Strangers

 

Love

 

During the month of February, 12 years ago, I sold my first CD to a stranger. I know this because it was such a pleasant surprise, at the time, that I scribbled a note about it in my then-current calendar. When it came time to transfer significant dates to the next year’s calendar (things like International Talk Like a Pirate Day and Tom Baker‘s birthday), I took that little note along. And I’ve done so each year since.

 

I just got an accounting of digital music sales and it was lovely. Not for the money (of which there was barely enough for a beer), but for the information contained in the report. Canada, Japan, the UK – all were shown as places of downloads of my little songs. It really made me smile and reminded me of that day, 12 years ago, when someone I never met paid for my musical art. My heart really needed that boost this week. And I’m so grateful the world gifted me with that sweet energy.

 

Though the world doesn’t know it, I still carry dreams and ambitions for music. I have plans (that shall remain private for now), I have hopes. I have many new songs. I have the soul of a creator. Denying it doesn’t change the fact. It only gets me down. So I don’t deny it. I own it. I practice voice training and work on songs. I paint things I want to look at. I weld art for my own home. I cook good food to savor and share. I create, when and where I can. If I don’t, my soul shrinks. That’s no good for me, and when I’m not good to myself, I’m of little use in the world. And just as I cannot deny my need for the best me I can be, I also cannot deny the fact that the world needs me to show up every day. To be a good human. A good citizen. A good artist. You know what I’m talking about, I imagine, because you know that the world needs you, too. Desperately.

 

So – this month. I endeavor to move toward creativity, with kindness and purpose. I endeavor to love deeply. I endeavor to be the best me I can. And I do it with gratitude for the global souls – strangers – who have reminded me how it feels to be appreciated. My heart overflows…

Laying Low

 

 

As I told you a few days ago, I had some surgery. I’m doing just fine, thank you, and I expect to keep feeling better every day. I’m following doctor’s orders, as well as thinking good thoughts. As I write this, I’m very nearly chipper, I tell you.

 

But the day of the surgery wasn’t fun. Pre-surgery details were okay, mind you, but after I woke from the procedure, I didn’t feel too peppy. This is to be expected, I suppose, given the meds one receives during surgery. But I was surprised how long the danged stuff stuck around in my system. (I also threw up in the car on the way home, and I super didn’t like that. I’m guessing Mister didn’t, either.) I slept on and off all day, then through the night. I was a little nauseous that evening, for a spell, but it passed and I’ve been pretty good ever since.

 

I’m the type of gal who will go for a hike when I feel good, which is ordinarily okay. But right now I’m trying to remind myself to lay low for a while, so that my body can recover. It’s tricky. But I know it’s for the best. At least that’s what I’m being told by professionals and non-professionals alike. (I’m looking at you, Mister.)

 

For everyone who checked in on me – I thank you. Your sweet wishes were not only appreciated, but they also cradled my soul. A gal can’t ask for much more than that.

This Is What 50 Looks Like

 

 

Today is my birthday. And I’m 50. As I recently snapped the above photo, I’m gonna say it counts toward what my being 50 looks like.

 

I can’t speak for others, but I’m feeling pretty good. Thankfully, this round-numbered birthday hasn’t brought me any undue anxiety or worry. Am I in awe? Yes, I am. I mean, half a century! Wow! There was a time when I doubted if I’d make it out of my teens with a pulse, so hitting the big 5-0 is a surprise.

 

I’ve done a lot of looking back in recent weeks, and I’ve come to this singular conclusion: it’s been quite a life. Even with the downturns and down times, it’s been a gift. I’m kind of amazed at the amount of love and joy I’ve been allotted. And I’m grateful.

 

This morning will see me getting my annual birthday doughnut. I’ve got too much work to tend during the day. Then we’ll see what Mister has planned for supper. That guy. He may be the biggest part of what has made this life of mine worth living and recounting.

 

If anyone is wanting to send birthday wishes my way, I ask that you do so by enjoying your own life. Please live joyfully! The world needs all the love and positive energy you and I can muster. It echoes. I swear it does.

 

Happy Birthday to me. Love, me.

Today

 

 

Sometimes, for no reason at all, I become depressed. That depression can be debilitating or merely annoying. It can break me in body and spirit, or it can challenge me to break it. Sometimes, for no reason at all, I’m filled with joy. That joy can be the kind that’s bubbly and giggly. Or it can simply be quiet and smiley. The latter is the type of joy that struck me yesterday and it was lovely.

 

If I wanted to decipher my happiness, I could point to avoiding the news as a source. Or maybe the long walk from yesterday morning. The nachos I had for lunch could deserve some of the credit. But I’m not in the deciphering mood. I am merely content. Content to go about my business. Content to handle life, at least for today. And because I know how good the joyful moments are, I’m grateful.

 

Sometimes, for no reason at all, I become depressed. Thankfully, today is not one of those days.

Lazy Sunday

 

 

Today is the last official Sunday of Summer. But don’t try telling summer that. Where I live, we’re expecting a high of around 97 degrees. Da fuh?

 

Anyhoo – my intention is to be lazy. To enjoy the day without worrying over accomplishing things, to loll about and be present in the moment, to share the company of Mister. To try and stay cool, dang it.

 

I am also fully prepared to scrap my intentions and work on this or that, to tackle a job, to take care of bidness.

 

Either way, I hope to go where the day takes me, and to meander with grace and gratitude. After all, it’s the last official Sunday of Summer. During this calendar year, there won’t be another like it. I’d say that’s reason enough to live it fully, wouldn’t you?

 

Cheers.

Thursday Memories – Cute

 

 

The photo above was taken 20 years ago. (Gulp.) Look at me – I was cute, for cry-eye! I loved that outfit. The skirt is long gone, but I still have the hat and the velvet jacket. When I wear them now, I get loads of compliments. I guess my old clothes now qualify as “vintage.” Go figure.

 

Now that I am my age (ahem), compliments aren’t tossed my way as often as when I was younger. Mind you, I go about town in my work/painting clothes most of the time, and I’m not on the make. I’m past flirting to get my way and I’m also past tempering the truth to make others feel better. So not only do I walk around in the world looking like trash, I also don’t hold back when I encounter a jackass. For example, perhaps I should offer apologies to the pharmacist who said he’d gotten the dates wrong on my prescription because he’s new, which led to me telling him that if he’s new to numbers, he’s in for a rough road no matter where he works, as using numbers for dates isn’t new and that maybe he should come up with a different weak-sauce excuse for the next time he screws up. But I didn’t just meet me. That guy will not be getting an apology. But I digress…

 

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t go fishing for compliments. I am generally happy in my own skin, which negates the need for external validation. But I am human. And I do respond favorably to authentic, nice words (especially on those days when I’ve relied on the kindness of lipstick, earrings and a comb). I also respond to not-so-nice words. And those times, rare though they are, are a bit bleak. (I’m talking to you, lying pharmacist.) I once had a dear friend who repeatedly made fun of the way I dress. I know how I dress. I know my taste isn’t for everyone, and I’m cool with that. But you don’t say mean stuff about something so shallow to your friends. Dag. You don’t act like that with anyone. It’s lame. And ugly.

 

Anyhoo – yesterday I was out in the world and I got not one, but two (count ‘em – two) compliments from strangers as I went about my bidness. I didn’t have my lady parts hanging out, and I wasn’t wearing make-up, so I don’t know what the hell was going on. Maybe L.A. was experiencing a group-high. Maybe the weather agreed with me. Maybe the fact that I was consciously aware of being grateful during the day showed on my face. I really don’t know. But I don’t have to know.

 

When I told Mister about my 1-2 punch of compliments, he said I should take it where I can get it. Wise man. I should probably remember to compliment him on that.

Shadows

 

 

The other day I woke up with a sore throat, along with a grand appreciation for life. It was an odd start to the day. My body definitely didn’t feel too good, and yet my mental disposition couldn’t have been brighter. Since I didn’t just meet me, I knew my mind was going to determine the course of my day, no matter how crappy my matter (body) felt.

 

I had to deliver some stuff I’d been proof-reading, as it was due for publishing… And can I just say something about that? I know some people get all excited when they’re about to undertake a pleasurable job or task, and I’m no exception. My engines are revved when I’m asked to get out my red pen to dissect the printed word. Seriously. I felt like crap when I worked on that package, and it was still fabulous! I wish there had been more of it to proof-read! But I digress…

 

So I delivered the paperwork, then walked back to the train, through Korea Town. K-Town is hopping and a lot of fun, but I wasn’t sure how lively it would be at 11:30 in the morning, so I kept my expectations kind of low. Plus, I was on the ill side of things, so there wasn’t much energy for raised expectations anyway. But I decided a pit stop, for medicinal purposes (ahem), was in order. Beer Belly more than satisfied that yen.

 

After my early lunch, I headed to the train station and made my way home. All told, I only walked a couple of miles, but I was fairly worn out from the outing (danged sick self). I tried to do low-energy jobs the rest of the day and mostly managed to pull that off.

 

Sometimes I tend to keep to the shadows in life. I don’t always interact with the world and I don’t always feel sunshine-y. During those times, the shadows are familiar and comfortable. Safe even. There’s nothing wrong with that, I know. But when I do venture into the light, even if my body isn’t quite well, I am often rewarded with joy and gratitude, just for being alive. My profound appreciation for both shadows and light is immense. As I’ve learned in painting class, you can’t have light without shadows, nor can you have shadows without light. I get it. And I’ll take both, thank-you-very-much.

No Good Reason

 

 

Do you ever find yourself feeling not-so-hot, for no good reason? Like – life is pretty good, you know? You’re doing great, even. You’re loved. You get to have fun. Your basic needs are met, and then some. And yet…

 

That’s how I felt when I went to bed Sunday night. I have no real complaints about life. I want to be clear about that because I don’t feel sorry for myself and I don’t want anyone else to feel sorry for me, either. That isn’t the point. Truth is – I just get down sometimes and have to ride it out. And I’m always surprised by this, because there’s no precursor, nothing that tells me the down times are coming. They just happen. And when these times happen, they suck.

 

So that’s where I’m sitting at the moment. I’m trying to remember to count my blessings instead of focusing on the blues. I’m also trying to remember that depression isn’t me. It’s something I occasionally go through, but I am not defined by it nor am I at its mercy. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it will last as long as it lasts. But it isn’t me. It isn’t the girl whose glass is overflowing. It isn’t the girl who is grateful just for waking to a new day. And it certainly isn’t the girl who loves this life more than butter.

 

Sorry for oversharing, if that’s how you read this. But I haven’t made a habit of lying to you, and I see no reason to start now.

Monday, Monday

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I had a swell weekend. There was entertainment and food and laughter and imbibing and pool-time and well… It was just grand.

 

On Sunday evening, Mister said something about how easy it is to forget the satisfaction and joy to be found in living a simple day. Sunday was simple. And it was lovely. Mister was right. It is far too easy to forget life’s simple pleasures. And yet, if we let them, those pleasures show themselves and remind us of joy. Lucky for us, this weekend served us well. All the way around.

 

Here’s hoping we remember how good life can be. How good it is. How much there is that’s worthy of gratitude. Even in this crazy world.

An Attitude of Gratitude

 

“Here I stand; I can do no otherwise. God help me.”

Martin Luther

(1483 – 1546)

 

 

 

 

The photo above was taken in the cab of a tow truck. As I was taking the pic, I was in that danged tow truck and my old Volvo was being towed. It’s a funny story, actually…

 

On Friday I had about a million, billion, god-zillion things to do. One item on my list was to go downtown to the fabric district, where I needed to pick up some fringed trim. At my local fabric store, I found a fringed trim that was sort of okay and that I could live with, but not quite what I had envisioned. With a coupon, that trim would have cost $7.50 per yard. In the fabric district, I found precisely what I was looking for at – wait for it – $2 per yard. But I digress. While I would ordinarily take the train downtown, I had other to-do items that day. Items that weren’t on the train’s route and required me driving. So I drove downtown. No problem. I jiffy-quick ran into the fabric store, found what I wanted, bought it and very nearly skipped back to my car in the adjacent lot. I climbed into the old gal and hit the engine and – nothing. I mean absolutely nothing happened. As I’ve lived with my old Volvo for 16 years now, it wasn’t my first rodeo. So I grabbed the branch on the tree and shifted the gears. There was no resistance of any measure.

 

Years ago I had a similar experience and called AAA. On that occasion, the tow truck driver looked under the car and found the problem: the gear shift had become detached from the mechanism that actually shifts the danged gears. That guy was a mensch, I tell you, and he had me take a look beneath the car so that I’d understand the issue and be able to handle it myself, should the problem occur again. So Friday, in that downtown L.A. parking lot, I remembered the day the AAA tow truck driver taught me to fish (instead of merely giving me a fish), and I got down on the ground and reached beneath my car. Sure enough – the problem was the same as on that long-ago day. I reconnected the gear shift parts, asked the parking lot attendant for a tissue, cleaned my hands enough to not oil up my steering wheel and that was that. I started the car just fine and hit the road. I was off to my next task.

 

After several miles, I took my designated freeway off-ramp. Just as I began slowing, I heard a loud bang beneath the car. I stopped at the off-ramp’s stop light. When it turned green, I followed traffic through a turn and onto the street, where I found myself stopped at another light. The car didn’t feel right. In fact, it felt like I was coasting to that next light instead of driving with any power. But what could I do? I was at a stop light. So I waited in the queue, then when it was my turn, I coasted through the left turn and continued to coast about a block and turned right into a parking lot where I had bid-ness to do. There was a vacant spot at the back of the lot, next to an alley and I coasted all the way into it. I checked the steering wheel and it was the same as downtown: nothing but give. I got out of the car and again got down on the ground, ready to reconnect the gear shift. But when I reached beneath the car, something was wrong. Part of the car seemed to be – missing. There was nothing to connect the gear shift to. Was that what I’d heard? Had the bang occurred when that part of my car broke off? I didn’t know for sure, but I suspected. So I stood up, retrieved my phone and called AAA. Once I was on their list and knew how long I had to wait for the tow truck to arrive, well, I went ahead and took care of my task in that area. Why not? Might as well get some things done while I waited. I handled my bid-ness and went back out to my car to wait for the AAA guy.

 

Just when I thought I’d been forgotten, the tow truck arrived and the driver did his job. I could go on and on about that guy, and in fact I may in a day or two, but for now, suffice it to say I and my car made it safe and sound to my mechanic’s and from there I got a ride home with the big guy himself. He told me he’d probably get to my car on Monday (today) and that he’d update me as soon as he could.

 

I’m telling you all of this because I want you to know how Friday went. And I want you to know how Friday went because I want you to know how I dealt with the day’s events. Basically, I chilled. When I found myself temporarily stranded downtown, I didn’t fret and instead handled the situation. Then, when I found myself permanently stranded, I sort of did the same. And not once did I stress over the scene. When I called AAA, the customer service chick even commented, “Wow! You sure do have a positive attitude about all this.” I didn’t hesitate in saying, “Well, I’m safe. And really, how cool is it that my car coasted for me for at least a quarter of a mile? That’s pretty cool, right?”

 

As of this posting, I’m still without a car. And I’m prepared to rely on my bicycle for getting around. I’m cool with that. And I’m still amazed at how charmed my day was last Friday. And I’m grateful. Not only was my attitude aces, but I had a lot to be positive about.

 

It is a wonderful thing – being blessed. It is greater still to know it. And man – don’t I know…