July 30, 2013
A Guy Slice of Life, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 31
There’s nothing more honest than a Guy Clark slice of life. Nothing more filling, either.
It’s like not really knowing what you’re hungry for, and wandering into a tiny non-descript diner to find you’ve discovered where the locals go for the best Sunday morning stuff. You were only looking for a little something. While you’re wide-eyed at the prospect of grazing the million-dollar style “why-isn’t this-more-expensive?” lay-out of emotion , the nodding knowers catch your eye. They recognize that you recognize that each successive offering is more amazing and intricate than the next.
Everyone before you lingers intently at each station. Beef pie, potato pie,home grown tomato pie, salt in the wound pie, chess pie with a smidge of bourbon; each one finds a niche in the clever little compartment spaces of your heart’s desire. Sure you’ve got enough, but there’s more to offer.
Afraid of missing out, you choose last piece of what looks like the sweetest peach pie ever – the cross section lets you see what it’s made of. A crisp foundation flakes, apart letting little pieces fly. You know you’ll get back to them later, after you’ve been through the meat of the matter, sweet words with tart undertones under a crumbled crust of life lumps.
From the first melodious instant analytic bite to the last smooth swallow each is the intense best because it is coming closer to the end. Finished - with a throat coat that could very well end up spilling from your eyes if you’re not very careful. Equal care balances your wobbly thinly coppered fork on plate’s edge with an audible sigh that signals it’s over. Hands in your pockets feel the fullness, yet your eyes wander back to the buffet. For half a second you think about going back, again, and against all good internal advice, you do. Returning with a sheepish slide onto the cracked counter stool, the dance starts over, waltzing familiar. Between bites, the mirror throws back smiling eyes.
Yeah, never mind the faded counter, chipped plate, crooked utensils, kitschy coffee cup.
This is where it’s at. Welcome yourself to the club. Repeat as often as possible.
July 22, 2013
50, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 30
It’s getting hard to be nice.
I don’t mean it’s getting hard for me to be nice.
It’s just getting harder to find someone who will let me be nice… to them.
Seems to make people uncomfortable. But it makes me happy.
I don’t mean making people uncomfortable.
I mean being nice - that's what makes me happy.
Sometimes the only thing of value accomplished on any given day is that I have given someone a reason to smile or that I have received a laugh, in return. I like that. A lot.
So, there you have it: me at 50.
July 16, 2013
Enough, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 29
It seems, sometimes, close enough is all you need.
As long as you are having your needs met, being fulfilled in some sort of way, and inspired to stay on the right track, it’s all good.
A place you could adjust to living in, a revised exercise program that isn’t optimal but will work ok, a job that at least meets the bills, a church with good, relevant messages; stuff like that.
Everyday life is tough; a series of actions and counteractions, accepting the acceptable, trying to minimally change the unacceptable to into something acceptable or acceptable enough. Creating comfortable vacuums, bubbles in which we can survive and continue to view the world as we have manufactured to our good enough expectations.
Then, at the height of complacent comfort, GOD calls our bluff – rearranging our perfectly placed, exquisitely carved, form-fitted beautiful pieces into a rough-edged, ragged-gaped, air-space weakened puzzle, and the picture isn't quite the same.
So, we find excuses. Someone gave us bad advice. It was someone else’s responsibility. The economy is to blame. It’s a full moon. They fly off the cuff; global warming, racism, religion, war, the devil is messing with me, and worst of all – GOD is punishing me.
GOD never punishes. HE pushes, and we need to learn to differentiate between the two.
Punishing implies we have created an offense for which we must be made to pay in suffering.
Pushing is an impetus; a direction given to us, a direction towards or away.
No matter what befalls you, consider the direction: firm and guiding.
Perhaps, if HIS hand is seems harsh, it has come from ignoring gentle shoulder pats urging us to turn this way or that. Eventually, if we fail to turn, we face a road block. It may look like a gate keeping you from a glorious view. I read recently that tourist deaths in the Grand Canyon are largely attributed to one factor: ignoring warning signs. There’s a reason for holding back, and there is most likely a safe, designated, stunning overlook ahead. For some, it is just around the trail’s bend; for others, one day of 10,000 steps away, and for others, the desert hike is longer.
No matter what befalls, you are not being punished.
You have already been released from sin by suffering that was not your own. That should be enough.
July 08, 2013
Gushing, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 28
You never really live someplace until you’ve used all the appliances, at least once. After a week of existing in my new space, the next duo was up. The washer/dryer combo were the last untried amenities on my need-to-establish-this-place-as-home list. I learned a good lesson about being cautious from a loose hose in a Tecumseh apartment. I wasn’t there. I was out with a friend learning how to apply ripped wallpaper so that it would look like marbled stone when applied. I got a panicked phone call. Wasn’t much I could do from cross-town, my husband just wanted to share the draining agitation. By the time I got home, the situation was under control, the linoleum hallway was exceptionally clean, and a load of clean clothes was tumbling in the dryer. Although I just about had a heart attack when the buzzer went off. Previous owner must have had it somewhere far away or been very hard of hearing. That got dialed down a bit.
All connections checked. All connections secured. I move on to commencement. Washer on. Filling up. Letting a few long leak-seeking minutes spin by, I am confident there will be no disaster tonight. I don’t go far, though. I’m at the top of the stairs puttering around in the kitchen, trying to make sense of plastic storage. I should know better. Nobody I have ever known has successfully beaten theirs into any form of orderly arranged submission that lasts more than one dishwasher cycle run. Still, I can take momentary comfort that the cabinet contents won’t collectively fling themselves out and rain down upon my short-statured head like ping pong balls onto Mr. Moose, the next time I reach for containment.
That’s when I hear it; the unmistakable sound of furiously gushing water. Yes, gushing; not running, not dribbling, not spraying, not splattering. Gushing!
I move as quickly down the basement stairs as I dare. It won’t help any to fall. It occurs to me I should have grabbed some towels or a mop. Oops, I tossed my old mop pre-move with the intention of getting another. I don’t own a mop, yet. On the last step, I stop, take a breath, prepare myself for combative the sink or swim chore ahead, and peer around the corner for the mess that will take all night to handle. I stay there, poised on the last stair, one foot on, one foot off, steadying myself on the wall.
HBlu streaks by me, and instinctively, I yell, “Stop!” He doesn’t stop because I told him to. He stops because I yelled. That’s a new experience for him. He blinks, I blink, He blinks, and I blink again– because there isn’t any water. Anywhere. Still, I cautiously creep toward the spot where I will safely be able to view the laundry area. I’m reluctant to flip the light switch for fear of… water. In the dim light, there is still no evidence of gushing water. I still hear it, though. I decide to risk lighting the way, and close my eyes as I flick the switch. I really did flick it, as opposed to grabbing the flipper between my fingers. Don’t really know if that would have made me any less electrocuted if there was a problem, though. I’m now staring between the laundry appliances. Still no signs of wet spots or rivers. Still hear what I know I hear, but cannot find the source.
And then, I see something moving, shaking. It just catches the corner of my eye. I think it’s just the frame of my glasses reflecting light,, but I turn that way, anyway. The utility sink, the 90 degree angle of the corroded drain hose, and gushing soapy water. Well, of course. There is no drain access, no sump pump, no egress - just the utility sink. It’s not in the best condition, and I was wondering how it got that way, because most people don’t use them very much. But then most people I know have relatively newer abodes ~ or at least one built quite a bit after mine. Weak with relief. I stand there leaning until the water has trickled to an end, just to be sure.
I have once again acquired and conquered a new experience.
Smiling to myself, I move on the next phase of laundry, and the last great appliance familiarization.
Opening the dryer door causes a short short-circuit. With my one free hand slapped upon my forehead, and an armful of wet clothes waiting to be transferred, I stare in displeased wondrous amazement.
My pleasure has been way too shortly lived. It’s heart-sinkingly obvious: this adventure isn’t over, yet.
July 03, 2013
Step up or step back
It works both ways
Or doesn’t work at all
Like magnets should attract
Last minute too close, flip and repel
Could hold the world up
Stuck on either side
Hard space in between
Not likely to crumble
July 01, 2013
Click Clock Unlock, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 27
To be honest, it wasn’t as if I was planning to knock on the door of a complete stranger. I’d been briefly introduced to her on the way to take out trash. I’d also seen her come home in scrubs and out planting flowers. I felt sort of sure that she would be a reasonable neighbor, if she was home. She was not home.
My last immediate resort, then, would in fact be knocking on the door of a complete stranger. Someone I’d never seen and whose car never seemed to be parked behind the assigned door of our communal garage. It occurred to me that they might night even own a car, which might mean they didn’t own an opener, either. Despite my objections over my short observances, I rounded the corner to knock on yet another door. Not home.
I headed back around to my front door. Out of stubbornness and the unwillingness to be embarrassed if I was wrong about my situation, I tried the screen door again. No such luck. Still locked. With a certain amount of physical dejection, I determined that I’d just have to wait until someone who lived in my building came home. So, I waited, and waited.
Every car that went by turned right instead of left into our parking area. I started to theorize what would happen if all my neighbors had gone on vacation. I began texting friends to simply distract myself from dire thoughts and waste time. Then, it started to sprinkle. Then, my phone beeped a low battery warning. Then, my body gave me the slightly dizzy warning that comes along when I am a good deal stressed and not sufficiently nourished.
The situation was deteriorating quickly and called for an immediate situational analysis. I’d been trying to get myself in for an hour and 15 minutes. No more cars came by. Who knew how long it would be? It was time to take action. I rummaged through my purse in search of a little something that I always carry.
A mint, or a hard candy, possibly a protein bar; couldn’t find a thing. That’s so unlike me, I was sure I had to have just missed them in my haste. After rechecking my lunch bag for anything I’d forgotten to eat, I more methodically set about emptying the contents of one purse section into my definitely empty lunch bag. Nothing in there. I transferred the contents of the second section into the first section I had already moved. Nothing in there.
Finally, in the midst of my now thoroughly annoyed, non-gentle rifling, my hand landed on an oval lump. In the microsecond it takes us to routinely process things we have repeatedly touched, this object did not feel in the least familiar. Stumped, I pushed back my over large raincoat hood and brought it to the light. Then, I sat there rolling my eyes and shaking my head and muttering all those specially individualized, different, not particularly nice names we call ourselves when we blunder badly.
There in my hand was necessary remote. I didn’t even have a slightly remote recollection of having thrown it in my purse, but there it was. I gathered up my various strewn belongings, hoped no one had been watching me all that time, briskly took the corner, pressed the button and voila! Soon was I in the kitchen unloading my purse, and lunch bag; as I took off my coat, I heard my neighbor’s automatic garage door open. In case this ever happens again, I have now become aware of my immediate neighbor’s departure and arrival times during the work week. Not that I’m planning on this ever happening again. It’s just good to have a contingent plan. And maybe someone else in town with a spare key.
My brilliant life's a
Squinting doesn’t help
Nothing gets clearer
Close and refocus
Still impossible to see
past the red blotch mistakes
white hot anger orbs
cool blue sad spheres
all floating, hard to follow
flash bulb photo recall
It so doesn’t matter now
Close my eyes and soak it in
I knew it would be this way
HE’s not gonna give me you
have to change my prayers
to love and not expect to
be loved hard in return
hard on my soul
can’t help but want to
lift you higher,
can’t keep pulling you up
pouring fuel on your fire
what makes you smile
doesn’t get me any closer
to not being colder
a flare given freely
yet greedily guarded
not fair to watch
the fire flicker; flame
shut out of your heat
I have to change my prayers