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2.27.2021

Undone


Undone. That word evokes many different thoughts.  Noun, verb, adjective.

My mother was usually a tad undone when I was a kid. With three daughters 18 months apart, a full-time job, a huge garden, canning and freezing all summer at all hours of the night, and responsibilities at church, she ran full boar virtually all the time! Usually that meant she was driving while taking curlers out of her hair, slathering cream on her legs and possibly curling her eyelashes. Being a bit undone was the direct result of that amount of voluminous perpetual motion! She is still THE best mom ever - able to do more stuff and activities than any other human I know. She commonly says to me regarding her undone-ishness, “I washed my hair but that's all the further I got with it!" Usually she looks tinged with just a bit of undone ness. I can relate! it’s a hell of a lot of work to NOT be undone looking! Some days I join her:)

Then there is the word undone in relation to buttons and zippers. It means it was not completed. I have been "undone" in that way by accident many times. I've also witnessed it in others. Those undone moments always cause me to giggle a bit. Who among us hasn't realized their pants were unzipped the better part of a day while at work, school, church, or at some function in public. There's no easy or discreet way to correct the undone under the watching eyes of others. Likewise, to tell the undone person of their clothing error is always a conundrum. 

Something can be undone - it can be unraveled to the point of it not being held together. A knot, a sewing stitch, a fixable mistake of some kind - a reverse so to speak. 

Undone is where a good remodel project must begin - an undoing of the old to make room for the new. That context of the word is my favorite as it hints to healing, restoration, letting go, creating a new path. There is hope in that state of undone. It's lined with whispers of change, making room to create.

We are all in a suspended state of undone as humans. We are not born full of the knowing that comes as a result of journeying life in a constant state of change. In all reality we are not completed until we stand in the presence of God our Creator - the finish cycle. Our undone is done at that moment.

I don't always particularly like things in an undone state. I've driven hard and intensely over the years to crush anything undone. You might not like undone either depending on your personality. Some of us are quite comfortable with undone visibly all around us, it's our happy place. Others, might struggle to quell the insatiable drive to always obliterate undone all around us. 

The thought has parked in me as of late - I will die with things undone. Quite possibly the dishwasher full and not unloaded, a bill needing to be paid, a messy closet, a blog half-written, a life goal not fully materialized, crumbs on the seat of my car, my leaves unraked will remain undone. It's ok I've told myself recently, being undone is part of our humanity. I'm actually finding joy in it, a space to cultivate creativeness, and an avenue to continue to let go of control.

When my moment of death comes, I ask my two sisters to take my menagerie of half-used lipstick tubes, slather on their favorite color in honor of me and salute that my undone is now done. 




2.18.2021

So You Think I Look Like Toni Collete, part 1

Remember the TV show, "Kids Say The Darndest Things", hosted by now fallen from disgrace Bill Cosby in the late 1990's? Which, by the way, was a re-worked modern version from a short from Art Linkletter's radio and television shows from the mid 1940's through the late 1960's. The premise was a question about life posed to a kid and the child's spontaneous response - blatant honest hilarity with no filters! Comedic ironic tragedy spewed from their limited knowledge, myopic scope of experience, and unabashed without-thought-for-etiquette speech.

Some kids grow into an adult version of that, just bigger bodies but with the same filterless-ness. Much of the time I really love those people. A predestined other group of kids transmorph to adulthood being the type of soul that unwittingly and continuously grants those boundary-less-filter-free folk a full backstage pass to approach. Welcome mat out or not, there is an aura that must say "will leave the light on" interpreted by the filter free folks as, "PLEASE DOCK AND UNLOAD".  

I am in the latter group. The first group seems to be sonically tethered to me like a torpedo to its target! I cannot seem to swim free of them most of the time, even though I try to hide my Rudolph nose!


None of us have control over the creation of the core tenants to our personality. At best we only hold the capacity for slight modifications and improvements and occasionally, degradations of its bestness. As well, we are not fully aware of the ethereal way it exudes itself in the cosmos around us. Call it your silent vibe.

Once, after singing for a funeral, someone in the mourning crowd rushed up to me afterward to speak not of grief, nope. They, a perfect stranger to me with only a shared connection to the deceased, just had to tell me they were so distracted when I sang by how much I looked like Shelley Long, the actress from "Cheers". I saw no resemblance when I looked in the mirror. I also wondered how much grief they had if thoughts of Shelley Long flooded their mind DURING a funeral.

Someone else once emphatically told me I looked so much like Kim Novak it was startling. Realizing we do not see ourselves through the same lens as others do, I wondered inwardly if they were blind to my chestly deficits that KEPT me from EVER looking like Kim Novak. I did though desperately hope they meant the young wildly attractive Kim Novak, not the post plastic surgery gone wrong Kim Novak. 

Yet another time, while checking out groceries in Rockford, Illinois with my husband, I felt the bore-a-hole, don't-look-away, continuous watching eyes of a man. It was beyond the blatant way that some men look at a woman thinking they are being discreet. Most men need to take a class on glancing at women without them knowing you are looking! My husband even noticed it. As the man exited his check-out lane he made a straight line to me . . . "Ma'am! You could be the double for Susan Anton!" Now, I am far from a Miss California beauty contest winner [I was never Maple Syrup Queen, Homecoming Queen or even 4-H Queen Court growing up!], or a C-rated actress (think Love Boat episode kind of stuff) who dated Dudley Moore. She is or at least was, gorgeous and 5' 11"! I stand soaking wet 5' 5".  Proportionally, I just don't got the gams! 

Somewhere else at some other strange and inappropriate time, after being watched uncomfortably for a too long extended period of time, a strange man walked up to me in a store. This time I was Toni Collete. My response to him was, "People always say I look like someone." Now, to be honest I had no clue who she was or why he thought I looked like her. When I did look her up I realized she had been in a several movies I loved [The Way, Way Back - Little Miss Sunshine - Knives Out].  She has a bit of an endlessly morphing look - either contemplative simple natural beauty or nearly none at all.  I wondered which version of her he thought I looked like.

My son-in-law used to say I looked like Toni Collete as well. I hope he thinks I resemble the contemplative simple natural beauty Toni Collete and not the other version. I think that mostly because he married my daughter who resembles me and he thinks my daughter is just beautiful. Age though gets us all:(

People say the darndest things to me. Especially those filter-less folk.

Who Said What Normal Is!

My granddaughter asked over FaceTime if I would read her a book, specifically the book, Odd Velvet.  The hardback, slick-covered, former old library book I had long ago picked up at a garage sale is likewise a favorite of mine too!

The main character's name is Velvet. The illustrations, colorful and whimsical, are over exaggerated in proportionality to match the bigness of Velvet's character. Velvet, a new student at school, seems odd to all. 

Odd is a by-product of believing there is a set code to normal. She didn't operate in the same way as others - clothes, food, what she spoke about, how she and her family lived. 

The story follows a fairly predictable, though nuanced new way, of re-telling a principle of importance. NORMAL IS MADE UP! Velvet pays no mind to even noticing that others think she is odd. She is obliviously, confidently content in her skin and thrives in her Velvet world.

I think we all have odd, crazy, peculiar blips in us. I most definitely do and always have!! That alone makes us all odd normal. The key is to be a Velvet - deeply real and undeniably authentic in who we are, what we want, and how we seek to live ourselves out loud. Internal discord in me comes when I violate those three things over and over and then build on the suppression of those things with decisions in creating a life. From my real life experience, it always leads to not fully realizing my whole pukka self and living with underlying regrets.

It is the one big regret I have - to not have been able to be truly authentic from an emerging age, that I didn't fight more for who I knew I was and what I wanted. I do not though, look at my life and discount even my not fully authenticate spaces on my timeline. I love the me I am!   . . . forged now in part from the inauthentic path and choices I made for some years.  

Eventually everyone comes to see Odd Velvet as yes, still odd, but that odd is good and normal should be cast to a pit of no return. Who says what normal is, what typical, average or predictable needs to be?? Conforming to arbitrary normal is not where we greatly flourish.

2.15.2021

Existential Funk, is that a good book title?

I've been ponderously loitering about a book title. A title with some humorous ah-ha irony, a hook teaser, a well written tag purposely intended to sidebar a peruser into stopping to meander inside the cover. 

I can spend hours and hours in a bookstore. There are so many books published that I cannot even begin to sort through them. A good title and artwork on the cover will draw me in immediately. Many a good book probably has been overlooked by me for lack of both.

There are copious notes everywhere  -  in my phone, whirling in my brain, stuffed in a file folder - all with phrases for book titles. I've yet to hit THE one that might embody the mass of shit that has taken up residence on paper and that likewise, rattles in my soul and brain.

Very similar is this willy-nilly intuitive way of seeking a book title to the way I decorate, remodel, read/connect to people, and cook. I feel my way to the know. It might be different than your ways. It is my BEST way to do my BEST of most anything. Since it's not a scientific planned methodical practice, getting to the destination takes some simmer time. 

Some people might write the entire book and then grapple with a title. I have volumes and volumes written in finished form, extraneous thoughts written in blurbs, etc, but my rapid always firing mind needs to bracket my thoughts with a title. It's quite possibly ass backwards technically. This leaves me no doubt why math came hard for me - no interpretation or intuition necessary. I'm not internally corded in that fashion. Just ask Mr. Walters, my high school algebra teacher. 

I recently found a note in my phone that is long enough to be 3 chapters in a book. It would appear I was enlightened out on my runs and walks.  It most definitely needs a title, a rein to order it all.

My title buffet runs the gamment depending on the day and thoughts I find myself stuck in. I have had some very deep and rough periods in my life. But, I have also had some hysterical encounters, situations and observations of things. And I believe there is irony and humor even in tragedy. It's what has kept me sustained! My titles showcase both.

In no particular order, book titles I have accumulated . . . 

My Book of Random Overthinking 

Oprah Laughs Like My Aunt Lois

The Diary of An Overthinker

Playing On The Big Screen, But Without An Audience

The Millimeter Between Chaos and Order

The Undoing

Where's My Renaissance - I'm Not Wearing Chemise Either!

God Lives In A Field

[My] Existential Funk 

The Magnificent Me Monster

The Unraveling

Perfect Never Comes, So Don't Wait

My Last Revival

A Bull Fight With Joy

I Don't Want To Take A Deli Number

The Day I Stopped Contemplating

That Is Quite A Statement

Lower Your Standard

Grief Demands An Answer

Of Jugs and Trunks, an apology on aging

Broken Twigs

You Need An Invite To My Island

The Rantings Of A Menapausal Woman

Everything You Need To Know About Aging But Can't Hear If You're Under 45

When There's No Room For Laughter

Exhaling Under A Blanket

The Chronicles Of Crazy

Letting My Crazy Out

Who Needs The Cinema - an anthology of real life characters

I'm Gonna Die With The Dishwasher Full

My Dingy Has A Hole In It

Who Decides What Normal Is...the same people who say we can't wear white after Labor Day!

How To Make A Shit Sandwich

We Are All Othello

LeaderSHIT [this one my eldest sister and I have been wanting to write for 25+ years]

So You Think I Look Like Toni Collette

Don't Get Out Of The Car

I Hate Socks


I keep thinking, what title would I pick up to read?