Serious as a giggle (randomness)

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“You can NOT be serious.”

“As a heart attack.”

“Oh, that’s original. Honestly? How serious is a heart attack these days, anyway? Every where you look they have those chest zapper thingies hanging on the wall — the bus, the plane, the grocery store, the break room at work. Does a heart attack even amount to certain death anymore? Apparently they happen all of the time. If people took them seriously, don’t you think there would be less of them occurring? They are the leading cause of death, they say,  but if heart attacks were a serious problem wouldn’t people be doing more to prevent them rather than spending so much on treating them? Oh, did you mean serious as death? Is death serious? I mean, I can see how it can be a serious subject for survivors, but is the act of death a serious thing? Have you ever experienced it? Why do we take death so seriously? What if death is a relief? Certainly for some people we know it is; terminally ill people come to mind, but what if it is actually a relief for everyone when it comes us? We may think that we have so much going for us here that death is nothing but an inconvenient end, a mess, a major bummer. But what if it is a release from everything that weighs us down? Even the good stuff? Can good stuff be a burden that we need to be relieved of? I mean, I love my collection of Starbucks coffee mugs, it gives me joy to add to it, to look at it, to re arrange it. But if one day it was gone–Poof! No fault, no trace, no strings attached, no one to blame. . . wow, all that free space! All that free time! All that potential! A do over! What if that’s what death is like? A release from everything that weighs on us, even loved ones. Is the feeling of relief serious? I always imagined relief as a huge sigh with a giggle at the end. Hardly a serious visual. What if death is a comic relief? What if it is LIFE that is serious and death is the unexpected shock that shows us how silly it all really is?

<blank stare>

“So? How do you feel about it now?”

“My head hurts.”

“Could be a tumor. You should have that checked out. Seriously.”

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Building Muscles in my what??

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Trying a few new things lately. Namely, working out at home. I have a bucketful of VHS and DVD workouts that I have collected over the years, the resistance bands, hand weights, and half-deflated exercise balls that go with them. But I don’t use them. I have a few that never even made it out of the packaging. I find it too much of a hassle to clear the living room so that I don’t whack my  knuckles on the armoire; vacuum the floor so that I don’t inhale floating fur bunnies; properly exhaust the dog before hand so that he doesn’t stand over me during my crunches with the ball in his mouth drooling about it being HIS turn; time the laundry so it doesn’t demand to be changed in the middle of my down dog; take the phone off of the hook, and lately, set up fans so that I don’t melt from having to do strenuous exercise right smack in front of the pellet stove.  Honestly, by the time I have done all of that, I can pretty well convince myself that I have worked out enough and go take a nap.

Jillian Michaels he is not.

Jillian Michaels he is not.

After being downgraded from semi-employed to unemployed last fall, I have had to take a serious look at my spending habits. It didn’t used to bother me that I spent so much on my YMCA membership, even though I only walked through the door three times a week…maybe. Okay, it bothered me a bit. In reality it was more about the mere potential it represented.  After all, attending my class pretty much ensured that I was on time to pick up my son from his school which is practically next door, and I could use it any time I had free time, there is a pool (I love to swim, though you wouldn’t know if it I told you how long ago it was that I was actually in chlorinated water), Jeff could join me if he felt like it on Fridays, it is close to Costco and Target so I could knock out a couple proverbial birds with one trip…and on and on and on. Meanwhile, I am trying to spend more time at home, less money on groceries, less time in hypnotized and brainless in Target, the kids would rather ride the bus, and Jeff has other things he needs to do on Fridays besides have the crap beat out of him in Pilates.  And don’t even get me started on the unfortunate proximity of the Costco hotdogs to the gym…

My dream kitchen

My dream kitchen

About the time that I was beginning to contemplate my unemployment and my future with the Y, a friend from high school began the daunting task of trying to find her bliss by attempting to dedicate a part of her life to herself. I felt like a one-person cheerleading squad in front of my computer screen, applauding her while standing on my chair jumping up and down with my hands in the air!  If I could whistle with my fingers in my mouth I would have! It has been an inspiration over the past few months reading about her struggles with guilt versus the joy she reaps from doing something she loves and how, in the end, it honestly benefits her whole family. I watched as she admitted to a tiny piece of her that brought her joy and witnessed as she dusted it off, nurtured it a bit and then set a goal and stepped out on the track with it and didn’t look back.  She accomplished that goal just last week and in my heart I am doing a Snoopy dance –my  head thrown back, my hands flung out in joy and my little toes tippy-tapping in ecstatic joy for her!

Now I want that for me.

What does that have to do with beginning of this little diatribe?  Well, a couple things, actually. I have come to realize that this hiatus from paid employment is a chance to do something that comes from within me.  I feel released from the responsibility of getting a job just for the money, for a short time at least, mainly due to the fact that my family’s schedule is not one that I can work regular hours 9-5 or even 10-3 as so many “part-time” jobs seem to be these days. As a family we decided that weekends are sacred and quite frankly, the thought of working at night kinda scares me as I am generally one step from comatose by 8 p.m. So that leaves me with limited mainstream employment options. I am going to have to find something that is a little more specialized and depends more on me — on my abilities, my time frame, and, with any luck, rooted in what gives me joy! I mean, if it is going to be dependent on me, it might as well come from what makes me happy.

You know what makes me happy?

Me neither.  I mean, other than vacuuming.

So I am starting with a couple of things. I am trying to be more creative (writing some, reading more, even considering dusting off the sewing machine) and trying to be more creative with what I have already, with what I already know how to do, and to be consistent.

Hear that my little stockpile of craft supplies? No more just-in-case additions to your gang.

Hear that my little stockpile of craft supplies? No more just-in-case additions to your gang.

Right off the bat it became clear to me that I lack a surfeit of mental drive.  Oh I can crab at myself all day. Poke and prod, tell myself what I should be doing, make myself feel horrible. But I can also, amazingly, convince myself that vacuuming is the ultimate cure-all.  Being by myself all day is hard. I’m not all that pleasant to listen to in my head, I’m pretty bossy. I also have a tendency toward being lazy and scatterbrained with a propensity to lose focus at the drop of a hat. I can make a trip to the closet with the intent to replace the toilet paper roll result in a 5 hour trip to Ikea and a new rug, without having touched a roll of toilet paper.  I sound like a classic case of ADD. In reality, my will power is just weak. My mental drive is emaciated. My focus is grossly atrophied from lack of use. I need to develop the muscles in my dedication. I desire an intense, unswayable inner drill instructor, not a snarky whiner who will happily join me for chocolates and a book on the couch at the mere mention of “ugh”. Think more Jethro Gibbs, less Blanche Devereaux.

I bet Richard Simmons never snored through a workout...

I bet Richard Simmons never snored through a workout…

So in an attempt to build up some bulk in the goal attainment portion of my self, I am starting with home workouts. Nothing like going with a theme when you are in the planning stages!  I still have my membership at the Y for the next month (after all, there is a bathing suit in my near future and those Pilates classes are awesome).  I have a vague idea of where I might go with this newfound muscle, but as it is still pretty wimpy I don’t want to overwhelm it by hanging a solid goal around it’s spindly little neck right away. I hope to be able to use it soon, however, to find my little nugget of joy that I can nurture and turn into my bliss. And if it helps pay for groceries…hey! Winner-winner, Chicken dinner!

(crap, now what’s for dinner tonight…oooh, a dust bunny! Where’s the vacuum…)

One million toes

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What is it about 3:30 a.m.?  It is invariably the time I begin to surface, conscious of how gloriously cozy I am but not fully comprehending why I can’t just turn over and go back to sleep? Oh yeah, I have to pee…

And from there things just go down hill. I hate checking the clock to see what time it is but I don’t want to get TOO comfy and fall completely asleep only to be rudely pulled out of one of those awesome early morning dreams five minutes later.  So I look at the clock. Depending on how close to 5:30 it is, I will either move my alarm/phone off of the desk and put it under my pillow to soften the blow or else I will change the alarm to 6. Either way, at this point, I commence to lay there. Try too hard to go back to sleep and you can’t, try to just sleep lightly and you end up turning up the volume on your brain. Or, in the case of last week, think you are struggling to fall back asleep only to find that you have fallen asleep and are simply dreaming that you can’t sleep when you are brutally ripped out of said coma by the sound of the kitchen sink disposal going off down the hall — half an hour after you were supposed to have gotten up…

Yeah, that one rocked.

So today was one of those days where I had a good hour and a half to go back to sleep. Only I couldn’t. Something about a 42-toed elephant running laps around our house with regular pitstops on our bed (my pillow to be exact). Why? Why do cats do this? Manus had hopped up on the pillow as soon as I returned from the bathroom, but eventually moved down to nest somewhere between my knees.  But not Stellah. Apparently 3:45 to 5:15 is the best time for road testing your newly trimmed nails. All 92 of them.  

I can say I had exactly 15 minutes (because I looked at the clock) of relative calm once she got bored in which to attempt to enjoy the last moments of warmth before the alarm, which I had neglected this morning, began vibrating along its jittery path across the top of the table, coming to rest ultimately along side my tea cup from the night before — That is such a lovely noise. Especially when punctuated by the explosive sigh of frustration coming from the other side of the bed as I chase the alarm, resulting in the removal of blankets from said other side of bed.

Love it.

So Stellah and her 121 toes escorted me into the kitchen with the dog, who by now was tap-tapping his way in circles around the kitchen table waiting to fed. Tappity-tap, tappity-tap, drooooooooooooool.

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Imagine an elephant running down an enclosed hallway with a tiled floor and taking a leap directly into your mid section with three more of these suckers.

Eventually I successfully get two off to school, come home and pretty much hide for the rest of school prep as I know it will only take one simple question to put the exclamation point on my morning as the final child is on her way out the door.

“Did you pack your swim bag?”

Commence stomping, which was still pretty impressive for only ten toes.

Blurrrrgh.

 

The Passion of Richard Sherman

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The following is copied from Facebook. I became rather prolific on there today and finally decided that if I felt the need to pontificate, it might be better for my ego if I continued to do so in my own space. Plus I kept having a few other “thoughts” and rather than continue to shoot a dead horse via 60 additional posts, I might as well gather it all up here so you all could ignore it all at once or wallow in it with me.

Last night was the NFC Championship game between the 48ers and the Hawks.  I will admit straight out the following things:

1) This was the FIRST football game I have watched since the half-time show of the Superbowl last year.

2) I started out following the game on the radio but could not follow any of it because I didn’t know who belonged to which team. I know NONE of the players. Sadly, I am always a little disappointed that Joe Theisman isn’t giving play by play.

3) I keep thinking that I should listen again to the rant heard round the world that was to most likely be Richard Sherman’s largest claim to fame.  But I just can’t. I can’t do it. It was silly and it causes me to feel embarrassment for him and for the poor woman who was foolish enough to stick that microphone in his face. Sure, it was probably her job on the line, whatever. Still. No thanks.

There were two articles that I read this morning, both posted by others on Facebook, and both reposted by me.  The first one piece explains what one might expect should you have been in Richard Sherman’s cleats last night. The fact that there might have been a tad bit of adrenaline fueling his bombast. It also points out that he was a communications major and as such, his rant, though crazy sounding, was relatively verbally clean. (at this point I am now forcing myself to watch it again, because, come ON, that is amazing. Not for the any racial reason but because you can’t listen to Top 40 radio anymore without hearing a poorly concealed F-bomb)

(Alright, it was a lot shorter than I remember it being…hmmm.) Cocky? Personal issues? Yup. Typical? Except for the lack of cursing, ‘fraud so. Surprising? No.

Okay? Nope. And it isn’t just this that people are basing their disgust. Richard Sherman has a history of trash talk and shameless self promotion. It is well known and, unfortunately accepted that trash talk is a part of professional sports. Professional sports players are what fuel the little leagues and backyard pick up games of this world. Passion for the game is awesome. It is what makes it fun to watch. Passion for self promotion is not. It is what sucks the fun out of the game. It’s what makes many of us thankful for that dessert preferably served cold…humble pie. But why denigrate such moments by waiting for the next one to come just to make it “even”?

The following is what I posted in regards to this article and a response I got from a friend, who is obviously more well versed in the game than I am.

Football is a game. Games require sportsmanship, otherwise it isn’t a game anymore, it is a pointless pissing match. If you can’t win well, you lose respect and I don’t care if you win the game, you have lost as a human being. Players may have a lot of REASONs (adrenaline, personal history) for acting the way they do on the field, but there is really no excuse, in the sense of being released of responsibility,  for being a jerk. That being said, I found this article written by Sherman himself in response to the backlash he received for his remarks informative, I learned a lot about what I don’t know, but I take issue with him saying “don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines”. Unless his job description is “thespian”, I find it extremely unlikely that I will. If he wants to be judged more for what he does off the field when the cameras aren’t running, than what he does while they are, he needs a new line of work. Or else he needs to refine his “passion on the football field” and stick to running, intercepting and PLAYING rather than running his mouth.

And with that — GO HAWKS!!

  • My well versed friend responded: I think the whole thing is funny. Most fans want a reaction from the players. If it’s their teams player, they stand behind him and defend him. But if it’s the oppositions player, then they tear him apart. This guy literally did not play all night, Kaepernick avoided him, and for a good reason. But it had to be driving him crazy to be doing nothing in a championship game. He finally gets to do something, gets shoved in the back, snubbed to his face and then a camera shoved in his face before all the conflicting emotions can be processed and a game face put on. Of course he’s going to say what he said. But as loud as he was, he didn’t swear, he wasn’t using racial or gender stereotypes and over all there wasn’t much offensive content-unless you’re a Crabtree lover. Had he said it a normal tone and voice I doubt there would have been as much said about it.
  • Katie Thomassen Who the heck is Crabtree and yes, no profanity was refreshing (I was torn as to whether I should be ashamed of expecting it, or just pleasantly surprised). As I said, there are a lot of reasons as to why things came down the way they did, some more unfortunate than others, but I just ask that he take responsibility for the way he reacted, not be victimized by it. For my part, I will take into consideration that no one is superhuman to the point of being inhuman and the ability to react appropriately all the time just is not possible. The ability to take responsibility for it after the fact, apologize when need be, clarify when possible, and try to be better next time, goes a long way for making up for our shortcomings. It doesn’t, however, erase them. His history is his to live with. And he made a good start with this article. I can’t say I would have reacted differently put in his position, but I take exception at him asking to not be judged by his actions on the field when we pay him a LOT of money to hopefully not represent our city poorly. I realize, as a person who has watched exactly ONE game this year so far, I may appear to be a little out of line to making remarks, but the fact that the one game I watched included this whole interesting fiasco…well, I’m taking advantage and practicing my typing skills…
    . . .
    (back to real time for a moment) This quote, though many will agree with it, drove me nuts: “To those who would call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field—don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines. Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.”
    I’m sorry if I am way off base here, but doesn’t his job, playing football for the SEATTLE Seahawks, make him first and foremost one of the most recognized representatives of our community? Okay, maybe not first and foremost, but do we not foot he and is fellow players’ salaries? Is it not their faces that grace our city’s billboards, city buses and car dealership, cable internet and plumbing commercials? Does he think we don’t relate his actions, as a football player — on a football field — to his face and name?  But as My well versed friend pointed out, “while I wish more of the professional athletes took the role of Wilson or P. Manning, I have come to realize that we pay them to be actors and put on a show. They all find their niches and stick with them. And that’s part of what makes it entertaining to the masses. It’s not enough just to be skilled, we want to hate them, love them or strangle them. And unless the mindset of the viewers and fans change, we will keep seeing crap like this.”
    I can’t help but fully agree, and while I said that could hope that my two cents went to paying them to play really skilled football, winning games and bringing fame and fortune to our beautiful city, well, I’m not stupid. I’m also not loud enough to make it an issue.
    And on another post I wrote in regards to the same article written by Sherman: 
    Katie Thomassen I’m glad I had the opportunity to read this. I’m glad he took the opportunity to defend himself and possibly educate others, who like me, can’t read his mind, know his history with everyone else on the field or even understand much about the game of football itself. I absolutely found it interesting. It didn’t change my knee jerk opinion of his adrenaline-fueled actions and reactions on the field, but I guess I can sympathize with it a little better now (though I wonder if he has had a chance to watch that interview…) Of course, now I am convinced that due to my utter lack of knowledge of the game, my inability to read the players minds or know their personal history with everyone else on the field, I really have no business watching the game at all, let alone commenting on it.
    . . . 
    Seriously, when a televised game becomes a personal mind game between two players rather than a representation of the best of everyone on the field…then I feel kind of irritated that I am paying them so much to air their personal issues on a field we will never finish paying for no matter how high they tax us. I don’t care how awesome the half time show is, or which talented goddess they have sing the National Anthem at the beginning. Even the commercials won’t make up for that.

Toodle-ing

Aside

A little out of sorts today…lots of fun things to do on the immediate horizon but a less than chipper/healthy partner to do them with.  So to make myself feel better I toodled on down to the local coffee house, grabbed myself a Mayan Mocha with hemp milk and parked it by the window and started catching up with other people’s lives on Facebook, hoping for inspiration on what to write.

All day long my brain seems to hop from inspiration to inspiration…thoughts that I think would be interesting to expound on when I get a spare moment and a computer, or even a piece of paper in front of me. Not necessarily subjects which I think would interest others to read, but thoughts that I would like to build upon and flesh out in my own mind. I am often amazed by how much I don’t know about how I feel regarding certain things. Nothing leaves me more frustrated than being forced to think about things on the fly, when I’m not ready, but have people staring at me with that “what-do-you-mean-you-have-no-opinion?!” look of shocked pity on their faces. (honestly, I REALLY need to bring earbuds when I come here…the ladies next to me talking about their dream refrigerators are considerably distracting.)  Seriously, one day I will sit down and make a list of the things I need to consider and form opinions on.
Today is not that day.
Today I am stealing a questionnaire from another blog I read and I am going to answer it and see what pops up about me.  I expect to have to exercise my brain a bit here. I think the point is to just pop off answers as they first enter your brain. More often than not I have to root around. Things don’t routinely just “pop” in this noggin.
So here goes.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?

Ugh.  Maybe this is too hard. Sunday afternoons are hard.  I tend to get a bit crazy with everyone in the house so I tend to try and keep busy or facilitate Jeff in getting one of his projects done. What would I like to do? I think I would love to park my butt on a couch in the living room and sleep and read. Exciting, I know. My parents used to stuff us in the back seat of the car and take us on “drives”. Seems like we spent many Sunday afternoons chasing elk herds or checking out “property” way out in the middle of the woods. Come to think of it, I probably had a book with me and I know I slept a good portion of that time…

Tell us 3 random things about yourself…

#1. I like spicy things foods in odd combinations: Mayan Mochas, El Diablo donuts with ghost chilies, habanero martinis, mmmm.
#2. I have been coloring my hair using the same color for the past 5 years, or more, (Clairol Natural Instincts Cinnaberry.)
#3.  Anything about eyeballs totally grosses me out.
Tell us a song you knew all the words to in high school.
Oh man, BAM! Corey Hart “Never Surrender”.  In fact, I can remember most of them right now.  And just like that, a flood of songs come in…”Sun Glasses at Night”, anything by Tina Turner, C’est la Vie by Robbie Neville… I was just starting to get into Bruce Springsteen at that point thanks to a concert/date I was invited to so Tunnel of Love was a big one…and anything Madonna, just like the rest of the world.

What was the first concert you went to?

Shawn Cassidy, with my Brownie Troop.  I think I was 7.

What’s the most interesting job you’ve had?

Interesting/enjoyable – Early morning shift at the YMCA. I loved greeting all the people who were morning people like me and I enjoyed gently wearing down the people who weren’t..
Interesting/learned a lot – Cardiology transcriptionist. Although I generally filed most of the useful information I learned somewhere unreachable in my brain, it was NOT a boring job.  I actually loved it tremendously.

If you could choose one super power, what would it be?

Is photographic memory considered a super power? I think it is.   I also would love to be able to recall trivial facts at the drop of a hat.
And time travel.
That’s three, I know.
Maybe I should wish for mathematical abilities…

If you could live in a cartoon, which one would it be?

Wow, being out of TV land for so long, I barely remember much of what I watched (this is where that super power would come in handy.) Well, it wasn’t cartoon, but more of muppet show. Anyone remember Bear in the Big Blue House? Bear had the coolest house….

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Callos – Tripe stew.
I’ve also eaten fried salmon skin, which was delicious.

Share one truth and one lie about yourself and let us guess which is which.

I effectively failed my Orals (Spanish Finals) in college.
I have tattoos my parents don’t even know about.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a “stewardess” who owned a dog grooming business.  I just recently found out that this early revelation nearly gave my grandma apoplexy. I remember she would ask me why I didn’t want to be a veterinarian instead. The thought of sick and hurting animals was/is too much for me. I’d rather deal with maimed humans.
If you could have an unlimited storage of one thing, what would it be?
Books.

What is your favorite kind of pie?

My neighbor’s pecan. And Kathleen Ebbert’s mince.
To. die. For.

Would you rather live in Disneyland or Sea World?

Good Lord. I almost deleted this question as I am not a huge fan of either. Crowds and tourists are not my favorite.  Crowds made up of tourists cause me to break out in hives. HOWEVER, I suppose if I had to choose, having never been there, I would say Sea World. Fish are very calming.

If you were an animal which one would you be and why?

I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS wanted to be a seal when I was little. Watching them at the zoo was my favorite thing. Now that I am older and have a bit more of a grasp on what their life is really like I think I would rather be a house cat.
Did you have a nickname in high school?
No. The closest I came to a nickname was my friend Dez calling me “K-katie-katie” all of the time.  I think she had a nickname for everyone. She still does.

Apple juice or orange juice?

Orange, but it gives me old-person-tummy issues…probably from too many El Diablo donuts.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I am so obsessed with the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon that Scotland is at the top of my list right now. To be truthful, I have always had a desire to travel Great Britain. Must be the stellar weather.

Window or aisle seat on an airplane?

Aisle. My bladder demands it.

What’s your favorite Disney movie?

I have a tendency to get Disney and Pixar mixed up nowadays, but I think Lilo and Stitch has to be my all time fave. Though there are several that I will watch over and over.

Have you ever met anyone famous?

Not that I can think of right off the top of my head.  I have seen famous people, and from those embarrassing experiences, I should say that it is probably a good thing that I have not actually met any of them face-to-face.  For a long time growing up I was convinced that my family knew Johnny and Roseanne Cash. I distinctly remembered going to their house with my parents after our house burned down.  As I got older, I realized that our house never actually burned down, which lead me to the rather shattering realization that we must have never actually known the Cash’s.  I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when that reality hit at around age 12.

Are you a hugger?

Yes.  And an arm toucher.  I stay away from faces, backs and shoulders, but I have found myself unconsciously laying my hand on people’s arms while I talk to them at times lately.
Well, that was kinda fun…

Prioritizing and Sea Pigs

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On my list to do today:

Barre3 workout (10-30 minute workout I am trying to do at home as an experiment)

Grocery list making

Costco shop

Orthodontist appt

Write something (literally, that is what I put, but I didn’t mean for my grocery list to count)

Swim team

Pilates class

Post office drop (crap, I REALLY can’t forget to do that)

Dinner plan/shop

What I’ve done today:

Ortho appt ($300 FREAKING dollars for retainers I can’t see lasting a week! I’m CRYING!)

Created a Gravatar (my online profile for…something)

Talked on the phone with Lulu (tried desperately to convince her to move. Preferably here.)

Ate a piece of toast.

Checked my Facebook (okay, this is an ongoing thing, it is open on my desktop. Slap me.)

Read some blogs.

Washed my bedding (didn’t have the foresight to put that on my list)

It is now, let’s see, 11:03 and I have done all of two things on my list. I cannot forgo Pilates at 1:00 and the rest of the day after that is dedicated to picking up/dropping off/watching kids. Being the creative time manipulator that I am, however, I believe I will be able to sneak in a post office drop during swim team, and perhaps come up with a grocery list, though it would be better if I did that in the next 5 minutes so that I could leave early for the gym and hit up Costco…of course, that would require that I pack a cooler or else be late at the bus stop so that I could drop all of the food off.

Costco is hereby moved to tomorrow’s list.

I am, however, writing. I spent all morning, even at the orthodontist and while eating my toast (not while on the phone, however, I am not that obsessed — or talented) trying to compose my profile. I like it, it was fun to write. But I don’t think it sounds like me. It sounds more like what I want me to be, but it definitely doesn’t sound like me.  Here’s the thing though. I believe it IS me. I do have an unbound obsession with the ocean. While I am no mermaid, I’ve never scuba dived or surfed and it wasn’t until just over a year ago that I was ever so far out on the water that I couldn’t see land, I truly believe that it is THE cornerstone of my life. I can’t put my finger on why, really. In my profile I think I blame my dad and his career in the Coast Guard for my life being so closely tied to the water. Again, it wasn’t like we were a fishing family, a sailing family, or even a family that owned a beach house.  His job was policing the waterways and thus we spent half his career living within driving, if not sight distance, from some form of it.  I am so incredibly thankful for that! I think that the combination of the years where we lived almost on top of it (Astoria, Novato, Astoria, Astoria, Seattle) balanced by the years when we did not (Washington DC, and uh, Washington DC) are what cemented in me the desire to always be near it. My years in Walla Walla onion country were…not torture. I survived the wheat fields and dust storms, and even remember them fondly as adventurous days and beautiful vistas.  But I always had home to go back to with access to the Puget Sound, or Grays Harbor or, in California with that awesome drive out to Stinson Beach.  Corvallis, Oregon and the Willamette Valley were a great few years, and there was the river always nearby, but there were those weekends when we HAD to make the drive out to Newport, ostensibly for a bowl of chowder, but honestly, I think it was the wind and the saltwater smells of fish and sand and seaweed and tides that really pulled me back. It certainly wasn’t the search for sunshine! Jacksonville was the only time I was content with just knowing that the ocean was there, I recall very few visits to the beach but I was kinda busy being a new mom just then. Pensacola….a whole different story. I am not a person who likes to do stuff by myself. But I remember quite a few Sundays when Gary was on duty, and I went early to the beach by myself, before church services got out and families took over the sand. Those were beautiful, calm mornings of reveling in salt and sand with nary a wave or a ripple on the water. Corpus Christie? Not the prettiest beach, in fact, I remember being quite depressed by it with the tar balls that would wash up from the off shore rigs, the litter and desecration left behind by the campers and vehicles allowed on the sand —and it wasn’t the most pleasant smelling as far as tidal flats go, but we lived RIGHT smack on the bay, and I can forgive quite a lot when I live right on the water. Then there was Hawaii. . .

. . .

. . .

. . . oh, sorry.  Where was I? Oh yeah, Hawaii.

<insert Koko Head-sized, plumeria-scented, sand-dusted, warm-water floating, island-longing, don’t-even-care-about-the-monster-bugs sigh>

ANYwho…I think it is sufficient to say that I love my briny ocean water.  So why does my profile feel so foreign? Maybe because it is the first time I have ever really explored this part of me. Anyone who knows me knows that I carry the beach theme around in my back pocket or around my neck like a scarf. I can’t get enough of the turquoise blue to bottle green color scheme. I feel a bit passé these days as it seems like it is a passing trend nowadays, but I’m afraid I will always have blue walls in my house, jars of sea glass on every flat surface, and random shells and rocks on the kitchen windowsill (okay, and the bathroom window sill, and the living room window sill….)  The funny thing is that I hardly even think about it anymore other than to note that it is what I like. I don’t consciously think that these things I love pull me in because they remind me of Lanikai Beach, or Hood Canal, or that island in the Bahamas. It is, happily, more visceral than that (whew, that was an ugly word to spell, thank you Spell Check).  I will admit that it is a pleasure to come upon something I have collected (most recently a pasta dish from Ikea that I bought three years ago) and realize that it is the exact color of the water as you enter the Gulf Stream.

I love that.

But what about the rest of my profile. Do I really have salt water in my veins? Do I really carry within me the ability to refresh someone like jumping into the REALLY cold water at the canal can? And man, that water can be cold –  but despite rendering me breathless and perhaps a bit panicked upon first entering, there is nothing like the feeling of it fizzing up around me. Almost like jumping into an icy glass of seltzer water, only wilder and with stuff in it. Some of it I can see, (which has the ability to gross me out, I will not lie) and some of it which I can’t, (which has the ability to scare the bejeezus out of me if I let it.) Most of the time I try hard to concentrate on what I am feeling when I am in the water, and not just the lack of blood flow to my brain and other extremities, but the buoyancy, the depth, the sense or recklessness that it inspires. This water isn’t captive. It isn’t still or recycled.  It moves. It’s been EVERYWHERE. There is salt in it that has been carried around for millennia and originated in the antarctic. There is dust in it that has blown in from the deserts of Africa. There are objects in it that have been brought over from Asia. It is a literal soup of everything that makes up the world. And here I am, just floating in it, a little cold, a little grossed out, but part of it.

Amazing. As much as I am in it at that moment – I want it to be in me.  I want to be a brew of everything that I have experienced, touched, heard, loved, hated, seen, tasted. I want them at once to be a part of me, but also I want them to be noticed for their ipseity (I fell in love with that word, I hope I used it correctly!) I wand those things to be cherished and noticed as amazing pieces of the whole. As you look at the ocean, it is just that. It is The Ocean. But upon closer inspection, even in a glassful of water dipped from the shore, it is so much more. And it is all beautiful (well, maybe not the sea pig (thank you so much, Lisa Curtis for that revelation today) so much, or the sturgeon…okay, even the sea pig and the sturgeon, I’m feeling benevolent today), without being strictly pretty.

Here is where certain people will go “WHAT? The ocean is full of pretty! Pretty shells, pretty fish, pretty sunsets, pretty beaches!”.  I grew up mainly on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Ocean beauty here consists of surf with the power to eat you, and if you are lucky, spit you out. Beauty has to be found in the near constant storms that blow in and the grey, mildly depressing days in-between them; the pebbly, or flat out rocky beaches; the sluggish schlumping and aquatic farm-like stench of sea lions and seals on the beach; the smell of salt water tidal flats and fishing nets and rotting piles of sand flea infested bull kelp at low tide, and the tidal pools harboring horny-fleshed starfish and pouty anenomes, and if you’re lucky, a sea cucumber or stranded nudabranch. Beauty here is that which makes you shield your eyes on a sunny, blue-skied day and feel like it is all TOO MUCH sugar. Others would say that it makes you truly appreciate the “beautiful days when the sun shines”. I love those days, but for me the real days are the ones when the sun hides and you have to be a little creative to find the “pretty”.

Image

. . .Gosh, I got a little carried away there, I can’t exactly remember where I was going with this reverie… see people, this is why I need to practice at writing, I’ve completely lost my train of thought (oh! and just like that a squirrel runs across the back fence! Hey, Floki!)

Oh, so I believe I was trying to justify my profile description. Searching for the saltwater in my veins, the dynamism of my existence, my personal effervescence.  Maybe my words were just too fancy.  Perhaps I should have stuck with my hope that I am wilder than I appear, that I am hiding something beneath the surface that will surprise you but hopefully leave you with a positive feeling, if not giddily sweet aftertaste, once you get over the shock.

I think I can manage that. ImageCare to take a dive?