Resolve

It is the last day of January and most people have given up on their resolutions by now.  I’m still trying to settle on one.

I should just let it go. Or I should go with a version of a classic.  I’m certainly not beyond those. I need to lose the weight from my last two breakups, for instance.  I need to finish the projects that I have started around the house.  And 2016 would be a great year to finally get my book published.  That last one isn’t necessarily under my control (unless I self publish I guess), but still.  It would be a good goal.

For some reason, all of the sudden, I have lost patience with those kind of goals.  Not because I don’t want to accomplish them.  But I’m just tired of they way that they surface in my mind.  I’m bored of the judgement that is attached.  They come with a voice that says “How did you let this happen to your body?  You look like a marine mammal!  You are so lazy!  Get off your ass and go for a run!  Or paint the basement! Or send out ten more query letters today!  What are you doing with your life?!”

I’m not interested in hearing what that voice has to say right now.  Sure it would be nice to lose twenty pounds and feel like I’m making progress in more avenues in my life.  But I’m thriving in my job and I love my friends.  And frankly it’s January, The Worst Month of The Year™, and I feel like that is enough.  I left the house dozens of times this month.  What more could my bitchy little voice ask?

So, why not give up on the resolutions altogether? Surely I could skip it this year.

The thing is, the idea of making a resolution is fun.  Or at least, it used to be.  And it occurred to me that I am going about it all wrong. A friend posted on Facebook a few weeks ago that her resolution for 2016 was to avoid stools (as in backless chairs).  She hates stools, and she isn’t going to sit on any in 2016.  It made me laugh, because who doesn’t hate stools? And yet, it would never occur to me that I could take a stand (pun intended) and boycott them.

With that spirit, I have thought of a few banal goals for 2016.  Resolutions that I think I can keep.  Some may need a little explanation, so I’ll accompany them with the new voice I’m introducing to my goal driven thought processes.  She’s quite nice.  I like her so far.

1.) Listen to music (You never listen to music any more… why is that?  It’s all podcasts and NPR.  Which are fine and good for your brain, but so is music. Don’t you miss it? You don’t even sing in the shower any more!)

2.) Sing in the shower (That’s my girl!)

3.) Watch more cat videos on Youtube (Those always make you smile.  Why would you ever feel bad for taking time for that?)

4.) Drink lattes (Not everyday, but every once in a while.  You haven’t bought a latte since you signed on the house.  What if you got hit by a truck tomorrow and died with more than six dollars in your bank account?  How silly would you feel?)

There, that seems like a good start.  Wouldn’t want to make the list so long that I get overwhelmed!

There are still a few more hours of January.  I think I will (voluntarily) get off my ass and head out into the world.  I have a date with a latte and Pandora.  That is, after I sing a few Adele songs in the shower.

Wish me luck.

Stick Figure Family Un-Union 

“Timmy? Oh, you know… Things have been tight. Especially after the holidays. And his grades were slipping. So, we took him back to the orphanage. Scraped him right off the mini-van and everything. Though you can still see his little soccer ball in certain lights…”

   
 

Working From Home

I’m transitioning from working in an office to working from home. Right now it’s a few days a week, but I will soon work from home full-time. 

I know this sounds like a dream come true for most people. But I am afraid that for me, the transition from semi-adjusted introvert to total shut-in will be an effortless one. 

Exhibit A: The other day I forced my dog to pose with the Yorkie socks that my Mom gave me for Christmas.  (You must admit, the resemblance is striking.)

  
It was only after I posted the photo to Facebook that it occurred to me, “well, that was a weird fucking thing to do.”

It was something one of *those* people would do. Those sad people who need to reach out and talk to people so badly they post photos of their socks and winter white calves on the internet. 

I must be more vigilant going forward.  I am developing a test that I must pass prior to repeating this error again.  I will ask myself, “If this thing I am about to post was not my photo or thought, but a story someone tried to tell me on public transportation… would I change my seat? If not, post away. If so, time to get out of the house.”

Fare Thee Well, Starman

I was a teenager in the 1990s when I first heard “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie.  I was outraged.  “What? Who is this? They stole that baseline from Vanilla Ice!”  And everyone present stopped laughing an hour or so later.

Luckily I survived my teenhood and evolved into a less idiotic and better exposed human being.  Even more luckily, the career of David Bowie was not a closed book.  It was a party that was still very much raging, and I was able to join.

Not that I was hip.  There was also the incident where I rented Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.  It’s a great movie, and Bowie is great in it.  But I thought it was going to be a warm fuzzy holiday movie and it was most certainly not that.  I saw the title and thought “This must be the one where he sings Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby.” Nope.  It’s the one where everyone gets tortured a lot.  Should have just restarted the Muppets’ Christmas Carol.

I remember being so thankful for Bowie in the early aughts when he wrote “I’m Afraid of Americans” which perfectly articulated how disturbing it was to watch my compatriots, in a rage of vengence and fear, lose it’s collective mind in the aftermath of the terror attacks the year before.  I will always think of that song as an anthem of that time.

I’m certain the majority of his fans are feeling that way today.  Bowie was so plugged in to the artistic and cultural framework of the last five decades.  His songs are playable memories, both set in a specific time and separate from it.  He was a consummate and indefatigable artist until the end; his last album was released just a few days ago.  I’ve been sampling it today.  It’s a profound gift that he left for us, and a beautiful way to close that book that I didn’t want to end.

My favorite Bowie memory:  It was 2009 and my sister and I were driving from Seattle to the San Juans where she was getting married.  Weddings are such a crazy time and I wasn’t expecting to get much quality time with the bride, but we put on Bowie and we rocked out for the entire drive.  It was a perfect day.  I keep my Best of Bowie album in the car so that I can occasionally re-live it.

Good by Starman.  I’m glad you came to meet us. And you are right; you blew our minds.

bowie_on_tour

Amaryllis

*Writer’s note: I started this post over the solstice weekend and didn’t finish it before Christmas. I’m posting it now, feeling like a bad student turning in a late paper. 

I had a friend – an adopted grandmother – named Fay. Fay nearly lived to be 100 years old, but passed a few weeks before her birthday, April 2012. (She was born the same week that the Titanic sank, for reference.)

We played dominos (her favorite) the Christmas before she died and I told her I was going to take her to Wendover (a shady casino town on the border of Nevada) for her birthday. When my mother called a few months later to tell me she was gone I asked, “she knew I was kidding, right? I wasn’t going to MAKE her go?!”

I was at a store today shopping for a few stocking stuffer gifts and I saw a tower of colorful boxes in the floral department, packaged neatly for the holidays. There were a few paper whites and other planted bulb flowers, but mostly it was a tower of amaryllis.

I used to buy one for Fay every year, and for the third year in a row I nearly put it in my cart for her. It was one of those fractured and confused moments where you know on some level that this person is gone, but you want to buy them a holiday gift, regardless. You want them to know you thought… no, that you think about them. The moment passed quickly, and I didn’t put the plant in my cart. 

And yet, unlike the past two years, I’m wondering if I made the right choice. Fay had a long full life. For that, I am grateful. But I may still go back and buy that amaryllis. I’ll let it bloom in my own living room, in rememberance. 

My 2016 Wish for All: A Quote by Douglas Adams

Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently #1)

Happy New Year!