Sunday, December 08, 2013

A weekend of big emotions

This weekend marks the anniversary of both my mother's birth and John Lennon's murder. Tomorrow, my mom's house will be sold at a foreclosure auction.

I remain very sad and angry that John was murdered by a nut who got his hands on a handgun. In New York. When rock scholars point out that if John had stayed in London he might be alive today, I can only shake my head in sorrow and agree with them.

How my mom loved that stupid suburban ranch house! I think she'd be disappointed and embarrassed (my mom was always concerned with what "they" thought of her) that it's being sold at auction. And yet, she entered into the reverse mortgage knowing this was the likely outcome. I can't let myself feel guilty about the way this worked out. That would be infantalizing both of my parents. My dad was a terrible businessman and, true 1950s housewife she was, my mom blindly trusted his judgement. When he died, he left her nothing but debts. I took care of my mother's medical bills and insurance in life and her funeral in death. I can't let myself feel bad for the consequences of decisions they made as clear-eyed (but naive) adults.

And yet, with all this swirling around me, I'm not unhappy today. It's Christmastime, after all! And besides, I'm watching all the celebrations of Nelson Mandela's life. One child brought a picture he'd drawn for "Father." There seems to be easily as much dancing and singing as there are tears.

And that's how I feel about my mom right now. She's in Heaven, no longer besieged with worry about debt or what "they" think. That's something to celebrate!

Besides, like Mandela, my mother lived her entire life and died of natural causes. That's why I'm still pissed about John. Because while statistics tell us that gun violence in Chicago is down this year, it's still too prevalent, too ugly and too easily preventable.

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

01. What is something that you have lost recently?: A brand new pair of earrings I bought myself! I'm just sick about it. They were less than $20, but still ... I told her at the register that I didn't need a bag, that I could put them with everything else I had purchased that day. And I think I accidentally threw them out. Dumb Gal!

02. Do you own any self-help books?: Sure.

03. Do you live near the sea or ocean?: Nope

04. Have you ever spent ages making/writing something on your computer when it suddenly crashed and you lost it all?: Nope. But that reminds me, I ought to back up to my thumb drive.

05. Do you enjoy food shopping?: Nope

06. What are you having for lunch?: I was thinking I might have a hotdog. I haven't had one in ages.

07. Are you one of those people who can sleep through anything?: Yes

08. Do you like love letters?: Of course.

09. Have you ever received or written one?: Not in a long time.

10. How far does your nearest relative live?: Approx. 20 miles

11. Do you like velvet?:  I have no strong feelings one way or the other

12. What kind of art do you like?: I suppose it's called "neo-expressionism." My favorite artist is Thomas McKnight. I first discovered him almost 20 years ago, when he was commissioned to do a couple of the Clinton's official White House Christmas cards. It's representative of my favorite works of his -- I love how he uses the view through the windows to help set the scene, and the little details he includes.

13. If you went to London, where would you go first?:  My hotel room. No, really. After a long flight, I'd have to decompress for a while before I could enjoy the city. I don't fly well.

14. If you had to pick one friend who is the most interesting, who would you pick?: I suppose John. He has tremendous personal charisma, and I'm not even sure he realizes it.

15. Can you think of the meanest thing you have ever done/said to someone?: Yes. I said something unforgivably cruel to a lover while we were breaking up. I am not proud of this, especially since he is a good man and deserved better.

16. What magazines do you read?: People and Entertainment Weekly and Allure and Glamour. And I receive O and Time. I just don't read them as often as I intend to.

17. What/who has been on your mind today?: Laundry. One of our dryers downstairs is broken. I'm wondering if it isn't worth it to just bite the bullet and haul my sorry fat ass through the cold to the laundromat and just get it all done and out of the way at once.

18. Would you be interested in ghost-hunting?: Nope.

Awesome, isn't he?

I made this rather lop-sided gentlemen with my own two hands!

Our classic film club screened Christmas in Connecticut, a 1945 screwball comedy starring Barbara Stanwyck as a magazine writer whose columns center around making a gracious home. (Think Martha Stewart.)

Beforehand, our host/moderator got us into the spirit by having us make these ornaments. It was a gas to sit there with a group of adults, doing a craft. I was touched by the effort he put into it and enjoyed myself, the camaraderie and the movie.

Holidailies -- Day 8

Today's prompt: What holiday tradition do you wish would just go away?

The company Christmas party. The company I work for goes all out -- closing the office for a half day, picking up the bill for a catered meal at a posh eatery, giving out a handful of expensive door prizes, serving up enough free booze to launch a dozen illicit coatroom affairs …

Meanwhile, we have only had two raises in the last 9 years. During that same time, we have had to sublet two floors of this office building and endured a succession of layoffs.

I'm not going. And I wish they'd banish the whole thing.

I'm not against celebrating the holidays in the workplace. I have decorated my office, I have cards and little ornaments for each of my coworkers, and am handling the collection for a special gift for our team admin.

Imagine all the money we would save if we just gave each employee one of those little half-turkeys that serves 4! Or the tax write-off if we gave all that money spent on the party to charity! They could let the employees suggest which worthy cause to support.