About Me

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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.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Personae, Debate and Mistaken Identity

OK, you've already met me 
as Stamp Girl.
What do you think of the new 
and updated Stamp Woman?
Click for larger image.
A friend at work showed me a picture collage on his iPhone, featuring his young grand - son's face tricked up like stamp images. "Isn't that cool?" he asked. Boy, howdy! My head began to spin. "Hey, Mark, if I e-mailed a couple of pictures, would you mind . . .?" He said he didn't mind. When the picture landed, I chortled a little, being a woman who is pretty easily amused. Then landed another e-mail: "What do you think of this?" Ha! Coin Chick!

"Now you're the Leslie Morgan Silver Dollar," he wrote. Having not
seen this possibility before, I guffawed right out loud. David commented

that my hands resemble claws, as if I were clawing at my face, in the coin
version. "Yes, Sir. Distressed at the economy. Clawing for my life."

The end of the work day neared. Only George and I remained in the office. "Would it be bad form if I took the rest of my birthday cake away rather than leave it here to be enjoyed with coffee tomorrow?" For, despite having served plank sized portions, there was still half of that mammoth cake remaining. "Darlin', it's your birthday cake. You do whatever makes you happy." I decided to take it to AA. Sometimes some people there haven't eaten all day. The free coffee and refreshments might be all they get for awhile. Jenn and I attracted a lot of attention in the parking lot. Typically, when someone appears with cake at AA, it means they're celebrating a sobriety birthday. Everyone applauds that. But the cake, on its own, is appreciated, too. "Whose birthday?" "Mine!" "Oh, do you have a year now?" "Nope, I have 59 years!" Odd looks. We set up for the meeting, answering all the questions: "Leslie's birthday, brought the rest of the cake, etc." A woman who is rather contentious came in. "What's that?" We explained again, though we thought a giant slab o' cake was pretty self explanatory. "We're not supposed to celebrate belly button birthdays at AA," she pronounced.

I don't care for the term. I understood she meant we celebrate sobriety birthdays more than natal days, but her comment made me bristle a little. I looked around the room where are posted the 12 Steps, the 12 Traditions, all the short slogans we live by . . nothing about "celebrate no belly button birthdays here". I said, "We're not celebrating anything. I simply brought refreshments to be shared in fellowship." And, besides, there are no "supposed to's" in AA - it is a system of benevolent anarchy. Everyone does it his or her way. Jenn grinned. "Well done," she mouthed. Some others came along and someone said, "Hey, it's your birthday, why don't you lead the meeting?" I did so, with pleasure. The question of belly button birthdays vs. sobriety birthdays was thoroughly chewed upon, as AAs on both sides of the question munched away at my cake. Since I was leading, I got to observe rather quietly, and it pleased me to watch people rant about what was right and what was not and to tuck absentmindedly into that confection that aroused such passionate conversation.

Up just with the sunrise, I flipped on the coffeemaker and the TV, started the shower, stroked Virginia Woolf's fur for a moment, yawned. It requires a lot of my energy to get myself up and out every morning. Oh, I want to go! It's just been a long time since I kept a work schedule and I have to be disciplined about meeting all my obligations, one such demand being to allow myself rest and relaxation and pleasurable activities. An ad came on announcing a concert at a casino-resort I could walk to. I've walked to a concert before. It's kind of fun to simply stroll through the madness as everyone else tries to maneuver cars through chaos. The streets between the venue and home are well lit and busy around the clock. I'd be safe. Maybe . . I like John Sebastian, coffee-house folkie who fronted the Lovin' Spoonful and a handful of other good groups in the day, as well as having a solo career. He's a great songwriter whose voice remains true and who still looks adorable.  Maybe . . The announcer raved on about the intimacy of the venue, the rare opportunity to see a performer as special as John Sebastian. One of the artist's songs kicked in, fairly loud compared to the spoken part of the ad, and I had a "WTF?" moment. For performing in person is one Joan (pronounced "John", at least in this TV spot) Sebastian. Not at all the man I had in mind. So, maybe not . . . Oh, I'm certain Joan Sebastian is a marvelous singer. Just not what I was expecting.

Special thanks to Mark Bubel for indulging my whimsy.


  1. Belly button birthdays? Ha! I've never heard them called that. Hmmm... I guess you could have scraped all the evidence of birthday wishes from her slice. What a fun little song you have at the end. One of the lines is "remember that you are a woman who is loved." Very appropriate.

  2. @ Doozyanner ~ Isn't that the oddest phrase? It just puts me off somehow. Not to mention that I wasn't trumpeting my own birthday but just bringing free eats.

    How fun that I am a "woman who is loved". I'm feeling that right about now!

  3. Happy Birthday, You!
    A commemorative stamp and coin in your honor, Oh wow!
    That belly button birthday business reminds me somehow of my son's girlfriend who is Indian. "Dot, not feather" she asserts.
    Too funny about the concert. I hope you enjoyed it anyway.
    xoxo Kim

  4. @ Numinosity Beads ~ Yeah, I'm pretty special, eh, Kim? I've claimed for many years to come from the royal family of the planet Gobazz. Now they're minting stamps and coins in my image.

    Pretty funny about your son's young lady. For my daughter, it is just the opposite: "Feather, not dot." Man, we're precise these days, aren't we? Belly button birthday, sobriety birthday . .

  5. Where'd you find the two skeletons talking? Do you know who drew it? It's kind of cool.

    Is AA just against belly-button birthdays at meetings, or are they against them in general? If it's the latter, I find that rather distubing.

  6. @ Kirk ~ Oh, I can niggle out curious/fun/awful/thought provoking art from all manner of places. Not that I know you like the talking skeletons, I have some images I will e-mail that I think may please you. I, too, am drawn to skeleton and Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) art. Actually, "bones" has been quite a theme through several things in my life.

    AA isn't against anything whatsoever, Kirk. AA, the organization, neither supports nor opposes anything. It exists purely for the purpose of helping drunks get sober. That spin was just the contentious woman's take on things.

  7. John Sebastian is the thread holding my week together, quoting lines from Nashville Cats and Welcome Back Kotter to your post mentioning him. Might be the someone's trying to remind me of something.

    AA's can be a "contentious lot." With a a whole month of sobriety under my belt I announced I had quit smoking. Received much flack about endangering my sobriety but here I am 15 years later a sober non-smoker. I also weigh 30 lbs more than I did. So let them eat cake.

  8. @ Mike ~ Oh, yeah: the difficult ones, just like ourselves, who teach us so much. Someone recently asked me if I ever "fudge" in AA or tell an altered version of truth. "Hell, no!" I howled. They'd eat me alive.

    My favorite, VERY favorite, Sebastian:

    "I was down in Savannah, eatin' cream and bananas
    When the heat just made me faint.
    I began to get cross-eyed, I thought I was lost,
    I'd begun to see things as they ain't.
    As the relatives gathered to see what's the matter, the doctor came to see was I dyin'.
    But the doctor said, "Give him jug band music. It seems to make him feel just fine." . .

  9. Love the stamps. You look Fabulous.
    I make/design my own USPS stamps through www.PictureItPostage.com. It is a hoot.
    As for the cranky lady, there are cranky ladies and men everywhere and if it is your day you can share cake with who ever you want.
    There is always room for cake ! and coffee ! yum !

    cheers, parsnip

  10. @ angryparsnip ~ Ha! I never heard of PictureItPostage, but I'm surely going there, and THANK YOU! I do very little snail mail any more, but I want it to be fun when I do so.

    You're right, parsnip ~ we can make of the day whatever we choose, with whomever we choose. That chocolate buttercream day WAS special, because I deemed it so.

    I appreciate you!

  11. "Would it be bad form if I took the rest of my birthday cake away rather than leave it here to be enjoyed with coffee tomorrow?"

    As a certified and unrepentant birthday cake thief whenever one is left unattended I have to state with all certainty that I will take as much as possible when i discover one someplace. Leaving only my full stomach as evidence and the empty container it sat.

  12. @ Beach Bum ~ Ha! I heard that's how you beachly sorts are. Cake snatchers! Funny, because I'd commit a crime for a cookie or pie, but cake doesn't make me as crazy. Good thing, too. I'd have a rear end 90-feet wide.