Love, love, love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you had a great day, celebrating it, or not, however was enjoyable for you.

No one cares about my love life, so instead of writing about myself and what I did today (spoiler alert: I did nothing related to Valentine’s Day except wear a pretty red dress which garnered three compliments), I want to share some quotes about love that I found by doing a Google search. Don’t judge me.

Oh, KKW! I have never watched a single minute of any of the Kardashian shows, but I don’t judge anyone who does. To be honest, I watch so little tv that I often times have nothing in common to talk to most people about .

And even though I know almost nothing about KKW ‘s life, other than she’s rich and pretty and maybe broke the internet once, I agree with her on this quote.

I believe in love always because there are always indications of it everywhere! Not just romantic love, which is often times fleeting and falsely identified, but true and genuine love, the kind that you see when two people are actually listening to each other or when you can tell that an old couple still likes each other. Those types of things give me hope in humanity, not just in the lofty idea of love that the media regularly tells us we should have. I believe, always.

I also know almost nothing about Amy Poehler, other than she was on SNL and she’s a great television writer.

I like this quote because it makes me think of the Eckhart Tolle book that I am currently reading.

Really, the first step to attaining a thing is to give it to yourself. Want happiness? Surprise, you can give it to yourself, right now. It’s in you and no one can take it away from you. It’s like the adult version of when your magician uncle pulls a quarter from behind your ear and tells you that it was there the whole time, except in life, you really can develop the mental skills to give yourself happiness pretty much all the time.

I feel the same way about love. Love from other people is very important. It makes us feel less alone and more valued. But, without self love, we can’t even begin to fathom or accept the depths of the love that comes from others.

For a very long time, I used to say to myself, “I wish I had someone to love me”, meaning in a romantic sense. But one day, through lots of reading and developing a greater sense of self awareness, I suddenly realized that I needed to love myself and then I could feel love in all its forms from other people. My mind exploded and I haven’t been the same since.

My advice is not to get too caught up on external love, the kind you might get from other people. Even if you’re perfect towards them, people are flakey and a lot of them are really screwed up in the head unfortunately.

You might be screwed up in the head, too. Join the party of almost everyone on planet earth.

But, you know what you can count on when the mister leaves or cheats or the missus wants you to be something that you’re not? You can always count on the love you have for yourself, if you have some.

If you don’t have any, then your homework tonight is to love on yourself.

Don’t neglect your partner if you’ve got one, but take a moment at least and say: I love myself.

You deserve it.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Awaiting Death While Enjoying Kindness

A little over a year ago, I reconnected with an uncle-in-law that I used to see often as a child. He is now 82 years old, having had his most recent birthday on New Year’s Eve.

He was married to my Aunt, who passed away a few months before I graduated from college. Since I was the first person in my family to earn a Bachelor’s degree, walking across the stage and knowing she wasn’t in the crowd was both exhilarating and heartbreaking, at the same time.

He has outlived her for many years now, and thanks to a mismailed letter from the good ole United States government, I have reconnected with him.

I go to his house, on average about 3 times a week. I help him with his finances; I run errands. I now know that he gets a kick out of it when I bring him family sized bags of Ricola lozenges. I introduced him to Ricola lozenges, and when I first gave him a bag, I sang the all too familiar REEE COOO LAAAA jingle from the commercial. Now, sometimes he sings it back to me when I show up with a new bag.

He uses a lot of cough drops because, among other health ailments, he has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, better known as COPD. It prevents him from breathing while sometimes keeping him occupied with a lingering cough.

He doesn’t venture out of his house much anymore. And even though he has a cable subscription, he enjoys watching the same black and white westerns that I imagine he watched as a child and much younger man.

And even though his body is failing him, his mind, and his awareness of his long life and long suffering, are still very strong. Most days, his mind is clearer and stronger than mine is or has ever been. He remembers street names, people names, events, and lots of other things from my childhood that I have long forgotten or perhaps never even knew.

Today, I went to visit him. I took him two bags of the family sized Ricola lozenges and two stacks of low sodium Pringles chips. He was delighted to have the surprises. I also took him homemade biscuits and white gravy with sausage, both of which I made this morning. I also took him two bowls of homemade stew, which I made two nights ago. Everything turned out great and I think he enjoys and understands the value of homecooked food more than an average person.

You see, my now elderly Uncle was married to the most prolific cook in our family. My Aunt cooked EVERYTHING and all the time. I have heard stories of her banging around pots in the morning, and when she was discovered cooking at those wee hours, she simply said, “You want something to eat?’

She was simply amazing.

I think of her every time I cook something for my uncle. I actually think of her in two ways: one, an impossible way, when I ask myself, “How would she have made this?” Alas, that question is impossible because I generally have no idea. Second, a bittersweet way, when I think to myself, “I think she would approve” when something turns out good.

I know that nowadays, a lot of people eat out for almost every meal. I totally understand; I picked up a “chicken box” (as my mom calls them) from Church’s Chicken on the way home, not wanting to bang around my own pots and spend more time in the kitchen today. I also have another takeout box in my refrigerator right now.

But, to me, there’s something very special about home cooked food, especially when someone who cares about you makes it. When I make food for people, it is always with great care and hope that it will be really, really great. No, I do not always make the best tasting food, and certainly it is not all restaurant quality, but I have never served something to other people that I just flopped together, carelessly. I like to reserve my lower skillset for myself, on those nights when I feel self critical about dialing up a delivery man to bring me some grub.

Today, when I took my uncle the food, he went on and on about it. In my work of getting to know myself better and understanding why I am the way I am, I have recognized that I love the admiration of an eater.

Oh,  your cake looks beautiful! (*blushes!*)

Oh, your cake is moist! (*double blushes!*)

Oh, this cake is better than box / store bought! (*oh, gosh, don’t kill me with your kind words!*)

After he thanked me for the food and assured me that he knew it was delicious before even trying it, we talked about the city where we both used to live, many years ago, my hometown. Today, he didn’t mention his own death, but he usually does. Today is less somber; today he is excited to learn about my new client. And he told me another story about my father, whom I never knew personally, and how yes, I am like him in a lot of ways in terms of my personality, but no, I shouldn’t worry about it because even though my father had a well-deserved reputation of being a cold, rule following asshole, I am still a good person, even if I have some of those traits. Or, even if I have all of those traits.

I leave there feeling good about myself. I feel appreciated. I feel like I did a good thing, hanging out with my uncle for a few hours, and taking him food that might somewhat resemble the food he used to eat from my aunt’s magical hands.

If you have time tomorrow, hang out with someone who will truly enjoy your company. I suggest picking someone ages 0-10 or 60-the rest. I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

 

Here’s to Having a Good Time

I am loved.

Some days, we might not feel like it. Other days, we are fortunate enough to have our cups runneth over with love. Today, I had one of those overflowing with love kind of days.

The worry and heartache of the past 18 months or so have given me a new found gratitude for almost everything. Now that I know what it is like to worry all day, every day, the feeling of being in the present, and recognizing all the ways that I am loved, well, let’s just say it’s amazing.

Even when I am alone I feel loved. Tonight, I had an amazing opportunity to have a new experience with an old friend…to celebrate me being older. You can’t beat that.

I am just so thankful.

A few days ago, driving across town, I got into a short space of an almost meditative state. Even though I was driving on the freeways, my mind slowed down to appreciate the bright blue of the sky, the shimmering glass of the towering buildings whirling by, the flight of the synchronized birds overhead. It was lovely and I felt loved, even in that moment of almost organized chaos.

I am so thankful.

Being thankful and more mindful has helped me loosen up my definitions of myself. Before tonight, I would have emphatically said that I was not the kind of person to go on stage during a burlesque (what they call “boylesque” , since it featured gentlemen) show. But now, there’s video proof that I did go on stage and rhythmlessly girate my huge ass around for about 90 seconds. That video proof my night ever see the light of day, but, it exists.

I am just so blessed, so thankful, so loved.

I hope you are , too.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Cheat Day #2

Guess who got a new client?

ME!

Guess who worked all day and now she’s kind of tired?

ALSO ME!

Guess who ate a lunchable, one half a cupcake, and two corndogs for dinner?

I am embarrassed to say that yes, it is also me.

My brain is kind of a block of cement right now. Not much going in or out in terms of creativity.

Buttttt, way back on March 15, 2006, my brain was working just fine and I wrote the poem below.

What do you think?

All rights reserved. You may not copy, share, or anything else other than read this poem silently, from your screen.

ENJOY!

Poem:

“I Won’t Be”

I won’t be a fairy tale.

Some times I’ll run away

And write unnecessary lines about love

And possibly about you

For an entire day,

But while you do

Whatever it is you do

While I am gone

Know that my heart never left

And my body is on the way back home.

 

I won’t be a princess.

Sometimes I throw my drawers on the floor

For a few moments

While I am in the shower

Or until the next day

When I’ll kick them to the other side of the door

But walk by them and think

Of how much I love you.

 

I won’t always be so nice.

I am fighting an internal and eternal struggle

Against pessimism and while I learn how to win

There will be some days

That I simply cannot explain

But know that no matter what

Your smile

Or an eye kiss

Or that thing you do when

You lean down at me and squint

Is all the reassurance I need

To win the battle going on inside.

I’m Turning Into Them

There I was, hunched over the left, lower drawer of my desk. I like to call it “the desk” because it is so substantial that it both fills the room and emptied my purse when I bought it.

When it was assembled, the rack for the hanging file folders were put into the wrong slot. I have used the desk this way for almost a year. Tonight, dizzy and nauseated from what I believe is the making of a migraine, I decided to do something about it. I have no idea why.

I held the Phillips’ head screw in my left hand, and said “lefty loosey, righty tighty” aloud before proceeding to unscrew the three screws that needed to move. I was wearing slippers, working diligently and silently, with an air of mechanical confidence that I do not usually enjoy. It was just unscrewing a few screws and moving a bar, after all.

But, right then, I felt it. I felt, for a moment, like an adult, like adult versions of my mother and grandmother.

Today is January 8, the date my grandmother was born way back in 1921. If she had not passed away back in 1998, almost 20 years ago, she would have turned 97 years old today.

It has been a long time since I have seen or spoken to my grandmother, at least in this realm, but I cannot remember a single day, in almost two decades, that I have not thought of her.

Her and my mother represent the parts of me that I wish I could cultivate more. My mother is feeling, empathetic, concerned. My grandmother was stoic, upright, moral, serious. Sometimes she was gentle, but I remember her as being pretty serious pretty much most of the time. I am more like my grandmother in personality, but I admire my mother’s warmth.

Tonight, sitting at “the desk”, I felt a like a little bit of both of them. My mother is so knowledgeable about cars that she could be a mechanic if she had any desire to get dirt under her nails. My grandmother was seemingly so unshakable and confident, it seemed that very few things or people could get her riled up. The stories that I have heard from her life really inspire me, although I am unsure how she was able to still have a hopeful and faithful heart, having grown up poor and in the Jim Crow southern United States.

Both share an affinity for houseshoes and a “can-do” attitude. Perhaps that’s why I felt a connection to them both tonight, as I sat there unscrewing the screws, feet nicely snuggled in a pair of sling-back, fuzzy, striped slippers.

As I have gotten older, I have started to release some of the expectations that I have for myself to be like my mother and my grandmother. It’s a hard thing to do, to let go of the dream of your heroes and realize that your own life is worth living in its own way. And, that things are worth doing YOUR way, no matter who your role models have been.

For me, I realize that I am light years behind the skill set my grandmother had as a baker. I have been rudely reminded of this fact for the past decade, every time I attempted to make a red velvet cake. However, this year, I think I got it right, but in my own way.

I realize that I honestly may never have the high levels of emotion and empathy for others that my mother has. I am beginning to accept this as just a part of who I am. Perhaps I can spread love through the world through cake instead?

No matter how I phrase it, or how I think about it, at least some parts of me are turning into parts of my grandmother and mother. And that’s pretty awesome.

Happy birthday, Lula Bee ❤

Until tomorrow, my friends…