I've purchased our Thanksgiving turkey and it's sitting on our tiny kitchen counter thawing. At this point, It's literally a 9lb block of ice with some turkey thrown in for good measure. But, thankfully, we have a little time until it needs to get thrown in the oven.
One of the things that I am most thankful for this year is that I am now only about 6 months from the date of May 27, 2020 - it's the date when all space and time converge for me - it will be the day I've lived longer than my father who died after a year long battle with cancer when he was 56.
I don't know why it's become like This Thing, but I do remember those days following his death, when I was 17, and thinking that 56 seemed scary but thankfully so far away. And now... I turn 56 on March 9th and then .... well, then I'm nearly there to the point that he was. I'm nearly where the scary part is. The part I've spent my life preparing for. A kind of time of a cosmic report card surveying all I've done and left undone.
What I haven't really thought of is, what occupies that space, filled for so many years with the anxiousness of 56 in the distance, when it's May 28th?
And, then, of course, it hits me - what if I don't get beyond his age? That's scary for lots of reasons. LOL
But in the here and now, I have a frozen turkey, a great partner of 4 years, a home I've been in for 16 years, am drawing (sporadically, but I am doing it), a job and a few friends sprinkled across the world. For right now, it's what I will focus on.
On a completely unrelated note, tomorrow, Thanksgiving, I will once again be a balloon handler in the Macys Parade, if the winds allow it. My first year was 2006 and I was on Super Grover. It rained a lot and I wore boots that had holes in them (I didn't know, of course, until the first puddle I walked through). The Macys people had a policy of no photos at the time so I don't have a picture from that year, but above is a montage of all the other years I've been in the Parade. It's comforting, somehow to watch me morph into Santa Claus. :)
Have a very happy Thanksgiving all!
Today would have been my mom's **th birthday; it's been nearly 7 since she passed.
I see her in so many parts of my life, and in so much of the world and although I used to feel as though she was hanging around, giving me a push now and then, I think she's finally moved on to other things. And that's a good thing.
I have written about her a lot on this blog and will so again as I write the JOHNS AND MARYS entries, so I'll keep this short today. But I've posted one of my favorite pics of her. I'm standing next to her in a white t shirt (you can see a bit of it) but I wanted to spotlight just her.
You'll notice she's wearing two sets of glasses. I used to wonder about this until I got into my 50s. Now I understand. Time really is the great educator and our experience makes a lightbulb go off about our parents - ah!, we say, that's why they did that thing that seemed so strange back then! :)
May we all have those epiphanies now and then!
Happy Birthday, Mom! smooch.
JOHNS AND MARYS chapters you might have missed:
But one post has vanished. I'm sure I 'published' it but it's nowhere to be found. I must tell you - it was brilliant. In fact, it was probably the best blog post I've ever written. It may have been the best blog post that anyone has ever written since the dawn of time... well, the dawn of blogs. Grown men would have wept after reading it, monuments would have been erected, and the course of human history would have been changed forever.
Ah well, so it goes. Whatever. :)
I merely stated how fun it was to have spent the birth day exactly how I wanted to spend it - a morning walk, volunteering at God's Love We Deliver, having a chinwag with my Mama, writing, and, finally, seeing a show with loved ones. There are a few days throughout the year that I have particular ideas about how I want to spend it - my 'dad's day' (which you can read about here), Christmas, New Year's, and, of course, my birthday. I think four days a year isn't really a lot to ask.
In any event, I ended the musical selection survey by posting multiple versions of one of my favorite songs - La Vie En Rose. I discovered this song just a few years ago and the fun is that each of the versions I'm posting has a meaning for me - especially the Grace Jones version which became my go to song during 2014 while I traveled for work and had the amazing opportunity to see and celebrate with friends I had been out of touch with for many years.
So, enjoy - instead of a wind down from a busy day, they are now the soundtrack kicking off the new year: my "Life seen through happy lenses" or, as a literal translation, my "Life in Pink".
(Seriously, I could not choose just one so I'm posting four! Enjoy!)
The year was 2005 and as it did in 2000, my life kind of fell apart piece by piece. I'm not going to go into the particulars but it just blew all the way around.
And, one of the ways in which I found my groove again, was by being introduced to this song. I cannot for the life of me remember who is was, exactly, that turned me on to it. I have a dim memory but can't be sure.
In any event, since those sad days, I have found this song to lift me up and out of my doldrums and give me the moment to express the LKJ;KJPOASIDFAISU that we all feel at times in this crazy world. Your baby daddy has skipped down with your sister and taken all your weed? OK - DANCE BREAK.
I occasionally have a Morning, or Afternoon, or an Evening Dance Break whereever I am. You may have noticed that I sometimes post that and this is where it comes from.
True story: a few years ago when I was working at the bank, I entered the elevator to go down to the lobby. The doors opened and I discovered a woman moving about - she looked at me startled. I didn't know her and wasn't sure if I should say something but I felt compelled and so I uttered "were you having an afternoon dance break in the elevator?" She looked at me embarrassed and I said, "can I join you?". And so from the 43rd floor to the lobby we had a shortish dance break. After a certain floor, it went express so we could jam out to imagined music without worry of additional discovery.
So there you have it. But if someone does discover you, all you have to say is "I just want to fucking dance". Trust me. More people will understand (and join you) than you think will. :)
True confession time - I'm with Emma Goldman, if I can't dance at your revolution, I don't want any part of it. And if my friends are still limber enough to dance when I leave this mortal coil, I expect to look down (well, hopefully not 'up'!) and see y'all dancing your asses off. Sure, I expect there to be wailing and gnashing of teeth, but mostly, I want it to be a party. The kind of party you know that I would have thrown. Naturally, I have been working on my own funeral for some time and you will be easily able to find them on my computer. Please follow the run of show, thank you. Please hire someone to put this together because I do not want to look down or up and see that it's disorganized and run poorly. I will be very upset. I may even have to crawl out of my grave and get the thing back on track. You cannot put my name on something that isn't awesome. OK? :)
ANYWAY there MUST be dancing. I've spent the better part of my adulthood blowing off steam by dancing half the night away and so my funeral must follow suit. In fact, writing this makes me realize that it's been a very long time since I've been out marking my territory on the dance floor, usually under the disco ball, because, really, where else would you expect me to be? I have even toyed with the idea of hanging a disco ball in my apartment but maybe that's a step too far (of course it's not a step too far but I feel obliged to state that I think it is because that shows that I'm sort of a responsible adult).
In all seriousness - this world is crazy and, for me, finding euphoria in music and moving and shaking the night away is one of the best coping mechanisms. I find it sad that people over a certain age stop going out. I've kind of lost that but in this 54th year, I hope to reinstate that part of my life.
Below is one of my more recent favorites from the clubs - I could easily post a couple dozen more that I go gaga for. Enjoy. And for cryin out loud - get up and DANCE whenever you have the chance!
Growing up in Wisconsin, my family lived in a four bedroom home. As my brother and I never got along, I spent my junior high years sleeping in whatever bed in the house wasn't occupied. My sister was at college for part of this time and my parents, each of whom had their own room but slept together, would sleep in one room for a few months and then the other one, so there was never really a lack of an alternative place for me to lay my head down. But, I did have to toggle from one room to the next for months at a stretch. It probably taught me adaptability, but I sure was happy when the brother moved out of what used to be our bedroom. They did a remodel in my freshman year and from sophomore year onwards, it was mine, all mine.
It was a kind of golden age. I was stable. I had a cast off stereo that I could play my movie soundtracks on. I had a cast off black and white TV I could watch shows on. And, I had a drafting table that my dad gave me for Christmas. It was kind of like my own little studio apartment. Actually, I think it might have been bigger than the studio apartment I first lived in in New York in the mid 90s. :)
The drafting table gave me no end of pleasure. I'd fire up the stereo with Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, 1941 (I think I'm the only one who loved that movie), and Close Encounters. I would spend entire weekends drawing comics full of characters that I made up. No one really saw them and no one was meant to. They were there for me to practice. The music inspired me to draw and write heroic deeds, cliffhangers, and narrow escapes. I know that I have had happy times in my life, but that era was among my favorites.
Even through my father's illness, I drew and played on. Basically it was my own way of finding something to do and trying to keep life going as normal as it could be. My mother only made one request - that I keep the music from 1941 turned down as it made my father sad reminding him of his days in the War.
My music tastes have expanded quite a bit since those days. My playlist includes a lot more than pop culture, but it is those soundtracks that form my inspiration. Some day, you might see Angie dashing from a big boulder while wearing a cape and getting into her spaceship at the top of a ferris wheel sitting on a pier. If that happens, you'll know exactly that came from. :)
Yes. I know. It's ELO. I'm supposed to hate the 'disco' sound but I can't. I don't. I love it. I truly love ELO and pretty much everything they do but MR BLUE SKY is my all time favorite. And it's the perfect launch to a year of being upbeat, positive, celebratory, and looking to the future. The Mister is in agreement with me on this and this song is, on occasion, blasted from our apartment. I am sorry, neighbors but if the guy on one side can sing opera music, and the girls on the other side can clank on the floor with their heels at 1am, we can blast MR BLUE SKY once in awhile. :)
As a sort of side historical note, my best pal in high school, Woody, and I wrote a MEMO version of THE MUPPET MOVIE and used the last little bit, the orchestral part for a scene where we arrive in New York (ready to conquer the world of cartooning) and are in awe of the tall buildings and the fact that we are, indeed, in New York City. To be honest, I feel like that every day and I've lived here since May 2003 (happy nearly 15th anniversary to me!) and for four years in the mid 90s... so 19 years total and I am still in awe of this city. As it should be. :)