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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.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eased Her - a Love of Springtime

Easter has never held a lot of meaning for me, as such. Oh, yeah, when Amber was a little girl, we spent weeks making springtime bird houses for the relatives, and flowery bracelets and yummy treats like bunny cakes for the big family gathering held at my mother's home. I always loved making small, cotton floral frocks for my child who - obligingly, happily - never failed to announce loudly, "My mom made this dress!" As if her mother knew how to do something world-shaking. Stepfather always made a grand entrance carrying approximately 17 tons of strawberries freshly picked in the fields of north San Diego County. It was a nice gathering of food, fun and confabulation. The kids (meaning children and menfolk) would go into the ravine behind my mother's home for the egg hunt - some of the colorful plastic ovoids contained a lottery ticket or a dollar bill. Others held pastel sweets or tiny toys. One notable case of poison ivy emerged on the body of an adult man coming out of that ravine. No child ever came to harm. It was a sweet, warm, lazy day. Later, when I decided nature and the changing seasons, new growth of flora, new intensity to the sun's glow and the blue of the sky were more meaningful to me than any religious tenets, I still enjoyed "Eastertime". I just call it "Spring".

The past week has intrigued me as I have practiced mindfulness and living in the now. Sincere thanks to my sister blogger, CramCake, for reminding me of mindfulness, for I'd forgotten it somehow! I'd completed a work assignment that drained my reserves of energy and creativity. I was given an unexpected few days of "nothing much going on, no demands". Sometimes a void in my day has caused me distress. Not now. The memories I indulged in were of the soft, bunny tail type, not the ones with razor sharp edges. I snickered a lot. No tears, no angst, no regrets. I kind of eased on down the road. That's rather new business for me. Calm, rested. Can "satisfied" be far behind? Maybe . . . . never mind. I wanted to write for the blog, but I could not. I could not plant myself in the chair at the computer, viewing the monitor and the slice of the world I see through the French doors. Not for a little while.My friend, the Sea Hag, and I loved - oh, we loved - to sing very loudly and poorly, but with great gusto. Mostly, we favored heavily harmonized boy band tunes, and those with a concentration on a boyish lead singer. We danced, as well, though I was always dicey about dancing with her when she was pregnant, and I'm not sure why. It's not like anyone would think I made her that way. Oh, well. We sang and danced up and down the corridors of a tension-filled workplace, to the delight (mostly) of the other staff. Our rendition of Solitary Man should be archived - um, somewhere - for posterity. Yes, I know it may sound odd that "Melinda was mine" and that "Sue came along, loved me strong". It doesn't matter! Get it? So, in my ears right now: a firm favorite. Give me a hairbrush microphone, and I'm off. In a pinch, I can sing all the parts. And I can still dance, sort of.
Play it! Oh, come on! I must to confess to being a little selfish sometimes in life. I knew the part I wanted to sing and I'd "work" the Sea Hag. Funny how I almost always landed where I wanted to be. The Sea Hag wasn't dumb. Maybe it just mattered less to her than it did to me. So, for this pick, I argued that the lead singer was skinny and had a pretty remarkable nose, while the guitar player was gorgeous, and therefore, she must take the guitarist's part. " . . .'cause I'd already kno-o-o-ow".

I found "the kicks" this week at Ross on Tuesday (Geezer Day), so I saved 10% ~ always a factor in my selection. You see, spring isn't official, never mind summer, until I have found "the kicks". I mark the passage of time and season with the purchase of the year's most wonderful shoes. It puts a spring in my step, one might say. The kicks must have a little edge to them, and it's better if they make me grin or laugh out loud. I'm not terrifically subtle. Uh-huh, I know spring/summer kicks are expected to be yellow or white, but that doesn't work for me. I have an unreasonable attachment to black for pants and shoes. The 2011 model sports a zipper up the back and reveals not only the foot tattoo, but a little toe cleavage. Oh, these will be fun!

For the first time in many years, I found myself at the bargaining table, representing [gulp] myself. I was a strong advocate for many years, for other people. It is more difficult for me to negotiate for myself, mostly because I've mostly felt unworthy in my life. I approached the proceedings with some trepidation, though I was to sit across from friends, David and George. The issue was how and how much to pay me for my writing project which is being performed in pieces across a wide span of time. We'd agreed at the outset that none of us had experience in paying for writing, we'd monitor the first installment and go from there. I was now delivering up Segment 1. I had lots of data to set out. They had the first tangible evidence that I could create exactly what they wanted. I spoke to them in terms of time spent, research conducted, interviews held, travel time. "Surely you must have a figure in mind, Les." I didn't! I'm a trained and collaborative bargainer. I came with the information - all verifiable. Now it was time for us to arrive at some sensible amount and move forward. Lest any reader be tempted to come and snatch my "bone" from me, I'll simply say this: I'd already been given advances so I wasn't working for free. Nothing would have made me squeeze them unfairly. I didn't need to. I came away with far more than I would ever have asked for. And that sets the table for the future. Nice. I thought to treat myself to a Starbucks on the way home. Instead, I filled up my gas tank for an amount equal to about 10 Starbucks treats. And I felt satisfied.

To my surprise, in a week full of those, my dance card is pretty much punched for today. I've been rather a shut-in for quite awhile, but it appears those new kicks are going to carry me out into the world. There is a social function at the Club where I attend AA meetings. Go figure - while I can put my guts out on a tray in AA meetings, I have found it far more difficult to socialize with the fellowship before and after meetings, so I am forcing myself today to take my potluck contribution of fried chicken and to stay for an hour (minimally). I won't eat there, as I'm invited to a few other functions, but I will aim for talking with 5 people I don't know, and if I need to, I can duck into a meeting. Then off to a traditional Easter ham dinner among friends. I contributed a banana cream pie which I also will not eat. And then, and then . . .

Her name is Kim and her wonderful blog is Numinosity. A fascinating and talented artist in unlimited (apparently) media, she was long ago designated as a blogger I'd most willingly follow around for 72 hours. She is a self-styled "rustafarian" (one who loves rust) who maintains homes in both Arizona and Alaska and commutes between them a la snowbird. Today, Kim and husband set out from Arizona and will drive through Las Vegas at dinnertime and then I will eat. Yep, the cell phone is already glued to my forehead. "Hey, Kim, does husband understand the juju of blogger meet-up? Will he take pictures of us?" "They call him Papa Razzi!" "Hey, Kim, you know that last round of ephemera earrings?" "I'll have them handy in the truck so you can make a selection." If any of my other events runs short, maybe I'll go out onto the highway and into the desert looking for rust treasures as I pass the time waiting. Yes, I'm kidding. One day can only hold so much.

Today is the birthday of my dear blogger friend, Kass, who has taken a blog break for awhile to pursue other important matters. I miss her! I'm sure I'm not alone in that. A year ago, some of us took an imaginary world-wide birthday tour in celebration of the auspicious occasion. I'm thinking of you with love today, Girlfriend. What a difference a year makes, good, bad and indifferent.

Something that charmed me: This past week charmed me. I was too depleted to swim against the current or attempt to control the world. I just went with the flow. Things I expected to happen, didn't. Things I didn't expect to happen, did. I was given so many gifts of the unexpected sort, that I must get busy giving back.


  1. Happy Easter, Les.

    Easter isn't even spring here, but I still like having the kids around and a chance to clear out some junk.

    Have a fab meet-up with Kim - and I love your shoes - excellent choice, though I am not a fan of black, I think they are very spring-skippy lovely.

  2. A lovely dinner and meetup indeed! We made it to Alamo after David insisted on taking me down the Las Vegas strip. I guess we're hitting the road early again since this motel promises to have no hot water after 8:00AM
    xoxo Kim

  3. @ Rachel ~ It was so fun to meet Kim and David! I could get right into this blogger meet-up stuff. We shared a meal and many smiles and stories. I got a private showing of Kim's loveliest new wares. I bought a pair of earrings which I'll show in another post, as well as the most beautiful journal Kim made me for a gift. What a dinner with friends.

    I forgot Easter isn't in the spring for you! We're all upside down, eh? And, yes - those new kicks will do nicely this year. They drew some attention at both the events I attended. A good omen. ;~}

  4. @ Numinosity ~ Alamo! OK, I know where you are in the state of Nevada, now. You guys had quite a day of travel and it's good to know you're in for the night. Get out of Alamo as early as you can stand it. There's not much to recommend it. I suppose a trip down the strip is de riguer for one's first trip to Las Vegas. The day Ex and I moved here, 7-4-76, we made that trip in our '72 VW Beetle. Oh, we thought we'd hit the Big Town.

    I so enjoyed our meal and talk and enjoying you as my personal purveyor of beautiful things. The journal you made me is exquisite and the double-sided post card. I'll wear the new earrings to work tomorrow, for sure. I got some nice photos, including an excellent one of you and David.

    Thank you both for making my day wonderful. Keep in touch as you can on your journry.

  5. I'm SO glad that my post on mindfulness has reminded someone of that practice. It's hard to know what affect, if any, a blog post might have on someone. I'm pleased one of mine did good. :-)
    And I have been known to sing loudly into a banana microphone, in the car, by myself.

  6. @ CramCake ~ I'll see your banana and raise you a cucumber! But I get to sing lead, because you're young and pretty and I deserve to have something wonderful, too.

    You've got it about blog posts. It would be a mistake to ever think "I shall go forth and influence everyone on earth". You have to do it for your own edification and just count it as dessert if it touches someone else. Thanks for the dessert.

  7. Easter eggs always seemed to me to be an adult ruse to get us kids to eat hard-boiled eggs, which I must say never went all that well with jelly beans and chocolate bunnies.

    Ever thought of getting yourself a lawyer who specializes in things literary? He or she could do the negotiating.

  8. Leslie, I love all the writing you're doing these days! And as usual, you write about some things that have been rolling around in my brain (Easter/Spring), only you make the time to put your thoughts into complete sentences, while my blog stands empty and waiting for me. (Today's post is just a lazy way of putting something new up. Soon! Soon! (That's what I tell myself anyway. Soon might be next fall once I'm settled again in my new home. I'm so glad to read the spring in your step!)

  9. @ Kirk ~ You're RIGHT! Hard boiled eggs and candy. Blechhhh. Ugly memory. One Easter, the Sea Hag's sister was given the assignment of boiling and coloring all the eggs for our combined group of 6 children. Evie had worked a double shift but willingly went home, boiled and dyed those eggs and took a well-deserved nap. We learned when those toddlers began tossing eggs into their baskets that Evie had cooked those eggs only to "rare". Man, my little kid's dress was awash in raw, runny egg!

    If my writing ever goes any more serious than it is now in this extended project, of course I will get representation. I don't know that it will go there. I don't even know whether I want it to. So for now, I'm working one day, putting it away. Working the next day, putting it away. The answers will present themselves to me, I am sure. But remember where I come from. I wouldn't fail to take an advocate if I couldn't handle my own business.

  10. @ Doozyanner ~ Hey! Happy springtime. Good to hear from you. I might submit that you do so many other things, you can't ALSO shackle yourself to the blog. Besides, whenever anyone wants to lavish praise upon me, I remind them: I HAVE to write. I have no control over it. It's really like scratching an itch. I AM springy, Dooz! Really, really in a very good place. Next Friday, ahem, is a very significant sobriety date.