A Good Day

 

 

Sometimes a good day happens. Maybe we know it’s coming. There may be an event on a calendar, some predicted fanfare. Maybe a celebration is due. On those occasions, the foreknowledge does nothing to lessen the day’s being special. Perhaps, instead, it amplifies the joy or appreciation. Those times are lovely. Just grand, really.

 

But we don’t always know a good day is coming. In fact, we may think anything but good is slated. Maybe we’ve got work commitments. Maybe family or friends need our time and attention. We may not look forward to a particular day, as foreknowledge of responsibilities can often be a drag. And if one’s expectations are for a bad time, it is entirely possible for a day to live down to one’s brain-hole’s lowly vision. That’s not just a mouthful of words; it’s a bummer.

 

The other day, I had a meeting to get to and while I had committed myself to the time and energy, when it rolled around on the calendar, I wanted to work on some paintings instead. But given my word, I had, and so I went. The meeting was just fine (which it was always bound to be, given the attendees), and my time there was well-spent. After the meeting, one of my very favorite people asked if I was open to going out for lunch. I was. Then she suggested we invite another fab-o person. We did, and she said yes. So off we went. We talked and laughed and got deep and agreed that, given enough time, the three of us could solve the world’s problems. Not once did we look at our phones. Not once did our attention leave what was going on at that table. It was honest-to-goodness human connection, and it was swell.

 

After leaving my friends, I went to a new seafood shop and got some fish for supper. The place is super-cool and the guy who helped me was not only nice, but also knowledgeable. (I kind of want that from a monger, as I don’t know squat about the world of fish.) When he asked what I was making, I told him: ceviche. He told me a little about his recipe, and as he listed ingredients, I realized I had completely forgotten to add a hint of sugar to my own mental recipe. I thanked him kindly and headed home.

 

Once there, I set about making the ceviche and put it in the fridge to “cook.” Mister had been working from home that day, and when he gave me the signal that he was knocking off for the day, I mixed us a couple of drinks and we toasted. What did we toast? Nothing really. Everything. We were happy we got to spend the evening together and that we had some good food to share. I brought out the ceviche and some tortilla chips and we dug in. Best I’ve ever made.

 

Then we watched a movie, Maudie. I loved it so much and was so glad I saw it. I was so glad Mister had selected it. It reminded me of my great-grandmother and an old “Soap Sally” mask she had sewn – a superb piece of folk art. I told Mister that if I could have anything from Granny Vera, it would be that mask. As I only have memories, I cried a little, then wondered if I was crying for Granny or Maudie. I decided it didn’t really matter. We got ready for bed and turned out the lights.

 

As I was falling asleep, my slightly drunk mind looked back over the day. It had come without fanfare. Without celebration. There had been some work and some fun. Some socializing and some responsibility. I hadn’t foreseen its value, but it was indeed worthy. It had been a good day, and I knew it. I drifted off, thinking of how lovely life can be. Truly.

Forward March!

 

“A place in they memory, dearest,

Is all that I claim;

To pause and look back when thou hearest

The sound of my name.”

Gerald Griffin

(1803 – 1840)

 

 

 

I had this idea for a New Year’s Day post, about some of the things I’d like to accomplish this year. Things like reading more, and the number of paintings I’d like to sell. I was also trying to deal with home projects and repairs. And I was doing a good job of turning all those thoughts over in my brain, but then my mind jumped in the fray and turned everything upside down. Minds will do that sometimes, you know.

 

Anyhoo – before I knew what was happening, my good writing intentions were lost in a fog and I found myself sitting in a makeshift tree house. I immediately recognized it, as I had dragged the plywood up into that tree with the help of my kid sister when I was 10 years old. It was so familiar, sitting there, and then I saw her. Me, as a child.

 

To her credit, she wasn’t afraid of the grown me. Though I did have to tell her who I was. God love her, she became wide-eyed and happy to see how we’d turned out. That really touched me. And then the questions began. I told her we live in Los Angeles, and that we’ve seen a decent part of the world. I told her we are married to the love of our life. I told her we have our very own beautifully flawed house and that we adore it. I told her we create art and we live an artistic life and we know amazing, talented people. I told her there is good food for our belly and clean clothes for our back. I told her we smile more often than not, and that we are so blessed to know joy. I told her that though lack is known to us, it isn’t really part of our grown-up experience. I told her we would be okay, and that she should hang in there. And I told her I love her. And I meant it.

 

And then – just like that – she and the tree house were gone. And I was home, in Los Angeles, with bills and repairs and projects and responsibilities. And I was grateful for each and every one of them.

 

Happy 2016 friends.

It’s a Difficult Responsibility…

 

 

For those who don’t know, I drive an old car. A 1966 Volvo 122S, to be precise. It is uncommon and it is darling. It is also a bit of a responsibility.

 

When I return to my parked car, be it in a lot or on the street, I often encounter admirers checking out the old gal (the car, not me). And those folks are always, always, always wrapped up in the moment. When they see me approaching, they want to share their admiration for my car. They want to ask a few questions. Some want to share their own experiences and memories of Amazons (the common name for my type of car). They absolutely do not care if I’m in the mood to chat (as I experienced this week while suffering the Blahs). And they’re not concerned with my schedule, either. If I’m in a rush, it doesn’t matter. To them, it’s Car Time.

 

That’s how it feels to me anyway. And I’ve accepted this. Because at the very least, my old car forces me to engage with human beings. And it forces me to say Thank You when a compliment is paid. I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought this old Volvo so many years ago. But I’ve decided I’m grateful for all she offers. Long may she reign.

Dear City of Los Angeles…

 

 

Dear City of Los Angeles,

 

Recently, Mister and I were out riding our bikes along your streets. To the best of our abilities, we kept to roads with dedicated bike lanes. But as you are no doubt aware, many L.A. streets do not have bike lanes.

 

So as we traversed one such bike-lane-free street, I was barely able to dodge a gi-normous pothole. Mister, however, was not so fortunate. He hit the damaged part of the road and wiped out. Injuries? Absolutely. His fault? Not even a little bit.

 

So here’s what I want, City of Los Angeles: fix the damned street! As a taxpayer, I am not simply asking. No, I’m demanding that you take care of a job with which you are charged and for which you are responsible.

 

I appreciate your time and I look forward to seeing that street repaired – soon.

 

Sincerely,

Your Pal Mikki

 

PS If, for some reason, you do not take care of this damaged street, please advise me as to whom I should sue. Super-thanks!

Grown-Ups

 

 

Recently I was exposed to some rather unseemly behavior. It wasn’t directed anywhere in my direction. I was merely a witness.

 

The scene involved a parent speaking to a child in an abusive manner that made me extremely uncomfortable. That exchange continued for several minutes, and when another adult confronted the child’s parent, saying the child was a good kid and deserved better, the parent responded by saying that yes, that child was a good kid and the parent then proceeded to blame other adults in the vicinity for the entire episode. (I cannot give more specific details. These are very real people, and I do not wish to publicly disrespect any of them.)

 

When all was said and done, I thought about the scene and felt sorry for the kid, naturally. The kid was just trying to cope with life. I watched that child try to explain the parent’s behavior to other adults. I also watched that kid try to laugh off the whole event.

 

I don’t judge parents for doing the best they can. I have no idea how it must feel to walk in anyone else’s shoes. So please don’t think otherwise. But a kid is a kid. And when an adult uses her or his age to belittle and verbally (or otherwise) abuse a child, well, that’s something I do judge. No child should have to defend a parent who bullies. No child should have to laugh off abuse, using laughter as a coping mechanism. Seeing that broke my heart.

 

You know what else pissed me off? Seeing a grown adult blame others for mistakes. I do not like it when we blame everyone on the planet – except ourselves – for our errors. If I screw up, it is my fault. If I make a mistake, it’s mine to make right. Each and every time. No exceptions.

 

When I was a child, somewhere between the ages of 12 and 16 (I honestly don’t remember my precise age), my kid sister and I were in the middle of a full-on name-calling battle. This all took place in my Grandmama’s kitchen on a weekend afternoon. Grandmama stood at the stove, with her daughter – my mother – beside her. Anyhoo, my sister and I were really on a roll. Our exchange of friendly fire went something like this:

 

My Sister: Oh, yeah? Well you’re a dork!

Me: Well you’re a nerd!

My Sister: Well you’re a booby-head!

Me: Oh, yeah? Well you’re a dildo!

 

Before my sister could respond with another brilliant kid-salvo, my mother hit me so hard across the face – I nearly saw stars. I immediately grabbed the side of my head and cried, “What was that for?” She screamed at me, “You know what you did! Now shut up!”

 

Only I didn’t know what I’d done. I was only a kid, and a naive, mostly innocent kid at that. It would be years before I learned that “dildo” wasn’t just a funny sounding word, and that the entire experience really wasn’t my fault. By the time I did learn those things, I had turned the whole memory into a knee-slapper of a story, replete with sound effects (“you could hear [my mother's] arm flying through the wind as she spun around to hit me”) and raucous laughter. I had to turn it into comedy. How else could I make sense of insanity?

 

Our present selves are formed by our pasts. I don’t deny that. And I know that my funny bone was developed in part because of the craziness of my upbringing. Now, I could go through my days, behaving poorly and pointing a finger at my childhood. But at some stage, as adults, we can no longer blame our pasts. We must take responsibility for our behavior and choices. Blaming others is lazy and childish. And it’s just plain wrong.

 

One of the beautiful things about aging is the ability to say, “I’m over X-years-old, so I don’t have to take that crap anymore.” I make that statement all the time. But there’s a flip-side to that coin, friends: I don’t get to dole out crap anymore, either, because when I do, I have to own it. That’s what being an adult means. And you know what? The responsibility of being an adult is a beautiful gift.

 

So when I overheard that child making light of the parent’s crazy explosion, I understood. That kid’s aim was at one goal: survival.

 

I don’t know if that kid will grow up to repeat the cycle of insane abuse or not. I don’t know if that sense of humor will be developed and honed. Honestly, I don’t know if that kid will even make it. But I pray for the child. And I pray for the parent. It’s not easy being a kid. It’s not easy being a grown-up either. But if we’re lucky – really lucky – we get to try.

 

God bless us, some of us are actually trying our best.

Hats

 

 

I’m a hat girl. Wear them all the time, any chance I get.

 

Whether or not you know it, you’re into hats, too. Only your hats may not be visible.

 

We are all switching hats, day in and day out, seemingly without end. Sick kid? You put on your Caregiver Hat. Bills to pay? You put on your Business Manager Hat. Dinner due? Your Chef’s Toque gets thrown on your head. On and on it goes…

 

I’m okay with this, except when I have to wear more than one hat at a time. Or when my hat doesn’t coordinate with the hat being worn by whomever I’m dealing with (as in, I’m wearing my Caregiver Hat and I’m dealing with someone wearing their Business Manager Hat).

 

There’s no use fighting it – we are all hat people. Might as well pick the hats that make us happy. Trust me, you’ll be fabulous in a hat you love!