Do you ever google how to make a baked macaroni and cheese and all of the results require you to read a short story about a destination wedding before giving you the recipe? Then you discover the writer neglects to say how hot the oven needs to be?
Last year, years after people stopped bothering with personal blogs, I finally got to meet in person a friend I made because of the blog I had a lot of fun keeping at the turn of the century, before we all moved to the walled gardens of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like, and the constant blah, blah, blah. He shared with me some of the important work he does and the beautiful images he was making. I wanted to do the same, but mostly I just fretted about frustrations and insecurities. Partly because that’s what I do, and certainly because at the time I needed to talk to someone and he opened the door. (Sorry and thank you!) He encouraged me to write down something I’m grateful for every day, which is something I’ve tried to do ever since, usually when I first wake up and I’m waiting for the coffee to brew, which is probably why half the time I write: “I’m grateful for coffee.” Because I haven’t had any yet and it’s all I can think of.
Today it was zinnias. It’s been a summer fraught with disappointments and things to be anxious about, but the scruffy zinnias really came through for me. They didn’t care about the heat or the bugs or the rains that never came. They weren’t deterred by people not rising to the occasion and doing the right thing. They didn’t wrap selfishness in a flag and pretend it was something else. They persisted. And if I were better at this and maybe if I weren’t typing it all out with my thumb on this tiny glass anxiety rectangle, I’d find the paragraph breaks and transitions to say persistence is what I’m grateful for.
But actually, right now, it’s zinnias.
The next time you find yourself at urgent care, the delivery room, operating table, or even the supermarket and your doctor, nurse or cashier is wearing a mask, suggest they join you in exercising our freedoms by removing it. When you’re done there, go to your car, cut your brake line and drive away as fast as you like without wearing a seat belt. As soon as you get home (or wherever you land) pull yourself from the wreckage, brush aside the bodies, take the gun out of your waistband or bag and shoot yourself in the foot. Because you can.
What a week. What a day. I lost my cool with a store manager today who said he couldn’t require his employees to keep their masks on. “What if they also took their shoes off, hung them from their ears, and walked around the store barefoot? Would you ignore that also?” I wanted to say but just walked out instead as the mouth breathing MAGAs in line looked at me like I was being hysterical – Guess what, I was! – and I felt bad for losing my cool with someone who was probably doing his best just showing up when even grocery shopping has become a partisan theater of sneers. Memo to all who continue to support or remain silent about our impeached president and his bigoted politics of division and death: It’s working.
I am grateful for my parents' examples – good and bad – and the lessons I continue to learn from them.
Today makes my back hurt just thinking about it. We have started building our raised garden beds. I was feeling pretty good about the weekend-long effort, then Hiram said something about geometry and the square footage we’ll have for plants when we’re finished being less than I thought. How can four smaller beds using all of the same pile of the wood we had be less than our original plans for two bigger beds not using everything? The answer is: Whatever. I’m still stoked.
Nothing says home of the brave like hoarding toilet paper.
When did kitsch get to be so bossy?
Si las Buenas Familias se retratan para consagrar su manejo de las formas y las apariencias, los pobres lo hacen para certificar ante sí mismos la existencia de su principal patrimonio: la familia. — Carlos Monsiváis, Maravillas que son, sombras que fueron: La fotografía en México
- There are few songs that could not be improved if only Klaus Nomi were still around to perform them. I think this every time I hear that annoying Sugar Pie Honey Bunch song played at a grocery store or the dentist.
- Every day it's a new Christmas carol stuck in my head. Today, it's The Beach Boys' Little Saint Nick.
- I'm sorry, now you hear it too.
- And just what does the "ave" in Ave Maria mean?
Every time it rains, the yard grows a fuzzy green, like a chia pet. It's all weeds but it's kind of pretty until the weeds get taller and start looking like themselves and then out come the gloves, the rake, and the podcasts.
Lately, I've gotten in the habit of tidying up the yard on Saturday mornings. I get up early and listen to podcasts while I'm doing it. Often, the yard doesn't actually need work, but I want to listen to my programs so there I am with my earphones in, raking, pruning, potting. It's one of those things where you combine something you don't like doing with something you enjoy to trick your brain into thinking you're having fun. Like when we had to go the laundromat on Saturday mornings, we'd stop at Frank's Diner for breakfast on the way, so our brains didn't think we were doing laundry. Our brains thought we were eating pancakes. At least at first. By Friday, we'd even stop saying "You know what we have to do this weekend? The L word." The L word being what we called the unmentionable thing we didn't like doing at the laundromat on Saturday mornings. But by Friday night we'd have stopped saying that and we'd be talking about tomorrow's breakfast at Frank's.