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8.29.2013

POLES TO PLAY WITH


There are a few things in life that just don't seem to be needed. Their origin or necessity eludes me. I've never understood their purpose, their place, or practice at some point in history.  Two obvious examples; tether ball and May poles. 

There's a scene at the end of the movie, "Napoleon Dynamite" where Napoleon, finally able to secure a girlfriend, is playing a game of tether ball with her.  His tether moves are overly serious - like it is being played for a medal in the Olympics. The tether ball game absolutely magnifies his geekiness even more.

I don't know if there are actual rules to it or if it is more a smash you in the face and dominate your opponent sort of game.  Either way, I don't really see them on modern playgrounds like I did when I was a kid.  It was the one piece of playground equipment that lay motionless most of the time, even with bustling recess playground traffic. 
 
As a kid I tried my hand at tether ball a handful of times. The trick was to play against someone shorter and not as powerfully strong as you.  That usually guaranteed a win. That was also tough for me since I was not a big, tall or girthy kid. 

Once you started slamming the ball, and kept up the speed and momentum, your opponent did not stand a chance.  It is a sort of global dominance game - kind of like the U.S. tries to be in the world.
 
Hopefully that ridiculous stringed ball circling around a metal pole game (which I don't think really ever caught on big time) has faded from school playgrounds and city parks.  The pole at the park close to my house growing up was so rusty you needed a tetanus shot just to play!
 
I don't personally know what a Maypole is with great certainty. The name denotes some sort of spring tradition of frivolity and dancing if I remember back to elementary school.  Spring does that to me too, but I don't need to dance around a pole holding onto ribbons!  Was this actually a common practice at some point in history!  I would lump Maypole activities in with scrap booking, shopping and getting your nails done - way too girlie kinds of activities for me. 
 
A few theories abound about the symbolism and history of maypoles.  For such a boring thing - a tall wood pole, I feel historians have spent far too much time expounding their theories.  Suffice to say that it is believed to have begun in Europe with a predominately Germanesque influence. 

The pole, typically wood, is said to have connections as well to the pagan reverence for sacred trees.  [Right now it is sounding a lot like an episode of Gilligan's Island!].   Others think that silly pole thing dates back to Roman worship of the god Priapus.  Still others theorize that maypoles were just simply a part of the general rejoicing that winter ended and spring was in bloom.  It was an early form of line dancing possibly [please note the ridiculous sarcasm].
 
In our modern culture, the maypole has morphed boldly to the sexual overture world - a stripper pole [seriously I did not make that up!].  There appears to be a shirt tale relationship between stripper poles and maypoles.  The sexual reference to the maypole is in found John Cleland's novel Fanny Hill,  "...and now, disengag'd from the shirt, I saw, with wonder and surprise, what? not the play-thing of a boy, not the weapon of a man, but a maypole of so enormous a standard, that had proportions been observ'd, it must have belong'd to a young giant."  Riveting bed time reading from 1748.  He was basically a mid-seventeen hundreds smut novelist.  Dubbed the first hard core written porn, it was banned until I believe the 1960's.  A bit more difficult to catch the meaning in old English, but it is there.
 
A penis reference in regards to the size of the maypole appears to be John Cleland's suggestion. It appears most anything can be twisted and misconstrued - even in another century! 

IF I WERE IN BASEBALL I'D BE ON THE DL


I had a friend recently ask where I had been in blog posting for 3.5 weeks.  I gave them a general, vague answer.  After I responded, I regretted not flinging my normal sarcastic answer.  My response to their rhetorical question was, "Urgent shit over important:(  I continue to wrestle that back in its place and fight to keep it there.  Willy nilly events took over my deliberate relentless desire and need to write daily." 
 
To be honest, that urgent shit over important phrase is the brackets that hold those 3.5 weeks of blogging silence.  No doubt it is the brackets for what pulls you as well from the stuff you want to be deliberate at to the stuff that screams for attention sometimes.  The length of time under my belt of living still has not totally erased that tug of war to keep the important on top of the urgent.

When you work a 40 hour work on top of trying to pen 800-1000 words of important crappola daily, or least 4-5 times a week, it doesn't take much of a wave to cause a flood.  It pretty much leaves no built in time for error, emergencies, house projects, moves, or physical struggles.  I fight to not give in to those things as hard as I can, but they swooped in for a time.  I absolutely hate when my very deliberate and relentless ways get side-tracked. 

I have favorite subject matters to write about [if you are a follower of this blog you have picked up readily on them] - boobs, aging, raging about something or another, people's stories, my take on God.  Someone left a comment on my post entitled, WIGS AND BOOB JOBS ...."Boobs - welcome back to the blog!"  Writing about anything with word boob in it gets me lots of hits and reads from confused porn surfers.  I guess I'm a bit of a writing tease in the world of GOOGLE.

Diarrhea has also been a common theme in my writing.  That magical problem of mine reared its head several times during that 3.5 week blog post writing absence.  In fact for several days on two occasions during my recent "sabbatical", as my friend referred to my extended writing silence, I was down for the count.  I hate that piece of my life, but I have no control over it [pun intended].  When it comes into play, there are stretches of days where not much to virtually nothing gets done, writing included.  I suppose I could have shared that in detail with my friend but figured it was pretty graphic, too much detail to explain and I didn't want to waste my words on that. 

We also moved into a house we bought after moving 1800 miles across the country 4 months ago.  The move into this house came after rolling into town on April 28th at the Hampton Inn where we stayed for 2.5 weeks followed by a two month rental stint in a condo until we started major renovations on the house we bought.  All that on top of starting new jobs on May 1st.  I have been running a bit on empty.

Suffice to say, that much activity in that short amount of time whipped my ass!  My physical issues only got exacerbated with my I-will-not-slow-down-despite-what-I-feel, way too much of most everything including; a change in time zones, 3 moves in a short time, a new job, contractors from hell, time table issues and an elevation of almost a mile. 

My horoscope in the paper one day read,  "You have the ability to endure and push past what most people stop at."  Hmmmm...... did they know about my diarrhea and massive digestive issues?  The next day though it read,   "You will have conflict with friends."  Is there a statute of limitations on those horoscopes because, as of today anyway, I have not had conflict with friends.  That is the Gospel isn't it?

After a season I realized I could not continue like that without a stay in the hospital and I  decided it best to come to a screeching halt.  That halt included trying to stop all that was totally unnecessary to survive and regain some stamina.  Unfortunately, I needed the energy I used for writing normally for other things - healing, getting re-centered, and from moving further than from the bathroom to the couch at times.

I have come to realize I am not always the brightest bulb on the planet when it comes to stopping the madness.  Obviously that probably negates some of my IQ points. Oh I hear the warnings, see the signs clearly, I just push way past them much of the time.  My horoscope said so too. 

8.27.2013

NO RHETORICALS ALLOWED


Just once, for an entire day, I am going to will myself to not ask any questions to facilitate conversation with others.  I am taking a question hiatus.  If the conversations that day become short and sweet, so be it.  I'm not going to ask a single blasted question, just for one day.  I wonder how much free time I might create that day if conversations ended quicker without my questions to spur people on to talk?
 
Do I think I could really go through a whole day without conversational questions? Without my curiosity or caring exploding through questions?  Questions are how I learn, how I express care, and how I give others the green light to just let down and be themselves. I'd like to think I could go one day without asking questions of any kind.  But then again, I know certain people who think they can go without McDonald's but their track record clearly shows that special sauce sucks them back time and time again. Today I wanted the monkey off my back.
 
I am struck by how far open the door flings when I ask people questions.  Today in particular I grew weary of hearing people talk, with the exception of a few anyway:)  Right after I asked a question, which led to more talking and another question, I was regretting I had asked to begin with.  That in turn perpetuated me having to listen, talk and continue to engage.  It wasn't just because of the sad information they shared that caused me to shut down, I just didn't have what it took to be as engaged in listening as normal.  My cylinders were not firing at full capacity.
 
I've been so seriously ill at points in my life that the thought of someone gently laying me on a cool white hospital sheet was appealing.  Needed actually.  Today I suppose I just needed quiet.  I surely didn't help myself by continuing to ask everyone I came in contact with tag questions!  What in the world is wrong with me!! Today I didn't want to care as deeply as I usually do.  I wanted a hiatus from peoples stories, their tales, even meaningless drivel.  I guess I was questioned, listened and talked out.

Today I also went to that happy place we all go to in our heads when someone is droning on and on and on.  Before I parked my ass in my mental happy place, I made a mental checklist;  [nod appropriately, say uh-huh and oh occasionally, throw in the random REALLY once in awhile and by all means do let your eyes glaze over or show that you are vacant behind your eyes].  I was there most of the day, in my happy place, silently willing the talkers to stop talking.  




Shhhhhhhhhhh

8.26.2013

AFTER THE FIRST LINE


"It was a dark and stormy night..."  that's how Snoopy always starts his novel.  He assumes that hunched over his typewriter position where inspiration leads him  No bother that he never really gets much further than that. Snoopy is deep in the throws of creating. 
 
I think about that phrase from time to time in the writing sense - it's a great visual to draw a reader in.  Why we are drawn to intrigue, ominous, impending or even shock, I'm not sure. Maybe it's the suspense, the unknown or the fact that darkness is unpredictable. Maybe that's why some women are drawn to bad boys. That or stupidity, not sure which.

Snoopy's quest to get out on paper the story he has inside I can more aptly relate to than probably any other Charles Schultz character.  That is, barring Lucy, who is assertively bossy, a trait I share with her occasionally.  I don't call it bossiness though my kindergarten teacher did, but rather directness.  I'm sure if you asked the sales person at Pier 1 last weekend, they would most definitely agree that I am direct.

When I was a kid growing up in the church we sang a hymn, "We've a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right, a story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and light, a story of peace and light. "  Unfortunately I can hear the music in my head, but you probably can't.  I wasn't a big fan of that particular hymn.  It seemed too marchy, too militant for my loosey goosey ways. Obviously the hymn is in reference to telling the world of Jesus. Whenever I sang that song, I thought of Jesus yes, but I too had a story that I wanted to tell.  I was far more drawn to Snoopy than that particular song.

I am constantly thinking about the stuff in my head and how to get it out on paper in a way that will not offend the universe, cause people to be angry, and yet still protect the innocent.  Like Snoopy, I sit down, slouch over my laptop and pound out thoughts, wondering some days if I will ever get past, "it was a dark and stormy night"

I've thought about people in life that are who they are - those that don't mince words, aren't afraid to wear their stuff for you to see.  Some of that stuff is not comfortable to view, but their openness and approach to transparency of self compels me to love them even more.  They are those folks for whom life might have been a dark and stormy night for seasons, or still is.


I

In discussing this issue with my friend, Big D, I mentioned that I try to tone things down some when I write. I don't write about certain things because I don't want people to be shocked.  She laughed and said she could mostly say that my filter must not be fully working then.  "Are there different levels of shock?" she asked. "You entered that zone long ago! You hold back??  You don't really have that far to go, do you!" she said with her emphysema laugh [she really doesn't have emphysema but appears to when she laughs hard and out of control].  I loved her for letting me fully be me - allowing me to operate there with no condemnation - for sometimes compelling me further.


She was right.  "It was a dark and stormy night..."    

8.22.2013

THE COMMON THREAD IN OUR HUMANITY


Pain is a common denominator for most of humanity.  On some level, in some way, at varying degrees, with fluctuating force, we all experience pain.  Pain is a broad and wide term for the result or aftermath of great loss, deep hurt, massive devastation, grief, undeserved and left field kinds of circumstances.

If you are privy to get to hear people's stories, there is always a common denominator - pain.  It is brushed somewhere in their words, in their tales, in the stories of their pasts.  Sometimes it is brutally harsh pain that, even in the re-telling of their story, they feel it again.  Usually though the pain lessens, or even exits at some point, the mark it left is still there.

I was reminded of that commonality that threads our humanity together today....

People are highly interesting to me.  They are like a walking book and I love to read them.  Sometimes people will ask me, knowing I love music, "So, what kind of music do you like?"  That is always tough to answer because I genuinely love just the combination of notes that create music.  There is value in pretty much every kind of music, yes even rap, because it shows at the very least rhythm which is a big part of all music.  I feel the same with people.

Because I am curious about people, I want to know about their lives.  The only way I can learn something, anything really in life, is to either do it to experience it myself or ask questions to learn about it.  Some kinds of pain I do not wish to learn about by experience but I want to know about them.  I want to know what makes up that person.  Who they are and why they are that way.  What experiences and backgrounds brought them to where they are and who they are at the moment I am asking them questions.

. . . I was struck with her words.... my son killed himself at age 16.  I really did not know her, but she shared that it was her 37th wedding anniversary.  She peered over me to the picture of my daughter and her husband.  We exchanged information regarding number of children.... We have one daughter, but then she corrected herself with... my son killed himself at age 16. 

That is sort of a show stopping statement.  I put together her age, how long she had been married and realized that her son was now gone as many years as he had lived.  Gingerly I asked how you ever get over that, how you survive it, do you ever let loose of it? 

I could palpably feel her heart as she shared her pain with me.  It wasn't fresh pain, but weathered, wrestled with and peace made pain.  She told me about the day it happened, what she felt, the enormity of the pain that wanted to crush her and ultimately their marriage for a season.  She talked about being suffocated with it and how she found a way out of it.  She shared her faith, her struggle and ultimately her climb out of utter darkness.

She pulled out her wallet and handed me a picture of Robert III, or Rob as they called him.  He was strikingly handsome.  At 16 years old he was a teenage hottie.  I told her so.  She smiled and agreed with me.  Her story, her pain connected to me.   Her human pain and agony and loss made us teammates. 

Deep pain, deep loss can make us softer, more aware of most everything.  She had chosen that path with her pain.  It had washed her hard but not left her that way.  My humanity felt akin to her because of her pain.

. . .I reached for the Kleenex box and shoved them toward Mary.  Wiping her eyes she continued her story.... Her first husband had gotten into drugs and got addicted to heroine.  Their kids had been 18 and 21 when his drug problem sky rocketed and he took his own life. 

There it was again - pain in someone's life.  It was a skin colored thread it seemed in all our lives.

Life with an addict had been hard, full of conflict, anger and confusion over where this addiction disease had taken her husband.  It had caused turmoil in their marriage and ultimately massive loss.  Needless and selfish choices caused horrific agony and trauma to a family.

She stopped and commented that sometimes, though 10 years have passed and she is remarried to a wonderful man, the tears bubble out when she talks about it.  Other times she claimed she can talk about it without being drawn back to the pain.

I got that last statement in living color.  Pain is so terrible you would think, with a bit of time elapsed from its initial intensity, we would never want to allow ourselves to be drawn back to the very thing that brought agony.  But in sharing our pain story we help others with the sting of their own pain as well.  That's part of what can help to make our pain not be wasted or endured for nothing.



Jesus understood pain.  He lived it.  He also showed us that pain leaves a scar, but it doesn't have to ground us.  Actually it can give us power we would never have without having had pain.

8.20.2013

I WANT A GOLDEN EGG AND I WANT IT NOW!


I turned 47 the week before last.  Every year, like I did the year before on the same day, I contemplate finishing another year of living.  I evaluate, mull over, delve into the past year a bit mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  One re-occurring theme from year to year is this internal dialogue I have... [47.  How did I get here?  Seriously it seems I stayed in my 20's for far more than a decade. But somehow it seems I turned 40 yesterday and now I am 47.  What have I done with these years?  How will I ever accomplish all I hope to in life if it goes this fast?  How the hell did I get to be 47!]

Truly I believe everyone deserves one day to stop the carnival ride of life, the routines that weigh us down, the monotony of responsibilities and get to just be on the day commemorating our birth.  Life is full of demands, have to's, deadlines and musts.  One day out of the year we need to stop the madness, toss those things aside and do the things that bring us delight.  It's the day when time can sort of stand still.

Some people try to convince themselves that with each passing year birthdays take on less meaning.  They are the same ones who say things like, "It's just another day.  Nothing special."  I want to slug that contingency of pooh pooh heads! 

Life is hard to be deliberate at much of the time.  It can easily sweep us merrily along, sometimes even doing good and meaningful things. Birthdays though are designed for a day of being deliberate.  They are ordained as the day new life began. That shouldn't just be a day like all the other days of the year. I think it should begin anew on that anniversary of our human birth.  Our birthday should refresh us, revive us, make us feel alive!

To be honest, I was not a happy camper on my 47th birthday.  Though not one to need much in terms of "stuff", I had expectations for the day.  Those unmet expectations shot out of me like a cannon by the time I walked into the kitchen after work.  That was my number one unmet expectation - I was used to getting the day off for my birthday.  Call it spoiled, pampered by bosses in my past but, it was an indulgence that I had come to love.

There really wasn't anything I had in mind to occupy my day off from work, had I gotten it.  The only thing I wanted to fill the day with was anything that was not having to do with going to work.  I wanted a day of nobody's requirements of my time but my own.  I wanted to simply do nothing.

If I wanted to run at 8 a.m. instead of 5:30 a.m., then I wanted to do that.  If I wanted to drink 4 cups of coffee on the back patio, then I wanted to do that.  If I wanted to sit in the sun and soak up the Arizona sun, with maybe even a bit of Mardi Gras toplessness, then I wanted to do that.  If I wanted to write a blog post with a non-tired mind and body without trying to do it after work, then I wanted to do that.  I just wanted a day of quiet.  A day NOT at work.

Doug sent me roses at work.  They were beautiful.  He gave me a beautiful card with one page written by him.  It made me cry.  When I got home, I melted down and threw my lunch bag into the closet and sobbed.  It felt like a wasted day to me.  A day I didn't get to think, contemplate, and just be for one day out of the year.  Those blasted unmet expectations are hard to emotionally reconcile.

There was a big part of me that felt selfish for feeling that way and like a spoiled brat for melting down over it all.  I tried to quell it.  I tried to keep it in all day, but it bubbled out like lava and worked its way out of me.  Maybe it was tiredness, unmet expectations of a day I desperately wanted, too much activity in the past 6 months, missing my family and again the realization that life was moving faster than I wanted it to! 

There stood Doug, my favorite lemon cake in hand, a basket of wonderful surprises and his open arms.  I loved him for the sweet things he had done. I loved him for saying that if he controlled the world I would have had the day off.

This year my birthday really was just another day.   That is not my stance on birthdays and what they are designed for.  Since I didn't get to indulge my selfish side on that day, I shouldn't be able to gain another year in age either. 

WIGS AND BOOB JOBS



This is a picture of me and my oldest sister [by four years], pre-pubescent bodies on display, with our mom's wigs on.  We are dressed in underpants and undershirts [those two words make me giggle], high heeled shoes, long beads and toga-ish blankets draped over us. There are so many things about that picture that are funny. The wigs we are sporting though really finish off our look. 

Being a kid in the 70's, wigs were popular.  My mom had several wigs which she seemed to wear more like a hat [an accessory rather than a need for a medical condition or lack of hair].  I never understood that as a kid.  If you wear a wig isn't the point to eventually get people to forget, or not even know it's not your own hair?  But if you wear them like you might a baseball cap on a Saturday morning, but no other day of the week, it's overly obvious.  Isn't that point defeating? 

I've known a few men that, even if they wore their toupee everyday, it was so cheaply made it was like wearing a neon Vegas sign on their head.  There was no discretion.  There was no question of its inauthenticity.  They weren't fooling others even remotely. 

Wig wearers sometimes refuse to alter their wigs with age.  The end result is they have feathered or dark hair way past the normal age limit for such hair styles or colors.  When your skin becomes thin and translucent, it's time to update the wig from a dark one dimensional color to a more natural age-appropriate hue.  The 1970-80's are over so the feathered hair wig really needs to be retired.  Both are a wig wearer dead give-away.

I'm not sure exactly what the whole purpose of a wig really is; to give confidence to the wearer and hide their lack, or to trick the viewers into thinking it's real.

Walking through a store recently two large surgically enhanced breasts passed by me.  Boob jobs are typically very obvious.  This one in particular fell into that category.  Just like wigs, the person who chooses a breast enhancement probably does so for a myriad of reasons [let's discount those that are necessary due to breast cancer, etc...]

Most of us do most of the things we do to ourselves physically and outwardly because we want to feel better about ourselves.  I don't discount the power of loving yourself, feeling good about you and doing the things that make you operate more fully and confidently.  I just want to be a bit more discreet about it than the woman's breasts who passed by me in Target recently. 

Maybe women don't care if others know they have enhanced their breasts.  Maybe some women in particular like others to know and see.  It's a visual show and tell!

I don't really like to draw attention to myself.  When I think about wigs and boob jobs they seem like overly obvious things  Everyone can easily tell you don't have hair or the size of boobs you liked. 

On various levels we all do things that are pretty obvious to others; whitening our teeth, getting Botox, indoor tanning, eating too much, eating too little, drinking too much, etc.

I have drawer of Crest white strips and a few bottles of indoor tanning lotion.