Too Many Turkeys

 

Turkey Day Table

 

Last year at about this time, I was at the grocery store, near the dairy case, when I overheard a grown woman yelling at the grown man by her side: ”Because Bob! You don’t get to tell people where to buy their food!” Bob looked fairly unfazed. He also looked unconvinced. I’m not sure what had preceded the bit of conversation I heard, but it didn’t look like their Thanksgiving week was off to a good start. And it sure didn’t look like Bob was gonna be happy with whatever it was someone would be bringing to his table.

 

That little run-in said it all really. The holidays are here. Some folks are overjoyed. Some folks are overwhelmed. This time of year can be tough. Maybe there’s no getting around that, but I like to think Bob’s route isn’t the only way to get over the river and through the woods. I mean – wouldn’t it be nice if we could just set aside the drama? Wouldn’t it be lovely if we just broke bread together instead of breaking spirits? And if we really just don’t like someone (whether they’re family or not), do we honestly have to spend time with them?

 

As Turkey Day approaches, I wish you peace. I wish the same for Bob. And I wish the same for myself, too. Trust me – we deserve it. Gobble, gobble.

Cool Like That

 

I’ve been a fan of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for ages. For the life of me, I don’t know why. Rape, murder, assault – that’s not my bag, y’all. And yet I’ve watched the show, year after year, cast change after cast change. I even got to meet a writer from the show and I completely nerded out. I’m not proud.

 

But when this current season rolled around, I just – couldn’t. The world is so fucked up and the weight of everyday life is almost too much. Adding the ugliness of reel life to the ugliness of Real Life isn’t always the best idea for me. SVU fell by the wayside.

 

Until this past week. Mister decided to catch up on the season and I watched with him. The show is the same, good or bad, and my love/hate relationship with the characters remains.

 

I’m telling you all this because I had a bit of a personal epiphany while watching the show. During an episode, as one character showed disdain for a specific gender, I thought about my own feelings surrounding gender. And I realized I don’t trust a single sex more than another. Then I thought about that, and dug into my childhood and acknowledged how both my parents had screwed me over. And how their poor behavior, while inexcusable, had given me a gift: I see females and males as being equal. Both genders can be complete fuck-ups. Both genders can choose to be less-than-decent. Both genders can suck.

 

And while that point-of-view may seem defeating, bear in mind it also provides a flip-side. Both genders can opt for kindness. Females and males can choose wonderful humanity. Both genders can be amazing, brilliant souls. Neither of my parents showed those traits to me, so they don’t get credit for my positive view. I take full credit for that hopeful stance. Yeah – I’m pretty cool like that. And I’m grateful as fuck for that part of myself, to boot.

 

So I’ll keep watching SVU and will surely catch up soon. The show, for me, reminds me of something I’ve carried with me through all of life. The bastards can’t keep me down. You can’t see me as I type this, but I assure you, I’m smiling so much my cheeks hurt.

 

Sono Grata

My Lower-cased life

 

On Friday morning, I took this photo in Santa Monica, looking north toward Malibu.

 

Fire Up The Coast

 

At that point, the fires had been burning overnight and not dying down. I say fires – plural – because Los Angeles is dealing with multiple burn areas. As of this writing, none of them are slowing and fire fighters are struggling to achieve any containment.

 

After snapping the pic, I went into my friend’s place for a painting session. Turned out my friend was providing shelter for a family who had been forced to evacuate their home due to the fires. I’d met this family before, so they were familiar to me. The kids joined in during the painting session and that bit of time was fun. Ordinary. The kids didn’t seem to have any cares and all was right with the world. Later, when I talked to their mom, it became clear that she didn’t know if their home was intact or not. She couldn’t find out much of anything and just had to wait. And wait.

 

The fires have exploded now and though I live in an area that isn’t in danger, the smell of smoke is everywhere. I’ve heard from other friends who’ve had to evacuate and for so many people – so many friends – waiting is all they can do.

 

I was supposed to go beach-camping this weekend, up the coast. The fires put an end to those plans. I’m okay with that because Life isn’t about my plans. Lower-case l is my world, not upper-case L. That world is bigger than how I roll my eyes when I’m out of half-and-half for my coffee. It’s bigger than how I wonder where I might get take-out when I don’t want to cook dinner. Or how I have to wait to buy shoes, until they’re on sale. Or how I sometimes have to choose one social event over another, because I’m too lazy to attend multiple outings. My lower-cased life is pretty damned good. I have struggles and pains and wants and disappointments and still… My house is standing. My middle-aged health is tenable. My will is strong. Pretty damned good.

 

More and more people are being displaced by the fires. Lives have been lost. Property, too. Folks are doing their best to get through this, to survive. Some are even managing to shield their children from the uncertainty, to help them to see this day as being as ordinary as any other. I’m amazed.

 

Wendy Friend on Painting Day 2

Hold for Annette

 

Yesterday I was in a bookstore – an honest to goodness bookstore – and I looked over at a display and saw a book with a sticky note attached:

 

Hold for Annette

 

I picked up the book, thumbed through it and had myself some legit laughs. Turns out, that Grumpy Cat is a hoot.

 

But I wondered about the attached note. Just who was Annette? And why was that book supposed to be held for her?

 

I wanted to buy the book, if only to fuck with Annette. But the check-out line was ridiculously long, so I put the book back where I’d found it. Good news for Annette, I guess.

 

But I did decide that I kind of like Annette’s idea of putting sticky notes on things, to hold them for her. And I’m thinking I might start carrying a bunch of prepared notes around with me, so that I can place them on various things I might want at some point in time. So if you see an item with a sticky note on it reading “Hold for Annette,” you’ll know your pal Mikki was there. Or maybe Annette. I mean really.

Elevensies

 

4th Day_Highgate Cemetery West_Entrance_Phone Photo

 

New month.

 

It is entirely possible I have loads to say about that. It is likely I won’t share my thoughts – here – on the subject. That I’ll just ride it out like everyone else. Those in my immediate vicinity will surely have to endure my opinions, but I’m not new to them and they knew I was a cross-dressing pirate when they met me. Ahem…

 

I’m finally getting through the photos of Mister’s and my summer trip to the UK. We saw art in public places, which sometimes tickled and sometimes intrigued. Sometimes both…

 

1st Night_Elephant Statue during taxi ride_SB Phone Photo

 

We attended a Gin class. I’m okay with gin, but Mister is keen on it. My notes from the class mean nothing to anyone but me. I’m sure the notes of others were far more informed and detailed. I’m good with that…

 

2nd Night_Gin Master Class_Phone Photo_Notes

 

We saw both of the Harry Potter plays. In one day. I’m still processing. The stage craft was amazing and I can only tell you that magic is real…

 

3rd Day_Harry Potter and the Cursed Child_Outside_After_Phone Photo

 

We went on a cemetery tour. Lord knows I love a good cemetery and Highgate West is a doozy. (Many thanks to Drunken Bunny for hipping me to the place.) I would very much like to live there. Now. While I’m still kicking…

 

4th Day_Highgate Cemetery West_Egyptian Gateway_Phone Photo

 

We saw the Christo installation in Hyde Park. I’ve missed a few other Christo installations in the past, in various places. I was so happy to make this one in person…

 

4th Day_Hyde Park_Christo and a Queens Swan

 

We traipsed about the British Museum. The hours we spent there weren’t nearly enough to see all that’s available. I guess we’ll just have to go back…

 

5th Day_British Museum 2C

 

And then we took our asses to Scotland. Still working on those pics, and I won’t lie – the task is wearing on me. Who knew photographic evidence of travels could be so overwhelming? In case you’re thinking, “But Mikki – you’ve only shown a few photos here. What’s the hubbub, Bub?” Well, I’ll tell ya. You’re seeing only a few of the thousands of photos being processed. So cut me some slack, Jack. Dag.

 

But don’t misconstrue. I’m not feeling pitiful. I have great music in the headphones and cooler weather surrounding me while I work. I’m feeling creatively inspired and downright hopeful. Next week’s elections may put a tremendous damper on that, but not today. Today I welcome Elevensies, a whole new month. Right this way, folks…

 

5th Day_British Museum_Ancient Hand

Who Am I? Why Am I Here?

 

The other night I was at this thing at my ladies club, a sort of mixer, and there was this ice-breaker game. This gist of it was this – upon entering, each attendee had a sticker placed on her back. She couldn’t see it, but others could. Each sticker had an image (likeness) and description of a woman of note. Some were recent (Rosa Parks, Queen Elizabeth II) and some were ancient (Sappho, Eleanor of Aquitaine). The wearer of the sticker asked yes/no questions of other attendees, in order to try and figure out who was on her damn back. It was fairly simple. How hard could it be?

 

When that sticker was slapped on my back and the game was explained, I immediately declared that unless the broad over my shoulder was T-Swift, I was unlikely to figure out shit. It was a joke, of course, but it was also kind of true. I don’t necessarily have a clue about, well, anything. Let me cut right to it. I wasn’t excited about this game. But I’m a go-er. So I did my best to encourage others to ask questions, to involve and engage them and make them feel welcomed at the club. That was not only easy for me, but fun. But wouldn’t you know it – there were other people there who also wanted to involve and engage others. That means they turned to me and put me in the hot seat.

 

As a friendly introvert, social stuff takes a certain amount of energy. And that usually means stress is involved. I’m a grown-ass woman, though, so I can generally muster the strength and deliver the goods. At least I think that’s the case.

 

Anyhoo – once I chilled the hell out, I went for it.

 

Living or dead? Dead. I liked that.

 

European? Yes.

 

World of literature? Yes.

 

The UK? No.

 

France? Yes.

 

And so I asked, “Am I Simone De Beauvoir?”

 

Yes. I freaking was.

 

Simone De Beauvoir

Low Country Paintings

 

As if there weren’t enough weight in this world, the dire news of our climate crisis has now landed. But we already knew this, right? I mean – a person would have to be a complete fucktard to deny this science, right? Right.

 

For a while now, I’ve been obsessed with the eastern United States’ Low Country. Something about the area’s beauty has gripped me. Fear of it disappearing forever swirls, too. And I’ve been working on a series of paintings featuring my own visions of the Low Country…

 

Low Country Peace

 

This one came first, and it’s my favorite.

 

2 Low Country Paintings

 

These two little paintings were next. I want to go to there.

 

Low Country

 

This one caused me grief. It just didn’t want to cooperate and I nearly drop-kicked the canvas more than once. Then my sweet friend Gwendelyn suggested I change one simple angle and it made all the difference. Go figure.

 

The thing about these paintings, for me, is the uncertainty of what’s going on. Is a storm a-comin’? Or are the clouds clearing out? I suppose it depends on the mood of the viewer. Speaking for this viewer, there seems to be a never-ending storm on the horizon.

 

And yet, still, no rain.

Summer in the Rear View

 

Mikki in a Mirror

 

Another summer has passed and I’m not sure I’ve anything to show for it. It wasn’t wasted, mind you, but I can’t claim to have bettered myself. Honestly – if I weren’t writing this post, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. But when you take an assessment, details – or the lack thereof – become apparent.

 

Happy Birthday, Gwendlyn!

 

On one fine summer day, my friend Gwendelyn persuaded me to go register voters with her, south of L.A. She does this on a regular basis, because she’s a giver. But me? Not so much. It takes a lot of energy for me to interact with strangers and as I’ve been dealing with a fair level of anxiety for the past few years, I’m reluctant to engage with people I don’t know. But Gwendelyn is persistent. And she’s one of my very favorite souls, so I agreed to accompany her. In a very red part of the state. (I’m a proud liberal, don’t you know.) So there we were, trying to get people to give a damn, and Gwendelyn was dealing with more than her share of push-back from people who didn’t seem too thrilled with her Obama t-shirt. I was wearing one, too, but for some reason, the flack seemed reserved for my friend. And then it was my turn. I asked some passersby if they were registered to vote and a lady looked my way and said, “You’re on the wrong team!” I don’t know what possessed me, but without skipping a beat I responded, “Oh – as Americans, I thought we were all on the same team.” The lady stopped walking, looked at me, stammered a bit, and when she was unable to come up with a reply, she turned and walked away. That was the worst of it. Otherwise, it was a fine way to spend a Wednesday. And you’ll never catch me complaining about being with my friend. She really is that awesome.

 

Gwendelyn Cake Topper

 

Speaking of Gwendelyn, that girl went and got hitched to a swell guy this summer. As she’s an amazingly creative person, she wanted something a little different for her wedding cake. So she and her fella got themselves duplicated and then she and I built a mighty fine cake topper. I think it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to make. And I think she and her Mister really liked it.

 

Pool Rules

 

There were more pool days than I can remember. A lot of them ran together, though, as Mister and I took it upon ourselves to scrape the tiles surrounding the top of the pool. All 1500+ of them. I don’t know how many years of mineral build-up there was, but we addressed all of it – by hand. We finished the task just as the summer was ending and the water temperature was dropping to an unsavory level, making it too cold to swim. It was a lot of work, but I’m glad it’s done.

 

You're Never Too Old...

 

Physical Therapy was a constant for me all summer, due to some tearing in my shoulder. My range of motion has definitely improved, and that’s a very good thing. The cringe-worthy pain has finally gone – thank all the gods. A little remains, however, and I still can’t move my shoulder as fully as I’d like, but I’m working on it. This particular injury has forced me to acknowledge my age in a way I hadn’t previously. Healing is so much slower now. And that sucks, friends. No doubt about it. But I’ll tell ya – I’ve seen some folks in PT that aren’t doing so well, so I’ll take what I can get. Really.

 

London Concert Day - Happy Anniversary - Photo by Mister

 

Mister and I had a big, fat anniversary along the way and we celebrated in London and Edinburgh. I’ll work on sharing some of that in a later post, as some of the sights, sounds and experiences seem worthy. But for now, you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you it was an awesome trip.

 

Mikki Dancing

 

This is definitely an abridged version of my summer. Some of that’s because I don’t keep a damn calendar for all of damned time, like a damned freak (ahem, dammit). Some of it’s due to my knowing that most of my summer was of interest to exactly one person – me. And even then, sometimes, not so much. But you know what? I still had fun here and there. I can honestly say that there were a few times I laughed so much, I cried. It’s been a while, y’all. Joy has been a bit of a stranger in my little world. To have her visit, and to assert herself, well, it was a gift. I’m hoping for more of that. Always hoping, at least…

 

Dancers Hearts

I Believe Her

I Believe Her

Half In The Dark

 

Just a quick catch-up… Sorry. Sometimes I find I have John Oliver on the brain. (If that makes no sense, too bad for you.)

 

Aretha Franklin. For a while now, I’ve been drunk on her version of “Somewhere” from West Side Story. Now it seems more poignant. More important. And I adore it.

 

Because I love, love, love Kate Bush, the gods gave me this video of Big Boi, referencing her work. Right to the end, it is everything I love about music and how it can (and should) be universal.

 

I’m stuck on repeat of a playlist of mostly ’80s songs and it’s fortifying my soul. I will never apologize nor regret it. Same for a playlist of slow jams. Both lists go damn well with a glass by my side.

 

I recently finished a first draft of – something. Maybe it’s a book, maybe not. Today, I just don’t know. I’m just giving it some breathing room and trying to love me for getting it out at all.

 

I’ve started writing songs again. (Well – I’ve started writing a song – singular.) That’s a big freaking deal. Honestly – I love me for that, too.

 

Looking over this list, I see a lot of love present. Hmm. The world can jack me up sometimes. So I hide. Okay. But I can’t hide from me.

 

It’s good to be back, even if I’m still half in the dark.

 

Hallelujah.

 

Shadows