Cataclysm!

The crack is always there. 9 steps up, on the left. Every time I look it is both bigger and smaller than it was yesterday. Every time, every day. I know it will always be there.

Every thing is always there. Nothing is here. I always want and don’t want a cheeseburger. And a nap. There always is an angry client to call back. It always is the same scene out my windows – forth and back and forth again. The desk and the couch and the car and the sound of my alarm clock are the same every day. The break from routine is as hard the millionth time as it is the first. It is always the same and leaves me feeling the same.

Come, cataclysm, come. Prove to me that I would be ok. Sparkle and shine and explode and radiate and fall from the sky in luminescent chunks. Show me that I will be ok. Don’t sneer and slowly crack and tease. Fucking explode. Prove to me.

I will trade you my fear and constant not-poverty and teeth-gnashing and checking the time again.  I will trade you those things for money, chaos, the ruin of new scenery. It is fair – a very fair trade. My anxiety is vintage.

Forget it. I know you are not coming. You are elsewhere creating and destroying the lives of other, more worthy people. People who lived on and for the brink. People who quit when it is time to quit, people who scream and rail and run. I stay – I churn and don’t create and don’t destroy. I punch in and never punch out. Cataclysm is not for me, even if I am for you.

So I will create my own cracks – it is all I can do, thank you very much. I will seep change slowly. I will patch the cracks and turn off the TV and shake things gently – waking up my possibility.

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Goop and shit…

Just call me Gwenny… here are some things that I love so much and I think you should too.  And none of them are $300 boots…

1. Siri for iPhone.  So cool and useful.

2. Backgammon… such a fun game.  Have you played recently?

3. Dance Central on Kinect.  We had some people over recently and it was a super duper fun night of dancing.  And DH still hasn’t danced, not once.  Poor me.

4. The big purse is dead (for me, anyway).  Long live the Big Buddha Meredith wristlet.

5. This recipe for lentils and wild rice salad.  F’ing yum and not too bad for you.  I used cherries instead of currants, and no chevre, it doesn’t need it.

Woman!

Recently my husband’s blog had a link to lists of things every man should now. I LOVED the concept – but searched in vain for an XX equivalent. And then it started brewing in my brain. And then I had brunch with some real women. So that inspired me to come up with my own list of what every woman should know. I will start with 25 because I need to get to bed at some point tonight. I haven’t mastered all of these myself – but I will get there. (DISCLAIMER – This is my list – I am sure yours is different.)

(list 35) What every woman should know or be able to do

1. Can listen – really listen– to a friend who needs to vent. And make her or him feel better and avoid being all preachy.
2. Can coordinate a handbag with her shoes and outfit. And knows when it is time to change a seasonal handbag.
3. Can rock a baseball hat and t-shirt.
4. Can get ready for a fancy night out with only a couple hours notice. And knows what clothing is appropriate for an event. (This one was discussed at brunch today. And here is a hint – ripped jeans are only appropriate if going to an 80s or 90s reunion concert.)
5. Can make one really delicious desert to bring to work or a potluck. So delicious that it is remembered – and asked for by name, as in, “Susie – can you bring your lemon bars?”
6. Can entertain a child (younger than a teenager) while his or her mom takes a well-deserved break. And can pretend it was her pleasure, even if it was torture.
7. Knows when and how to vote and why it is important.
8. Has learned to get past all that crap that happened when she was a kid. And can create new relationships with friends, lovers, and children minus all that crap.
9. Can drink a grown-up drink without grimacing.
10. Can clean another woman’s kitchen. My aunt Mary once gave me some of the best advice I ever got. She said, “There are two types of women in this world – Marys and Mary Magdalenes. Make sure you are a Mary.” What she meant by that is to help a sister out. Scrub the pot, help the hostess, don’t stand about flirting with the men. Get the work done and then flirt. I have always strived to be a Mary (somewhat easier when one is chubby, pimply, and afraid of boys), and all of my best friends are total Marys – even the hot ones.
11. Can give a proper hug. Two arms – squeeze tight. Mean it.
12. Can give and receive compliments. And gives compliments often.
13. Can make a proper toast. (As in “Raise your glasses…”, although making bread toast is also an important skill.)
14. Can run a good meeting where shit gets decided and assignments are made.
15. Can write a thank you note, a congratulatory note, and a sympathy note.
16. Can make a house smell good in 30 minutes or less.
17. Can walk in heels. (I can’t do this one.) And knows when it isn’t appropriate to wear heels (or uncomfortable shoes). And if she did wear heels she doesn’t complain that her feet hurt.
18. Can think of something she would like to do better than shopping.
19. Is a skilled novice in at least one of the old-school home arts – cooking, sewing, knitting, crocheting, gardening – something.
20. Can hem pants, sew on a button, and get a least one type of stain out of clothing (grass, grease, tomato sauce).
21. Can understand double entendre – without blushing. And dish out some double entendre when it is called for.
22. Can recall what she last read and recommend it or not.
23. Knows the name of at least one feminist. Because of them go us. Gloria, Betty, bell, Susan – pick one and know what she did.
24. Can flirt skillfully without being slutty.
25. Knows how to pick out a good gift. And never forgets to wrap it.
There have got to be a bazillion more. Please leave yours in the comments.

Anniversary!

It is about dern time I updated this dern thing. Monday was our first wedding anniversary. We had grand plans to go camping or a short trip to Iowa City, but we have been so busy, that I just wanted to stay in town and work in the garden and sit on the porch, and DH accomodated me.
Here is a list of what we did together this weekend to celebrate:

(list 31) What DH and I Did To Celebrate Our First Anniversary

1. Cleaned the gutters. They needed it. And nothing says life-long committment more than cleaning gutters together.

2. Loaded a 20-ft dumpster with yard waste. This is our second one. Our back yard now is clear of rogue poison ivy and other vines and weed trees. It really was an overgrown wasteland. It looks perty darn decent – which if you have seen our backyard before we did all this, you know that is saying something. Still a little wild, still A LOT of trees – but manageable and pretty in its own way.

3. Went shopping for our gear for our Montana excursion in July. We each got appropriate boots/shoes and DH got a very cool photographer’s vest sort of thing with lots of pockets. He loves pockets.

4. On the night of our anniversary, Bill made me his delicious vegan lasagna. Second only to his delicious vegan biscuits and “sausage” gravy.

5. After our excursion shopping, we hung out on the porch and had some cocktails. I invented Porch Beer – I highly reccomend it –

Makes 2

Ingredients:
1. A bottle of Mexican lager, like Tecate.
2. 1/2 an orange or tangelo or a whole clementine, cut in half or quarters
3. A lime, cut in quarters
4. Two shots of coconut rum (like Malibu)
5. Four frozen or fresh strawberries
6. A cup of limeade (Simply Limeade is the best.)

Directions: Squeese the citrus and smush the strawberries. Divide the fruit into two TALL beer glasses. Add a couple ice cubes to each glass. Pour in 1/2 a cup of limeade into each glass. Pour in a shot of run into each glass. Top with beer. Stir and enjoy.

6. Planted some hostas, a bleeding heart, and a coral bell in our shady garden in the back.

7. Potted some flowers and peppers and tomatoes on our back patio.

8. Exchanged gifts – I gave him a bottle of scotch (men can be easy to shop for) and he gave me supplies to make my own books – something I have wanted to do for a while – and perfect since the 1st anniversary is the paper anniversary.

As you can see, a lot of house and garden work – but I actually had a great time. It was so good to get that stuff done. And so cool to see the backyard looking so dapper after living there so many years with it being really overgrown.

The first year of marriage has been challenging and wonderful. I never thought I would ever get married – I am a hard-core individualist who can be stubborn and a lot to take. Top that off with being an only child – and I am a *real* treat. I married someone who can handle all of that and still respects and loves me. How lucky am I?

Here is what I have learned about marriage this first year:

(list 32) Stuff I have learned in the first year of marriage

1. You have to try every day. You can never phone it in. Well, you can, but there will be consequences.

2. Let go of some stuff. A marriage is a huge commitment (duh), and if you are going to make time to do it right, there won’t be time for other things.

3. Say “Thank you.” and “I love you.” whenever possible.

4. Always kiss when you say hello or good bye.

5. It is ok to not agree on everything – but make sure you say what you need to say.

6. Everbody’s marriage is different. You can seek advice from your married friends, but at the end of the day, you have to decide what is right for the two of you, even if people may judge you harshly for your decisions.

7. Marriage doesn’t change who you are.

8. It is really reassuring to have someone to cuddle next to when I get scared in the middle of the night. At least once a week I have worrying thoughts or scary dreams that wake me up and threaten to keep me awake. But once I cuddle next to DH for a few minutes, I am calmed down. I don’t know how I survived without that.

9. It is hard to make time to do things without each other, but it is absolutely important.

10. It is essential to still have dates – I always thought this one was overblown – but without the occassional romantic nights in or out, you run the risk of becoming just congenial roomates.

And, as a final note, I really am glad the wedding is over. It was a stupendous day – but not planning a wedding is a good feeling – I don’t know why it is so much work, but it really is.

Earth Day!

I really, really, really, really, really try to not preach about veganism. When I started my checkered path on July 5, 2004 I did it because I wanted to change my impact on the earth – not become an insufferable nag who people don’t like to hang out with (I save those qualities for DH). For the most part, I think I achieve this. Here is a list of things I try to never do as a vegan:

(list 18) Things I Try Not To Do as a Vegan

  1. Comment on what other people are eating.
  2. Tell people I am vegan unless they ask why I am not eating something.
  3. Refuse to go to a restaurant because there won’t be any vegan (or vegetarian) options.
  4. Talk about being vegan unless it is apropos to something in the conversation or I know the person has similar interests in veganism/vegetarianism/organic food. For example, my coworker Mark (who is on the other end of the political spectrum) is a vegetarian and he always likes to discuss vegan or vegetarian recipes.
  5. Cry, stomp, or act miffed when somebody bites into some sort of meaty/cheesy concoction and expresses delight at how good it is in order to get me to react. (Think Homer Simpson taunting Lisa.) I have been really surprised by how often that happens, especially at work, once somebody finds out I am vegan.

BUT (you knew there was one coming), today is Earth Day, and I am going to imbibe in some pro-veganism campaigning. Becoming vegan does way more for the environment than driving a hybrid or recycling (although those are good too!). I am not a perfect vegan, but I sure try, and here are the enviromental reasons why:

(list 19) Environmental Reasons I Am a Vegan

  1. U.S. livestock consume more than six and a half times as much grain as the entire U.S. human population consumes directly. According to the Council for Agriculture Science and Technology, if all this grain was consumed directly by humans, it would nourish five times as many people as it does after it is converted into meat, milk and eggs.
  2. A vegan diet requires 300 gallons of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4200 gallons of water per day.
  3. Animal agriculture accounts for more than 80% of annual world deforestation.

(Source: http://www.veganpeace.com/veganism/environment.htm)

There are other reasons I am a vegan, but I won’t get in to those. If you want to know more, please ask me or read The Food Revolution by John Robbins. He rejected the Baskin Robbins fortune in order to pursue veganism. He lays out health, environmental, and moral reasons to be a vegan. It convinced me – and I had no prior inclination to anything other than meat and cheese (other than trying to be a vegetarian for three days in high school).

I am not a vegan role model. Too often I am tempted by something in the house – this week it was a forkful of blueberry stilton cheese and a root beer float ice cream bar. But I try, I really do. I encourage you, on Earth Day, to avoid meat and cheese and milk tonight. Do it for the earth.

OK, really, I am done. Zipping my lips. No more on the subject. Shhhh!