Five Amazing Words

I think I know a lot of people.
I think I know a lot ABOUT a lot of people.
That’s why I love when I’m having a conversation with someone and they reveal something about themselves that’s new to me.

I did not know that!”

Five little words. Common, every day words. But in this particular context, they are magical.

I recently discovered that my longtime concert buddy–we’re talking three decades and easily over a hundred shows–doesn’t wear black concert t’s. She stated this and I had to pause, reflect, consider, and finally realize– I did not know that!

Did you know William Shatner is releasing a Blues album? Probably not, but that’s not exactly going to summon the desired response. We were listening to a promo on the radio and they referenced his nationality. William Shatner, he of ecclectic fame throughout my life, is Canadian. I did not know that. Yes, I was more surprised to learn about his Montreal roots than I was to hear about him singing (!?) the blues.

Once in a great while, I learn something new about my husband. We’ve spent pretty much every day together for over thirty-five years. It’s hard to imagine there are things we haven’t discussed. And yet…occasionally I’m blown away by an

“I did not know that!”

factoid.

I think those revelations are wonderful. Not planned. No truth or dare or tell me a secret kind of shenanigans. Totally organic conversational discoveries.

Isn’t it nice to meet someone and find out–later–that they are a vegan? Or teach Pilates? Or love cats? I tease, but it’s true.

I guess it’s because of the millions of details that make up your life, that constitute YOU, that I struggled with the “I AM” mask message that stated the obvious. Sometimes details are visually indisputable. Sometimes they are verbally immediate. Assumptions can be made, extrapolations occur, but isn’t it nice when someone states a personal fact that you didn’t assume, guess, or already know?

I look forward to the I did not know that moments. Bursts of personal history peeking through, illuminating people in a new light.

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Mask Messages: a follow up

I received several interesting comments in response to last week’s post, Messages and Masks. Some were submitted with explanation, others simply stated. A couple were discussed in *gasp* person.

“The first thing that pops into my head is, I AM ME.”

“I guess I’ll need more time, lol, because I can’t possibly sum myself up in a three word message.”

I AM OLD

I AM BEAUTIFUL

I AM INDEPENDENT

“I want this message on my t-shirt across my chest, I AM WOMAN, and my mask to read, HEAR ME ROAR. Stating the obvious? Absolutely. Making a statement? I hope so.”

I AM RIGHT

I AM HUMAN

I AM A PERSON

I AM SO OVER THIS

“I DON’T CARE”, the message said. I responded that wasn’t the assignment. The next comment was, I DON’T CARE! A third message followed: “I AM CARE FREE.”
Not sure it translates equally, but it’s better than being care less, right?

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this follow-up post. It was an insightful little social experiment. I wish I could have discussed the messages in depth, selfishly I want more. Maybe the context of a simple I AM statement, without explanation, gives greater insight to the viewer’s interpretation than the wearer’s meaning.

In closing, I’d like to say, I support you and your message.
YES, YOU ARE.

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Messages and Masks

Had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. I was telling her that I attended a paint and pour class hosted by a woman who wore a mask with a message printed on it. A simple message. An, “I AM” message. An obvious message. I wondered why she’d state something so readily visible. Why not offer insight into something we can’t see? I get that she may have been “owning” the statement, I’m sure it’s important to her. Selfishly, I wanted more. My friend and I discussed what was important to us. She asked me what my mask would say.

I’ve spent the past few days considering…
Maybe~
“I am kind”
but hopefully that’s obvious.
Perhaps~
“I am creative”
but I’m not sure why that would be important.
How about~
“I am trying”
but that could be read two ways, lol.
Of them all, I think I like,
“I am learning”
the best.

Of course, I’d just as soon put it on a t-shirt.

I’ve seen a lot of personalized masks–favorite TV shows, sports teams, pets, etc. Those styles offer insight about the wearer, but they’re not declarations like “I AM”.

What would YOUR mask message be?
What do you want people to know about you?
How do you identify yourself?
Remember, it has to fit across your face and be visible from six feet away.

Or you could wear it on a t-shirt.

Thinking I should jump on the covid marketing bandwagon and print custom masks and matching t-shirts. Simple statement up top, detailed description on the body. TMI across the butt? Leggings it is!
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Labor Day 2020

Good Monday Morning! Happy Labor Day!
I hope today is a break from the laborious grind of contemporary issues.
You know the ones, no need to list them.

According to the official website of the U.S. Government
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Social and economic achievements.
Strength. Prosperity. Well-being of our country.
Nice.

I believe those are worth celebrating.
Thank you, American workers.
You rock.

 

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Six Degrees of House

I recently started watching the television series, House M.D., starring Hugh Laurie. I realize I am late, it aired from 2004-2012, which makes it perfect for twenty-four hour syndication now.

I started to watch episodes on my lunch break, ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there, four straight episodes later that day, because it was on. At first, I caught whatever episode, whenever. Then, you know, once I was hooked, I went back to the beginning to view in order.

Yes, it’s formulaic.
Yes, it’s totally trope-y.
Yes, it’s incredibly smart.
Yes, it can be a bit repetitious.
Yes, they’re probably most likely, after terribly invasive and dangerous procedures, going to save the patient. (spoiler)
But that’s not why I watch.

I watch to see the Who’s Who of Hollywood!
It reminds me of episodes of The Love Boat from when I was a kid. Guest stars from all walks of fame…up and comers, prime timers, and nostalgic wow-they’re-still-alivers.

I keep my phone handy when the show is on. I recognize faces…who is that? Who were they? Who did they become? Remember, my current obsession has been retired for eight years.

SO MANY FAMILIAR FACES!

I wasted a lot of time this morning doing research on the cast.
A LOT of time because there are a LOT of stars!
I made a list. I organized them into categories. Here’re a few:
Musicians: Dave Matthews! LL Cool J! Patrick Stump!
Old associations: Howard Hesseman (WKRP in Cincinnati)! Kurtwood Smith (That 70’s Show)! Curtis Armstrong (many things, but forever Booger from Revenge of the Nerds)!
New associations: Lucas Till (MacGyver)! Leighton Meester (Single Parents)! Andrew Leeds (Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist)!
Faces I recognize from recent viewingJimmi Simpson and Jurnee Smollett from the new The Twilight Zone series!
Most fun to see: Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame.
Half the cast of Supernatural has been on House, (including Booger).

But the award for being practically EVERYWHERE goes to Mackenzie Astin! As seen on House, The Magicians, and most recently, a kickass new series that’s clever, funny, and touching– Teenage Bounty Hunters!

Okay, this is taking too long.
(and trust me, could take MUCH longer!)

Just for fun, a Six Degrees of House and Kevin Bacon
Guest star Greg Grunberg (Alias) to Hollow Man to Kevin Bacon.
Who needs six degrees?!
First name on the House cast list that I clicked on!
I’m sure there are many, many more.

Did YOU watch House? What did you love about the show?
Do you watch House, what do you love?

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Regrets, I have a few–

–but then again,
does it count as a regret if it’s purely circumstantial remorse?

I could have attended the Prince concert with friends in 2014.
I didn’t go because I was ‘too busy’.
And…
I thought I’d have another chance.

I haven’t been to a stadium show in decades. Too many people. Too much money. Too much hassle.

I never experienced Lollapalooza at Grant Park.
The expense, traffic, heat, sweaty masses, and it’s always over my anniversary weekend.

Give me a live band at The House with six people in the crowd, an eight buck cover, and free parking in downtown DeKalb, and I’m quite happy.

I reflect on all the shows I missed at Otto’s, Andy’s, and The House. Convenient, cheap, and local venues with some kickass bands. But I didn’t go. Otto’s is long gone, Andy’s, too. And The House is closed. Before covid. What are the chances something will reopen downtown DeKalb any time soon?

I could go on and on about things I didn’t do.
At the time, I didn’t want to.
Now, I wish I had.
I miss the opportunity, the luxury, of being able to NOT go.
How lucky were we before, when staying home was a choice?

Regrets, I have a few
and the list is ever-growing…

And yet, what am I not doing now that I will look back and kick myself about?
Seriously, finish that damn book, Mary.

 

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This.

You get it! You get me!
You got me.

This is why I am missing you.
The outpouring of support in response to last week’s post was remarkable.

THANK YOU.

I was in a mood.
I shared.
Many of you shared in return.

Through texts, comments, phone calls, emails…
You were there for me.
You were considerate and compassionate.
You understood. You empathized.

Will this community of caring make a media difference?
Maybe. Maybe not. One can hope.

It made a difference to me. You made my bubble better.
And I’m grateful.
I got you, too.

 

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Missing you.

Some days are harder than others.
In general, yes, but especially lately.
Hard has become the expected norm.
I’m not okay with that.
I’m so over the growing divide.

How’s that for an optimistic visual?!
Me, the bridge over the chasm, connecting the sides!

Unfortunately, that’s not what I mean. I’m exhausted by the constant name-calling, finger-pointing, misinformation, and intentional degradation. What happened to, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all“? If you must insult someone to make a point, maybe your point doesn’t stand on its own?

Some days, I can’t change pages or delete posts fast enough.
They seep into my brain, making me hate a lot of things.
I don’t want to hate.
I can’t help but wonder why others do.

I need to stop checking social media.

BUT I MISS YOU!

And since I can’t just show up at your house–SURPRISE!–or meet for coffee, lunch, or conversation, I keep up with your escapades through the internet.

I’m genuinely curious what you made for dinner!
I want to admire the home improvement project you tackled!
I want to see your kids!
And your pets!
And your platitudes.
Even the memes that are funny for humor sake and not shame sake.

I will never miss your political opinions.

Obviously, today is a hard day.

I miss running to the grocery store for a forgotten ingredient. Real quick, in and out.
I miss walking downtown for a cold beer to wash down my Tuesday Tacos while watching a live cover band.
I miss chatting for hours and not once talking politics.
I miss stopping by friends’ houses because I’m in the area.
I miss being in any other area!

I miss getting together IN PERSON.
I miss your face.

And laughter.
I MISS LAUGHING WITH FRIENDS.

Video meetings and phone calls are not the same.

Contributing to the hard is the worry . . . about the kids.
A whole generation forced into a “gap year”. What are they missing?!
And the elderly. Isolated. What are they missing?!
Events delayed, graduations cancelled, weddings postponed–to what end?
How will future dates possibly be any better or different when the only solution seems to be regurgitating the immediate negativity. We’re stagnant. And it stinks.
How will things get better with the masses consciously sabotaging efforts?

Heavy topic today. Too heavy for a meager Monday blog.
I’d apologize, but I’m pretty sure, considering the prevalence of shitty social media posts and continued crappy news, I’m not the only one feeling this way.

You are not alone!
Emotionally, anyway.
You’re totally on your own, over there, six feet or more away.
But we are in this together.

Can we try to make the situation better?
Together?

Tell me, what you are missing? And how are you making up for the loss?
How do you stay positive? I’d positively love to know!

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Games People Play

Sidebar: If you don’t have that song by Alan Parsons Project stuck in your head already, click here.

Blog post:
Binge TV
is nothing new. Heck, I’ve already written about it several times. But with the COVID lockdown, there’s been lots more, “What are you watching?” Of course it came up during one of my infrequent recent visits with friends.

“What are you reading?” was also addressed, as it should be.

But then, one of them asked, “What games are you playing?”
And I was surprised.
What a great question!
Why aren’t I playing games?

We play UNO every once in a while. And we have a couple of go-to card games like Crazy 8’s and Kings in the Corner. Maybe some five card stud…why are we so limited in our game thinking?!
You should see our game shelf! It’s FULL!

We have several game shelves!

And yet…

I’m going to hide the remote. Behind a game box.
“Oh, look here,” I’ll say innocently. “Let’s play this game before we watch TV.”
Maybe we’ll start a game of hide the remote and seek.

Are you playing games? What are your favorites? Do tell!

**

Watching:
Finally jumped on the Schitt’s Creek bandwagon. Perfect bedtime sitcom.
Loving season 2 of The Order.
Just started In The Dark.
LOVED the first season of Warrior Nun. (judge if you must, but watch it, you’ll like it!)
Looking forward to the next season of The Umbrella Academy.

Reading:
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman
The Show that Never Ends by David Weigel
–And if you need THAT song stuck in your head, click here.
(Thinking I need to also ask, what are you listening to? LOL)

Gaming:
Stay tuned…!

 

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How aren’t you?

Read that again, just in case.
How
aren’t
you?

Last week my post was titled, How are you?
in that moment, I was well. Thanks for asking.
I hope you were, too.

This week I wonder, how aren’t you?
It’s a tricky question, but mostly because the wording challenges our sensibilities.
When you stop to consider, I imagine you’ll have an answer.

Consider it a version of the game, “It Could be Worse“.

Let me go first.
I aren’t–
(kidding! I can’t do that, lol)
I am not alone.
I am not alone, or lonely.
I am not alone, or lonely, or stranded on dry land during these very hot and humid summer days.
I am not alone, or lonely, or stranded on dry land during these very hot and humid summer days and forced to use murder hornet hives as flotation devices in the pool.

Get it?
Make a statement. Then make it…bigger.
Okay, me again.

I am not sick.
I am not sick with a flesh bloating parasite.
Or am I?
Nope, just the COVID-15 (or 22, in my case).
I am not sick with a flesh bloating parasite that violently rejects Doritos and Diet Coke.
I am not sick with a flesh bloating parasite that violently rejects Doritos and Diet Coke but craves things like liver, lutefisk, and soft-boiled fetal duck. Ew.

One more, because it’s kind of fun.

I am not busy.
I am not busy going out, attending meetings, or clogging booths at diners over bottomless cups of coffee…
I am not busy going out, attending meetings, or clogging booths at diners over bottomless cups of coffee which should absolutely free me up to finish my novels in progress.
But I digress.
I am not busy fighting fleshy squid-like aliens being launched from low-flying saucers.
I am not busy fighting fleshy squid-like aliens being launched from low-flying saucers into my freshly washed picture windows. Thump, squelch, slide.
I am not busy fighting fleshy squid-like aliens being launched from low-flying saucers into my freshly washed picture windows. Thump, squelch, slide into the pool…using murder hornet hives as flotation devices and in a freakshow of symbiotic interaction combine to become an exotic anomaly, a super species whose sole intent is that of world domination.

Whew.
Good thing I am not busy.

But mostly,
I am really trying not to freak out over this continued COVID thing.

I hope you aren’t, too.

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