Monday, December 26, 2011

Perfect and Embarrassing

Yesterday, Christmas, was perfect. Things I hold near and dear to my heart were missing. Frivolous things like a large flat screen TV or car that runs were also missing under the tree. Well, okay, kind of difficult to fit a car under the tree anyway, so I'll let that one pass. It was perfect nonetheless.
Twenty years ago, perfect would have been defined for yesterday as a large home with 3 or 4 fresh faced children in matching red velvet dresses and dapper sweaters with curly hair and ribbons. It was also defined as a large house with a grand entrance and garlands of evergreen trailing down a stately staircase. It meant a large family gathering with twinkling crystal and a china pattern I'd picked out for my wedding.
Not one of those definitions of perfection have come to pass. And yet, yesterday was indeed perfect. Not everything went smoothly, I even had a bit of a tummy ache. My step dad sometimes says things that are hurtful or just plain obnoxious. But I love him. I didn't get to see my niece and nephew, and I missed them immensely. And, here's the really terrible awful confession that I argued with myself about sharing. I ran out of gas. On Christmas day. I run out of gas all the time. It is my one failing. If someone ever wants to show me love, fill up my gas tank; physically, take my car to the station and fill her up, and I will feel loved beyond measure. I don't need diamonds or a Mercedes. I need someone to pump my gas.  I did something I never do yesterday. I started my car, and then got distracted. I came into the house, stared into space, scratched my kitties, searched for my phone....ran out of gas. And, to top it off, was in denial. My car is on her last legs. She's been good to me. But she's tired. So, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that she threw in the towel. So, I called Mom in a panic. Meanwhile, I found a gas tank on the ranch, crossed my fingers it contained regular 'ol gas, and threw the dice. Ta da. Problem solved and I was off to Calistoga.
Please don't judge me.
So, why was yesterday so perfect? Because it was mine. It was yours too. Did you sense that, know that; it was your day?
There was nothing fancy about yesterday. My mom and step-dad are very modest. They live for their beautiful walking trails, fish ponds and random gardens they've created on their property. Inside is an afterthought, a place to eat and lay their weary heads. Mom prepared simple foods, but she did make my favorite jello. The one with cream cheese and cinnamon red hots melted in the jello. Yum. More than yum, I happen to know she searched high and low for those red hots; they are difficult to find! My step-dad and I bonded over Malcolm in the Middle. I like to see what makes him laugh.
We called my brother and talked to the kids. We took a walk. We exchanged gifts which is basically money hidden amidst bags of almonds or coffee; more practical things,and, always a Christmas ornament. Just to ensure my status as the spinster crazy cat lady, this year's was a cat. Thanks Mom! On that note, one of the girls in the family I work for gave me a gift on her own. It was a packet of cocktail napkins with, yes, cats, and a curled up kitty thing (?) that looks just like my devil cat that wakes their dogs and thereby their whole family at night. I love her to pieces for thinking of me!
We ended the evening watching "The Help". If you have not seen it put it on the list. I was so inspired. My step-dad could not understand why Mom and I would want to cry on Christmas day, or at all ever for that matter; but crying is a beautiful thing. It reveals the fact that I can be moved. And moved I was. Moved enough to not have one single pang of envy for those who have what I want, or think I want. Moved enough to want to do things in this world that have meaning. Moved enough that all I had was gratefulness for yesterday, and for all the things I do have in this life.
I think today is going to be perfect too.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Don't Blink

Two of my girl-friends, Lexi, Zelda and I had an all too familiar and yet still creepy experience the other night. We had decided to hit a brewery after a meeting we'd all attended. (Not AA). We weren't really after drinking or being noticed. We just wanted a glass of cheap champagne and some girl time to debrief.
I'm not calling myself attractive...but I will say, I believe there is something very attractive about women who are genuinely interested in one another and so content to be in each other's company. That's how things were that night. We were very involved in our conversation. And like a moth to a flame....the creeper came creeping in.
We could all see him, out of the corner of our eyes. It reminded me of an episode of Doctor Who. Yes, did I mention I'm a Sci-Fi nerd? I am. Deal with it. There's an episode where stone angel statues have the ability to move and attack, as long as no one is looking at them. I wish I'd remembered that; as long as someone was staring at them, they had to act like a statue. If only I could have just stared the creeper down into a statue. We tried so hard not to make eye contact, it must have given him the strength to intrude on our conversation.
And, it was one of those awkward intrusions. He used big words completely incoherently, and claimed he wanted to know what we were talking about because it sounded like some (insert nonsense here). We suspected there was more than alcohol involved with this yahoo, as the tell tell residue remained around his nose. We walked the tight-rope of courtesy: enough acknowledgement to not be rude, and yet nothing inviting in our manner. And then he did it. He who barged into our conversation like a drunk toddler tried to turn it around and make us feel badly that we didn't want to stop and invite the powder nosed bull into our conversation.
And, here's where I'm going to get all psychological. He knew he was wrong. From his first creeping step in our direction, he knew the odds were not in his favor. I'm sure alcohol made him roll the dice. Prior to that evening, we had just discussed how people like to turn it around. They know they are in the wrong, but instead of just gracefully acknowledging the wrong, they twist it into the other person's fault. And one can remark on his bravery in trying to meet women. I'm not interested in that right now. What I am interested in is how generous we were in trying to let him off gently, and how much of a buffoon he turned into, well, continued to be I should say, since we weren't interested in inviting him into the conversation.
I am interested in this because I want to have integrity. I am pointing the finger here at me. (and him, certainly him.) When I know I am doing something wrong, (which is rare I tell ya, super rare), I want to look at myself and just stop it. If I could stare myself down into a stone statue in those instances, that would be great. If I look back over times I feel like an idiot, I can trace my own creeping steps toward chaos. Catching ourselves at the first step is big. It could save so much drama. Because, I think when our intentions are pure, we don't need to blame others or be offended or cause offense. Sure, creepers will still creep around, but we need only thank them for taking the time to creep by and send them on their way without a second thought.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy, Merry, Feliz, Joyeaux

I've been seeing a lot of commentary about the Christmas/holiday choice in words dilemma some people experience.  I know I used to send out Christmas cards with the baby Jesus on them to Jewish or Atheist friends without a second thought. Then I did one of those huge intakes of breath one day when I realized what an awful, unfeeling, terrible monster I am. Then I took a chill pill. Or several....because maybe I'm too relaxed now.
You see, I don't care. If something basically harmless that gives me joy gets your panties in a wad, I don't care. They're your panties. If someone is going to judge me because I took the time to send a card, and it didn't have their politically/spiritually approved jargon on it, then I'd say they should maybe find an actual cause, like child abuse or slavery. You know, something really actually terrible.
There is a war with words lately, and I grow weary. The irony is, I love words. I have affinities with words just like a I do with people. There are words that make me smile for no other reason than the way they sound. Like plum. Say it. I know you want to.
I digress.
The war on words is like nickel and dime-ing the English language. (Which I have just totally abused in that statement.) I am craving something of substance to be said. I understand people want to be heard. People who feel marginalized, or see that other groups have been marginalized by the  campus bully are trying to use words to defeat the bully. And, words are much preferred over war. But, didn't I begin this paragraph using the term "war on words"?
Honor me. That is what I ask. And I will do the same for you. I won't do that by catering to your whim. Can you imagine even trying to ferret out what everyone actually believes? "Hi so and so. How are you today? By the way, what are your spiritual beliefs (this year) so I can procure the appropriate greeting/card for you?" Kind of a cumbersome idea. It reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live sketch when Dukakis was running for president. He tried to identify with every racial group. He, played by Jon Lovitz, ended his speech in about 20 different languages, which was tediously funny.
Can we not have grace with one another? Can we not accept a person's paradigm and know that their intention is not to force something upon us, but just accept the spirit of their words. I celebrate Christmas. It's in my core. I've got my Grandparent's nativity scene, and I don't display it to shove Christianity down anyone's throat; it represents years of family memories to me. But, if you want to spin a dradle with me, I'm down. If you're an atheist and December means annual ski trip, rock on. If you want to do a dance in the woods celebrating the shortest day of the year...I would dance with you but I get too cold too easily. Let's ease up a bit....and maybe go after the real monsters. You know who they are.