Monday, August 31, 2009

Comment: New Chapter

School starts tomorrow for my two kids. It’s the first FULL day of school ever for my son. He’s starting first grade at a new school, with new kids, a new teacher, and a new uniform. Tonight he was so excited he couldn’t get to sleep. My daughter just wanted to be in class already, and skip the sleep part. Everyone was pretty jacked up.

There’s something big dealish about your kids heading off to school. For the first time in their lives, they are going to be spending more time with someone else than with you. My daughter, who’s in PreK, has the option to do a full day, but we’re not quite ready for that yet.

And although I am happy for my son and daughter to be launching their academic careers in a great school, part of me is devastated. A chapter is over. The kids are moving on, (as well they should) and I need to re-identify myself as more and other than the mother of my kids.

Many women don’t have to deal with the identity shift, since they’ve opted to continue work since their children’s birth.

But I’ve had the luck and the honor of staying at home full time with my kids for six and a half years.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.

It’s kind of intense to be wrapping up this part of our lives. I think my kids are ready for it.

But am I?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Complaint: And Confession

Did you know you could make a Word file on your computer that makes the screen look like a notebook? Little lines and everything. What a blast from the past. Was that designed for us middle aged GenXers who are already sounding a little bit too much like Boomers by complaining that things aren’t the way they were in the good ole days? (for Boomers, the lament seems primarily to have to do with getting all the attention; why can’t they relinquish their death grip on everything and let us, and the growing Millenials, get a shot at fixing/fucking up the world? I mean, haven’t they done enough already?)

Where was I? Little cute ways computers look retro. That's pretty much it on that topic.

On a different note entirely, I wanted to acknowledge my friends in Southern California who are going through a nasty fire situation. It sounds really bad and looks really bad and apparently smells really bad. Hopefully there will be some containment soon. I have a lot of respect for people who fight fires. It’s a life-risking, terribly uncomfortable, uncertain and physically demanding job. I have a friend whose husband is a firefighter. I’m thinking of them especially.

In other news, I actually watched a few minutes of Kardashians (sp?) in Miami. I couldn’t take more than about three minutes. If you haven’t had the pleasure, it just shows these ditsy young women with booty-a-plenty (in both senses of the word) who are opening clothing stores while being paid to be on TV. How does a person get this gig? Um, connections, money and connections, plus more money, and a bonus of Barbie looks and killer ambition? Oh right. Yeah, that.

You’re not going to be seeing me on TV anytime soon.

But you will see me at Target.

I broke my own record at Target the other day. I don’t want to tell you how much was spent, because I’m embarrassed. But it’s back to school and back to work time, and stuff needs to be gotten (got? getted?). We're in a new climate, too. Plus I haven’t had a paid job since 2003. And my wardrobe reflects that fact. Very, very much.

So naturally I am in need of clothing to suit the occasion of job interviews and, well, jobs. I feel like a baby learning to walk. That is, if I could remember what it felt like to be a baby learning to walk. Scratch that.

I feel rusty. So I need to find some clothes that accentuate the rust, or better yet, camouflage it.

I’m sure I’ll have more commentary, complaints and questions about clothes in the coming weeks. I'm sure you won't want to miss a minute of that.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Comment: Playing with Balls

Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. This is a family program! (Well, okay, most of the time.)

Today the kids, their dad and I went to play at a local park. We brought a mini Nerf football and two autographed-by-someone-old-and-formerly-famous baseballs.

We played what I would loosely call a “baseballesque” game. The bases changed several times, the pitching was erratic, and there was no bat. Also, we took turns out of order. In short, it was fun.

It was kind of funny watching the kids’ dad try to keep things orderly and rational. I told him, don’t expect this game to have consistent rules. (or something to that effect).

We took turns tackling each other with the football. I ran into the woods and scored a touchdown, wherein, technically, I gave the other team a point. (The other team was my husband. He’s six foot three, the rest of us had to stick together.) I did one of those obnoxious victory dances and threw down the football with great élan.

Then we tried more baseball, but my daughter still wanted to keep tackling her dad.

This is the kind of fun we never get enough of. We don’t make enough time in our lives to just hang out. No rules, no keeping score. Just fun. I don’t want my young kids to worry about winning yet. They’ll learn all about that soon enough. Keeping score? They’ll get to it. Joining a team? Only if they’re interested.

For now we’re happy that our sports are basically absurdist. The carefree nature of pure, unbridled enthusiasm and excitement only lasts so long.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Complaint: I Suck

“No, you can’t wear my Buddha necklace!”

This is what I ended up shouting in mild anger and annoyance to my four year old today. She had been poking, prodding, badgering and climbing on me about it for quite some time trying to get her point across. So that's what I said.

Believe me, the irony did not escape me.

I felt sheepish and very, very un-Zen.

It’s ironic, because I was zenning it up pretty well today. At least, for me. I mean, I was trying to have equanimity (which is really big in Buddhism) and if something annoyed me I tried to just observe what I was thinking and feeling and not react to it, and then just let it pass along on its merry way into the ether. For example, when someone beeped at me because I made a wrong turn, (which happens daily), I tried to not let it ruffle my feathers.

Embracing equanimity is so much harder than it sounds. The whole, just let it flow off your back, like water off a duck? I’m a pretty absorbent duck, if you know what I mean. And I know that some people are mellower than me. Hell, most people are mellower than me. But compared to how reactive and intense I used to be, even I’ve mellowed. Having children will do that for you. But having children will also test every bit of your ability to go with the flow.

And the thing about Buddhism is you practice it all the time. And since it’s not exactly a religion, but more of an active philosophy, you have opportunities to succeed or to fuck up every minute you’re awake. (My dreams are not calm and accepting of the universe, but I think those are exempt.)

The whole scene for Buddhism, from the many books I’ve read but the relatively little I really know about it, is the concept that shit happens, and you deal. It comes, it goes, no biggie.

When I try to access some inner calm, I really do feel better. I have a better day, I’m more patient with my kids and others, and I don’t get stuck in the groove of an irritable or pissed off thought. It’s when you get caught in the grooves that can drive you (and everyone around you) nuts.

So I think I’ll turn to one of the great modern Buddhist teachers who’s also a fantastic writer. Pema Chodron is amazing. She’s got a sense of humor and lots of understanding about how we human beings torture ourselves and each other with our personal shit. So I need to go back and read some of her stuff. Better yet, act on it. Or not. As the case may be. Sometimes you really do just have to sit and let the irritability pass.

And maybe I need to let my daughter borrow my necklace. I think Buddha would have wanted me to do that.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Comment: Hot for Shoes

I spent too much time yesterday participating in my embarrassing online addiction: Shoe porn.

Yes, September is upon us and that means back to school. Back to school for both kids means I’ve looking to get back to school, too (to work, not study).

School: it starts with an S, and that stands for SHOES. Oh we got trouble all right.

I don’t have time to go shoe shopping, except late at night, online. That’s when I pop up the shoe porn. Galleries of shoes, high heels, low heels, mules, sandals. I love looking at them, and Zappos is my drug of choice. I love how you can get close ups and different angles of the shoe, and I love that they can narrow down what’s actually available in my (enormous, boat-like) shoe size. And the returns and deliveries are free. Who could resist such a thing?

And I just really love shoes. I don’t own a ton of them, and I don’t have any high end fetish, but there are a few brands that I really love and/or lust after.

I can’t walk on high heels, even though some of them are so smokin’ hot I wish I could handle them. But I’m a small person trapped in a tall person’s body. Isn’t that a nice euphemism? I just don’t always know how far my limbs extend until I bump into something. I’d have at least one sprained ankle within the hour.

So not only is back to school a great opportunity to buy shoes. But get this: we just moved to a much colder climate. You know what that means, don’t you?


Lovely, luscious, sassy boots.

My mouse finger is going to get such a workout in the days ahead.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an addiction to feed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Complaint: "I Don’t Want to be Captain Hook."

Alert Readers: Can you identify the sources of the two orange quotes in this post? If so, give yourself a hearty handshake and celebrate with a beverage of your choice.

"I don't want to be Captain Hook."

That’s what I said to my four year old today. She was doing her “Mommy, you be this and I’ll be that” shtick, which normally I find quite charming. But after a long day of errands and too much time indoors on a nice day, and frankly, too much summer, I wasn’t feeling it, you know? So when she said she was Tinkerbell and I had to be Captain Hook, I regressed a little.

Okay, a lot.

Why do I have to be the villain? I have to be good cop and bad cop with my kids most of the time, being the primary caregiver monkey in the family. So why would I want to be a bad guy when all I’m trying to do is cook the damn dinner? It's the end of the day. I've played along all day. I just wanted a Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me. Just a Pepsi.

I guess I just wasn’t in the mood.

Usually I go along with whatever the kids want to pretend. But today, I just didn’t have it in me.

My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Comment: More of a Confession, Actually

With my relatively new access to TV, I’ve been sucked into a pop culture vortex of which I should probably be ashamed.

There’s this show called “Real Chance at Love 2” (See? I even know the title. That’s bad.)
It’s about these two rapper guys (who are also brothers) who are both looking for love (isn’t everyone?) for the second time, since they had an original show, but, surprise, surprise, their love wasn’t real enough.

Yes, they’re really called Real and Chance, and their whole motif, for whatever reason, is the wild west. They have a lot of horseshoes in their décor, but they also have the blingiriffic look that all these celebrity “cribs” (see how hip I am?) have for these types of shows. I think they breed horses. I just should not know these things, but I do.

(It’s probably a good time to tell you that once upon a time, I saw some of another dating reality show, “Rock of Love,” with Bret Michaels. He’s from some 80s heavy metal band and he looks like his face is being pulled apart he’s has so much done to it, but he has that swarthy Bon Jovi/Nikki Six amalgam thing going on that (apparently) young, busty and vacuous women like. I think he had two shows, too. And I think his ex has a spin-off. Seriously.)

So Real and Chance have all these ladies who want to find true love on TV. It’s all so orchestrated, it’s hilarious. There are, natch, catfights a plenty, along with the usual eye-rolling, belly-ring baring, and very big hair. There’s only one woman on this show with short hair and she has a faux-hawk, and was obviously chosen because she’s the only woman on the show with short hair. She’s the “edgy” one. There’s also a “bitchy” one, a “ditsy” one, a “quiet” one, and a “slightly psycho” one.

(Sidebar: You’d be amazed at how many miles you can run on a treadmill while you watch women dis each other and throw themselves at the guys.)

All of the women are babe-a-licious in a completely stereotypical way. And all of them clearly see being on television trying to date a small time rapper as their destiny, their chance at love, or at least, overexposure.

Part of me is horrified that there are women who do this. Can’t these relatively good looking women find men in the real world, ones who aren’t objectifying them to within one inch of their lives?

I mean, the guys nickname the women in a disturbingly blatant show of sexism. There’s the woman with the major booty and she’s called “Junk.” There’s the woman with the bookish vibe who wears glasses and she’s called “Apple.” (Get it? Like "Hot for Teacher"?) And there’s “Blonde Baller”, “Classy”, “Lady”, “Wiggle”, “Mamacita” and “Hot Wings.”

You can’t make this shit up.

And it scares me that I know this, and that I am starting to be able to tell the women apart, in spite of their Barbie physiques and minimal clothing.

Part of me thinks the show is mean-spirited. In the episode I just saw part of (honest), the guys make the women look for “Yeti” in the forest. (It’s really their other brother, Micah. Again, scary that I know this.) And on a “date”, two of the women get their feet “read” by a “psychic” who was a very unconvincing actress with poor dialect control (Is she Spanish or French? Slavic? Italian?). I was indignant. Not because it was stupid, but because the women fell for the psychobabble this performer was spouting. And because I could have done a kick-ass Hungarian psychic with a reliable accent. But I digress.

Part of me really thinks this is horrible, but then I think: are these women being forced to be on this show? Has someone tricked them? The answers, I believe, are no. And yes.

No, they’re not being forced on the show. Not literally. And yes, they’ve been tricked, but not by any one person. They’ve been tricked by the myth of finding love on reality TV (or any TV, for that matter). They’ve been seduced by the blingtastic lifestyle they get to live while they vie for attention from two sort of good-looking, if not utterly ridiculous, shallow and swaggering playboys.

Is this show offensive on some level? Yes.

Will I keep watching it? Probably.

Would I let my children watch it? Hell no.

So what will I do when my kids are old enough to watch this stuff and start asking questions?

Better start thinking now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Comment: Screenheads Anonymous

There is going to be a new disorder in the DSM-IV any day now.

Obsessive Screen Disorder.

Or something along those lines.

I’m not kidding.

We have a term in my family for watching too much TV or doing too much on the computer or any other screened device. It’s called “screenhead.”

Today my kids and I were screenheads.

But I’m worse than them. I do everything online: look for jobs, chat, shop, and compulsively check my Facebook chat function to see if there’s someone to talk to since I am bored and lonely at the moment and these four walls are closing in on me and let’s talk about something else, shall we?

Seriously, too much screen makes you no think good. It gives you that fuzzy yet hyper feeling.

I once read that TV can make you both passive and wired. Lovely. It's the same for computers, iPhones, Gameboys, etc.

And no, I haven’t tried the Wii, so no comment on that. I fear I’d absolutely love the fitness version and that would mean more screen time. I’m already over-loaded now that I live with a TV that has stations and have a laptop that loves me.

See? That's one of the symptoms. Anthropomorphizing your computer. A computer is not a pet, or a lover, or even a friend.


Look out for it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Comment: Pretty house, pretty mind.

I think you can tell a lot about a person’s mental health based on what their house looks like.

Obviously I’m not the first person to notice this. Julie Morgenstern and Peter Walsh have made a fortune on books dealing with clearing clutter to make way for better mental health. There are even fix-it shows on TV now about hoarding, making OCD just another reality TV affliction that can be gawked at with both pity and shadenfreude. Tidying up experts are ubiquitous these days.

But I guess what I’ve noticed living in very small quarters these past months, is that all you have to do to know how I’m doing is take a quick glance at the apartment. If it looks good, it’s all good.

If it looks bad, it is.

It’s so simple.

Even with very little of our belongings in this temporary living space, we’ve still managed to overcrowd it. The difference is there’s very little point in investing in organizing systems and bins and containers for a place we’re only living in for four more weeks.

My son has been walking around saying “we have too much stuff, we’re rich.” He has a point; we’re not rich, but we have a lot of stuff we don’t need, and it’s depriving us of clean, clear airspace.

If this were our permanent home, some things would have to change. We’d have to have better storage. And, frankly, less stuff.

Wait until the moving van comes when we move into our new (much bigger than here) house. Oy. I’m going to want to rent a dumpster and just purge, purge, purge.

But here’s the tricky part (It’s the Big, Fig Newton!) (Sorry.): the house is bigger than anything we’ve lived in. But we probably do have too much other stuff. We just don’t have enough furniture to fit in this house as it is. And what we do have is at least 85% craptastic and only moved with us because we’re too hung up to buy new stuff. Maybe we’ll have to go minimalist chic. Or just minimalist.

Maybe even though we’re only here in this apartment for another month or so, it would behoove me (I love that word) to sort through what we do have, and cull it down some more.

Part of the challenge is to stop bringing crap INTO the house.

This is the never-ending dilemma of ingrained conspicuous consumption. Like Lily Allen says, “I am a weapon of massive consumption, it’s not my fault, it’s how I’m programmed to function.”

She may be only 23 but she’s got that right. I wonder what her house looks like.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Complaint: There need to be some new commands on Facebook.

What happens when someone “friends” you and you don’t want to “friend” them back, but you don’t want to hurt their feelings, or just don’t want to outright "ignore" them?

This is where I have loads of helpful suggestions, if only someone would listen to me bellowing from my rooftop. (Remember the "Simpsons" episode where Cletus yells at his mother, "Hey Ma, get off the roof!" Good times.)

The current commands you have now are just “confirm” and “ignore” and “block this person”. How about: “Thanks, but no thanks” or “I acknowledge your presence and appreciate your acknowledging mine, but that’s as far as it goes, okay?”

Maybe “Hope you have a nice life but I have absolutely nothing to say to you” or “Seriously, I know we used to go out but there’s a reason we don’t now” or just “We never talked when we lived in the same city so why the fuck are you ‘friending’ me now?”

There’s also the classic, “I don’t want you in my life anymore”. But I suppose that’s really the same as “ignore.” And what actually happens when you do choose "ignore" or "block this person?" Are they sent any kind of explanation? Or are they left to dangle cluelessly in cyberspace?

I just think there are more nuances that the good people at Facebook aren’t getting. Surely somebody somewhere is going to make up some of these little retorts and create an app or whatever it is they do, and make it available if and only if you make your personal data available to them so they can market crap JUST FOR YOU.


In the meantime, I guess I’m stuck with “ignore.” But know this: there's always more to the story than a simple "ignore." Much, much more.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Comment: A Breakthrough

Something exciting is happening to my kids.

They've started playing games.

And I don't mean the ones they'll play with our heads when they're teenagers. (I'm scared. Hold me.)

They're just at that magic age when they are willing to spend 40 minutes on a game of "war" or Uno or Yahtzee Jr.

It's life-changing.

Sometimes they even just play...wait for it...with each other.

This is huge.

Suddenly and happily, I am not the prime playmate for the kids every minute of the day.

I love my kids. They're hilarious, and fun and sweet and, natch, adorable. They're also relentlessly needy. That's part of their job description.

So to have a few more minutes in the day in which to check email, read or write a blog entry, make dinner, or pay bills, is a really good thing.

Sometimes, I even get to talk on the phone. With a friend.

I'm telling you, this is radical.

Excuse me, I need to go shuffle the Uno cards. But after that, I'm out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Comment: Taking a Minute to Remember

Inspired by my friend and fellow blogger The Solipsist, I'd like to just say a few brief words about the release of the guy who masterminded the Lockerbie Pan Am flight tragedy in 1989. He was released today to die at home from cancer. He got mercy for doing an evil and merciless thing.

Hard to reconcile.

I knew four of the kids on that plane. They were classmates of mine from Syracuse University. Miriam was a friendly acquaintance, full of life and joy. Nicole was quiet and intense and super talented. She was in my scene study class. Theo had written to me in a group letter I got from friends earlier that semester: she said she'd been thinking of me because she was planning on starting an alternative theatre company when she got back to the States. (I was especially alternative in those days.) She was mercurial and talented and beautiful and interesting. And then there was Turhan, who I didn't actually know, but who was a good friend's boyfriend at that time. They were all theatre majors, gifted and dynamic. They all dreamed of working in theatre for their whole lives. But those lives were cut short.

It's sad. It's horrible. I can't imagine the pain of the families.

I'm so sorry it happened and I send soothing thoughts to the families and hope the victims are resting in peace, or have been reincarnated into some wonderful animal, vegetable or mineral, where they are enjoying a new life. Who knows? Maybe they're doing something creative somewhere in some form right now. A person can dream.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Question: Am I depriving my kids by not taking them to the zoo?

I'm just wondering.

I don’t like the idea of animals in captivity. (I hate circuses too. I mean, I don't even want to get into THAT right now.) I don't want to go and watch a bunch of innocent animals pee, poop, wank and sleep. It's just none of my business, you know? It seems so nosy and rude.

Sure, I’m told the new, PC zoos have little climate-controlled habitats for their animals, but I’m not sold.

And sure, I can understand wanting to prevent the extinction of a species. If you want to preserve a habitat that no longer exists so that an animal species can continue to be, that’s fabulous. Go for it.

I just don’t want to see it.

Alert readers will recall that I spewed my vitriol on museums earlier this year, but in fact, my position has softened. I’ve reserved what’s left of my venom for car nutsacks (see yesterday's post) and zoos.

I don’t want to go to the zoo. I don’t want a zoo membership. I don’t want to meet anyone at the zoo. I don't want to talk about the zoo. (Well okay, maybe a little.)

Am I harming my kids by not taking them to see animals-formerly-known-as-wild?

One person who tried to reason with me on this said that for the kids, it was their only chance to see certain animals in the flesh, since of course we can’t all go summering on the veldt every year to watch the rhinos.

True, but how necessary is that for a rich inner life? Wouldn't animal quality time be better spent at a shelter, or helping injured animals rehabilitate? That seems like a cool thing to do.

Because I’m not anti-animal. In fact, I’d argue that I’m more pro-animal than the people who pay money to knock on the glass of the chimps isolette/incubator and say, “Dude, look at that, he’s sleeping. Look, I’m gonna wakim up! Tap tap tap!”

I HATE seeing people trying to get animals’ attention. It’s pathetic. Imagine if animals spent all day saying, “Hey, hey you, look at me, hey you, hey, I’m talkin’ to you!” On second thought, never mind.

If I were an animal stuck in a zoo, I’d want to break out and shove the Doritos of that annoying kid who keeps throwing pebbles at me right up his ass.

So no zoos. But I am officially mellowing out on my position on museums: they’re okay as long as you get to have a snack partway through.

That’s as far as I’ll go.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Complaint: Guh, look what's hanging from my car!

What’s with the nutsack thingies hanging on the rears of cars? Apart from not being even remotely anatomical, even in an anthropomorphic sense (they should be hanging UNDER the car, not behind it, duh), what the hell are they doing there? I just noticed one today after having heard of them for some time.

What’s the message? I have gonads. I have balls. So? I have ovaries, but you don’t see me hanging a pair of plastic fallopian tubes over my dash or a fake vulva hanging behind me. I don’t need to tell other people my gender. If they want to know, they can come a little closer.

I’ll admit, I do have pretty androgynous hair right now, but I’m pretty sure most people think I’m a girl, woman, and mother especially, with my children in tow everywhere I go. You don’t see as many guys being trailed all day by kids.

So maybe the nutsack is to say, Yes, I have balls and can father children, but I’m busy right now in my truck/SUV/car not watching my kids. Look at them jiggle. Look at them and think highly of me!

Now look. I have nothing against testicles. They serve a high purpose indeed.

But again, I ask you, why the fake balls on parade?

It’s just one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen and doesn’t speak well of the intellectual acumen of the person who has them on display.

Or am I missing something? Do they have some deep meaning? Am I now so horribly out of it now that I don't even understand a piece of popular culture?

Maybe a sixteen year old dufus guy could do the hanging balls thing, but frankly, I think sixteen year old guys have other thoughts on their mind these days. Kids today, they actually CARE about things, like the environment, and government, and jobs. We GenXers are meanwhile aging rapidly while maintaining our once-attractive-but-now-old-school-cynicism.

I’m middle aged, I’ve got a uterus, but it’s none of your damn business what it looks like.

Hang that on your tail pipe.

On second thought? Don’t.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Complaint: Starts with a V

I hate when you think of something that’s a perfect blog topic, and you forget it. Having to write daily is fun, but coming up with different topics for each post is not so easy.

So today as I was driving home from our family “field trip” from the grocery, I thought of two things that would make great topics. One I remembered. The other? I forgot. But I know that it starts with a V.


Probably. This morning my kids found a video/online Uno game playing championship. Just what they need, to be spectators to a card game they could be playing themselves in real life and real time. (And which, I might add, I’ve played at least twelve times already today and it’s not even 2 pm.) (Irritable much?)


We just came back from a great visit to Canada and I’m still fucking tetchy and irritable. Or is that really my personality? God, I hope not.

Velcro? Violins? Vesuvius? Virtues?

And it was going to be a good topic, honest. It was going to solve the world’s problems. Or at least distract us from them for about a minute and a half.

Velvet? Vagabond? Values? Velveeta?

Why is Velveeta even called cheese at all? “Cheese product” is cold comfort when you compare farm fresh cheese to the virulent orange goo the food manufacturers have designed for our piggery. They make us want it. Conspiracy? Oh yes.

Vivisection? Vents? Velcro? Vivaldi?

What exactly is vivisection? I’m going to go and look that up. Oh my god, that’s horrible. Does body piercing count as vivisection? That’s freakin’ creepy, man. Vivisection is a gnarly concept and activity. Gah. Next!

Vaseline? Valium? Vitriol? Versace?

Yeah, vitriol. That’s good. It’s not what I was thinking of, but for a blog, it’ll do.

300 words.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Comment: Write On. (Sorry, don't throw me overboard!)

It’s funny to think that you can’t call yourself a writer until you publish somewhere, until someone besides you recognizes that you can, indeed, write.

But I’ve just taken an amazing writing class online with an amazing teacher (Ariel Gore) and I’ve really come to the conclusion that if you say you are a writer, you ARE a writer.

Simple as that.

I’m not saying everything I write is fabulous. Ditto for anyone else. But we are all as unique as fingerprints, so why shouldn’t our writing reflect that uniqueness and, dare I say, beauty?

Because not to get all Kum Ba Ya on your asses, but everyone does have something to say, and their own uniquely personal way of saying it.

Not every word by every person must be published. Words let out are words let out. That’s writing. Good, bad or indifferent. Somebody is going to dig your writing, if you look around long enough.

So I’m happy to say that I spent eight weeks with some amazing writers who all had their own spin on life, and brought their own words to our shared screens. I just loved reading other people’s work and I just loved the feedback I got. We had a little universe for two months, and I'll miss it.

But at least I can take this class again. And I will. Oh yes, I surely will.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Complaint: Post-Vacation Letdown

What happens when your vacation is so much better than the rest of your daily life? This is the conundrum.

There’s nothing wrong with my life, don’t misunderstand.

But to be somewhere where I have intelligent grown ups who have time to talk to me, who also help me take care of my kids, to be able to run by a beautiful river every day and drink wine with every meal (cooked by someone else)?

Well, yes, I’m back from Canada, and, natch, filled with longing. There’s just something about that place, especially the Maritimes, which scratches an itch I usually forget I have. (By the way, it's not "aboot". It's "aboat" or "abowwt." You'd think after years of teasing, people would get it right, but they never do.)

I didn’t grow up in the Maritimes, but I claim it. I lost my virginity there. That makes it homeland, doesn't it? I grew up in Montreal. But with family firmly established further east, my gravitational pull is now there. Home is where my mom is. And my step dad. And my kids’ cousins.

My kids and I had a truly idyllic vacation there. I’m feeling blue to leave the country of red and white. (Sorry.) It’s not that I don’t like it here; I do. It’s just not the same as there. And my family is there. And my memories are there. And my past is there. And my dreams are there.

Wow, waxing poetic on my first day back. And what’s with the melancholy?

The nice thing about my neighborhood here in the States is that people are almost as friendly as they are in the Maritimes. It’s nice to live somewhere where people are happy to see you, happy you’ve moved to “their” city, welcoming you with civic pride and open arms.

Silicon Valley, though filled with some lovely people that I dearly miss, doesn’t really embrace people that way; the population is too transient. I found one school that embraced my whole family and we stuck with it until I had to have my hands pried off it as we boarded the plane to move east. (Damn, that’s an awkward sentence. You get the idea.)

Travel always shakes up your perceptions and perspective, so of course this vacation was no exception. I think it was extra nice to get away because we’re still so barely here in our new digs that we don’t have the comfort and familiarity that I feel in Canada. So going there is even more comforting and familiar compared to our newly moved reality in the States. I’m lonely here. I was never lonely on vacation.

I’m probably idealizing things a bit, too, because I didn’t have most of my everyday cares and woes while on vacation. That’s definitional. And I know that I can’t stay on vacation forever. I’m not ready to check out of life permanently, so I have to face my responsibilities and, thus, reality.

My mom has a poster hanging in her basement office that says, in classic 70s style, “Bloom where you are planted.” Good advice, but what happens when you keep uprooting?

Ah well. Such is life. There are things that happen that don’t allow you to do exactly what you planned on doing, and that’s how it is. Mindfulness and Buddhism both would tell me to be where I am, now, and not dwell in past or future regrets or longing.

It’s just so fucking hard to be a Buddhist.

But isn’t that what the premise of the whole philosophy/religion is? Life is suffering.

It’s not "Suck it up" or "Repress it". It’s just, "Life can suck. And it can not suck."

And right now it sucks.

Have a nice day, eh!