Friday, June 26, 2009

Life and Death

When Princess Di died I was pregnant and living in D.C. It was a very emotional moment for me and I'm certain the hormones amplified that. Princess Di had inspired me for her benevolence and the grace and positivity with which she approached most everything. I went for a walk the following evening and somehow, though I swear not purposefully, ended up in front of the British Embassy. I was amazed by the amount of flowers and notes and outpouring of tangible love... but I didn't really get it. I did, indeed, pause for a reflective moment, acknowledging the loss of such an amazing woman, but I didn't feel the need to light a candle or place a posie fit for a princess.

That said, I don't understand the people milling about outside of Neverland Ranch, signing cards with gloved hands, leaving teddy bears and other trinkets there as well as in Indiana & on the Walk of Fame. I don't see how this helps one grieve or why folks feel the need to pay tribute in this way. Sure, my formative years happened in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, so trust you me, MJ was responsible for much of the soundtrack of my life during that time... though my tastes have clearly changed throughout the years.

It's hard not to feel sorry for MJ on some level, really, in that hs childhood was stripped from him and he never was able to get beyond that. As the years went on the stories surrounding his life became more and more bizarre and it was evident he suffered from O-D-D. His relationship with a number of children was suspect (my feelings on this are actually much stronger but I shall leave my thoughts about them out of this post). My guess is that his "heart attack" was probably the result of perscription drug abuse or, given that we are just weeks away from the planned comeback tour, I have to wonder about the timing of it all. We may never really know, and maybe it's better that way. I guess my point is that while the passing of anyone with whom we feel some sort of connection is sad, in my naievty, I just don't understand the whole cult following thing that seems to still exist and the over the top raw emotion exhibited by people who knew him only as he appeared in the public eye. In some ways I think his death is a blessing; for in death, Michael will finally find the peace he never had and likely never would have found in life.

In other news, Farrah, Jaclyn and Kate were my go to girls when I was a kid. What's not to like about smart, hot women who can kick some major ass? I wasn't allowed to watch much t.v., particularly anything violent, so after school I used to sneak into the sitting room behind my parents' bedroom to watch Charlie's Angels, the reruns of which came on at 4:00. My friends and I played hours worth of Jill Munroe, Kelly Garrett and Sabrina Duncan (I was always Kelly, of course, as I'm sure you all see the obvious resemblence!). We even had our own Bosley, much to the chagrin of my German Shepherd/Collie mix.

You know, Farrah wanted to die a quiet death with little attention focused on her last breath or funeral... and MJ's passing, I believe, has granted her that final wish by overshadowing the news. However, the incredible beauty this woman posessed in life and through sharing her journey towards the end of a life well lived with all who would open their eyes, their ears, and their hearts, can't be denied.

I won't be traveling anywhere to place flowers or the gift of a replica early-design cell phone the size of my head, but I will at least say: rest in peace, Angel.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Swan Signs

In my kingdom there is a road that runs right next to the edge of a lake. Ever since moving here, each time I drive on that road I try to use extreme caution because in the back of my mind I realize that one false move, one small driver error, could have a devastating effect involving my royal chariot rolling into the drink.

I drove there purposefully last night and thought the usual thoughts though, admittedly, I struggled with the concept of extreme caution versus extreme recklessness. I parked and sat by the water's edge, listening to it lapping the shore. I watched and waited, wondering if the beautiful ambassadors of the lake would make their way over to me even in the dead of night. True to form, shortly after my arrival, the male swan glided effortlessly across the lake, his enormous wings standing proud and forming that familiar heart shape as if he was reminding me that where there is love, there is hope and with hope, all things are possible. The moment was fleeting. Once he ascertained that I wasn't much of a threat and didn't come bearing food, he decided to go back to his mate.

I gave that due consideration and, after a few minutes spent reflecting on the events of my day, I hopped back in the car and carefully navigated my way back home.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Results Driven

"You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing, there will be no result."
~Mahatma Ghandi

I am not a no results kind of princess. I am strong and successful, sassy, confident and, yes, even quirky in a beautiful kind of way. I offer solutions, not problems, and I think outside the box... in fact, I think I might actually live outside the box.

Today's the day. I feel empowered. Today I will make the difficult decisions that will dictate the direction in which I need to go and how I need to get there. The motto "I will find a way or make one" was ingrained into my pea sized brain from an early age. There is, afterall, something to be said about strict all girls' schools that believe in developing smart, independent, young women. That single sentence has stuck with me for the past 3 decades as a defining principle for who I am and how I operate. Somehow, though, I let it slip away from me for a little while... but I remember now that often it is choice, not chance, that determines destiny. It's time to get back to basics.

So there. Now where the hell is my coffee mug.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Coffee Quirk

I admit it, I'm a little quirky... some find it endearing while others, I presume, find it thoroughly annoying.

This morning as I sat sipping coffee, I realized that I have a coffee quirk.

The M mug I had in hand is new and I love it. No, really, I LOVE it. It's the perfect size, shape and weight for a coffee mug. It has a flower-vine filled letter M on it (you know... for, ummmmm... your Majesty) but the best part is that inside of it are the words "love the moment". I think that applies to the way I live my life in general but the fact is, I always specifically love the moments when I have a good cup of coffee in hand.

I am not a caffeine addict by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I'm just as happy having decaf as I am full lead in the morning. For me, coffee is an experience that starts well before the first touch of coffee cup to lips. It's the sound of the coffee maker gurgling to life, the smell of fresh brewed java creeping up the staircase before I'm even out of bed. It's the beauty of the morning stillness through the picture window or from atop the deck, it's the quiet time I spend thinking about the day ahead.

I'm so invested in the coffee moment that no matter what, I have to have my first few sips of coffee out of a real, honest to goodness mug in the comfort of my kitchen. Even if I'm in a hurry and plan to take a travel mug with me, I still pour the coffee into a mug, savor the smell, taste and place, drink a little, then transfer it into the traveler. If I don't have time for that I will actually opt out of coffee from home... but might just stop at Starbucks... for apparently if someone else makes it, I'm OK with cardboard.

So yes, I am a little quirky when it comes to coffee drinking but I do, in fact, love the moment.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Not-So-Social Butterfly

I'm not much of a party girl. I think most people perceive me as highly social but the fact is that I have a few close friends with whom I enjoy doing things... dinners out, concerts, hanging out on decks or patio bars listening to music and chatting, etc. Beyond that, however, I don't really have any interest or need to be a part of the Suburban Party Circle.

That said, when the subject of how to celebrate my upcoming "big" birthday arose in various conversations from people in different arenas of my life, things got a wee bit touchy. I made it clear that there would be no surprise parties and that I would rather go away for a weekend & ride my pretty bike somewhere or get a new camera and spend a month documenting the important people and places in my life than have a big bash.

Suggestions were made... girls weekend, bike weekend, tattoo (yeah, really... I love my friends!), fly somewhere to see one of my favorite artists in concert, dinner parties, huge "invite everyone I know or have ever met" blow outs, fly to my hometown for a feast of local delicacies... so many options and different people wanting to do different things, so little time, and so little interest on the part of this not-so-social butterfly.

However, I understand their desire to celebrate in some fashion and so I was willing to compromise and plan a few little things here and there. The celebrations began last night in the form of a dinner party amongst some of my closest friends. I can honestly say I had an amazing time. We laughed harder than I've laughed in weeks and even shed a few tears when my most special friend made a toast that included details of different times we've shared throughout the years. She talked about the grace with which, at a young age, I dealt with my father's death, the strength and inspiration she derives from watching me fight an invisible demon, as well as about some of the more ridiculous predicaments we've found ourselves in throughout the past couple of decades, our former dating philosophy. the parade of vehicles we have owned, trips we've taken, how I was family before I was really family, that I am the one friend she can always count on to keep her grounded when she asks for advice and, above all, about the definition of unconditional love. She also is such a giver that she brought two photo albums full of pictures from our youth so everyone could marvel at our big 80s hair and remark upon the seemingly excessive amount of time we spent in bars and on boats. She gave me a stunning necklace and a bottle of Screw Kappa Napa wine. Have no idea if it's any good but it cracked us up from the bygone sorority rival days... we Thetas weren't too fond of Kappas... and we might have giggled a little when they got thrown off of campus. Ahhhhhh... how I miss the days when these sorts of things were the biggest concerns in our lives.

When my closest friends reach a milestone, I usually make a book for them. I take a well known children's book title, change it to relate to said friend, then write a silly, rhyming something or another related to the milestone and that somewhat mimics the children's book in question. As an added bonus, these books generally include the most horrid pictures of the "main characters" I can find. I, too, am a giver like that. Obviously. Let's see... there was SuzieQ and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Fiance... Mary-locks and her Three Boys... If You Give a Fletch a Tequila Shot... and many, many more. Therefore, an announcement was made by one of the ladies that I really ought to have considered finding more creative friends since this sorry lot was unable to create the magic and didn't want me to have a "cheap" imitation (if you've ever seen one of my creations you'd realize how funny this is). Therefore, not wanting to leave me hanging, they bought me really cheeeeeeesey rhyming birthday cards instead. They were decidedly stupid and hilarious all at once. The cards that is, not the friends... ;o)

Later this week there will be a lunch, another dinner party, and a restaurant outing. There's a girls weekend planned with one of my favorite girls who was unable to be here for the festivities due to pregnancy-related travel restrictions. We intend to make up for it in a very big way.

Despite my hesitation for all the hooplah, I'll try to live in the moments and enjoy the company but, as the festivities die down, I'll be very happy to retreat back into my own time and space and just be me... a year older, a little wiser, a lot thankful for the friends I've chosen along the way, but no more social than before.

I haven't ruled out that tattoo yet, though.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


My kingdom was shattered into a million little pieces last night and I'm just not entirely sure which piece to pick up first or how to pick it up without its jagged edges reminding me, in a painful wash of crimson red, what a fool I've been, how fragile everything in life really is, and of the sheer and utter enormity of it all.