M-m-m-mild to the b-b-b-bone

I was an inner city average white girl, but there was one night I wanted to be notorious.  Yes, maybe “Notorious AWG” — though there was no cool coolness about the ‘hood back in the day — plus, I was sickly and Toni-permed up until I was 15…

I’d wanted to steal a car shortly after that ridiculous milestone.

Just to be bad. It would’ve been a convertible — just to be outrageously bad.

I was that tired of being good. Tired of being poor, stiffed, dismissed, unfeared but worse, disrespected; tired of being limited, tired of being stopped at every edge of every dream, and tired of being me.

Then, the pilfered Schlitz wore off past the teenaged crying jag — but the pain of being trapped was real. I talked it over with someone who wasn’t about to stop me. As usual, I stopped me.  Total loser. (Plus, there were no convertibles anywhere near my neighborhood, and I would need some car thief to hotwire it for me.  A lose-lose night entirely.)

We do have what it takes to break out. One doesn’t have to be bad to be badass. Should anyone think of stealing a car (or a Schlitz, or worse… well, there’s nothing worse than Schlitz), or thinking of stealing one’s own life or one’s own future, one must keep thinking.  Answers come. They just need time and hope. Find someone with hope — be it Jesus or Grandma or the butcher (all of whom understand feeling trapped) — and stay close and open to suggestions until you are your own hope-ster.

There is no point in stealing anything, nor in harming or ruining life.  You can have life properly, even abundantly, if you think first. It takes a little time… and zero Schlitz.

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Runs-with-paper-towels

For a Mothers Day post, I had tried –and again today– to upload a nice photo that DH took of daughter and me in front of our combined bouquets, in which I had finally applied her wilder’n’crazier Spartan race sister’s selfie trick of oversmiling. That rendered it a likeness of me and not some poor sad sack dragged from a funeral for a photo shoot.

Well, tomorrow’s another day to let technology confound me because now, I’m busy with preparing for the onslaught of sudden summer. That’s how it happens here — a high of 52, of 57, and then 92! I’ve dug out the fans, after making spots to put them, and have gotten some hot-weather clothes ready for the kids and myself for school and work. That meant finding some.

I’ve also planned heartily to get to some store before I pick up both little kids and before work, to try the ants-don’t-like-peppermint-oil thing. The only thing more fun than watching people freak out over ants, is spitting one out with a mouthful of coffee (one survived the shorter-than-usual microwaving the other dark-kitchen evening and was as surprised as myself to find himself healthfully baleened).

With that done (well, not, but I’ll try peppermint tea bags first), it’s onward and onward to preparing for Spartanite daughter’s visit for the week, kicking off her arrival with a yearly canoe/kayak race in which this family has participated for years. This visit, she’s bringing her new dog, a 13-pound abandonee now named “Finn,” which is why I’m washing a dog bed and blanket and getting human bedding ready as well, though for the sofa. Our *guest* room is full.

I’d be surprised if I’m back here before Friday morn.  The hours in which one must accomplish much seem to shrink in proportion, don’t they?

Happy summer-spring!!

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Yes, but..

Somewhere, there’s a photo of me in silhouette standing on the very last dozen inches of one of the peaks of the Presidential Range, only good wishes and one misstep away from kissing one of those bad boys all around me for as far as the eye could see.

I loved showing the Dad-snapped photo around when I was young, “Look here, am I intrepid or what?” (I certainly hadn’t planned to be, lol, but facts is facts!)

Later, it became a bittersweet photo/memory, as did the days of my being dragged out to high seas in a tiny rowboat with him, to do some fishing away from land entirely.

My mother, even prior to their divorce, had always worried during those times when I was finally living life, that they were perfect opportunities for himself to dispatch-via-tragic-accident someone he’d considered the middle-man between them.

It was nearly impossible to defend him — he had done horrendous things — but I wanted to say (and would’ve, could I have found the unhurtful, unthreatening way to say it), “Sometimes, he has been a father.” I think she (and others) attributed my safe return solely to her frantic prayers being answered in the Affirmative.

But none of them saw his face on that mountain day, or those sea days, or on farm or extended family days. These were the only things he could give me, sometimes delivered with a gasp of his own — both of us overwhelmed by peace and health and beauty for a while. Together. On the precipice of family.


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Well…!

I marveled, suddenly, at all the leaves
softening skies and tickling eaves.

Was this lushness ever not so–
did barren trees bear shelves of snow?

Doors and windows for a half-year: sealed;
some weeks later, it’s all repealed?

Yay!  but Emily says it better.


 

I has them.

It would’ve gone alright with the rest as a middle name for real: Relax Qualm McGillicuddy, though it works better as a statement — a comma after Relax would’ve been perfect.

I had qualms about everything. If I didn’t, I imported them. I was my mother’s daughter, which is to say not half Irish just yet, which is to say French Canadian. My neighborhoods in a historic seaport were incredibly diverse, so I was surrounded by Italian qualms, many French Canadian ones, and the rarer Irish qualm (who had qualms about having qualms but had them anyway, only slightly moreso than did the Greeks).

The problem was, we were mostly of the Catholic working class persuasion, and that was rife with qualms. The only Jewish girl I knew didn’t seem to suffer them. She was joyful, animated, sure of herself. I desperately wanted to be Jewish for a while, back when I didn’t realize one could be Jewish and yet not religiously so.

I continue qualmward. Not because it’s mandatory for the conscience — that’s only how it got a foothold. I need qualms, the awkward 50-lb butterflies of doubt, to warn me off of what I think I want to go for — or at least make me think longer, consider more.

Or, angelqualms.


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When hoped for should become a plan

I’ve long wanted to collaborate on a book with my daughter. Actually, I’d love to collaborate on a book with any of my children or grandchildren or all, but this one in particular has always been quite the natural artist. Her illustrations based on her interpretation of the point in my prose would go far to say better, the little I have.

As one of many such gifts over the years, she drew a beautiful pastel portrait of Mary with a crown of stars above, horns under, and the soft, regal, voluminous folds of her garments — above and around her welcoming hands — appearing more wing-like than we might think. I know that Mary must look serious, but the one glaring imperfection was indeed her mouth. She looked almost dour. So dour, in fact, that I secretly tried to improve upon it.

There was also the gift of a portrait she’d done of the Man of Sorrows, crowned. She finished off the thorns, each and every one of them, with black and thus shiny ink seemingly visible from Pluto — the one glaring imperfection.  There was no way to improve upon it, there all in black and white and framed in black wood.

Eventually, it dawned on me that here is a real artist. What she applied — what she let stand, what she framed and with what she framed it — is the imperfection we bring to the holy.  What we see, that we don’t like, is our effect on the holy.

After all, what mother can smile or look beatific when any one of her children is in dire danger?  How could a loving Saviour bear as crown the purposely unnatural-to-God — the hardened, deliberately misformed, dead unfurled leaf affixed to Him by the thankless thoughtless — without it coloring His whole likeness?

For too long, her main canvas has been her skin — for tattoos. I’d really like to improve them, and I never will, but she needs to see where her greatest talent is, and I need it to speak for me.


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