A Random Image
 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || March 13, 2013 || 5:38 pm

Since the dawn of Nick’s new man-sized stature and 34″ inseam, there has been some frustration over jeans and khakis inside our normally-peaceful four walls. The kid is an absent-minded genius and just grabs pants that look like that could maybe-probably-perhaps belong to him, no matter what methods Maxim has employed to deter this sort of thing.

“Listen,” Maxim said tonight as we all stood in the kitchen conferring on dinner, “I just bought a bunch of new jeans with the money that Sam sent me for Christmas. I’m  here to tell you, son, that I am going to go ballistic if I have to go chasing them down even one time. I’m serious as a heart attack.”

Nick, now fully one inch taller than Maxim, looked passively on, nodding. I was amused, because I know what’s coming. Still, I added my two cents in:

“Don’t steal Daddy’s pants, don’t get anyone pregnant: Those are the rules around this joint.”

It was here that Maxim nodded sagely, “If you steal my pants, you are very likely to get someone pregnant.” He slung a thumb in my direction, “See her? I just touched her and here you are, son.”

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || March 11, 2013 || 6:19 pm

We gather in warm brick houses with brocade paper on the walls. Candles burn in jars and the hands of the boys move so quickly that they become blurs as they play.

The people are happy, the people are smiling and clutching one another mirthfully as they dance. Singing, urging the band on, they are fevered and joyful and shine; the people shine so hard that the stars would be jealous if the roof was not protecting their feelings.

There is shalom in every bounce, in every handclap, in every laughing face of every dark-haired girl.

Dance, women.  Shout, men. Play on, beautiful music-makers. Hold back the evils of the world, make us one with each other. Help us to hear God.


(a very special thank you to Demian, to Katy, to Derick, and to the Flying Balalaika Brothers for the amazing time….also to Sean for that crazy-assed drink that I still don’t know the name of but that suited the mood perfectly)

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || January 24, 2013 || 11:43 pm

In the last several months, while hysterical things were happening to our finances, I found myself fantasizing about money over and over.

It’s not like you think. What I found myself fantasizing about was giving away money to people who need it. Just, you know, wandering up to someone on the street or in the Wal-Mart parking lot and saying, “Here. This is one-hundred dollars. You’re supposed to have it.” and shoving the money onto their person before they had time to react; I would walk away before they got their wits about them and began doing something foolish like asking questions or trying to give it back.

I want to give something to someone, I don’t want them to owe me anything, I want to facilitate a blessing when the Spirit moves me. That’s right, I capitalized Spirit. My doing so probably made you squirm in your seat, right?

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Six weeks ago we are lolling on the couch together, hanging out, when I tell my husband that this is my fantasy of late.

“Can you imagine,” I say, “Can you just imagine how that would feel, to help enable some financial freedom in someone’s life?

“Just walk around, listening for God, waiting to hear That one, yes, her over there and moving into the gap at the necessary moment.” I say it with excitement and surety.

“I’m going to do this one day.”

Maxim doesn’t flinch when I tell him this, doesn’t bat an eye. This is his endorsement. This is his statement of faith in my mission or me or that the universe is wobbling in just the exact right way. Maybe all three. He is sometimes enigmatic like that, enigmatic in a comfortable way.

Comfortably enigmatic sound like some sort of fictional state, doesn’t it?

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I keep watch on the walls, Maxim keeps watch at the gate. This is good in a friendship. This is completely stellar in a marriage. Keeping watch on the walls and at the gate isn’t always a defensive thing. The Watcher on the Wall sees the first dangers, but that vantage point offers the first advantages, as well. The Watcher at the Gate might take a beating holding back the unwelcome, but also gets to fling wide those gates to receive visitors or facilitate an adventure.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

This past two years has consisted of a bunch of crazy, seemingly-mismatched surges forward. Rocking along and living life and then PUSH and trying to get bearings and oh look this way is up and I have my legs under me and there goes three feet behind me, ten feet, eighteen and PUSH oh God let’s find up again, again, again and again.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

A couple-three weeks ago opportunity came knocking. Like, right on my forehead. I embraced it and probably even dry-humped it a little. I wanted take things to third base with opportunity, but it didn’t have a condom and momma dint raise no fool, child.

With opportunity comes excited planning. Opportunity gets your blood up and working.

About a week later Maxim’s boss showed up at our house and delivered the news right there in our dining room.* There would not be a company soon, because the company would fold in on itself and well, here we are. Let’s pedal as fast as we can over the next few weeks and see what happens.

Opportunity just turned into Just Enough.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Most years Maxim goes to NAMM around this time. The trip was already booked, and so was our room in Birmingham so last week found us down in the city burning through the couple of remaining restaurant cards from our Christmas haul. We went for Italian that evening. A man kept catching my eye, even as we were waiting for a table.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

There seems to be a prevailing practice lately wherein individuals select a word at the beginning of the year to define or guide or gently suggest to the year that it might want to let this word represent it, pretty please, maybe? I have seen genuine anguish slathered across various channels of social media because HOLY FUCK GUYS WHAT IF I BOMB THIS WHOLE DEFINING-YEAR WORD AND MY YEAR IS TOTALLY SO TOTALLY BONED BECAUSE OF IT.

I don’t mean this as snotty, but it’s going to come across that way and so be it: I don’t really have any understanding of this practice, because the words have always tended to pick me. They snuck up and attached themselves to me and by the time I figured out what the the hell was going on it was just a relief to recognize what was up on and go all, “Oh! This year’s theme is ___________.” Most of them have been really good ones, too, the words. Hell, the last decade alone has yielded up kamikaze and warrior and song and spirited. There have been rougher ones like obedience and desire, but even those had benefit, once the callouses softened back up and some of the lumps went down.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Before we left the house, I spied the grocery money Maxim had handed me earlier. I’d only half paid attention to it at the time, setting it on the taller of our two dressers as he and I talked.

For the third time that evening, I was moved to put it in my wallet. Half-exasperated, I pulled it down and headed out the door to the car where my husband was waiting for me.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

The man was small, his shirt was immaculate, and everything he did was crisp, efficient, quick. He did not stop moving and he didn’t piddle-ass around. Back and back and back my eyes went to him. I’ve known this sensation before. It’s the one that says I have something to do and I have to do it or it’s gonna bug me so bad that I’d regret not doing it. Which, when written down that way, looks sort of insane and compulsive, doesn’t it?

You’re just gonna have to take my word on this one, the word that I know the difference between mental illness and letting yourself help along something that you don’t have a great deal of understanding about. The line dividing the two, I’m sure, is pretty thin and open to a degree of interpretation on a case by case basis. Or maybe most people just waver oh-so-slightly back and forth over it, in microscopic drunken swoops.

This time was different, too. It was just slightly different.

“Maxim,” I finally said, “Do you have anything on you to write on? I don’t want to write on a napkin.”

He didn’t. He is no longer perplexed by these requests, if he ever was. I went in search of paper. I came back to the table and pulled my fancy pen from my wallet. I wrote down the words that were yelling to be let out and then I pulled out one-third of the grocery money –a twenty-dollar bill– and folded it up in that piece of paper covered in excited, inky loops.

I hunted up the manager.

“Now this won’t make much sense,” I said. I felt awkward. I didn’t care. I tried to hammer the words around the concept so he could at least get a feel for the shape of it. I said three sentences containing slippery words like ‘God’ and ‘anonymous’ and ‘led.’ He let me off the hook, “I go to Highlands church. I get what you’re doing. I understand.” And just like that I was thrilled to realize that it had started, this business of blessing strangers with cash, and that I had to give some twenties away so I could work my way up to hundreds.

Just like so many things in my life, it started before I knew it was time, before I knew I was ready.

I feel crazy-awkward telling you this story, because it could read as if self-aggrandizement is at play here. It’s earnestly not, though. It’s the biggest wash of humility when stuff like this occurs, because I don’t want to interlope on someone’s blessing by basking in it. There are certain profundities that I’ve gotten to witness that I had no claims to but I’ll be damned if they didn’t wash into me, too, just because I had the fortune of standing nearby.

It makes me feel like a Cosmic circus geek. Here, let me contort for you, it’ll be neat!

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

My word for this year is soul, only like this: Soul.

Yeah, this year’s about Soul for me, about putting a little more English on everything I do. It’s about letting the roots go deep because the soil is finally rich enough to sustain them.

The roots go deeper, the fruit goes sweeter, the bugs are still bugs but they have better table manners.

Soul is about caring so deeply for the right things that the wrong ones can’t even catch your eye.

Soul is about a hip shake and a lip turned up in pleasure and a good ole impolite wail cooking itself up right there underneath those collarbones.

Soul is knowing where and when to assign the wail.

Soul tells you important things like,
You have to begin. You have to Begin. YOU HAVE TO BEGIN.

*(my dining room needs some good news –is a little overdue for some, in fact– so if you should see some, sneak it over in a casserole dish)

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || December 11, 2012 || 5:23 am

My father and my dad and my husband –all veterans, two of whom have served extensively in combat situations– all have distinct opinions on the overall accessibility of today’s military from a technology and media standpoint. As a former military brat and service member and wife I understand every argument they make against it.

Each and every one of them, in their own words, has expressed to me the need for a man down range to stay focused on where he’s at and what he’s doing at all times without compounding the heartache of homesickness or being distracted with any pettiness that is going on back home. I fully grok what they are saying. For the most part, I guess I don’t disagree.

As a military mom, though, things like Skype allow me to give my kid encouragement and reminders of who he is. Things like Facebook give me tender tugs telling me that though my son is a man doing a dangerous job, he is still the boy who had me sit down with him and show him how to tune a guitar and teach him about the circle of fifths and hey what key was that in and show me that chord again:

One of my favorite pictures of my father in country is of him sitting in a hut, barefooted and bare chested, pants pegged at the ankles and a harmonica slung around his neck. He’s cradling a guitar in front of him and his mouth is open in song. I own –at minimum– fifty service pictures of him, and that one gets the prized spot in my heart, because it shows something of who he is beyond the haircut and the uniform and the obvious tired that shows up in some of the photographs. It shows him to be a person grounded in something other than camouflage and orders and chasing clever, sadistic men through a wet canopy of trucked-up nerves.

I am forever telling my kids not to wish time away, but if I’m being dead honest with them and everybody else, then at present I am sloppily shoving days behind me like I’m paid to do so or sommat. This next year can’t possibly go fast enough for me. Tiny things like poorly-taped snippets of combat tedium shot in a curtained bunk warm my heart. I have to say, in all honesty, that they’d do so no matter whose kid was in them. And I’ll be damned if my brain can’t help but snag on (during my third or so viewing of that video up there) things like, “I think it would’ve made all the difference if the American public could have seen those nineteen- and twenty-year-olds with ukuleles in their hands, singing folk ditties, before they rolled home from Vietnam, before they disembarked from planes and ships bewildered and worn slap out and overwhelmed.

“America would have remembered that we sent boys in to do the work of men and sometimes the work of men is too much for anybody to fathom, even the men who are doing it.”

My son slings a rifle, my son sings songs that our people brought over to this country, my son loves his job and misses America right now. You miss him back, America, him and all the ones like him.

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || November 19, 2012 || 10:59 pm

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Hello! I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but it’s already the end of the year. What the what??

If you’re new in these parts, the middle of November means that it’s time to round up a bunch of rowdies who want to send holiday cheer to one another through the post. By way of an ornament! (please insert jazz hands here)

It goes like this: You drop a comment on this post telling me you want in. I’ll close signups on Friday or when we reach the Preset Numerical Threshold of Sanity, whichever comes first, and start pairing everyone up. Sunday I’ll e-mail you your swap partner’s specifics.

I wanted to do a charity tie-in with this year’s swap, but I’ve had a bit of a hairy time over the past few months and couldn’t pull that aspect of things together. I have a plan in place, however, and the fifth annual swap will be a full go on the charity front.

If you’re not sure where you stand on all of this business yet, then go here and read up on previous swaps. I will tell you that when I did it on a whim that first time, I didn’t expect it to be a recurring thing. Also, I’m super-delighted that a sense of community has popped up around this whole deal, with people starting and maintaining friendships over one tiny little box sent from one home to another. I think that’s pretty dang neat.

It makes me want to hug the faces off of the whole internet, truth be told.

I will not conform to this world.

I will not let my experiences define me. I will, however, allow them to inform how I view others and how I make decisions. Being hemmed in builds a propensity toward risk. Risk is invigorating, even when you are pissing yourself.

I will not be defeated. I may experience defeat, I may feel it from time to time in every fiber I cart around on these bones. Character and empathy spring from life grinding away at you a little.

I just ate a good meal, and I’m sitting in a comfortable house. Neither the meal nor the home were guaranteed when I hit this world squalling. They’re still not. I need to learn to embrace this truth, and not panic when I am reminded of it.

The reality of happiness is this: You have your eyes open, you breathe, you look around and you are satisfied.
The reality of sadness is this: You have your eyes open, you breathe, you expect and you are disappointed.
The reality of creativity is this: You have your eyes open, you breathe, your brain itches and you scratch that itch with the movement of your pencil, your pliers, your legs, your imagination.
The reality of stagnancy is this: You have your eyes open, you breathe.

I will be happy, I will be sad, I will be creative; I will not be stagnant.

Destruction is the prelude to creation, everything is impermanent, and all things are possible, even the impossible. I’ve been doing the impossible my whole fucking life. Sometimes I am silly and forget.

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || October 12, 2012 || 11:50 am

I had to go to the doctor yesterday. I have been slogging through a personal health situation for the last several years, but in the last ten weeks I’ve been getting pounded on. I need a reprieve in a pretty big way. I’m not built for being infirm; it makes me too cranky, I have things to do. Time to get a handle on this business. I’ve made the concrete decision that I’d rather be in the hole financially for the sake of my health than in the hole physically and having no kind of life at all.

Up the road a piece between here and my (dipped in fabulous with an amazingly rad center) family practitioner’s office out there in the country there’s a big, well-manicured field with a tarp stretched out in it. Scattered on the yards-long tarp are pieces of broken china and pottery.

There is a strange and disconnected loveliness about it. I mean, it was obviously placed there by someone, but it also has the feel of Supposed To Be about it.

Something about it feels sacred. You know that air about something when you run all up on it, don’t you?

I like it. I also like the feeling of a big, out-in-the-open secret. Sometimes the passcode just doesn’t concern you. It’s enough that you know there’s a special door lying in wait.

I have a friend who, as it turns out, knows the story behind the tarp. She shared it with me earlier this year. There’s a farmer that lives on the back side of that property with his wife. He has a compulsion to not let good things fall by the wayside, so he spent many years gathering up pretties and geegaws. “Has a barn full of ‘em!” said Kris, when she was telling me all about the tarp runner.

A couple of years ago, around the time the tarp first appeared, the farmer started getting sick. His wife, in an attempt to stay on top of things, had started combing through his collections. The way I understand it, every few weeks she’ll take a few minutes and go out into the barn of fineries, inspecting the goods. She pulls the pieces with flaws a few at a time and throws them out there on that tarp.

I don’t know what she was hoping to accomplish with this. Could be that she wanted to respect her husband’s wishes and not see the things buried in a landfill. Could be that she, trusting in humanity’s innate nosiness curiosity, figured folks would come poking around, which is why the tarp starts so close to the county road it’s sitting near. Maybe she was issuing an open invitation: “I don’t have use of it, but if you do then have at it.”

That was the interpretation of Kris, at least, who does mosaic pieces and will stop from time to time to see what’s being offered up out there in the country by the farmer’s wife. She tells me that this has caught on with folks in the know: Someone needs bits for a windchime or an altar or a sculpture and they visit that tarp.

Normally it looks very crowded; yesterday it appeared picked over to me. No matter, I was there to observe. I have enough broken pieces of my own to sort and catalog; there is no wanting spot in my collections at present.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

After about four years of frustration and ten weeks of some pretty serious misery, I finally have a diagnosis: I have Meniere’s disease. It will never go away, but apparently once we get this major flare-up under control, there are things that I can do to manage it and keep serious attacks at bay.

The start of this entails getting rid of stress, caffeine and cheese, all of which I run on in turns so I don’t even know what the fuck, you people. Meniere’s is also heavily triggered by insomnia. It took me three tries to type that sentence because I am laughing hysterically.

Any number of things could have contributed to this being A Thing for me, ranging from genetic to environmental. I’ll talk more about it in time. It’s nice just having something to point to (finally) so that a plan can be established.

My doctor is the best. THE! BEST! I don’t know how, in a world of so many terrible ones, I got so fortunate to have him on my side where it comes to my care, but I’m infinitely thankful that I’m not having to slog through a pile of terrible docs in order to feel heard, partnered with, and attended to.

Also, it could have been a brain tumor, which was a very real thought for a minute there. Good Lord, brain tumors cost a lot. I would have chosen to be put down like an old cur had that been the case. But first I would have thrown a balls-out, expensive party and met all of you. There would have been lawn darts.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

This is my go-to feelgood song. It spoons out big dollops of hope all over everything just by its exuberance and intsy magic finger cymbal ting! sounds.

Every time I hear this it feels to me like Prince is throwing some sort of big cosmic party and this is his engraved invitation to all of us.