Archive for December, 2011

UPDATE: Getting ready to head on out and hopefully get pretty tipsy, eat loads of delicious food, spend some quality time with good people and kiss a cute boy round midnight. But a few more resolutions occurred to me.

1. Make better use of your time with loved ones. No griping, no holding onto ancient hurts, etc. More patience and more love only. Because they do that for you and they deserve that treatment from you.

2. DO NOT MISPLACE YOUR ANGER! Recognize where it belongs and keep it there. You got lucky and caught this one in time. Thanks Liz. Good to have someone around willing to keep it real. We chicks need to look out for each other.

See ya next year kids…

Pretty sure I have this exact photo taken 15 years ago (give or take. ahem) at Mellow Mushroom in Athens, Ga.

Nice way to end the year, hanging with some old, dear friends. I was reminded of a few things I had forgotten — some I could have gone the rest of my life never having remembered (the Halloween story Curt, when you were dressed as Flava Flav. You shoulda left that one alone, man…). It’s funny…haven’t spent time with these boys in nearly 20 years. And yet, we still care about each other. Still pull for each other, still make ourselves available to each other, etc. And tonight I’ll be going to a New Year’s Eve celebration at the home of some people I haven’t known very long — just a year or two. And yet, I have the feeling there are some among that group who would respond if I called on them for help. And there are certainly some I would leap to help out should they need it. I guess what I’m saying is that my resolution this year is to make sure I’m developing relationships like that. I’ve strayed from that effort a little too dramatically in recent years I think, very likely intentionally but that’s a bit of psychology I don’t want to get into. But I think I’m done with all that now. So, bring it on 2012. If the doomsdayers are right, and this is the last year humanity has on earth, then I think the awesome has to start now. And for those loved ones I’ll be missing tonight — Happy New Year and kisses and love and wishes for peace and prosperity. Thanks for being around.

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Ever since the day

How ya’ll? Good holidays and all that I hope. Mine were but I came back to an apartment that looks like a truck hit it and left it for dead. Also, Alexander has a bum foot that may be the result of battling a little abscess from fighting with the mean stray who thinks he owns the place. He’s showing some improvement so I’m not rushing him to the vet because abscesses just need to be drained (it’s as gross as it sounds) so we’ll see if he manages to open the wound. He has all day inside to make that happen. And further days inside until he starts putting more pressure on the foot. If he’s still hobbling in a day or two it’s off to the vet he goes. His most favoritest thing! He’s upset with me but it’s for his own good. That seems to be a theme lately….

Anyway, a few post-Xmas, pre-New Year’s things…

The Fab. Ms. McClain and I are going to the Kennedy Center in Feb. to see the Alvin Ailey troupe perform and she has informed me we will be dressed to the nines and will be wearing our furs. Let me explain…after my grandma passed a few years back, my momma gave me one of her fur shoulder wraps. It has a Morton’s Department Store tag and her initials sewn into labels. It looks almost exactly like this, only darker fur, and I love it! I swear to God PETA I will deck you if you come near me. Grandma was smaller across the shoulders than I but it definitely fits. I will attend with you in mind Anna Dix. Thanks for being a link in the chain.

Ya know, I’ve been thinking about this atheism thing a little more. I can appreciate an attempt at morality when there’s no official directive declaring that you must be moral (i.e., religion doesn’t set the standard and morality becomes utilitarian as a good way to live because it increases the “fittest” part of survival of the fittest. At least that’s how I think I understand the argument in its simplest terms…), but the natural world really isn’t moral. And there’s really no other law of physics (which, as we know, is the study of laws governing the natural world) that gives us a choice in compliance. As CS Lewis (my favorite apostate) states, you have no choice about gravity. You fall. You cannot determine the rate or whether or not you want to fall at all. So, I’m thinking morality as a natural law doesn’t really fit. But I’ll let Mr. Lewis explain it himself. Also, please quit telling me your newly-learned zingers about Saturnalia and the winter solstice. Amazingly, I already know how the early church co-opted pagan ritual. Minor in religion, remember. And yet, I still choose to believe. When you catch up let’s talk.

Favorite conversation of the day comes from me, Curt, and Jiggy trying to negotiate a lunch meeting at Caddies. We’re talking about a Halloween costume. Dirty minds.

Jiggy: I’m open Friday. I am also having a party at my house new years if you want to come.
Curt: Friday works. We have new years plans though. Sorry
Me: hey dudes! any more thought on where we should meet tomorrow? I also have new year’s plans but appreciate the invite!
Jiggy: There once was a time that we would share this momentous night…
Me: I know. we wouldn’t have been apart for it. But we have the memories…kind of. we know we should have them anyway.
Jiggy: Mine are kind of spotty at times…
Me: Kind of? All I remember is your laugh. And a giant fake penis.
Curt: I can get to Bethesda fine. Anyone got the address for caddies? Not sure on my other plans. I probably can’t be gone forever though. I will check with Wendy and see what our plans are for tomorrow.
Jiggy: You should check and see if you still have your balls while you’re at it:)

Man, I’ve missed these boys…

Also, best song from the trip home. Took me back…Still dig the lyrics:

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Joy to the world

Stolen from Beth and presented with love for the Holidays to all of you. Have a peaceful and happy day.

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Fresh starts

Heading to Georgia ya’ll! It would be easy to be a bummed out this Holiday Season — still searching for a lot of things and trying to be comfortable with some decisions I’ve made — but I think I’m just going to make the best of hanging with the fam and remembering that everyone has some people pulling for them. And we are required to remember to be grateful for that. So, Happy Christmas everyone! This is a really good piece that, while not directly related to the season, is particularly relevant to recent events and personal conversations. And It references Leonard Cohen, which is absolutely never, ever a bad thing. Have some iconic awesomeness of the season. I hope the new year brings you all good things.

“5:30, Jazzercise.”

“Look how they glisten.”

“You don’t want him around if you’re wearing short pants.”

“I feel really warm when I’m around you and my tongue swells up.”

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Justin Timberlake is a sexy, sexy man. And he’s right ya know. I need to dance to the first track in the worst way. Already cut it up to the second…

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Well kids, the little kitten is not so perky today. But fear not. It will pass. One great truth that you only learn as you survive tough times and negotiate the worst of what some people have to offer is that when you see the ugly again, you already know it and know how to get through it, or step around it, or laugh at it, or shake your head in empathy as you pass. Even better: you know you will do those things. Because you have. The first time I broke my foot I drove to the hospital (pushing a clutch the whole way on said foot. I don’t recommend it.) and got x-rays and Lortab and hobbled around on crutches for two weeks and a boot for four. Two years later when I broke my foot again in dance class, I went home, took a buttload of advil, dug the boot out of the closet and just carried on. Even continued going to dance class and playing softball. My recovery time was quicker in round 2. That’s how it works.

I wish I could hand that experience out and cushion the blow for others. But I can’t. And I wish I could I impress upon people I care for that the phenomenon of “paying it forward” works both ways. When my older sister was mean to me I turned around and was awful to my little brother. And that this concept is at work all the time. And that Dan and I had to have a serious talk as adults about all that and how I still carry the guilt of it and that I will never be able to apologize enough for how I hurt him. And I did awful things and I believe I’m paying for them. And that our relationship today might be a different and better thing had I been aware of that concept as a child. But you have to learn that stuff. And I was just a child and so I try to forgive myself. And it takes some people a very long time to learn it, well into adulthood. And sometimes the best thing you can do for people is let them live the lives they create, develop the friendships they deem worthy, experience the highs they seek and let them swim in the consequences. And try not to show up on the doorstep of the ones who hurt the people you love with a fucking bat and bad intent. That’s the hardest part for me. But I know the cycle of handing out the beat-down is one I’m not interested in.

The weirdest is that strange feeling that comes with doing something right. You know it was right and it’s hard to feel bad about doing it. Especially since the right thing very likely ensures that the nasty little boggart (you’ll have read Harry Potter…) that was trying to creep in gets a door slammed in it’s ugly little face. Move along ugly little thing. The inn is full. We only accept the awesome and inspiring here.

Hmmmmmm. Anyway, keep moving forward little kitten. There’s some funny shit up ahead and the road is pretty dark behind, full of using and confusing and denial and a basic lack of understanding of what constitutes satire and what’s downright fucking offensive (There’s no place for people who don’t understand that distinction here). And as you go, here are the take-away lessons (always important to get those memorized): 1. should you ever feel the need to ruin someone’s day just because you need a little mood pick-me-up (especially when circumstances would dictate you should be having a great time), you are likely unhappy, dissatisfied, and probably need to check around you to see what things in the immediate vicinity are causing you to behave like a raging ass. And then get rid of them. Because people at peace don’t do that. And people surrounded by chaos makers are never at peace. 2. Sometimes when you win, you lose. So always be very, very sure you know what it is you’re fighting for. and 3. don’t sweat the small people. Even if they try to convince you they’re big. Get better at knowing the difference.

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Holy Christmas ya’ll, I’m busy. I’m supposed to go to a Holiday Party this evening down by the Waterfront but I’m not sure I’ll be done with work in time…Le sigh.

In any event, I had all these awesome tabs open in my browser so I could post some great things today but then my computer ate them. And now I got nothing. Nothing at all. Except…

This idea of group think and it’s obverse has been fascinating to me lately, not least because I came across this nifty little site and it got me to thinking about how social media is driving this compulsive need to be like each other, go where others go, prove you are in the crowd, win the top prize for the one who goes there, thinks that, does that more/more often/better.

Now, ifttt is cool because it’s not only a very poor man’s version of coding to some degree, but because it speaks to streamlining the things one does with social media. And social media has become this fascinating behemoth to me: something that is apparently making us miserable if not outright banal. The idea of filter bubbles is nothing new of course, but I’ll probably always be that girl in the corner who didn’t mind getting invited to the party but really only so I could stand in the corner with other smart ass, know-it-all friends and roll my eyes at the sheeple’s NEED to be part of some milquetoast group. Or at the wannbe sheeple whose only recourse was anger at not being milquetoast enough. At the time, I had more empathy for the latter. That’s changed as I’ve gotten older. It should be obvious why, but if you need a lesson on why it’s tragic to be angry that you can’t be what you hate, I’ll school you on the folly of self-loathing. If I have the time.

In any event, re-reading this piece kind of slammed it all home for me. Again. There are some ideas that I return to time and again and they make me feel hopeful again. The ones presented here do that. Because I like the idea that “sameness” is really just a dead-end. Maybe that should depress me. But it doesn’t.

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Actions and character

At risk of being a total white girl on Facebook, here’s a pic to say goodbye to this flag football season:

New cleats, already filthy

It was a tough road for us this year but it was good time. And, personally, I learned a lot more about the game and discovered I’m not a bad defensive player. Hopefully we’ll field a team again next year and maybe we can start fleshing out some of our personnel issues. And that’s where I’ll stop.

So, I sound like a sexy mama with the raspy voice gained from coughing a lung up for about three days with a nasty cold. It’s pretty well gone now but the rasp remains. So, if you happen to call and think you’ve reached like a sex chat line or something you haven’t. But I could use a little bank account bump for Christmas so I’d be willing to work something out maybe…

So, some things. I cannot wait until I’ve a bit of a cushion to start having some fun again. I mean, sometimes it keeps me awake at night. I hear about all of these amazing things people are doing — the NYC ballet, trips to Turkey and/or Nepal, hell, just skiing in Colorado — and I’m thrilled and excited by the prospect. But it all has to wait for me. Sometimes I feel like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. So I’ll try to content myself with exploring a little closer to home for now. And be happy for my friends. That’s pretty cool, too.

Speaking of, one of my friends spent some time in Edinburgh recently and shared some Scotch she bought there with a few folks at a Holiday Potluck she threw Sunday. I got to sample a little (thanks for the share Bay) and holy God it was delicious. I mean, I’ve never actually had a drink of liquor that went down like water. Dangerous, wonderful stuff.

This is a good thing right here. Wish I’d thought of it…

I’m torn about his on-the-field evangelizing — although I really like what Aaron Rodgers had to say about some of this stuff. I like this Rodgers kid more and more every day — but I agree with this. There’s not enough of the “screw it, I’m choosing to expect the good” attitude floating around so, more power to you Timmy. Also, it seems to be working, doesn’t it…

The land-family woke me up with this song this morning. I felt like I was back home for about three minutes. So much better than the Rave-o-lution.

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Hiya kids! Mama doesn’t feel so hot today. People have been trying to give me their colds all week. I keep telling them that I want something else for Christmas but they’re just so generous. So, while my swallowing becomes increasingly difficult, I can only offer the Peter Gabriel playlist I come back to about once a year. Games Without Frontiers is of a rare quality: a good, catchy song with a brilliant and biting lyrical undertone about what silly children we all really are. And how dangerous that is.

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Okay then, it was a rather disappointing weekend for football pretty much all the way around so I won’t go into it. Suffice to say that I’ve never before been made fun of for trying to remain optimistic. I told my pops about that — I mean I literally got into a weird one-sided fight with a good friend of mine over the UGA game and was so confused by what was happening I think I just went into shock and tried to wait it out — and pops said, “Some people just don’t get it kid. They had a 10 game winning streak. That’s something to feel good about. They’re likely to be even better next year. Also something to feel good about.” And I think where I come down on it is I much prefer to FEEL GOOD about something than wallow in the rage of losing to the BEST DEFENSE in the EFFING COUNTRY. But whatever. I guess we have the Outback Bowl against Michigan State on Jan. 2 and that should be a fair matchup. Maybe I’m just getting a bit more philosophical as I get older but being pissed off just doesn’t appeal to me at all.

Which brings me to that whole atheism thing I’ve been wanting to write a little about since I had a conversation with my brother John about the topic over Thanksgiving. Now, some background: my siblings and I were raised Catholic. Most of us — myself included — have remained Catholic. But my brother John — who also happens to be a very good friend and adviser to me. He’s always protected me and kept things real. Many people don’t have anyone in their life who will do that for them. I got lucky. — went a more Protestant, non-denominational Christian route. We were talking about atheism because I brought it up — there’s a lot more of the militant strain here in DC than there is down South. And John had a really interesting thing to say on the subject. Primarily, he noted, when you’re a humanist and your ultimate and most deeply held belief is in your own abilities etc, you are faced constantly with the fallibility of the thing you respect, believe in, admire, love the most. “How many times a day do you screw up or question yourself?” he asked. And that’s the human condition. So, he reasoned, the common thread in many atheists to prove that they have it all figured out — that they are the intellectual kings of the castle that know that your antiquated system of belief is silly at best, morally retarded at worst — is because they must compensate for the constant wrestling with just how much they question themselves. Very likely more than people of faith. Now, I realize this argument is one easily used toward the whole “opiate of the masses” argument. Maybe so. I used to think deluding oneself was a bad thing…but now, well, see the above paragraph about feeling good.

Further, John told me of a gentlemen at his work place who took it upon himself to tell my brother that he was “lying to his kids” by taking them to church. John has only just started this new job so this guy felt justified saying this to someone he barely knows. “So I get to deal with that f*cker every day,” my brother said. And that’s the second part of this that we hashed out. Inherent in the Judeo-Christian ethic is the idea of free will. You can choose. And yes, I know there are some believers who would give you their testimony or try to save your soul. But most really don’t care. They want to be left alone to believe and are more than willing to leave you alone to disbelieve. And so the proselytizing atheist is just as annoying as the Jehovah’s Witness who shows up on your doorstep and attempts to tell you how wrong you are about what you think. You are no different with your dogma, militant atheist. It’s always funny that you employ the tactic you claim disgusts you. I guess all I’m saying is: go somewhere else with the in-your-face “you shouldn’t believe!” I — and most Christians — really don’t care. You are not shocking to us. You do not worry us. We do not hate you or wish you ill. And we certainly prefer not to be the object of your rage. Most are more than willing to hear a fair, reasonably offered point of view on the matter. But the expectation is tolerance. And that’s something you do believe in, right?

Anyway, carrying on in a similar vein, here’s proof that we do have senses of humor. A friend made this up to accompany the link to the Jesus Toaster (which I think is absolutely hilarious and I want to buy one for someone for Christmas but I’m not sure who should get it…). This is his food-inspired version of most of the Lord’s Prayer. It’s exceedingly clever and I just wanted to share it. Because Jesus freaks have senses of humor, too.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and give us your molasses
have brie, olive oils, bleu, and sauce dispensed just,
and knead us knots anew for bacon!
Cut a sliver with gristle,
it’s Zen!

Jesus Toaster

Finally, the concert Friday at Catholic U. was lovely and they played one of my favorite Christmas Carols. Here’s a nice version by Sufjan Stevens.

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