Friday, January 12, 2018

Words have never mattered more

Every day for so many days (too many days, weeks, months) I have read, listened to, and been bombarded with excuses for why totally unacceptable words (thoughts, phrases, philosophies, mortifying boasts) were okay to say.

Why those words don't mean what we all think they mean.

Why we weren't in the room and that discounts any dismay and outrage.

Why it's the spirit and not the content of the words that matter (those are RARELY different).

Why we need an interpreter to understand the leader of our nation.

Why we are the crazy, hateful, dangerous ones.

I am sick of it.

Words matter.

Words are my life. My living. My soul.

photo -

But even if I did not hold words so dear, they matter.

Words tell the world who we are. What we stand for. What we accept. What we're willing to put up with. What makes us draw a hard line. What we aspire to.

Massaging words to ease the pain they make us feel is wrong.

And it could be the worst mistake we ever make.

Words are what give monsters power. And when we make their words okay by dismissing what they're telling us, we're inviting them to hide underneath our beds.

Over the past year I have purchased a surprising number of t-shirts emblazoned with words that scream what my heart is feeling.

Shirts that show my
and rebellion
in the face of those who would turn words into bullies.

I've never done this before.

But I feel an overpowering need to restore words to their objective meaning--even if it's only by broadcasting them across my chest. And ,thereby, lodging my strong dissent with those that would distort and render impotent these most valuable friends that have led us into every important human victory we have ever had.

The Declaration of Independence is words.

The Constitution is words.

Prayer is words.

I have a dream is words.

I love you is words.

I forgive you is words.

I want to understand is words.

I'm sorry is words.

I need help is words.

I'm afraid is words.

How can I help is words.

ze - cis - they - she - he is words.

I hate is words.

Shithole countries is words.

None of those phrases need an explanation. We all know what they mean.

To discount the inherent meaning of any of those words renders all the rest of them meaningless--futile.

If any of those words somehow don't mean what they actually mean, than ALL are null.

My heart is heavy.

My soul is tired.

My anger is ignited.

My fire is fueled.

As a messenger of words I want to also be a guardian of them--and what they mean.

The cowardice of our ELECTED leaders who allow this to continue unchecked is shameful.

The answer seems easy--let words mean what they mean.

Let the people who say them be held accountable for them.

Let the rest of us use our words to make sure that happens.

I'm not dismissing actions--to utter words is an action. And, as they are the weapon being used against decency, empathy, compassion, humanity--we must wield them with ferocity.

photo - kidsumers

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Ghosts of TV Christmas Past

There's only a week left. Not even that, really. Six days. 

I've almost missed it. Almost.

But I'll take those six days and deem it not too late to share a holiday blog. It's my favorite time to write and I always have so much to say, but I've just been letting the voices in my head hash it out so far this year. No more! I'm silencing those voicesor at least sharing their cacophony with a larger audience.

And now this...

Thanks to the wonderful world of streaming TV we can now visit the ghosts of TV past whenever we want to. I have a regular playlist of episodes from beloved shows that always give me what I needbe that laughter, comfort, or really, I'm looking for laughter, here.

As I snuggled down to watch one of these yuletide shows, I realized I had never shared these holiday treats with you. So, in an effort to right that grievous wrong, here is a (partial) list of must-see holiday TVaccording to me.

"How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" The X-Files

If you like your holiday more maudlin and ghosty, but have tired of the "A Christmas Carol" trope, then this is one show that will not disappoint. This episode is the epitome of all the things I love, love, LOVE about The X-Files. It showcases Mulder and Scully in all their believing and skeptical (respectively) glory.

Mulder lures Scully to a haunted manor and basks in the perfection of his own words as he tells her the tale of the ill-fated young lovers whose spirits walk the halls each Christmas Eve, "I think I just gave myself the chills."

Scully is characteristically impatient and wants to go home to wrap presents (which are already wrapped when they pan to them) and get on with regular happy-family Christmas things.

The interplay between Mulder and Scully is just right and so much fun, as is the entire episode. The ghosts are played delightfully by Lilly Tomlin and Ed Asner and they push the limits of Christmas ghost shenanigans.

Photo: X-Files Wiki
It's a spooky yuletide caper and one very much worth a look. When the agents uncover two corpses under the floorboards and Scully notes that "she's wearing my outfit," Mulder's pithy response is, "How embarrassing."

Little gems like that are scattered throughout, along with plenty of eloquent discourse about what the holidays really mean and our desire to believe in things greater than ourselves like ghosts (which, according to Scully, don't exist).

"It doesn't take a degree in psychology to understand the unconscious yearnings that these imaginings satisfy..the longing for immortality, the hope that there is something beyond this mortal coil, that we might never be long without our loved ones...these are powerful powerful desires. I mean, they're the very essence of what makes us human...the very essence of Christmas, actually."

"A Very Supernatural Christmas" Supernatural

Photo: The Winchester Family Business

For those who yearn to ring in the holidays with some horrific ancient lore and two really hot guys, Supernatural's got you covered. They even throw in a healthy dose of really earnest Christmas spirit. 

The show starts out with a little boy witnessing the magic of Santa (his costumed grandpa) delivering gifts under the tree. This Christmas dream-come-true is rudely interrupted when Santa gets yanked up the chimneyleaving nothing but a bloody boot behind.

Needless to say, other merry-makers start to go missing as well, and it's not long before Sam and Dean come sniffing around. Other than the usual monster-of-the-week formula, this episode is interspersed with cut-backs to childhood memories of a Winchester family Christmas. 

A poignantly sad moment that still grabs a few laughs is when big brother Dean presents young Sam with presents on Christmas morning, saying that Dad just couldn't wake Sam up. Sam tears in only to find a Barbie doll and a sparkly baton.

Photo: The Supernatural Fox Sisters
"Dad must think you're a girl," Dean says. But Sam gets what really happened, and in a show of gratitude and brotherly love hands Dean the special present he was saving for their father (it's the Samulet!). 

In between soft, gushy moments and saccharine-soaked displays of holiday spirit on steroids we get to see the boys hilariously sing a Christmas carol, shop for "fussy" wreaths, andof coursebeat the shit out of "Anti-Claus."

It's a rollicking good time and is the perfect Christmas treatment from a show chock-full of angels, magic, and spirits of every kind.

"The One with the Holiday Armadillo" Friends
This is hands-down my all-time favorite funny holiday sitcom episode period. It's frickin' hilarious!! And I still laugh out loud ridiculously every time I watch it. It never gets old. 

If you haven't watched it, you need to. I'm not going to tell you anything about it. Just go watch it. Right now. I mean it. 

Photo: Pinterest

"All About Christmas Eve" Will and Grace

I have a dream. And it's to spend Christmas Eve with my kiddos in a swanky hotel room overlooking Times Square, wearing a fluffy white robe, downing champagne, and calling room service, housekeeping, maintenance, and anyone else we can lure to our room so we can employ the age-old tradition of caroling. 

It's a fantasy that was inspired by this episode and I'm going to make it happen one day, if it's the last Christmas fantasy dream thing I ever do! 

Photo: Previously TV

Did I forget to mention the flashing? You're welcome NYC! 

Happy Christmas & God Bless Us - Every One!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fireworks - Take Two

This post was originally published in July 2010, but I find the sentiment still rings true. I have made some updates to reflect the changes in the constellation of my life over the past seven years, but thought this entry was well-suited to kick off the blog after a six month respite. Enjoy!

I couldn't find a fireworks pic, but thought this beach sunset could stand in!

On my way home from Terri's one Fourth of July a few years ago, I saw brilliant explosions of color and light through my windshield and in my rearview mirror. I was surrounded by fireworks. And it was awesome.

It got me thinking about how many bright, scary, fun and always surprising explosions happen in our lives all the time.

Savannah graduating from high school. (Then college, then getting a big Director of Communications job and traveling to foreign lands like Colombia and Australia all by herself.)

Savannah's graduation from the U!

Gabi's irresistible snicker at an "adult" joke she just shouldn't get. (And turning into an adult who knows who he is [TYLER], who has weathered impossible storms like a pro and who can to grab a beer with me at The Local.)
Momma & Tyler
A puppy nuzzling my neck. (Living with TWO dogs and finding out I secretly love it.)

                                                Alexis (RIP 6.20.16)

Seeing Bachelor #2 drive by me smiling and waving in the Kaysville 4th of July Parade. (Finding the right guy for me at my brother's wedding and getting engaged in the company of sea turtles on a Hawaiian beach.)

The sea turtles on the beach!

The ring!

The guy!

A bevy of young, 20-something guys vying for my affections. (This would still be totally awesome, but the vying has most definitely cooled.)

Terri's mom having emergency exploratory surgery to find the source of internal bleeding after a "routine" operation. (Discovering the frailties of all of our parents, and starting to see them in ourselves.)

The surge of support and love triggered by a text message prayer chain. (AMEN!)

Every day we have many "fireworks" moments. Moments that cannot be ignored. That call us to full attention--whether in awe, in excitement, in happiness, in fear, in gratitude, in anger, in sorrow or in laughter.

The form and delivery of these everyday explosions are varied and often unexpected, but what can be relied upon is that they will happen. It can be that touch on your hand that still feels thrilling after years of marriage or that accidental glimpse of your child being completely themselves when they think no one is looking.

It can be an inexplicable feeling of calm in the middle of a furious emotional storm that you fear may overtake you. Or the simple joy of breathing in the air after a rainstorm.

Some days we are searching for miracles
                                            and others they just show up,

                        out of the night sky,

                                                  in our rearview mirror.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gilmore Girls Observances by Tyler & Me

YAY! My Tyler-boy is home!! And, as expected, we have jumped right into some "Gilmore Girls" viewing. NOT the new season, of course, because we are missing the third of our three musketeers, but a few important, selected catch-up episodes for the sone who has not yet made it back through ALL the episodes!

So, the most wonderful of all wonderful things occurred as we began our GG session - we realized that we had MANY similar observations of the characters and series and I decided that those observations MUST be the next post I make.

Here goes...

1. Paris is crazy and scary and awesome and crazy. This is not a news flash to anyone, but as we watched her "hunkered down in her hobo hut inside the 'Daily News'" (so said Tyler) it came into acute and glorious focus. We loves ya, Paris, we LOVE ya!!! (and - YEAH - Paris Gellar does NOT perp walk!)

2. Rory is a creepy kisser. I really thought it was just about those gross first kisses with Dean, but, really, she's not an awesome kisser. And Tyler agrees. He thinks that Alexis isn't even good at it when she's not Rory - like in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." Ewwwww!

3. Tyler dresses just like Luke. In fact, they are literally wearing the same shirt right now as we watch season 6, episode 14. Yup.

4. Emily is just divine! Again, not a news flash, but one thing that we all seem to agree on is how much we LOVE Emily Gilmore. Sure, she's infuriating much of the time. But she's the OG when it comes to infuriating, passive-aggressive, shrill, biting comments and manipulative cahoots!

5. Sometimes Rory's bangs are a bit heavy. That's all. There's really not more to say.

6. Luke does sort of resemble Nicolas Cage. I recently made a post on Facebook about one of my favorite holiday movies, "The Family Man," starring Nicolas Cage. My mom made a comment, "Do you think Luke looks like Nicolas?" It took me a minute to figure out which Luke she meant, but then it was obvi. And, yes, tonite Tyler and I have noticed that Luke does, at times, resemble Nicolas Cage. Especially without the baseball cap.

7. Rory's immaturity and fit-throwing bug us so much because we're used to her being the grownup. Our catch-up viewing tour started with "Friday Night's All Right for Fighting" because of Savannah's strong recommendation and insistence that the family tension showcased at the end of the episode felt very, very familiar.

Anyhoo - as I've already pointed out, this episode in particular seems to showcase Lorelai acting the mature parent with wise insights and helpful advice, while Rory acted the petulant, spoiled, only child (according to Emily at dinner!). The point is, Tyler said he wanted to throttle Rory and I explained that she is supposed  to be acting like a brat and figuring things out and being ridiculous - because she's young and growing and learning. Lorelai, on the other hand, should have been the grownup all along, but she doesn't usually act like it - however, she suddenly jumps the shark in this episode into a wise, maternal sage spouting helpful, rational, reasonable, forgiving and even generous guidance. It's weird.

It may not look like it, but this is Lorelai's shining, mature mom moment!

Well, friends, that's about it. Today is the last day in our resistance of the new GG episodes. Tomorrow we will dive in!


Friday, December 16, 2016

Day 6 - Emily Gilmore's Guide to Life

She can be a polarizing figure, but the more times I watch "Gilmore Girls" the more I just love Emily.

She's the Queen Bee, the Queen Bitch, the one who taught Lorelai to hold grudges and manipulate her loved ones - and a woman who takes life firmly by the balls (although she would never be that crude!) and makes it her bitch.

Here's a peek at life according to the undeniable, unflappable, absolutely fantastic and perfectly infuriating Emily Gilmore.

Know what you want 
and don't let anyone give you any shit for demanding it. 

When it comes to men - make them work for it. 

Reward a person's actions accordingly...

Sometimes, even the most refined woman needs to pull out the big girl swears.

Don't cross her family - she'll make you pay.

Keeping up with the Joneses is for amateurs.

Be culturally sensitive... the best of your ability.

Twinning ROCKS!

If you're going to suffer, take the ones you love down with you!

Sometimes we all need a little breakdown.

NOTHING happens without her approval. 

We all get a crack in our armor from time to time. 

Never miss a chance to humiliate an enemy with lascivious secrets and bad fashion.

You've got to have standards. 

Do as I say, not as I do... 

Call your loved ones out before they stage the intervention.

And, matter what anyone else thinks, two glasses of wine at lunch is ALWAYS the right decision! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Day 8 - Friday Night's All Right For Fighting

Many of you may recognize the name of this post as the title of Season 6, Episode 13. About a week ago Savannah texted me at an ungodly hour to let me know she was literally LOL-ing her ass off watching this episode of familial dysfunction and confrontation.

I decided that I needed to immediately review said episode to refresh my memory of the exact context.

Savannah's description:
"Momma! I'm watching the episode in season 6 when the whole family is fighting at dinner then getting along and then fighting and then getting along. It feels like our lives. Haha."

I received the message with a mix of pride and trepidation.

First, I was exhilarated that she was reminded of her own family and second, I was mortified that what inspired that comparison was fighting - then getting along - then fighting - then getting along.

I jumped into the tub, set up my bathtub office and re-watched the entire episode.

In the context of Savannah's declaration, and my previous countdown posts, I had several epiphanies during my review. Here you go:

1. OMG - Lorelai actually shows all the growth and insight I have heretofore claimed she was without! Yes, it's true! In this episode, Lorelai orchestrates a reunion between Rory and her grandparents (to which none of them consented) and counsels her daughter with these wise, wise, words:

"You and your grandparents are at a huge crossroads - a precipice, if you will - they are the bridges of Madison County and you are Meryl Streep...I know you and your grandparents are playing 'who can freeze out who the longest' - which I know can be fun - but if you ever hope to have a relationship with again, then someone needs to make the first move.

"I remember the first Christmas (yes - there's a Christmas tie-in!) after we left Hartford. We were at the Independence Inn and I got an invitation to their annual Christmas party and I didn't go, and that one move defined our entire future relationship."

Lorelai goes on to admit that her effort to break the ice so many years ago wouldn't have felt wonderful, but it may have been the first step to a different relationship and potentially different future for both her and Rory.

After Rory admits that it may - or may not have- made a difference, Lorelai pulls at her daughter's heartstrings, emphasizing how important a relationship with her grandparents has always been to Rory. Then Lorelai pulls out the big guns - she's already scheduled Friday Night Dinner for all of them - just like old times.

"C'mon - Friday night dinner - cocktails, Mozart, mind games, good times."

OMG! I have to reiterate the horrible text talk for this one. I actually feel badly for condemning Lorelia so harshly without giving her performance in this episode its due. She is the Lorelai I've always longed for - the one I knew was there somewhere - the one who was able to contribute to the growth and development of an exceptional daughter.

Kudos, Lorelai! Kudos!

2. Family dinners are prone to awfulness. I like to believe that when our family gets together it's always awesome, but I know that is likely not the total truth. While I, as the grownup, may have one perspective, my loinfruit may have another.

I tried to watch the melodrama of the Friday night dinner in question play out from Savannah's perspective. After a while, it wasn't a challenge to see what she was so ebulliently texting me about.

There was a veneer of formality and politeness, under which months and years of resentment, misunderstanding, fear, and love were bubbling.

They were all on edge until they were shouting outright at one another.

Then they were all admonished to behave civilly and give every one at the table their due.

Then they were all laughing uncontrollably as they all united in spiteful mirth against a common enemy.

Then they were dredging up age-old hurts and parading them out for good measure.

Then they were uniting again.

Then dissenting.

And so on...

I believe it is the combination of bi-polar responses and full cocktails that really brough thte episode home for my progeny.

3. Through the years, we all will be together...Even if it's only during the holidays, family will haunt you until the end of your days - and we wouldn't it any other way.

Whether we like it or not, family is hard to shake - and most of the time that's a really, REALLY good thing. And they're gonna stand by us no matter how much we go off their pre-planned course for us, or how many tattoos we get, or how much we vote for the opposite political party.

What watching this episode after the input of my daughter did for me, was to solidify the importance - and blessing - of family in our lives.

Rarely are we so motivated to understand the other side's point of view. To put aside our gut reaction to hear what someone else has to say. To look past our biases to see the best in others - because we see those others as human beings, and part of our whole.

The big, bad truth is that we very rarely see eye-to-eye with those in our lives. But there are reasons that we soldier on - business, friendship and family. And, when it comes to family, we don't really have a choice. Of course, we could choose to freeze out our family forever, but if those relationships matter, we're going to work to find a way to get to neutral ground. And that's exactly what this episode explores - and it doesn't make it pretty.

Whether we like it or not, we tend to love our family - and that forgives a multitude of (real OR imagined) sins. This "Gilmore Girls" episode shows us how to navigate those stormy waters. Next time you're at a loss for how to get past something with your great aunt or brother-in-law, sit everyone down in front of this episode and (if it's your style) pour a fresh round of drinks and watch a family that's more (for the moment) dysfunctional than yours.

And laugh, and shake your head, and use the break in tension to become friends again. Believe me, it will be worth it.

XOXO to all the families and other complicated relationships out there - love one another!

Day #8 - My favorite quote from the episode under discussion:

"I tried to timeshare a plane. It is in no way even close to the same thing."

Confessions of a 21st Century Wonder Woman