Monday, July 20, 2009

Double D's

I've been haunted by them lately. They won't leave me alone. I am PLAGUED by them!!

And not the soft, squishy, fun kind.

I'm talking about Disappointment and Depression.

Lately that seems to be all I have to dole out to those I love.

I say I'll go to the concert, and then I cancel.

I say I'm coming to the family reunion, and then I cancel.

I invite a friend along to the family reunion and once she calls to ask when we're leaving I realize I forgot to tell her...I CANCELED!

I don't plan to cancel. I don't want to cancel. But I didn't want to say yes in the first place.

Not that I don't want to spend time with people I love. I do. I just don't want to spend time with ME right now--and the thought of inflicting that ME (that I don't even like) on others seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

Admittedly, I ain't the sweetest grape in the bunch on the BEST of imagine how unbearable I am when the voices in my head (that usually laugh at all my jokes and say how charming--no, funny--no, absolutely undeniably irresistible I am) are talking about what a snarky bitch I can be.

I've started writing an "open letter to the dipshit in the green BMW." Stay tuned: it will be premiering soon! In fact, I could write an open letter to every idiot I drive behind, because every person I find myself on the road with, IS. AN. IDIOT.

I think the same thing in the grocery store. And watching the news. And hiding behind my blinds from the neighbor who wants to smile and wave at me.

All of my life part of me has been attracted to the "sweet spirit." To those women who are always sunshine and light, and even after visiting the loo, leave butterflies and flowers in their wake. Part of me wants to be like them. Wants to be the woman that makes people say, "Oh, she is just SO nice!"

But I'm not.

And, as my ex-husband once said (after a quite rabid rant on being the "sweet one"), "You don't really want to be like them. You're far too interesting." (I KNEW I had good reasons for marrying him--he often knew just what to say!)

Yet, as I sit here typing away and sipping a glass of chardonnay, while the litter box needs to be cleaned and the fridge is full of (only) condiments (and soda--there was a great sale!) and the floor needs to be vacuumed and there's a pile of unfolded laundry on my bed, I have a fantasy.

And in that fantasy, I AM that other woman.

The one who's never as happy as when she's cleaning and baking. The woman who would NEVER serve her family processed food (and ramen? Forget it!) In these horrible, Delusional (that's another D--now I'm up there with Terri in the Triples!) fits of Donna Reed nostalgia I feel like everything I've ever done has been sub-par--and the fact that I'm writing this instead of dealing with any of that other, CONFIRMS that I will ALWAYS be sub-par.

And I'm almost out of time. Can I even make up for the past with my kids half-way (if only!) out the door to adulthood? And what about when they ARE gone? My time as a divorced woman is breathing down the neck of my time as a wife.

But before I start to hyperventilate and spiral even more deeply into despair, I need to fill my wine glass...get a bath started...find my book...and light a candle. I need to tell my girls goodnite and that I love them. I need to thank the Lord above for the roof over our heads and my continued ability to keep it there with work that I am passionate about.

And after I do all of that, and lean back into the steamy water, take a deep breath, and close my eyes for just a moment, I know that those Double D's are only temporary--and I'll be back to my own, comfortable B's (Becky, bubbly, boozy?) soon enough!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Excuse me...are you on the VIP list?

When I was a little girl I was afraid that I wouldn't recognize my family in heaven. I heard a lot about how we would have new bodies after we died and I was worried about not knowing my parents or brothers once we had all shuffled off this mortal coil.

My mom assured me that even though we would have new bodies we would recognize one another.

After I watched the memorial service for Michael Jackson, I vowed to stop my obsessive viewing of the non-stop coverage of his life. I was doing really well until tonite...I'm weak!

While watching the E! True Hollywood Story and seeing, once again, the repeated denials of plastic surgery and child molestation it occurred to me that we would never know the complete truth until the afterlife.

Then I wondered if we would recognize celebrities in heaven. If they make it past that most important of all velvet (or is it pearly?) ropes, will we recognize them as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, or Elvis Presley? Will we still be in awe of JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the ever-fabulous Jackie O?

It may be a sad reflection of the state of my soul that my mind wanders to celebrities even when pondering the great hereafter, but I have already admitted that I have a problem. I take some small comfort in the fact that I not only pay attention to the daily trials and travails of pop-culture icons, but I am also interested in the state of their eternal souls...that's gotta count for something, right?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sticks and Stones

Recently I was given a pretty nice compliment:

"There's nothing pretentious about you at all."

I was almost giddy at the words. Not that I necessarily think of myself as pretentious, but I don't think I'm NOT pretentious.

I shared this compliment with Terri and she said that she never thought of me as pretentious; she thinks arrogant or condescending might be better words to describe me. Then, on second thought, she said what I thought was, "Nah, those words are too nice to describe you."


If pretentious and arrogant are too nice for me, what must my best friend of 17+ years think of me? I mean, I'm all about honesty, but sometimes it can go too far. And I don't care how many rhymes you use to comfort me, words can hurt.

When Jeff walked in the door I let him know what his wife had just said to me. As she listened to me repeat her words, she clarified. Apparently, I had misheard. What she actually said was that I was too nice to be described by those words. That's better!

But it got me thinking. What were the right not-so-nice words to describe me--and was I really too nice, or had we just not come upon the right adjective yet?

A few days later I was regaling another friend with this tale when she asked me what not-so-nice words I would use to describe her. This is a tricky situation. You need to tread carefully. I thought about it for a while and came up with the following:

"I think that you are an elitist lesbian."

I explained that I think there is a strong penchant for elitism in any circle, but the lesbians (many of whom I love) have their own, special brand of it. LaRiesse laughed, and added that it usually comes with soy milk and a Subaru.

At this point, we had to cut our conversation short because she had to run in to Whole Foods to pick up some organic pepper-jack cheese for a party she was headed to. (Need I say more?)

I do believe that elitism or pretension does exist in many forms--and I bet most of us are pretentious about something. As for me, I'm going to go with grammatically pretentious. And, yes, I'm proud of it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

10 reasons I'm proud to be an American

Those of you who know me, know that I have a tendency to get all teary-eyed at things like the Olympics, the flag being carried in a parade, and the national anthem. While this may seem strange, it is one of the many bizarre things that makes me (hopefully) moderately entertaining.

Even though I didn't get teary-eyed at yesterday's parade (I got lotion in my eye!), I did at church this morning when we sang "America the Beautiful." So, in honor of the 4th of July ( I KNOW today is the 5th) here's a little countdown of why I firmly believe that America is still the greatest country on earth:

10. E!--yes...I love the E! network, and only in America can you find such a proudly blatant tribute to gross narcisism and celebrity whoredom.

9. NYC--we are the proud "owners" of the modern-day Rome--after my first 10 minutes in the city, I knew without a doubt that I HEART NYC!!

8. Johnny Depp--i know he doesn't really live here anymore, but he came from the good, ol' U-S-of-A and he does us proud in every role (besides, he DID partner with ultra-American Disney to be a certain pirate inspired by Keith Richards)

7. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart--in my opinion, the most reliable source for news and commentary on events both national and worldwide. I'll take my moment of zen over CNN, MSNBC, or any other "news" channel out there (you know who are...FOX"news"!)

6. The Wasatch Mountains--when I first moved to Utah I noticed the mountains, but after a while I got used to them...every time my dad came for a visit, he would say "I can't believe you live right at the base of these mountains." Thanks to the relentless praise of my awe-struck father, I notice those mountains every day--and how gorgeous they look in the different light of the day, how they change with the seasons...and during those awful days of inversion, I know that if I just drive up high enough, the sky is always blue.

5. Reality TV--i started out as a hater, but then I realized that some of my most inspired insults, barbs, and witty social commentary comes out of the fury so often instigated by watching this self-promoting drivel.

4. David Sedaris--here's another one who opts to live much of his life on other soil, but he is not only my favorite writer, but my inspiration to write good, funny, entertaining stuff that I hope people enjoy.

3. The first amendment--hello! That's what it's all about...journalism, blogging, news, pop-culture overload, etc. I LOVE that I can say whatever the hell I think about whatever the hell I want...and I LOVE that everyone else can do that too. When I think of situations like what the Dixie Chicks had to deal with several years ago, it's makes me sick. Those who thought that they were un-American for saying what they thought are the saddest thing about America--they just don't get it, and they taint this freedom for all of us.

2. President Barak Obama--not only has he brought smart back, but he truly makes me feel proud to be an American, and inspires me to be a better citizen. After so many years struggling to be loyal to our Commander-in-Chief, I am so happy to have it finally be a pleasure and an honor.

1. My brother, my grandfathers, my stepfather, and all others who serve our country--okay, this is the part where I get teary-eyed. I am overwhelmed with gratitude, love, and awe for the men and women who risk--and give--their lives so I can watch E! and drink beer and blow up fireworks with my friends and family every year and have the life that I take for granted far more often than I should. When my brother saluted our grandfather before they closed his casket, and later presented the flag to my grandmother at the graveside, I was so grateful that he was back home with us after 18 months in Afghanistan, and that my grandfather came back from WWII to be the honorable man that showed me what I should be looking for in a guy. No words can ever equal the blood, sweat, and tears of these amazing people who face things I can't imagine to preserve the life that I experience every day and the future I hope for, for my daughters.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coming out of the closet..., not THAT closet. The "I heart Michael Jackson" closet.

I wanted to marry Michael Jackson when I was a little girl. In fact, my best friend Michelle and I would fight over him--and the loser got to marry Rick Springfield.

When I received a text from my older daughter that said, "Michael Jackson died. Cardiac arrest." I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

I was the first of my crowd to get the news--and from my daughter, no less. Later, when I asked her how she heard, she said that her best friend called her and told her that she should let her mom know.

"Why?" Savannah asked her friend.

"Because it seems like something your mom would want to know."

Amanda didn't know I had a deep-rooted fondness for the King of Pop, but she did know that I'm a pop-culture whore.

That night I found myself glued to 8 different channels, holding my own personal vigil for the gloved one, until 3am. I didn't want to be watching 8 channels into the wee hours of the morning, but I couldn't stop myself.

For someone who grew up in the MTV generation, there isn't much that's as fascinating as watching the video to Billie Jean, Beat It, or Thriller. In fact, I saw the full-length version of Thriller that night for the first time in over a decade--and I still found it scary.

When I called my mom to tell her that Michael Jackson had died she said it reminded her of how she felt when she'd learned that Elivis died, or John Lennon. We talked about the funeral of Princess Diana. The most profound thing for me is how these people, who very few ever know personally, make such a huge impact--on a global level--an impact that allows people to feel their loss personally.

The other thing that I realized as I watched video after video was that the Michael Jackson that I had been so fanatical about had been gone for a very long time. And this finally gave me permission to mourn the loss of that bright star.

There is no question that Michael was bizarre and did many good--and many highly suspect--things. He was a sad and strange man, who lived and died under the eyes of the world, for better or for worse.

Just as he was not only his artistic genius, he was not only his freakish appearance or suspected pedophelia.

My brother reminded me of the time our mother called us from work (she was a waitress at Marie Callendar's in Idaho Falls) and told us that Michael Jackson was at the restaurant. We didn't believe her. She said she was coming home to get us. I screamed all the way to the restaurant. When we got there we saw a Michael Jackson impersonator. My mom thought it was hilarious. I wanted to cry.

The man that I watched in tabloids and news coverage over the past fifteen years or so was not the man I screamed at the thought of meeting. I don't know if it was a result of my own innocence, his amazing talent, or the simple desire to want to be part of something that looks, and feels, and seems...great.

For whatever reason, the passing of this icon has impacted me. And that, in itself, I don't really understand. But when I watch him do the moonwalk, or perform any number of other dance moves that only he can do justice to, all I feel is that same excitement and awe that my younger self felt as I tried to memorize and duplicate just a little bit of the magic that Michael Jackson shared with all of us.