get my drift here. Perhaps some would be offended with this game of ‘I can top that’ but for me, it jolts me back onto the road I enjoy traveling on. My bliss world of “Wow! I guess mine wasn’t so bad.” Perspective realigned – poops happens to everyone and it’s usually worse for everyone else, so get on with it and enjoy life as you have been sparred the really bad poop.
When something punches you in the gut, when your hopes are dashed, when life shocks you, my advice is to take a nap, then send an email to all your friends – just the good ones who’ve loved you in all your craziness, who will listen, not judge, and will send their love in writing as talking is too hard when trying to just breathe.
It used to be that a written cry for help would take days, months, perhaps never to reach the intended but now in a click I can reach the ones I love and who love me. Gosh, I love the Internet.
But best of all, I love that I have those who stand by me through thick and thin, hell and high water, sickness and health – there is no greater treasure!
The strangeness of being. Why are we here? Being seems a very bizarre & fragile sort of thing. Reading and education offer various opinion options for which I acknowledge the possible but the unknown remains. Wispy clouds of possibility too numerous. Certainty is temporal and circumstantial. Allow mystery and gentleness be the guide. Here we are, so now what?
Who gets to live? It makes no sense. Life makes no sense; it never has, although industries are legion to convince us otherwise. Attending seminary, allowed me to contemplate the mystery of existence and how others through history have struggled with the universal questions. I imagine it is the quest of the philosopher to ponder the unknowns of humanity, as they are myriad. One I contemplate today is the vexing mystery of who gets to live. It reminds me that while I move through today, I will ask for courage to love better and be kind as life can be very very hard.