You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2012.

I’ve been looking at a fair amount of nonsense over the last few days. Between Christmas and politics I’ve had a rough time of it. It’s the special Christmas special season. A Christmas special to end all specials. Or a moldy old chestnut from some video vault with its saccharine message of love and peace which only barely hides the real message. Buy stuff and buy it now. Impress your friends with stuff.

Ugh.

My daughter mentioned to me that she was doing the 26 Acts of Kindness to extend some sort of loveliness out into a world that is dark, both figuratively and literally at this time of year. I’m a bit of a Bah Humbugger each year at Christmas. I try to hide it from my kids but I suspect they are not entirely surprised. Christmases at my childhood home were notoriously fraught with unexamined and unexpressed feelings. I suffer continuously with the “my gifts are underwhelming and wrong” neurosis.

Yesterday, despite this being a low point among low points in my financial history I decided to participate in my own way. I may not make 26. The gestures may not be grand. Still, I hope to make someone’s day and get them to smile

Yesterday I bought coffee and treats for the gentleman behind me and his wife. Admittedly this was a first world sort of gift. No homeless kids will be redeemed for life by buying a coffee for a man and woman with plenty of food. I didn’t look to see who was behind me before I offered. I could tell the man was shocked and suspicious at first. I think his wife thought I was trying to pick up on him. But when he realized it wasn’t a gimmick his face softened for just a minute and he reached over and squeezed my arm just briefly and shyly said thank you and Merry Christmas.

I felt tears come to my eyes. Just like the Grinch I felt my three sizes too small heart crack open a little. The work of the season often shadows and weighs down the joy to be found. It was odd to feel something other than a heavy decision about what chore needed doing next.

Here is my admonition. Love each other. Be kind. 26 simple acts for each of the lives lost at Newtown. Be creative. Enjoy yourself. Shock and surprise people with armored hearts by providing a little bit of heaven on earth.

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I’m not quite sure what these days mean anymore. We’ve come through a rather untidy election on a side I feel comfortable with. That was a wild ride whose ending happily makes me happy this time. Next time, I’m not so certain of the outcome.

Now this? Another set of violent random shootings. One here in my home state. Another painful reckoning. Another day after. We fear the terrorists outside our borders while we blindly ignore the “rights” of the ones inside. Why is our culture so addicted to guns? Why is there a discussion of arming teachers in the classroom Why would ANYONE find that to be an acceptable solution? Why is there a ranking list for deadliest school shootings? Can someone tell me why there is more than one?

More disturbing to me is the gun rights pundits who adopt this terror attack as a poster child for their version of liberty. To scare you into believing that government jack booted thugs will arrive at your door and take your gun if you don’t believe in their version of liberty.

I have all the liberty I need and more and I don’t carry a gun. And it’s not because you have or carry a gun that you or I are free. It’s because we have a governing set of principles that allows us to speak freely and elect our officials by the rule of the majority. Not because you can shoot a bottle off of a stump.

I’ve inserted myself into situations that would have had a tremendously different outcome had I been carrying a gun. I stopped a big Samoan teenager from slapping his girlfriend around just by getting in his face I’ve made rowdy swearing tough teenagers leave the train because young children were sitting right next to them and they couldn’t contain their language or their behavior. Just imagine if they had a gun, or I did. The ending would have been very different.

The worst offender of them all? The people who want to tell you that drunk drivers and cars are like mass murderers with guns. Nope, not even close. When is the last time you heard of a drunk driver who went out and drove into a theater or a mall or a school with the expressed purpose of killing someone? Never? Thats right, because drunk people are addicted to alcohol and do stupid murderous things. Mass murderers have a plan and they use guns because they are portable and effective and can be used in a pre-meditated crime easily.

So if guns can be equated to cars? Let’s license every single one of them and make every person that owns one buy insurance for it and take a class to get a license. If they can’t pass the test? No license? No gun Oh wait you say, we don’t want that! Then please stop using that weak, stupid argument. People with guns kill people. Frequently.

Its unthinkable that we, as a civilized nation, cannot come to a agreement to make our society a safer place without having a gun in the equation. Have we learned nothing from the nuclear arms race? Making more missiles made us less safe, not more. We are addicted to some sick Hollywood simulacrum of the wild west made to fit into a gangsta rap video. I only hope we grow up soon.

My weekends are often very busy so when I get one that isn’t, it’s a miracle. Or it feels miraculous. I’m not entirely clear on which one and I don’t suppose it matters much at all. I do know that they are incredibly healing for me. I sleep as much as I want. I get to the gym. My shoulders come to a normal range as I pursue some of my hobbies. Just me and the dog makes the house quiet.

This is especially good after I’ve taken my dog and pony show on the road for a week. I train several people on software and do lunches and smile pretty and joke endlessly. I’m on display for 2-3 days with no downtime except at night. I really look forward to the post work vegitude in my room with no one to nay say my tube choices. Sometimes that is all I can manage. I will say I never choose reality tv despite it being the guilty pleasure for some. It makes me crazy to see people behave that way. I’ll get off my reality tv soap box now.

My free weekends are in the shape of an arc metaphorically speaking. Beginning with Friday night where my energy is typically low, I might do some light cleaning and laundry to avoid having my entire Saturday morning buried under a load of chores. The point of this is to get in as much free time activity as possible. Knitting, spinning and weaving are tops. Cooking comes in a distant fourth these days owing mostly to no one being in the house but me. Last night I went to the gym, knitted a little, worked on the grand nephew warp some and then made a nice dinner for myself. The last due in large part to chicken already being purchased and needing only a defrosting, and to the lack of home cooked meals in the previous 4 days. I’m not a picky eater, but I do eat a lot of fruits and veggies which is different than most on the road meals.

Today I will head out to yoga as I promised myself I’d do last month. It will be the terminus of the arc I’ve made this weekend from low energy to recovered energy to sadness that the weekend respite is over and I must adjust to the demands of my work schedule. No brakes until Christmas.

There is the odd and wonderful feeling that comes at the height of the weekend between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Almost a feeling of weightlessness. My spirits are lifted. I’m usually humming to myself and nothing feels like a crushing bore or weight. A heat pack for my shoulders isn’t required clothing. I feel much like a flower whose stem has been trimmed and placed into a glass of water. Revived, head up to face the sun.

May we all take the time to trim our stems and jump into a fresh bit of water through out the next three weeks.

May the arc be with you.