Monthly Archives: December 2018

Resolution (2019 Edition)

  1. a) To be better, or less bad (or at the very least not as worst), which is to say, to set a new normal.
    b) New normal are hard.
    c) What is “normal”?

 

  1. a) Incremental, every day changes (i.e. to routines, habits, thought patterns).
    b) How incremental is enough?
    c) ???
    d) (This, perhaps, and for example, not incremental enough.)

 

  1. a) POSITIVE THOUGHTS ONLY.
    b) “ONLY”…proscriptive?
    c) Uh oh.

 

  1. a) Introspection!
    b) Don’t brood, but don’t not brood…
    c) Ugh. For real, just…ugh.

 

  1. PERSIST (why not?).

 

  1. RESIST (always, not never, be doing this).

 

  1. SMASH (read: the patriarchy).

 

  1. Climb every mountain!

 

  1. Slay every demon!

 

  1. Solve every murder!

 

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

 

GOOD LUCK.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Ceremony, Change, Holiday, Mind and Body, Routines, THE FUTURE

Jiggety-Jig

Home again after cutting our holiday time with family short. By more than half, actually. A good ratio, a nice, sane, solid number. A more than reasonable amount of time, so measured.

There was a part of me that feels guilt – tinges of it – for leaving so soon, so abruptly. But then there’s your family and there are your relatives, your sense of self and the imposition of others.

You get to choose. You do.

It’s all relative, really.

What’s that line anyway? The one between fiction and reality?

I can’t imagine it being so thick, or very strong, if pressed.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Change, Family, Holiday, Relationships

Seasonings

Season’s Greetings!

Happy Holidays!

Etc.

Lots of thoughts and sentiments this time of year. Most of it well-meaning, if prescriptive and stale.

(Or maybe not. But I don’t think so.)

Be thankful.

Best wishes.

Warm regards.

Do onto others.

Lots of people going to see family this time of year or, one way or another, family’s coming to see them. Which is better, or worse? For whatever it’s worth, who’s to say?

Lots of people staying put where they are, people coming to them or no, it’s time to relax, slow down a bit and recharge. Why. The. Hell. Not?

Lots places are open until midnight or beyond up until the big day. It may seem fun, or at least exciting, or at most necessary, to wander a Walmart at 2:00AM.

It probably isn’t. But ‘tis the season.

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Holiday, Ritual, Words

SCM*

*Sweetened condensed milk. It’s one of those substances that I come across without looking for it or expecting it but then it’s there, in my life again.

So. Here. We. Go.

 

1. Open-Faced Sugar Margarine SCM Sandwich

A concoction of my uncle’s making:

1 Slice Any Bread (but best if white bread, the best and worst of the breads)

1 Tub Margarine

Granulated White Sugar, to taste

1 Entire Can SCM

Toast the bread so that the margarine will melt when slathered generously (basically obscenely) over bread. Burn bread, a little, for texture, if desired.

Sprinkle (OK, dump) sugar onto toast.

More slathering, this time of the ENTIRE CAN of SCM onto toast/margarine/sugar.

There. You’re done.

Enjoy?

Diabetic shock.

Enjoy!

 

2. Snack Time

I have a friend who loves SCM so much, there’s basically no stopping him from consuming every last ounce of it every time he gets his hands on it. His indulgent parents (I love them too) sometimes serve him some, especially when he’s feeling down.

They feed him from a saucer. Like a cat. There is often a spoon.

The below is mostly true.

He’ll eat it from the can, he’ll eat it from the saucer, he’ll eat it from a tube (SCM occasionally comes in tube form – easier access maybe? Faster consumption?). He’ll eat it at the table, reclined on a chair, sitting cross-legged on the rug.

(The above was mostly true.)

It never lasts long, the SCM. It’s always gone so fast.

To my friend’s credit, he offers me some every time. But I can’t partake, not of someone else’s pure, unadulterated bliss like that.

There are limits to what we do share and what we should.

 

3. Longevity Forever

There is only one “true” brand of SCM for me, and that’s Longevity Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (Lait Concentré Sucré/Sūa Ôg Tho).

Google it.

The logo features Shou, the Chinese deity for Longevity:

“According to legend, he was carried in his mother’s womb for ten years before being born, and was already an old man when delivered. He is recognized by his high, domed forehead and the peach which he carries as a symbol of immortality. The longevity god is usually shown smiling and friendly, and he may sometimes be carrying a gourd filled with the elixir of life.”

Or so says Wikipedia. Emphasis added, for affect.

Immortality. Elixir of life. SCM.

Go ahead. Treat yourself.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, Family, Food, Friends

La Chasse Aux Canards

Growing up, my parents, my mother especially, periodically had fits of home improvement that often manifested in schemes to re-decorate the house.

One time, it was all new lamps (i.e. all the lamps in the house, replaced, with new ones).

One time, they let my aunt’s idiotic boyfriend spray-paint the kitchen cabinets so that they looked like stone – the dark grey textured type you’d find inside derelict amusement park rides (jungle themed or the like), or a poorly drawn cartoon.

One time, they decided paint was passé and wallpapered all the bedrooms, including mine.

My parents. They were (and remain) the “Children are meant to be seen and not heard” type. Which meant they picked out the wallpaper and did not consult us or take any protest on our part either seriously or at all. Which was fine with my siblings and I because we’d long resigned ourselves to living in a cramped house with loud tastes where everything, invariably, clashed. An amusement park ride, of sorts, of its very own.

You had to laugh. You just had to.

They wallpaper my parents picked out for me had dogs on it, at least.

“You like dogs. I got you dogs,” my mom said. “There,” she said, a word with as much finality in our house as, “So, there” or “The End.”

I did like dogs (I do). And was actually surprised that my mom had made such a concession in her decorating on my behalf.

Except. Interspersed with the dogs (a trio of spotted hounds) across the beige and brown background of the wallpaper were long cattail reeds, ducks in various stages of flight and men with guns. Muskets, actually.

A duck hunt frozen mid-frame repeated ad nauseam and plastered across the four walls of my bedroom. I would not have known what to do with such a scene – such a substance as that wallpaper – had I known beforehand that it even existed. But then, just like that, it was in my life and would remain so until we moved from the house, many years later.

I often think about my childhood bedroom as a sanctuary (I had a lock on the door and was generally left alone when in there). But then I remember the wallpaper and remind myself that freedom can be as much a luxury as it is a joke. Concessions can be their own intrusions, dogs or no.

There were men on my wall shooting at ducks.

Sometimes I imagined the ducks got away; other times the dogs or men got them. Eventually, I learned not to see men or ducks or dogs and just let the wallpaper be wallpaper.

Come to think of it: I never thanked my parents for the wallpaper. A part of me thinks that that’s only fair, but then we were never talking about fair, not here or anywhere even remotely close to it.

Were we?

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, Birds, Change, Family, THE PAST

Picture of Health

The dietician called me in a half hour before my doctor’s appointment because we “needed to talk.” I say the dietician instead of my dietitian because every time I go to see the dietician for my health program they send me to a different dietician.

This dietician, was a dietician I had not yet met. She seemed solid, serious but also nervous (it was in her eyes). She sat me down in her office, equipped, I was surprised to see, with wide, generous windows and room enough for a table, functional chairs and a large desk.

(I have been in professor’s offices that were little more than storage closets, little less than repurposed cloakrooms.)

“We’re here today because your husband emailed us on your behalf.” There were, she went on, issues he wanted me to discuss with the dietician, a dietician, which today was this dietician. The whole thing was wildly conspiratorial, especially since I know my partner did not (and would not) go behind my back and rat me out, least of all to the/a/this dietician. Anyone.

Whoever that patient was, she was not me, a patient but not the patient under scrutiny.

I asked the dietician to check my file again.

I was right: I was not the patient she thought I was.

She took a closer look at my file.

“You’re doing great!” Then before she could stop herself: “Why are you even here?”

Why? Indeed!

I was then shuffled over to the doctor’s office (not so big or generous of windows, but it had a better view and a larger desk), and was told by this doctor (there are two) that she was “actually not too unhappy” with my progress.

I was then sent on my way, back out to the ether only to have to come back to see them again in a few weeks.

Them, they, whomever they happen to be that day.

Wonder who I will be?

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under City Life, Health, People, Relationships

Express Purpose

I dreamed a family reunion which took place on a magnificent train from a bygone era. All my relatives were there – dead, alive, some I recognized and some who recognized me. Didn’t seem to matter.

The train was a model built to human scale; its dimensions (if not proportions) toy-like but functional, made to serve. No other way to explain it.

It was night. There were orbs of light inside and out and the terrain was a rolling countryside as seen from the track, set firmly on the rim of a long dormant volcano.

Round and round and round we went, making excellent time getting absolutely nowhere.

I noticed. Everyone on the train looked like me, related to me or no.

“What train is this? What train is this?” I asked.

The conductor approached slowly from askance to finally stand before me in all his accustomed glory. A white man with a mustache, impeccable. Red suit, gold buttons that glimmered and shone.

“This is the Oriental Express,” he said, which enraged me.

“Then I want off this train!” Family be damned.

“The only way off this train,” he replied dryly, “is to jump.”

The only way off the racist train was to jump – to throw yourself off – its interminable tracks.

Dreams may be symbolic, but there’s nothing that says they need be subtle.

I woke up angry, somewhat relieved.

But only somewhat.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Dreams, Family, Race, Travel

Idiot. Dog.

I warned him, but he didn’t listen.

“Don’t touch the dog. He doesn’t like it.”

“Oh, don’t worry. I’ll make him like me!” He smiled, his mouth an exhausted rubber band pulled listlessly to both sides of a disingenuous and frankly uninspiring face.

Not exactly a “no means no” kind of guy.

Lou snapped at him twice before he gave up, retreating with a look of pure resentment shot toward me like I hadn’t just warned him, hadn’t told him so. Exactly so.

Of course, it was the dog’s fault, wasn’t it? And because I am responsible for the dog, Lou’s not liking this particular man was also my fault; the dog is still my dog, after all, and it shouldn’t snap at anyone, least of all someone determined to make him like him.

Imagine making something, someone, anyone like you. Being blameless to such fault. Imagine believing in that, as a person.

Honestly…

According to a book I read about filmmaking, an easy way to signal to the audience that a character is a good person is to have them pet a dog.

The dog, of course, has to let them. Has to want to be approached in the first place, to say nothing of the person approaching it.

Now. Imagine that.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Dogs, People, Politics, Relationships

The Dance

We bought a new (used) car over the weekend after weeks of searching. It’s a nice car, reliable, in nice condition. Boring. Perfect.

This is our first time buying from a dealership with actual haggling involved (our last car, a 1998 Jeep Cherokee, was purchased from a friend).

It is a delicate dance. A lot of back and forth, more than enough room for missteps.

A lot of: “You’re getting the very best price, believe me.”

A lot of: “But think about it this way.”

A lot of: “OK. OK. Let me go talk to my manager.”

Let me go talk to my manager.

Deflection is key. Both sides must try to get what they want without showing how badly they want it. No one can lose their cool. Smiles all around, but also a few carefully thrown in frowns and just the right, exactly right, amount of doubt, hesitation ought to manifest.

Some: “Hmmmm…”

Some: “Good point, although…”

Some: “Well, I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

Hmmmm.

By the end, ideally, everybody should get a little of what they want. But not everything.

For our first time, we made it through relatively unscathed. And our leasing manager seemed more than fine.

It’s about what we wanted, however badly or not.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Ceremony, Communications, Plans, Relationships, Ritual