Just bitchin'

Resolved…

New Year's Resolutions, list of items

“I don’t do New Year’s resolutions,” she said. “You always end up breaking them and then you feel like a loser and…just…just…nothing…NOTHING good comes of it.”

My friend got me thinking (always dangerous), and I wonder if the problem isn’t with the one resolving, but with the resolutions themselves. They always seem to center around controlling the physical, when ‘physical’ is the most transitory aspect of existence. Maybe the focus could be widened. Or blurred. Or spangled… 2016 will never come again. This is your one chance.

  1. Get carried away.
  2. Get swept off your feet.
  3. Notice others’ joy.blognewyear3
  4. Strike the G-word from Guilty Pleasures.
  5. If you haven’t found your tribe, be one.
  6. Daydream.
  7. Watch the sky or the sea; they have the power to amaze.blognewyear2
  8. Soar
  9. Skim
  10. Savor

…and wear sequins inappropriately and unapologetically, because life can always use more sparkle and glitter.

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Just bitchin'

And To All A Good Night…

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I did something shocking.

I proclaimed, loudly and without the slightest apology: “Merry Christmas.”

I hadn’t intended to; it just slipped out.

Silence ensued.

I had committed the politically incorrect sin of uttering something un-generic at a time of year when we are all very careful to tiptoe about on religious eggshells for fear of alienating anyone who might not celebrate the same holiday that we do.

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I knew it the second the words dropped like leaden harbingers of impropriety. And then I decided I really didn’t care what others thought. I wouldn’t be offended if someone wished me a Happy Hanukkah, or a Happy Solstice, or any of the multitude of other winter observations, as long as the intent was to share joy.

I’m sorry to offend, but the term ‘Happy Holidays’ just doesn’t pack the emotional oomph of its more specific cousins.

So with all due respect…

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night…

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Just bitchin'

Northwest Winter Gifts

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At the stormiest of times, clouds can part…

…revealing an unexpected vista of stars so thick they seem to coalesce, to gather like swathes of gauze against purest black.

This celestial beauty spreads before you, mesmerizing until…

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…a streak of fire jolts you from your reverie.

Did you really see it? Maybe not…

…but then another

and another

and yet again

and more.

A shower of fire, frost-kissed, utterly silent, lances across the sky.

Each one worth a wish.

You wonder if you’re the only person stargazing on such a night. Normal people are indoors, sheltering against the cold.

You are no longer in a hurry. You no longer grumble about the long walk from the garage.

Because the winter night has gifts to give.

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Just bitchin'

@USPS A Tale of Thieves and Liars

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This is a story about the United States Postal Service.

Be forewarned that this is a true story and will, hopefully, catch the attention of someone with the ability to enact change in this dysfunctional government entity. But…who am I kidding? They could care less. Nonetheless, I’m posting this. Sometimes venting is all that’s left when faced with dishonesty and stupidity.

So…

I expected a package to be delivered today. As usual, I made sure I was home and available to answer the door when the Priority Mail Express parcel showed up.

The hours passed. I kept checking the tracking information online. Toward the end of the day, I was checking it every few minutes, because there have been several occasions in the past when the mail carrier has outright lied and claimed he tried to deliver a package, but no one was home. I’ve complained repeatedly about this situation, which amounts to thievery on the part of the USPS. Why pay for their special services that ensure a package will arrive when their carriers lie about attempting to provide the service for which you paid?

So between one minute and the next, I saw the notice pop up that delivery had been attempted, but no one was home.

Livid, I went out to the street, found the Failed Delivery notice in my box, and stood in the pouring rain waiting for the mail carrier to come by on his return journey.

I should mention I live on a dead end street. He had no choice but to return the way he’d come.

After about 15 minutes, I saw the little, white mail truck headed my way.

I stepped out into the street and waved…displaying the Failed Delivery notice prominently.

He slowed.

He saw.

He hit the gas and nearly ran me down.

I screamed as he raced by, almost clipping me.

Shaking, I returned to my computer and lodged a complaint which mentioned legal action and police involvement.

Then, I followed the instructions and called the phone number on the failed delivery notice to request ‘Redelivery.’ (An impossibility, since no one attempted to deliver anything the first time.) After half an hour of laborious data entry over the phone, I reached the end of the process. The automated voice had verified my tracking number, my phone number, my address, the service I purchased for delivery.

At the very end, it asked for my name.

I gave it. Clearly. Slowly.

Before hanging up on me, the voice said “I’m sorry. There seems to be a problem.”

 

At last the USPS and I agree on something.

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books, Just bitchin'

Literary Candy

blogtaste1Inclement weather is a bookworm’s friend.

We have an excuse to stay indoors, pull the ‘Welcome’ mat in after us, and immerse ourselves in the printed word to an extent that would make us feel guilty on a bright, sunny day. I began my annual literary hibernation over the nice, long, stormy Thanksgiving weekend.

I was looking for a holiday read. You know… the kind of thing that will be a mild diversion and can be consumed with ease, or, alternatively, be abandoned without remorse at holiday’s end. The kind of book called ‘fluff’ or ‘inconsequential’ or ‘brain-candy.’

I also wanted something more, shall we say…meaty.

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I selected two novels. One was authored by a Pulitzer Prize winner. The other was a joint effort by two women whose steady day-jobs are in the fashion industry. You can probably guess which was ‘fluff’ and which was ‘meaty.’

But the read was totally unexpected.

I opened the Pulitzer’s offering to be greeted by a two-page family tree. Dozens of names, some of which were only mentioned in passing throughout the course of the long, long story. I had to bookmark this reference tool and return to it every few pages, working out the relationships of characters that drifted in and out.

It was well-written. It was richly written. The gamut of characters and dialogue and situations and eras was beautifully done. Yet I felt unsatisfied at the end. It required effort to read, but for me the finely detailed portraits didn’t go anywhere. It was masterful, but it didn’t touch me.

It was a Rembrandt painting hanging behind velvet ropes. I could appreciate it, but, having looked my fill, I moved on.

Then there was the brain-candy book.

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I couldn’t put it down.

It accompanied me everywhere so I could devour a few pages at every opportunity: stop lights…lines at the post office…lines at the store…waiting rooms…

It contained grammatical errors. It was completely predictable. It’s characters were thinly-drawn. But it was riveting, because it left enough blank spaces for me to fill in myself and realize I knew these people!! Everyone knows these people! And I know these situations!! Everyone does!!

It was thoroughly enjoyable and when I finished it, I was sad there wasn’t a sequel. I also wondered how many agents would choose the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s work over the crowd-pleasing fluff, if they didn’t know the author’s background and the impressive accolades she’d won with previous work.

It’s a puzzle. It’s also a statement about art.

I’m grateful that Rembrandts exist and are available, but a cartoon can speak volumes, too.

So, hats-off to the majority of writers who will never pen the Great American Novel. But their less-exalted work will touch our souls.

And sometimes you just gotta have candy.

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