Category Archives: The Variety Show

Keep Your Popcorn Kisses to Yourself

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This mustard is now plowed under. It’s such a short but gorgeous season, the mustard fields in Sonoma County.

This is only Tuesday but it’s already shaping up to be a brutal work week. The company I work for is moving locations from a private garage to a bona-fide commercial builing. This is a really good thing, actually. It’s pretty creepy working in the garage of someone’s home, crammed in like illegal sardines. However, this means packing up the place. We’re not shutting down the company website so orders will come in all week and we’ll just be desperately trying to unpack and set up while customers build up heads of angry steam and it will be us peons who get blamed for whatever doesn’t get done in an impossible situation.

The incredible thing about human beings is their stalwart belief that if you give other human beings money of any kind you have the right to expect them to become magical benders of time and space – expected to turn acrid sweat into expensive wine with a large market share.

I spent all weekend trying to set up my new commercial website for Winters Apothecary. It is not a labor of love (in case anyone is hoping to hear a romantic spin on starting a small business). I am doing it with the full expectation that I will crank out a living from this gig. I’m taking all the steps necessary and trying not to be overwhelmed nor destroyed by self-doubt. I make great potions and remedies, all I have to do is find enough customers to make the whole thing thrive. Enough business will mean quitting my day job and sustaining my family while still having time and energy to write.

I’m concentrating on little good things these days to get me through the crummy days, the inertial that overtakes me in the afternoons and evenings.

The yellow mustard fields. The first rose to bloom in my garden (Abraham D’Arby). The first California poppy to open in my garden. The mandarin blossoms. The sound of mourning doves in the morning. The leaves of my potted fig unfurling tentatively like infant hands. Fruit trees in blossom. Max playing with the foster cat, Jax. A perfectly formed pancake.

Last thought before I go off to the day-job trenches: I read an excerpt of a YA book on twitter that was the description of a kiss between two teens. I think it was supposed to be “sweet” and “romantic” but it describe a boy as tasting like popcorn an cologne and maybe face wash? NO. I don’t know what adults pine for their teen years of bad kisses with young boys, but I worry about you. I really do. Even when I was a teen I would have been grossed out by a kiss tasting like popcorn. Ugh.

So maybe if you write YA fiction with a romance as part of your story, bear in mind that some nostalgia is just icky. Even for your target age group.

Am I the only person in the world who found the groping and newness of teen make-outs unsatisfying and unromantic?  In my own experience sex didn’t get good until the 20’s when everyone’s had a little more experience and matured to the point where neither partner smells like bubblegum or popcorn. Kisses aren’t good until it’s backed up by some living and some maturity.

It does occur to me that since 99% of the population has a bigger sex drive than I do, they might not particularly care about quality as long as long as there’s lots of it.

Anyway, keep your sloppy snack-tasting adolescent kissing between the covers of your book when trying to appeal to an adult crowd.*

*Twitter.

 

If I Was a Bird

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This is my official salute to Leonard Nimoy, off on his new adventure as ashes or gasses or maybe worm food.

I can’t post selfies without hearing the voice of my ex-nemesis accusing me of being narcissistic. My psyche collects bits of conversations and voices like the sea collects flotsam and jetsam.

 Yesterday afternoon a very heavy fire extinguisher fell on a coworker’s foot and crushed at least a couple of toes sending her to the ER. One hour later I get a text from my mom telling me she’s in the same ER with a possible heart attack that turned out to be 3 broken ribs that were making it painful and difficult for her to breathe.

Wanna know my feelings about Monday?

Good news about work: in about two weeks we will no longer be working in a residential garage. Wanna know what I think about working in someone’s garage that isn’t my own?

I just said I’d foster an adult cat for a couple of weeks. One that’s come from a cat colony. It’s harder for me to put myself out for humans than it is for animals. I suppose I’ve found my work as a cat foster parent. I do wonder if I can get involved with working to rehabilitate injured wild birds. I really love birds.

If I was a bird I’d probably be a pterodactyl or a wild turkey. Yep, not a delicate sweet hummingbird. Not an elegant beautiful pigeon*. Not a cool righteous crow. I’d be a scary giant flying dinosaur, or a really wacky weird turkey. Or a chicken.

I’m year of the rooster in Chinese astrology, so that all makes sense.

This just reminded me how everyone wants to discover they were royalty or someone really important in a past life and I’m all “Yeah, peasant here. I’m sure I was a mud-hut blister-covered peasant”. You wanna know what’s great about that? Peasants are the people who’ve kept the world running from the beginning. They made everyone’s wine, they built roads, they dug wells, they plowed the fields, they buried the bodies. Royalty and nobles do very little that’s actually worthy or noble.

The same is true today. So yeah, being a peasant in a past life is cool by me. Also, my ancestors were farmers, fur trappers, and wine makers (the ones I actually know about). Plus a poet. Plus some really epically poor folk living in the Appalachian mountains doing a lot of surviving, I guess.

*SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU PIGEON-HATERS. THERE ARE PIGEONS WITH WAR MEDALS YOU BAT-TURDS!

Say This While You Sneeze

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This is Forellenschluss. (That sounds like the name of an avante guard movie) I ate this very head of lettuce for dinner the night before last and while I admit that when grown in Oregon it is a little sweeter, it was delicious! This is my all-time favorite lettuce variety.

I just now heard the news that Leonard Nimoy died this morning. That’s one dead person who’s absolutely got to feel all the love sending him off to the next adventure! Like so many others, I loved him and I’m crushed to hear he’s left us earthlings to our own devices.

My toe has neither fallen off nor stopped hurting. I believe the world owes me gratitude for not posting pictures of it.

In my dream one friend set another friend on fire. I had to save the one from the other all while keeping a toddler from accidental death. There was definitely something fiendish about the toddler, something more fiendish than usual. Toddlers are bitches.

I just put make-up on and took a bunch of selfies trying to get just the right one to salute Nimoy and I dropped my camera on a toe on the same foot as the other toe. Might have broken my camera too. Oh well. Worth it.

My coffee has grown cold. I’m playing “Sail” by AWOL Nation loud because it’s the kind of song that needs to be played loud. I also need to play a lot more music loud in general. It always feels so good to get music all up in your veins.

Holding my accordion to take a few pics of myself with it for a friend made me realize the shocking truth – it has become strange to me and my fingers can’t remember what to do.

I just realized I did my “Live Long and Prosper” salute, I did it with my thumb closed. Dammit. Can’t do anything right sometimes. I just re-did it. I can’t have Nimoy thinking I don’t know the proper way to send him off to wherever.

It’s time for me to work on my manuscript for a little while. Then I’ve got to make some notes in my business binder. Then I have to finish sewing a market tote and send it out.

So I will leave you with this: when I was a kid I used to make phasers and protective eye gear out of cardboard, pens, and pieces of plastic packaging and then pretended to be part of Star Trek running through the shrubs and underneath the fig tree on the side of the house. I can’t remember if I played Star Trek with my brother or by myself. Happy memory.

Getting Clarity on Goals

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I’ve made some minor decisions and adjusted my business plan for my apothecary business and it makes me feel loads better to get some clarity.

First of all, I’m not going to be writing on Stitch and Boots anymore. All my gardening and food posts are going to be here from now on. My whole life will be here on Better Than Bullets just like my whole life used to be on Dustpan Alley. Stitch will still be there as an archive and I might still put recipes on it from time to time because I have the plug in for that on Stitch and don’t feel like adding it here. I’ll be turning off comments so I don’t have to worry about missing that.

Second of all, I will be starting a commercial website for Winters Apothecary. That’s part of why I want to put all my writing in one place again. I need to keep things simple. The Winters Apothecary site will just be my store, not a blog. It will have some writing on it as is appropriate for the store but it won’t be a personal journal of my urban homesteading. All of that will be right here. Winters Apothecary will have my books (see how hopeful I am about my writing career?) and my apothecary goods on it.

I don’t think there’s a “Third of all”. Oh! Well, my Etsy shop name will change to “Winters Apothecary” too. I guess that’s a worthy “third thing”.

Over the years I’ve done this a lot. Changing focus, starting new blogs, new Etsy store names, splitting my interests out. I’ve learned a lot, experimented a lot, and had a lot of fun doing it all. I do feel like it was all to good purpose. I wish Dustpan Alley (the blog) was still out there as an archive. For those who don’t know, we let the domain name lapse and someone bought it so my blog disappeared. We think we can get the content printed for personal archiving use but it will never be available for others and I’m a little sad about that. Dustpan Alley was the very beginning of my blogging online life.

I’ve also come to realize that I have to take it easy with this whole business building thing. It takes time. I has to take time. I’m always so impatient. Building something worthy isn’t a fast endeavor. Coming up with and perfecting labels, logos, recipes, and packaging all takes time. Finding the right suppliers and writing good copy. All of it takes time. Building a store and finding ways to induce people to come and check it out takes a whole lot of time. I need to keep reminding myself of that.

Here’s what I want:

Write novels that people buy and read.

Make remedies that people buy and use with a business thriving enough to support my novel-writing but not so thriving I have no time to write.

Still have time to garden, make quilts, preserve food, make fun of everything.

That right there is what I want my life to BE.

Everything I’ve been doing in the past 10 years has fueled me with the expertise, the experience, and the network of people I need by my side to make this happen. Running a brick-and-mortar retail store gave me loads of experience running a business and it WAS growing steadily, though slowly. That’s how it happens. We got out because we didn’t like the store being our whole life. But we were doing it right. I must also point out that I realized one of my long-time fantasies – to have a retail shop. Not everyone takes the opportunity even when it’s in front of them.

That was pretty damn cool.

Getting clarity feels so good.

I have to go to my day-job now. At least today is Thursday which means I have the next three days off.

So Far This Week (the view from Wednesday)

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I miss the rain so much. Come back! Come back to me!

So far this week:

My boss made one of my coworker’s cry.

The toe I didn’t cut off seems not to be made of human flesh.

Humans are gross but also fascinating animals.

I have left Facebook for a while because, PEOPLE.

Raccoons are adorable even if they are fierce and enrage my dog. I wish I could have one as a pet.

I also really strongly want a pig.

On Sunday I made actual progress on my Bad Romance manuscript and it felt so damn good! I haven’t written since, due to the draining day job, but I still feel so happy to have made some progress.

I’ve finished watching all 12 seasons of Murder She Wrote and now have nothing to watch to drain my brain of all its aggressive growling.

I also want a hedgehog.

The tiny baby deadly poisonous snake that bit its person in my nightmare last night actually looked like a tiny baby fish. And then it died.

I’ve been getting more juvenile with my mental insults at people.

I love birds. I love birds so very very much.

I don’t know why, but I think my need to get to know (and hang around) horses is somehow important for my personal growth. I’ve been fantasizing about taking a Greyhound to go visit a friend of mine that I’ve never met in person so I can throw some stitches (she sews professionally) and watch her ride her horses and maybe learn to groom them. She has no idea I’m dreaming of doing this.

In spite of how I sound lately, I truly am fighting to hang onto what vestiges of love I feel for humankind. If I didn’t care and wasn’t trying I wouldn’t be on my news fast and I wouldn’t have shut down my fb account. Humans are capable of good things, they just don’t prefer nurturing that side of themselves. I want to nurture that side of myself.

I can’t find a Jardin de Bagatelle rose at any nursery. This means I need to take a cutting from my friend Sharon and start it from that.

I don’t have enough roses in  my garden/life.

I can never get enough roses.

Bottleneck

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I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage in 2 1/2 weeks. I’ve been super grouchy and prickly. I haven’t wanted to be around any humans. Yesterday was a particularly thorny day. Got my feelings hurt on Facebook by a group of people that brought me to tears. I try to wear a thick skin when skating around on social media but sometimes thoughtless spears and careless conversations stab through the softer bits. Not drinking alcohol means a whole layer of protection is missing.

I’m still on a news fast. I’ve been on a news fast for almost 2 months. There’s no way I can let myself go back to reading the news while I’m not drinking. I can’t handle it. I see the headlines so I know what everyone’s getting mental wedgies over but I have clicked on no news links and watched no news programs. I miss The Daily Show a lot. The day I found out Jon Stewart is leaving the show I felt so betrayed and depressed. When the only sane voice in news gives up on us all – it’s pretty much OVER. I realize that someone else will take his place. I also realize that his team will still be there writing and producing a good show, but without him…I can’t even bear to think about it right now.

I have spent a lot of time on my couch under my favorite blanket watching Murder She Wrote. Most days that’s all I can do after I come home from work and take care of Max and do a few dishes. My days off I try to get work done on my apothecary business. But to be honest, I’m just tired all the time.

I know I’m not going to be like this all the time. I know this fog will lift. I know I’ll move forward. I know I’ll get some energy back. So I guess I’m just in a holding pattern until I can dislodge whatever has been blocking all my words and shake them loose. Every morning before work I open Scrivener and I try to get a few words out. Some mornings it’s like shoving my head into a plastic bag, other mornings I squeeze out a couple hundred words and it feels great. I try not to focus on all those times I wrote 5,000 words in a day.

I’ve found solace in quilting some evenings and have almost finished the quilt my friend Pam sent me over 6 years ago. I’ve also been finding some peace in my front garden. I don’t like my back yard. That’s where the dogs poop and we don’t keep up with scooping it up. It’s over-run with bamboo and oak. But the front garden is all mine. I can sit on the porch to enjoy it. I can do little things to it, plant just a couple of flowers, weed one bucketful, and it makes a big difference because the front is so small.

I’m excited about making more potions. I’m excited about learning to make soap which is the next skill I want to add to my arsenal. I still love living in the house we live in. I’m still incredibly happy to be in Santa Rosa. I love this place. I’m excited that Max is taller than me* and his shadow mustache is growing more distinct. I’m enjoying the last kisses on those baby-soft cheeks of his because they’re going to be rougher soon. I’ve let him mature at his own pace and it’s paying off.

Five years ago I worried so much about his eating issues and now he loves trying new foods and though he still doesn’t like much produce for its own sake, he ate fried plantains not long ago, ate coleslaw on a pulled pork slider, and eats avocado (and sometimes tomato) on hamburgers. He’s become a gourmand just as I predicted he would someday be.

My mom is doing really well. She gets stronger all the time even though she still feels tired a lot. I’m hoping this year will be surgery free for her.

I guess I’m giving all the updates today.

I’m going to pour another cup of coffee and chisel a few more words out of my brain into one of my manuscripts. Later I will be heading to the library to renew my card and find history books on San Francisco in the 1870’s if they have any, and costumes from the same period. I also might look up a book or two on typhoid for fun.

I hope you all have a peaceful day!

*He thinks it bothers me that he got taller than me so don’t break it to him that I enjoy seeing him grow taller.

My Place In Everything is Small, but Absolute

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My step sister Stephanie took this picture of me and my brother Zeke and it’s one of my favorites of all time. That’s our dad in the background.

I have just turned 45 years old. I may not know that much, but I have a lot of thoughts about what I DO know:

People who are outwardly weird and unwholesome haven’t got as much to gain by hiding their darkness as outwardly wholesome people do. People intent on shining a light on their own wholesomeness nearly always have a dismembered body in a freezer in the basement.

My place in everything is small but absolute.

Even so, my hope that humans will delight and surprise me rises fresh every single morning no matter how hard I’ve sworn the night before that we should be lit on fire in a magnificent purifying funereal pyre.

Humans are highest on the food chain but also highest on the virus chain. We’re definitely not “ALL THAT”

My opinion of humans as a species has never been lower than it is today.

Balance in all things would be my religion if I had to claim one. So if I want to find enlightenment I must try to achieve balance. This presents many challenges to a person of exuberant opinion who shrinks inwardly at confrontation in spite of seeing the truth and the heart of things excruciatingly clearly and knowing my place in everything.

Your place in everything is small but absolute too.

Everything that happens was meant to happen or it wouldn’t have happened. I’m not saying there’s necessarily reasons for everything, just that if you think there’s such a thing as intention in the universe or God, AT ALL, then you can’t simultaneously believe that someone “wasn’t meant to die” or that someone “shouldn’t have struggled the way they did”. What you really mean is that you’re super fucking sad that something happened and you don’t want to accept the reality.

Swearing is a brilliant pressure valve. I will evolve my swearing as I age to take advantage of the most cutting edge way of blunting my rage and having a good time with it. I will also periodically plumb language history to dig up and use ridiculous ancient expressions of rage and coarseness.

The least lovable human trait is bigotry. The most lovable human trait is non-violent expressions of protest to stand up for what is honorable and empathetic.

WRONG. The most lovable human trait is love itself.

You are me and I am you. We are all of us inextricably linked together via mitochondrial DNA. Get the fuck over it already.

I can see worms in the hearts of humans, and where there are worms there is rot. I would like strew sweet herbs across us all to dry out the rot and heal the wound.

I am a person forged of wild contradictions of spirit. I believe in peace and nonviolence with all of my skin and bones yet I also see myself as a warrior.

The passion and rawness with which I might describe my wishes and feelings is not always the same force that dictates my actions. Give more weight to my actions than my words.

I’ve met people who act as flashlights on the darkest nights, though they rarely know it. People whose smile alone can make a room incandescent with hope and love, though they rarely know it because they aren’t smiling for themselves but for YOU. They’re smiling because they see your potential straight through your skin, right through your heart.

That’s the person I want to be, the one lighting the way through the dark for others.

I might be too soggy to provide fire for the shivering but I’d like to think I might have a warm enough blanket to wrap them in.

That is all.

Peace, my friends.

But more than that, LOVE.

The Importance Of Skin

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This is one part of my fashion and beauty inspiration doors. The more diversity of skin the magazines include, the more you will see on my boards. I see beauty in all shades of skin. Missing: Asian models are the least represented in the magazines within my reach. I will need to get actual Chinese and Japanese fashion mags to see more Asian beauty!

I have been thinking a lot about skin in the last few days.

A twitter friend, Em Davey (@KromBoomEm), tweeted about seeing skin-lightening products all over the world but was particularly surprised to see them in Hawaii. My first thought was “Why would anyone want to lighten their skin?” and the next thought was the racist angle concerning white standards of beauty. But immediately following that I thought about the millions of white skinned women who spend tons of time and sometimes tons of money trying to make their skin darker through tanning. It was impossible to express all this without sounding either dismissive, racist, or annoyingly simplistic.

But for me, it really is simple: I think everyone should embrace the skin they’re born with. I think skin is beautiful in all the shades it comes in from so dusky it has an almost iridescent cast to it, to the palest that also has an almost iridescent cast to it. All of it. Every shade of natural skin, even my own occasionally annoying ruddy version of pale skin (moonlight skipped my skin, sadly), looks good on the person who was born with it.

To me, artificially changing one’s skin on purpose is a kind of self mutilation. White women working so hard to have darker skin weird me out. First of all, I don’t think it looks good, and second of all, it seems like an unhealthy obsession.

What I don’t understand at all is that in my country, where being a white person is supposedly such a huge privilege and whiteness of communities is something white people have been willing to protect with violence, why are so many white women working so damn hard to be LESS WHITE?

I don’t get it. I will never get it. If being white is so fucking superior, why do so many women work hard to get brown or orange skin?

I’ve thought about white women hating having actual white skin but I have rarely (probably because I’ve always lived in predominantly white communities) thought about women with brown skin trying to become lighter skinned. I didn’t know that was truly a thing outside of the rare Michael Jackson kind of – I don’t know if there’s a name for what he had – extreme whitening of his skin.

People: the skin you were born with, the shade it is when you use at least moderate protection to care for it, the shade it is when you go about living your life – that’s the shade that you’re meant to be. It’s the shade that goes best with the rest of you. Embrace the skin your in while also embracing the skin every one else is in.

I’m not saying I’m against enhancing or playing with one’s looks. I happen to very much enjoy make up and it’s fun to play with skin like a canvas. But make-up is superficial and you wash it off at the end of the day. I used to wear rice powder to be Kabuki-white. It was theatrical and fun, but not permanent. Make-up allows you to play dress-up but it doesn’t alter who you are on a cellular level.

Skin protects us. It holds our innards in. It filters junk before it can pollute our blood. It defends us, it also brings nutrients to us through light and air.

I can’t stand that skin color is used by so many (and no, not just white people) to judge other people’s character and worth. I hate that skin has become (or always has been) a political and personal tool for demoralizing and tearing other people down. It isn’t even just skin color but skin reveals things like who’s been working harder with their hands doing physical labor – something that in the past at least, was an actual barrier in society. Rough hands could keep you from taking any place of prominence in society.

What the ever-loving-goddamn-idiotic-fuck?

Humans can be so adamantly stupid.

I am declaring this the year of SKIN. What I would like is for everyone to take better care of the skin they’re in. Stop trying to significantly darken or lighten it. Don’t accept standards of beauty you can’t naturally fit into. Ruddy skis is NEVER going to be IN as far as beauty standards go, but this year, more than ever before, I will not only embrace my own skin but endeavor to take better care of it. Incidentally, most pictures of me don’t reveal my ruddiness. That comes and goes depending on temperature and lighting and exertion levels. I go red very easily and it isn’t generally with embarrassment. When I’m not flushed I’m medium pale with so many freckles that some people* claim I’m not even freckled.

I would like everyone to embrace the skin they’re born with. Care for it like the incredible organ it is. Care for it and love it and nurture it. If it’s naturally really dry, moisturize it. If it’s naturally really oily, wash it with gentle cleansers that offer more balance. Use sunscreen. Take care of your skin like it takes care of YOU.

Don’t bake in the sun like you’re a fucking pastry.

Don’t bleach your skin like it’s a fucking bathtub.

Love the skin you’re in and then love the skin everyone else is in too. This isn’t going to fix the world. It won’t make wars end. But seeing and appreciating everyone’s skin in all its shades is the first step to appreciating the precious spirits and hearts skin works so hard to protect.

*YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE

The Night Closes In

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I just saw the SNL episode where Ernest Borgnine made an appearance in “What Up With That”. He’s 93 years old and grins like a man who’s been in show business for 70 years and still hasn’t seen everything. He grins like a man who’s enjoying the fuck out of the weird but wonderful shenanigans of the industry he’s spent his whole life feeding with his own talent.

Or else he was on some really amazing psychedelics.

I love that he never got his tooth gap “fixed”. His smile would have lost that inimitable Borgnine quality that will never be seen again.

I want to have that grin, that fresh enjoyment of the world and all its wild permutations of life if I get to reach 93.

I just spent the first 42 minutes of the new year holding a kitten who, for the first time, expressed his wish to be held. The sound and vibration of purring is the same kind of joy I saw in Ernest Borgnine’s wide grin.

Ten minutes before 12am I asked Twitter what should be the last song I hear in 2014 and my night-owl writer friend Steven said it should be “Imagine”. So it is. Was. Is still.

First random thoughts of 2015:

I cherish the hope that Richard Armitage is not an asshole. Or a bigot. I cherish the hope that he is as handsome on the inside as he is on the outside.

I am very feminine in many ways and yet I still feel some of the gender ambiguity I experienced when I was a young teen. For a couple of my teen years l considered myself asexual. I have probably admitted that to some of my closest friends but I can’t remember ever saying that out loud.

I feel most comfortable and most natural in men’s shoes and clothes even though I love women’s clothes too.

I’m not invulnerable to rock ballads of the 80’s.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t build a roller skate-based life.

Holy shit, I’ve had about a thousand beers now.

It’s that moment when I should either put “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on, or give in to sleep.

DUDES, I TOTALLY JUST PUT “TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART” ON!

I don’t want to go to sleep. As long as I don’t go to sleep it won’t really be the new year. As long as I stay awake I can’t recognize the arbitrary passing of time.

Now I’m playing “Take On Me” and remembering how much listening to it when I was a teen made my stomach flutter. Totally at odds with my unsentimental suit-wearing self.

Seriously, have you not heard me admit to my own million contradictions until now?

Whatever.

I’m the Every-person. I’m woman, I’m man, I’m everyone you’ve ever met.

I don’t like three in the morning and we’re riding up hard on it’s petticoat now.

In my youth, if I could choose to be any man, I’d choose Bowie. Now I’d choose to be Ejiofor.

I wonder how differently my teenage friends saw me than I saw myself?

More frighteningly, I wonder what how differently my siblings saw me than I saw myself?

I’m tired. I’m half asleep. I’ve put my kitten to bed.

I wish all the wishes for you.

All of you.

LOVE.

 

 

Me and My (faux)Religion

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You know how so many people get depressed on New Year’s Eve because, for some reason, they feel obligated to trot out all the things they didn’t accomplish and stare really hard at all the ways they haven’t been amazing? Well, dammit, I want to get on that bummer-train too! Why should an old hag like me be left out of this tradition of being bummed out at impossible life standards not being met and epic dreams not coming true? I’ve got myself one ticket for the sleeper car reserved for the UN-COOLEST-PEOPLE that offers sparkling beverages that have gone flat and stale.

This year Jasika Nicole and Kirsten Vangsness still aren’t following me on Twitter.

(Are they completely unaware that I will write books that will be made into movies and shows and that I will write starring characters that kick mother-fucking-ass for both of them?! And that when I accept my awards for best screenplays (shut up – I’m totally going to learn how to do this soon) wearing my beautiful black suit covered in real butterflies I will be thanking them for being such inspiring women?! DO THEY NOT KNOW THIS YET?)*

Clearly I have failed at my coolness goals once again.**

Hang on, you know what? This is bogus. Everyone I know has some day or thing that is magical for them. Some belief that helps them hang on through the rough times. Some of you believe in God. Some of you believe in multiple Gods. Some of you, and may God help you, believe in Santa Clause. Some of you truly believe in elves and fairies and fairytales. I don’t believe in any of that.

I believe in new beginnings. I believe in fresh chapters. Blank pages upon which anything may be written. This day is the symbolic changing of the year. It’s merely symbolic because calenders are a thing humans invented to mark time and get depressed about, not nature.  Nature didn’t need this artifice and I think some people could successfully argue that nothing changes between today and tomorrow. The Chinese new year isn’t for another month and a half so for some people the symbolic change isn’t even happening tonight.

Feel free to call this the one little bit of “magic” I believe in. That we can reset ourselves and our attitudes. Yeah, maybe by tomorrow morning reality kicks my ass. No matter how often that happens, I still believe that New Year’s Eve is the night to recalibrate our wishes, our goals, our intentions. It’s not the time to look back at how much you didn’t do but to remember that as long as you aren’t dead yet, you just might have time to do a few more things.

But tonight doesn’t require lists or declared goals or intentions if you don’t want it to. It can be a quiet meditation. One to clear your head completely or one to fill your head with your favorite things. How you view this turning of the calendar is up to you.

I choose to stay home and drink beer and sometimes champagne and think about good things. I think about how I’d like to improve myself as a person. We are always in the process of “becoming” until we die so that even though I’m middle aged now, I imagine how I’d like to be a new improved version of myself each year I’m still stuck on this earth.

I’m not even going to “look back” on this year in the systematic way I usually do. I’m not interested in summing up or keeping score. I’m not going to go look at my post from a year ago to see what I said and see how it compared to the actual year that unfolded. For the moment I still have my memory and don’t need to poke it. I’m more interested in the now and the future and all the possibilities that lie in between those two points.

Maybe a little later I’ll write my version of mapping the future in a series of lists.

If new beginnings was my religion, lists would be my scripture.

Amen.

*It would seem so. Sigh.

**Clearly they will never read this post and this is an unnecessary precaution but I once said I’d never marry a Sagittarius and you can see how THAT turned out**. So just in case of impossible cases: Jasika and Kirsten, please don’t worry that I’ve pointed you out as top of my cool-women-O-meter. I know you’re human. I fully expect human-ness of you. No crazy-ass fan-hood going on here. Spit-promise!****

***I married a Sagittarius.

****I can see how a spit promise might seem a little on the creepy side. I’m not taking it back though. It’s less creepy than a blood-promise and due to the ick-factor, much more serious than a pinky-promise.