Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Learned It...

Life gives us all lessons...some big, some seemingly insignificant, some downright cruel, some just cosmically hilarious. But we learn..or we SHOULD. I certainly have. And sometimes the lessons come all at once and smack you right in the face..for example:
Number One:
I learned that Mother Nature is a meanie. A little history...I grew up in the Midwest. I am all akin to tornadoes and brutal snowstorms and maybe some occasional hail. I didn't say I liked it. So I moved. Today I live on the East Coast. I love it here. I love the beach, and the salt water, and the sunshine, and the temperate climate. Now, I understand that I can experience all of this on the left coast..but..well...they have Earthquakes. OH WAIT... earthshake. my little peaceful Queendom. WHAT? Don't was just a little rocking and rolling...but it was unsettling anyway. The dogs and I weathered it just fine..once we recovered from the shock of it all. So weird.
So..back to Mother Nature. It's been flaming like Hell hot here. I don't DO hot. Much like I don't DO cold. Mid 60s all year would suit me just fine. Meanie Mother Nature needs to crank up the fan a little. Or something. So let's review...we have tropical heat wave, earthquakes, forest/swamp fires that are smoking me out of my house....OH...and now we have a Hurricane!! Yeah...remind me again why I live here in Sim City?!
I have to be totally honest here. I've lived here awhile. I've heard rumors and tongue waggling about hurricanes in the past. I even survived the Nor'easter that blew through here a couple seasons ago. But an actual hurricane scares the beejeezes out of me. I'm hoping for an evacuation...I could use a vacation! Me and the dogs got a PLAN! The Lessons....I am not a big fan of weird natural phenomenon.....I'm a big pussy scardey cat...and in the event of a Zombie attack, I will be the first to die.
Number Two:
The saying that you can't go's a lie! I just spent a glorious weekend in my hometown. More history..darling boyfriend and I grew up in the same town. We lived one block away from each other. He was my best friend in high school. I was his first love. I might be making that last part up. Anywho...we went home for his "so many years" high school reunion. As it turns out..because we were such good friends in high school, I actually am friends with many of his classmates. (Side note..HUGE thanks to the Such and Such High School Class of Something Something One for adopting me as an honorary member!!) In our hometown, reunions are held during the town festival weekend...commonly referred to as Jubilee Days. EVERYONE comes home for Jubilee Days. Even if you aren't officially celebrating a reunion are likely to run into half your graduating class just strolling through town! It's a wonderful time of parades, flea markets, lemon shake ups, and late night partying. Small Midwestern Happenings!
We had so much fun and enjoyed ourselves so thoroughly that we are...drum roll please..actually considering *GASP* moving back to the little rinky dink hometown. Now we both swore we would never live there again....maybe it's the nostalgia, maybe it's the friends we left behind, maybe it's just the cheap bar tab receipt staring at me...but it's on the table. I guess we will see. The Lesson...Home is wherever you put down roots, wherever you laugh the most, and wherever the people you love are located.
Blah Blah Blah. I'm done. For now. Unless the Zombies attack tonight. Or there's a meteor shower. Or a Tsunami. Dammit...I'm so screwed.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weekend Perfection...

When I woke this morning..way to early for a whiney dogs, pain in my stomach, and nausea..I was pretty sure the day had reached it's peak. Fortunately, my wonderful family had other plans! So, they treated me to a delicious breakfast at one of my favorite little mom and pops (omelets, bacon, and coffee). Then they took me to the library (I LOVE and ADORE our is truly a magical place.) where I found a couple of the books on my Summer Reading List. Not content that they had reached my excitement quota...they surprised me with a trip to the local bookstore. More book bliss! YAY!
BUT WAIT! Then we headed to Target to do school supply shopping! If you don't already know this about me...I am such a sucker for school supplies! There is little that I love more than stocking a backpack and loading up my own personal work space with pens and markers and paperclips and cute notebooks. Seriously...if back to school happened more than once a year I think my heart would spontaneously explode and I would die..! And don't even get me started on how much I love the smell of brand new textbooks. I love to just crack them open and take a big whiff...right from the middle! I realize this makes me sound absurd and quite possibly a little disturbed...but, well, no sense in hiding the truth from all of you.
OH....AND we went to the Home Depot. Crickets I could spend all day in there. Today it was simply for major Mickey traps. I wanted..I be all humane about it...but these bastards are BIG. And I am having nightmares about cheese parties on my bed while I sleep. EEEKK! And since the biggest baddest dog in the house (who it turns out is nothing more than a ginormous pussy) is afraid of said Mickey...I'm not chancing it. Humane Schumane.
And as if that wasn't enough..we headed to the local "Green" Wally World for some groceries. A quick encounter with Game Stop and everyone comes home happy and completely fulfilled! And we beat the rain I was able to curl up with a new book and listen to the storm. And take a nap. Oh...and the whiney puppies from this morning? Yeah still whiney...but they did get new toys today as well (a cute little brown cow named Bessie and a funny little pink pig named Hammy. These are intended to replace the lobster Butters that is missing a claw and a leg. And all his stuffing. But don't fret..they still fight over him. He's well loved! And the thought was that they would each have a new nemesis..but the little girl puppy just stole them both and hid them in her bed. Alas.)
SO...since I know you are dying to get a peek inside Bananas's what we are reading this week:

  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I believe that the book is ALWAYS better than the before I hit the theater I have to peruse the pages.
  • Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. Again I heard that the movie was wonderful..I haven't personally seen it..but I have been anxiously awaiting reading the book.
  • The Gospel According To Harry Potter by Connie Neal. Now we all know that I am Harry Fan Numero Uno..and I didn't even know about this book until I saw it today. I must admit that I am more than a little intrigued.
  • The History Of Love by Nicole Krauss. I really don't know anything about this book except that I heard that it would "change my life." Since my life could use some changes...I figured it couldn't hurt right?
  • Great House also by Nicole Krauss. I picked this one up only because it was on the shelf and it sounded interesting. I will keep you abreast of my opinion.
So there you have it!! A GREAT day in my little corner of the universe. Tomorrow is filled with making baby shower invitations, cleaning the kitchen, and finishing up some laundry. Hope that I can squeeze in some reading! Yeah...the dishes and laundry can totally wait.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Passion..My Muse..

Many women long to live passionate lives, to be swept away from reality. Usually from a safe distance and in small doses. That's why we are drawn to steamy novels, sobby movies, platonic flirtations, and sometimes even life changing affairs. Passion, after all, means abandoning reason for reckless pleasure...running off with the tall dark handsome playboy instead of washing dishes and cooking dinner.
Passion is wild, chaotic, unpredictable. Permissive. Excessive. Obsessive. Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Passionate women can't help but rejoice in their emotions, celebrate their desires, howl at the moon, act out their fantasies, boil a pet rabbit. It's in their blood.
The rest of me...have real life responsibilities that leave little room (or so I have always thought) for giving in to passionate impulses ~ whether emotional, physical, or financial...dogs to walk, bills to pay, doctors appointments to make, supper to get on the table, households to create and run. There goes a day. There goes a life...and not with a passionate upending bang..but with a quiet uneventful whimper and whine.
What I have failed to realize until now is that passion is the muse of creative authenticity. It's the primordial pulsating energy that infuses my life..that pounds away in my heart and head..that keeps me awake and alive. Passion does not reveal itself only in clandestine, romantic, bodice ripping cliches. Passion is also cloaked in deep, subtle, quiet, committed ways...snuggling with my child, preparing a special meal, capturing a beautiful image on film, following a dream. Every day offers me another opportunity to live a passionate life rather than a passive one. If I will stop denying myself pleasure. If I will learn to say Yes. If, quite simply, I will let go and open up.
Passion is holy. I need to accept that a raging fire burns within me, whether I am comfortable with this truth or not. Passion is a part of the real life is how and why we are created. By love, for love, to love. I am given opportunities to live passionately follow my love without hesitation or create fearlessly and ferociously. I must learn to stop silencing my passions..and instead to give them outward expression. Otherwise I fear my soul will suffer a spontaneous combustion from regret.
The Koran, the sacred book of Islam, and the Jewish Talmud all teach that we will be called to account for every permissible passion and pleasure life offered us but we refused to enjoy while here on Earth. I want my account to be full of passions realized..I want to say that I believed..that I battled...and that I burned through all the passion I was given. Or at least that I boiled a few bunnies.
Dorothy L. Sayers believed that "The only sin passion can commit is to be joyless." I don't know about that..but I promise to find joy in my passions from here on out.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

True North..

I used to believe that happiness could only be found after arriving at my heart's destination. Explorers call it true north. For me, true north was a loving marriage...a spiritual family...a kind and generous child...a successful career...plenty of money to pursue my passions and control my creative destiny. Now that I have spent far longer on the road from Here to There than I could have ever imagined, I have relaxed a little in my expectations (looks like the marriage has been replaced with relationship, career has fallen away to be replaced by health) and have come to an awakening. My true north is..and always has creativity and passion. I've always controlled my destiny...just not always its course. I simply didn't have the common sense to realize it until now.
But more to the point..I learned that the spirit of the journey (and the lessons I learn along the way) is as important..perhaps even more important...than the arrival at the destination. There is always a new destination. In order for me to realize genuine happiness, I must be willing to accept that the journey is really all that I may ever know. Day in and day out..the journey is real life.
One day in 1923, the artist Georgia O'Keeffe came to the same conclusion. "I found myself saying to myself..I can't live where I want to...I can't go where I want to...I can't do what I want to. I can't even say what I want to. I decided that I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to...that seemed to be the only thing I could do that didn't concern anybody but myself."
Now..I can't paint like Georgia. But I can certainly slowly learn to follow her example..finding and following my creative urges. This skill rarely comes naturally or easily...but with practice, with patience, and with does come. Creativity comes during my idle hours..I must learn to store it up in order to draw on it when the source isn't there but my need is great.
"The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life." Jessica Hische. I must remember that the creativity I find while I am avoiding real the same creativity that should become my real life. For I now realize that Photography is quite possibly my one true north. The rest is just supplemental happiness.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Wolf Vs. The Pigs..

Anyone who knows me will laugh at the sheer absurdity of this blog title. Here we are the "3 Little Pigs" fending off the "Big Bad Wolf"....and as I sit here laughing at the very thought...that isn't even what this post is about! Funny how random that was. Let's be serious for a moment though...
We are all afraid of the Wolf. Because sooner or later he's whining and scratching at the front door. And we may not recognize him at first, but eventually we let him in. The Wolf is the bad times, the negatives, the evils that we allow into our lives. All the things that we fear and dread and worry about. The Wolf is all the things...physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and most importantly financial...that keep us from living the lives we want. I want to focus today on the financial. Having money in the bank isn't necessarily insurance against the huffing and puffing. Remember the Lloyd's of London fiasco? Remember the Wall Street Kaboom? For most of us, the Wolf's arrival is less dramatic..but no less traumatic. My tale may not get mentioned in newspapers...the decision to focus on my health rather than my career, thus reducing our incomes from two to one; the rising cost of health care, for which I am uninsured; the stack of bills on my desk that require immediate resources (due mostly to the fact that we like to eat, have running water, and cool air conditioning); or the persistent and ongoing legal battle that sucks whatever is remaining. Poverty is always experienced in the soul before it is felt in the pocketbook.
I work very hard to keep the Wolf at bay. I attempt to scratch out a lifestyle for us despite our bank account. I try to never reduce myself to merely existing , whatever our circumstances. I do this by not running scared when the Wolf arrives threatening to blow my house down. I am learning to outsmart, catch, and cook the Wolf. By concentrating on what I have....a good glass of wine, a good loaf of bread, a beautiful sunset, lively conversation, loving relationships. I am learning that the good life does not depend on extravagance...
Case in point: in 1932, during the darkest days of the Great Depression, Scott and Helen Nearing abandoned life in New York City to become modern day pioneers in Vermont. They were socialists, pacifists, and vegetarians (mostly just like me!) and they were determined to create a completely self-sufficient lifestyle that was solely dependent on their wits, hard work, and perseverance. They went in search of the good life..what they considered to be "simplicity, freedom from anxiety, and an opportunity to be useful and live harmoniously." So, they drank only water, juices, and herbal brews and consumed little more than raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and excessive quantities of popcorn (I haven't figured that one out yet.). There was no salt, sugar, tea, coffee, dairy products, or eggs in their pantry..and naturally they didn't smoke or drink alcohol. They succeeded in homesteading, wrote several books on the subject, and both lived to be 100.
Now, I am hardly saying that I can reduce our lifestyles to match the coffee? No alcohol? Be serious. But perhaps the secret to the good life is not a TV in every room, the latest fashions in my closet, and a new car in my driveway. Perhaps I need only follow the advice Helen shared in her memoir:

  • Do the best you can, whatever arises.
  • Be at peace with yourself.
  • Find a job you enjoy.
  • Live in simple conditions: housing, food, clothing. Get rid of clutter.
  • Connect with nature everyday: feel the earth under your feet.
  • Take physical exercise through hard work: plant a garden, clean the house, walk the dog.
  • Don't worry: live one day at a time.
  • Share something every day with someone else: feed your family, write letters, help others.
  • Take time to wonder at life and the world: find humor where you can.
  • Observe the one life in all things: give thanks to the Creator.
  • Be kind to the everything and everyone: man and beast.
I have no doubt that if I lived these suggestions every day, not just thought about them, I would realize that the good life is truly here and now. And that the Piggies are safe from the Wolf.