Lest We Forget…

 

Flaggie

 

Here in the United States, it’s Independence Day. Some of us are waving our flags. Some are gathered with friends and family, grilling up some fun. Some are watching fireworks, eyes trained toward the heavens in awe.

 

But let’s not forget, friends, that a complete dip-shit is doing his best to behave like a crazed dictator in a narcissistic show of embarrassing jack-assery. Let’s remember that while we enjoy a holiday, somewhere someone’s baby has been kidnapped by our own government and is being held in shameful conditions. Let’s remember that if the fuck-tard gets his way, we may find ourselves in a war that could harm us for all time, if not out-and-out destroy us.

 

Fireworks - Photo by Mister

 

I don’t mean to be so dark, but this is the world we now live in. And for those of us who actually love the beauty of what our country can be, it’s important for us to remember that we are the true patriots. We who believe in the decency of America, in the humanity of the world – we need to remember that the horrible and pitiful people who’ve lost their moral high-ground do not get to take our love of country from us.

 

So I will indeed be putting out my flag today. I will barbeque and enjoy some fireworks. And I will toast the honorable among us, the true Americans. We don’t get much press, but we’re still here. And our patriotism is enviable. It is caring. It is inclusive. It is humane. And not one of us needs a goddamned tank to prove anything.

 

Womens March 2018 - A Patriotic Pink Panther - photo by Mister

Who You Gonna Call?

 

 

For those of you who reached out after yesterday’s post, thank you. Really.

 

I know it sometimes seems like we’re all alone, but we’re not. And it is precisely during those times that we need to call on one another for support. Maybe we need someone to offer a kind word or guidance. Maybe we just need an ear. No matter the need, let’s keep in touch. Somehow.

 

We are not alone. I promise.

Here We Go

 

 

Now that the US party conventions are wrapped up and the balloons have been popped… Now that we’ve witnessed every emotion imaginable… Now that we’ve got only a little over 3 months until Super Tuesday…

 

Please, please, please – can we try to be decent human beings? Can we give that gift to each other and to ourselves? Can we try to remember that just because we have different opinions, we are still in this together, quite literally? If I’m in the same auto shop as you and we are on opposite sides of the political river, can we still be civil to one another as we sip our free coffee and talk about life?

 

Here’s the deal, y’all. Regardless of your political affiliation, I want your kids to have a good, decent life. I want them to run through sprinklers in the summer and to play in leaves in the fall. I want them to marvel at winter and to pick flowers in the spring. I want all kids to have a chance to live their lives, with youthful jubilance and curiosity. Not just the kids of my friends, but all kids. In fact, how about all us kids – big and small – get a shot at a good life. How about we do it with respect for one another. How about we acknowledge our differences, then remember our similarities. Can we do that?

 

Unless you’re wearing clothing that tells me your party affiliation, why on earth would I look at you and judge you as being different from me? I mean, if you’re standing in line in front of me, waiting for doughnuts, about the only thing I’m likely to be thinking is please don’t get the last creme-filleds! And even if you are sporting a t-shirt or a pin that represents your choice of candidate, so what? You like doughnuts? Me, too! You like creme-filleds? Me, too! And please don’t get them all!

 

I know you may have strong feelings about this upcoming election. I do, too. The strongest. But hating one another won’t serve either of us. And it won’t help us as we go about our day-to-day business in our towns and communities. You hating me will not help either of us get through the paint line more quickly as we shop at the ghetto Home Depot. Me hating you won’t benefit anyone attending the charity dinner where I and others have cooked for good, decent people. In short, hate won’t help us. It will drag us down. It will eat away at any goodness we’ve stored in our hearts. It will eventually destroy us. But it won’t  help us. Not now. Not ever.

 

So when you and I are out in the world, when we’re just trying to make those ends, when we’re trying to pay our bills and maybe fit in a little fun here and there – can we please, at the very least, show each other a modicum of respect during our encounters? Can we please remember that we are all more similar than we ever seem to notice? We all have to pay the rent. We all have to figure out what the kids will eat. We all think that the price of gas is too high. We all run out of toilet paper. When you get down to it, we really are more similar than not. Our minds alone take us down different paths. And that’s okay. We’re meant to think. We’re meant to opine. We’re meant to figure things out for ourselves.

 

But we are also meant to feel. And we are meant to strive. I cannot imagine striving for less than we are capable of being. And I promise, despite our differences, we are capable of being better. Period.

 

So if our paths should cross during this heated political climate, I tell you now that I will do my best to address you from the heart. (Because honestly, that’s how I do.) And even if you’re about to buy the last of the creme-filleds, I won’t hold it against you.

Art on The Ceiling

 

 

 

Twenty-some-odd years ago, I was reading an interview with Madonna and the writer spoke of visiting her home. I don’t remember one thing about that piece other than a description of a painting hanging on the ceiling of Madonna’s house. That stuck with me. And I know it sounds crazy, but I can remember where I was sitting when I read that. I knew right then and there that I wanted art on my ceiling. I figured it would take a while, as I would have to find and acquire the right art for the job, and I had no idea what that process might look like. But I was patient, and filed away the desire.

 

Cut to me, many years later. Lo and behold – I’m a painter! And I decided to paint myself a work suitable for ceiling installation. Never mind not having a clue as to how I’d make that happen, or where it would go. I only wanted to paint something from the right perspective. Something I would love. And so I did. I called it Siena Sky.

 

And then I went on a tour of the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation and I was fairly blown away by what I saw there. The entire tour is amazing, but what stood out for me was the art Mr. Weisman had hung on the ceiling. Because indoor photos are not permitted, I purchased the beautiful book offered at the end of the tour so that I could reference the way the Weismans had lived with art. (I love this book, and highly recommend it for those touring this fabulous home.) And there, in its pages, I found a photo of the art that mesmerized me so…

 

 

Still without a clue as to how I might hang my own art on my own danged ceiling, I started poking around the interwebs and found – nothing. Seriously. Not a thing. And I was so let down by this, so disappointed. Most of us have come to expect answers to life, the universe and everything as being merely a well-typed search phrase away. All my attempts – my multiple attempts – had failed. I had the art and I had the ceiling, and yet I found no useful information and had no idea how to proceed in making my decades-long dream of art on the ceiling come true.

 

So I hearkened back to an old jingle from my childhood and “Let [my] fingers do the walking.” I called The Weisman Foundation and spoke to a lovely, kind soul. After hearing my query, she said she wasn’t sure how Mr. Weisman had hung his art on the ceiling, but that she would be happy to ask his widow – and current Foundation director, Billie Milam Weisman – if she knew how he’d done it. The kind lady said she’d inquire and get back to me. Honestly, I didn’t expect much. I figured either the person I’d spoken to would forget to follow through, or there simply wouldn’t be an answer. (Yes – my negative side was in charge at that point.) So imagine my surprise when, about a half hour later, I received a phone call from the kind lady at The Weisman Foundation. She said she’d spoken with Mrs. Weisman, who said she seemed to recall Mr. Weisman using d-rings and cup hooks on all 4 corners of the art he’d hung. Wow! It was so simple. So do-able. And she had actually called me back! I was so happy about that! What a doll!

 

Now, I keep d-rings on hand to hang art on walls, but I didn’t have a single cup hook in my tool box. So I got 4 (ceiling hooks, actually) and got after it. With a helping hand from Mister, the piece was placed on the ceiling…

 

 

When I sit on the sofa and rest my head, looking up, this is what I see…

 

 

I am so thrilled to have seen this through to its fruition. Is it quirky? Yes. Is it for everyone? I sincerely doubt it. But it is for me, and I’ve known it would be for years. I simply cannot tell you how happy I am with this little installation here at the new pad. And I’m so pleased to have stuck with this idea. For me, it is beyond worth it.

Who You Calling Dummy, Dummy?

 

 

Mister and I spotted this sign one day when we were out for a walk. And yes – those are my feet.

 

Sometimes I feel like a total dummy, and that sucks. We’ve been trying to fix a temperature regulator in a shower, and we’ve made zero-point-zero progress. That makes me feel like a dummy.

 

I’m working on a perspective issue with a painting, and my brain just hasn’t gotten it yet. That makes me feel like a dummy.

 

I’ve got several containers of used cooking oil and used paint thinner lined up to be taken to the haz-mat center. But have I taken them? No. I just keep adding to the collection. That makes me feel like a dummy.

 

But perhaps nothing makes me feel like a dummy more than when I treat myself as if I am a dummy. For I am not. I’m just a regular gal. Decent enough smarts. More than decent heart. I make a pretty awesome version of me, in fact.

 

I’m trying to be better about simply appreciating myself, without tearing me down. The world will do enough of that without my help. So today my aim is kindness. Toward others. Toward the world. Toward myself. I deserve it.

3rd Rock

 

 

Not sure if you saw this image provided by NASA this week. Their Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite sent the photo from a million miles away. And it sure is pretty.

 

Something about this photo really gets me. Maybe because it reminds me that where we live is so much bigger than our ridiculous behavior. Some could argue we are a sorry lot, and that our choices do nothing more than prove our ignorance. Some wouldn’t be wrong in that assessment, either, as we certainly can be a sorry lot. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it’s easier to look around and be inundated with human douchery than not. That, friends, is no way to live.

 

On the other hand – when we do something right, wow! Those few, shining moments seem to keep us going, don’t they? I love those moments, and that’s how I want to live. Recognizing the old gal at the local who remembers each customer’s name and smiles as she works, no matter how tired her feet may be. Having a buddy who drives around town, donating her old books to various neighborhood libraries, instead of tossing them in a recycling bin. Knowing a group of gals who meet in a firehouse and roll socks to send to service members and veterans. I want to live seeing human kindness. And when I truly open my eyes and make the effort, that is precisely what I see.

 

When I look at this NASA photo, I see the prettiest marble ever. And I recognize it as my home. Yes, we human inhabitants can be a sorry lot. But we can also choose better. We can care for each other and we can care for earth. That’s what I pray for anyway. And pray I do.

Coffee Art

 

 

The other day, after hiking with a friend, we decided to reward ourselves with coffee. (Coffee is my morning spirit animal, after all.) When our cups were delivered to the table, I found a cute bear, looking up at me from the foam atop my java. My friend got a leaf. She was jealous, and I didn’t blame her one bit.

 

It’s been a weird week for me. I’ve analyzed and I’ve broken down. I’ve gotten lost and I’ve stumbled. I’ve experienced discomfort and heartache, and ultimately – growth. Through it all, I’ve encountered more kindness than I can convey. It has come from friends and from strangers, and it has all been appreciated.

 

Sometimes in this world we are moved to perform a good deed for another soul. We may be prompted into doing so, but we may just flippin’ feel like it. I don’t think I gave any indication of needing kindness to the barista at the coffee bar the other day. I think she just felt like expressing her artistic side. And she did it in a cup reserved for me. That little bear made me immensely happy. So did the coffee. Maybe my morning spirit animal is a coffee bear. Hmm…

“Serena”

 

 

The other day I went out for coffee. I realize that isn’t such a big deal, but I mostly drink coffee made at home. What can I tell ya? It’s my frugal side.

 

Anyhoo, I was super-excited for that gi-normous treat. When the cashier asked my name (for the coffee order), my mouth habitually moved to say “Mikki” but instead I heard my voice say “Serena.” About 3 nearby folks turned to look at me. I suppose they wanted to know exactly who had that name. I finished my purchase then moved around the corner to await my beverage.

 

After about 5 minutes, the barista called out “Serene.” I stepped up to take my coffee and again, a few other nearby folks turned to see who had that name. I thanked the barista and headed out.

 

I don’t know why my brain gave me that fake name. Other than the tennis player, I don’t know anyone named Serena. I once met a Serenita, and she was lovely. She was a desk clerk at a hotel and when I saw her name tag, I asked if she thought her name influenced her personality. A brief, friendly conversation ensued and before I knew it, that gal was upgrading my room to a swank suite. Be nice to folks at desks, y’all. You never know how your kindness may benefit you.

 

And when you go out for coffee, and you give a fake name when they ask, I highly recommend remembering said fake name. Otherwise, when they call it, you’ll just be standing there like a dork, waiting and waiting for your coffee while it sits there, alone, getting cold.

 

I’m just sayin’.

Good Karma

 

 

To all of you who’ve sent me kind notes, in response to my 1 August post… To all of you who’ve reached out and shared your own stories of music relationships… To all of you who’ve been more lovely than I’d ever imagined…

 

Thank you. A million times over, thank you. Your soulful intentions and resulting actions must surely lead to good karma for you. I hope it’s beyond the beyond.

Good People

 

 

Yesterday I crossed paths with 3 folks who – upon first glance – seemed like a lovely family, out for some chili and sight-seeing. Looks can be deceiving, however, and my assumptions couldn’t have been more wrong.

 

The older lady wasn’t feeling well. She had been riding in the back seat, all the way from San Bernardino to Burbank and had gotten carsick. The middle-aged couple, who’d been sitting in the car’s front seats, were tending to her while waiting for the joint to open. I met them in the parking lot and tried to help. I offered my arm to the older lady and we slowly made our way inside. I got some ice and put it in a plastic bag, wrapped that in napkins and gave it to her for the back of her neck. She said it was helping her to cool down, and she sat quietly, sipping lemonade for her rumbly tumbly.

 

While she recovered from her carsickness, I talked with the middle-aged couple. They were all on a day-trip, on a quest for Chili John’s chili and then off to see the Space Shuttle. I thought they were a nice family. Only they weren’t. Family, I mean. I learned that the middle-aged lady was the older lady’s mail carrier (and has been for years). The older lady – with the exception of short bus trips to the bank and to the market – hasn’t left her home for nearly 30 years. Having no family or relatives nearby, she spends most of her time alone. Her mail carrier thought the older lady could use a nice outing, so she arranged the day’s activities and her husband agreed to go along.

 

When the middle-aged lady shared this with me, my eyes filled with tears. I looked at her and said their lunch was on me, because I so appreciated what she was doing. I told her she was the epitome of what we’re supposed to be in this world: good human beings. Here she was, taking care of someone (her customer, basically), for no other reason than it being the right thing to do. I don’t mind telling you – she welled up a bit herself. And all 3 of them thanked me for the gesture.

 

There was more conversation and laughter, and after a while the older lady seemed to be feeling much better. The 3 of them said their good-byes and went back out into the bright, warm day, ready to travel on to their next destination. I watched them go with appreciation and a full heart.

 

Sometimes I get wrapped up in trying to figure out how to be a better me, a better person. Yesterday I was privileged to simply witness someone else being a better person. I was truly inspired, and tremendously grateful. Those good people made my day.

 

If I get a chance to pay it forward today, I hope I’m present enough to take it. And if I am blessed enough to merely witness someone else paying it forward, well, I will be one lucky girl. One lucky girl, indeed.