Monday, August 3, 2015

August

Packing so soon?  It is in my nature.  I am an epic packer.  It calms me.  Seriously.  Not like oh I only need to bring 6 pairs of shoes for a weekend in Boca epic - like everyone gets one carry on for a 3 week trip to Australia & California, covering 3 distinct climate zones, and everything has to fit, epic.  I am great at editing down a trip wardrobe to only the essentials, and yet I am here to tell you that there is no way in hell to pack new sheets back into the plastic containers they came in once you've washed them (to get rid of the sizing so he won't be uncomfortable, that's why!).  No damn way.

Did I mention that I'm packing up my baby because he's running away from home (OK, fine, going to college) at the end of the month?  I have lists upon lists all over the house. I am driving him crazy and it's only August 3rd.   I have already been told in no uncertain terms that he doesn't care what color underwear I buy him.  Or flavor of mouthwash.  And that no, he doesn't know what happened to his sneakers.

August is going to be a very long month.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence from it all

One day last week, I found myself uncharacteristically alone, for the whole day. The hubby was in meetings all day, and those were scheduled to stretch all the way through dinner.  He works out of the house, so we see a lot of one another, which is great, but leads to very little alone time. The girl child is off in Spain, nannying for a Spanish family.  So once I dropped the boy off at the 7:28 train for his internship in the city, I really barely spoke to another human, except for the check-out clerk at Whole Foods, and that was only to say "thanks." When I say uncharacteristically, I really mean it, we live in a small town, in a small house and we are all often here. Between family, friends and neighbors, I can't even begin to try to figure out when the last time I'd spent any extended time with just me.

In general that is a good thing.  I'm pretty extroverted and curious, and so I love to hear what is going on with other people, what they think about the news of the day, what they are reading, what's their middle name?  Pretty much all of it.  I love debate and discussion and gossip.  I love talking and I love listening.  But it had been an emotional couple weeks with huge ups and downs (several literary agents asked to see pages of my novel, my bio-mom is dying of brain cancer, type of huge) and I was exhausted from all the excitement and sadness.  I didn't know I needed a day alone.  But the stars lined up so that was what I was going to get.

I got up in the morning and got the boy to the train, then walked the dog, got the laundry in, tidied up a bit, went to the grocery store, and was done.....Just done.  Finished with everything I had to do on the list, and not wanting to add more.  I wasn't about to start fiddling with my novel, after having just sent it out.  I wasn't in the mood to tackle any of the deep cleaning, organizing jobs that I promise I will get to someday.  I didn't even want to talk to any of my friends on Facebook (and those of you reading this on Facebook know exactly how exceedingly rare that is).  I didn't even feel like going shopping (and now my lifelong friends are wondering if perhaps I was ill).

So I wrote sit in the hammock and read on the bottom of my to do list and grabbed the thriller that had been sitting on the coffee table waiting for me for two weeks.  I got out of my world and in to the author's.  Totally lost myself.  And it was so much fun! By the time I climbed out of the hammock and out of the book I was refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever was coming my way.

This is my Independence Day message - once in a while declare independence from it all.   Take the day off.  Hang around with yourself. And enjoy.  (Also today please leave the fireworks to the professionals, I know you guys, you aren't trustworthy with gunpowder.)  Even if you don't think you need the time alone, (maybe especially if you think you don't need the time alone) you really do.  Oh, and buy more books.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The "Passing" of Rachel Dolezal

OK, so this Rachel Dolezal story today has me fascinated.  This woman who claims to have some African-American heritage, is a Professor of African Studies and the President of the Spokane, WA NAACP.  Her mother reports that her heritage is instead Czech, German and possibly some Native American.  Looking at her pictures, it seems that it is possible that she is has some multi-racial background, and it's possible that she doesn't.  (Because race is a false construct that we have plunked down upon ourselves, but that's a different blog post.) So who is "passing" here, Rachel or her mother or father?  That part remains a mystery. (As is why her mother would go to the press, but again, a different blog post.)

I'm not entirely sure why I'm reacting so strongly to this story, except that it hits me as an adopted child.  A light-haired, green-eyed, Jewish, adopted child.  The ethnic narrative in my head was always Jewish, plus some other stuff, probably, but I primarily identify as a Jewish person.  In my search for my bio-heritage I found out that my biological mother was Jewish (phew), but as I suspected, my paternal heritage was not.  I expected the usual American white ethnic muttdom, which to a certain extent I got, but I did not expect to find two early relatives on the Mayflower (Small and White, apt, no?)  and ancestors that fought in the Revolution and on both sides of the Civil War.  In some ways it was very disconcerting, I was a JAP not DAR.  Not that any of it matters, but it was weird.  

It struck me as weird for they first time, when I took the boy child to visit Gettysburg College.  I went into my usual "Daddy had ancestors that fought on both sides..." spiel, when I had to stop and say "Oh wait, so did I...."  And for a moment it was like a brain hitting a brick wall.  A different view of who I was.  Which was very disconcerting.  I knew who I was.  A change in that at 45?  Weird.

Disconcerting, but ultimately not very meaningful because who we are is in what we do, not in who our ancestors were.  So my inclination with this whole crazy story is to give this woman a break, if she feels black, identifies herself as black, let her be black.  Maybe she is "passing."  Maybe her parents are.  Why does it matter?  It isn't like there are any human without some African DNA, so if she feels hers more accurately represents who she truly is, why not let her claim it?  No matter how much or little she has.  I know that had I found myself to have no biological Jewish heritage, I would have felt bereft of my identity.  (And that with religion rather than race there would have been a process by which I could have switched.) So why should I tell anyone else who they get to be?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Scent memory

I love the fine fragrance of lilacs and lily of the valley
Roses' olfactory charms famously abound.
But for me, there is no scent sweeter
Than the tang that wafts on the breeze over a salt marsh
On a soft and summery morning.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Forgiveness

Been thinking a lot about forgiveness these days. "Tis the season for me, Mother's Day, my mom's birthday, my parents' anniversary, Father's Day, my dad's birthday, all pile up.  These are all harder now, with both of them gone.  No house to go to.  No calls to make.  So I've been thinking about forgiveness.  Mostly for myself.

Other people are easy to forgive.  My parents weren't perfect, but they tried.  Most of their parenting mistakes were mistakes of love, holding too tight, pushing too hard for their point of view.  Knowing they were right and wanting to protect me from my own stupidity.  Those sorts of things are easy to forgive, all you need is time and distance.

Forgiving oneself is harder.  Especially forgiving oneself of the casual cruelty of being a child.  The number of times I rolled my eyes and gritted my teeth over family visits.  (Because I didn't know how few I'd get.)  The amount of energy I expended on stupid arguments, really truly stupid arguments.  The pain I caused by my lack of attention.  Remembering those moments is what keeps me up at night.

Or did.  These days, I'm trying to go easier on myself.  Trying to forgive myself for having been a child, with all the attendant childishness and selfishness.  And most of the time I find, I can.  I can allow myself the same breaks and understanding I give my parents and my kids.

I think this is what happens when you grow up.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

False Spring

This weather, this false spring always sets off my wanderlust.

All I want to do is to climb on the back of a motorcycle and drive south until we find a cowboy bar where I can dance and do body shots off his neck.

But we don't have a motorcycle, or any tequila most likely.

We have salt and I might be able to scare up a salvageable lemon from the bottom of the fruit drawer, but there is really no point without the tequila.

This weather, this false spring always sets off my wanderlust.

The cowboy bar me still feels so much more authentic than the grown-up face I wear around my suburban town.  Fifty-one, but in my head I’m half that.

May as well blame the weather.  

It will be warm soon and the need to run away will dissipate.

But this weather, this false spring always sets off my wanderlust.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Other people's dreams are boring

Yes I know there is nothing more deadly dull than listening to someone tell you about the dream they had last night, but I think this one was really funny, so bear with me.   Or don't - go read some important blog, mine is about silly nonsense.

Last night I dreamt I was with a bunch of friends at some sort of large party when suddenly we came upon a sign adverting upcoming events at the venue we were at.  One of the upcoming events was Victoria Jackson Sings.  I took a large Sharpie and wrote NO! across the whole thing, even though all my friends said there were cameras around and I would get in trouble.  I felt very brave.  Then suddenly (as dreams do) we were in chairs around a large circle, just hanging out and the friends were complimenting me on my bravery, and I said "Oh you guys are the best!"  and then I heard, "No, love, you are." and turned around to see who was talking and it was KEITH FUCKING RICHARDS!!!!!! and I answered, (and I quote) "Gak."  like Bill the Cat.  Not a single word would come out.  He just smiled, as he is probably used to this sort of reaction, as he is Keith Fucking Richards.  And for the remainder of the dream,  I continued to only be able to make sounds, "gak, splurge, bah" and the like. Christie was seated directly to his right, and could only look at me and shake her head. I was simultaneously happy Keith thought I was cool and sad I could not tell him so. The end.

And that is my silly nonsense for the day.