The room I grew up in looked like Walt Disney had projectile puked in technicolor. That was more than a bit much, but I guess it had an influence. I do love color. Not so much in the clothes I wear, but for accessorizing, and surrounding me in the apartment. Just surprising pops of pretty. Fatigue surprised me last Friday Night Madness with the above bracelets. Aren’t they cool? They’re made of paper, an idea that I absolutely love.
It’s gray and blah outside, I swear the light snow coming down is slush. I just got back in from walking Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, where she cowered and shook her way down the block, unable to determine what was more terrifying–the super driving his little snow plow alongside us, or that horrible cold wet stuff under her feet.
But it is Friday, I’m looking forward to Friday Night Madness tonight, and I’m trying to get myself in the right mindset to grocery shop while staying within budget. I can’t complain, because I got to the fish store the other day and got a few new critters for the tank. Reefing can be a very expensive hobby, I stick to the cheaper fish and buy small, small frags. They’ll grow into larger, full colonies–patience is key in this hobby anyway.
I got a pair of fish I wasn’t planning on, a little more aggressive than I wanted. But when I saw the orange lips on that solorensis wrasse, and he had a mate with him, for an amazing price! I absolutely could not resist. I’m sharing photos of them below, happy with the livestock but unhappy that I still haven’t been able to figure out the best settings on the white balance when taking these photos. The LED light make everything appear very blue in the pics, no matter how I try to balance the settings of the actual lights. Still, take a tank tour with me, enjoy my pretties, creepy crawlies, and colors!
I’ve been thinking about something I saw on the news the other night. Patricia Todd, a legislator from Alabama, has threatened to “out” colleagues who campaign on a platform of and preach about family values and vote against marriage equality while having extra-marital and/or gay affairs.
My first thought was woo hoo! Do eeet! Then I read many statements and opinions of those who believe she’s wrong for threatening this. People who support marriage equality, but don’t believe in these tactics. Some strong and thoughtful points were made. For instance: would these outings be based on rumors? as a political tactic, the ethics of this are questionable, it would potentially hurt not just the politicians but their families as well, private lives should be private, and of course, it does sound an awful lot like extortion.
So I thought some more. And I’ve decided I’m ok with being immature and reactionary here, and support her doing this provided these potential “outings” were based on verifiable facts, not whispers in the schoolyard, and limited to the politicians themselves, not potential affairs of spouses, children, etc, and not using affairs conducted well before the person decided to run for office. People make their own choices for many reasons we know nothing about, and we the public may or may not be able to understand–it isn’t our business. If she knows any of her colleagues are gay but not out, or having extra-marital sex, and these colleagues are not trumpeting “family values” they should be left alone regardless of whether they’re Democrat, Republican, or Independent.
As far as I can tell, these threats were made only to those politicians who stand on their narrowly defined platform of family values. Well, if you decide to stand on a pin, you may fall off when the wind kicks up. I agree, private lives should be private. But these politicians have made it their business to say others aren’t entitled to dignity and equal rights, their (yanno, them–as opposed to us) private lives don’t deserve respect, because somehow equal rights are a threat to the security of glass houses. When someone decides to run for office in today’s world, like it or not they’re opening their doors and forfeiting privacy for themselves and their spouses.
For all I know Joanie (or Joe) Congressman may be riding the bologna pony with her assistant while her spouse gives the blessing–and videotapes it. I don’t care. I don’t believe this has a thing to do with their ability to make decisions and legislate. I don’t care if my accountant has a foot fetish, my doctor is gay, my senator is asexual, or my train conductor is polyamorous. But. If you are in a position of power, elected by the people based on your beliefs and telling others the “right” way to live, you should be living those beliefs, not limiting and stripping the rights of others because they want to live their lives with open intent, while you engage in your “alternative lifestyle” behind a smokescreen of moral indignation.
Is this truly a good idea, a smart way to conduct politics? I don’t know. Maybe there are longterm ramifications and repercussions I don’t see. I’m not a politician, wouldn’t want to be. But here you have it. Proof that Mrs Fringe is every bit as immature as you always suspected.
Little Incredibly Dumb Dog knows what to do with a snow day.
The Northeast was expecting the blizzard of the year last night, with predictions of epic snow accumulations. The NYC DOE announced public schools would be closed for today, and the city effectively rolled up the sidewalks at 11pm Monday night. A big deal. A very big deal. Buses were taken off the streets, the trains were shut down. I took these shots yesterday around 2PM, just as the storm was picking up.
My Facebook feed was filled with photos of empty grocery shelves and menus detailing who would be cooking what, whose schools had been canceled when, most people moaning about the snow, harrowing tales of 3 hour commutes home during rush hour, slipping and inching down the roads.
As it turned out, the storm hooked east, and we didn’t get slammed here in Manhattan. I think 6.5 inches in Central Park. Now my Facebook feed is filled with moaning and groaning about the inaccuracy of the weather predictions, how the mayor was paranoid and jumped the gun, inconvenience, no school, no work, blah blah blah. First of all, it’s weather. Regardless of how sophisticated the satellites have become, they’re called weather predictions for a reason. Second, a lot of areas were slammed–not far from each other, friends on Long Island were hit hard, some in NJ were, some weren’t. And those up North of us are still being pelted. Third, so what?
Yeah, I said it. How many of us are so important (outside of emergency workers, snow removal, hospital workers) that the world collapses and people die if we don’t get to work? How many truly believe that one snow day is going to make or break the children’s test scores? Yes, it was the wrong call in terms of how much snow we actually got here in the city. But what if they didn’t announce school closings yesterday, and we got as much snow as expected, and it was announced this morning? Well, then everyone would be complaining about the late notice, many scrambling to figure out child care. If they didn’t tell everyone to get off the roads last night? Everyone would be complaining about how long it’s taking the city to clean the streets, not to mention the inevitable accidents and cars stuck on the highways.
It was odd for the subways to be shut down, it’s true. But my first thought was for the homeless for whom the subway tunnels and trains provide a relatively warm and dry place to be during bad weather. Six inches of snow and thirty mile per hour winds has to feel like storm enough when you don’t have somewhere safe to shelter you.
Are we so entitled that inconvenience is prioritized over safety? Is it really so terrible to have a bonus day off? Many won’t be paid for this day off, it’s true, and that sucks. Many more will work extra hard, and/or extra hours to catch up later in the week. But, oh, wasn’t it delicious to sleep an extra hour or two today? To go play in the park, or cook something special, or play a game with the kiddos, or just stay warm and dry? We are the only “advanced” nation that doesn’t guarantee its citizens paid vacation time and/or paid holidays. Huffing and puffing about the inconvenience of weather seems to fit right in with that philosophy. If you don’t have a hill to trudge up backwards in the snow pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps on the way to work, find one! I don’t think anywhere in the US embodies that spirit more than New York. The show must go on, after all.
I walked through Central Park earlier, watched others walking their dogs, sledding, taking photos, and smiling. I didn’t hear one person complain about how miserable it was to have the day off, even though snow flurries started up again while I was there. And I saw plenty still at work: in small businesses, police cars, driving buses, building maintenance and doormen, running the snow plows, shoveling the walkways for brownstone owners, and yes, even delivering groceries. I really hope whoever couldn’t be bothered to wait on line with the rest of us peasants yesterday are giving big tips today.
And watching Art Child listen to Stevie Ray Vaughan with Husband this morning? Priceless.
From the Peace Fountain (artist, Greg Wyatt) in the Children’s Sculpture Garden-St John the Divine
And take hope with you, while you’re at it.
Why yes, I do kind of feel like the above. I mean, he’s just one piece of a sculpture representing the conflict between good and evil, but there he is, upside down–defeated.
My temptation? Still dreaming of literary offers, believing it could happen. The American way, right? Don’t give-up, never accept defeat, blah blah blah. If you work hard enough, success will come your way. Except when it doesn’t, in which case you accept defeat gracefully, shake your opponent’s hand, and try harder next time. Otherwise, you’re a loser–capital L. A quitter. Here’s where it gets tricky: because the general advice is never give up, unless you have delusions of grandeur. In which case take your pill, and sob quietly by yourself in the corner.
In order to pursue any art form though, you kind of need those delusions, just to try. Just to have the big brass ones to say yes, others will want to see me perform, read my words, view my paintings, my photos, even pay a dollar to do so. If you’re a follower here, you know I’m trying to figure out where my line is, how to shift my goals and what they could/should be shifted towards, how to accept defeat with grace. A downward mobility of expectations, if you will.
Because it has to be time. I can tell, because when I went to the store the other day, the young woman behind the counter gave me a great big smile when I got to the register, and announced it was “senior day.” That’s right, 20% off all purchases for seniors. Hmmm. 40,000 years old and countless miles? Check. Senior citizen? Nope. I wasn’t offended, probably because of my experience writing fiction. I’ve put a lot of time into thinking about perspective, point of view, who would notice what and who would think what, to have characters ring true. 18-20 year old woman? Not seeing a whole lot of difference between 40,000 and 65, especially when the woman standing in front of her has hair that’s more salt than pepper, no makeup, and bags that store a ten year sleep deficit under her eyes. So no. I wasn’t shocked by her assumption. Besides, 20% off toilet paper that’s 40% overpriced. Thank you dear, now get off my lawn.
Then there was a thread running on the writer’s site, about critiquing–the value of, giving up, and several fun and generally silly derails. Interesting to me (though the thread was slanted towards query crits, which are not my thing) since I’ve remained in that “What do I know?” state of mind. So I asked those who’ve been at this a long time without tangible (and measurable by others outside the writing community) success, their thoughts on giving up, when it’s time, etc. And am as confused and dissatisfied now as I was before the thread. I still believe my writing is good enough. I just don’t believe it’s going to “happen.” I don’t see my writing as a hobby. My tank is a hobby. Cooking, for me, is a hobby. Taking pictures, for me, is a hobby. My words? Not a hobby. See? Delusions. And hubris.
One kind and smart friend wrote a thoughtful response. A phrase that he used has stayed in the forefront of my mind. “There’s an opportunity cost for everything.” That’s reality. My time, energy, and resources are finite. Because writing isn’t cooking dinner, or baking a dessert, all to be enjoyed by family and friends. Writing is hours and hours of solitary work, time when I withdraw from family and friends to pay attention to imaginary characters and lives that exist only in my own mind. Time when I don’t get the laundry done, walk an extra few dogs, cook a nice dinner, pay attention to Husband, or figure out what’s really going to be next for me in life. Please don’t misunderstand me when I say this, I’m not crying about how difficult it is to write. It isn’t nothing, I don’t just sit down and vomit out 350 pages in two months and call it a novel–but it isn’t scrubbing public toilets or working in a coal mine, either.
I should grow the fuck up, accept that in the eyes of a young girl I’m a senior, on a crowded train I’m now offered a seat by a well mannered young man about half the time and I appreciate it. When I was a little girl, I was certain my real mommy was a princess who would show up to rescue me from the evils of sitting at the table until I finished my dinner, and I would grow up to be Laura Ingalls Wilder–except I’d live in a beach house, instead of the prairie. I gave up the princess fantasy long ago, and the 80 gallon saltwater tank that holds center stage in my living room is my beach house. Maybe it’s time to truly accept and be okay with the fact that people won’t be reading my words for generations to come. Except, of course, for what I have posted and will continue to post on the blog, because the interwebs R 4evr.
I’ve read different origin stories for this symbol. Some say he’s weeping for the troubles of the world, and then absorbing them, others that it represents Buddha as warrior, crying for the son he just killed. The most frequent I hear is that this is a later, more modern invention, and never part of the original Buddha texts/stories–because Buddha was beyond sorrow. That said, I love the idea, to touch his back, and allow the Weeping Buddha to absorb your sorrows, so you can move on. The thing is, day to day problems (real or created) and sadness feel so very personal and isolating, and in my mind the statue represents letting go of that, to connect with others, because, well, Buddha. He’s been on my “list,” you know, the unending, imaginary list of things I’d like to have. Well, yesterday I received a package in the mail from a beautiful friend, and there he was. Thank you!
By yesterday morning I was tired of sulking. I finally finished and emailed a critique I had promised weeks ago, spent some time with Man Child and his friend Miss Music, made a favorite comfort dish for dinner (spaghetti with broccoli, chick peas, and capers), touched base with a writing friend I haven’t spoken with for a while, and began making some notes for a short story I’ve been thinking about.
So. Today is Friday, always a good thing. I think I’m good to meet Fatigue this evening for Friday Night Madness, even better. And while I had my coffee, I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise with Art Child.
I think he’s beautiful, in all his lumbering majesty. Husband disagrees. In fact, I’m pretty sure Husband often thinks my eyestalks also veer in different directions, when the subject of beauty comes up. I don’t know what it is that makes me think someone, or something, is beautiful, but whatever it is, I have different parameters than Husband. Discussion a couple of weeks ago:
Me, “Remember that woman we met the other day? Isn’t she stunning?”
Him, “What, who?”
Me, “You know, that one with the black shirt on and the smile.”
Him, “Oh, I know the one. Wait, what? Beautiful? If you say so.”
and then he gives me the sidelong hairy eyeball, and checks to see if I’m feverish again.
We don’t always disagree on what and who is beautiful (we agree about our children), just usually.
I mean, I look at this little face and smile, what’s not to love about a cartoon character come to life?
It’s all subjective, right? Yah. That’s what they tell me. People, sea critters, fiction. I’m a quirky old gal, no doubt. Those quirks color what appeals, and I guess for me, beautiful equals interesting. But different people find different things interesting.
I’ve been feeling frustrated these past few days. Mostly due to nothing happening with the writing, blah, blah, blah. Every so often, a well meaning someone will ever-so-gently suggest I try writing something else. This usually involves an awkward, pregnant pause, and then the phrase, “mainstream.” Or for the bold, “marketable.” I have nothing against mainstream. I read and enjoy quite a bit of popular fiction. But it isn’t the way my mind works. And when and if I’m indulging my fantasies of earning a dollar from my writing, what the hell–I’m going all the way with what’s beautiful and interesting to me.
This morning I was in the shower, thinking about wanting to feel other than crappy, and I thought well, I can post another story here on the blog. I may not have representation or a publishing contract but I have Fringelings, some of whom like my stories. And I’ve got this one I particularly like, where I believe I got it right. I thought so when I wrote it, and of those who have read it, more than a couple agreed. I wondered, why haven’t I posted it before? Then I remembered I had planned to sub it to lit mags, in hopes of publication. This thought was immediately followed by visions of a slew of new rejection letters, because obviously a gal can never have too many of those. So then I thought hey, I can start my own lit mag!
Between my lack of credentials, lack of contacts, lack of funds, and skewed vision of beauty, it’d be a guaranteed success, no? After all, there are at least 2, 3 other people in this world of seven billion who share my tastes. Sigh. I need a new plan.
I’m watching and re-watching this video, loving the way she presents herself here.
And for those who might enjoy a more “mainstream” beautiful tank photo,
Happy 2015! My immune system seems to be taking the year off. A very snuffly and low key couple of weeks. I did leave the neighborhood a couple of times with Art Child and Nerd Child, found a few bits of my old remembered New York through the new glass and steel skyscrapers that continue to pop up everywhere.
What have I been doing in between blowing my nose and thinking about blogging? Catching up on reading. The other day I finished a novel that stunned me with its beauty.
In contrast, I also found myself at *gasp* a shopping mall a couple of weeks ago. I hate having to go to malls, I swear the air is a toxic mix of plastic and tranquilizer dust. But I suppose it was worth it, because I now have two pairs of jeans that fit and don’t have holes, and when we walked through the parking lot I saw this.
I wonder if he felt the same sense of being in the wrong place.
Which made me think of this song, an old favorite: