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Posts Tagged ‘yeah there was alcohol involved but you shouldn’t discount the overall sentiment’

|| September 27, 2010 || 8:55 pm || Comments (10) ||

I was maybe eight, which would have made Fred six. We sat on the high bar stools that tucked under the counter on the pass-through dividing the kitchen and the dining room.  We were in the middle of autumn, one that was apparently tired because it had broken suddenly the week prior and dipped us into temperatures that hinted sharply at winter. In the deep shadows of dawn we had pulled our winter corduroys out of the back of the closets, excitedly exchanged cowboy boots (Fred’s) and Chucks (mine) for the tall zipper boots that were standards in our winter wardrobes. It had taken a week of begging, but Mother let us have them, finally.

Do you remember what Finally felt like when you were a kid? Like this:
Oh my God, finally.
It was inevitable, but finally!
Finally, finally it happened!
Finally, woo-wooooo, finallyfinally!
Finally was always linked to anticipation when you were small. Now that you and I are big, finally is nearly always linked to something  more cynical altogether.

Grits. We ate grits and toast and link sausages that morning (I have always liked mine buttered and salted and just this side of thin;  Fred prefers hers like wet cement, a dainty teaspoon of sugar sprinkled across them after the butter is stirred in). Fred had this sweet face, this round cherubic thing slathered with goodwill and innocence and wind-bitten apple cheeks. Always smiling, always teasing a laugh from you, always never sad, always the earnest and good one.  That face had amazing green eyes that I coveted; in our family blues are a dime a dozen.

As she ate, dipping her little head forward, her heavy-long hair curtained. Its silky whiteness was held at bay by her shoulders; the barrettes that were wrestled into that hair’s thickness daily were never quite a match for it.

We ate mostly in silence, because neither of us have been especially inclined toward being morning people and we both require introspection and a slow emergence to consciousness to begin the day.  As the bowls were cleared of grits and our heads were cleared of fog, we began to come alive. Eventually, when plates were rinsed and we had spun around atop the barstools infinity times, we faced one another, talking and laughing. The sun was coming up over the pond that was framed in the bay window behind my sister, setting the silhouette of her small body on fire, making her white-blond tresses this neon thing.

And then, because we were kids and we were tomboyish and we were bored as fuck waiting for our mother’s hot rollers to bring her hairset to fruition, we began whacking one another with the heels of our yet-to-be-donned new boots. No shoe-wearing in the house, see? Boots in hands. Boots swung  like hammers  at another one’s person.  Torso,  off limits. No face! That one was a given. Legs it is! We come from sturdy stock, strong legs that can bear a goodly blow! Empty boots, psh, cakewalk.

Thwack. giggle
Thwaaaack. good one!
…and so on.

When I dealt the blow that elicited the peace-rending shriek, I was jerked abruptly from deep and unselfconscious mirth. I’d never heard a scream like that in my life, and Oh My God, I am responsible for that noise she made, for the rolling across the dining room rug, for the tomato-red face rendered goblinesque with pain, for the racking screamsobbing that Fred –epitome of all that is tough and emotion-stuffing in girldom–  exhibited as she clutched her knee in agony.

My mother came flying from across the house, head part-rollered, wearing only her stockings and a blue brassiere. Whenever I saw her half-exposed like this, she looked miles taller than six feet to me, Boadicea come to fuck up the day of any fool with designs on breaching the peace and sanctity of her realm. When she was able to cut through the flailing and the scary hysterics (one of those moments that took –tops– twelve seconds but felt like twelve hours), she raised up my sister’s pant leg to get a look at the damage.

I was fixed to my stool, feeling swimmy-headed, overlarge sockets about to release my eyes to roll out and about on their merry way. Had I broken her kneecap? I had hardly tapped her on that swing, but how could that possibly be believable in light of what was transpiring, this great agony being expressed?

The hem of her cords’ leg cleared her knee and a fat scorpion promptly fell to the rug. Fred began shrieking at a higher pitch then. Mother grabbed up one of my stray boots, gave it one pop, then squinted at it closely before she launched herself toward the telephone.

The scorpion had sought the refuge of the house for warmth, nestling happily down into a never-disturbed dark fold of pant just around the knee area. When I hit my sister next to its resting spot, it startled and struck, the first of an agonizing series of strikes. The rest occurred when the scorpion found itself both panicked and trapped by my sister’s fluttering, grasping hands.

Harmless fun had turned into horror when I’d startled the unseen, predatory thing that my sister carried blithely next to her skin.

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

Normally I have a pretty thick skin, but I have my share of scorpions that get startled and dig in, striking over and over. It’s because of this that I try to be mindful of the fact that others do, as well. I value being forthright and I value being kind and I’m of the pretty staunch belief that the two don’t have to be exclusive of one another.

Lately my scorpions have been activated sort of en masse, both haphazardly and maliciously. I am inadvertently clutching them to me and, agitated, they are dealing me strike after strike. I’m writhing as quietly as I possibly can and I don’t have a whole lot to give right now in the way of an empathetic gesture to those who need it. The very healthy ‘I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks’ attitude I usually carry has recently morphed itself into just plain ole ‘I don’t give a DAMN’,  which everybody knows is code for ‘Fuck you, World’.

And that’s so very frustrating, because I’ve worked crazy-hard these last several years to drop my dukes and just be, to spread my arms in the easy stance of someone who is ready to welcome, to embrace.

And yeah, to be embraced in return.

|| July 25, 2010 || 12:18 am || Comments (2) ||

Confessions about this video:

! I would like, in the case of my demise,  this played on a loop somewhere in the funeral home. Yes, you read me right….fuck that typical gooey, sentimental photo montage of things like the Bad Shmullet Phase and The First Oreo To Have Obliterated Itself Against My Facemeat. Oh, and the visit to that unfortunate town where someone took those unfortunate photos in that unfortunate hotel. Whoops!

It’d be like I was Rickrolling everyone who showed up, but with the Sesame Street cast.

!! Bonus on the above if my demise (most probably untimely) was somehow alcohol-related, me being sent home to Jesus with tequila on my breath and this song on my lips. This has to be a winner as a drunksong. I mean, COME ON!

When I find I can’t remember
What comes after
“A” and before “C,”

Doesn’t that scream, ‘Welcome to my big drunk-drunkety drunkation of drunktacity. Please be seated and witness the gol-danged show, bitches!’ to you too?

!!! In the second verse, I always sing ‘big’ and ‘bad’ instead of ‘big’ and ‘bird’ because I maybe believe you have to speak your place into this world and then step into it. I gotta get back to you on this one.

!!!! I should be more careful about looking too hard at these lyrics. Some of them are somewhat creepy if you take even a moment to consider them:

Letter B, letter B, letter B, letter B.
My mother whispers “B” words,
Letter B.

Letter B, letter B, letter B, letter B.
My mother whispers “B” words,
Letter B.

In fact, upon further review, the third line to the second verse (‘Ball’ and ‘bat’ and ‘battery’)  looks like a masochist’s wet dream.

!!!!! Big Bird really gives me the heebs, sweet Muffinasses. Maybe that’s a wee part of the reason that I won’t sing ‘big’ and ‘bird’ . Well, that and just the act of singing ‘big’ and ‘bad’ (but not like that….when you sing it, you have to be all ‘big and bad’, one solid phrase) makes you feel a little more big and bad than you did before. Lord knows I’m all about empowerment.

I would just like to preface this by telling you all that I received very many quality bottles of wine as holiday treats. Of course I’m thankful, because if a specific cousin got me even one more gigantic tin (“The tins are so useful after the popcorn is gone, aren’t they??” is what she has always queried. My brain has –each and every time– wanted my mouth to move on impulse in these situations and grin back, “Why yes, I put them over my head and bang furiously until the spoon breaks.”) of popcorn –even the splurgey three-variety kind– I was going to behave like a big-ole-spoiled-and-lacking-in-humility-or-simple-gratitude jackass. Sure, the birds in my backyard think the week between Christmas and New Year’s is just fanfuckingtabulous because they get to feast on what is billed as gourmet popped kernels, but I’m stuck with one more thing to stuff with other things so that I can justify not discarding it altogether. HOW FAIR IS THAT?? Not to mention the fact that I’ve always held the quiet fear that the caramel bits of corn may cause some grievous illness in birds causing me one day to get a knock at the patio door. Which, of course, I’ll answer cautiously only to find a pissed-off cadre of dainty little airfowl who will challenge the notion that raising children is like being slowly pecked to death by (INSERT NAME OF CHOSEN FOWL HERE).

Have you guys ever heard that saying? It never fails to make me laugh, but somewhere on the inside I get a little uneasy because I have an extremely vivid way of thinking and then there I am envisioning that actually happening. The hearty laughter then turns to a nervous sort of titter as the big WHAT IF?? looms large in my consciousness.

You know, I’m always saying that I live by a ‘no regrets’ sort of philosophy, but lately I’ve come to know that the balancing-out of that (there is a balancing-out to every element of life that ever was and will be, how terribly cool and horribly macabre is that shiz, huh?) is a hearty sense of WHAT IF in just about every arena of my existence. Sounds pretty incongruent, yeah?

I’ve let sink the knowledge that life in general is one big point-counterpoint that we all have to weave our (largely-unequipped, lurching) ways through. Sure, I could get all maudlin about that shit, but I choose for the most part to recognize its overall magnificence.

When I was in the neighborhood of two years old, my father was getting rid of an eight-foot-tall bookcase that stood in our living room. Now children, Once Upon A Time furniture was made of solid wood (I! Know! Right?!) and this bookcase was seated squarely in that Onceupona. That thing was heavy, so my father was sawing it into pieces to more easily get it out the door on his own. For some reason, despite the demolition going on, a picture of my cousin Lonnie was seated way up yonder on it.

Lonnie was my older cousin who had, until he shipped out for Vietnam, come over three or four nights a week to read me a bedtime story. He was one of my mother and father’s very favorite nephews; Lonnie was a promising rags-to-riches success story in the making and I believe they sensed that and tried to mentor him to the best of their abilities.

After he left, I mourned greatly for him; my mother attempted to remedy this by pulling down his picture from its home on the bookcase and allowing me to kiss it, saying goodnight to Lonnie on a nightly basis.

Here now, the bookcase disposal: Mid-task, my father left the room to get a glass of tea. Thus began my longish and storied career of making impetuous and life-changing decisions: I took a mind to retrieve Lonnie’s picture myself, so as to cradle it in the bold midday. I want to say that I aimed to catalog the exact green of his eyes, stoically seated under the bill of his dress uniform’s cover. Maybe he was somewhere thinking of home and I somehow was nudged by that. Whatever the impetus, the situation started with me climbing that bookcase and ended up with a sizable chunk of it pinning me to the floor with my right leg at a grotesquely unnatural angle to the rest of me.

This resulted in a complexly-broken leg, weeks of traction, a body cast, my having to be trained to walk and use a toilet all over again. Re-learning to walk is a distinct art I’ve approached twice now in my life, sweet reader, and I’m suddenly startled that I am ferociously proud of my having done so effectively.

I have one vivid memory of that time (though there are lots of spin-off stories, to be sure…I know because my mother tells the tales grimly and delightedly in turns) which I’ll maybe share in the future, because it is so late and this is already so alphabet-heavy. I caught myself wondering earlier, though, at how that situation has maybe affected me in the long-term. How did it shape me, being two-and-a-half, splayed-legged, lower extremities being hung mid-air for weeks on end so that I would not end up dislocating a hip or unable to run and chase and jump? Am I somebody whose screaming desires to not be pinned down source from being encased in a body tomb of plaster at so formative a time in one’s growth experience? My propensity toward a towering formation of mental chutes and ladders, ideas overlapping and intertwining and jostling and never slowing the fuck down, is that a result of such stillness at what should have been such an active time in my life? How much of this, of who I am at this minute, results from what surely must have been a fearful and massively frustrated toddler?

Mother and daddy will be coming for a long visit in February. They’ve taken a notion to buy a camper and make a wicked loop around This Great Nation Of Ours, maybe even selling their house at the end of the tour and becoming nomads full-time as long as they’re able.* They will visit my older sister Laurie first, starting tomorrow. As they slowly make their way about the country, I will be the second child visited. I am glad for the length of this visit, because momma and I have this exquisite and (what I now know to be) unique relationship that many mothers and daughters just don’t share. Now, more than any other time in my life, I have some very pointed and maybe painful questions to ask her about her perspective on how I got to where I am today.

Late last week I read something so singularly gorgeous that I can’t help but quote it here. I hope its youngly wonderful author doesn’t mind:

Life, I’ve realized, is not about a series of races to the finish line of some achievement. Sooner or later you get tired of running. It’s more a kind of artwork. Like having a giant canvas and an ocean of glue. Your job is to stand there and attach pieces. The funky rock you found at the beach, your first bike, pictures of people and places you love. Up close it’s the biggest mess since the smoke cleared from the Big Bang. But stand a little farther away and it seems pretty. A beautiful swirl of colors on the wall of a pristine white gallery, with sun coming through the window at just the right angle. Done with yours for a while, you can run into the next room and see someone else’s combinations.

The thing is, you have to earn the pieces. They take work, even if that work is entirely pointless right now. Sometimes you just have to let things be. Eventually you’ll know why it was that way. And you’ll have a new piece to glue to the wall. Just keep going. All of a sudden you’ll realize how far you’ve come.

Here’s to you, oh Muffinasses, and the notion that in The Year Of Our Lord, Two-Thousand And Nine, you make a beautiful connection between your world and your precisely magical place in it. Happy New Year, and thank you for continuing to run into the next room to see how my combinations are coming along. Tenfold thanks are due to those of you that hazard to remark on the way that they seize upon your senses.

“Here’s to you and here’s to me,
The best of friends we’ll ever be.
If by chance we disagree, well then

*I heartily support this idea. Old people of America, travel until you become part of its dussssst!

|| October 29, 2004 || 12:55 am || Comments (9) ||

movie house

“They’re going without us.”

“I don’t care.”

“But I want to go.”

“Then fucking go, Cree.” I was incredulous. What the??

“I can’t leave you here like this!”

The ‘like this’ referred to was me, supine on the curb, bootsoles flat to the street’s asphalt, knees (remarkably) primly together. Demure While Drunk In Public Settings is a course that all Southern young women are required to take, even if they never plan to touch a drop in their lives (also paramount is the early-learning regimen of both How To Tell A Bald-Faced Lie Earnestly and Looking Sweet And Only Cutely Flustered In Moments of Discomfort*).

Also, I should mention, I took a painstaking twenty-five minutes –while everyone else was shooting the breeze or talking shit (which really are only slightly different…it’s all in the set of your mouth as you are doing it) –-arranging my hair, braided and at right angles, behind my head. When you’re the right shade of pickled everything’s an artistic moment: I Am Living Sculpture, Hear Me Roar.

Everything else residing between the boots and the hair, well….let’s just say those things were sort of left to their own devices. The knees were on autopilot, performing quite nicely and according to their ritualistic training.

I was becoming one with the stars, motherfucker, and just wanted to be left alone. My senses were so keen that I could smell the mineral content of the concrete beneath my back, feel the thrumming of a miles-away textile plant on my leaden arms.

“There was a ‘don’t’ and then there was a ‘care’. I think I said them together, but I can’t be sure because I am very, very polluted at present.

“Yes,” I lifted my head so that I could fuzzily eyeball his face, “I’m almost positive that I told you I don’t care.”

“I’ll just stay here with you,” he said, exasperated beyond typical levels.

“You know what, Cree? I really can take care of myself.” He opened his mouth to speak again, and I halted him.

“If you are going to stay, then at least shut the fuck up. You can babysit me in silence, can’t you?” His response? He waved the other four on and leaned inside the car to turn on some music

while the merry band of tricksters headed toward a grocery store to stuff cold slabs of plastic-encased beef in their shirts for a little two ay emm breakfast feast. I remember hearing about this later and thinking, “I should be doubly jealous; they got both steak and erect nipples on their outing.”

After an indeterminate amount of time (thirty seconds? forty-eight weeks?), I surmised that it might be best if I explored the whole ‘being vertical’ thing for a little while. I managed to nearly raise myself erect when, whoops, overbalance kicked in on the deal and I stumbled forward into Cree’s magically-waiting arms.

As much magic, anyway, as can exist when said arms are stringing you up by your pits and saving you from violently kissing some ‘crete.

But when I extracted myself somewhat, I noticed that those arms were gooshfleshed, hair on them standing aloft. I remember being suddenly moved by his body betraying his manner and wanting to kiss him because of it. I drew him gently -–my hands clasped on his forearms and his on mine—- toward me, backing into the corner where the ticket booth and front doors met up to do whatever business involves doors and ticket booths.

And when I was suitably pinned in that swooping corner, I pulled him in to me. Our lips were inches apart; we could have breathed in each other’s expelled air had we bothered drawing breath, but we did not. He placed his right hand on my sternum, fingertips lightly resting on my neck, thumb below my chin. That particular move buckles my resolve damn near every time and suddenly here we were, boots jockeying for position and limbs clumsily (in their haste) searching for purchase.

I bit my cheek and he drew my earlobe between his lips, hands working the denim at my waist, pushing and opening all at the same time, damn the physics of it all. I maneuvered his head further downward so I could get my hands in that mass of black hair.

Everything in us both was screaming ‘GIMME!’ and we let fly on one another, the moon above witness to him bringing me to an arching, gasping place where I wanted to both run away from the intensity and stay forever awash in it.

Though we were still running buddies after that, we regarded one another with the keen distaste of ‘conquest’ and eventually the group we hung with shifted, then dissolved altogether.

Every now and again, I will see him in the grocery store, and he eyes me with appreciation and something akin to subtle want. I’ve now become a fondness in his memory; I can see him wishing away my spouse, the years, our mutual dismissiveness after that groping, fevered coupling.

It makes me uncomfortable.

*Of course I failed both of these miserably

|| December 8, 2000 || 4:59 pm || Comments (0) ||

It appears that I am just a hokey freak. I actually like Christmas. Granted, all the frenzy that surrounds it surpassed moronic and deviant long ago, but I still relish the holiday.

Just like everyone else, I am taxed by the forced festivity and comraderie it sometimes entails. It peeves me to no end that those heretics at Wal-Mart put up the Christmas aisles just shortly after the Halloween crap got set out (I could be wrong here, but I believe last year they DID wait until the first part of November). But I still get all blissed out at the very thought of this time of year.

Maybe it’s just the way that I approach it. Or maybe it’s the way that it was handled at my house as a child. It could be any number of things.

In this age of “everything, everywhere, rightfuckingNOW” I feel like it’s important, ESPECIALLY at Christmastime, to strip things down a bit. Take a breath. Simple ‘em up. It IS supposed to be about peace and goodwill and love and light, after all. How can you foster any of those if you start out the season with those day-after-Thanksgiving readysetgoscramble sales where everyone is out for blood and will mortgage the rights on their comfort and happiness just to find the perfect decoupage pin for Aunt Trudy? I mean really, come on now….

Ther were times when I was a kid that we had one another, a tree, some family-baked goods (done together, I might add) and a stocking filled with meager geegaws and trinkets for Christmas. These were some of the best of my LIFE. Are you with me, people?

Today’s kids seem so greedy and unhappy because we make them that way collectively with our run-around-like-wild-baboons mentality and overkill in the whole gift arena. My little family is not immune. My children have no less than six sets of grandparents, not including greats, and I have been gnashing my teeth and trying to rein in the older set from minute one the first of my brood popped out. “Today’s kids have TOO MUCH”, I tell them, “I want my kids to have something to look forward to every once in a while. I want to instill in them responsibility and drive.” This has been my battle cry for 8 years now and will continue to be. It’s not perfect yet, but they have all gotten better. They look around and see all the little shiteaters that the world is producing and they get my message, especially in light of the fact that a couple of those aforementioned shiteaters belong to my siblings.

In our home, we approach the holidays with equal mixtures of science and sentiment. We always go as a family to select a tree from the Christmas tree farm. ALWAYS. My husband gets it in the stand, I string the lights, we all decorate it together. We bake. We decorate what we bake. We do it TOGETHER. It’s not easy, we all have intense schedules that require shuffling around, but we do it. It’s simply important to us.

Each year, no matter how fat or meager our own pickings are, we stuff a box for someone not as fortunate as ourselves. Food, toys, clothes. Some years the box is more extravagant than others. I want my kids to be givers. I want them to know the satisfaction of sharing what they have. It’s funny, even as young as they are, they have the innate wisdom to select things for others that they themselves would like to receive.

On Christmas Eve, we exchange ornaments. There is only one rule…the ornament has to be a reflection of the person you give it to…regarding something they like, something they are or something that reminds you of them. When my children are ready to go out and make a place of their own in the world, they will have a full set of ornaments to hang on their Christmas tree if they desire to have one. More importantly, though, they will have symbols of family unity and affection and a tangible reminder of memorable times.

Also on Christmas Eve, we like to drive around looking at the lights that various people have put up. It’s quite interesting to see the way that a person is reflected in how they choose to display. On a baser level, there are yards and yards of pretty sparkly things suspended in the night air that aren’t there any other time of the year. It’s got a magical feel, and kids simply dig magic. Our bedtime story the night before Christmas comes from the new testament. My grandfather read of the birth of Christ to us each Christmas Eve when I was small. I do the same for my children; they need to know that hope exists and faith is important. It comforts and sustains when your ass is chewed and your belly is growling and your heart is heavy and your head is panicking. How you come by or practice or profess your faith is only the minor end of the spectrum–the process is not so important as the result. What better story for Christmas could there be? There was a gift given to the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, and it wasn’t wrapped all fancy or extravagant. It was quietly and hopefully given in the face of personal adversity on the players’ parts. Mock me as simplistic and foolish if you will, but that shit bowls me the fuck over. Thus, on Christmas Eve, we bake Jesus a birthday cake. So they don’t forget. So they know that this is a party that everyone-but-EVERYONE is invited to and allowed to share in. Yeah, my kids are kids and come Christmas Day they groove on the presents, but they also know what the whole gig is about.

On Christmas Day, they get three presents apiece from us. Brainwashing through symbolism. But it works…they know. Hell, if I could afford to rent three camels and three guys dressed in kingly finery to ride up in the front yard, don’t think I wouldn’t do it.

It may be a tad early, but I would like to wish each and every one of you a happy holiday, no matter how you choose to observe it. My wish for you is that the magic is not lost upon you and the sappiness washes you away, for this year and all to come.

Merry Christmas.

|| November 13, 2000 || 12:09 pm || Comments (0) ||

He just came in carrying a little burnt-orange colored bible and several strings of beads….I think I am going to be sick.

Three-dimensional analogies can be a bit overwhelming.

|| August 14, 2000 || 12:53 am || Comments (0) ||

I love my daddy’s plum wine. He sho’ know how ta do a brew.

I also love CoverGirl LipSlicks. So much so that I bought 3 new ones* today. FUCK all those expensive-ass lipsticks I usually buy…LipSlicks are the way to go, mang.

*In case you are wondering, I bought ‘Hint of Brown’, ‘Hint of Shimmering Sunset’ and ‘Hint of Shimmering Sandstone’. WOO-HOO!!!