Tell Me Your Vision

This was what I was asked by my colleague who is helping me revamp my blog.  I believe in teamwork and to be more to the point I believe that I suck at all things tech, so I’m calling in reinforcements.

My muses come in all different shapes and sizes.  My friend….let’s call her Sugar Britches, got this ball rolling because she made a ridiculous picture of me with an orange in my mouth the lock screen picture on her phone.  For whatever God forsaken reason this inspired me to write like a maniac.  I started and didn’t stop for three days.  I hadn’t written in three years before that.  My friends are eternal sources of material for me whether they know it or not and frankly whether they like it or not.  They are some of the funniest people I know and encourage this narrative in insanity that I call a blog.

My vision…..so other than world domination with cute umbrellas in the cosmic cocktail of my life?  Glad you asked.

I want some color…but not like a toddler punched you in the face with a crayon box theme of color.  I want muted color that grabs the attention.  Tasteful yet edgy.  Think Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday…except in a blog and make it a slightly tipsy Audrey at that.

I like the picture for my blog as much as I’ll ever like any picture of myself (none).  It’s got an Indiana Jones feel to it that appeals to me.  It makes me seem adventurous and wild.  For the record, that is my favorite hat.  I know eventually this picture will change as this grows, but for the time being, I’m enjoying my Shannon meets the Outback look.

I want a boa constrictor on a skateboard carrying a sparkler in its mouth.  I want trained goats singing Ode to Joy.  I want Rick-rolls that randomly pop up every third entry of this blog.  I want pictures of me that have been photoshopped to make me look like Katherine Hepburn in On Golden Pond.  I want Corgi’s on unicycles.  I want to know what is living under Donald Trump’s hair.

His question actually took me back a bit.  I don’t think many people get asked this question.  What’s your vision?  I can rattle off ten jokes in as many seconds.  I’m known for utter irreverence, but this question demands a certain amount of decorum.  It means someone is taking this seriously.  Someone is expecting me to explain how my mind works just enough to give them an insight into how to properly portray me.

In a ball gown?  In a straight jacket?  In a field?

How the hell do I know?  I’ve always been a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal.  I never remembered to bring a pencil on test day.  I write things in my calendar and then forget to look at my calendar in order to remember them.  I always ignore alarms.  I tend to do solitary things.  I cook.   I do yoga which forces one to look inward.  I garden.  I walk/jog/crawl.  I read.  I write.  I observe.

Tell me your vision.

Here’s the real deal.  My vision is this – to make my own corner of the world a little brighter.  That’s all I can offer in a world that seems sometimes to have gone mad.  My vision is to give hope to little girls that their rent for womanhood is not meant to be paid in quantities of self-doubt and loathing.  They don’t have to be perfect all the time.  As a matter of fact, they don’t have to be perfect at all.  They can make mistakes without the self flogging that my generation was taught.

Be a good girl.  But don’t forget the boys like it when you’re bad…but not too bad.  You don’t want a reputation.  Dress appropriately.  Unless you want to get somewhere then be willing to show a little something.  Be smart but not too smart.  Be pretty.  Be polite.  Don’t say no, you might offend someone.  Don’t say yes either, because people might get the wrong idea.  Watch your weight.  Watch your language.  Don’t be too soft, don’t be too tough.  Be a little girl, but be sexualized at the same time.  Walk with your head high but your eyes down.  Chest out, butt tucked in.  Never drink too much.  Always wear a little make up.  Don’t be smarter, stronger, faster or more capable than a man.  It took a lot of us a long time to figure out that all of this……is a patent lie.  We can be bold and sensual and demure and classy and athletic and delicate all at the same damn time.  We can be an equal to our male counterparts and still revel in our femininity.  We can be the prettiest tomboy on the block.  We can be smart and not have it diminish our appeal.

My vision is to napalm the above referenced bullshit into oblivion.  My vision is to see the next generation of young women stand up for themselves because the world sure as hell isn’t going to do it for them.  My vision is to allow a young girl look at commercials and dolls and products which seek to find a place in their world and their home and see themselves, no matter what the color of their skin is.  My vision is that a child’s world is filled with wonderous diversity.

I’ve never bent a knee to convention and chances are, I never will.  I believe in the value of honesty and hard work and family and dedication and above all integrity.

My vision is that some of these archaic and incredibly fucked up social conventions which have been rammed down women’s throats can be cast aside and replaced by  more common sense standards.

Normal standards.  Work hard, play hard.  Be kind, be charitable.  Be what you want.  Live a life filled with purpose.  Believe that your body and your mind are temples in which only the worthy should enter.  Have faith in your own abilities.  Don’t judge your fellow woman.  Not every woman wants to be a mother.  Not every woman can be a mother.  Not every woman wants a husband.  Not every woman likes men.  Not every woman is neat and tidy.  Not every woman wants a career.  Not every woman likes baking or cooking or cleaning or nurturing.  Not every woman is weaker.  Not every woman is compassionate.  Not every woman is what she seems.  We are deep wells of humanity, each of us. And we are all entitled to be who and what we are.  No man I know would dare accept a snap judgement of his abilities based on his looks or weight or whether he has a wife or children. Nor should we.

My vision…that women can just be…women who are fulfilled in their own lives.

Can I fit that in the tagline for this blog?

That’s my vision.

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Impulse Control

My husband has a tendency to speak whatever is on his mind.  There are days that it gets so far under my skin that it’s the equivalent of wearing a hair shirt.   He often means well but he has this way of communicating that has taken me years to understand.

He is, without question, one of the most thorough and conscientious people I know.  He will leave a voicemail and it’s so detailed, I don’t need to call him back for at least a week.  Then he’ll text me to ask if I got the voicemail.  I’ve seen him in business mode.  He is polite and detailed and polished.  At home, he’s a little umm, rougher.

He will say things like “Yeah – I think I’m going to that thing.”

After six attempts to get out of him what “thing” he’s talking about, I will realize it’s from a conversation from three days ago.  Me yelling “Start at the beginning of the thought” is a weekly occurrence.

He also seems to think that because a notion has entered his mind, society at large should act upon his thought immediately.  Truth be told, this encompasses most of the arguments we have.  We remodeled our kitchen about four years ago  In the aftermath, there was a lot of painting necessary.  Since his best friend is also a top-notch contractor we were allowed the luxury of painting things the way we wanted (I’m a little bit of a weirdo when it comes to this stuff).  So in the few days of down time, we started painting our laundry room which is attached to the kitchen.  I was arched in a  back bend on a ladder painting the interior of the closet when I heard the dread words “Got a second?”  This means I should un-kink my back, climb down off of the ladder and go see whatever it is he wants me to see; and foolishly, I did just that.  What he needed from me was to determine where we should put a pan that for the record, we couldn’t use since we had no stove.  We were living off of take out and grilled food.   After hearing “Got a second” for the third time that day my temper launched.  In the middle of my tirade informing him that simply because a notion entered his head does not make it a moral imperative for me to drop what I’m doing which is important.  I’m pretty sure I threw a paintbrush and kicked the door as his best friend walked in from the garage door and immediately starting roaring laughter. 

He simply said. “Let me guess……Magilla had a thought.”

He announces things that are so obvious it’s actually comical.  Hey Shannon, I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a car seat on the floor.  Yes Magilla, I did know that.  Not only did I put it there, but I am presently standing less than two feet away from it.  I know he’s trying to be helpful but to my practical nature it’s somehow an insult to my intellect.  It’s like telling me my breasts are located beneath my chin.

We had to clean out the canister for the vacuum cleaner.  This is something I can do unassisted.  I’m funny that way.   He feels that he’s not well versed enough in the four step process and needs assistance, ergo………we cleaned out the vacuum canister.  Our dog is part Shepard and part hound which loosely translates to hair everywhere.  When I’m asked what breed she is I generally say, part hairball/part undiagnosed neurosis.  He decided to impress me by vacuuming the living room.  I would honestly be more impressed if a cattle prod were not necessary to effect this feat, but Magilla likes to play dumb.  He likes to pretend that he’s incapable of anything.

So after about ten minutes of vacuuming the canister was full of dog hair.  He exclaimed in amazement and pride, “Is all that hair hers?”

Yes.

“No”, he says, “Some must be yours; it’s gray.”

Sure babe.  If we’re going with that theory, some is probably yours too…..from your ass.

Today he informed me that he was going to take a nap.  Earlier that morning before running errands, I had stripped the bed to wash the sheets; which were still in a ball in the dryer when I got back three hours later.  When I asked him if he planned on making the bed, the response  I got was a snotty NO; as if I’d asked him if he were going to open an umbrella up his nose and twirl it.  I had no idea asking this question was so utterly offensive.

Silly me.  I had a thought.  I really should work on that.

 

 

 

The Devil You Know

I work in an office that has a lot of traffic.  Yesterday a gentleman in a very swanky suit walked in.  One of my colleagues asked…..

Hey Shannon who’s that?

That’s the devil.  He’s recruiting for his legions.  He wants to know if anyone is interested in joining.

Great!  Get me his card.

That was a conversation at my office today;  a real bona fide conversation.

I’m a huge fan of dark/gallows/whatiswrongwithyou humor.  I find that laughter does in fact cure-all.  You’ll still die, but you’ll die laughing.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

I’m very lucky in the sense that though my office is professional and we work hard, we can also laugh all day.  Of course, I do have to tone it down there….which is partly why I rip loose here.  You can’t unleash this stuff on an unsuspecting coworker and expect to keep your job.  It simply doesn’t work that way.

They expect professionalism and good manners; not feminist rants, menopausal jibes and the occasional no-no word.

I lead a double life.  Oh, and I now have a colleague here at Looneyville second job who will aid and abet my double life.  I’m paying them in food and wine.  Big doings here.

I am open to job applications.  I will be the worst boss ever, vaguely reminiscent of Bernard Black in Black Books.  I can’t pay you, but I love creative resumes.

 

 

I Didn’t Fart at Yoga

There it is folks, my big coup for the day.  This is actually a step up; a specific mission if you will.  Many days my goal is to get my bra on correctly or to NOT stab someone in the hand with a spoon.

I’ve been trying to get back into health and exercise for a while now and it seems to be one step forward, eighteen back.  My back finally feels stronger.  I would exercise and then fade back into middle-aged obscurity and insecurity.  I’m too heavy.  I’m too old.  I’m too busy.  I’m in too much pain.  I’m tired.  There are days I feel like  I’m sinking into some sort of oblivion which is tantamount to hiding from something; though damned if I know what.

I have insecurities just like anyone else.  They typically are held at bay every time except THAT time; then it’s a free for all of emotional minions messing with my perception of everything including the size of my ass and my sudden ability to trip over the pattern in a carpet.

The cure for this?  Yoga.  Of course.  Something in which I need balance and strength during a time that I feel clumsy and inept.  Great idea.  Best idea I’ve EVER had.

So there I am in a class with no one I know.  I felt like I was walking into freshman year all over again.   There was the typical cast of yoga class characters.  The overachiever, the rebel, the to be bride (there’s always one trying to zen the hell up for the upcoming nuptials) , the friendly one, the expert on all she surveys, and then me.  I still have the same M.O. that I’ve always had.  You show me yours first and then maybe I’ll open up.  So I was quiet as I typically am in a situation where I know no one.

For the first time in almost a year, I felt strong.  I felt determined to see it through and not give into the predatory fears/voice that whisper salacious insults in your ear when you’re not feeling beautiful.  I was determined to not fall on my face.

If there are any yoga devotees reading this, you know that yoga can put you in some fairly compromising positions.  I looked to my right and saw the expert and the rebel were the picture of yoga perfection.  The bride was apparently envisioning herself in her gown or her wedding night as her face was the portrait of rapture.  The friendly one just smiled happily.  And I prayed I wouldn’t fart.

There it is.  That was my all holy aspiration for the day.

In my mind, I had come this far.  A year in the making; a year filled with doctor appointments and pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication, of chiropractor appointments (thank you Dr. Vinnie), and MRI’s and X-rays, and a lot of tears and doubts and a painted smile on my face to hide the pain.

But I did it.  Or more specifically I did not do it.  I did not fart at yoga.

I

AM

A

ROCK

STAR

 

Fishing For Compliments

My husband is an avid fisherman.  That is actually a bit of an understatement.  It’s his first love.  I’m his fourth love, somewhere after provolone cheese yet before back scratching…actually I’m more or less the twit he puts up with.

List of Magilla’s loves in appropriate order

Fishing

Our dog, Hellhound

Grocery shopping

Television

Complaining

Snacks

Large luggage

Provolone Cheese

Fluffy pillows

Bruce Springsteen

and then me

I know my place and am completely comfortable with it.

Yesterday he told me we should have a dinner date.  I asked him if it was because he adored me and missed me and couldn’t live without me.  “No”, he says, “we have to eat.”  I think I may have snarfed pasta from laughing so hard.  He’s not wrong.  We do need to eat. Well alright then.

I’ve learned to keep my expectations low in the compliment department.  My husband does not utter flowery words of adoration.   It’s probably a good thing that I have a fairly healthy sense of self.   It’s also a good thing that I’m very independent and don’t require a lot of fussing.  It actually makes me uncomfortable.

We, as a whole, are not a flowery couple.  We don’t do grand proclamations.  We don’t whisper sweet nothings.  I don’t really think either of us have the patience for it.  I’m okay with that; it rather appeals to my minimum bullshit persona. I somewhat cringe when people ask, “What do you think?”  Really?  Are you sure you want this question answered.

What I do know is that if this world turned sideways, the one standing right by my side will be Mr. Magilla.  No question.

Having said all this?  The man is a lunatic.

Truly.  He drives me nuts; in the best, most wonderful way.

I have this love/hate with his travel schedule.  My home is neat and tidy when he’s away.  It makes me happy that the bed is made and I don’t find things like jars of marinara sauce in the dresser or fishing rods in the shower.  (True story – will reserve for another time)

According to him, he speaks dog.  He thinks every leaf is poison ivy.  He is convinced that every letter in a word needs to be pronounced and he does not sweat the details of things.  Actually he does, but it’s bizarre obscure things that are totally in his control that he will obsess about.  Which makes no sense to me.

He had a horrible staph infection a few months ago in which they needed to lance something on his person.  My husband does not do doctors.  Frankly, I think he would rather be eaten by coyotes.  Antibiotics were only doing so much and he needed to go to a specialist for them to look at it.  Instead of telling me they may do a procedure (communication is NOT his strong suit), he said our doctor referred him just to be safe.

Long story short, he passed out when they injected him with the local anesthetic.  Out.  Cold.  I get a phone call at work that I need to get there immediately because my husband is prone in a chair and mumbling things.

So I get there and the doctor explains what had happened as I stand there with my arms folded over my chest.  Mr. Magilla is interjecting things at this point like….the dog likes peanut butter and Charlie is in the inlet.  The doctor says and I quote…”due to his fear of needles he had what is known as a vasovagal syncope.  In most people this lasts a couple of minutes at most.”  Not my Magilla.  He likes to do it up big.  His lasted an hour; after which they sent us to the Urgent Care in the adjacent building.  There they gave him an IV which ironically he did just fine with.  They also gave him apple juice and a granola bar and I overheard him bargaining with the nurse, railroading her with the logic that he’s a big dude and should by virtue of this fact get TWO granola bars.

I then, at his request, called his mother and sister to inform them of his almost demise.  According to him, he saw a bright light and was moving toward it.  As I’m trying to explain what happened, he’s interjecting that it was “Vizzy Viggio”.  As I explained to my sister in law that essentially he fainted, he’s yelling in the background that “Vizzy Viggio” sounds more manly and therefore better.

I told him to shut up and drink his juice and then ordered a screw driver for myself.  The nurse told me is wasn’t a bar and they only have apple juice.  Juice is juice lady.  Pony up with that cocktail, huh?  She said it’s an urgent care ma’am and we’re trying to get rid of your husband.  Well so am I LADY! (in my head)

While it’s common knowledge that it takes a strong man to be married to me; it also takes a strong woman to be married to him.  He’s not these easiest soul to live with.  He’s kind and funny and wonderful and cute.  But he’s….how can I put this….set in his ways.

We have a daily curtain battle.  He insists the dog likes the sheer SEE THROUGH curtains open because apparently the diaphanous fabric blocks her vision, therefore making her frustrated in her inability to bark at EVERYTHING a nanosecond sooner.   Every day I close them immediately after arriving home because at this point it’s a game and damn it; I am no quitter.  When he travels he interrogates me as to whether I left the curtains open for her.  I always insist that she demands the blinds be drawn in addition to the curtains being closed because I speak canine.  He rejects that canine is the genus for dog.  He also insists even if she has a full bowl of water, that secretly in mutt code she’s saying “WATER, WATER”.

Yes it takes a strong woman to be married to him.  One has to be in a marriage.  It’s not for the unsure.  You have to live with someone every day.  They see you at your worst and you see them.  The for better part is the easy part.  But when you can start laughing in the middle of a fight…

When you put your own ego aside to raise up your partner.  When you refrain from choking them with their own sock because even after you’ve asked six times it’s still laying on the stairs…

Girls fish for compliments, women know that the man the saves you the last piece of brownie doesn’t need to tell you daily how wonderful you are.  He loves you in spite of weight gain, PMS, no make up, mood swings, bad days, bad hair, runs in pantyhose, spider veins, cellulite, refusal to put ice cream in the bowl, you’re just gonna eat it out of the container because your day sucked that much…

The man who saves you the last brownie loves you more than anything in the world.  Period.  There is no one else I’d rather spend my life audibly rolling my eyes at.

But he still drives me nuts.

My dining room table one hour after Magilla returns from a business trip

No Nuns in New York

Recently, I ventured into New York City with Mr. Magilla for a marathon date.  We get time every so often to do so.  We use those stolen moments to reconnect, to laugh, to unshoulder the mantles of endless responsibilities that we have

….and just be.

We both have aging parents.  We have a lot of family responsibilities that don’t allow for much time together, or more specifically, romantic time together.

Now, my husband is the picture of literal thinking.  Hey Magilla, you see that dead bird?  *he looks up*  Do not take this in any way that my husband is stupid, far from it.  But his first instinct is a literal translation.  When you present him with an abstract concept, he looks as if you speak ancient Aramaic and your head is about to do a 360 on your neck.  He can run rings around most people I know, but God forbid you easily see that.  He watches all, sees all.  But I swear, the shit that comes out of that man’s mouth sometimes astounds me.

We went to go see Sting and Peter Gabriel in concert at Madison Square Garden.  It was without question, the best show I have ever seen.  And I’ll leave it at that since I don’t like to gloat (neener neener boo boo).

So we check into our hotel and were referred to this fantastic little Italian restaurant for dinner.  I will give Azalea on 51st a shameless plug here.  They’re phenomenal.  Make the trip if you’re in the city.

I love people watching.  Love it.  It’s food for this blog.  So as we’re walking from our hotel to the restaurant, we see a nun.  Mr. Magilla informs me that nuns shouldn’t be in this particular city.

Why?

Because, Giuliani cleaned this place up

Did you just hear yourself?  Nuns are everywhere.  They offer hope.

No, they use rulers and everything here is crooked.

That is Magilla logic.  Here is some unsubstantiated shit i just made up, therefore it must be fact and I’m going to argue it as such because I like it when your face is red from pure frustration.    And who is the idiot you wonder?  That would be me.  I fall for it every time.

A couple of years ago he came home from a lengthy business trip.  These trips usually entail a suitcase that comes up to my waist.  He likes to pack the necessities.  Suits, business reading, journals from the past 20 years just in case someone asks a question, fishing ledgers and maps, Fritos, toiletries, shirts, socks, shoes, 4 pillows, the neighbors terrier, a small lamp, shoes he doesn’t even wear and his iPod which I’m pretty sure has the same songs on it now that it did 3 years ago.

So my parents were visiting and this monstrosity of a suitcase is still in the middle of our kitchen.  I had to go to the grocery store to get extra chicken since he decided to arrive home a day early and not tell me.  I was late getting dinner started and Magilla is a man driven by his appetite.  A woman with PMS has nothing on a hungry Magilla.  So I’m late, annoyed and I have to keep stepping over his Titanic trunk packed by a debutante size luggage in order to cook dinner as he’s bitching that he’s hungry.  About 5 minutes in (I must have been patient that day) I freaked.  I mean freaked.  GET THIS PIECE OF SHIT OUT OF THIS KITCHEN AND PUT IN DOWN IN THE BASEMENT OR I SWEAR I’M PUTTING EX LAX IN YOUR DINNER!

And then I did the mature thing.  I stormed into the bathroom to drink mouth wash….I mean to compose myself.  When I emerged?  No suitcase.  Magilla is calmly watching me as an antelope would watch a lion and decides that my savage nature has been soothed by the removal of said offensive object.

I had dinner about halfway done when I had to go into our garage to throw something out and what do I trip over?  Yep.  The suitcase.

My parents are used to our banter by now.  But back then, they weren’t so sure.  I kicked the suitcase and questioned its mother’s integrity and pedigree as well as the legitimacy of marriage arrangements and whether it tends to sleep around.  My mother was horrified and I’m pretty sure my father was proud as he had unwittingly taught me some of the terms I was throwing about like confetti when I was five.

Mr. Magilla decides to ask me what’s wrong.

What’s wrong?  You are utterly incapable of listening to a simple instruction?  I’m pretty sure I asked you to put that damn thing down in the basement.  Did you think I wouldn’t see it in the garage?  It’s the size of an elephant for !@#%#*(%!&#_  sake.  Why can’t you just put it in the basement where it’s out the way?

He looked me dead in the face, with the most impish little grin I’ve ever seen and informed me, “It’s scary down there.”

How do you argue with that?

By the way, there are no nuns in New York.

 

 

 

 

 

Gutted

After five police officers dying last night, I’m gutted.  

We have to find a balance.  We should strive to reach out to each other and mend these broken fences. 

We should grieve the loss.  Tonight, I’m grieving. 

I’ll try reason and faith and understanding and stepping out of my own comfort zone tomorrow.  But tonight?  I grieve.