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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

His Name Was Rick

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a heart loop reading. These take place at one of the major hospitals in town, so it's a busy, bustling place. As we were walking out of the lobby, I noticed a young woman sitting on a couch, very sad. Her day was not going as well as mine was. This is a problem with hospitals. Not every ending is a happy one. I sighed to myself and went on outside. Lithus called a cab. It would take 20-25 minutes to get to us. Fine. Just fine. We'd go grab a coffee.

In the 10 or 15 minutes it took us to get our drinks and come back out onto the curb, the young woman had moved outside. All the way down at the very end of the line of benches. It was still not a good day. Lithus and I talked. About my health. About the day. About where we would go for lunch. And the young woman cried. I know this pain; I also knew I could do nothing. Nothing can make this pain better. Honestly, not even time. But I had tissues in my purse.

No, I couldn't help ~ but I could help. I walked over to her, squatted down in front of her, and handed her my packet of tissues. I cannot make this better, but is there anything I can do? No, she assured me, there wasn't. So, I nodded and had barely moved to leave when it's my daaad...came out of her. I stayed put. I listened. He was dead. At the holidays. She hoped he knew how much she loved him. Her sister was in there, but she couldn't see him again, not like this. I patted her hand. I listened. I shared my story as much as I could without making it about me. I couldn't make it better, though, and we both knew it.

I told her she was right ~ it wouldn't get better soon; it wouldn't get better the way she wanted it to; it wouldn't ever be the way it had been; but to keep putting one foot in front of the other because it would get better, in its own way. I promised her Daddys know things we have no idea they know, including how much we love them. I asked what his name was. I told her my dad's name. She smiled. Every so slightly. Mostly, though, I listened. Let her cry. When she apologized, wouldn't let it happen. Don't apologize; I knew what I was coming over into. And finally, there was nothing else I could do.

I pointed to where Lithus and I were sitting and stood up. Did she want a hug? No, no, that was fine...what the hell, yes! Yes she did. So I hugged her and let her let go first. Within moments, my cab arrived and with a final wave, we were out of each others' lives.

As I told Lithus, she will remember this day for the rest of her life. It will be one of the worst memories she has. But maybe, if it doesn't become nothing more than a blur of badness, she will remember three minutes when a total stranger gave her tissues, an ear, and a hug. I know I will always remember her.

His name was Rick.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Minor Detour

I'm in the middle of writing a post on housekeeping and am realizing something: it's a tough post to write. Sometimes, cleaning is just cleaning. Sometimes, though, cleaning is cleansing. And cleansing is a lot tougher than cleaning ~ certainly more difficult to write about, anyway.

So! For now, I'm going to keep working on that one, and post this one. Today is an exciting day. Today is an appointment to get the information on my loop recorder, EKG, heart-thingy read. It should be completely empty because nothing has happened. Six months and nothing has happened. That's never happened, since I was 19 I have never gone six months without an episode.

I guess, nothing happening is actually something happening. Something pretty big. And it's exciting.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

More On Privilege

Since this is pretty much a 101 site, with a dash or two of 201, when it comes to issues of marginalization, I do welcome comments and questions, no matter how basic, including why do you keep writing on this stuff? I'll let you in on a secret ~ I would love to stop writing about this stuff. But I can't. Because we as white people, white women, aren't getting it.  How do I mean we're not getting it? Look around. At television shows. At boycotts. At Halloween costumes. At hiring practices. At the excuses we are making and making in massive numbers recently. Yes, throughout time, but recently we have lost our damn minds.

See, even "good" white women are still part of the problem. I know, I know. You're different. This doesn't apply to you. It can't. You're not like that. You're a "good one." You recognize your privilege and check it at the door. Some of us even actually do that, not just talk about doing it. But here's the thing ~ we are still white. We still carry white privilege. The power culture that exists is still completely in our favor. Even if we are doing our best to reject it, we can't. We are white and nothing changes that. 

Thinking that we can go into spaces where we aren't welcome because we're "cool" ~ privilege. Thinking people of color owe us their gratitude for being "cool" ~ privilege. Thinking we can wear blackface because we don't mean it "that way" ~ privilege. Continuing to watch shows like Duck Dynasty or Paula Deen because, after all, our skipping it won't actually change anything and/or that's just how they are down there ~ privilege. Thinking we get a pass because we are hipster or ironic ~ privilege. Thinking we can reject our whiteness because we understand social justice ~ privilege. Until and unless we can come to understand that, we aren't nearly as "good" as we think we are.

While we're on this, I have finally learned the phrase I will be using in place of ally/allied. Look for the acronym COSW, or maybe even COSWing, or any number of combinations that I haven't come up with yet. It stands for Currently Operating in Solidarity With and comes from Mia McKenzie and this post on Black Girl Dangerous. Go there and read why. Because...thinking your own voice can tell someone else's experience better than they can and not giving credit where credit is due ~ privilege.

There are decent white women. There are no "good" white women. Getting that is a vital first step toward COSWing ~ and one we all have to take if we have any hope of being good people.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

ETA: (which means "edited to add" for those of you unfamiliar) Want a painful example of what I'm talking about in this post? Read this article. White women, claiming to be feminists and implying alliance ~ you know, "good" white women ~ pulled this shit, right here. Now, ask me again why I keep writing about this stuff?


Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Rainy Day

It's a rainy day here in NOLA. A good day to stay at home, maybe clean a bit ~ but not too much. Start reclaiming the house a little bit ~ but not too much. Snuggle and drink hot cocoa and listen to the rain on the window. Maybe even order pizza.

Tomorrow, we will head back out into the holly and ivy festooned world. We embrace the season not ending on Christmas Day. City Park and Audubon Park all still beckon. New Year's Eve is around the corner. We are absolutely still in the spirit. For today, though, the spirit is a rainy day kind of spirit and we are enjoying being at home.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee ~ and a nice rest.

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Traditions

I like my holiday traditions. I like them a lot. To the point of digging in and not letting go. But very occasionally, something new will come about that I am willing to incorporate into the holidays, changing things up just a bit, even while they become a tradition that I dig into and won't let go of. While it is hard to tell after only one year, I believe we have two new such traditions.

First, high tea has been a thing for me for years. My mom and I go whenever I live in a city big enough to have a grand hotel that serves afternoon tea. Turns out, Lithus came to the family loving high tea himself. So, back in October, I made us reservations for tea at the Windsor Hotel for Christmas Eve. Now, we've established the fact that I love high tea. I've never made reservations in time for Holiday Tea. Oh my...If high tea is wonderful, Holiday high tea is even moreso. The decorations. The harpist playing carols. The seasonal treats. Christmas Eve tea...it's now a thing.

Second, as I mentioned yesterday, the 26th is Boxing Day. Not a big deal here in the States, but for my British/Canadian partner in crime, he grew up with it being a pretty big thing. I've written before that I donate toothbrushes and toothpaste. This year, Lithus asked if we might go pick up some blankets and add them to the donation for Boxing Day. We looked at the organization we wanted to help and discovered they were requesting (among other things) underwear and socks, more than blankets. So be it. It's not about the blankets, it's about the helping. We took a gift card to the store and bought men's underwear, women's underwear, and socks. Loaded them up, along with the toothbrushes and toothpaste, and voila, delivered them to Covenant House. Now, the donation thing isn't new to me. The addition of underwear and socks, and making it an official, deliberate part of Boxing Day is new. And now...it's a thing.

What new traditions might be brewing at your house this season?

















Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day

Yesterday was amazing. Ah-may-zing. One of those holidays that makes the push up to it totally worth it. Let there be music! And pictures!





Post-wrap, pre-Christmas morning carnage:



What was in some of those packages:



Gifts to ourselves for the dinner ~ and all the dinners to come:


Our fireplace:


The Yorkshire pudding took on a life of its own:


See, that's Lithus' hand there. The man doesn't have a small hand:


The standing rib was perfection:


Seriously ~ perfection:
As Lithus was carving to reveal this magnificent color, the Hallelujah Chorus came on the radio. It seemed appropriate somehow.

The table:

Happiest of holiday seasons to you and yours, from the Boston Pobble and Lithus.


Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee, with love.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Why Today, Sir? Today Is Christmas Day!

And if you are celebrating, or enjoying a day off with a movie and pizza delivery, or working at said movie theatre and pizza joint (or, you know, hospital E.R.), may you have a blessed and joyous day.

Merry Christmas, and Blessed Be.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.





ETA: Upon waking this morning, I discovered my traditional Philadelphia Brass Ensemble music has been blocked for copyright reasons. Since I can't give you Philadelphia, I give you the next best thing (contextually, of course): Boston! Merry Christmas, everyone.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tomorrow Is Christmas...

It's Practically Here!

And if Christmas is your holiday, in the last minute rush of the last hours leading to it, may you not lose sight of what it means. If your holiday has come and gone in 2013, or hasn't quite gotten here yet, I hope you were able/are able to take a deep breath and remember.

It's easy to get caught up in the craziness. Honestly, I did. I barely even acknowledged my own holiday, and Christmas has become an almost frantic race against time. Not something I'm proud of, but the truth.

Then, the Divine M's beloved Nana died last night and...suddenly, just like that, if the presents are wrapped, or the tree is up, or the dip is made isn't nearly as important as the fact that Lithus and I are together, that the people I love most in the world are (mostly) happy and healthy, that Christmastime is indeed within our grasp.

Remember, my friends. Hold the hands of the people you love. I can tell you very few presents I have opened over the years. I know every person I have spent every holiday with, ever.

Enjoy. Decorate. Dine on roast beast and who hash. And...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Monday, December 23, 2013

In Under The Wire

We are home, two days before Christmas. Pick up rental car, go to doctor's appointment (general, fine, all's well, no worries), Home Depot, Pier One, Winn Dixie, drop me off for shopping separately, shopping separately (more on that after Christmas), manicure/pedicure, returning shopping (more on that later, too), dinner, groceries, creating appreciation gifts for building staff, and oh shit! I haven't blogged today!

But it's still Monday, still the 23rd. I'm still in under the wire. Good grief, but I love the holidays...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Travel Day

Salt Lake City to NOLA, nonstop. Home after three weeks. Just in time for Christmas. It's nice. It's so very, very nice. So cue the music and pictures!

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.







Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blessed Be

Somehow it is apt that the winter snows have made today busier and fuller than I like to be on the holidays. But! Since this is how the night is choosing to go out, let's push the darkness away! Blessed be, my dear friends.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Friday, December 20, 2013

When I Was 44...

...it was a very good year...

In fairness, I'm only two months in to my 44th year, so the final verdict is still out. However! The statement "I am 44 years old and I have just now understood {insert lightbulb moment here}" has come out of my mouth more in the last two months than I think I ever made the statement about 43, 42, or 41 combined. Everything from reindeer pause to quantum physics (seriously ~ quantum physics although, in full disclosure, I still can't multiply or divide fractions). If it turns out to be a good year or not, it's already been an intellectually stimulating one, and I'll take it.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

By Any Other Name

Ague: a fit of fever or shivering or shaking chills, accompanied by malaise, pains in the bones and joints, etc.; chill

Flu: a highly contagious infectious disease caused by any of various viruses of the family orthomyxoviridae and is characterized by fever, respiratory symptoms, and muscle pain

Grippe: a viral disease characterized by fever, prostration, muscular aches and pains, and inflammation of the respiratory passages.

Call it what you will, it sucks. Just saying.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you hot lemon water.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Private To:

Mike C ~ Peanut M&Ms have been around for at least 23-25 years, because they are my favorites and when I was a late teenager, my mom started putting peanut M&Ms out with the plain ones, because I preferred them. In the commercials, the big yellow M&M is a peanut one.

Starbuck ~ What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephants coming over the hill? Look, here come the elephants over the hill!

Cam and Mrs. Pike ~ For my 40th birthday, part of my present was a little, pretty bag that I have used for nail polish on the road ever since. It took 4 years, but it has disintegrated. On the one hand, I'm sad. *sniff* On the other hand, I still use the purple bag from your wedding as our travel medicine bag, so you're still on the road with me.

Crow ~ You made the blo-og! You made the blo-og!

Lori ~ Loooooorrrrrriiiiii....pssst....under the tree...they're right there, under the tree!

Nemeria ~ My purple skull bracelet has been a lovely touchstone, keeping me sane this tour. Plus, I admit, I'm grooving on the looks its getting.

Starbuck ~ What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephants coming over the hill wearing sunglasses? Nothing, he didn't recognize them.

Everybody Else ~ Thanks for stopping by so often. I really do love you, if you comment, if you lurk, if I know who you are, or not. No disrespect or lack of love intended if you didn't make that list up there! I'm just fighting more blank-ness.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

O Tannanbaum

The first Christmas song I ever remember learning is O, Christmas Tree. We were living in New York, which means I was less than five. My preschool (?) was doing a Christmas concert and this was one of our songs. I was most excited for my mother to get there, and was concerned she wouldn't make it. (editorial note ~ my mother had never missed something like this, nor did she ever miss an event of any kind when she said she'd be in attendance, so it wasn't about her attendance track record!) I remember really wanting her to hear us sing this song. At one point, I peeked around the door and down the hallway and there she was! She had made it, and was going to get to hear us sing O, Christmas Tree. It was very exciting. Forty years later, I remember it.

The tree has been important ever since. The only year I haven't had a tree of some kind was my Christmas/Yule in Worcester. I moved right before Thanksgiving; had Thanksgiving in the Basement; had barely unpacked, when it was time to head to the Lovely Cats' for the holiday. Other than that, every single year, there has been a tree. Maybe small. A handful of times, artificial. But the tree is there. 43 out of 44 years.







Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Occupational Hazard

What I do doesn't always translate well into real life. I remember back when I got my first contract to write dictionaries, the Lovely Cats was telling a friend of hers about me and how proud she was of me. The conversation, apparently, went:

TLC: A friend of mine has just signed her first book.
Other Friend: Oh great. What does she write?
TLC: Dictionaries.
Other Friend: She must be a hoot at cocktail parties.

Now, the fact is, I kind of am, depending on the cocktail party. But the point is, my work doesn't always translate well. Yesterday...

Yesterday, I spend the day researching hyaluronic acid and boron, and their respective effects on arthritis pain. At 4:30, Lithus said ~ yet again ~ that we really needed to be going. To the company Christmas party. Oh, right... So, I pulled my brain out of the latest scientific journal, hit save, closed up ~ and panicked. What was my answer supposed to be when I was asked how I spent my day? How was this supposed to translate into small talk? I called Crow and explained the situation.

Crow: As soon as you sit down, start talking about the varying levels of efficacy when boron is absorbed topically versus abdominally (she can bullshit really well). 
Me: Well, boron is also administered vaginally, so...
Crow: Open with that. Definitely.

It got me laughing instead of panicking. And laughing is a much better way to go into a cocktail party, after all.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lithus' Lunch

I am not what one might call a caregiver. Nurturing is probably not the first word that comes to mind when my friends think of me. Domesticity is not my strong suit. And then there's Lithus' lunch.

Being a helicopter pilot isn't like other jobs. You don't get a lunch break. No one goes around the office and asks who wants to send out to the restaurant down the block. The vast majority of the time, you don't even have a free hand. If you have time for lunch, it's eaten during a fuel stop, or gulped down while the ground crew is setting up the next load. Days are long and either wicked cold or wicked hot. Breaks are few and far between. Lunch, when he can get it, is important.

Somewhere along the line, it became my job to make sure he has lunch. In the summer, I will get up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning to make his lunch and then go back to bed when he leaves at 4:30. In winter, the alarm doesn't go off until 6, so I just stay up. Regardless, while he's in the shower, I make his lunch.

I love making his lunch. I know the little things he likes. A small surprise. The way he enjoys his sandwich. The fact that he prefers two V-8s instead of just one. I love knowing that, whenever, however, his break is going to come, when he reaches for his lunch, he'll know it was made with love. Most importantly, though, I love that he loves it. And so every day he flies, he heads out with a lunch ~ and love.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pilots

Can I tell you a secret? As a general rule, I don't like helicopter pilots. There. I said it.

But there have been a few of them over the years that I have loved. There have been even fewer that I have liked. One, obviously, stands out, but there have been a few others. So today, a hat tip to the few:

Bart
Roarke
Sean
Rusty
John
Vern
Manuel
Niko
Bob
and always, always my dear Lithus

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Gift Suggestions

Still looking for a good present for someone? Here's the thing, since I became a writer I have come to know writers. And since creative people tend to know creative people, I've also come across musicians and people who know musicians (although some of them I have known a lot longer than I've been a writer...).

So! If you're looking for a present and want to support a new artist, as well, here are some suggestions...

Books:

Blind Allegiance. Violetta Rand. She'll always fight for what she believes in... Betrayed by a brother she hardly trusted before the bloodthirsty Viking, Jarl Randvior Sigurdsson, attacks her home, Noelle Sinclair is conveniently bartered as a means to save her cowardly sibling's skin. Forced to leave her homeland and accompany the petulant Viking to the untames wilderness of central Norway,, Noelle is ever-aware of the burgeoning dangers around her - including her weakening resolve to resist Randvior. Should Noelle surrender to his resplendent charms and seduction, or fight with every once of strength she possesses to get home?

Bucket Of Blood, Kim Bannerman. Lizzie's mother is dead, and left in the care of her prim older sister, the 15-year-old fears her carefree ways are over. But when tragedy strikes her small community in the summer of 1898, Lizzie discovers a sinister web of lies and deception, of murders past and present. Fierce resentments and racial tensions boil beneath the illusion of civilization. Soon, Lizzie finds herself ensnared in a secret that stretches from the opium dens of British Columbia and the alleys of San Francisco to the jungles of Panama and beyond - and it's a secret that the murderer will do anything to protect. Part BC history, part gothic mystery, Bucket of Blood is a grim journey through losee, self-discovery, redemption, and vengeance.

Rose Jackson-Beavers. Any of her stuff, but Full Figured 5 is her most recent. When Desa Rae Jenkins ended her tumultous relationship with Roc, it seemed like the appropriate thing to do; but now she's second guessing her decision. Roc moved away to Kansas City, leaving street life back in St. Louis up to the brothas who can handle it. he continues to live his life on the edge, though, and when he returns to St. Louis, Desa Rae shows up at his doorstep to reconcile. Roc is reluctant to go there with the one woman who ripped his heart from his chest. He's determined not to let Desa Rae wiggle her way back in, but this full-sized diva is a heavy-hitter who won't give up without putting up a good fight. Win or lose, she refuses to back down, but with Roc's baby mama still in the way, there can be only one winner.

Girl Most Likely To, Jessie Smith, et al. Five Friends. Fiver Yearbook Predictions. Twelve years. Was it destiny? Or the last act of girls ready to take on the world. As thirty approaches so does their Thirty-Years-Old-and-Made-It Reunion Party. Who will have conquered New York? Become a CEO? Be married with a bunch of kids? Which girl will have nailed the lucky Charley Vargas? Is Prince William safe? Because someone is supposed to marry a prince. It's the midnight hour and the scramble is on. Not one of them wants to admit her life hasn't turned out the way she expected. Maybe reaching thirty and living up to friends' predictions is not all it's cracked up to be.

Hollowstone, Dennis R Upkins. Life for Noah Scott changes drastically when he is accepted to Hollowstone Academy, one of the most prestigious boarding school in the country, set in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee. Within the hallowed halls of the illustrious school, Noah soon discovers that the world of the privileged is rife with social hierarchies, politics, depravity, and corruption. It is also there that Noah meets his roommate and best friend, the charming and enigmatic Caleb Warner. Tragedy soon strikes when Cal is brutally murdered in a hold-up. But when Noah is haunted by Cal's ghost, he soon discovers that the random act of violence was in fact a premeditated one. Determined to uncover the truth and find Cal's killer, Noah soon finds that the school and its patrons have more than their share of secrets. Secrets they are willing to preserve at any cost. Through a series of prophetic dreams and visions, Noah also quickly learns that greater supernatural forces are at play. In a race against time, Noah must solve Cal's murder and uncover the truth before he's the killer's next victim.

Music:

Bring the Knife. A face ripping metal band from Boston.

Tony B. After you listen to this sound, you can even download it for free!

Ciera, on her youtube channel. Technically, this one's not for sale, or even download, but you can listen. Make a point to remember her name; remembering her voice won't be a problem.

There you have it, friends. Lots of suggestions, lots of talent. Support your upcoming artist this holiday season. You'll thank me, and your friends will thank you.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Television

Lithus and I don't watch a lot of television. Mostly, it's Food Network. Mostly, it's Chopped. Keeping up with a show's season is simply too difficult with our schedules. Not everywhere has the same channels, not everywhere has cable, not everywhere is in the same time zone. And then there's the fact that we frequently lose track of what day it is, anyway. Is it Monday? Or Thursday? Are we in Central time, or Pacific? Who the hell knows. Plus, we're picky consumers.

Netflix has changed things a bit, the same way it has changed things for other people. We are now caught up on Haven (and I have a new crush in Eric Balfour ~ oh my god, really? Please, write more scenes with Duke shirtless; it's my Christmas wish). We are getting started on Eureka and Lost Girl and are hopeful about both. Almost Human is showing online, too, and we want to check it out. The Sing-Off is on for a two week marathon season, and I love that show. Another season of Face Off, which has always been cool, starts next month. Plus, hello, Christmas specials. You know I love me some Christmas specials.

And suddenly...I am watching television. We are keeping up with shows. Maybe not live and on cable, but online and within a day or two of the original airing. I'm not completely sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, television is supposed to be entertainment and, so long as I am entertained, why worry about watching a few shows? On the other...slippery slope! What if I end up like the SGM who had the television on literally all the time, regardless of what was on or if he wanted to watch it or not. What if television becomes pervasive? Theatre is art; cinema is expression; television is furniture! What if I end up a t.v. person??????

...
...
...
At which point, I take a deep breath and calm the fuck down. Because, really, there's nothing wrong with watching a handful of shows. Especially not if they look like this:


Or this:


Or this:


Really, not a damn thing wrong with it.

May you have a trouble-free holiday
Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cookie Kid

Last Saturday night about 7:30, there was a knock on our door. We expected Country Boy, but when I opened it, it wasn't Country Boy. It was a young man, probably 16 or 17 years old, carrying what I think was probably his mom's tupperware, asking if I wanted to buy some cookies. Lithus and I rarely keep cash on us, so I said no, closed the door, and nearly started to cry.

He'd reminded me of my (step)kid. He reminded me of me. He reminded me of every kid I've ever worked with or known or loved who was just trying to do something. And I hadn't been able to buy a cookie. I talked it out, felt my feels, and went on with my night ~ which included having to run out for a moment.

On the way back in, I nodded to a couple of kids ~ one of whom said "Would you be interested in buying a cookie?" Cookie Kid! Of course, I still didn't have cash on me, but we agreed that I would pick up some cash and he would come back Monday.

Sure enough, Monday night about 7:30, there was a knock on our door. I opened the door and it was him. I threw up my arms and announced "COOKIE KID!" We chatted. He was selling pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, doing it for some extra spending money for the holidays, wants to buy his own presents this year without hitting up his mom. While he didn't say it, I think money might be a little tight in the house this year. Regardless, this was his solution. And oh, the cookies were fifty cents each. Fifty cents? Good grief, how many cookies would he have to sell at fifty cents a piece to have any kind of extra spending money?

Lithus and I had already talked about it. So, I said "How about I take two and I'll give you ten bucks a piece for them." Cookie Kid started to quiver, seriously, head to toe quiver, until busting out a smile and saying "That would work. You could even have three, if you wanted!" I took two.

I have no idea why this young man got under my skin so much. I see a lot of kids who remind me of the kids from my life, including my own younger self. I see a lot of kids trying to do something in the small towns we visit. But this one...this one made me weepy. But you know what? I don't have to know. I'm okay not knowing. Call it the spirit of the season. Call it my being vulnerable or gullible. Call it whatever you want. They were damn good cookies and I was happy to spend $20.00 on them.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Word On Privilege

If you are: white, male, straight, cis-gendered, able-bodied, Christian, or economically advantaged, then this is a note to you. If you are any one of these things, you carry at least some privilege here in the States. So ~

Now is a time of reflection and introspection. May I suggest that we all take this time and do just that. Recognize our own privilege. This is gonna be uncomfortable. It's far easier to identify ways in which we are the marginalized than it is to admit ways in which we are culturally the oppressor, especially ways in which we may actually be the oppressor, in spite of our best intentions.

Look at those intentions. What are they really? Are you an ally because to win points? So we don't have to look too closely at ourselves? Are we doing these things because they are the right thing to do ~ or to come off as being "one of the good ones?"

Here's a quick litmus test ~ when you get told by a member of a marginalized group that you are incorrect, do you argue? Or do you listen and learn? When you get shut out by a group you want to support ~ because they have no obligation to take you in ~ do you walk away from the whole movement in disgust? Or do you keep working for/with them in your own sphere of influence? In other words, if you aren't getting cookies or credit, do you still care about the group?

Now, I get it. As a person who carries privilege ~ both real and observed, because not all of my marginalizations are obvious ~ it is reassuring to have the support of the group I am supporting. It is scary to stick your neck out, risk alienating your own group, and then not get lifted up by the group you are trying to support. But here's the thing ~ in my experience, if you are truly trying to be an ally, the group you are allied with will see it. Will support you. Will have your back, as you have theirs. But most marginalized groups can smell bullshit a mile away. Trust and believe, we know when someone isn't really in the game because they care about doing the right thing.

Which is why we have to be clear on why we are acting the way we are, supporting the groups we're supporting, making the choices we're making. Because if it's not because it is, plain and simple, the right thing to do, then why they hell are we doing it? To feel good about ourselves? Go, do something else that makes you feel good.

A friend of mine recently compared faux-alliance to an RPG (role-playing game) like Dungeons and Dragons or Magick or the Gathering. It's fun and it feels good and every now and then, you get to win! Maybe even a white person gets to shout down a person of color! Or a man gets to explain to a woman why she is the reason she gets paid less for the same job! Or a straight person gets to tell a gay, lesbian or bisexual why they just can't take a joke! Or, or, or...all of which allows us to feel like allies, while still proving our own privileged superiority.

For the privileged, it shouldn't be about winning. It shouldn't be about cookies. Unless you are truly willing to work your privilege into obsolescence, you aren't really a friend to the group. It's okay for it to be scary. Change usually is. The important thing is for the intent to be real, honest, have integrity. Otherwise, you're just playing a game where other people are trying to live their lives.

Let's take some time to reflect.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Monday, December 09, 2013

Bodhi Day

Yesterday was Bodhi Day. In the Buddhist tradition, it is the day Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment. While we didn't celebrate, per se, we did more than just acknowledge it. We observed it, perhaps. Spirituality is a journey here in our house, and we embrace that journey. 

Enlightenment? Who knows. As I recently told Starbuck ~ I have no illusions that I will ever know myself completely.

Conversation. Meditation. Centering. Peace. Those things? Those we achieved. Not bad for the first Bodhi Day observed in our house, if I do say so myself.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Sunday, December 08, 2013

A Favorite Night

My favorite night of the year, every year, is the night the tree gets decorated. I love it. Music, lights, decorations, nibbles, laughter, memories...It's the best night of the year. But it has a rival, now. Last night, I realized the other night I look forward to all season is the night Lithus and I go look at the Christmas lights. 

Every year we have been together, we have gone out, just the two of us, and looked at the Christmas lights wherever we are. Our first year, in Everett, Washington, we went into Seattle. The next year, we were in more of a neighborhood in Vancouver, and wandered. And that was it; the tradition was set. What I hadn't realized until yesterday was just how much I look forward to this night.

This year, we'll get this night twice because we drove around town last night, and when we get home, we'll take the trolley down St Charles and ogle the mansions' decorations. But they will somehow, in my mind, be the same night. And it will be one of my favorites.



For a bunch pictures and music, hop over to Stilettos in the Outback. Or, just keep scrolling for a few of them. Or both.



The prettiest sight to see...


Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Blank

I have written at least once a day, every day, for thirty-six days. This morning, I am drawing a complete blank. Did I ever experience anything? Do I have a single opinion? Have I ever even heard a joke? Apparently not. At least, not based on anything I'm able to access out of my database.

Oh, the weather! The weather is really bad. It's cold out there. Don't forget your mittens.

Ummm... hm. Yeah. Maybe tomorrow ~ hopefully, tomorrow ~ I'll have something else for you. For now, the weather is really bad, so stay warm.

Those are blank Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.




Note: the pictures that go with this are stills from Julie Andrews' movies and press releases. It's a very odd collection to go with this song. Feel free to do something else with your eyes and just let your ears do the work on this one. Or, you know, enjoy random pictures of Julie Andrews. That works, too.

Friday, December 06, 2013

I Do Try...

...so please, don't let me be the only one trying.



I know really good Christians. And I try to remember them when others make it difficult. Unfortunately, so often, it's the assholes who are loudest. What am I talking about? I'm talking about the other day. I was looking for a book. The only bookstore here in town is a Christian bookstore, but, since the book I am looking for is a Christmas book, I thought I might get lucky. And yes, I will cop to thinking very hard about if I wanted to give my money to a Christian bookstore, but then decided I needed to not pre-judge. Maybe this bookstore was run by good Christians.

Lithus and I walked in. The bell over the door rang. A woman came around the corner, walked up to us, looked me in the eye ~ and kept walking. Past me to the woman behind me. And asked her, "may I help you find anything?" And this is only the most recent example; it is far from the only one.

Good Christians, indeed.



However, instead of being angry, hurt, and slinking away, I am going to tell you about an organization I know of. I first heard about it from Mike, over at My Point Being. It's NALT ~ Not All Like That. It's Christians who are coming together to publicly, loudly, support the LGBTQ communities. Now, while this particular organization is LGBTQ-centric, I find that Christians who support this community tend to support other communities ~ you know, the ones made up of people who don't necessarily look like them, or dress like them, or dare to walk into your bookstore wearing a leopard print coat and a streak in their hair.


So, good Christians, check out NALT. Find a way to be vocal about your acceptance of people who are being attacked, in large and small ways. Reject, loudly and vociferously, what hateful Christians are doing to your faith, your religion, and your God's teachings. Now, in this holy time, speak up. Do not let their voices be the only ones we hear. Please.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

Oh, you good and faithful servant, thank you.


Christmas ...Dirges?

For a few years now, I have had the hardest time finding Christmas carols that sound like the ones I listened to and sang growing up. Those carols were upbeat, celebratory, joyful. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, for unto you is born a savior, hooping and hollering, excited about this shit. Now, these same carols are...not.

I know my parents, and hence the churches they attended, were liberal but I hadn't fully realized that might impact the speed at which they sang songs. Mind you, I don't know for certain this is why the carols from my youth and the carols I can find now sound so very different, but it's a working theory.

Regardless, I am trying very hard to find the sounds that celebrate my season, my way. And if you've got a request, let me know!

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.




 


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Back From the Edge

Did you catch, a couple of posts ago, that I am back in therapy? Well, I am. It's not a full-blown episode, for which I'm grateful, but I'm not quite right, either. So, I'm tweaking some stuff. Remembering some stuff. Honing my coping skills again. For the most part, I'm doing well.

Yesterday, though...yesterday was a touchy day. I hadn't slept well the night before. My mood was off. Then, three things happened:

1. I received a text message from the FE. She and I have an agreement that we know the other is out there. We can go months without exchanging an email, text, or word ~ but we never lose sight that the other one's out there. And just like that, out of nowhere, on a day I really needed it, a text. From my friend.

2. The Lovely Cats and I had a good conversation. An important conversation. Some dots were connected; some lightbulbs went on.

3. Lithus brought home a speaker set. One of those things you plug your pad or your iPhone or your computer into and it fills the room with music. Music. Right now, of the holiday variety, but music. When did I let music drop out of my life?

I sang carols and danced and let the sounds of the season fill my space ~ all my spaces ~ and slowly came back from the edge. For the most part, I'm pretty independent. Autonomous with stand-alone properties, even. But sometimes...sometimes, it's good to be reminded I am not alone. I am loved. I am considered worthy. I am missed. It's good to remember and, yes, to be reminded.

Even I sometimes can't find the words I want. When that happens, where better to turn than the Muppets? So...








Those are Pobble Thoughts ~ with some help from the Muppets. That and a buck fifty will get you an eggnog latte.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Yearly Giving Post

Every year, I write about giving. This is the time of year most of us think about it, so it seems appropriate to write about it during the holidays. Guess what? This year's no different! Yay!

Have I told you my new favorite way to give? I don't think I have. Every time I go to the grocery store from whenever I think to start doing it (usually early November) through to Christmas, I pick up a $.99 toothbrush (usually a Crest one) and a $1.07 tube of toothpaste (usually Aim). An extra $2.06 to our shopping cart. Get them home and unpack them into a grocery bag hanging on the back of the guest bathroom door. 

It doesn't matter if we are doing a full on shopping, or just grabbing eggs, I buy the toothbrush and toothpaste. By the end of December, I have a lot of toothbrushes and toothpaste behind our door. Sometime between Christmas and New Year, I will take that bag over to whichever local organization is helping my community's homeless.

Here's the thing though: it doesn't have to be toothbrushes. It can be a box of mac and cheese, a jar of peanut butter, a box of tampons, a thing of deodorant (what are those called? tubes isn't right...dispenser...? digressing...) 

Sure, it's late in the season to create much critical mass ~ but it's not too late. Hell, it's never too late. If you buy a single toothbrush, I promise you, your local shelter or charity will appreciate it. But, if you want to do more than that, buy one something every time you go to the grocery or drugstore between now and New Years. Every. Single. Time. First, I bet you'll be surprised how often you shop. Second, you'll create a nice little bag of important stuff. For less than $2.50 a pop.

Regardless of what you celebrate, isn't taking care of each other, loving each other, and being good to one another kind of the point? You don't have to write huge checks or attend galas or smother an adopted family with presents. You can buy a toothbrush. Whatever you can do. Trust me, it matters. 

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Monday, December 02, 2013

Not Just Christmas

Here in the US, at least, the "holiday season" tends to indicate November through January. For the War On Christmas people, who want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and only a Merry Christmas, may I remind you about these 2013/2014 dates...

November 3: Diwali, the Hindu celebration of lights
November 4: Al-Hijira, the Muslim new year
November 12: Birth of Baha'u'llah, the celebration of the founder of the Baha'i faith
November 13: Ashura, an Islamic day of mourning for Husayn ibn Ali
November 15: Shichi-go-san, the Shinto day of prayer for the health and growth of children
November 17: the Sikh celebration of the birth of Guru Nanak
November 23: Niinamesei, Shinto harvest/labor thanksgiving day celebration
November 24: Sikh observance of the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur
November 26: Baha'i celebration of the Day of the Covenant, when 'Abdu'l-Baha' promised to unite the people
November 28: Baha'i commemoration of the death and ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha'
November 28: Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of light

December 8: Bodhi Day, the Buddhist celebration of enlightenment
December 21: Yule, the Pagan celebration of the birth of the God, and the return of the sun
December 26: Kwanzaa (really? I'd originally left out Kwanzaa????), a celebration of Family, Community and Culture

January 5: the Sikh celebration of the birth of Guru Bogind Singh
January 7: Rasafarian Christmas
January 13: Milad un-Nabi, the Muslim commemoration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad
January 14: Makar Sankranti, the Hindu celebration of the movement of the sun into the Northern Hemisphere/ into Makara Rashi
January 15: the Shinto "Coming of Age Day", Seijin Shiki
January 16: Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish new year for trees
January 31: the Sikh celebration of the birth of Guru Har Rai

(all dates from www.123newyear.com)

So! Folks, next time you feel like maybe Christmas isn't getting a good enough shake or enough attention, do try to remember ~ it's not just Christmas happening this "holiday season."

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Another Travel Day

When I agreed to do NaBloPoMo with Lori, I had forgotten that November rolls right on into December. Okay, perhaps "forgotten" is too strong a word. I just didn't think it through. Because my own personal tradition has me posting a seasonal song every day in December through early January. Which means a lot more posting for me, even though NaBloPoMo is over. What the hell, why not?

An interesting thing about being on the road at least 26 weeks out of the year ~ you start taking travel for granted. Lithus' time off ends on July 1, so we travel July 1. He gets off shift on July 20, we travel on July 21. No big deal. Unless you replace "July" with "December." Suddenly, we are finding ourselves traveling on some of the busiest travel days of the entire year, completely by accident. And you know what else? The airlines really don't care that we're not traveling for holiday reasons. The prices are the same for us as they are for everyone else who is looking to travel this month, and only this month. Those $300 round trip tickets we were getting in July? Not so much. At least his office manager gets tickets early enough that we are still sitting together. It's a nice little perk.

This really isn't a complaining post ~ although I understand why you might read it as such ~ as much as it is an observant one. I remember once, back when I was making the drive from Worcester to the Lovely Cat's house a lot, I made the run during summer and was stunned at how many people were in my rest stop. It was usually me, a couple truckers, and the people behind the counters. This stop, it was me, a couple truckers, the people behind the counters ~ and a bazillion summer family road trippers. I'm expecting the same kind of reaction when we get to Salt Lake airport this afternoon.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee. And oh yeah, some music to start the season...


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Overheard In NOLA

Yesterday was present wrapping day here at Casa de Pobble. We leave town on Sunday, to be gone until December 21st, so we had to be way ahead of the game this year. By the end of day, we had one large box, one medium-large box, two medium boxes, and a small box. Plus, two light things in bags that needed special packaging. It was time to head to the post office.

Which is half a mile away. Do you remember we don't have a car? And while we have a cart, the post office is in the Federal Building, so we can't tie the cart up outside, nor can we bring the cart into the building. So, no cart. Yep, we were carrying. Five boxes, two bags.

We worked it that I had the large box and two light bags. Lithus had the four medium-ish boxes. And off we went. At the crosswalk, we're waiting for the light to turn, and traffic gets backed up into an intersection. We're all waiting, balancing boxes on the curb, drumming fingers in the car in front of us. When the driver looks up and says "Hey, where are you two heading? Got far to go? Need any help?"

***
***
***

A total stranger, having no clue where we were going, offered to give us and our boxes a ride. We turned it down, because we were almost to the post office, but it made my day. Yes, New Orleans has issues, but sometimes, a stranger will offer to give you a lift, too. It's not all bad.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap

A couple years ago, I learned just how easy Thanksgiving can be. Last year, I learned just how easy Christmas can be. Eventually, I may get used to holidays that are this laid back, but for now, it continues to surprise, as well as delight, me. Guess what kind of a day it was around here yesterday? At least we showered. That counts for something, doesn't it?

I was hoping to find a late-season pumpkin. Instead, I ended up with the very last can (without exaggeration)
of pumpkin puree from any of the three stores where we shop. *whew*

My grandmother's dressing. I was pleased to learn this was made at the Lovely Cats' house, as well.
Nice to have passed along a tradition.

See my little pot there in the middle? No?

Here it is, front and center
Some of my warmest memories of my mother are around Thanksgiving. Somewhere along the line, it became the holiday I hosted. When my mother was in my home, she taught me hands on, but still allowed me to be the hostess. When she wasn't with me in the kitchen, she was the one I would call to talk through the timing of the day to ensure everything hit the table at the same time. She taught me the quick wash. To start the day with a clean kitchen, an empty dishwasher, and a new trashbag. To clean after every wave of cooking, so that each wave was as organized as the one before it. That food made from love will always taste better than food made from a recipe. To enjoy myself as much as my guests do.

They are good lessons. They are better memories. And yesterday just added to list of happy holidays.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.