The Hardest Thing

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The hardest thing is writing something humorous in a time of crisis. 

Looking through funny quotes by famous or not-so-famous people, I haven’t been able to find all that much that would be relevant during a pandemic.  Well, OK.  I haven’t really looked that much.  But I am thinking about it.  That’s the second hardest thing.  Thinking about it.

Maybe turning off the TV would help.

Drink some iced tea. 

As a child I discovered that black tea made me happy.  As an adult, I discovered coffee made me nervous.  The discovery of alcohol made me want to dance.  If I drank all three, it would make me a happy, but nervous, dancer.  I have images of Elaine from Seinfeld dancing like a crazy.  That’s it.  Just a crazy.  Happy and weird.  Love her.

Throughout life, my choice of drink depended on what needed to be accomplished.  Need to love life?  Tea.  Need to jump on a freeway jammed with angry drivers who weren’t going anywhere fast?  Coffee.  Of course.  Might as well be as nervous and uptight as everyone else.  Now.  During a pandemic.  Hold the coffee! 

A Quote:

“I came from a real tough neighborhood. Once a guy pulled a knife on me. I knew he wasn’t a professional, the knife had butter on it.”  Rodney Dangerfield

Another Quote:

“I’m too drunk to taste this chicken.” – Colonel Sanders

Not working and having a little spare time on my hands during these pandemic days, memories of my life before I was twenty are finding their way to the forefront.  That top drawer of my brain file that has been locked has suddenly opened and spilled out so many memories.  Sifting through them is not a full-time job.  They present themselves in spurts, so that I say “oh wow” a lot. 

Quote:

“The only mystery in life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets.” – Al McGuire

Weird pandemic dreams have settled down a bit lately.  I still have them every night and remember them fully.  Almost.  But now they aren’t bazaar.  They are all about working at jobs I didn’t like that much, or at all, but I don’t hate my bosses.  You’re right.  That’s bazaar.  I wonder if I’m becoming a better person or if I’m just tired of hating. 

Eating has become a full-time staple.  I do it with relish.  Used to hate relish, but since my doctor told me to stop eating acid foods I have to try weird foods.  Like relish.  I wonder if the dreams about drowning in relish will come soon. 

Been thinking of adopting a dog.  A cuddler.  A best friend who will love me no matter what I say or do.  Or smell like.  But I have birds and it’s really an unsure proposition how they would react to a dog.  I got a new chair the other day which is sitting within two feet of their cage, and they act like it’s a monster.  Especially when I sit in it.  Do they think the monster is cuddling me?  See what I mean?  But I’m in the monster-chair’s lap and a dog would be in mine.  Unless I got a really huge dog.  But the dog would have to clean up it’s own poop and I just don’t have the time to teach it.  I mean, I’m eating relish now.

That reminds me.  It’s lunchtime. 

Last Quote:

“Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.” – Mark Twain

Gotta go.  Have a great day and stay healthy!  Wear a damn mask!

Letter to a Friend – March 29, 2020

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Hi Friend.

Just thought I’d write and say Hello.

Listening to Pandora radio app, and have it tuned to play classical relaxation music.  I forgot how beautiful classical music is.  Beethoven.  Debussy. Yo-yo Ma.  Chopin.  Puccini.  I wish I could play the piano.  The cello.  The violin.  All at once.  And sing.  And dance.  All at once.

I think of you as the calmest person in the family.  The most introspective.  I have pictures of you in my mind from Thanksgiving dinners over the years, and they are meditative in substance.  I hope that makes sense to you.  It does to me.

Face in the mirror.  It’s all about this pandemic.  This pothole in life’s road.  It seemed like any other crisis I’ve gone through, until last Friday.  I’ve gone through many ups and downs, as we all have, but we all relate to our own in a larger way because of emotions we owned at the time.  And emotions remaining long after.  Mine are no different from anyone else’s.  They’re just personal. 

Pandemic.  This crisis is different.  I’m not alone.  Not sitting in my bedroom figuring out how I got here and what I’ll do to get through it.  This isn’t just making a wrong decision and becoming involved in something stupid.  This one involves everyone. 

Still, I feel alone.  I’m used to being alone.  Have hobbies that are alone hobbies.  I don’t depend on anyone else for my happiness.  Can’t.  That only invites sadness. Others have their own happiness to tend to.  Happiness that needs to be nurtured and loved.  And brought back from times of loss. 

“Take care of yourself!”  “Don’t be a crybaby.”  “What’s the matter with you?  Can’t take a little bit of the blues?”  OK.  I’ll try.  No, I’ll do it.  Just give me a day to cry.  It’s cleansing.  We retain a little bit of ‘baby’ in our souls.  I want my mommy.  I want a hug.

Scattered throughout time.  We’re all scattered throughout time.  Clair de Lune.  What a perfect musical backdrop for right now.  Today.  Tonight.

That’s enough!  Stop being down.  Time to figure out what to do now and tomorrow.  Include all the “What ifs”.  Then watch a favorite comedy.  Right now, I want to see ‘Liar. Liar’.  I want to see the scene in the restroom where Jim Carrey is throwing himself around and pounding his head with the toilet lid.  Right now.  “I’m kicking my ass.” 

I’ll write again soon.  I love you.  And I still want a hug. And some chocolate.

Dalia

The BLANK of Being

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What to say.  What to do.  This is a time of great concern.  For all humankind.  Animalkind.  Waterkind.  Plantkind.  Insectkind.  All kinds.  Be kind.

Hard times.  The coronavirus.  Brings fear.  Brings out the best and worst in people.  The ones who can’t see past their bank accounts and egos, they’re the worst.  They are becoming bolder and harder to digest.  The best ones have always been there and are just now becoming clearer and easier to see.  They are kind.  They are becoming bolder.  In a beautiful way.

Listening to the birds outside, singing, whistling, communicating with each other.  “Hey Joe!  There’s food over here!”  “Hey yourself.  Watch out for the crows!”  “Hey, there’s a pretty little chickee.  Need to fly over there and sing a song.  Ruffle my feathers.  Look strong.”

Mark Twain never said it would be easy.  (What?)  Life goes on.  And on and on and on.  Life can be both long and short, depending on what’s happening in our worlds.  We hover in place waiting to see how long this current predicament will take to pan out.  Watch movies.  Text.  Instagram. Tweet.  Drink.  Eat.  Eating usually helps in time of stress. 

Luckily, I bought some microwave popcorn a couple of weeks ago.  Haven’t had that in a long time.  It was the big economy pack, so I’m set for a while.  I think.  It doesn’t really make me feel good physically, but it sure does bring back memories of sitting in a nice warm, dark theater watching good movies with friends. 

Now at home sitting on a cozy sofa, surrounded with pillows, popcorn, and pets, staring at movies on a TV screen, we need to remember all the good things life has given us, and be easy on ourselves for our f-ups.  We were young.  We meant well.  We needed to gain wisdom.  We’re sorry.

Closing our eyes, we recall places we’ve been that soothed our soul.  We can almost smell the freshness of oceans and forests.  Emotionally embrace the pureness of a baby.  Hear the waves crashing on shore.  Feel the breeze rustling through leaves and across fields.  Laugh at puppies and kittens playing.  Feel happiness.  And that’s what it’s all about.  Being happy.  Because who really knows what will happen next.

I started out to write about comedic antics and fun things, and this is what I got.  It’s like going on vacation and coming back with that tee shirt that reads “I went to Maui and all I got was this stupid shirt.”  But, hey.  This all needed to come out. 

Love your family.  Love your friends, pets, etc.  And love yourself. 

We’ll talk soon.

Next time will be happier. 

Didn't See that Coming

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Driving nervously in the almost-fast-lane of the freeway, Dalia tried to relax.  On her way to Bella’s bridal shower at the ex-in-laws home, she wondered how she would stay positive through the whole afternoon.  She felt these people didn’t like her.  They didn’t care.  Dalia needed to appear relaxed, confident, and above all, cool. 

“Find a way to focus Dalia” she thought.  What to do. What to do.  It was more of a soft command than a question.  Ah, yes.  Think of a joke.  It had to be something relatable.  Maybe something about today.  About life.  About cars and drivers and freeways.  Eyes darting from front to side to mirror to front to other side to front to mirror, she caught mind-glimpse-pictures of little things happening all around her. 

“That billboard.  It’s about, oh damn, I’m driving too fast to read it.  Why do they do that?  Fewer words people!”  Dalia thought maybe she should change lanes, merge into the slower lane so she could take in more.  But those drivers are so slow.  Almost creeping along.  Creepy along.  Little chuckle.

Dalia merged into the slower, but not slowest lane, and felt her blood pressure go down just a little.  Maybe there was something to be said for driving in the slower lanes.

Still looking for stories.  Jokes.  Oh, look what that guy just did.  “What’s he doing?  Maybe I should try to get closer and, oops!  Didn’t see that car coming.” 

There it was.  The beginning of the joke.  “Didn’t see that coming.”  It’s not only the beginning of a joke, but a well-known phrase.  It could be used for so many things.   

Events and words and the very best joke now taking shape in Dalia’s head.  Scenes jumping from one car, one driver to a sign on the road, to the passenger in another car.  To Dalia.  How she reacted.  How they reacted.  “Oh, this is getting good” Dalia said.  Yes, out loud.  How else do people talk to themselves while creating?  That thought could be part of the joke.

And she had it!  Laughing out loud at the absurdity of the joke.  The reactions of everyone involved in the almost hilarious joke.  “Hahahahahahaha! That is perfect!”  Yes, Dalia said it out loud.  She had to remember this.  This was a keeper.  “Oh, my gawd.  This is so good.”

Laughing more and feeling darned proud of herself, Dalia realized her exit was coming up, so she slowed down and began navigating again.  ‘Go left, turn left again at the place, and make a U-turn about half a block up to the building by the other place.  Slow down and turn right.  It’s there on the right.  This is the end of the navigation.  Park your car. Good-bye.’ 

Heavy sigh.  Not just for the drive from her house to this one or circumnavigating through crazy streets and drivers and thoughts. The sigh was for what was to come.  In that house.  With those people.  Now.

Climbing out of the car, Dalia went through the basic checklist:

  • Is my makeup OK?  Looking at the reflection in the window she checked this off as OK.
  • Is my hair OK?  Same reflection, same window, same ‘OK’.
  • Stretch.  Ahhh … Done.
  • Deep breath.  And now a second one.  Done.
  • Time to go inside.  Doing.

Waiting for the door to be answered.  Mind moving memories around, filing some into crevices, trying without success to delete others.  “Why are we even here?  What’s life all about?  Do grasshoppers ever wonder about their lives or why they were born to hop?  Why am I thinking about grasshoppers?  Why not dogs or cats?  Am I preprogrammed to think about insects when making important decisions?  Is my hair OK?  I’m thirsty.” 

Minds can be hard things to shut off when you’re waiting at the door of the Ex’s.  And there are so many Ex’s in life.  The list gets longer with each passing day. The X-List. X-files!  Maybe another joke there.

Chuckling, Dalia started thinking about the funny joke on the way over.  And the door opened.

There’s an old saying that when one door closes, another door opens.  It works in reverse, too.  When one door opens, another closes.  See how that works?  The open door gave way to the beginning of a new 3- or 4-hour adventure.  A memory that will last years.  Not all of it.  Not every single minute.  But flashes.  Those remain.  Just flashes.

Smiling.  Hi everyone!  So good to see you.  You look amazing!  How do you do it?  Wow, look how tall they are.  They grow so fast, don’t they?  What have you been doing?  The house is lovely.  Who is responsible for the decorations today?  The food smells great.  Yes, thank you, I would love a glass of wine.  Yes, white.  Not sweet, but if that’s all you have, I’ll love it.

The bridal shower went well.  Laughing.  Drinking and eating.  Opening presents and being very surprised at all of them.  Brides are always so happy and thankful.  Their new life is going to be wonderful, and everyone wishes them well.  They are marrying their prince.  They will live happily ever after.  Hard times?  Not us.  OK, maybe, but we will get through.  Yes, you will.  Just stay on the road.  Or at least come back to the road if you find yourself detouring to somewhere else to do something else.  Or something.

Second glass of wine.  Dalia knew she needed to drink water or juice from here on out.  The drive home.  Drives home are almost always faster than the drives to, depending on traffic.  There is no trying to navigate to a new, never-before seen place.  It’s auto pilot.  Brain functions on auto.  But not all brain functions.

Rehashing scenes from the shower as she drove home, Dalia felt melancholy.  “Grasshoppers.  Yes, grasshopper.  That is your quest.  Go forth and beat the hell out of those meanies.  Here.  Take my sword.”  Fun show.  Not everyone remembers who Grasshopper was.

Dalia drove and felt happier going home than she had earlier in the day.  Didn’t care about hair or makeup.  “Screw me if they can’t take a joke!  Wait a minute … that’s not right.” 

Dalia thought about the joke she created, yes created, on the way to the shower.  “Chuckle city”, she laughed.  “Let’s see, how did that begin?  Uh, was it with the blue car?  No.  Then what?”  No amount of racking her brain, going through each step of the drive-to was bringing the joke back.  The hilarious joke.

Dalia’s mood went from melancholy to shock to despair, and then took a hard right turn into the garage of disbelief.  “I cannot believe this!  It was so funny.”  Despair came back.  “It was so funny.”

It was one more thing Dalia didn’t see coming.  The vanishing joke. 

Oh well.

Happy New Year 2018

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January 2018

We can only do the best we can with what we have to work with at that time.

Hindsight helps decisions made in the future, but tests that are in-the-moment often challenge our hearts, souls and minds. We are in the midst of one of those times. Thought-provoking. Inflammatory. Confusing. What will we do to save our country, our planet, and our fellow beings?

Hate isn’t the answer, yet there are so many haters and schemers who have emerged to fly their vile flags in our faces. They push, shove, yell, lie, try their best to intimidate. They are like schoolyard bullies. Some on the schoolyard shake in their shoes, others whisper that the bullies are A-holes, and others leave the scene. But we all know that bullies will only get bigger and nastier without a challenger or two.

Emotions swing back and forth between anger and depression. What to do? What to do? Not sure, but I do know we can’t just sit back, wring our hands and lament of what could have been. We must take a stand, hold that stand until the tides turn, and then we must continue to fight to ensure the poisonous quills of hate are rendered immobile.

MTK day is stamped on my calendar as Monday, January 15th. Honoring his deeds and spirit should be an everyday occurrence, and a constant celebration of humanity. Humanity that values every person and every living thing on this planet.

There was a poster in the 60s with the words “War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things”, and this continues to ring true. Every Day. We are in a war to save the progress we have made in the past 50 years. A war that truly had only begun and it needs our attention, our nurturing, and our protection. We must continue on this path. Period.

We must march. Vote. Pass legislation. Run for office. Be gatekeepers for our country and its people. ALL of its people.

We shall overcome.