Category Archives: All the Pretty Things

Can Labradors Be Trained?

Friends!

It has been too long.

My mind is a labrador puppy, look squirrel! No ball! No outside, outside, outside!

The election hit me hard. Maybe some news will come out today at 2:00pm when Obama holds a press conference.

I can’t really talk about the vote. I’ve had to shut down, rethink things. The hardest part was knowing some dear friends voted for…him. He’s a con man, a charlatan. We know that. But now…what?

So. What I’ve come up with is that the friends, neighbors, who made that choice, are there are many, possibly even some of you reading this, they made their choice out of what they felt was no choice. They felt so strongly about some of the issues that they couldn’t find any other way. But, but, and this is the important part, they are still the people who look out for my family, who love my kids, who would do anything for us.

And in the meantime, I’m that puppy. I have to gloss over it to be okay with it. We cannot discuss the election. The future cabinet. The choices that were made that are now coming to fruition. I hope that they regret it. I don’t know how one could watch the news and not.

And when my brain gets too much to handle, I busy myself with…yes, you know me well, my peeps, with projects!! Many, many projects.

So here’s my list.

I’ve been running. Running eases the crazy, it floods my system, it makes me a better human. I hope. And in that vein, I put in for the Chicago Marathon lottery and got in. That gives me until October 8th, 2017 to put some miles on this old bod of mine.

I’ve been making garland. Oh my, the pretty. I’ve cut hundreds (thousands??) of multi-colored pieces of felt, 1″ by 3″, and then the middle gets folded bow-shaped. Run a needle with embroidery thread through and voila! 14 feet later the first garland is up and it makes me happy!

20161215_190105Two more to go…

I’m hand-writing Christmas cards this year. A tiny small thing to sign my name on each and every one. To take the time. I don’t know. It just seems important to me this year.

I’m putting together some bags for people down on their luck. I have the supplies; water bottles, Clif bars, socks, stretchy gloves, cookies, candy and some tissues. I’m going to keep some in my car, and bring some with me to work next week to hand out to the people who may or may not be homeless, but either way, maybe there is something in there they can use. I need to work my brain on a micro level right now. See a huge need, and do something small and tangible. I think I have enough for 25 bags or so.

Begin a new book. I’ve been tossing ideas around and I think I may be able to sit alone with my thoughts. Maybe the labrador can be trained?

I have my plane ticket to hit Washington for the march. A few old friends are meeting me. We need to do something even if it’s to show up and let the people in Washington know that we are watching and watching closely. So, I’ll be there. And I hope it’s big and a cross-section of America. My America. The one that believes in justice, and a government for the people, by the people. Not an oligarchy. Maybe my rage can finally be put to good use.

And I’ve been reading. I just finished Station Eleven and loved it. Now I’m reading Ann Patchett, The Magician’s Assistant. I’m digging women writers exclusively at the moment. I’ve tried reading some new books out by some Big Famous Male Writers and no offense, but I have had enough of it. I want to hear what women are writing about right now.

And I’ve been holing up in my house with my family. I still need time to process all that has gone down. Because I’m gearing up for a battle.

The battle isn’t with my friends, my neighbors. The battle is with this nation and what it is attempting to become.

I say no. Not now. Not ever. Never again.

I have missed you all. Let’s do this thing.

Love, Louie

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Cut

I’ve just made a second pot of coffee. I have today and tomorrow off from work because tomorrow is my birthday.

For various and sundry reasons, I’m contemplative.

I cut my hair off recently. It was well past my collar bone, faded blonde and thin towards the ends. Now it is short, an inch or two on top and trimmed around the ears, tight in the back.

People asked me why I did it, and my answer was short, I needed a change, It was unhealthy, I didn’t want to be stuck.

Those aren’t lies.

They just aren’t the truth.

There is an interesting social profile about the people who genuinely like it, and the people who really, really don’t. For the most part, they don’t think I can tell the difference. What they don’t know is that reading people’s faces is my superpower. I know when I’m being lied to. It’s why I detest talking on the phone.

In general, men fifty and younger hate it. Women 40 and younger hate it.

Women over 40, love it. I think they know without knowing why a woman past 40 would chop off all her hair.

So much of my life has always revolved around my weight. Have you ever played the Once-I-Lose-Weight game?

Once I lose weight, I’ll cut my hair. Right now, my double chin will be show.

Once I lose weight, I’ll buy new clothes that make me feel good. Nothing looks good at this size.

Once I lose weight, I’ll be the me I’ve always wanted to be.

Once I lose weight…

Once I lose weight…

Once I lose weight…

So the reason I cut my hair was simply because I wanted to stop being somebody I wasn’t. I wanted to force myself to see that I might not ever be smaller than I am now. And that I was okay with that.

When I was in high school, I’d eat a rice cake and some grapes and run around a stadium track after school. I would tell my parents I had eaten dinner at a friend’s house, and I’d tell her I had just eaten at home.

I’m 5′ 9″ and weighed 125 pounds. Nothing was more important to me than keeping that weight there. When I put on a pound, I’d stop eating.

I am now 185 pounds.

So I cut my hair because I want the magic of life to begin now. I  needed to prove to myself that nothing, absolutely nothing, has to wait because I am larger than I have ever been before.

My weight does not control my happiness.

So I cut off my hair to prove that I am a woman, not a girl, and I control my destiny. I decide who I want to be and how I move through the world. I am not trying to be 25 anymore. I am embracing, as of tomorrow, 44 years on this planet, and I’d like to spend them surrounded by people who are kind, who are thoughtful, who are creating anything, whether a craft project with their kids or a literary masterpiece.

And in turn, I want to be creating things. In the last week, I’ve finished a short story first draft. Today I’m going to work on another one and maybe type up the first one. The form seems more conducive to working full-time, and spending the little time not at work with my family. Short stories can be squeezed in on the train.

And I’m not thinking about publishing. I’m thinking about writing.  That’s it.

I’m thinking about second chances and what it means to be human. What it means to fuck up. I’m thinking about how life can surprise you when you don’t resign yourself to what is, but rather to what it can be. I’m thinking about magic and embracing all of me, not just the parts if they are improved. I’m thinking about work, the work on myself and the work of making art.

I’m thinking about making time for what’s important.

(Thanks to Nanea Hoffman of Sweatpants and Coffee for the quote above. If you don’t know about her, take a look. She gets the joke, my friends.)

Pursue it relentlessly, my friends.

Relentlessly.

But make another pot of coffee first.

Love.

 

 

 

Spoonfed

In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s still me. Due to a conflict of interest of the work/life sort, I’ve had to switch out to a nickname. Enough business.

Hope This. A small lending library in the middle of the Adirondack mountains.

I consider this a view of hope.

I read the news all day at my job. Reading the news is a large part of my job.

There are days that I think, I need a new job. Many, many days.

Right now our country is saturated in fear. Our fear has led us to collectively make some questionable decisions and helps explain to me how Trump is not only running for President, but moving up in the polls. Fear-mongering leads to a collective amnesia about what fascism looks like.

A country isn’t a business. A country certainly shouldn’t be run like a business in 2015 where money is the one, the only priority. People are losing jobs because of a bottom line in which companies see no need to take care of people.

When children wash up on beaches because a shot at hope is the only alternative to certain death, and we’re too busy arguing economics, we have lost sight of what it means to be a human being.

Technology has led us into a hole of the unreal. Depending on the day, my Facebook feed is one picture after another of propaganda about why I should arm myself and my family to keep us safe. Religion is being used as a shield of protection against the enemy. But who is the enemy?

We’re all the enemy.

There is no safe. There is life and living life.

We went camping this weekend in Michigan and went to a storytelling on the beach around a campfire. Mike, our storyteller, told stories that he had heard from his dad as a child. We sat on benches in the sand and listened to Native American stories, ghost stories, stories, stories, and more stories. As the night wore on and darkness fell we looked through telescopes pointed at Saturn. We saw the Andromeda Galaxy. I still have trouble wrapping my head around it, an entirely different galaxy. Jesus.

The only thing certain is death. We have no idea when it’s going to come, but I wonder how many of us are truly living now.

And that’s what this is about. I want to rebel against the fear that we are being spoonfed and embrace the power of living our lives, making each day a little bit better, a little bit kinder, a little bit more worth living because we are countering all of this anger and fear, with art and kindness.

Art matters. We cut it from our schools so we can compete in a global economy. Fuck STEM. How about we teach ourselves and our children how important it is to read, to write, to draw, to play an instrument?

When was the last time a brawl broke out at a reading? A band concert? In a library?

The idea behind the little lending library above is that you give a book, you take a book. The person who created it knew that some people might take the books. And that is enough for some people to think the whole idea an idealistic comeuppance.

But here’s the thing. Maybe someone takes a book that changes their life, that saves their life, that helps them to save somebody else’s life. Maybe it’s the way you view it.

Maybe we give people the benefit of the doubt and try to make room for us all.

Maybe we turn away from fear and toward kindness.

Maybe.