Monday, August 29, 2011


Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do not choose to give you.

I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness these days. And realizing that forgiving is a solitary and lonely activity. No one really sees you doing it. They only see what you're not doing.

But the activity of letting go of anger takes time and energy and more than a little bit of patience. It takes finding the crevice in myself where I tucked a memory, a feeling, that disappointment and the bloody damage still remaining and hauling it out into the light and looking at it and yelling "that was then and this is now" until my voice is raw.

That was then.

This new situation doesn't know about what happened in that other time in that other place. This new unhappiness reminds me of darkness and drowning and feeling trapped but it isn't the same. I don't have to go back there. I don't have to go back there. I don't have to go back there.

The challenge that remains is to sift through the grains of sand, find the ones marked with your face, and hand them to you. Then look down at the rocky path and walk away.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why I bought a convertible and other mysteries

My children have grown into confident and competent adults living (mostly) on their own. So when my son started looking for a car he said "Mom, you should just give me yours."

The car in question was a 10-year-old Honda Civic 4-door automatic with 95,000 miles on it. I offered to sell it to him for half its bluebook value (I thought I knew what his savings account looked like) and he was online in an instant, checking the value and checking his bank account.

"I'll be ready once I get my summer job," he announced.

So I started looking for another car.

This would be the first car that I really didn't have to "share." I wouldn't have to drive the kids to school. It didn't need four doors. Hell, it didn't need four SEATS. It could be sporty. It could even be a convertible.

What was I thinking? I'd driven frugal, responsible Hondas for most of my life.

My first car, a 1963 Oldsmobile F85, was crashed and replaced by a 1964 Chevrolet Nova which I drove for two years. The radio was AM, there was no air conditioning. Three-on-a-tree was what people called 3-speeds on the column back then. The car was wonderfully retro (even then) and I sold it for $500 (exactly what I had paid for it) to someone who begged me to sell it to them.

After that was a succession of Hondas purchased because they had the best gas mileage, reliability and resell value out there.

Sportscars and convertibles have neither good gas mileage nor resell values. Clearly, I was going through another in a series of midlife crises.

I'm going to blame it on the motorcycle.

A few years ago, after my 11-year relationship broke up, I fell hard for a woman with both a master's degree and a motorcycle. (We were married last year in Massachusetts, by the way.) I never thought I'd like riding on the back of a motorcycle but I was wrong. It is heavenly. I couldn't wait for the next ride. I love the feeling of the open sky and the sounds and smells that you just don't get inside an air-conditioned car.

I considered learning to ride my own motorcycle but then thought about convertibles instead. I didn't have to learn a new skill or get a separate license -- and I could drive it every single day.

I bought another Honda. Meet my Bluebird: Honda S2000. And yes, she makes me very happy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I was on my way to becoming a domestic goddess, then I set the oven on fire

This weekend found me organizing, cooking and cleaning around the house and garage. Here's the list of accomplishments:

- Cooked Saturday breakfast of eggs, biscuits and homemade apple butter
- Finished (and folded!) the laundry
- Made a batch of tomato sauce from our Roma tomatoes
- Cleaned bathrooms
- Cleared out garage (almost) before the new garage-door installers arrive
- Sewed on missing button
- Assembled and baked three delicious tomato pies

I was feeling pretty good about myself until it was time to take the tomato pies out of the oven. They were in aluminum pie plates for freezing. I don't know what happened, but one pie decided to flip nearly upside down before I knew it. Tomatoes, cheese and stuff landed inside the oven. I turned the oven off and with my spatula I lifted the largest pieces off the oven floor and threw them in the sink. Half the pie was gone. The rest became lunch.

Sunday morning I started making blueberry muffins. I turned the oven on to pre-heat and headed to the basement to grab blueberries out of the freezer. I'd forgotten that, while I'd cleaned up SOME of the spilled pie, I hadn't gotten all of it.

The oven started to smoke but I thought "It'll burn off and be fine." It was NOT fine. Not at all. The smoke got worse so I turned on the vent fan. It got worse. Finally I opened the oven to see flames, big ones.

Not to worry dear readers: We put the fire out safely and no real damage was done.

Domestic Goddess? A girl can dream, can't she?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hipster blogs and faux journalism

I get nearly 99% of my news and information online. I stopped subscribing to the local paper (sorry to the folks who recently lost jobs) and I don't have TV anymore. I don't have enough free time to loll about in coffeeshops (though I wish I did) so I don't see those free weeklies.

I do, however, subscribe to about 40 feeds and I typically catch up on my reading during lunchtime in my office. I am annoyed.

More and more I'm seeing self-indulgent rants and egregious errors in grammar (or more often, word choice) on what I've begun calling "hipster blogs." The writers there seem to believe that they invented the green movement, and that no one ever wrote about music before 2005. According to some of them cooking at home, urban gardening and riding a bicycle to work NEVER EXISTED until they became adults last year a decade ago.

Now I know why many of them hate us Baby Boomers for our self-righteous attitudes and confidence that we are the coolest generation.

Among the worst offenders, however, are the ones who see political corruption everywhere and choose to be snarky about it. It's as if they believe that power corrupts and that any elected official or anyone who heads a public agency must be, without question, dishonest, unethical or worse -- doing their job. These writers stand in the shadows and snipe about what should have happened when the water main broke or how animal services should be run.

Today I'm annoyed by those who are self-appointed community boosters. In their cheerleader tones they tout food trucks and film festivals, art fairs and farmers markets, gelato and small batch bourbon. Their attitude seems to be THE MEDIA WILL NEVER TELL YOU ABOUT THESE COOL THINGS SO IT'S UP TO ME TO KEEP YOU INFORMED.

Maybe I'm just a curmudgeon. I'd be willing to admit that.