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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Thoughts Wafting Through My Head, Like Dragonflies at the Swamp

OK, I've done the thoughts ~ dragonflies ~ swamp thing before, but I will shoulder the embarrassment of repeating the theme. For it is true that today I am full of random, misaligned trains of thought vying to be examined first and best. Also, this post was written across Friday and Saturday, so my "today" and "yesterday" references may be scrambled, but I think that's not crucial.

How did they know? And yes, this charms me. Last night a little repeating drama was played out. I dozed under the dryer at the Hair Attic, overtired. The hot air baked the customized blond tones into my follicles as I (probably) snored and drooled down the front of the robe that I detest, but Christine insists I wear. I'll be straight: I don't really want to undress and wear someone else's robe to get my hair cut and colored. I also don't want Christine to pick up my legs and feet to place them on an ottoman. But that is part of the treatment, and Christine insists. This seems to be of overarching importance to her. It's what she does. So, we take the bad with the good. My session was nearly over and it was time for the fun. Product! For Christine trots out some new potion, glop or goo every time and tantalizes me with its properties and fragrance. This time, I was struck by the coconutty fragrance. I gave it 5 stars. As long as the product did for the hair what I wanted it to do, I intended to own some of this. She'd completed the look (too bad I was just going to go home to bed), handed me my glasses to check it out, and I was sold. I wanted some of the new stuff. "What is it, Christine? Who makes it?" She told me it was a BedHead product and I wasn't surprised it drew me so strongly, because I like their hair care line. The Badger chortles when I speak of the shampoo called Self-Absorbed. How did they know? For about 3 years, I used their definition product called Wax Stick for Cool People. How did they know? And, now, the new, blue, kind of gooey, coconutty smelling putty . . . Manipulator. How did they know?

A thank you, in awe: This week I began to write about childhood, family of origin, memories and life events. It will take a long, long time to write it all out. It has been pent up for so long and it is huge. Almost as if the feelings are bigger than me in my entirety, and where do the feelings stop and I begin? This is painful writing, hard to organize and putting it out there makes me feel a little vulnerable, a little susceptible to harsh criticism. When I wrote the first installment, I drew a comment that contained two words that so deflated one of the biggest chaos balloons, I am still rocked backward. You see, when I think of my mother, when I purposely allow her into my immediate consciousness, I hear whirring and I smell vinegar and I taste tea tree oil. This tiny woman, old now, takes on Paul Bunyan-esque dimensions, and I cannot organize my thoughts or feelings. Writing and thinking about her early motherhood during my infancy and childhood occupied a football field full of questions, feelings, sorrow, confusion, resentment . . . but Kass said "anxious mother". Oh. Two words. Two words that helped me see with crystal clarity that I could put some of that stuff in a trash compactor, label the bag "anxious mother" and not churn any longer on what it was. It was an anxious mother. No more. No less. I wonder why none of the therapists, none of the professionals ever thought to take out the sharp hat pin of two words, "anxious mother", and hand it to me. Or is this the first time I am able to accept the condensed version, "anxious mother", as the answer to so much? I bubbled on that throughout my walk this morning. For I surely am feeling peaceful. I allowed her onto the battlefield of my psyche. I held the shiny shield "anxious mother". And I didn't smell or hear or taste anything. Just quietude.

New business venture - who wants in on the ground floor? I'm surprised I only just mentioned my love of Mary Engelbreit art on the blog yesterday, for the images play a large part in my daily fun and humor. I wrote that my alter ego for decades has been The Queen of Everything. Blogger Kass commented this morning: "The Queen of Everything Emblem should be on the hood of your car. I wonder if someone has thought of that yet. Coats of armor for cars? Let's get on that." Folks, I am for that! I'm a bit of an entrepreneur and I surely know how to sell. Auto coats of armor and related mottoes appeal to me. I like a little irony. My car is a nondescript, decent enough thing. People who glance at it quickly and then turn away will say "Nissan, no - Honda, no - Toyota. . . " and "Silver, no - gold, no - gray, no-champagne". This car is unremarkable in any way. So I kind of like the tongue-in-cheek pronouncement that the woman who owns this little bit of nothing is The Queen of Everything. My daughter drives an adorable Mini-Cooper that I covet. She needs this on the doors and her license plate frame should read "A Trust Fund Beneath Every Velvet Pillow" :

My coat of arms would be The Queen of Everything. My license plate frame would say: I want the good goods ~ I refuse to pay full retail for anything.

By the way, favored readers, during all the years Amber and I were Queen and Princess, Ex was the Prince of Whatever's Left, which I always thought was appropri ~ ~ ~ oh, come on! Mary Engelbreit didn't have all that many male characters at the time. It's not like I made that one up. I have no influence over Mary Engelbreit. And Ex actually thought that was pretty funny. I heard him repeat it many times with a laugh, the hierarchical order of Queen, Princess and Prince. But there's another irony in this. It was Ex who drove the Cadillacs, the shiny, flashy big beasties of the automobile world. It was Ex who had all the road flash and splash. So the Queen has the economy car and the Prince of Whatever's Left has one fine automobile.

Commenters, ring in! What would be your coat of arms and what would be your motto? Let's get this thing going! [No, it doesn't need to be Mary Engelbreit. Just tell us what your form of self-expression would be.]

I don't know where I'm going. I wonder if I'll know when I get there. My blogger friend commented: "What's to become of all this crazy/wonderful writing? Are you going to put it in book form? I understand there's a way to do that through blogger." There is no question that the writing is pouring out of me. And I am personally and emotionally emerging from some dark, musty, frightening place. By the way, I occupied that nasty cellar for decades. I am finding my voice after a lifetime of silence. I can say the words without running from them. I can accept the replies without dying on the spot. I am able to look at things that previously burned my retinas. And it is damned heady stuff. Sometimes I feel a little drunk with emotion. Sometimes I feel a little hungover from the weight of so much unsettled debris.

So, I'm not looking for a book deal. I couldn't yet write a book. I am disorganized, with thoughts firing off in every direction, and quickly - like an automatic. I am more interested in continuing to examine and then write about the things that have slowed me or stopped me because I didn't have the coping skills to deal with them. I am interested in telling my stories, simply because I need to.

I was asked how I crawled out of the gray, miserable rut. My first answer is "I'm not out. I'm still crawling." My next answer isn't well formulated yet, but I'll try. I stopped living. And I went downhill from there, depressed, unhappy, aching. I nearly destroyed myself in a variety of ways. I know a person named Westerman. Who or what Westerman is to me doesn't matter to the reader. But it should be known that I trust Westerman and listen to the advice dispensed. It is Westerman who told me over and over again, across years, that if I started to deal with just one issue that ailed me, I'd gain some of my confidence back. Westerman reminded me that I succeed at most things I take on and that dealing with life issues isn't much different from dealing with nasty customers or anything else that comes our way. I finally believed Westerman, but had so many abortive attempts to deal with things, I created a new reason to dislike myself. However, finally, under the stars in the desert, I squeaked out my first and biggest set of troubles and found peace. And I haven't looked back. What's happening in my life since that night is profound and fast-moving. And I'm liking it.

So, Kass, I will get to Sugarhouse, by slow boat. And, Badge, I'll get those purchases made, but probably a few days after I said I would. Tree, I'll pop up on your blog maybe less frequently, but just because I'm writing for mine. Tag, please keep providing the music, because it gets me across some rough spots. Kirk, please keep making me laugh because I need that, too. GJ, if you pop in and stroke my ego, I'll keep writing. Doozyanner, you always cheer for me and it's appreciated. Everyone who pops on to say "Yay!" or "Funny, Limes!" gives me a boost and I appreciate it as I zoom through busy days trying to right a life. It's mine. I need to take care of it.

In my ears right now: It's still REM. Losing My Religion. It resonates so strongly, I wear some of the words as body art.

Something that charmed me: The car coat of arms idea ~ creative and funny.


  1. You know I have been a ME fan for decades too. The idea of a car coat of arms is funny, but as I ponder the idea more deeply, I am guessing that a lot of us would need a mechanism for changing the coat of arms at intervals. For example, I know the mantra I need to focus my energy today is not the same one I needed on Monday.....

    The one that does work perpetually for me is the ME card on my 'fridge that quotes Abe Lincoln: "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be"

    TRegina, the real queen of everything

  2. TR, my BFF, who hasn't commented on my blog in SO long ~ I'm glad you popped on today. It WOULD be ME art that drew you in. I agree with you that one coat of arms wouldn't always apply. So we should all have multiples! One of the ME images I enjoy the most has the caption: "Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful".

  3. My Coat of Arms...

    Upper Left Hand Corner: Comic section of newspaper. If you look carefully (you might want to use a magnifying glass), you can make out Charlie Brown, Zonker Harris, and Spiderman.

    Upper Right Hand Corner: A TV set with a couple of books on top and a TV guide lying on the floor. With that same magnifying glass, you can make out the names Twain and Vonnegut. On the TV screen it says TCM. On the cover of the TV guide is a picture of Johnny Carson interviewing Richard Pryor (yeah, I know, I'm dating myself).

    Lower Left Hand Corner: Abbie Hoffman, John Lennon, Marlyn Monroe, and Emma Goldman sitting on a heavenly cloud playing Glenn Millers' "In The Mood" with their harps (you'd need some musical notation here)

    Lower Right Hand Corner: An aging Kirk Jusko as drawn by James Thurber sitting on a hill in the Cleveland Metroparks overlooking an adult book store, a fast-fod joint, and a temp agency (big hill, huh?) Above me is a daydream balloon with the Nobel Prize for Everything)

    Motto: Is That All There Is? (apologies to Peggy Lee)

    I'm actually against coat of arms. Too elitist. But I'll make an exception in this case.

  4. Kirk, I'm spewing Diet Dr. Pepper out of my nose. You are on your game today! Love me some Abbie Hoffman, John Lennon, Marilyn and Emma. I'd like to ride on that cloud, but only for awhile. You are GOOD at this, Kirk!

    Kass, LOOK what you got going!

  5. You're the one that's good, Limes. I think that's the fourth or fifth big post you've had this week. I left that comment to avoid working on my own blog.

    Incidentally, I see I wrote "fast-fod joint" That should be fast-food.

    I quit fast-fod years ago. Bad for my complexion.

  6. Thank you, Kirk, sincerely. I am changing so quickly, morphing almost, that when I look in the mirror (metaphorically) it's like watching a movie. I am COMPELLED to put the thoughts out and the feelings and the events and the stories. Kirk, if I were on the committee, you WOULD have the Nobel Prize for Everything.

  7. L and Kirk and other prolific bloggers,

    Hey I would comment more often if I did not have to work for a living. Perhaps I am a lot slower writer than you all, but honestly, it takes a lot of time to read all this and this girl has little enough time roving in the outdoors as it is. I cannot tell you how many nights I am peeking at your blog after 1AM because there is such an abundance of e-input in my work.

    Kirk, you are dating yourself! You must be my age. I was an avid fan of Abby Hoffman's ideas. May he rest in peace....

    I love Emma Goldman. She was brilliant. Hers was one of the first biographies I read in college.


  8. Well, Limes, I ain't gonna win it tonight. The library's about to close.

    Maybe James Thurber should have added a PC in that daydream balloon.

  9. @ TR - It PLEASES me to see you on here now. That's good enough for today. I might point out that I work dog hours for a living and I still manage to write this stuff! ;~} T, Kirk is way younger than I am, so . . . . but his soul belongs to our generation.

    @ Kirk - Well, I'll start a meeting of the committee we'll organize ourselves for presentation of that Prize when you do win it.

  10. Limes - I have to go meet my daughter, so I'll comment in length later, but, take a look:
    Anxious Mom

  11. Kass, I'd read that on your blog before, but this time, in my condition of being the Limes I am today and knowing you, I both laughed and cried. If we don't laugh, might we burst into flames with all the pent up fuel we carry?

    I'll look forward to your comments, as always.

  12. It's so good that you're trampling through all of this stuff because it's some of the same issues I'm dealing with and it feels like you're doing some of the work for the both of us....

    Crawling out of that hole is a constant. Your unabashed honesty is so cleansing. And so mixed with humor. You're right. We need to laugh or we'll ignite.

    Just got home from seeing 'Pirate Radio' with my daughter and her friend. The Phillip Seymour Hoffman character says at one point in the film, "These are the times of our lives." He realizes it. How often do we get to see this at the time we are living it? It made me think about what 'the time of my life' was and I know it was the summers I worked at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the times I spent on tour with 2 opera companies - the commoradere, singing, hanging out in hotel rooms, laughing til all hours of the night. I get mini-versions of this every once and a while, but never with the same innocent abandon.

  13. Kass, it IS work. It's much messier work than if I'd simply worked on issues when they occurred. Except I didn't know how. The stuffing of them has made matters much, much worse. Since I seem to have so much energy for it, however, if anyone feels the need to toss some of their baggage on my cart, I'll get out my shirt that says "Porter" on the back. Or maybe the gravedigger shirt, so the baggage would stay good and truly gone.

    I'd like to tell you that I've never been unabashedly honest before now. That is new. But the humor has always been alive. I've probably used it to hide behind, but now it serves me well.

    I hope you're going to write about working at the North Rim ~ I think I am going to be very envious of that! And I hope you'll present something about your opera times. That is foreign to me, but I want to learn and know. I already read the passion in your words here.

  14. Limes, I'm almost 48. If you want to consider me way younger, go ahead. But I really don't think I am.

    The point I was trying to make with my coat of arms is that I've been saturated with pop culture, mostly through the boob tube, and while most of it's been insipid, it has occasionally led me to more provocative figures, like Richard Pryor (which is why I put him on the TV Guide with Johnny Carson). Abbie Hoffman came out of hiding a little bit after I graduated from high school, and I've always found him a fascinating figure. When it comes to politics, I've always been more interested in outside figures like Hoffman or Goldman than the people we actually elect to office.

    Just because I grew up in a certain era doesn't mean I feel particularly obligated to be wholly of that era. That's why I had John Lennon playing "In The Mood"

  15. Kirk, I already knew you were a man not married to your precise era, but that you cross all kinds of dividing lines. You have an appreciation for many things that LONG predate you. TRegina, who doesn't know you, assumed your appreciation for some of the figures you mentioned must have to do with age and I knew it wasn't that at all. I'm aboutu 9 1/2 years older than you are and TRegina has a few years on me. So I was just saying "Nope, it's not about his age." And please re-read what I said about you, " . . his soul belongs to our generation."

  16. Kass, it has just struck me: Philip Seymour Hoffman, fuel, bursting into flames, ignite . . . he was in a movie that terribly disturbed me ~ it was about gasoline huffing. I just put all of these strands together and thought, "Well, if any of us might blow, Philip Seymour Hoffman would be a good candidate."

  17. Oh, I wasn't put off by any of those comments. I just wanted to explain myself further.

  18. Time I got involved in this discussion. I like the old peace sign painted on front of the VW minibus againest a field of stars in the top two panels and the green hills of Scotland in the bottom panel. Along the rim of the sign the motto from the old Seals and Crofts song "The King of Nothing"

  19. VERY good, Tag! I love it when someone suggests a game and people actually play it! I haven't thought of Seals & Crofts in a long, long time. I thank you for reminding me of them.