Choosing to Listen

Remember the movie Jerry McGuire?  Remember the part where Rene Zellweger said, “You had me at hello...”

I watched Obama’s 30 minute spot yesterday evening.  I watched it twice, listening hard for something I hadn’t heard or didn’t know.  Listening with someone else’s ears — perhaps someone who won’t listen, just to try and imagine what they might hear.

Later, I listened to the talking heads banter back and forth about whether it was too much, or too soon, or too expensive.  At some point, a screen caption on CNN questioned whether the Democrats were buying the election and I shook my head.  They’re so foolish.

He had me at the wheat waving in the wind.

I guess that makes me a willing participant, because if I heard him correctly, he’d like us to be a part of what this country can become once again.  And since I’ve never known any of my strongly felt opinions to sit quietly while others, stumbling over their illogical fears and deep-seated issues with stereotypes, feel comfortable expressing theirs, anxiety in their voices, panic in their eyes.

It’s not rational, that behavior, and I wonder what it must feel like to be so entrenched in one’s beliefs that there’s no possibility of change.

I think ultimately, that attitude is what forced me out of my profession.  The idea of being surrounded by people who have no vision, who can only think of possibilities that fit inside a tiny box in the corner labeled, “My Life,” and seem to fear not knowing what lies around the next corner exhaust me.

I used to have the energy to argue with them, but I just don’t any more.

I just want to wallow in the wonder of possibility and hope that we all have something amazing ahead of us.  Something that will slowly peel the layers off the onion-like fear mongers I hear booing in response to their candidates’ empty comments.

But I will continue to worry about people who insist upon making others’ life choices their own business, and work hard to push others to see as they do — that the world isn’t as diverse as it actually is, and that not everyone should have the same opportunities they’ve had in life — some of which weren’t necessarily earned.

Can you choose your parents?  Your country of birth, your gender, your…

No.

But I can choose to keep my mind open and allow that to help form my opinions, even when I don’t care for those I’m trying to understand.

I should make a list.

It’s official.  I’ve finally gotten to the point in my life sans former profession where I feel like I need an additional six hours a day added to my clock.  I’m happy to say that in contrast to my former need for six hours extra *delete rant that was to have been inserted here…*, I’m happily feeling that I not only need to get all that I have to get done…done…I want to.

It does not mean, nor will it ever, that I am perky, however.

It does mean that I just may have to blow the dust off my calendar, or more realistically, use my cyber calendar more effectively.  The way I feel right now, I could become a compulsive list maker with the very first order of the day being, make a list, which has never made much sense to me.

My very non-perky giddiness is being fueled by so many different aspects of life right now — and it’s an interesting one to me, if no one else.

With the election just around the corner, I’m successfully undistracted by everything the media has to say about Palin, or Ayers, or the Dewey effect, or just about anything that’s coming out of their mouths right now.  They’re on overdrive and have me wondering what in Hell they’ll talk about after it’s all over.  I feel like I need to organize a party for election night.  When Obama crosses that goal line, we should be able to jump out of our seats and scream just like we do when any of our sports teams win.  Yes, I said when — not if.

I.  Can’t.  Wait.

In other news, my mother has a boyfriend.  She’s 70, you know.  But there’s something wrong with calling a man who’s well into his sixties a boy, and man friend sounds strange.  Man cake?  She says they giggle about silly things, email back and forth, and go to the kareoke sessions at their complex together.  Sounds like camp doesn’t it?  She also just garnered one of the coveted garden spots, inheriting some established rose bushes and will no doubt have it transformed into a veritable botanical nirvana before spring.  What does this translate to?  The guilt I’ve been carrying around not spending more time with her has eased up a bit, and I’m right in line to have her tell me she’s too busy the next time I ask her if she wants to go shopping or something — which happens once every blue moon or so.

You go Mom.  What does he call you?  Blue Eyes?  Oh, my.

And then, of course, there’s the remodel the economy tried to squash, but couldn’t.  In fact we started the process yesterday and now I’m feeling like I need to pinch myself over it all and then snap out of it.  There’s so much to do.  Do you have any idea just how many bathroom vanities, pedistal sinks, vessel sinks, over mount, under mount, wall mount, porcelain, stone, hammered copper, wooden, antique, modern possibilities there are?  It’s sort of Heaven and Hell all at once.

Like hot flashes.  Raging heat, then freezing cold.  Okay, so maybe not. *looks at watch wondering just how long menopause actually lasts when one has no equipment left*

Then there’s my food blog which has begun to feel like a business.  That’s a good thing, but I’m a bit slow on the uptake and need to sit down and think about it all while I’m not in front of my Mac which is beyond distracting.  I know I’m the only person on the planet who feels that way, of course.  Or better said, the only person who has no resolve, no will power, no stick-to-itiveness.  Actually, I’m great at all those things as long as they’re connected to my Mac.  I finally decided to take on my own domain with my food blog and having my memory refreshed about the process is less than thrilling.  But I’m relentlessly persistent and will figure it out…

…after I’ve sucked it up and decided I can no longer put off creating a weekly baking schedule and menu plan.  Gina is a pro at this and posts it like clockwork. Impressive.

But what about world peace you say?  Well, there has never been a time that I haven’t realized my freedom to have the quality of life I enjoy isn’t something to be taken for granted.  I know this.  I know there are people who haven’t had the opportunites I’ve had, or the health and food we enjoy.  I know there are people who have to deal with war every single day.  No, I can’t imagine.  The peace I enjoy is not something they understand…What did Cat Stevens sing about all those years ago?  Something about a Peace Train…

**start copy**

Join The Revolution
Here are the rules and the story.
(1) Copy this into a post (2) ADD YOUR NAME to the bottom of the tag list
(3) Tag at as many people as you’d like.


The Peace Globe project began in the fall of 2006 with a simple post from one blog, Mimi Writes. The post ignited a flame in the blogosphere. The flame became a passion. The passion became a movement. It amazingly traveled from blog to blog to blog across the globe. Bloggers wrote passionate articles on what peace means to them, along with the promise of three Latin words scribbled on a globe – Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace) – branded with the integrity of their names or blog names. It was positively inspiring to watch. And it began to happen all over the world – from Singapore to China to Afghanistan to Brooklyn.

It was simple. And powerful.
In less than three weeks bloggers from all across the globe will blog for peace.
We will speak with one voice. One subject. One day.
Won’t you join us?
November 6, 2008

How To Get Your Peace Globe In 4 easy steps!

1. Right CLICK and SAVE the peace globe below or choose from other designs here.
2. Sign the globe using Paint, Photoshop or a similar graphics tool. Decorate the globe anyway you wish. You can even include the name of your blog. Click
here for hundreds of inspiring examples from previous BlogBlasts.
3. Return the peace globe to me via email ~ mimiwrites2005 at yahoo.com – Let me know your blog’s name and url by leaving a comment
here and signing the Mr. Linky. Your submission will be numbered and dated in the official gallery . Your globe and post will be listed on the Official BlogBlast For Peace website and The Peace Globe Posts page.

Here’s the most important part.
4. On November 6, 2008 DISPLAY YOUR GLOBE IN A POST. Title your post “Dona Nobis Pacem”. This is important. The goal is for all blog post titles to say the same thing on the same day. Write about peace or simply fly your globe.


Go HERE for the other 3 globe template choices!)


If you’d like to help spread the word, take this button to your site. The code is in my sidebar.


I, Mimi Queen of Memes, hereby royally tag the following…….

(Before you copy this list on your blogs, ADD YOUR OWN NAME to the bottom of the list. )

………………………………………………………………………………………………YOUR NAME HERE.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE TAGGED TO PLAY.

Please passing this meme through the blogosphere. Peace + Power
This is Mimi Pencil Skirt reporting from the lovely land of the Peace Globes.
Memeing the Movement.

**End Copy**

I’m officially tagging (and I NEVER do this…) Scott, Gina, Jerry, Ben, Meleah, Ritzy, Francis, paisley, ladybanana, Phil, Mike who are all lovely people and will probably think, OMG, what is she doing?  By all means, consider yourself tagged if you’re in the mood.  Maybe even try to write a better post that I have about world peace…

Crickets. I hear crickets…

I sit at my Mac on an enormous grey exercise ball scanning all of my open windows.  There’s twhirl in the upper corner — not nearly as noisy as it has been, but there, its colorful avatars proudly displaying each person’s thoughts, comments, responses, and taunts to visit yet another link.  And email is open, too, even though it shouldn’t be considering an audible reminder lets me know when I have a tweet, or more junk mail.

Blurb is open too, as I’m compiling a friend’s family recipes into a cookbook.  But I’m here instead.  I swore I heard crickets coming from the general vicinity and thought I might fill the space a bit with words that don’t add up to much more than my thoughts, which I suppose are something.

I’ve learned that in order to write more than what I’m taking up space with at this moment, I’ve got to read and be involved.  To do something other than what I’ve been doing.  I’ve also learned that I can’t wake up at 4am and expect to function at this point in the day.

None of this is unfortunate, however.  In fact, it’s how I’ve always wondered life might be if I had the choice to do what I wanted and when from one day to the next.  My house is even clean.  My cupboards organized.  The last bit of cat crap sprayed on the wall in her last explosion decontaminated.  The nasty white carpet I’ve complained about for the past year and a half soon to be torn from the floor and replaced by indescribably beautiful wood.

And we’re going to Las Vegas this weekend.

Like how I slipped that one in there?  You’re thinking we just went, right?  Actually it was a year ago, I think.

This means I have to go shopping you know.  Maybe a few tops to wear with my jeans.  Pretend I know how I’m supposed to dress…

Like I could pretend even if I wanted to.

It’s more fun to watch the the twenty somethings doing their party thing — from afar, mind you. *remembering that twentysomething girl barfing in a trash can last time…*

But it will be relaxing as it always is, and there’s sure to be good food on our agenda.  What?  Like that’s a surprise.

Piggy Banks: I’ll bet Warren Buffet had one.

Cute Piggy Bank If I remember correctly, my sister got a piggy bank for her fourth birthday.  She is the youngest in our family, so it’s never been quite clear as to why my younger brother and myself were passed up on the piggy gifting.  It was a cute little pig — fat-bellied and pink, just like she was when she was little.  She’s thin as a whip now (smart, too…) and no longer has her piggy bank (thanks to the bottom-dwelling loser who crawled through her bedroom window and broke it, stealing her money…), but I’m thinking that owning one while she was growing up must have put the idea of saving into her brain in a fierce kind of way.  By the time she was 20, she had a nice little nest egg in the bank, a flashy sports car, and her own condominium.

Yes, she did.

My brother and I have never been as thrilled as she has been to save money, and I’m thinking it’s because we didn’t have piggy banks.  You know, tainted at an early age?  Marked and doomed to be spend thrifts?  We must have thought that money grew on trees, or that we’d make excellent tax payers when we grew up.  You know, sort of simulate the economy single handedly?  I know Uncle Sam probably has a special place reserved for each of us some day…

…AFTER we all survive the financial doom and gloom that continues to unfold before us all.

I recently bought a very cute piggy for one of my nieces who turned two, thinking not only that it was the cutest thing I’d ever seen, but that maybe I could accomplish a few thing with my purchase (since I never bought one for my three sons or any of my nieces or nephews except the youngest…):I love this Piggy Bank

1.  Say Happy Birthday to a real cutie pie (and give her the gift that will pay big rewards later in life…SAVINGS, a sense of self-worth, independence, moo-lah — wait, that would be a cow bank…)

2.  Stimulate the economy by doing more than just clicking ads…(I’m extremely good at this…Ask me how to S.P.E.N.D.)

3. Support the talented blogger, Lynn of Korff Ceramic Originals who makes these incredibly cute and well-made banks (plus a whole lot more…)

4.  Out class those who are burying their savings in Folger’s coffee cans in their back yards (which is what my mother would have done if she still had a back yard to dig in…)

Think about it.

Piggy banks can be excellent for those of us well beyond toddlerhood, too, right?  It’s never too late to save.  They can be used for incentive:  money for every mile you run, or sit up you complete, or pound you lose. You can save loose change from the washer or your teen aged son’s bedroom floor — your husband’s pockets.  Set a goal and insert the coinage or paper.  It works.  Little by little.

Hell, if I used one to deposit the money I saved for each glass of wine I didn’t drink, I’d have a nice little nest egg in about a week.  But I worry about the future of all those wineries I stimulate.

Ask Warren Buffet.  He knows. I’ll bet he had a piggy bank when he was growing up, too. Think about it.  The holidays are around the corner, and Lynn personalizes…How cool is that?
I’m thinking I just may need more piggy banks…Piggy Bank

10 things from my brain today

Random thoughts and observations after returning from my morning walk today (which is saying quite a bit considering I wasn’t thrilled with the idea to begin with…):

1.  Holding my coffee cup under the drip as the coffee is brewing makes for an excellent rich roasty first cuppa in the morning.  The second?  It has to be what swill tastes like.

2.  The kids in carpool this morning were mumbling about their plans for after school as usual, but “not being able to meet tonight because I’m going over to so-and-so’s house to watch the debate” surprised me.  From an 8th grader?  How cool is that?

3.  The Clean Eating magazine I picked up at Whole Foods the last time I was there and filled my basket for much more than the $40 my son tells me is possible to spend, is something I shouldn’t be feeling snarky about.  I’m sure that their tag line of “Improving your life one meal at a time” doesn’t include butter or whole anything and that the recipe on the cover for Cheesecake Pears has far fewer calories than the Key Lime Cheesecake I just made.  *sigh*

4.  The swill-tasting second cup is growing on me, because let’s face it.  It’s coffee, right?

5.  Lots of people were out walking and jogging this morning and as I approached each person walking in the opposite direction, I looked up, got ready to make eye contact, and say, “Good Morning,” with a smile on my face.  Now you could argue that I’m full of shit or just plain phoney, but I’ve learned that I’m the one that gets the perks from it.  It makes me feel good.

6.  Mostly women don’t return the eye contact or the greeting.  And I don’t think it’s because I look like some perky idiot.  I’m fairly reserved and pleasant about the whole thing.  The men respond.  They smile pleasantly whether they’re jogging, or on a bike, hell, even the guys setting up for their day’s work responded pleasantly.  What is up with women anyway?  How hard is it to be friendly?  Pretend, okay?

7.  Is it just me, or does “LOW-FAT HOLIDAY MENUS” sound like an oxymoron?

8.  I’m reading a piece by Frank McCourt in William Zinsser’s Inventing the Truth and he writes:

“You were made conscious all the time, for instance, of how you had to prepare to go to confession.  You had to examine your conscience.  This was a form of introspection that was imposed on us.  But it was valuable.  It forced us to think, “Were we good?” or “Were we bad?” and to think about our various transgressions.  Before you went to the confession booth you would go over the seven deadly sins to see if there was one you ought to mention.  The one that always confused me was pride.  How could pride be a sin?  In America you hear, “Walk tall, be proud of your heritage.”  But we were taught that pride is what got Lucifer kicked out of heaven because he thought he was equal to God, if not greater.  You were supposed to think little of yourself.  Get rid of that evil.”

Actually, demonstrated pride was totally smacked down in my family.  [Yes, it was.] Thinking about it now, it relates to the idea that perhaps we weren’t as good as others, so shouldn’t act as if we were.  We didn’t deserve anything and weren’t worth anything, so shouldn’t act as if we deserved more than what we had.  It sounds pretty awful writing it, and even more awful reading it back to myself now.  But yes, that just about sums it up.

9.  I’d love a small, old house close to the beach.  *waiting for thunderbolt* Maybe that cute one I saw this morning with the shiny garage floor I’d totally trade in for the grungy carpeted floor in my house and the chic framed vintage travel poster hanging on the wall.  Or maybe the house with the walled patio topped with bright fuschia bougainvillas.  On second thought, maybe the one with the weathered flagstones leading up to the bright red front door and the large paned windows…Clearly, I’m over the not feeling like I deserve things.  I was never that good at it anyway.  Ever.

10.    Must go iron hair.  Have to meet with contractor today about remodel that will most likely not happen now since no one is lending money to anybody, regardless of status as bonafide tax-paying stalwart American middle class “we can shoulder everything, so just stick it to us baby” diehards.

Can’t quite figure out whom I should thank first:

  • all the realtors who talked people who couldn’t afford a house on a particular salary into that house and made off like bandits with their commissions;
  • purple kool-aid drinking I don’t feel sorry for you people who actually believed the crap they were fed; or
  • the mortgage company that approved the loans and then passed them off as soon as they could.

Wait.  Perhaps Richard Fuld, the now defunct Lehman Brothers’ former CEO can front us.  Surely someone who made that much money while his company took a swirl down the drain has a dime to spare. Okay, so maybe a million dollar painting he doesn’t need anymore?  Just a drop in the bucket, doncha think?

Middle Aged Anomaly Tucks in Ass Each Morning

I click “Write” on my WordPress dashboard, waiting for the spinning wheel that is my brain to slow knowing that it won’t and that focusing on a single stream of steady thought on any one idea will seem impossible.

No, be impossible.

In 20 minute’s time, I’ve gone from thinking about working out a recipe for apple cinnamon nut ice cream, to worrying about the huge bowl of bread dough I have fermenting in the fridge, then mulling over tonight’s debate between Palin and Biden before reading through most of this Slate article and being completely distracted by a list linked inside that article. Or maybe it was somewhere else on the page…can’t remember.

I don’t normally spend my time reading these types of articles, but once in a while, one will catch my eye because the writing is good and it actually feels as if there’s a person behind that writing. Quite a concept, yes?  Aspects of it will get me thinking, of course, and the entire time, somewhere hovering above it all (at least today) are Natalie Goldberg’s words about writers I scanned over this morning in the bathroom:

Writers live twice.  They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning.  But there’s another part of them that they have been training.  The one that lives everything a second time.  That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it.  Looks at the texture and details.

Okay, so Natalie, I haven’t been “training” because that would imply that this living twice business is something I choose to do.  You don’t choose it.  “It” chooses you.  For example, not only have I thought about what I’ve described just now, but I’ve thought about it many times since, and am now thinking about it again.  And yet again when revising this paragraph.  Still thinking…

I do this all day long.

It’s like watching myself live my life and even though it’s odd, it provides me quite a bit of time to think about how and why I do what I do.  As much as I can say there’s a soothing (insane) aspect to it, unfortunately it doesn’t lend itself to improving my productivity.  Bills are sitting in front of me, there are quite a few piles of recipes I’ve torn from magazines ready to be recycled sitting in the middle of my family room floor (where they’ve migrated after being on the kitchen counter for several days), and I need to get off my derrier to go for a walk today.

But I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the bloggosphere can be quite the brutal place — at times, what I imagine it would feel like to go through a carwash without my car, each spray of water or rotating brush pushing me first one way, and then another and never quite making it to the end.

I’m tired of it but have no one to blame but myself.  I think much of it stems from the fact that who I am and what I have to say here doesn’t exactly fit anywhere.  This conclusion isn’t earth-shattering, nor is it meant to be accompanied by a whine. I don’t whine.  I have been known to climb up on a soapbox and metaphorically flip the world the bird, however — just not as much as I used to.

*sigh*

I am a middle-aged woman.  That I enjoy who I am at this particular point in my life doesn’t really change the fact that I’m somewhat of an oddity in the Bloggosphere.  Sometimes, it’s overwhelming to be surrounded by twenty and thirty somethings with toddlers, techies with jargon I never completely understand, snarling, snarking political junkies, celeb gossip mongers, and the increasingly less than attractive you-too-can-make-money-at-home crowd.

I’m an anomaly.  And I guess that’s the most annoying part of this since I always have been, so why should my persona here be less so?  One would think I’d get used to being reminded that I’ve always been a square peg.

I have no stories to tell about my toddlers, my Satanical boss, my commute, my gigabytes, and there is no way in hell I could ever sit down here and try to be funny every freaking day because people want a cheap laugh.  But I’m also not going to wallow in the bathos of my life (liar, liar, pants on fire…), lamenting about mistakes and missed opportunities. No, really.

What I will do is continue to look in the mirror each day, and after taking more than the normal minute or so to scan my body and realize it doesn’t exactly look like it used to even five years ago, suck in my stomach, tuck in my ass, smile and know that I am me.  Still.

Sounds like a warning, doesn’t it?

Heh.