A Fond Farewell to 2013

If my year was a movie
Playing on the big screen
Here would be the plot points of 2013…

My career path was corrected
Goals brought into focus were finally seen
Prince, P!NK and the Postal Service
Were my musical caffeine

In Portland for birthday 39
With friends as fierce as wolverines
They fought a lot but Mount St. Helens taught
Even old volcanoes turn back to green

A class reunion long over due
Took me back in a time machine
But we had some laughs (and Casey’s General Store escaped my wrath)
On our mnemonic trampolines

I experienced magic in Montréal
A welcome break in my routine
Many thanks to Jay who saved the day
A friend-turned-tour guide reigns supreme

Saw the film “Gravity” which made me cry
And for the lonely this was your theme:
You must give your best to pass the test
And remember Endurance (your best vaccine)

So keep what has value and sever the rest
But make sure that your cut is clean
Because you can’t do it over – there is no magic clover
And bring on 2014

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A Selfish Skin

The Christmas holiday has passed, but it has left me in a contemplative mood.

I was fortunate this year to have several invitations. Since I live so far from my immediate family, I often spend the holidays with close friends in the area. These are always enjoyable affairs, and I don’t think I am alone in saying a Christmas spent with friends (rather than family) can often involve less emotional baggage and mental scarring. I do, however, recognize that there is an ancient power inherent in family bonds that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

"Pie Fight" by Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie, 2011.

“Pie Fight” by Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie, 2011.

This year, I spent Christmas Eve with a couple who are very dear friends of mine, and Christmas afternoon with a co-worker with whom I share a love for poetry, history, and off-beat relationship wisdom. Both events were wonderful and my hosts provided me with a delightful combination of sustenance and memories. However, I left both feeling somewhat sad and disappointed in myself. Although it may have been but a footnote in the program, I completely failed to bring a gift to any of my entertainers. They all opened their beautiful homes to me. They fed me and filled my brain with enlightening conversation, and all of them had set a side a present for me. The thought did cross my mind earlier in the week that these generous folk might get me something to open – being it’s Christmas and all – so perhaps I should be prepared with something to give them? Well, apparently in my old age, I discarded that thoughtful notion and when the moment came, I was receiving objects of their kindness – but had nothing to give in return.

None of my hosts seemed bothered by it, but I was bothered.

I was bothered very much.

“I didn’t use to be this way,” I said to myself on the drive home. I used to be that very intuitive person who could go out and find a gift that was perfectly reflective of its recipient. I used to have an excellent memory for details about my friends. I would inventory comments they made about music or fashion all year long and when the time came for a birthday or wedding, I would unleash the fruits of my intuition to an amazed friend. And more importantly, I felt great joy in those moments. What happened to that guy? I actually did a full-on dissection of my decision-making process. It was like a mechanic pulling apart an engine to find out why all the pistons aren’t working. Although it is no excuse, I think I found the explanation: More and more, I am becoming a selfish-thinker.

There is a certain side effect to being single for a very long time, at least in my case. I am used to only caring for myself. Getting groceries for myself. Doing everything in my life with me as the primary focus. I am sure there are lots of people who live alone who are still thoughtful people who think of others first, but apparently I am not one of them. The co-worker who hosted me lives alone and is in my same predicament as myself, but he had the fore-thought to make me a beautiful CD of Christmas music and put my picture on the cover. A gesture of kindness that crushed me when I had nothing to offer in return. Certainly many people expect nothing for their good deeds, but I am not always someone who (when conscious of it) accepts things greedily and does not reciprocate. Had my long spells of loneliness baked me into a crust? Have the scabs of my life-hardening experiences grown like a second skin over my intuition? Good lord, I hope not.

I once read in the Talmud of the concept called “bread of shame”. Mind you, I am not Jewish or a religious person by any stretch, but the text was quite profound to me. The “bread of shame” is basically accepting gratuity when you have not earned it. These friends of mine could very well say, “These are gifts. This is our generosity to you, and you do not owe us anything.” But I would still feel as though I did not earn any special gifts. Maybe I was Jewish in a former life? Who knows.

It’s possible I made this more of a deal than I should have. However, I fear growing such a selfish skin; a thick alligator hide that will eventually relegate me to the swamps of humanity.

The President’s Horrible Anus

Dear Google News Editors,

Please DO NOT use Latin in a U.S. headline. Case in point…

annus_horribilisNow, I know that this headline translates to “Obama’s Horrible Year”, but my first read/reaction was, “What is so horrible about Obama’s anus? Is he eating too much Quizno’s or something?” Quite frankly, I am not sure it’s fair to judge that body part as they are all pretty gross in my book. In fact, I am willing to wager that Queen Elizabeth’s is probably MORE horrible after years of digestive abuse via afternoon tea and scones.

My next thought was, “Fuck these guys, I’d go to a different proctologist for a second opinion.”

 

Promiscuous Cookware

A text conversation with a slutty friend of mine…

Me: How was your day?

Friend: I fooled around with another guy this afternoon. I feel weird now, like empty and without feelings. Besides that it was good, I got a new cookware set 🙂

Me: The guy gave you a cookware set for sleeping with him?

Friend: No.

kama_sutra_cookie

One Ugly Mug

A friend of mine recently texted me a picture of this mug…

mugI have some real issues with this piece of work. Why? It’s a stereotype-enforcing artifact designed with one purpose: TO KILL.

“How?” you ask…

  1. Travel mugs (which one would assume people drink from while driving) should not have mirrors unless the primary purpose is to cause loss of human life. You shouldn’t be checking your face in a mirror this small while traveling at killing speed.
  2. I think the rhinestone frame is further evidence of intent to kill. You could be fixing your face in the mirror and be temporarily blinded. “But officer, I swear I couldn’t see that kid in the wheelchair due to the glare from these rhinestones!”
  3. I find the added “For Her” label particularly insulting. Aren’t all mugs unisex by nature? Sure, this one is pink with fake jewelry but is that all it takes to lure a female in? Perhaps an idiot husband or a flamboyant lover of kitsch, but no self-respecting person is going to fall for this menacing accessory to highway murder.

I think it is clear this is meant to be an impulse purchase for last-minute Christmas shopping men with IQ’s under 40. I plan to organize a boycott of the sinister Totes Corporation.

Situational Symphonies

On occasion, I take the bus to work. As the Seattle Metro system is not entirely a pleasant experience, I prefer to block out the human static with my iPod ear buds. I’ve discovered that sometimes life matches the playlist all too well – and a situation will arise that fits the tune on deck like a perfectly tailored Armani suit. Other times, the results are just plain hilarious.

The Song: The Smashing Pumpkins “Cupid de Locke”
The Situation: A beautiful, young red-headed woman was applying her mascara to some dreaming Pumpkins strings. It was like a music video directed by Revlon. But even her pedestrian actions coupled with a melancholy track were enough to change the common place moment into magic. It added a living poem to what normally is a 30 minute ride in a trash can with wheels.

The Song: Sophie B. Hawkins “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”
The Situation: A husky man in his 30’s with facial hair boarded the bus and I was sitting in the very back with a direct line of sight. Sophie sang to me, “That old dog has chained you up, alright…” and boy did he. Figuratively, of course. He walked down the aisle straight toward me like a handsome cannon ball launched right into my face – but my pupils and irises were willing targets. Forever and ever and ever and evah……..

The Song: The Yin Yang Twins “Salt Shaker”
The Situation: Two elderly ladies were fighting over an empty seat. I was standing already, otherwise I’d given up mine just to keep the peace. But when the Twins and Lil’ Jon hollered “Shake it like a salt shaker!” The woman standing was hurling her fists in the air and I was substituting her curses for the chorus, and I don’t think anyone knew why I was laughing so hard.

4MellonCollieHighRes sophiesaltshaker