We Are Sprung Again

All over the world, all manner of people, all walks of life, once Spring has finally sprung, there are festivals celebrating the season of rebirth. For most of us in the U.S., that means Easter. And while the religious notions of Easter are certainly important to all my Christian friends, i’m not remotely subject-educated enough to speak on it. The universal notion of rebirth, tho…  I have lots of experience with that.

As a child, i was a churchgoer.  Regardless of the beauty and popularity of Christmas songs, i always felt that the hymns of Easter were the most beautiful. I still do.  And the services over the holiest of weekends always made me cry (In a good way.) All the evil of the world falling and failing in the path of a New Hope. Secularly, my Ma made Easter baskets for us, we salivated over New England Boiled Dinner (A melt-in-your-mouth yumminess of epic sodium proportions), the vivid color and fragrances of flowers blooming everywhere, and i remember more than one sheep shaped cake, covered in coconut and dressed with jellybeans on visits to my Dad’s side of the family. All wrapped up together, if was a heartwarming celebration of Spring. A celebration of rebirth and revival. Sweeter than any sugar-coated Peep.

As an adult, tho i become increasingly pantheist by the year, i still hold a special place in my heart for Easter. For anyone who struggles with the disease of self-hatred, the concept that God/Goddess/Universe will give us, even encourage us, a do-over is a gift greater than any other. And as we become more enlightened, those renaissances become less of a drugstore makeover and more of a true reincarnation. Spring becomes a reminder that we should change and grow regularly, just like the Earth itself. (Mostly secular) Easter is the festival i’m most familiar with from my youth, but each culture and religion has a version of the same notion…

From the Christian realm, at Easter we take on John 15:13 and learn to sacrifice for our fellow humans. From our Jewish family, at Passover we learn to break free of shackles and bondage (both literal and figurative.) From our Pagan friends, at Beltane we learn to reconnect with our youthful vitality and wonder. From our Hindu friends, at Holi we learn to forgive, forget, mend, and move onward and upward. I’m sure there are many more Spring festivals out there that i haven’t gotten to learn about yet, and dollars-to-donuts, they offer a positive lesson for self-improvement.

Given that i still have a lot of improving to do, i’ll gladly celebrate them all.

So here’s to rebirth! Here’s to becoming the person we want to be! Here’s to nourishing the spirit and helping it grow!  Here’s to breaking ground like the first daffodil of the season! And just because it makes the heart happy, here’s to joyful celebrations, love and laughter, and chocolate bunnies!

May God/Goddess/Universe bless you all with rebirth.

The Woolworth’s Papers

April is National Poetry Month. You know what that means…. Well, i suppose it should mean that i am writing a poem, but i’m not in the mood for that. Instead, i looked up my old poetry notebooks. I have them for as far back as my sophmore year in high school and on for about 10 years. By the time my oldest weedling started school, i had pretty much stopped. No writing to be found of the score of years between then and now. Just the files of my personal prologue.

Anyway, there are a lot of them. These time capsules of my brain and heart. Most of them have loose papers, napkins, junk envelopes with bits and phrases written on them stuffed between the pages. Some have cards and letters from my oldest weedling and a few special friends.  Today i reread them. Each dog-eared,  yellowed-with-age, annotated and dated one.

Holy shit, was it embarrassing. (I started to say “garbage”, but i can’t really say that. I mean, those feelings, however immature and ignorant, were heartfelt at the time. And writing was the only way i knew to vent them.)

In my school system, your sophomore year in high school was about poetry, public speaking, and other language endeavors that would have been torture in lesser hands. I’ve always enjoyed poetry, but that year, i had an English teacher who was truly outstanding. She enthusiastically encouraged us to write. And to write in our own style. She helped me fall in love with writing by giving us variety of assignments and opportunities. And if she sensed effort, even if it wasn’t gifted work, she coaxed us to do more. I started buying notebooks at Woolworth’s and filling them up with my juvenile angst.

“Nobody likes me! I’ll never fit in!!”

“He doesn’t know i exist! I’m gonna die an old maid!!”

And too many handwritten lyrics to Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen” for me to count.

All that usual time-consuming schoolgirl crap of which pink-framed young adult series books and teen magazines are filled. Ironic, since i thought i was alone in all this misery. Turned out, there were billion-dollar industries founded on it. Gaggles of teenage girls lamenting their lack of standing in the social hierarchy, wailing in high-pitched nasal unison. Perhaps because it was harder to express, my legitimate depression  remained well hidden beneath these shallow concerns of youth. The little i wrote about the real demons in my head is clunky and unfinished. Darkness overshadowed by soul-words with no English translation. So much for my Sylvia Plath phase.

But i will say this, i wrote a lot.

Like anything else in life, practice helps. So tho my anguish and inexperience are palpable in those journals, you can follow the growth of my writing if you read them in order. I wish i had continued to write thru  my thirties so that i could follow my personal growth as well. To maybe find that moment when hope gained enough ground that the game went into overtime.  Wouldn’t that be a cool thing to read? To find that threshold, my own Moonstruck “SNAP OUT OF IT!!” epiphany when i started taking all the dismal moments of my childhood and turning them into rebar for the person i wanted to be? We could call it my Louisa May Alcott phase, since it was about finally becoming an adult, albeit well into my fourth decade on this Earth.

But those writings don’t exist. I feel like i’m missing The Two Towers. 

Anyway, I’ve a long way to go before i hit my Maya Angelou phase.  Decades, i’m sure. After all, you have to live the experiences before you can glean wisdom from them. I am pleased to say that i’m starting to have Leo Buscaglia moments, tho, so that gives me hope. (Of course, i still have plenty of Edward Lear moments, too, so it’s not like it’s a constant gaining of ground. But, hey, at least it’s progress.) Maybe, if i live long enough, i’ll get there. A book full of wisdom and humor that will change the world for someone. Wait for me, Thoreau! I may be crawling, but i’m making my way! Don’t give up on me!

In the mean time, i’ll keep writing. I’m sure someday i’ll look back at what i have written lately and shrink at it. The horror of what i currently find amusing or important. And subjecting others to it! Mean and presumptuous! Ok, well, maybe not those things, but i do hope i see things clearer  in the years ahead than i do now. And i hope i write about it more effectively than i do now. Which means more of this rambling. The only way to become a better writer is to write. Right? Right.

And if i’m lucky, someone will read it and like it.

 

 

Should I Stay or Should I Go

I used to really enjoy my time on social media. I loved seeing everyone’s vacation pictures, funny memes, and dinner recipes. Sure, there was the occasional rant about how much something sucked, or the Facebook equivalent of a chain letter (For those of you too young to remember, these were actual pen-and-ink letters that you had to copy by hand and send to ten of your friends, or Hitler was going to show up at your next birthday party with near-beer and a rabid wombat and ruin everything, and you’d be left to rot in hell forever after)… But on the whole, it was my happy place. After a rough shift at work, i looked forward to seeing a video of a friend’s new grandson, or a screaming goat singing the chorus to the latest Taylor Swift song. It made me forget the stress of the day and laugh a little. It made it much easier not to kick the dog and go to bed angry….

Until last year.

While, before that, there were people who clogged up my newsfeed with conspiracy theories and mean tweets (Excluding, of course, the videos of celebrities reading mean tweets… That stuff’s hysterical!), if i wanted to stay in contact regardless, i could always hide their posts so i didn’t have to see them. But the last election turned far too many of us into partisan, uncompromising, political commentators. I had hoped it would end after the election, but it has, in many instances, gotten worse. From both the left and the right.

Now, i’m not saying people don’t have the right to be angry. And i’m not saying that people don’t have the right to post it. There is no law that says you can’t argue via the internet. And i admit, sometimes people say things, either true or false, that make me look it up and learn more about it. I consider that a good thing. I like to learn.

It’s the meanness that makes me log off.

Which brings me to tell you about my grandmothers. (I know that doesn’t make sense… Stick with me here…)

One of my grandmothers was a petite, quiet, but strong woman, born within the first decade of the 20th century. A good Irish Catholic girl (Yes, they DO exist), she strived to live like a good Christian. Like most of her generation, she had prejudices about color and lack of religion. I doubt she knew anyone who was (admittedly) gay, but she probably would have felt uncomfortable with it. She did not, however, believe in the mistreatment of anyone, regardless. No meanness. No evil thoughts. As a child, whenever i would get frustrated and shout that i HATED (Clams, tie shoes, the miscreant kid down the street…), she would gently, but sternly, say, “You must not hate. You can dislike, but you must NEVER hate. God doesn’t like hate.” And tho i certainly wasn’t a good Irish Catholic girl, i knew she spoke the truth. I knew it was wrong to hate and hurt. I knew that Love was the answer. Even if we don’t care for someone, we were to treat them as we want to be treated. And then pray for them. Never hate them. Hate was what caused people to do mean things. Hate is what caused us to mistreat others. Hate is what hurt people.

Now, my other grandmother was not like that at all. Well, that’s not entirely true. She was strong. But the other stuff? Nope. Not even close. For one thing, she was the center on her high school’s girls’ basketball team… This was right about 1940, so that should tell you a lot about the woman. She wasn’t petite, she wasn’t quiet, and her idea of religion was more about the holiness of a good lobster roll. (And if you fail to see the holiness, you’ve never had a really good lobster roll.) When my other grandmother was heading to mass on Sunday, this one was preparing to settle in and watch the Dolphins play. She could swear like a sailor, and she loved a good bet. But it never mattered who she was betting, or watching the game with, or sitting next to at the bar. Your validity as a Dolphins fan was not questioned if you happened to be from another human category. That never mattered to her. Case in point, i had the pleasure one day of sitting with my grandmother and the remaining women from her basketball team at their regular get-together for coffee. They told me about how difficult it was to find other female teams to play… They would have to travel hours to games… And how angry they would get when they would arrive, and someone would question the fact that their power forward was a black woman. To them, they were a team. Period. That was all that mattered.  And they wouldn’t tolerate mistreatment of their friend, classmate, and teammate, even if that meant refusing to play a game if she wasn’t included.

As i said, these women weren’t perfect. They each had their own social circles, and like others of their generation, didn’t cross the tracks to other neighborhoods very often. (Many generations later, this is still a widespread issue.) But neither of them ever knowingly mistreated someone because of a skin color, religion, political affiliation, whathaveyou. Maybe it was because they were both forced into single motherhood at a time when there were no allowances for that. They knew what it was like to be refused a job simply because you were female and a mother. They knew looks of disapproval for something that was outside their control and had no bearing on their worthiness.  Maybe because of that, they chose to override their socially-nurtured prejudices and try to treat all people with fairness and equity. Your worthiness for trust, to them, was based on your behavior to others and your willingness to work hard. Your worthiness as a human was determined by the fact that you were human. Clear. Simple.

Two women, over a decade apart in age, different social brackets, different religions and interests… Both coming to the conclusion that heart and tenacity are better discriminators than color and creed. This is how i was raised.

Yes, there are times i find myself jumping to conclusions about people based on an accent,  bumper sticker, or hygiene habits. At those times, i forcibly remind myself that i could be them in another circumstance, or vice versa. And i remind myself that a lot of what i am might horrify them, too. And that puts us on an even playing field. I still might make the wrong judgement in the end, but at least it’s an honest mistake and not a thoughtless one.

So as i cruise my social media tonight, as i weed thru the Trumpsters hating on the immigrants, and the Dems hating on the Right, and everyone hating on the Muslims… I will try to remember that they probably have some valid points. That they have a right to express their anger, even if others don’t agree or sympathize. That they may not know or care that all i want to find on my home page tonight is a story about bikers helping kids or a video of guinea pigs talking about pumpkin spice. That they don’t realize how bitter they sound. I will try to remember because i don’t want to get caught up in the hatred. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hatred. And God/Goddess/Universe doesn’t like it when i hate.

I know, because my grandmothers told me so.

They also taught me that, in the face of hate, sometimes all you can do is refuse to play the game.

Adventures in Renovation – The First Bite

It’s easy to get excited about home renovations. Even those of us resistant to change can’t help but get caught up in the quest for the calmest shade blue paint or the perfect pattern of floor tile. Since, as you know, i’m passionate about color and texture, i have boxes full of paint chips, counter top samples, and bits of flooring taking up an unseemly amount of space as i plunge headfirst into a gradual makeover of my little beach cottage in the wood. Even knowing what the eventual end will look like, there are still so many options to choose from. You make lists of the few jobs  that are too difficult or important-to-get-right for you to do yourself, and align them with lists of contractors and specialists. The rest will be a bunch of fun weekend projects. The excitement builds.

And then you start the work, and you remember why you don’t do it for a living.

I was starting with a simple thing this weekend – The inside of the kitchen cupboards. The cottage is 100 years old, with a kitchen that was added on around the time when the idea of a kitchen inside the house became more commonplace. The cabinets are good, solid, and heavy; so i decided to update them rather than replace them. The original state was old-wood wiff and that funky Crayola mahogany color that  hasn’t belonged in a  home since 1975. The hardware is fake copper colonial.

Not exactly Martha Stewart.

I wasn’t sure what the cabinets were stained with, and i couldn’t even begin to guess since i have no idea when they were put in, so i did some research online and with my local paint guru before deciding that i was going to have to start with  the basics and prime the hell out of them.

I thought priming would be step one. But it turned out to be step five, six, and seven.

I woke early Saturday full of the energy that comes with a new, desirable project. I go to my kitchen and start removing the contents of the cupboards. Easy enough, right? Ummmm…. Nope. First of all, it is my son’s task to put away the dishes after i wash them, and apparently he failed “stacking” in pre-school. There was literally nothing in the lower cupboards that i could move more than a single item at a time. Big squares on top of small circles, things upside down, and the plasticware…. Oy vey! None of it stacked with any sort of commonality, so i had to sort it as i was removing it just to keep it from heaping on the counter.

Oh, and the corporate people who think it’s a good idea to make each brand non-compatible with the others’ lids? You can kiss my ass.

Once all the “stuff” was out, i started on getting rid of the liners. One of the cabinets had contact paper so old, it flaked apart as i was removing it – which took a putty knife and more of a positive attitude than i actually possessed . The others all had leftover linoleum. It was a bit wiff from age, but not too nasty underneath…  til i got to the cupboard under the sink…

I think it was originally wood under there, but it looked more like a science project.

There wasn’t going to be any way to salvage it, so i had to pull it up. I was grateful to find that the subfloor underneath was neither rotted nor harboring creatures. I had some leftover plywood in the shed, so this should be an easy fix, right? But i don’t own a power saw of any kind, so i make a few calls to see if any of the hardware stores in town can cut out the pieces, including the allowances for the pipes. No such luck. Looks like another trip to the store for tools, but for now, i keep on.

I eventually get all the bottom cabinets unloaded and decide, just to keep myself interested, i will complete these before moving on to the upper ones. Having prepared the night before by purchasing tri-sodium phosphate, gloves, safety goggles, and a bucket (among other things), i set to work washing down all the inside surfaces of the cabinets to remove any grease or residue. A few things become apparent:

First, none of the inside surfaces are sealed. Second, these cabinets must have been hand-made because none of them is the same size, nor are the grain of the walls all going the same way. Third, whoever did the making didn’t know much about the physics of construction, because all the drawers are made with end-to-end corners, secured by penny nails. As a result, they are starting to come apart. Fourth, whatever the stain is made of, it makes a bigger mess than cheap lipstick. I have to make a new TSP solution for each cabinet because the water is nasty and orange by the time i finish with each one. Crimey.

Once everything is washed down well, i leave it to dry while i go buy the tools to fix the undersink. This required making friends with a somewhat questionable group of men at Harbor Freight, as i have never owned a jigsaw (Well, i have had quite a few jigsaw puzzles, but as it turns out, that has little relevance). They help me pick out something that is reasonably priced for the few times i will need it, and they were also smart enough to check that i had the proper safety equipment and medical insurance.

I head home and go to the shed to find that none of the wood pieces i have is suitable for what i need.  (Insert your favorite string of cusswords here)

By now it is past dinner time, and i am more frustrated than a gigolo at a convent, so i break for the night and make myself some of the best Irish-style vegetable soup i have ever made. Or maybe it was just great in comparison to the issues of the day. Whatever. It made me feel better.

Up this morning and off to get the wood. That part was actually pretty easy. It was early enough that i was the only one needing help and i was in and out faster than i expected, even including a detour to get Gorilla Glue for the drawers.

I admit, i cheated and had the guy at Lowes cut the boards to the right size. After all, my cheap little jigsaw would have had a much harder time of it, especially with me at the wheel. But i had to do the pipe cut-arounds myself. I used the old pieces as a template and then set to taking the jigsaw out of the box. Now, being female, i did actually look at the directions, but i admit, i mostly just read thru the safety points and glossed over the rest.  Had i been a little less assured that my common sense would get me thru, i would have read the entire thing, and my day might have gone better.

Just getting the blade into the blasted thing turned out to be a trial. The screws that hold it in place were in between sizes (At least for my screwdriver kit), so i couldn’t tighten them down as much as i should have.  I jerry-rigged supports and weights to hold it in place. The blade went thru about an eighth of an inch before it came out, stuck in the cut. As a testament to my lack of experience, i tried to pull the blade out of the wood by hand.

Five minute break while i wash the wounds and super glue them closed.

Unplug the saw, reset the blade. Saw another eighth of an inch. Swear as the blade falls out. This time i used pliers.

Repeat that about 100 times.

When i got to the point where i was cursing in languages that i didn’t realize i knew, i took a lunch break. I decided to read the manual while i ate. Then i cursed myself in all those languages again.

It was easy enough to find the custom hex wrench, since it was in a nice little strap made just for that purpose at the top end of the power cord. And now that i knew you were supposed to have it at full speed before  it touched the wood, i didn’t need 50 pounds of bricks holding it down before i started. Since i had cut and cursed my way thru 2 1/2 of the pipe holes,  it took me all of five minutes to finish the job with the properly tightened and wielded saw.

The prayer of gratitude that i made when the pieces actually fit like they were supposed to was both heartfelt and strong.

Next step: The actual priming. Stripped down to cutoffs and a sports bra (Getting paint off skin is a whole lot easier than getting it out of clothes), I start on the first cabinet. When i tell you that the wood sucked up the paint, i mean it sucked it up like a PMS Queen at a chocolate factory. There was no wet residue on the shelving before i even had my brush reloaded. But i kept at it until each surface had a good first coat. Then i had a cup of tea while it set.

The fact that it needed a second coat wasn’t a surprise. After all, it obviously hadn’t been sealed, there was a lot that came off when i washed it, and i knew i didn’t get it all. But after the second coat, when there was still stain seeping thru, i was getting more than irritated.

Coat three is almost dry, and there are still a  few spots where stain is seeping thru. I’ve used most of a gallon on 10 feet of cabinets, and that’s just doing the inside. In spite of this, and the cuts on my thumb, and the ache in my shoulders, and the consumption of a weekend for something that should have taken a day, i’m glad i did it. Even without a coat of the actual paint, it looks cleaner and brighter. The removal and replacement of the nasty wood makes me feel accomplished. I learned some things that will help when i do the outside of the cabinets (The inside of the upper ones might just stay as they are!) And now i have a chance to sort thru and organize all the mis-stacked pans, buy all new plasticware of a single brand, and make everything a bit more neat.

It might not exactly be a “win”, but it is a job completed. Yes, there are many more jobs to go, but like the man said when he was asked how he managed to eat an entire elephant, you just have to take it “One bite at a time.”

 

 

Next Time, Nasal Spray

For those of you unfamiliar, Chattanooga, Tennessee is the capitol of the allergy world. More kinds of pollen, mold, dander, and other crap than anyplace else. It is nearly impossible to live here and not suffer during the transitional seasons – Which, in Chattanooga, is 12 months a year.

Growing up on the beach in New England, there wasn’t much grass, or leaf mold, or hay. Pretty much, we had pine needles and beach plums (If you have never smelled a beach plum rose, you haven’t smelled heaven.) But neither of those things really sets you to sneezing or anything. If it came flying out your nose, it was either from a cold or from laughing too hard.

So when i moved here to Chatt getting close to 20 years ago, i was confounded by the way my schnoz spent so much time swelled up and juicy. It makes me acutely paranoid of stalactites in my nostrils, and makes me snore (worse). And not for nothing, as a middle-aged woman with three kids, sneezing becomes an exercise in strategic pelvic contortion.

I have tried all the different antihistamines to little relief. There are just too many allergens for the bod to battle. But it sucks being stuffy and swimmy-headed and prone to drippiness. So what’s a gal to do?

Well, in my case, i mentioned it to my doc. He suggested a compounded steroid shot. Not a bad idea, considering it could potentially  replace the deluge of other meds i was taking on a daily basis to no effect. So i drop trow, and the nurse stabs me in the arse. I didn’t really expect to feel better immediately, but when i went to bed that night, i was still plagued by snot.

Fast forward to 3 a.m. I am woken out of a sounds sleep by a sensation of flames. My body is on fire. I turn on the light to discover that i am red as a poker from neck to knees. And i itch.

Well, shit.

I pop a couple of benedryl and stand in front of the freezer, fanning the door in my general direction, til the meds take hold and i get sleepy. Back to bed til morning and i have to switch to the less  drowsy allergy pills. Work was torture that day, as it was impossible to stay focused while my skin was aflame. And to add insult to injury, i was still sneezing.

I knew it would pass, which it did sometime during the following day. As it passed, the benefits started coming thru. My head was getting clearer, the sneezing was less frequent, and i no longer felt stuffed.

But i did feel some other stuff.

Ask anyone who has to deal with a 14 year old girl on a regular basis, and they will tell you that hormonal balance is a precarious thing. It has been a long time since i was 14. I think my body forgot how to deal with it.

I am well on my way to eating my cabinets bare. I have been unusually angry and emotional. I can’t sleep. I can’t shut my brain off. I can’t focus. And lets not even talk about the randy-factor. Basically, i’m me on steroids.

Ha! That’s funny! And truthful, both literally and figuratively.

It would be comical if it were happening to someone else.

But instead, it is frustrating. I know why all these feelings and urges are swirling, i can visualize it from an outside perspective, but i can’t stop it. As if i had Tourette’s, i can’t stop the “Fuck”s from flying out of my mouth any more than i can keep my hand out of the candy bag.  And it’s only my undesirable age  and pathetic single-ness that keeps me from making a bathroom-stall name for myself.

Bloody hell! All i wanted was a booger-free nose! Is that too much to ask???

I feel like the punchline in one of those jokes where the man asks a genie for…

Never mind. You get the picture.

Now, you yummy, sexy thing… Come here before you piss me off. And bring those cookies with you…

 

Stuck In the Middle With Me

Last week on Facebook, my oldest weedling made a post lamenting “I’m in that awkward stage where I’m not skinny enough to be called a ‘beach body’ but I’m not fat enough to be labeled as ‘bravely body positive’.” People laughed and got a kick out of it. Problem is, she wasn’t kidding. At brunch this morning, she admitted that this really bothers her. And i get it. I really do. Being “in between” holds no allure for anyone, but especially not for a blue sheep.

At 50 years old, i am smack dab middle age (Or a little past it, most likely, given my life expectancy.) I am too old to be young, and too young to be old. I am in decent health, still learning, still growing, still wanting. I’m not ready to be “old” yet. Sitting in a group of my chronological peers, i feel like i was given a one-time pass to the grown-ups’ table. Like i’m neither aged enough, nor wise enough, to really belong there. But if i try to hang with the young movers and shakers, i feel like a rusted out Volkswagon Thing in a sea of shiny new Jeeps.  I see me as woefully out of place. I suspect they see me as “Mom”. Or, more likely,  “Mom off her meds”. Anyway, the point is, it’s no fun to be stuck in between – No familial group and no extreme to reach for.

And it’s not just the age thing. Physically, i do plenty well for my age, but not well enough to be remarkable. I live well-beyond any need for subsidy, but not enough to be debt free. Not spicy enough to be hot, nor bland enough to be comfort food. Not odd enough to be truly unique, nor boring enough to be average. I’m neither stunning, nor a train wreck. Neither genius, nor idiot. Neither beast, nor fowl, nor good red herring.

I’m just me.

And like my daughter, i, too, am bothered by the fact that i am not extraordinarily something.

I do realize that there is no sin in this. I mean, by definition, you can’t have superlatives without the masses to compare them to.  And i see, even if she doesn’t, that my daughter is extraordinary, even if it isn’t in the way she lusts after. She is beautiful and creative and big-hearted and talented and larger than life. And tho it may not give her something to boast about in a politically correct way, i hope it makes her truly feel her worth during the quiet moments of thought. And, i suppose, i have my own virtues as well, even if they aren’t always the ones i wish i had. (Please, God, can i look like a young Elizabeth Taylor for just one day???? Please??????) From a philosophical standpoint, even among the differently colored sheep, there are stages of tone and brightness. Who is to say that the Chartreuse sheep is any less spectacular than the Kelly green one? Is the lighter green better than the darker? The subdued green better than the bold? Really, is any hue of green less awesome than the other?

Well, i personally don’t care much for Olive, but that doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t love it.

In the crayon box of life, there are times when one of the yellows will get stuck in the blue section and seem all out of place. We know it belongs with the rest of the yellows. We pick it up and move it. Easy peasy.  The indecisive agony comes when you are forced to confront the teal. Is it blue or green? Which end of the spectrum? Where does it fit? And are we able to find a place for it before we give up, screw it, and jam it in with the reds?

Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea. Then it will really  stand out.

Because no one wants to be just plain old red either.

 

 

 

Tuck and Roll

My Easter cactus is blooming. Flowers always make me smile, but this cactus, even more so. I inherited it from my grandmother when she passed, who inhereited from my mother when she passed. I don’t know where Ma got it. Knowing my mother, it could have been a gift, or she could have won it in a game of cribbage. Who knows? But in any case, this plant has to be more than 35 years old. My aunt and sister each have identical siblings to mine. Mine flowers more because i live farther south, but all three produce and continue to thrive.  I think most of us tend to think of plants as transient things, but this plant (well, the three plants really) is a part of our family. And a long-term one at that. Given that such cacti are rumored to live for over 100 years in some cases, i expect we will all get more lives out of them. Perhaps i will even pass them down to my own weedlings some day.

Also on my radar this week is the “Giraffe Cam” at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York. Myself and a ridiculous number of others have been watching for weeks now for a baby giraffe to be born.  Giraffes have a 13 to 15 month gestation period – Daunting for humans – But considering a giraffe only lives about 25 years, i’d imagine it’s even more so to them. Also noteworthy is the fact that giraffes are single moms… The father plays very little into the rearing of the offspring. So motherhood is basically a bit of a bum wrap for giraffes, between the excruciatingly long pregnancy and the solitary rearing. But i’ve never heard a giraffe complain.

Bill Paxton died last week. In his honor, i rewatched Tombstone.  There’s a great quote by his character, Morgan Earp, in the movie:  “Look at all the stars. You look up and you think, ‘God made all this and He remembered to make a little speck like me.’ It’s kind of flattering, really.” Flattering, indeed. So many wonders in this universe, so many magnificent creatures, plants, geological formations… And in the midst of it all sits each one of us.

There are days when i am grateful that God/Goddess/Universe was inclined to make such complicated creatures such as humans. Biologically, mentally, and spiritually complicated. And fragile. We’ve neither the endurance of plants nor the resilience of most other creatures. As Montgomery Scott once said, “The more you over think the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.” So while i admire the exacting nature the Universe had when She created us as beings, there are days when i wonder if She thinks She should have stopped at the duck-billed platypus. Quit while She was ahead, so to speak. Because now She has a creature who has gotten too big for its own britches.

We fight amongst ourselves. We are terribly selfish. And we treat all other life as inferior. Obviously, this isn’t true of all individuals. The people i know are all good-hearted. But as a group, we don’t flower. Nor do we wait patiently thru more than a year’s gestation for ANYTHING. That puts us behind both my Easter cactus and the giraffe of New York.

Granted, neither my cactus nor the giraffe are painting Picassos or writing symphonies, so it’s not like they’re ahead on every level. I suck at making pie crust, but i definitely make it better than the giraffe does. (And if you think pie crust isn’t a work of art, i’d argue that you never had a good one.)

So where am i going with all this? I have no idea. It’s more that i am coming to internalize that humans are no greater a creation than any of the Universe’s others. It is only when we become caretaker of each other, and of all the other creations, that we truly achieve any sort of right to the pedestal we put humans on. And lately, as a species, we haven’t been doing the best job of it. But we can do better. I have faith.

So, as the saying goes, the first step off that pedestal is going to be a bitch. We had better be prepared to tuck and roll! And maybe, if we work really hard, we can earn our way back up.