Tag: royal wedding

Relief is in the Details (and in SNL)

This gutted abandoned shell of a house is how I feel about myself, my country, and my countrymen right now.

While that’s a pretty dismal thing to say and feel, I can see for myself that even in the decrepitude of this emptied house there is value.  Someone was using it for a shelter.  They hung themselves some thick plastic tarps to the ceiling to enclose a small space, like a tent.  Insects have also found shelter in it too.  It is strangely beautiful standing in a field of spring dandelions and English daisies with the trees reaching down to it.

I don’t like myself very much when I’m around people for too long or too often.  I start behaving the way they do which points to how easily I am provoked into pettiness, anger, bitchiness, snarkiness (of the hurtful kind), and bickering.  This is something that has been brought out in everyone on social media since the days leading up to the Royal Wedding.  Damn me if I’ve ever heard so many people who don’t live in England speak so bitterly about the Royal family, about the wedding (which polarized people between hating or loving it where most people who claimed to not care at all were the most bitter about it and then there was myself who started off genuinely not being intersted-but certainly not annoyed by it- who ended up enjoying the coverage and the event quite a lot) and just when everyone is done bitching and moaning and expressing their hatred for Royalty more strongly than I could have thought Amercians, so completely UNAFFECTED by Royal rule, could possibly have felt… Osama is assassinated.

That set off a similar polarization.  There are those who are happy, jubilant, celebrating the killing of Osama as a rightful just event that rights the wrong of 9/11.  Though in the news the people most affected personally by 9/11 also say that NOTHING can really right it.  So let’s go ahead and kill people to feel better, even though it will never be enough?  Nice.  I find this sentiment disturbing.  I find it hateful and willfully vengeful.  And then there are those who are not rejoicing in Osama’s death, who are sad that any of this violence has to happen and who want to see everyone rise to a higher place, a more sober understanding of what it means to kill a person, whether or not that person did evil things.  No one I have heard who is sad by all the blood lust is a fan of Osama, though it seems that many people who are firm believers in an eye for an eye think that not being happy about Osama being killed must be in support of him, a completely irrational supposition.

I have shut myself off from Facebook (and Twitter, though that hardly matters because no one talks to me on Twitter anyway) because I don’t want to be further disappointed in people I generally like and I don’t want to keep myself in a situation that provokes my own weakness and hatefulness.  This is not what I believe in.  This is not the kind of behavior or sentiment I aspire to.  I am finding myself looking at friends in new light, as people I can’t understand and don’t want to.  Following the massive reposting of a quote supposedly from Martin Luther King, Jr., one I posted myself, there are a bunch of people saying it isn’t a correct quote.  It turns out that most of it was except for the first sentence, which nevertheless reflects the same sentiments that are in the rest of King’s speech.  What all the correcting and the snarkiness feels like is an attempt to make the non-violence crowd look stupid and ridiculous.  I found myself commenting on it and the more I did the angrier I got.  People are mean and petty and I get caught up in it all and then I wanted to fight.  To FIGHT, people.  Exactly what I am against!!

I don’t believe in FIGHTING like that, where people are just trying to discredit and take others down over ridiculous details.  I had to hit myself and shut things down.  If I go on like this I’ll have zero friends.  If I’m to be the person I want to be then first I have to let go of the petty motivations of others to make me feel bad or make me wrong (or both) and secondly I need to refrain from turning around and doing the same to them.  My best way of dealing with this is always to go inward.  To disconnect from people.  My own blog is still safe.  It has experienced a funny arc over time of readers and commenters and right now I’m relieved that it is quiet here and no one really reads it from facebook unless I post my posts there.  This does not annoy me as it might have done a year ago.  It is a place I still feel mostly safe to speak my mind and not be kicked around.  Back when I had a lot of readers and commenters I couldn’t say the word “homeschooling” without someone picking up the cudgels and taking a swing at me.

Lest anyone think I sat around whining and crying all day yesterday in my depression and disappointment in myself and everyone else, I would like to say that I did a number of things yesterday to restore my sense of hope, of peace, and of self-respect:

  • I made really good food.  I made lentil salad and crustless spanakopita.  I let the cooking be a meditation while I thought on King’s (and the anonymous person paired up with him in that quote) words about loving your enemy* and I found a measure of calm in this quotidian activity, as I always do.
  • I rode my bicycle downtown.   That’s not a lot of exercise but it felt good to get the fresh air and feel my muscles working.  When I returned home I did 25 crunches with the help of Max (he sits on my legs so I can do real ones without hurting my back- it feels great!) and truth be told, I did 25 instead of 20 because of Max’s cheering me on.
  • I didn’t eat anything I regretted.  I ate just enough to feel full and everything that went in my mouth was wholesome and modest, yet nothing about my food was stark (I had butter on my toast but I never use a lot, I had some feta cheese but a modest amount, etc).  Every day I don’t give in and eat the giant cookies or whatever else I eat because it seems like a good idea to spite myself even though I don’t like sugary crap is a good day.
  • I didn’t drink alcohol.  Usually when I don’t drink beer I have something just as fattening to replace it like ginger beer or tonic and lime.  I did have tonic and lime but only one glass of it.  That’s okay with me.  It’s even okay to have two, but if I’m going to have 4 I lose so much of my progress and self respect.
  • I went to bed early.  Okay, I crawled into bed because I couldn’t bear to expose myself to anything online and I didn’t want to hang with my family or do anything but hide and read.  I was in bed by 9pm and fell asleep by 10.  I guess I really am depressed since I then slept until 7:30am.  Almost ten hours of sleep.  I could have stayed in bed longer.  I usually only sleep 6 hours.  It’s okay.

Unlike on Sunday I didn’t cry or feel sorry for myself a single second.  I usually only let that go on for a few hours, tops.  I’m still in a complete crisis and am still deplorably depressed.  I think it’s not going to dissipate quickly this time.  The world feels so sickened and depleted and I feel it in my bones.  I suppose I’m also finally breaking down myself because I held myself up pretty well, for the most part, through the last two intensely stressful months of parenting challenges that broke my heart and scared the shit out of me.  Things are so much better with Max right now that I can finally afford to fall apart a little.  Except I can’t, really, can’t ever really afford it.

I told a friend I’d do something with her but I realize now that I don’t want to see any people today.  (Sorry, friend!) and as seeing her was going to involve also seeing at least 6 other people, no.  No.  Taking care of myself and my mental state is much too important to go and fill it with other people’s stuff.  Especially since at least two of the individuals I would be exposing myself to are paranoid anti-government weapon freaks.  No.  I need to be inward.  I need the quiet of my tower.

From here I can see the tulips giving their last hurrah.  I can see the Elephant Heart plum tree leafed out, my comfrey settled into its new bed, the volunteer California poppy I’ve nursed along growing more robust, and the columbines my mother planted are flowering and presenting an alternative opinion to all the ones us more restless riled up people have to share.

Let me tell you all, I’m really missing all the wedding coverage right now.  Aside from all the haters it was a fun and frivolous distraction.  When so many people complained of there being more important news to report on it made me think of the Great Depression.  That was a badass depressing destitute time and during that time the talkies took off to a new dimension of popularity.  People would spend money they couldn’t afford to see the pictures because their lives were so depressing and hard already.  Life all around them was mean and hungry but you could pay a few pennies and for a little while you could watch people living glamorous lives full of maribou and cocktails and witty repartee.  People NEED frivolous distraction from poverty and war.  While so many people starved the movie stars that “made it” became insanely rich and I’m sure there were plenty of people who resented them their power and influence over fashion, entertainment, morals, and soon spreading to political influence as well.  Hence the Hays Code and later the great McCarthy inquisition in which many movie stars were blacklisted for being suspected of being communist (mostly they were just liberal).  These attempts to diminish their power and influence are proof that it was feared.

Maybe you don’t need relief from the constant influx of grim truthiness but I do.  I need to laugh, I need to see the rich entertain me with their wealth because I haven’t got any of my own.  Noblesse oblige!  Show me your jewels and do something wonderful that I can either rejoice in or criticize for fun (though I’ll try not to be too mean).  Ostentation can be quite obnoxious but seeing a little glamor in the world lifts me up.  I want to know that some people still have fun getting dressed up.  Sure as hell isn’t me.  Which isn’t the fault of money, just my own lack of self discipline and dark depression that cements my overindulgence- if I got my body back I could have a shitload of fun getting dressed up without spending a penny- I still have so many of my fun clothes that aren’t tiny, just smaller than me…)

I’m so sick of war and poverty and politicians and lies and killing and stealing and ignorance and oppression.  I want flowers, music, light, more skits like the SNL “British Film” skit (that’s my favorite@!!)

Okay, I have to pause a minute… I’m really happy I’m alone in the house right now or I’d have to explain to my  mom why I’m laughing up here by myself.  That is already the best thing I’ve seen today.  Seriously the best television I’ve seen in weeks.  (I saw it weeks ago)  Watching it 56 times does not diminish its greatness a speck.  (Note to self: have this clip ready to watch any time you feel ungenerous thoughts about anything and it will restore your good humor making it possible not to hate people again… put it somewhere safe and accessible!)

My Canon 850SD camera is dead.  I miss it.  It’s times like these I like to have that camera with me so I can find all kinds of tiny worlds to admire through the macro.  My DSLR is great for some things but I can’t afford a macro lens for it and so I can’t get up in the faces of ladybugs or get super personal with my lilac buds.  I can’t afford to replace it yet but we’ll send it in and see if we can get some credit towards a refurbished one through the Canon program.  Today would be a marvelous one for going on a walk and catching specs of dust in the sun or slinky little creatures who don’t think I can see them.  It’s okay, I won’t let that add to my depression.

I think I’ll see if there’s a lilac bunch ready to pick and bring inside.

If any of you are feeling much like I am right now I hope you’ll join me in doing small things to alleviate the tension and the bleak state of the world like making yourself some really good food in your own kitchen (play loud music if you can!), make something pretty, take a walk, do some little action that will make you feel proud of yourself because normally you can’t convince yourself to do it (the crunches, I say every day that I’m going to do them every day and almost every day I go to sleep wondering how I managed to slither out of the simple act of self appreciation?), and if you’re surrounded by corrosive personalities or sentiments, remove yourself to some place quiet and positive.  Fill the space with peace and thoughts of charity, warmth, love, forgiveness, and heal a little.  Or a lot.  The more depressed you get the harder these small acts become so even if you can only manage to do one – do just one.  The more you do the better you’ll feel.  I know I’m already feeling better for having gotten these thoughts out, both the bad and the good.

I still love all my friends, even when I can’t be around them temporarily (generally this is because of my own problems and not anything my friends have done) or when they disappoint me.  Most of my friends, I know, still love me even when I exasperate or anger them (or bring them down, which I’ve been guilty of much too often, I’m shamed to say).  We can disagree and remain steadfast in appreciation so long as we take a break when things are too heated or unhappy.  All of us go there sometimes, to that bitter space where everyone displeases us or we become petty and small to each other.  I am no exception and though I can’t change anyone else I can step back and address myself, as I’m doing today.  I can bitch-slap myself and demand I knock it off and then do something to make up with myself like 25 crunches.  Nothing says I care about myself more than dreaded (but awesome!) crunches!

I am also returning to Kung Fu this week but not to the regular classes.  I’m going to take forms classes for a while.  This will put on hold my belt advancement but it means I’ll be going to do something for my body every week that stretches my limits, that helps me get stronger, and that keeps me in touch with myself on that level.  For anyone who doesn’t know, forms class is learning a set of actions that string together fluidly, they are challenging and require much strength and and concentration.  It’s slow, mostly.  There is no grappling with other people, it’s a solitary exercise.  This is why I’m choosing it.  I want to get back into Kung Fu but I don’t know how long it will be before I can allow people to get up in my face and touch my body.  I have the words “Oh God!  You’re so huge!  God, you’re really huge!” in my head.  It was spoken by a person who cannot control such comments and I totally forgive him but every time I think about doing exercises with other people I have this terrible feeling that everyone is thinking what this man actually said out loud repeatedly a long time ago when we were doing joint locking exercises.  It’s true, of course, I AM huge.  But I need to keep myself from being in situations where others may inadvertently derail my progress by making me feel disgusting.  It was another student at the school who said I ought to do something about my obesity.  So, you see, I can’t let anyone touch me right now.  Forms is really quite beautiful.  I have watched the forms class and wished I was doing it.  It’s quiet, it’s slow, everyone goes at their own pace.  It’s a little like Tai Chi but more fierce.  I’m excited.  It’s more expensive and there’s only one class a week instead of two, but I think this will be really good for me for a while.  I need to go with my gut in all things at the moment and put myself in gentle situations and be careful where I put my spirit and careful how I am exposed to others.

Coffee’s gone.

Take Care until next time.

*You will all know that he was taking Jesus at his word, for a non-religious person like myself it loses no importance or meaning no matter who said it first-I simply substitute “my conscience” for “Jesus” and it works quite well.  I read his whole sermon today and I have to say that if Martin Luther King, Jr. was the pastor at a local church, I’d totally join.

Liveblogging: The Royal Wedding

Note: I didn’t really care about the wedding.  I am not royal family obsessed.  However, as people all around me were discussing the event I remembered back when I really did care about princesses (and naively thought it would be the best thing in the world to be) and I wanted to see Princess Diana get married.  I missed some of it because  my mom made me go to bed at a reasonable hour, which wasn’t hard to make me do because I was sick.  I had a fever.  At some point in the wee hours I woke up and came downstairs and watched Prince Charles marry Diana.  But I don’t remember much about it and I started thinking about how cool it would be to watch with the jaundiced eye of adult perspective.  So in spite of not really caring, I managed to haul my ass out of bed to watch and I’m not sorry I did.

3 am: It is wholly worth the ridiculous hour to listen to the choir at Westminster Abbey.  I had no idea that Westminster Abbey was so huge it had trees inside.  Prince Harry is looking dapper and mischievious.  Elton John doesn’t look like he knows the words to the church song, it’s kind of charming.  I am happy that Kate used Steve McQueen’s design label for her dress.  This wedding speech… I didn’t know that priests actually do this, the whole ennumeration of the points covering why two people might enter into the marriage state and in what attitude they ought to approach it.  Oh my god, I can’t believe the whole “dreadful hell” bit and wouldn’t that have been insane if someone had objected?!

Seriously LOVE the priests outfit.  That hat is to die for.

Oh do, let us pray!  Well, I’ll abstain out of respect for the believers.

It’s quite dramatic, that “He whom God has brought together let no man kill cajole or rend assunder… or whatever”, I’d be scared to have affairs after that.  I’m surprised that – wait, no, not going to chastise Prince Charles, I think there’s been enough of that in the past.

Kate’s brother is fierce.  I would hate to go against anything he said.  Let me listen more closely to this reading… oh yes, “associate with the lowly” I do that, wait, I AM THE LOWLY!  This is good solid stuff, actually.  I try not to be haughty, I don’t know how hard this is for people of Royal descent, but it’s a good thing.

3:31 am:  If I ever get married again I’m definitely going to do it in Westminster Abbey with the choir in attendance.    I would like to applaud Kate for not swathing her bridesmaid (is there really only one?) in hideousness.  Her dress is quite elegant.

3:36: I find it charming that the Queen is wearing gloves.  Wait, must see if most others are too.  No, just the Queen.

3:40 am: The singing of the Motet.  This is gorgeous.

3:44 am: The crazy noise that I heard as Kate was entering the Abbey was really creepy and if I had been there in the Abbey I would have had a panic attack.

3:48 am: Jerusalem.  I love this song even though the words are kind of creepy.  I love that the crowds are singing it too.

3:55 am: I’m relieved that the Fox News commentators kept their mouths shut during all of that.  I’m surprised.  It’s my plan to go back to sleep when this is over but I’m tempted to make that pot of coffee I’d primed in case I miraculously woke up in time to see this ceremony.  I set the alarm even but it turned out there was not need.  Philip’s snoring woke me 3 minutes ahead of time.  I just turned the pot on.  But now I’m realizing that this commits me to brushing my teeth because I never drink coffee in the morning over bad morning breath.  I wasn’t planning on brushing my teeth.  It’s unseemly to do so at 4am.

4:01 am:  I thank Britain for single-handedly keeping the tradition of hat wearing alive.  There are some breathtaking hats in the crowd.  My mind keeps catching on those trees in the Abbey.  I’m sure they’re potted and all but it’s just not what I expect in a church.  You know, Prince William may not be my cup of tea but he’s got a pretty great nose.  It’s pretty magnificent that 2,000 people can fit in the Abbey.

4:07am: If any British rebels were to stage a coup, now would be the moment.  Probably fifteen minutes ago would have been a better moment, but soon it will be too late.  Oh!  That horrid noise is all the discordant wild bell ringing and how it sounds being tape recorded.  I wish I was in the crowds right now.  Okay, he’s looking pretty dashing.  I think it’s horrid that the commentator just said “Here’s history repeating itself”  No, Mr. Commentator, I don’t think that melange of bells makes a beautiful sound.

4:18am: I love all the horses, I’m completely transfixed.  I love the guards too.  The lines and lines of guards.  You know, people can say what negative things they like about the royal family, but they’re living history, a legacy that extends hundreds of years into the past of Britain and though their tangible use as leaders may now be largely diminished, they represent tradition and the past.  I’m not so eloquent at 4:25am.  What I love is that they’re still going through the streets of London in horse drawn carriages.

I’m no Royal family toad-eater.  I just see the point of not cutting their heads off.  I enjoy seeing all the pageantry.

The pink cowboy hats trimmed in maribou should be crushed and burned.

4:35am: I am waiting to see them come out on the balcony and then I have to try to go to sleep.  There are no obese people at this wedding.  More horses!  I love them.  I have to say that I dislike those really big furry rounded hats that some of the palace guards wear.

I LOVE the guards in traditional uniform carrying sub-machine guns!!  That is a real meshing of antiquity and modernity.  Fox news discussing the souvenirs makes them seem like complete idiots.  Was an explanation of what tea towels are really necessary?  I want to pet the horses but not the news anchors.

5:01 am: Still waiting for the balcony appearance before going to sleep.  I’m not sorry I woke up for this.  Dang, they just said it was about 25 minutes from now.  Really?  I have to listen to Fox commentators for that much longer?  (They’re really chatty now.  I would watch it elsewhere but I’m on my laptop and Fox coverage is what Hulu has.)  I love how well behaved the British public is.

5:12 am: Oh for crying out loud, would everyone stop talking about the goddamn kiss?  What if the couple refused to kiss for everyone?  Now they’ve talked the kiss to death it’s going to be a let down.  I have the last cup of coffee until bed time.  I’m getting bored but su- whoops- was distracted by all the talk about Camilla Parker Bowles.  I thought she wasn’t allowed to be queen when Charles becomes King, the way that the Duke of Edinburgh is merely a Consort, but I was wrong.  She will become queen.

5:22 am: It’s almost over.  Waiting for the final flourish.  That castle must be a bitch to clean.  Ha- saw a curtain twitch- Well there you have it.  Done deal.  Sealed and delivered.  I wish them well.

I’m off to bed now but before I do, I have a duty to perform which is to give you all a message from Max: He would like you all to know that while he enjoyed posing in a tiara for his mom just to be funny, he doesn’t, in fact, wear one all the time.  His exact words were “Tell them I don’t do this often.”

And now… goodnight.

All Night Writing Jags: otherwise known as “the death of me”

Yesterday doesn’t exist for me.  I blot it out as the lost day.  Day of no brain.

Oh, except that when I woke up at 11:40am I hustled my butt out of the house in a completely unwashed state to get on my bicycle and meet two good friends for a brown bag lunch on the library benches.  I didn’t inform them that I was unwashed but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have looked less dubious than if I’d just gotten in from 24 hours of travel with an unintended overnight layover at JFK with no where to sleep.  I looked that good yesterday!  I didn’t actually have time to make my own lunch which I had intended to do so, like a modern day moron, I stopped by the “health food” store downtown for a sandwich.

My sandwiches are so much better than theirs.

I had a lovely chat with Lucy and Nicole about dreaded symphylans (a terrible soil pest the Pacific Northwest is noted for) and how it has been recently discovered that potatoes are poisonous to symphylans but symphylans are as attracted to eating potatoes as diabetics are to buckets of sugar.  This is a completely useful discovery because now instead of having to not plant anything in your symphylan-rich ex-strawberry bed for years, you just plant potatoes.  The symphylans feast on your potatoes and die and the soil is cleaned up.  I forgot to ask Nicole if symphylans are tasty to eat.  Can I eat the potatoes or will they be rendered disgusting?

I wouldn’t want to blot out my great lunch.

The problem with yesterday is that I stayed up until 4:30am on Sunday because I’m a middle aged party animal.  There was a keg, underwear on the flagpole, and several Tom Cruise worship stations.

It would be so awful if anyone actually imagined that in their heads.

I have been experiencing a little writer’s block, apparently.  I have all the information I need to get moving with my third draft of Cricket and Grey* and yet I have not been able to begin the rewrite of chapter one.  The rest of the book needs polishing and cleaning but chapter one needed a complete rewrite.  So on Sunday I woke up and said to myself “I will not go to sleep until I have written 5,000 words into chapter one” and promptly got busy writing a post for Stitch and Boots instead.

One pm rolled around and I had to chain myself to my desk and shut down my blogs and just get to it.  And I did.  It took me at least 4 hours just to write a second paragraph which I ended up scratching because it sucked.

Truth be told, the whole rewrite of chapter one is pretty questionable.  The main thing is that I held myself accountable and I did not go to sleep until I had written 5,034 words.  I crashed into bed (full of beer too because I couldn’t keep the brain ticking without it) and didn’t wake up the next day until almost noon.

I went to bed at eleven last night with the idea that I’d get loads of good sleep and wake up early-ish to get my job done so I would have a little time to get right back into the novel writing.  I did not get good sleep.  I had nightmares in which I couldn’t breath while trying to catch very bad people doing very bad things.

I’m not exactly rested.  For some reason, I am feeling just fine anyway.

I already said this on facebook so some people have already heard me express concerns about this, but I want to say here that I don’t think it was a good idea for Prince William to give Kate his mother’s engagement ring.  I’m all for handing family jewels down and for not buying new diamonds when there are plenty of antique ones to buy on the market, but I think if you know a ring was given to a woman by a man who didn’t love her and who went on to have a long term affair with another woman, and if that recipient of the ring went on to divorce the man who gave it to her (after having her own affairs, incidentally, being far from innocent in the “marriage”) and then died in a car crash with a controversial lover, maybe that isn’t a ring with the best luck.

It seems that the royal wedding is getting a lot of people twitterpated.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Max’s school is working out really well.  We’re on week three and he hasn’t started the whole “I hate school” discussion we used to have every day.  He comes home pretty happy, tells me he isn’t getting in trouble, and goes to his room to work on his animation.  My boy is animating his violent stick figure cartoons!  It’s amazing!  So now he spends about half the time playing video games that he used to and spends that time MAKING little videos.  It is way too cool to see his passion, which many view as a negative soul destroying activity, be turned into a creative outlet for him as well.

I think there’s a bigger life lesson in here: whoever you are, whatever your passions may be, there are positive, neutral, and negative ways to channel and express them.  So instead of worrying about the interest or passion itself, find a healthy way to channel it.

Warriors can find ways to express their need for combat that don’t have to involve hurting actual people.  For the record- I am not one of those people who thinks video games are evil.

But I will say that if Philip sat around playing video games all the time I would not be very attracted to him because grown men who spend most of their free time playing video games are a serious turn-off to me.  It makes them seem adolescent and I’m not interested in feeling more like a parent to my spouse than a contemporary.

I am about to ride my bicycle to meet Max and Philip for a doctor’s appointment.  It’s gorgeously sunny but cool out.  My whole day has been elevated in status from pretty good to pretty fucking fantastic because a close friend of mine who I ADORE but don’t see often just randomly stopped by and brought me an enormous bowl of eggs from her mother’s chickens.  Most are the sweetest small banty eggs like we had growing up from our little Cochen banties Molly, Madeline, and George.  It’s not the eggs that truly elevated my day but my friend’s gorgeous smile and the surprise of seeing her.

Chick was beside herself with excitement because Laurie profoundly loves animals and Chick knows it.

I hope you all get the equivalent of a bright visit from a friend or a bowl of homegrown eggs or just a little dose of sun if that’s what it takes to make an okay day become something wonderful!

*Which is not what the actual title of the book will be.  That’s just what I call it now because I don’t have a title yet.  I’ll tell you what it WON’T be called: Moon Over Minneapolis.