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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Painted Clouds

There's very little I truly LOVE about Florida, but what I do love, I love entirely.

These clouds, for instance. During hurricane season (which is due to start any time now), these kind of cloud scapes are practically a nightly ritual. They are beautiful and awe-inspiring...almost enough to make up for the lack of discernable season changes and perpetual sunlight.

I love these clouds, wholly.

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Insert some clever quip about the rapture here

I'm sure you're all aware: the rapture was supposed to have started today. So far, I've heard no word about a massive earthquake, unlike any seen before, that started in New Zealand. The Jesus freaks down the street are still very much here and, surely, if anyone were slated to go heaven bound, they would be.

I live in Florida, so if I'm doomed to Hell, I'm pretty sure I'm already here (and have been for the last six years). The only indication that the rapture may be here is The Boyfriend™'s sudden urge toward domestication. He's on a cleaning kick at the moment and I'm feeling rather guilty about not helping. But not guilty enough to start helping before I've finished my coffee.

But all this rapture talk has had me thinking a great deal along theological lines. What if my grab bag philosophy (which The Boyfriend™ insists is just confusion, but which I insist is more along the lines of wandering) isn't right. What if that book is right? What if God IS coming back and boy! Is he pissed! Is it too late fir me to repent? Or will God be wise to my eleventh hour about face? What about The Trolls who, through no fault of their own,have not turned their hearts toward Jesus? Is God going to damn the innocents for the sins of their fathers? Further, what about all of the indigenous people, who have never heard the word of God? Are the damned by default?

If you believe Reverand Camping, the answer is yes. (Aside: is it just me or does that Camping dude look an awful lot alike that preacher guy from Poltergiest who told the family "YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE IN THERE!")

Here's my thought on God and the end of the world. Actually, it's a series of thoughts. Semantics...

I don't think God is vengeful. I know the evangelical kooks would like us to believe so, but We're going to have to agree to disagree about that. Personally, I think God has a great sense of humor and is a rather indulgent parent.

...incidentally, I use the word God for conversational ease. I don't believe in a singular heavenly father any more than Christians believe that there's a Goddess figure floating up in the sky.

I think that, as I indulgent as God is, God also makes sure that we live with the consequences of our actions. For conversational ease, we'll call this karma.

Do I believe that the world as we know it is going to end? Yes. Do I believe it's going to end today? No. But there is plenty of scientific and anecdotal evidence that makes it plain that global scale culture (the world we live in) cannot continue to support itself.

We've become greedy, we people. We take too much and give back too little. We want bigger, badder, faster, more, more, more. We've lost sight of compassion and have become complacent and lazy. Zealotry, be it religious or capitalistic in nature, has only served to make us lose sight of our true purposes here. We've devalued thought and learning, and replaced it with sound bites and video games.

I'll be the first to admit that I succumb, more often than not, to laziness and idolatry by way of the television. When I should be painting, I'm tuned in to the latest episode of Swamp People. Should be doing Yoga, but I'm sitting on the front porch, smoking a cigarette. But my greatest sin - and the greatest sin of most of us - is complacency. We adopt a mob mentality about the gimmicks and comfort zone: if everyone else says it's OK, it must be.

But the way we live our lives is broken, and it needs fixing. But not by way of rapturing or bringing people to Jesus. We need to be compassionate. We need to embrace simplicity. We need to return to the mother and honor the gift that is this earth we live on. We need to put down our cell phones and iPads and remote controls and have block parties with our neighbors. We need to plan more family reunions. We need to reach out to that long lost friend and say hi. We need to tell our beloveds that we love them more.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Laundry and other lists (subtitle: don't bother reading this. It makes no sense)

Laundry piles up quickly in my house - even with one troll who insists wearing the same pair of white socks until they're a decided shade of dark brown. Load after load of laundry makes it's way to the garage (where the washer and drier live), very often finding its way back out, though sometimes not.

I'm not good about putting laundry away.

I might've mentioned once that I have a lot of weird food allergies (all poultry, eggs, bananas, avocados, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower). Occasionally, I will convince myself that an allergy is all in my head and attempt to eat something on my allergy list.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to give bananas another whirl, since that particular allergy showed up after my pregnancy with The Monkey, along with a temporary allergy to strawberries. I was amazed that I was able to enjoy a banana with no pain, and so tried it again the next day and the next day. It was a miracle! I was cured.... For about a week. Weekend before last, I ate a banana with my morning breakfast. About 20 minutes later my belly was decidedly NOT happy and five more minutes after that I threw up.

Side note: throwing up when you have gallbladder issues is NOT fun. Hurts like a sonofabitch.

I didn't know if it was the vitamins that I added to my regimen or the banana made me toss up the contents of my digestive tract, so I decided to give a banana another whirl today. Five minutes after I finished my last bite, my tongue started itching. Five minutes after that, my throat got scratchy and ten minutes later, I found myself upchucking in the bathroom at work.

This was weird, because my allergies usually just caused gastrointestinal issues (severe pain), not the itchy, hive response.

So, note to self...

It just occurred to me how absolutely insane it is that I'm blogging about vomiting. Really, does anyone care? Screw it... It's my blog. If you don't want to read about vomit and, potentially, pterodactyls (which I mention only because I can spell that word without the need of spell check), then you should probably mosey on over to another, different blog.

Anyway...

So, this latest incident has underscored the point that, despite the annoyance factor of having to ask, "does this have.... In it? I'm allergic to... " or my friends having to find creative ways to cook for me, I really need to honor the restrictions in my body.

Not for nothing, but weird food allergies are not fun, though they are interesting. Who'd have thought avocado is in every damn thing?

So moving on...

This blog is starting to resemble a Chuck Pahalunik novel(in that I'm just stringing together a bunch of random thoughts completely unrelated to each other. Not I. The way that I think I'm a literary genius better than everyone else, when I'm actually not).

The Boyfriend™ is going to be home soon and while I'm legitimately home sick, I kind of want him to come home to at least partially cleaned house, but I'm feeling lazy...and nostalgic for my home town. I wish upon wish that I was able to be even a fraction of the woman my aunt Deb is, or www.SouleMama.com is. I really want to live those lives. Dammit...I will!

And this blog is a complete waste, but I'm gonna post it anyway.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The blog in which I share some unpopular opinions and some other stuff

I have these friends who recently split up. The separation was unexpected and, to my mind, came out of nowhere. One minute She was here and making tutus for her daughter's birthday, and the next minute she was packing up her worldly possessions to move 3000 miles across the country.

She called me the day she was leaving. She didn't place blame on anyone, but I blamed her. I blamed her for leaching His wallet dry. I blamed her for not considering couples counseling before bailing. I blamed her for promising my nephews that she'd be there and then taking off.

I put on the non-committal "whatever you have to do" voice, and firmly committed to being Team Him.

And He was a mess. He needed all the help and teammates He could get. She wouldn't even take his calls. We were there for Him and I stayed Facebook friends with Her, mostly just to check in on the kids.

Then things started changing. He got weird and his story kept changing. It was hard to tell the difference between truth and fabrication and I got to the point where I simply assumed everything was fabrication. There really seems to be no end to the depth of his weirdness and inappropriate behavior. So I've put some distance between us.

I don't know how to segue into this next part, so...

Among so many of my other flaws, I am an extraordinarily lazy friend. I'm bad about phoning, I'm lackadaisical about answering emails, and deliberately keep my phone on silent, so I don't hear the text message notification. Most of my friends have accepted this about me, as shitty as it is. This is one of the reasons I love Facebook - I can keep up with everyone from a safe, stalkerish distance.

As I mentioned, I kept up with Her through Facebook, mostly to check on the kids. But after getting some perspective about Him, my anger shifted into understanding. I became aware of the factors that drove Her to move away so quickly and fully, and break promises to my nephews. I was filled with sadness at having let our friendship drift so far apart... Long before she actually left... But didn't know how to breach the gulf that I had forged.

This sadness was further underscored when she had reached out to our mutual friends about Him, but hadn't touched base with me. I felt left out, as selfish as that is, but understood why she hadn't sought my counsel, too. But then she did.

And that brings me to the point of this whole blog entry:

She is HAPPY. She is a wholly different person than the one that I first knew, though I should've known that THIS version of her was always present underneath the materialism and selfish facade she wore for so long. She is cognizant and present, accepting of her role in the breakdown of her marriage, which started long before She ever met Him. She is in a place of honesty and peace, not altogether untinged by sadness at the waste she laid in her quest of self re-discovery.

She is a person I am not only proud of, and admire to a degree, but am envious of. She was Brave enough - or scared enough - to say fuck it and trudge forward to seize what would make her happy, despite the consequences. She is in a more honest place, that has little room for living according to other people's dictates.

I'm closer to where she is than I have ever been before, but not close enough, though every day brings me closer. And one day soon, I'll be there with Her in the redwoods.

Inch by inch, row by row

My little kitchen garden has been expanding. What started out as a 3X3 plot is now 6X4 - and I couldn't be happier. 

We have peppers trying their best to come to full fruit and the first 2 green beans ready to pick were delicious. Cantaloupe is flowering and tomatoes are taking over the garden to such a degree that they required transplanting to another part. I can't wait to try the corn! I have hope that it will be as succulent and delicious as the corn I remember, and not the "cattle corn" native to Florida.

Our garden keeps me hopeFULL. It is a reminder of possibility realized, and dreams materialized. If my asbestos thumb can be transformed to create this, I can do anything!

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's 2AM and I'm wide awake

I went to sleep with every intention of staying asleep 'cuz I was, y'know, tired and stuff. But The Boyfriend™ stole my pillow and my brain didn't like that very much, so made me wake up. But I'd had about an hour-and-a-half of sleep, or what some people would call a nap, and now I'm all "yay! Being awake is where it's at!" So here I sit, in my front porch, willing myself to get tired again.

I go through periodic bouts of insomnia - usually before my period (oh, I'm aware that was TMI) - and have learned to feel rested on four or less hours of sleep. But insomnia that wakes you up in the middle of the night is cruel. You feel rested enough to stay awake, but then you get tired about an hour before you need to get up anyway, so you try to sleep, and sleep you do, right through your alarm. When you wake up in a panic, with enough time to have a quick whore's bath OR a Cup of coffee, and you opt for the bath (because, really, stinky pits and swamp ass is NOT OK), you end up becoming the poster child for zombie awareness

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Getting my shit together

The Boyfriend™ posed an interesting question to me last night. He asked me what I want REALLY want to do with my life. My answer was immediate, albeit grandiose: I want to change the world. And I do.

I spent the remainder of the evening trying to figure out how I would even begin to accomplish this. I'm scattered and kind of flaky. I want to try everything immediately and simultaneously. Most people that change the world are hyper focused to the point of obsession and hyper focusing is just not my bag, baby.

Then I remembered that my great-grandmother changed the world. A Fulbright scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, she is now celebrated in Australia. People in the states, who wish to, can now receive a degree in Folklore because of her efforts. She wrote a couple of books. She graduated Suma Cum Laude from NYU in 1934, when few women even went to college, never mind graduated with honors.

I remembered my nana, who went to Harvard where she received her masters degree in education, which she used to teach generations of school children who still honor her to this day.

I remembered my mom who overcame a lot of adversity to start her own business which is, by all accounts, very successful.

These are my models. This is the blood that flows through my veins. These women broke through barriers and wouldn't take no for an answer. So, really. What's holding me back? Not a damn thing!

That old saying, "change starts at home" rings particularly true right now. A LOT of what I want to accomplish starts right here. It starts with my life list. It starts with teaching The Trolls about compassion and making a difference. It starts with filling my home with love and tolerance - for myself and my family. And I've already accomplished much of that, with no small amount of assistance from The Boyfriend™.

The next step is to make sure that I am brave enough to share it all here, in this space and to make sure that I am frank about it all, despite the level of embarrassment I may experience. I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, so I really shouldn't pretend to be.

After that, I need to make sure that I insist on love. Because changing the world requires love. A lot of it. Self love (not to be confused with selfish love), love for your neighbor and love (for the sake of conversation and to eliminate resistance to the idea, we'll call it tolerance) for your enemy.

It's about honoring processes and the ups and downs that come with the journey. It comes from not resisting but going with the flow. It also means that I'm going to have to learn to live with things thatbmake me uncomfortable and learn when it's time to let go of thosenthings that are no longer appropriate for my journey.

And I realize that I sound like a lot of self help gurus out there. I also sound like a whole bunch of other bloggers out there that want to make a difference with their story. My joining my story with theirs, I believe there's a greater chance for success for the world to tranform into a beautiful, loving place.

Cheers to the first steps on this journey.

Namaste

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thoughts on synchronicity

I was supposed to go to South Carolina yesterday, for work. I was looking forward only to having a few hours with which to contemplate my simmering thoughts, but otherwise would've preferred to stay home.

I arrived at Tampa airport on time, made it through security without a hitch, only to get a call (while standing in line for coffee) from work that my flight out was delayed for an hour. Fortunately, Tampa has smoking lounges (I'm aware that it's a filthy habit), and I decided to make the most of my extra hour by playing my favorite game, "People Watching."

My extra hour wait went by and I made a couple sketches of people and, because I wasn't at all happy with the results, put my sketch book away and started contemplating life and what I want to accomplish with this next year of my life (side note: it doesn't matter how old I get, I still think of a year by the school year -- starting in September and ending in June). Noticing the time, I put my journal away and started making preparations for boarding my flight. All of a sudden I felt my backpack vibrating which could only mean that my phone was ringing. I grabbed my phone and answered yet another call from work, "don't get on that plane. The Monkey broke his collar bone."

Freaked out, panicked, frazzled, helpless... All of these emotions flooded over me quickly and furiously. Sure, a broken clavicle isn't life threatening, but my baby was HURT. ANd not just in a skinned knee way, but in a BIG way.

Long story short, and with a HUGE thanks due to The Best Friend ®and The Boyfriend™, The Monkey is fine-ish. He has a broken collar bone and has to spend the next six weeks in a sling, but it could've been worse and fortunately it wasn't.

After my adrenaline rush wore off, I was able to fully appreciate the minor miracle that I experienced. I'm one of those rare Delta passengers that never complains of tardy flights. In fact, my flights with Delta are usually EARLY. There was no inclement weather delaying this flight and no other immediately apparent cause. It was just late. What would otherwise be an annoyance proved a moment of pure synchronicity. If my flight had been on time, I wouldn't have been able to be there for my son. I would've only found out about his collarbone during my layover in Atlanta, and then it would've taken a helluva lot more to get me home.

There are other moments, some bigger, some smaller than this one, that reinstil my belief in synchronicity. My relationships with The Best Friend® and The Boyfriend™ being two good examples. But moments like this never cease to amaze me and fill me with both gratitude and awe. My life can be anything I want it to be, if I'm open and receptive to the signs.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Traveling Part Deux


It seems that I just unpacked my bag & it's time for me to be off again. Heck, I haven't even had time to really process my trip to San Antonio yet.

I'm hoping for a couple of hours of quiet to process some thoughts that have been bubbling, and to grasp hold of what I want my future to bring. Fortunately, flying gives a person that time.

In the mean time...happy trails, everyone.
-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I clicked my heels three times...

And am now safely home. I've spent the better part of the last four hours in my spot, relishing the goodness of home.

It's weird, this traveling thing. just a couple of hours ago I was in San Antonio - a city I have every intention of going back to very soon. And in a couple more days, I'll be in Myrtle Beach.

But home is where my heart is... And my heart is very much wherever The Boyfriend and The Trolls are. The older I get, the less I want to be away, even when being away just reminds me how much I love and am loved.

This paraphrased quote from Rumi is fitting at a time like this: it may be that I need to go away and come back, so I truly know where home is.

San Antonio updates to come soon. ;)