Bubye 2018

 

Bubye 2018

 

Most people I know are ready to toss 2018 into the wood chipper. Here in the States, among people with a modicum of integrity, the past year is viewed for the poo-show it was. Good riddance.

 

But there were glimmers of vitality and joy. Just the other night I danced my ass off and that was definitely a highlight. Not only that, but when I sat and watched other party-goers tear up the dance floor, I felt a joy bubble burst in my brain hole and just about smiled myself to death.

 

Rodin at the Norton Simon Museum

 

I saw amazing art, locally…

 

4th Day_Hyde Park_Christo and a Queens Swan

 

and abroad.

 

Sunset in December

 

The Los Angeles sunsets brought ridiculous awe and wonder to my front door. Thank you smog!

 

Bentley My Lover Dog

 

I got to visit with a dog I adore. Only this time he decided to show his love for me by going to town on my leg. As this is very uncommon for this well-behaved soul, I think his affection may be due to a past-life experience. Maybe Bentley and I were lovers in another time. I do hail from white trash, so maybe there’s some dog in my lineage. Whatever the reason, it was unexpected and not cool, dog.

 

Desert Respite

 

Mister and I had a desert respite. It was fun and restful and beautiful and we got to see dear friends. Win-win, y’all.

 

Blindfold Puzzle

 

While in the desert, I witnessed my friend SJ assemble a puzzle while blindfolded. Yep. She discerned which side of each piece was up while blindfolded. She separated side and interior pieces while blindfolded. Then she put the mutha together and it didn’t take very long. I love this gal for a lot of reasons. And now I love her even more.

 

Beer Advent Finished

 

Mister and I finished our Beer Advent Calendar, and we had a blast doing it. All those German beers were a treat. And the cans look so amazing on the mantel. As we don’t live in a frat house, they’ll be coming down today, however. That’s alright. We enjoyed them while they lasted.

 

I got through the first draft of part two of the book I’m writing, and as my goal was to get it out of my head before the year’s end, I’m feeling pretty good about that. Miles to go, of course, but still. Sometimes baby steps are incredibly fulfilling.

 

Mikki and Lorinda 2003

 

I also reconnected with someone I love more than butter. If you know a soul who seems to be part of the fiber of your being, then you can appreciate how I feel about this chick. She’s woven into me. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. Gratitude abounds.

 

2018 was a janky year, I won’t deny. But there were moments that stood out, moments that made a difference. And I want to do all I can to make even more stand-out moments come to life this year. It won’t be easy, y’all. My country is still being slowly destroyed by the worst president in history. Jackasses around the globe are discriminating against human souls in more ways than I can comprehend. Our environment seems to be dying. And don’t get me started on gender issues. Honestly – it’s enough to break a person. I know a few folks who have fallen so deeply into depression that they may not make it back. I’m not kidding. That’s heartbreaking.

 

But! I’m not ready to give up. In fact, I’m just getting started. You want a piece of me, 2019? Bring it on. I’m your worst nightmare – a Club 50, optimistic, brave, excited creator. And I’m about to make this year my bitch. Here we go…

 

Happy New Year!

 

Miss Vera

 

 

On this date in 1907, Vera Owen Bridges was born. She would become a mother 21 years later. Many, many years after that, she would become a great-grandmother. My great-grandmother.

 

All my memories portray her as an old woman. Honestly, I don’t recall her having teeth, at least not during my lifetime. Her gray hair was kept short, though once in a while it reached a length that allowed her to twist it into a tight, little bun. Maybe that wasn’t an allowance. Maybe it was a hindrance. I’m not sure. I don’t recall her going to any beauty parlors (which is what she would have called them), but I do remember her applying a blueish tint to her fine, thin hair. And that took place in her old kitchen.

 

Actually, a lot took place in that old kitchen. Biscuits were baked. Catfish was fried. Gravy was stirred. More meals than I could ever recall were eaten at the kitchen’s old wooden table, its aged oil-cloth cover sticky and cracked. There was no formal dining room, but that table held more class and grace than most.

 

Granny Vera told me stories of being the daughter of a moon-shiner. How her father had taught her to drive an old truck so that she could deliver the liquor to his customers. The thinking was that if she ever got caught, she wouldn’t go to jail – being an underage girl. On the other hand, if her father or older brother had been busted, jail would have definitely been in the cards. So young Vera did as she was told and learned to drive a truck with a manual transmission and no power anything – steering, brakes or otherwise. When I drive around in my old Volvo – named after Granny Vera – I think of her each time I work hard to crank that steering wheel. And no matter how hard it gets, I think to myself that if Granny could do it, I can, too. Especially since my car has never once been loaded down with the weight of illegal hooch.

 

I suppose the drinking began when she was a young girl, but I have no proof of that. I know she met Eugene Bridges – Big Papa – at a juke joint in Georgia where she liked to go and dance. I’m fairly certain her drinking continued there. And after.

 

By the time I met her, and really grew to know her, she was sneaking her drinks. The family had decided she shouldn’t be drinking anymore. Maybe they knew something I didn’t. I mean, there were times when it seemed to my young eyes that she was probably drunk. And those times were fun. Granny never stopped enjoying dancing, and I have specific memories of dancing with her in her front yard, bare feet and hard red dirt. She danced with abandon, which only served to encourage my own flailing limbs and crazy rhythm. For Granny, it was about fun. For me, that meant the world.

 

There were, of course, times when she was none too happy with me. That was to be expected. I was, after all, a kid. But even during those few tense times, like when she hurled a giant wooden bowl at my head (and missed), the scenes ended in laughter. Those times, too, meant the world to me.

 

Granny Vera outlived Big Papa by fourteen years. She even made it to see the year 2000. I like to think she held on, just to see what might be new around that monumental corner. She was a few months shy of her 93rd birthday.

 

As I’ve said, I never knew Granny Vera as anything but old. But the kicker is that she was perhaps the youngest adult I shall ever meet. Her jokes, her curiosity, her laughter, her stories – all were aspects of a young-at-heart gal who enjoyed life and did her best to live it. She was cash-poor every day of her life. And yet somehow, she taught me to be joyfully rich. I will love her right through my last breath.

 

Happy Birthday, Granny. Today I dance in your honor.

If We’re Lucky…

 

 

Rain. You may be up to your ears in it (or snow), but we’re not. So a cloudy sky holds promise. If we’re lucky. I start thinking about possibilities. I cross my fingers. I consider dancing.

 

But for whatever reason, I don’t have it in me to dance right now. If I blame the lack of rain, I’m lying to myself. For there’s some sort of psychic weight holding me down today. Some sort of uncertainty is keeping me from soaring. Maybe it’s natural bio-rhythms. Maybe it’s low blood sugar.

 

The truth is, some days just feel like this. They hold the same promise as others, and yet I find myself unable to rise to the gifts of those precious 24 hours. Part of me wants to bounce off the walls and smile so much my face hurts. Another part of me wants to hide in the closet, like I did when I was about 10 years old. At that time, I went so far as to set up a sleeping bag and an entire nesting spot in my closet at the house on Westchester Drive. For months I slept in my closet. It was small and it was safe. It was also extremely isolated and solitary. I’m not able to revisit the kid-me to understand what drove me to that little cave. My adult thoughts of hiding are no less mysterious. I’m sure I could dig around in my psyche and come to some sort of self-knowledge on the subject, but I don’t really want to. That part of me is dark and murky. Those corners of my mental storage frighten me. Yes, there are truths hidden in that darkness, but I’m not quite brave enough to venture into my void, hand in front of me to keep me from running into – into what? Nope, not quite brave enough.

 

So as I sit here writing about the parts of me I tend to hide, I hear Florence + The Machine playing in another room… “And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off…

 

I can try. Standing is the first step…

Just an Ordinary Day

 

 

Some days are marked with gold stars on our calendars. We know they’re coming, and those days bring expectations. Sometimes joy, sometimes sorrow. Those days are imbued with plans, with action. Because those days warrant notation on our calendars, they stand out.

 

But what about the ordinary days – the ones without a note of expectation scribbled in their squares? Those days make up the majority of my calendar’s space. And believe it or not, those are the best days.

 

Ordinary days are wonderful not because there’s nothing planned during their hours, but because anything is possible. It takes an ordinary day to offer the unexpected. A run-of-the-mill day is the one that allows us to throw caution to the wind and accept a surprise invitation. An ordinary day may hold the gift of meditation while tinkering in the garden or garage. A regular old day may allow us the blessing of mind-travel while reading, or peace while watching a sleeping child. The quiet of an ordinary day may provide space for a perfect cup of tea, or the abandon of dancing in one’s living room.

 

I don’t know why we don’t schedule those things for ourselves, but we generally don’t. And that’s a shame. I’d love to look down at my calendar and see an appointment on a given Tuesday – an appointment with myself, with Mister. I think it would look like this:

5:45pm: 20 Minutes of Crazy Dancing

Rain or Shine

Excuse me – I need to go write on my calendar.

Recovery

 

I’m recovering from an awesome weekend getaway.

 

There was food. There was booze. There was dancing. There was romancing.

 

I’m tired, yo. But I’ll be back tomorrow. With bells on.