Friday, February 22, 2013

A Love Song (to the Last Ice Storm of the Year?)


My daughter got a love note from pre-school (called a “Happy Gram”) that praised her manners, her kindness, and her developmental growth.  I posted it on Facebook as a brag on her. Not thinking about anything else, just wanted to share that my kid is pretty great—which is true—and that she was acknowledged for being great by someone else other than me or D.

So many people responded that she is great because we are. That we are good parents and teach her right, etc. It’s funny to me because I never thought of her accomplishments as my own. Never.  I am not proud of her because it reflects well on me—I just never thought of it that way—I am proud of her because she is awesome and awesomely herself. She has had her own thing going on since she was like 3 months old. She was born with a sense of self that takes the rest of us slobs a lifetime to develop/cultivate. I am usually in awe of her.  

S is her own unique person. And sometimes I think that we are rude and terse by comparison. She elevates us. She is better/kinder/gentler/funnier than we are for sure. Man, I better try a little harder no? She might start slipping by way of my bad example. The what will the FB crowd say, “Boo, bad mommy!”

I am proud of my kid because she is herself. She is cool, naturally, without artifice. We must be doing something right, but hell if I know what “it” is. My love song to her is always that she keeps being herself. And that we, as her parents, try hard to let her.

Don’t slip on the ice now, you might miss spring; it’s coming, I promise.  

Truths, and Wishes

Truths

- taco night is always fun. Doesn't matter what you put in them there tacos, just make them already. Make fresh simple guacamole: avocados, finely diced onion, fresh lime juice, salt, cilantro, black pepper. Buy some good salsa (until summer, then make it), some cabbage, shredded carrots, or lettuce for fiber/crunch, taco shells or tortillas or both--then fill with whatever you want. Last night was black beans, rice, and taco-seasoned veggies--sometimes I make meat for D, or use leftover roasted chicken, and sometimes I just eat cabbage, salsa, guacamole tacos--just make them.

-my favorite hot "sauce" for taco night: mince a jalapeƱo super tiny, squeeze 1/4 of a lime, salt, minced cilantro--refrigerate for an hour (if you can)--this makes like 2 tablespoons, but it's good and hot but not like awful, just good

- when using oil and salt to coat meat, or potatoes, or veg or whatever, use that mess of oil and salt to exfoliate your hands--grind that stuff into your hands really good and you can skip your manicure that week. (My husband asks me to do this for his hands like once a week now. Not that he has ever had a manicure, but you know, the winter makes your hands awful.)

- I wish cilantro was stemless. Cilantro stems are so bitter and the leaves are so deliciously soapy. Such a pain...usually worth it. I do the whole bunch at once, then store in a zipper baggie with a paper towel.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Version of Spring Fever, It's a Flush Really

When you focus really tightly in on your life and spend all your time enveloped in your family and the daily domestic rigamarole, you miss all the new and shiny dangling carrots, rainbow unicorns, and other mythical creatures along with news stories, the hottest new YouTube craze and a whole host of shit that people talk about and busy their lives with. You just miss it. Harlem shake, what's that?

Missing all of this can be a very good thing. Who needs all the hoopla and bullshit of the world? When what you get at home is love and jokes and silly, crazy, bi-polar two-year-old-tantrums that will forever be immortalized in film, and good dinners and relaxing book reading and isolation from the cold-drab world while lost in the warm insolation of your family.

There are days like today when I miss my friends. I wonder what the hell they are doing/thinking/feeling/loving/eating/fucking/listening to/reading, etc. But then I come on home and make guacamole for taco night and nestle my kiddo and read something on the Kindle and burrow in. Winter remedy? The whole other world (the world I used to love/run/own/getchewedupandspitoutby) disappears. Was the other world really there to begin with? Is this love and family shit what I used to be running from? What was I so afraid of?

I am both of that world and a product of it, as well as a refuge from it. I miss dancing and drinking and playing pool and listening to music so loud that my ear drums crackle--but I don't miss it enough to do that now, even though I could if I wanted to...I just don't really want that. Maybe I just want to miss all that but not really recreate it (as if I really could recreate it--I am too old, who the hell am I kidding? And it just wouldn't be the same anyways.)

We went out last week and drank and danced and I smoked (for shame!) and it was great fun, but somewhere in that night, I missed my kid and couch and books. No shit.

I think summer will remedy any inkling of restlessness--sitting outside always feels like you're going out...dinners al fresco is just what I need to stave off the metallic unicorns of my mythic pasts and the rest of the world.

Come on baby, come on.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Gorilla, Everyfuckingwhere


“Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them.” Daryl Zero, Zero Effect

What you’re looking for impedes what you will find. There was a report on NPR about this this morning but I have thought about this for a long time. I call it the “Zero Effect” (from the movie.) In the NPR report the research was mostly on what the eyes see when the brain is trained to look for something specific, let’s say cancer cells.

You’re a doctor (congratulations!) and you are searching slides looking for cancer cells. In one of the slides there is a tiny picture of a gorilla. You won’t see it. You just won’t. You are looking for cancer not gorillas. You are too focused on cancer cells to see a gorilla (which would be an unusual thing to see in some cells, no?) The end of the report was something to the effect of “be careful what you tell people to look for in cases of terrorism, etc.” If you are too focused on looking for something out-of-the-ordinary, you will miss the ordinary. And, boom! Done.

In life, in love, this is so true. Maybe more true. If you are looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. If you are looking, searching for a happy,  or a perfect, or a stress-free, or a neat little life, you are way sabotaging yourself—you are missing all the rest of what’s there. Stop looking so hard. Just be there. Stop looking. See the gorillas; gorillas are everyfuckingwhere!

So, what are you looking for? Are you so focused that you are missing out on everything else?  

Messy lives are more fun and completely satisfying, like big fat juicy steak and a cold beer satisfying. You just have to let yourself stop looking for something so neat. Be nice, relax, enjoy, take in some of what’s already there. I’m writing this to you and to me.

Stop trying so hard to fit your life into a form, a mold. It just won’t fit. Ever. You can’t be all the things that they want you to be, that you want to be. So, just try to be anything, see what feels right, and keep going.

(Can I travel back in time and read this like 10 years ago? Whoa, anyway, I am going to go watch Zero Effect this week. I remember liking it and finding it funny. Let’s see if by me thinking that, I will like it again. I bet that’s what I find.)