Monday, August 22, 2016

Starting Up A Brand New Day

Sleep schedule has been wacky for the last two months. Having the boys here and then not here, too much stress and mental anguish and uncertainty.  Then the floods and delay in school starting, which threw things off even more. I was sleeping an hour here, three hours there. Getting up at 3 in the morning or going to bed at noon. Not a great recipe for normalizing your life.

But today was the day!  Oh, frabjous first day of school!

So last night we did dinner, and then cleaned up and laid everything out for the morning. Nick was getting crabby, so I had him take a bath and threw in some lavender essential oil and eucalyptus epsom salts, telling him it would relax him. Whether it actually worked, or it was just the power of suggestion, he crashed early and did not move until I went to wake him up at 5:30.

Me, I crashed also. I was asleep before 10. Of course, I was also wide awake at 3:15. Instead of chasing sleep, I got up and just started doing shit. Cleaned out the fridge, cleaned the bathrooms, sorted stuff that was laying around and found a home for it. By the time I got the boys up, I was feeling sort of good about things. Which was a novel feeling.

This is a new thing for me -- after 27 years of being 24/7 mom, I'm going to be kind of a parttime mom. It wasn't something I wanted. You'd be shocked at how much I did not want it. But sometimes when someone is determined to fuck up your life, the best thing you can do is to give them exactly what they want. If you find yourself in an endless tug-of-war, just let go of the damned rope.

So I dropped the boys off at school this morning, and I'll pick them up after school on Friday afternoon. And I'll do that every week for the forseeable future. Terrifying. The big house is suddenly much bigger. And quieter. (And cleaner.)

But I'm going to look at this as an opportunity. For all involved. I'll finally get a break, and I can work and write without spending the majority of every day pulled in 12 different directions at once. The boys will learn how to adapt, how to be more self-reliant, how to maneuver without me. Their father will have the chance to be part of their lives again. At the very least, he'll have some idea of what I've done every day for the past 27 years, and how much of it I did without asking for a cookie or a pat on the head. How much of it I made invisible.   Hopefully we'll all learn something, and be better for it.

Of course, I'll be Skyping every night. I'll worry endlessly. (I'm a great worrier. And a bit of a control freak.) Baby steps. Lots and lots of baby steps.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fall, Again

It's almost fall, and this is a good thing. It's been a stupid summer. After the last two stupid years, it's been an incredibly stupid summer, made worse by the fact that things were finally supposed to settle down.

Life was supposed to change. But it didn't. Instead it was a sort of doubling down on some of the most troubling aspects of the unfortunate series of events that began like a horrifying domino cascade in July of 2014. Every time I thought I had gotten past the worst of it, I would realize it was just a lull. Nothing was every fixed permanently. I ended up living with a series of those cartoon filing cabinets, where when you shove one drawer closed, another one pops open and spills shit everywhere, endlessly.


But you know what, that's sort of the way life is. You fight for your peace. It's a mistake to think that you get to finish things.  I mean, sometimes you do get to finish things, but assuming that is the natural order of things will just lead you to heartache.

So now I find myself looking for another lull. Hopefully a longer one. Hopefully one that becomes more permanent, and hopefully a life where the waves that crash against me are smaller, and I handle them with more grace and steadfastness. When your life is turned upside down so absolutely and completely, it's hard to recalibrate. Part of that is dismay, because you've had to deal with something so utterly horrible that you never imagined it. It's so fucking horrible. It's so fucking unfair. And sometimes it's hard to get past the fact that it is SO. FUCKING. UNFAIR. You just stop in your tracks. You write more lengthy entries in your Book of Grievances. (And we all have a Book of Grievances, even the best of us.) You become flummoxed by simple things, things you might have taken in stride in your old life, the one that's now a smoking ruin behind you.

Some people can't get past it. The fall completely into that darkness. Mental illness. Suicide. They are broken and they don't get better.

Some people adjust to the degree they can. They limp along. They jump from one rock in the river to the next. Some of those jumps are small. Some seem incredibly long. Sometimes the gap between rocks seems so vast that you think you won't make it, but you do.

Some people get stronger. They get better. They incorporate the lessons learned, or at least understand that there are some lessons that can't be learned, and let that shit go. That's the hardest part, in the end, letting that shit go.

My favorite proverb tells me that for every evil under the sun, there is a cure or there is none. If there is one, then find it. If there is none, then never mind it. In other words, let that shit go.

It's a process. It doesn't necessarily have an end, even when you believe with every fiber that it should. And one things that I have realized is that I'm still angry. The events of this summer have clearly defined my anger.  Like a good girl, I've always been taught to reign that anger in. Growing up the way I did -- and living in the adult relationships I've had -- I became someone who placated others. Who swallowed the anger, or boxed it away, or attached a fucking cinderblock to it and sunk it so deep in the waters of my consciousness that it was never supposed to surface again.

But nothing is ever gone for good. So now I'm forced to deal with it some more. To find a better way to deal with it, maybe. I dunno, work in progress. But at least recognizing the degree to which I'm still angry is a start.

I recently moved house.  (And houses are important to me. Maybe the most important thing.) I left a house I had loved, but had become a museum or sorrow. I bought a house, MY HOUSE, that I fell in love with the moment I saw it. I made the mistake of thinking that leaving one house and moving to the next meant that I would leave behind the worst of what was killing me. It didn't, at least not yet.

Because, you see, in sorting out and packing up, I thought I was dealing with all the components of my sorrow, of my anger. I tried to keep what I loved and discard what hurt me. I packed away, gave away, threw out, burned, sold, returned so many things. Every thing. It was hard, it was painful, and sometimes, after cleaning out a closet I would just sit in the middle of the floor and cry and hug my dog and cry some more.

I made the mistake of thinking that getting rid of the things would get rid of the emotions. That removing the tangible evidence of a life destroyed would somehow make me magically whole. That moving away would mean moving on. Don't get me wrong, moving away was the best thing.  Getting out of that house (the museum of sorrow in my head) and getting out of that poisonous town, was necessary and in many way has made my life so, so much better. But it's not quite enough.

So now we come to the last of it. Finally finding a way to deal with what's left, and in doing so, searching for my peace. And so I'm writing again. When you strip away all the things I am and have been (a wife, a lover, a friend, a mother), I'm a writer. That's the essence of me. Words are my house.

And so I am coming home again. I'm angry. I am wounded. I am also joyful. I am determined. I am mapping my new country. This is what saves me.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Random Thoughts -- 7/27

(Programming note -- I'm in a better place.  And no, it's not Happydale. Physically, emotionally, financially.  So maybe not so complainy. Still, well, me. Acerbic? Darkly humorous? I guess that's a kind way of putting it. So more than just random thoughts, it's what I've been up to )

-Woke up with Dickie Bennett hair this morning. I don't know whether that means I slept well or poorly. I had a vivid and confusing dream. Same thing I always dream about, but different. Weird.

- Hermit crabs make surprisingly engaging pets. (Loch and Cate got hermit crabs, Nicky got turtles.  The turtles are way cuter than the hermit crabs, but less fascinating.)

- Going to the store requires putting on a bra. Unfair.

-Speaking of stores, we now have a Walmart Market, or whatever it's called.  Now, I hate Walmart and try to avoid it like the plague, but sometimes it's a necessity. I live in a healthy food desert, and Piggly-Wiggly, for all it's charm and the fact that everyone in the store knows you by name, does not carry a wide variety of healthy foods.  So I was kind of excited, because I thought I would be able to find some things that I NEED, without having to drive to another town. NO. Just the basics, and if not the basics, versions that I don't want. They have Morningstar Grillers, but not the Veggie Burgers, Mushroom Burgers, or Black Bean Burgers.  They have no fizzy water. Not even Dasani. No Mamma Chia (especially not Blackberry Hibiscus.)  And the only Luna Bars they have are Lemon Zest and Chocolate Dipped Coconut.  This is not working for me. Sigh, so it's still a trip to Amite. (Where they have BOXES of Chocolate Peanut Butter Luna Bars, and La Croix fizzy water in grapefruit.).  That makes me sound like a frou-frou food snob. But after the last year, I am on a specific and healthy diet that is carefully balanced. Except if I go out to eat. Then all bets are off....

- HBO GO is pretty awesome.

- If someone keeps showing you who they really are, no matter how horrifying it is, you should believe them.  If you don't, it's your fault, not theirs.

- Along those lines, never try to crash an echo chamber.  If you go outside, stare into the sun, and hit yourself repeatedly in the head with a ballpeen hammer, you'll get the same effect and it will take less of your time.

-Found a great pair of hoof trimmers for the goat. I was not aware that it is markedly harder to trim goat hooves than horse hooves.  Mainly because the goat is like, "No."  And I'm like, "Yes."  And the goat is like, "No. Really."  And I'm like, "Yes, really." And the goat is like, "Then I am going to kick you really hard and run away." And I'm like "Whatever." And then the goat is like, "Don't say I didn't warn you."  Sigh.

-Speaking of the goat, a couple of weeks ago it was raining tremendously hard, really sheeting, with wind. We had built the goat a shelter, but it proved inadequate, because we really hadn't considered sideways rain. GOATS HATE TO GET WET.   So I brought Loki inside, because there was no other option at the moment. The first thing he did was carefully remove everything from my office trashcan, proceed to get his horns stuck in the mesh, and then run around with the trashcan on his head. THIS IS WHY GOATS ARE NOT HOUSE PETS. He then proceeded to eat half the cover of my thesaurus and a bill I hadn't paid yet. (Goats are not like dogs. They can't be shamed. If you yell at them to stop doing something, they don't even glance at you. It's all, "La-la-la-I can't hear you," and an eventual tug-of-war.) Eventually he curled up on the dog bed beneath my desk and went to sleep. (He's no bigger than Bismarck, the lab/pointer mix I unexpectedly inherited.)  We have since built a better, raised shelter, so now he can't be pathetic if it rains.

-Along those lines, it has been brought to my attention that we are sharing our lives with 11 critters now. Some people think that's excessive. But you know what, screw them. When I was a kid we were surrounded by animals. At the ranch we had cattle and horses and sheep, and various and sundry other critters. (My aunt had an attack goose that scared everybody, and I remember learning how to rope with goats. I was still never very good at it.) At home we always had a variety of animals: my horse, cats, dogs, pheasants, quail, rabbits, ducks, and mice, rats, gerbils, fish.  (One year my dad filled the swimming pool with trout. They used to come to the side of the pool if you tapped and would eat out of your hand. When winter came, we had to let them all go in a stream in the mountains, because we were so attached to them that we couldn't bear to eat them.)

So what I'm saying is that being surrounded by other life is good for kids and it's good for adults. It teaches them responsibility, empathy, compassion. It makes them richer people, and expands their knowledge. They learn that pets aren't disposable, that they are other beings to be taken care of, that there are commitments you make that you can't break just because it's more convenient for you . It makes them more aware of the wonders of the world around them. I know my children are better people for it. So, yes, I currently live with four dogs, 2 cats, a goat, two hermit crabs and 2 aquatic turtles. And they enrich all our lives immeasurably.       /gets off soapbox.

-What is the best way to tell someone you're not talking to them without talking to them? Is it just ignoring them? This is a terrible dilemma for someone who always has one more thing to say......

-Had a PET scan.  The doctor looked like Jensen Ackles, only taller, and cuter. Way cuter. Yeah. Which only proves what the kids have said, that somehow I got signed up for Handsome Doctor of the Month club. It's like central casting out there. NOT THAT I AM COMPLAINING.  But, damn. It makes you want to become a hypochondriac. (If you will remember my adventures with Handsome Doctor Who Should Just Take His Shirt Off; Handsome Doctor With Whom I Want to Run Away To Tahiti With; and Handsome Doctor Are You Sure You're Old Enough to Be a Surgeon?) And I just realized I said Doctor Who. It would be much more awesome if my doctor was actually The Doctor (preferably the Ninth, Tenth or Eleventh). And, yeah I'm one of those people who likes the Eleventh Doctor slightly better than the Tenth Doctor, so shut up.

-Have finally come to terms with the fact that I quit smoking and it ain't coming back. It's been long enough now under enough stressful situations (UNDERSTATEMENT) that I'm confident. I have quit for long periods of time often, but whenever stress got too much I would fall off the wagon. I think mostly it was rebellion. It was a "You can't control ME," kind of thing. And I'm just realizing now that there has been A LOT of that in my life. So detaching your motives makes something more controllable. If you understand the patterns, it's easier to get rid of what you want to get rid of. (I do have a Vapor Pen that I can pull out if I get really stressed. But it's so NOT a cigarette that it helps get rid of the familiarity and comfort. And it helps get rid of the Nicotine addiction without freaking out about it. Also, no smell, no ash, which is the biggest plus.) Dr. Sunnydale was very pleased, and stopped giving me the disapproving look he gave me last year.  (not his real name, but damned if he doesn't look like Armin Shimerman, who was principal of Sunnydale High on Buffy. Hence he is not a member of Handsome Doctor of the Month club, but I really like him anyway, even when he gives me the concerned look.) So yeah, my smoking habit is dead as a Norwegian Blue. And I'm finally glad.

-Realized it was time for lunch and there is nothing I want in the house. Not even fizzy water. Dammit, I am not driving to Amite.  It will be overripe bananas and almond milk for the second day in a row.

-Kid coming home from New Mexico soon. Despite him being an angst-ridden, sarcastic, teenage know-it-all, I really miss the little monster. Well, he's not so little, but still.

And this is long enough, and too me-centric. Back soon and it will be all about how much I miss Justified, Hockey, and how fascinating hermit crabs are. Just Kidding. It will be cogent and more fascinating than a hermit crab. Maybe.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Random Thoughts Before May Day

I miss Justified. I mean like a missing limb miss. It's hard to believe I will never see those people again. In the store the other day my phone rang.  I had forgotten that I'd changed Kid #1's ringtone to the Justified theme.  For a minute I thought I would burst into tears. Yes, I am a pathetic fangirl. I feel like running down the road  at the end of Shane, yelling "Come back, Boyd!  Come back!" Sigh.

I think the counter guy at the post office is annoyed with people who come in to buy one stamp.

The Minnesota Wild have the worst fans in the league. (Sorry, Minnesota fans who aren't absolute dicks -- you must be out there somewhere.) You don't cheer when a player from the other teams goes down on the ice with an injury.  You sit there respectfully and hope he's okay, and when he does get taken off the ice, you cheer. There are rules, people!

I have a black hole somewhere on my desk. Things go missing and I never find them again. Most recently it was a bottle of Lorazepam.  Some days the only thing standing me between me and the abyss is a lorazepam.  I try to take them as seldomly as possible, and save them for the big panic attacks, but the last week has been extremely trying. So, hey, gremlins or space men or whoever or whatever keeps hiding things, BRING THEM BACK. (I heard if you stand in the room where a thing is lost and say that loudly and sternly, you'll quickly find the object. And you know what, I did it for a set of keys once, and I walked out of the room and walked back in and found the keys.  Whether it's a psychological cue that helps you remember where something is, or you're actually talking to some inter-dimensional being from a pocket universe, I don't know. I just report the facts.)

Speaking of keys, my key arrangement is huge and unwieldy, the better not to lose. I have an Avalanche lanyard, with a bunch of stuff on it: a Volvo emblem that spins, a pin from Buffy the Vampire slayer, a pewter Avalanche key ring, and three keys.  A key to the Volvo, a key to the house, and a skeleton key that has extreme sentimental value (you don't need the details on that one....).  Anyway, I lose the damned things EVERY SINGLE DAY and spend hours looking for them. That's one of the worst things about my cognizant deficit: never being able to find anything. BAH.

The other bad things about the brain problem are (in no particular order):  not being able to spell anything anymore; sometimes being totally unable to text, because I can't even make the corrections; substituting a word I can't manage with a word that is definitely not the same thing; being unable to park the car -- I'm either too far out, too far in, or not anywhere close to being between the lines.  I apparently currently have no depth perception. Also too many loud noises make me all jangly, I've developed some form of agoraphobia, and I can't listen to anyone talk while I'm thinking, which I used to do with ease. This is not as fun and exciting as it sounds.

Fun Fur and spray adhesive are dangerous in the wrong hands.

It should be illegal to play music in supermarkets. It's like a time bomb. You never know when some song will be played that sends you into emotional distress. And then you can't escape it, because it looks odd to drop everything and run out of the store with your hands over your ears. Thanks, Barry Manilow.

Why is Pokemon still a thing?

Yesterday I listened to a Billy Joel song all the way through. In fact, I turned it up loud and sat in my car in the parking lot and sang it at the top of my lungs. Big step, because Billy Joel, again, has great sentimental value to me.  And sure it was Only the Good Die Young (I'll probably never be able to listen to And So It Goes again, and the whole Stormfront album is probably out of reach), but it was progress.

And I like Billy Joel. And Sting.  And Barry Manilow. And the Barenaked Ladies. And that one song by the Backstreet Boys. So shut up.  (We will not discuss my long-ago tween obsession with the Bay City Rollers. Hey, they were guys with accents wearing kilts. 'Nuff said.)

Have you ever been victim of a drive-by text? It's that thing where you are bopping along, maybe standing in line at the grocery store trying to block out the music wafting down from the hidden speakers, and your text alert goes off.  It's someone hysterically screaming IN ALL CAPS ABOUT SOME INVISIBLE RULE THAT YOU BROKE THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW EXISTED, AND EVEN IF IT DID EXIST YOU DIDN'T BREAK IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.  The worst thing is that you can't even text effectively enough to say "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG NOW?"  without having to make eleventy-billion corrections. Clearly I need to hire someone to accomplish my texting, and weed out the crazy before it reaches me.

And this thing that didn't happen was obviously some cog in my Nefarious Master Plan. Apparently I have a Nefarious Master Plan that is so secret I don't even know about it.  So clue me in, will you?  I don't have the time for a Nefarious Master Plan right now, because I am busy working 12 hour days again, providing a normal life for my children after the horrorshow the last year became, trying to deal with the destruction of everything I thought was true and safe,  looking at a mountain of bills, having to fit  an unending stream of doctor and therapy appointments into days that are already so full of other things that they are running off the side of my trusty calendar, AND trying to find the time to write.  Maybe I need a Nefarious Master Plan planner who can take care of the details for me. Maybe I should give up the glamorous and fun life I am now living to become a Nefarious Master Plan planner. Apparently I would be very good at it.

Have you ever looked at someone and immediately thought, "Does your hair look like that intentionally? Or was it some unfortunate industrial accident?"  I would provide an illustration, but that would be impolite.

There should be a rescue league for archaic words. I can't do it all myself. Discomfited. That's a good word you never hear any more. Example: I am discomfited by the current turn of events. Sometimes I wish the house was taller so I could effectively defenestrate myself.

I use the word "apparently" too much.

A DVR is a dangerous thing, especially when it starts filling up with things you just can't bear to watch anymore because it's too upsetting. I have  whole seasons of Castle, Major Crimes, and Mad Men. Yes, I need more therapy.  The thing about PSTD is there are so many fucking triggers everywhere. I had to put all of it in a separate folder that I don't open.

The best thing about the end of the month is that all the bills are paid. The worst thing about the end of the month is that all bills start over again, usually on the first of the month. ("Hello, Mortgage, Health Care Premium, Emergency Loan and Private School Tuition!  I have missed you so much!" she said sarcastically.

Have you ever had so many overdue hospital and specialist bills that you just want to see a giant cage match, the winner of which you will actually be able to pay? In my head I just see a bunch of lower middle management drones whacking each other with briefcases and stabbing each other with sharpened paper clips.

Speaking of lower middle management, did you know it's not the same as being a "top executive"? Strange, but true. Embroidery is a hallmark of crippling insecurity.

Did you ever get an email that you couldn't delete fast enough because it makes you start considering a tri-state killing spree? I just did. There are certain people I would happily forget the existence of if they would just fucking stay out of my line of vision, lest they fall victim to my Nefarious Master Plan.

And speaking of email, the overflowing email box calls. It's like an impossible task that starts over every day. Like Sisiphus or the guy who got his eyes pecked out over and over again. 

I plan to return with thoughts on the end of Justified, the destruction of everything you thought was true and safe, and complaints about various stuff and things.  And maybe the unveiling of my Nefarious Master Plan!

In the meantime, remember: There are fucking rules, people!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Usually Ends Up as another Journey of a Thousand Miles.....

I've hit a rough patch. Everyone I've told about this rough patch says, "Oh, you should write a book!"  Nurses, doctors, people at the bank, clients, all manner of people. It certainly would make a compelling story. But I've been reluctant to start. One reason is because it feels awkward talking about myself. Another reason is because it's painful to relive some things, and painful to relive things that you did that were wrong or careless or hurtful. And sometimes it's hard to come to terms with what the people you love have done, because you still love them and you don't want bad things about them to be true.  So I've been pretty "good," except in the eyes of the people who watch my every move and parse my every utterance to manufacture their own outrage and help themselves feel better about the guilt they may be carrying.

I've pushed it all down, for so long, I've been cooperative and helpful  and bit my tongue and made sacrifices and concessions while getting nothing in return expect lies.  Last night was the final straw, the last kick in the ribs, the insult briskly stirred in with the injury. I'm done with being Ms. Nice Girl, and I'm not ashamed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And names are not being changes to protect the guilty.  Remember, kids, it's not slander or libel is everything you say is true.

I am nobody's whipping girl.  And the minute you come after my children, you are going to end up in a bad way.

Friday, December 19, 2014

It's (Not) A Wonderful Life

I've always loved It's a Wonderful Life. I mean, seriously, like always. Of course I was one of those nerdy kids who loved old movies from the time I could turn on a TV and even at six or seven  -- like the darling lil insomniac I've always been - would stay up all night watching the old black-&-whites on Channel 2 from Denver, where in the good old days they would play classic movies all night long (you could sometimes catch four in a night) until they started up with The Little Rascals or The Abbot and Costello Show about the time the sun came up. Eleanor Powell dancing to Begin the Beguine with Fred Astaire in Broadway Melody of 1940, where it looked like they were flitting across a floor made of stars. (Oh how I wanted to be Eleanor Powell for a time -- or Kim Novak in Bell, Book, and Candle, or Veronica Lake in My Favorite Witch. Yeah, I was a weird kid.) I love Fred Astaire, and I loved Ingrid Bergman. But there were always the big three: Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart. So, given that, there were certain movies that were favorites of mine -- heavy on the screwball, the sophistication, and the schmaltz: The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, Arsenic and Old Lace, and, of course, It's a Wonderful Life.

So, it being the holiday season and all, and this holiday season in particular, that movie has been on my mind.

For anybody who has lived in a cave their whole lives and is scared by moving pictures, this is the plot in a nutshell:

Everyman George Bailey lives in the All-American hamlet of Bedford Falls, where he runs the family savings and loan, having given up his dreams to travel and do what-not because of various things that have happened and he, being the sincere, responsible, Jimmy-Stewart-everyman that he is, has put off everything to take care of whatever needed taking care of. And life happened to George Bailey -- he married and had children and bought a drafty old house that he couldn't pay to fix up, because being selfless tends to keep you from being rich, unlike Old Man Potter, who is the opposite of George Bailey and, being the scurvy spider that Old Man Potter is, hates George Bailey and all the schmaltzy, sweet, idealistic things he stands for.

And so it comes to pass that on Christmas Eve, George Bailey finds himself in crisis -- his life didn't turn out like his dreams, he really doesn't care for his job, his children are in need of constant attention (as children are wont to be), and his wife sometimes snaps at him because she has just as much to deal with as he does. And now he's found that because of a series of mistakes/happenstances, the old building and loan is going to fail. So George sees himself as a failure, and in his despair, goes to throw himself off a bridge because he figures he's worth more dead than alive. George Bailey has had enough.

But, because this is a magical place, this sweet, 1940s hamlet of Bedford Falls, an angel stops George and shows him all the terrible things that would have happened had he not been who he was, had he not been there at all. And by the time Clarence the Angel is done -- and he has quite the job, does old Clarence, because George Bailey has really had quite enough -- George realizes that, indeed, he did have a wonderful life, because he was kind and thoughtful and responsible and had ended up with the things that are the most important: the love of his family and friends and the respect of those around him. And so George Bailey -- praying that it's not too late -- goes home and finds that all the people have rallied around him, because George Bailey didn't realize how much he was loved, and how much he had touched everyone's lives. And he's still in the drafty old house with the decrepit bannister, and he still has a passel of kids that need constant attention, and his boring old wife who is busy with keeping the family running, and he still has his plain old job at the good old building and loan,  which is not fun or glamorous or exciting or any of those things.

And I still cry when George finds Zuzu's petals in his pocket, and when Harry raises a glass to "my brother George Bailey, the richest man in town."  (Just as I still cry when the Grinch hears the Whos down in Whoville singing and his heart grows three sizes, just as I still cry when Linus tells Charlie Brown that "it's not such a bad little tree.") I cry because those things are woven into me, despite my years as a card-carrying cynic -- and I was a pretty good cynic even at age 7-- because, especially in this season of goodwill towards men, and magic, and belief, I believe. I always have. 

And I am crying as I type this, because all those other things that could have happened to George didn't: he didn't throw himself off that bridge, he didn't carry on with Violet, he didn't leave Mary and the kids in that drafty old house and run off to a quiet and uncomplicated shack in Potter's field. And, yes, maybe I'm as heavy-handed as old Frank Capra, but it irks me when people are shallow and facile and selfish, and they pretend they understand what these things mean.

And I get up in the mornings these days, and I try to be George Bailey, even though I have come more than passing close to throwing myself off a bridge into the inky blackness below a few times lately. Because, despite it all, I have had a wonderful life in the important aspects: I have four bright, kind, marvelous children; I have spent the last almost-20 years with a man I adore, who has almost always been George Bailey himself; I have rescued my share of critters and given them their own wonderful lives; I have created things of beauty, or at least honesty; and I have tried my best to be kind and faithful and true and brave.

So this post serves as my Annual Christmas Post -- which has usually been about how fortunate I am.  Because right now my wonderful life is pretty much a smouldering ruin, or at least feels like one, and I am daily fighting the cynic and trying to hang on to my belief.  There are a few Old Man Potters around me, who seem to hate me just because I am not like them, and I do my best to ignore them. They're used to winning, because it's easy to win when you're selfish and thoughtless and shallow. But still....the Whos keep on singing, and Charlie Brown's friends wave their hands and uncover the beauty of the sad, little tree, and somewhere, George Bailey finds Zuzu's petals in his pocket and realizes it's not too late.

So happy season of belief to all my friends and those I love -- may you find your own wonderful life, and even when it's darkest, may there be a light you follow to guide you home.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Embracing My Inner Lorne Malvo

This is a test. This is only a test. If this wasn't a test, it would say something pithy or interesting. Maybe.

Ringing out the old, ringing in the new.