Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Note to Myself No. 31

This was a popular slogan in the Women's Movement
during the early to mid-1970s.

Poking fun at ourselves for being uppity. . . 
thinking that we had the right to be considered
the equal of men
(including men who would never be our equals).

Another way those of us living in Dallas
displayed a bit of humor
was by members of the Dallas NOW Chapter
entering the cooking contests at the Texas State Fair.

My ribbons were in my kitchen,
framed and under glass,
for many years.

A third place for potato salad.
A third place for drop cookies.
A second place for spectacular desserts.
And a first place for fruit salad.

I consider the drop cookie ribbon
the most coveted one I have
because the competition was fierce. . . .
hundreds of cookie makers entered.

I was a little disappointed not to win
Best in Show
for that fruit salad,
and one of the judges told me
that there had been a dispute
between the judges,
the majority of whom ended up
going for a Waldorf salad
because it was cheaper to create
than my beautiful
and I don't remember what all else,
all served up in a scooped out pineapple
laid on its side with the fronds still attached
and laid on a bed of red leaf lettuce
on a footed sterling silver tray.
(Beautiful presentations counted,
as I found out when I placed my potato salad 
on the competition table the first year I entered.
It was in a fluted blue hobnail glass creation
made for desserts, a lovely thing,
but the first and second place entries
dolled their potato salads up
like they were walking the catwalk
in a couture collection fashion show.)

As for spectacular desserts,
who knew you could win a second place ribbon
the first time you ever made cream puffs?
They were light and fluffy, for sure,
but I think it was the homemade French vanilla filling
that did the trick.
I've not made cream puffs since then.

"I cook for ribbons."
Well, that and needing to eat
something besides Cheetos.

And I'm still collaborating with
other Uppity Women.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Note to Myself # 30

It's easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged
from all the coverage of 45
and what he's doing that makes us shudder.

I know the burden's on us to be
the change we want to see in the world,
but if we can't find pleasure
and just plain FuN
in the process, we need to rethink our approach.

making music
creating art
giggling with friends
concocting a new and scrumptious dish
knitting a sweater (or a pink hat)
dancing with abandon

These are all ways to increase
your life force

to build a reserve to energy
for serious work

and to put a huge dollop of JoY
into the Universe.

That's a good antidote
to the fear-mongering being pushed
to promote false and divisive ideologies.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Note to Myself # 29

Take action to nurture and protect
our Mother Earth
before it's too late.

It's especially important
when those tasked with protecting
the environment
are dead set on pillaging and plundering.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Getting Behind

I'm falling behind.
Today's the 28th of January
and I still haven't posted
Note to Myself No. 27.

Please excuse my neglect,
although I really have no excuse.

I just didn't get around to it.

So today you get a two-fer.
Yesterday's Note and Today's Note
all at once.

Is there something 
 you're needing to catch up on?

Some area in your life
that you're falling behind?

but the antidote to falling behind
may just be to stop, reflect, and then act.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Note to Myself # 26

Sometimes it's hard to remember
that we're energy
encased in a body that's our chariot
for this journey on earth. . . 
that ultimately we'll cast off this body
and be a shining soul
going back home.

A beautiful soul. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Note to Myself No. 25

There's a sea change in political climate
that makes me worry that the First Amendment 
is under attack.

A new President attacking the press
for not. . .  adulating him enough,
for reporting facts instead of alt-facts.

Well, with this President,
at least we know that one Amendment is safe.
The Second Amendment.

But then, it was safe under the last President, too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Note to Myself # 23

Apparently lots of women have been knitting recently.
Thousands of pink hats with cat ears
have been created as a statement of disgust
with Donald Trump's crude, misogynistic comment
about grabbing women by the p*ssy.

I've always found knitting a relaxing and healing pastime.
Way back in 1984, after having a premature baby boy die
in the neonatal intensive care unit after five weeks 
of fighting mightily for his life
after a ham-fisted surgeon botched the insertion 
of a central line, made poor Blake nearly bleed out
and sent him into cardiac arrest,
well. . . .
family videos from that time always recorded me
with knitting needles in hand.
I made sweaters galore.
The rhythmic click of the needles
quieted my mind and soothed my aching soul.

Then, I could manage the complicated patterns 
of an Irish fisherman knit,
not without concentration, of course,
and determination,
but back then they were doable.

I tried in vain to do one a few years ago
and found that my powers of concentration
have been zapped.
I was lucky to get to the end of a hideously complicated row
before I was drifting somewhere in my mind.

I have new appreciation for those gifted yarn artists
who create masterpieces in yarn.

As for me, I'll stick to simple scarves
and kitty-cat hats.
The cats will hate me.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Note to Myself # 22

The average child laughs 300 to 500 times per day.
The average adult? About 15 times per day.
What did we know many years ago 
that we've forgotten?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Note to Myself # 21

I don't have much trouble
convincing myself of this.
I've always got one or two books
going at a time.

What makes me sad, though,
is that we've lost our Reader-in-Chief.
A President who loved to read
and did it often and could talk with intelligence
about what he'd read, how it fit in with other ideas,
and what was next on his reading agenda.

A President who could write books
without needing a ghost writer.
What a concept!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Note to Myself # 20

When there's so much shaming
and bullying going on in public discourse
(from the highest levels)
this message is needed more than ever.

I'm just sad that it won't be heeded
at that same rarified level.

But those of us who believe
in goodness
always strive to live this
and model it for others.

Light eradicates darkness.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Note to Myself # 19

Great quote.
Not another thing to say.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Note to Myself # 18

This is a big one for me
because one of my assets is loyalty
to people I love.

I will cheer them on
tell them when I think they're making a mistake
urge them to take a chance when the risk seems reasonable
and pick them up when they've fallen.

That's what friends (or family) do for each other,
at least in my world view.

So my admonition is
"Always stand by your friends."

At the same time,
I know that there's a Shadow side to loyalty.
It can make you blind to instances 
where loyalty isn't a two-way street
and a person's behavior is deserving
of no-nonsense boundaries. . . .
including expulsion from your realm
until they've repented of their unacceptable actions.

Lying to or about you, for instance.
Being unfaithful.
Being emotionally abusive.
Expecting you to always be there for them
even when they're never around when you need them

Excessive loyalty can sometimes make you blind
to truths that everyone else can see.

Sometimes to be loyal to yourself,
you have to cut the ties that bind
and walk away.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Note to Myself # 17

It feels like clown energy is running rampant.

Someone in a position of power is making
inflammatory and outrageous statements,
bullying and mocking people,
threatening revenge on members of the press
who don't post articles adulating him.

There are clowns in this world
that can dish out all kinds of insults,
but want to be kowtowed to themselves.

Who think the whole world
exists to enhance their exalted view of themselves, 
to fall in line with their every whim 
(no matter how obnoxious or self-indulgent).

Who think they're smarter than everyone else
and that they're so special
rules don't apply to them.

But we know the truth about them.
If these Emperors have a splendid set of clothes,
they put on their pants one leg at a time,
just like us commoners.

And if they were really so special,
they wouldn't need to remind us so often.

no matter what,
don't let these clowns get you down.

Flaunting the rules
and making end runs around the truth
has consequences eventually.

So run amok, Clowns. . . 
but remember,
Barnum & Bailey's is closing 
after more than 100 years.

Monday, January 16, 2017

In Honor of Martin Luther King Day

Love, compassion and kindness.
Act it out.
Pay it forward.

You've got this!

Note to Myself # 16

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Note to Myself # 15

Best friends
together through thick and Thin Mints,
through boyfriends and husbands
and often back to boyfriends
(if we're so inclined). . .
a sounding board
a person who'll tell you the truth
with love, when possible
and with no-holds-barred when not.
A person who loves you
when you're wearing no makeup
and your house is a mess,
and who's willing to go on vacation
with you when you just have to get outta town.

Who'll tell you secrets
and never, ever repeat yours.

To whom you say, "I'm on my way," 
when a crisis arises,
no matter what day or time or situation.

Who may sometimes make you mad,
but who would never ever vote for Trump
so you forgive her
(and she forgives you when ---
though it rarely happens ---
you annoy the hell out of her).

A sister 
in everything but birth.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Note to Myself # 14

When you give a gift -- of material things or yourself --
the intention behind the act is important.

Sometimes we give out of a feeling of obligation.

Sometimes we give to get.
Or to have someone indebted to us.

Giving with a pure and loving heart,
with no expectations or attachment to
what happens afterwards. . . . 
well that's a rare gift.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Note to Myself # 13

When we're little girls
(or boys, as the case might be)
the people around us teach us
who we are
or at least
who others think we are
but their reactions to us.

If we're lucky,
their labels for us are both positive
and fitting
and we incorporate those characterizations
into our self-image.

If they send negative messages like
you're so stupid!
how could you be so clumsy?
you'll never amount to anything!
can't you do anything right?
well, we incorporate those lies too.

One of the most difficult tasks
we face as adults is sorting
through the labels in our label bank
and deciding which ones fit
and which ones need to be sent
to the trash heap.

Keeping not only the good ones,
but owning some of the bad ones
that we've discovered for ourselves.
Each of us is sometimes too impatient,
lazy, too quick to anger,
If we don't own the negatives,
to be very conscious of our Shadow side
if you will,
then those Shadow traits often run amok.

On the other hand,
if we don't think that we are 
kind and compassionate
smart and capable
loving and worthy of love
then we've lost the very best of us.

As children, we were captive
to messages from those whose realms
we were assigned or exposed to,
whether those messages were positive or negative,
whether they were accurate
or projections of their own stuff.

As adults, we get to 
make our own choices.
Decide who we are at the most basic levels.

We get to choose 
what we believe
in our heart of hearts
when we say
this is who I am.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Note to Myself # 12: Pink Coats

When I create the Notes to Myself
that I often post in January,
most of them are serious.

That said
I also like to create a frivolous
or satirical note or two.
Like this one.

I like pink, don't get me wrong.

But if you're having to resort to 
not-very-practical pink coats
to dazzle a particular man,
oh my.

Dazzle him with your charm, your wit,
your kindness and compassion.
Because if those things don't dazzle him,
he's not a man worth dazzling.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Note to Myself # 11

The smell of freshly popped popcorn
is one of my favorite smells.
I think God smiles when
S/He gets a good whiff
of buttered popcorn.

My theater-of-choice,
as you may already know,
is The Grand Cinema,
one of Tacoma's sparkling gems.
It's a non-profit movie theater
that shows mostly independent films.
You can count of having seen lots of nominees there
when Golden Globes and Oscars are handed out.

Right now
LaLa Land
Manchester by the Sea
Lion are playing.

How's that for a line up?
(And there's Tuesday film series, too,
with films and documentaries that you'd never see
except at the Grand.)

If you're in the know,
you buy an annual membership at the Grand.
For that ($45 for an individual)
besides supporting independent film
you get a discounted admission,
free parking in a lot half a block away
(that's locked at 9 p.m. so go to an afternoon movie
if you can)
a small-size bag of free popcorn
or credit of that cost towards a larger size.

They use Orville R popcorn
and real butter.

Not like the for-profit theaters
that put some kind of greasy yellow chemical
on top of kernels that come from who-knows-where.
I generally avoid that stuff,
both for health reasons and because you can buy
two giant jugs of unpopped Orville 
at Costco for what you'd pay for the medium size serving
at the for-profit concession stands
and most of it goes to waste anyway
because there's no way I could eat that much.

Give me a cup of fluffy kernels
and I'm satiated.

So that's my riff on popcorn.

It's that or the news.
I just saw a pop-up alert that says
DT is having a press conference.
I've heard enough about golden rain.
Enough, in fact, to lose my . . . .
well, you know.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ode to Obama

This isn't exactly a Note to Myself. . . .
it's more like a note to Obama.

Mr. President

You didn't necessarily deliver all the change
I'd hoped to see,
you fed the war machine more than I'd like,
but I was never ashamed to call you my President.

You're a class act, Mr. President
(and your beautiful, savvy, intelligent First Lady,
and daughters, too).

I know misguided people are attempting
 to destroy your biggest accomplishments,
but know that the tide will turn one day.

In the meantime
I'll work for justice, inclusion not villification, 
civility in the national discourse, and
the cultivation of hope
in what I fear may be a time of darkness.

You have been a bright shining light.
Thank you.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Note to Myself #10: Take Your Broken Heart. . .

Meryl Streep's impassioned words
in her speech at the Golden Globes last night
resonated with me 
(as they would, since I'm not a Trump fan)

but what really stuck was the quote
she attributed to her dear friend
Carrie Fisher (a.k.a. Princess Leia)
who died in December following
a catastrophic cardiac event at 60.

"Take your broken heart," she said,
"and make art."

When, in 2003, my heart was so badly broken 
that it felt like a catastrophic cardiac event,
I was flattened by grief and loss.
In other rough periods throughout my life,
writing had been cathartic.
Getting words and feelings on paper
had prevented them from being trapped inside me.

But then, words seemed positively meaningless.
I was adrift on a sea of abject sadness
 and unable to grab hold of something
that had always been a life preserver:
putting words on paper.

Because there was nothing else to do
(well, there was fretting and crying,
but that goes without saying)
I waited.

Waited for that small voice inside
to give me direction
when I didn't know which way was up.

Slowly, infinitely slowly,
I recognized that the sense of being mired in place
was lifting and some kind of insistent creative urge
was taking its place.

Because I'd always processed feelings 
and experiences via words,
I had to feel my way along,
learning a new vocabulary of expression.
One where images took the place of the trusty friends
who had flown away
like birds heading south for warmer climates.

I started with teaching myself to manipulate
images on the computer
and then. . . . most hesitantly,
I bought yards of raw canvas, and jars of acrylics,
and began to paint.

I turned my broken heart into art,
like Carrie Fisher commanded,
and it saved me.
It took me from tears and a feeling
that I was someone's left over garbage
to triumph.

It might not have been great art,
but it was art nonetheless. . .
an authentic representation of my interior journey.

I had some of the pieces stretched and framed
and they still keep me company today
to remind me that art can be tranformative,
both to the creator and the viewer,
and that broken hearts can mend
even if it takes an ungodly amount of time.