Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Moving Forward

Here's another thing about being 40licious: You have to get stuff done. You realize that nobody will do it for you. You have an idea. Say you want to, I don't know, open a donut 'n' steak hut. You've likely spent the first half of your life saying to everyone, "Someday, someday, SOOOOON, I will open a donut 'n' steak hut." And all your people know that's what you want, and sometimes your mom sends you an article on somebody who did a crossiant 'n' pork hut in Hawaii, to prod you along. But you keep your day job, and you go along in your little life. Happy or not.

Well, guess what my sisters and brothers? Someday is now. And now. And now. And now.

That's why I've dedicated one day each week to planting seeds for things I really want to be doing. Every Sunday, I eschew all social obligations and just work on stuff I want to get done. My show, or my book, or magazine articles, or just knitting (I am trying to move beyond scarves with great failure). It works. It helps. It makes those moments when I am NOT doing what I want more bearable.

And it's nice to hope for something.

So go ahead. Make your menu. Learn a new sprinkle pattern. Just go.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My New Guilty Pleasure

I wish I'd thought of it. Could populate it a million times over with the wacky and unintentionally hilarious things my mother says. Fob is short for "fresh off the boat," and of course chaos ensues through translation. My mother is from New Zealand, so I think that counts.

Go here for My Mom is a Fob.

(Thanks, Mia!)


All in a day’s work

Text message #1: Thisisyourmom.Iamtextingyou.
Text message #2: I.Dont.Know.How.To.Space.The.Letters.How?
Text message #3: Diditwork?
Text message #4: Howaboutnow?Isitworking?
Text message #5: Ididthat.
Text message #6: Ok.I.Am.Calling.Jed.He.Has.The.Same.Phone.
Text message #8: As you can see now I know how to do!
Text message #9: Listen to my new message! I wont answer. Call now.
New voicemail message: “Hi. This is your mom. Or your friend. If you do not fit into one of these categories, please do not call me. Thank you.”

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Thing About the Shrink

Is that I pay cold cash when I go (I've since quit the crazy one) and basically have to figure out everything myself. I suppose that's the point of being 40licious, you already know the right answers, but you basically have the economic power to have them verified by someone else.

But maybe the most disappointing thing that that you still have to figure everything out. Yourself.

I guess I skipped over the part where I get to be the housewife, to raise the kids, to have someone else shell it all out for me, to "dabble" in things, to speak in "we" instead of "I."

I guess I've groomed myself to take care of myself. Which is better than the alternative.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yes We Did

One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

My friend recently asked me if I was proud to be an American. "I don't think of it that way," I said.

I am not proud of how we've destroyed lives and culture in the name of greed, national ego, misguided improvements. I am not proud of a country that squanders its resources, and those of other countries, with no end in sight. I am not proud of how we marginalize the sick, the crazy, the poor, the odd, the different, the hippies, the lovers, the homely, the deformed, the lost who wander among us.

I am not proud that well into the 20th century, women, Blacks and gays were denied basic human rights, freedoms doled out to some but not all. And that even into the 21st century, we're still not quite there.

But tonight, watching these videos, I am brought to tears by the vision, the passion and the unwavering commitment to fairness of these people.

And tomorrow, as I watch Obama take his oath of office, I will be disdainful of how long it's taken us to get here. But I will be proud that we are here, and that the whole world is watching.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

What are we?

When you're 40licious, it's likely that you have been many places. I'm lucky to have a list of countries I've visited on at least two hands, maybe three or even four if I remember hard enough. I didn't have a corporate job for most of my life so that I could travel where and when I wanted. Now, it feels like I have a corporate job so I CAN go these places -- and have a paycheck waiting for me at home.

Either way, the best thing you get from travel, besides tiny bottles of shampoo with Hebrew writing, besides a batik sarong, besides notebooks filled with scribbling from breakfast at a beautifully tiled cafe, is perspective.

I want us to be a big-hearted country. I want us to take care of our own. To make sure that nobody has to choose between going to the doctor or paying their rent. To understand that a pocket full of money isn't the end game -- rather, it's where it goes, it's how we help each other, it's how we make the world a sweeter place during the time that we're here.

Tonight, I want to leave my job and take care of orphans. Or wipe off the wounds of Untouchables. Or cradle a baby dying of AIDS. Maybe that's the least I could do. Maybe the most I could do would be to help shape policy to help make it better for people who aren't as lucky as I am.

I voted for Barak Obama in hopes that he would spur people to think less of themselves, and more of us as brothers and sisters.

But maybe I gave a job to someone else that I should be doing myself.

I don't know how to make it better for the society's wretches. Welcoming any suggestions.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How much?

How much is in a bowl of money?

With the quarters removed for laundry, not counting foreign coins?

Well, that would be $82.58, thank you very much. Which, I have decided, can only go toward completely frivolous and decadent pursuits. Especially those involving rum.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Better Me

I'm not all crazy for resolutions because I'd like to think that I am constantly evolving, constantly trying to be a more loving and generous and smarter person, no matter what day of the year. There have been the times I've vowed to do something new and virtuous as the calendar flipped. Like in 2003, my resolution was to eat more fresh whipped cream. No problem! Goal achieved!

At 40licious, I am trying to have a lot more compassion for others -- plus a little extra for myself. So this year, instead of doing a list of resolutions, I will get rid of old patterns that don't serve me. So if that means just SHUTTING THE HELL UP when I really want to say something that might not ring right, that might hurt someone's feelings, that might make me "win" for two seconds, well, then, I will consider it and SHUT THE HELL UP. There is power in stillness. I will be powerfully still in 2009.

And of course, I will continue to consume more fresh whipped cream.

And you?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Predictions for 2009

Everyone is all about cheap chic, even those of us rare few who still go to an office 50 hours a week. We are becoming more conscious as a society about our consumption. We're trying to get by on less, we are trying to make simple lives, we are trying to retreat from the shrine of shopping malls. With this in mind, here are my predictions for 2009:

1. More people will learn to sew, knit and generally embrace the domestic arts. It's not about "buying a new one" any more, it will be more about fixing the old one, or making it new and cool with a few stitches here and there. Dudes, too.
2. People will see the insides of each others' homes. I've never been a big one for group dinners at restaurants -- there is, invariably, someone who feels cheated when it's time to pay the bill, and the wine markup is so inexcusable that I can't help but do the math in my head ("This sip will cost me $2.87"). The economic downturn won't keep people apart from each other, but parties will move from restaurants to potlucks and dinners at home. Which are more fun, plus, you can break out the astrology books and the Tarot cards at the end.
3. The stock market will have a healthy bounce by June, beyond all reason except that most people will stop being afraid and start bargain hunting, as they are in the rest of their lives.
4. Libraries will bustle; Nancy Pearl will eclipse Brittany Spears as national pop icon.
5. Scientists will make a definitive link between our environment and why so many women in their late 30s-early 40s are miscarrying.
6. People will pooh-pooh bottled water and riot in the streets when they learn that their tap water isn't up to decent standards.
7. Christmas will become more about soul-stuffing than stocking-stuffing, and stuff in general.
8. Companies that rip off consumers with exorbitant prices for cosmetics, cereal, milk, gas, etc will be exposed. Consumers will revolt with a vengeance as they realize they've been exploited, and they can do with a lot less than they'd originally thought.

I'm very excited about 2009 so far. I am oddly, madly, crazy in love with the world and America, despite our crass materialism, our fall from compassion and grace, our bleak outlook.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
-- Leonard Cohen

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Blessing for 2009

May this new year bring you realizations that change your life for the better.
May you let go of old, unproductive and negative habits and move toward ones that make you feel alive, in charge, at one with the world.
May you never pay retail.
May you see the beauty in simplicity.
May you show love to the people around you, in little ways, each day.
May you slough off the small things that in the end, do not matter. My mother calls them "vexations of the spirit."
May you find that lip gloss in that perfect, discontinued color, in a purse you rarely use.
May you act with love instead of vengeance, impatience or indifference, even when it's harder to do so.
May you wake up every morning with joy in your heart, and fall into a heavy sleep each evening with peace in your soul.

Happy New Year, everyone.