Ten things

I've been in a bit of a writing slump, so I'll try to take my own advice and just write a list.  Ten things, day 1:

1.  I have friends who communicate almost exclusively through emoticons.  I don't know what they mean usually, so I feel like that old person.  The "get off my lawn!  And don't tag me in snap chat!"  Sort of on the edge of knowing stuff.  Which reminds me of a FB friend I used to have who, rather than searching for someone he was thinking about, he posted their name as a status.  Like that.

2.  I like giving massages.  There's a bit of magic that's more than manipulating the muscles.  I don't like that a prostitution sting operation involves a fake "massage" parlor.  Grr.

3.  I've been cleaning my house more than usual.  And making less art.  Hmm.  Something always has to give.

5.  I'm trying to make a mosaic patio table, which is one of the worst ideas I've ever had, for the following reasons:

  • mosaic involves gluing tiny bits of glass onto a surface in a super fussy way.  I had very high hopes for this project until I remembered, partway into it, that I'm not a fussy person.  I like doodling and cooking and gardening -- things that forgive you the instant you leave the ground.  This, not so much.  
  • Oh, and there's fussy sticky glue, and you're trying to squeeze tiny bits of glass into just the right spot.  And your fingers get sticky, and it's just not fun.  
  • And, you either have to cut the glass up with the violent glass cutter, or use squares.  Violence, or squares?  Right?  Is that our choice?
  • I recall this thing we had during the summer when I was a kid, before parenting was a verb, called "Playground."  My friend and I walked ourselves to the school a half a mile away, where there was stuff going on: arts and crafts, a movie (which was a big deal then!), and games like tag.  I always picked arts and crafts, and made a series of mosaic ash trays for my non-smoking parents.  They always had that "my unsupervised kid made this without knowing what the hell she was doing" look about them, because the thing that makes mosaic good is being fussy.  Like having equal distances between the tile.  And having a plan, and tiles that are  the right colors and shapes, not just all the broken plates you've saved (not hoarded!), for years.  None of that, just so you know, is happening here.  
6.  The arc of history trends toward justice, because each generation is better than the last. The young people pull us and push us into being more open, more generous, and more just, than we are.  They feel contempt that we've settled.  Settled for jobs, relationships, lifestyles, that aren't as good as they could be. And most of all, for allowing injustice to persist, and for letting the problems in the world go unaddressed.

I know this because I heard my neighbors in a shouting match yesterday.  The young adult son declared he'll leave the country if Trump is elected, while the dad defended Trump, saying that muslims in Germany oppose Oktoberfest, due to the alcohol, and if we don't ban them from this country, who knows what's next?  (I could hear this discussion from 500 feet away!)  I didn't realize that Oktoberfest in Germany is one of the big issues for this election, but I've been out of the loop.   I'm way out of the loop, in fact.

7.  Even still, there's a different thing that we bring to the world as we age.  Yes, we're tired, and cynical, and we've settled, and sometimes choose to look the other way because yeesh, what do we look at?  The giant island of plastic?  Racism?  That local issue, whatever it is?  Climate change?  Unfairly incarcerated people?  Endangered species?  Cruelty to chickens?  Gun laws?  Economic disparity?  Sexual violence?  Carpal tunnel syndrome?  That weird noise my car makes?  (oh, wait. That doesn't belong here.) I could go on and on.  But what I've come to believe is that showing up and doing the best I can is an actual thing, and it's the only thing I've got.  At the most elemental level:  trying to practice kindness and generosity, trying to create goodness in my days by listening and trying.  Honoring my loved ones in the ways I think matter.  Letting go of friends who need distance gracefully and with love, not grasping.  Trying to be present to the suffering I encounter, even if it's not the worst suffering in the land.  No, my loved ones aren't about to become lamps made of skin, but still, their pain matters.  Voting.  Working to build institutions that will persist to do good work.  It's not enough, I know.

8.  Jeez, why did I say I'd write ten things?  Ten is almost 12, which is a full horoscope.  So, 8.


  1. Number 7 especially, but also 1 & 3, I couldn't agree more. I haven't tried a fussy craft in years. I feel your pain. They never turn out like I plan. So glad you keep showing up and writing.

    1. Thank you, Mel! So nice to hear from you!

  2. Yes, you summed it up nicely in 7. Number three reminds me that an immaculate house is the sign of a misspent life. Yes, I'm tired, cynical, and I feel I have settled, but I try not to let it show and bring everyone down with me. On the inside I know it's hopeless, but I hope the young people can make it better. I tried. I really did.

    1. I know, Jono. We DID try! Climate change isn't entirely your fault. We can share responsibility for that. :-). Immaculate houses, agreed!

  3. If you came into my house, or actually, just looked at if from the outside, you would see that I've settled for having a dirty house. I was just thinking about the fact that if I could get someone to come and clean twice a month it would be the most wonderful thing in the world. But...guilt.
    About what? It's not like I'd be forcing someone to do it without paying them.
    Yep. You nailed it here. And again- let me say- I just love your writing.
    I bet I'd like your massages too. A lot.
    I like YOU, Betsy. I really do.

    1. Aww, thank you. If I did come into your house, I wouldn't care about the dirt because I think we'd be busy laughing and eating food from your garden. Right? xoxox

  4. Yes, Playground...boondoggle, pop time, knock hockey, and I too made a tile ash tray. I'm crazy fussy with my crafts!

    1. Ha! Knock hockey! I forgot about that. I don't think I ever did it. But doesn't it seem weird now? I don't think there were permission slips or sign ins or anything. Were there even adults there?

  5. Number 7 is worth at least a half a dozen numbers all on its own. YES to all of it. Is this the wisdom that comes with age? Seems like it to me.

    I hope you get your writing groove back. I do love your posts.


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