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Archive for June, 2009

Amy2hands

I bought a cowboy hat the other day on a whim. I’m sassy most any day of the week but with the hat, I’m Super-sized Sassy with a side order or Kicking-Your-Ass. I really don’t know what possessed me to buy the hat – – but there they sat atop a shelf at Target in their cheesy, Cowboy-wanna-be perfection for $12.99 and suddenly I was compelled to buy one. It lay at the bottom of my shopping cart, promising me adventures on a hilltop somewhere in Wyoming – – slow-motion scenes of the saucy blond sitting on a horse driving the cattle with precision, persistence and a hair toss played through my mind like a romance novel come to life. And then reality entered my dream and I realized I don’t know how to ride a horse.

So I ride around in my convertible instead, and stare out at the sunny, sweltering city from underneath the brim of my hat, feeling very American indeed. I’ve had such a love/hate relationship with my country in the past and I feel myself falling in love all over again lately with it’s grit, heat and open roads. I don’t have to actually be on the open road to dream about the open road – – and dreaming of it, I have been. Specifically, Route 66 – – the pinnacle of all Open Roads. The stretch of pavement that yawns out before steaming rubber wheels en route to nowhere and everywhere. Route 66 isn’t really about getting to your destination – – it’s about experiencing the journey, which is, of course, representing the very ideal that we all are told to strive for on a daily basis – – and no matter how trite and predictable a statement it has become, it’s good advice.

route66

I want to take my hat to little diners dotted along the highway and say things like “howdy” and “I reckon I’d like some of that blueberry pie you’ve got on special, ma’am if you could be so kind as to serve me up some”. Then after she brings it to me, finish my pie quietly and mysteriously from the corner booth – – tip her 5 dollars, tell her to “keep the change” and wink at her as I walk out the creaking, glass door. Aside from her thinking I might be some sort of Roy Rogers lesbian (which I’m not….not that there’s anything WRONG with that!), I figure it could be a pretty smooth move – – indicative of someone who’s facing inner truth on the open road and just wants to share the joy of this existentialist discovery with a friendly waitress via monetary altruism. Or, you know……..whatever.

So for now, I am a cowgirl with a $12.99 hat in the city, wearing a tank top, some strappy high heels, and paying way too much for my hair highlights. But you can see by my swagger that I’m a REAL cowgirl at heart – – who’s just looking for the chance to hit the open road and kick some cowboy’s ass for lookin’ at me wrong.

Amyfinger

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I think that as we all get older, the fabric of our relationships with loved ones changes in texture over time – – taking on the patterns that develop as we find our footing in different stages of life. It is still the same fabric; still the same threads that hold it together – – but its hues and stripes of understanding become slightly altered as we see it in a new light. It is no different with the relationships with our parents – because our parents become not just our parents anymore but people in their own right. With their own likes, dislikes, trials, wants, fears, and joy. We each struggle in our roles, wondering how we are supposed to fit together now that we are no longer a child and a young adult caring for that child – – but not in the place yet where a son or daughter starts to care for the parent as they begin to ail and falter. It is in that limbo phase where I believe real growth can take place, if you can, indeed, stand in the midst of the emotion created by these rumbling fault lines of change between two people existing within the important, complex roles which are that of an adult child and their parent.

My father and I have been two pieces of earth creating the friction that is often indicative of a struggling parent/child relationship. I know some of the reasons for this – – know it from my vantage point and I try very hard to see it from his viewpoint too but admittedly, often fail. But no matter the struggles – – no matter the small earthquakes that have erupted in the last decade or so of a changing relationship terrain, one thing I have never stopped understanding is that he loves me – – completely, unconditionally, and without judgment. And that I love him too – – though I do not always understand him.

My Dad has been a globe trotter for many years now – – starting when he was 50 and decided to join the Peace Corps. In doing so, he traveled to Tashkent, Uzbekistan and spearheaded an English learning center at a university there. He did this for the entire 2 years with the Peace Corps before eventually continuing this same work for an NGO once his Peace Corps duties were over. From there he also traveled to Afghanistan and Azerbaijan to do similar educational work for various NGOs before returning to Uzbekistan again and then returning home to the US to settle in Indiana as his home base and teach at a local university there. Unable to stay still for TOO long, though, he has once again started extending his educational services overseas, having now traveled to Ukraine and is currently in Bangkok. I am constantly confused about where he’s been, what he’s done there, and where he’s going next – – but the important thing is, I suppose, that it is a passion for him. Finding ways to use his talents at higher education has become his life’s work and it is tremendously inspiring to me, while being simultaneously mysterious to me because the driving force to change direction so frequently is so strong.

And so, thus, I have been learning what makes my father tick – – finding it sometimes difficult for both of us to cultivate a father/daughter relationship when he has been away so frequently. But as stated, knowing that the mutual love is there has been both evident and paramount in my adulthood.

A large part of this love is due in very significant part to the big role that he played in my years growing up – – he was a very present father. He took that role seriously and due to my mother’s job as a public school kindergarten teacher, he was often the one to take on the duties that a mother would traditionally have done at that day in age. As a toddler, mom had to get up in the wee hours of the morning to get to class on time, and so Dad would be the one to wake me up, change my diaper, feed me and drive me to daycare so that he could then go to work himself. As I got older, he was also the one to take me to school on the first day to attend orientation since mom was busy with her own classroom first-day orientation. A lone father in a sea of mothers, he would meet the teacher, make sure I was settled, and then once again leave me to find my own way amongst my peers – – watching me over the years become less and less clingy, and more and more wanting of independence and relegating him to only a quick chat with the teacher before leaving and, thus, saving me the embarrassment of a hovering father.

He was largely responsible for my love of the Beatles and Classical music – – weekend mornings were filled with the sounds of the former and the latter coming from one of our extra bedrooms that contained the family stereo or as he dubbed it “The Listening Room”. I cannot hear “Scheherazade” played to this day without picturing him in his rocking chair, reading the paper – – coffee mug in hand as he takes a sip occasionally, perusing each section of the news systematically and leisurely. The Beatles, especially, began to sing their way into my heart as they continued their pervasiveness throughout my childhood by way of Dad. When I became a teenager, the worst sound for me to hear, as I awoke bleary-eyed from my late morning, 15 year old slumber, was the rooster crowing from the song “Good Morning, Good Morning” on the Sgt Pepper album. He would play it at top volume and – – worse – – would dance like a maniac in my bedroom as I groaned and pulled the covers over my head saying “DAAAAaaaaaaDDDD!!!!! You are SO embarrassing!!!!!!!!!!!” And embarrassing it was, because Dad’s “dancing” has always consisted predominately of a slight hip swaying movement – – like he was downhill skiing to the rhythms of some sort of cheesy 80’s song like Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen”. The only thing worse than Dad dancing like this in front of me in the privacy of our own home (and trust me, this was bad enough to leave irreparable scars) was when he would dance like this in front of my friends. It was moments like those where a quick and painless death could not have come soon enough for me. I would have paid a Mafia hit man top dollar to have him show up at our house, ring the doorbell, and take me out quickly with a silenced revolver before he sped away into the dark night, just to put me out of the misery of my friends witnessing the Dancing of Dad.

When I was younger, he read books to me – – “Tom Sawyer” is one that comes to mind immediately though I know he read others. And it was truly something I would look forward to – – hearing all those adventures told chapter by chapter sitting beside dad in his massive big, black, ugly recliner. A big, ugly recliner it was, make no mistake, but as a child, that recliner just meant “Dad” and so I loved it in that sort of way that only a child can love an inanimate object of either parent: it was a comfort to have around. Much like the stories he read me from its shiny, leather expanses were a comfort as well.

I am just one of those lucky girls who grew up knowing that she had a Dad who was involved and cared – – that both of her parents loved her. And though I have grown into a rather complicated creature inhabiting planet Earth, I have also grown to like myself as I fumble my way through life. And I have come to recognize that this independence, willfulness, passion and tenacity that allows me to keep figuring it all out my own way in my own time, largely comes from a foundation that I was given as a young child. The sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken message from my Dad especially, that I could do or be anything or anyone that I wanted to be has played a large role from within the depths of my being, unfolding a limitless life that has not been cookie-cutter by any stretch of the imagination thus far. So as I have struggled to understand my Dad and his complexities, I have also come to understand that they are the same complexities in personality that I also possess – – but maybe they have just manifested themselves in a different way, as the next generation’s inheritances from their parents are often want to do. And it is the things that we recognize as our own traits that are so difficult to accept in others.

So Dad – – whatever you’re doing over there in Bangkok – – I hope you’re enjoying your day and your life to the utmost fullest. Happy Father’s Day and thank you for being my Dad.

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me

Ok…so Amity over at http://noblesavage.me.uk tagged me on this about a month ago but I didn’t notice I’d been tagged because I don’t usually get tagged for things because I’m a Scatterbrained Bloggosphere member. As evidenced by the fact that I’m just now responding to my tagging. 😉

So, without further ado – – here are my meandering ponderings…

1. What are your current obsessions?

Um….I think it’s probably pretty obvious by now that my current obsessions, in no particular order, are Sasquatches, Viking hats, Tater Tots, Super Heroes, and Crazy People in Atlanta. Honorable mentions are Space Aliens, Wampas, Wookies, High Heels, Flowers painted on my big toes by the pedicurist, The Beatles, Tall Light Caramel Frappaccinos from Starbucks, reading 3 paragraphs from a book before I go to sleep, and Latin Jazz Dance class 3 days a week.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?

It’s a tie between jeans and heels. They are both wardrobe staples. That and my Wookie costume – – but I only pull that out in the winter. Goes great with my Jimmy Choos. Ok, I don’t actually have a Wookie costume. Or Jimmy Choos. But it’s only a matter of time before I get both, people!

3. Last dream you had?

Ohhhhhh goody. My nap dreams are always really colorful. The last one I recall in great detail was one I had last week during a 30 min lunchtime nap (don’t be haters because I get to work from home, folks). I dreamed that I opened the blinds of my bedroom to see two Lowes trucks out in my condominium parking lot – – and subsequently, hundreds of members of a high school marching band were filing out of said trucks playing “Just the Two of Us”. And all I could think was “Where is my CAR?” because the lot was completely empty. Oh – – and also a tornado siren was going off in the background. And also I was drunk. Ok – – not really drunk, but if I was, that would have explained a lot, huh?

4. Last thing you bought?

4 cute tops from Victoria’s Secret. Online shopping is an evil, evil thing.

5. What are you listening to?

Craig Ferguson and the dancing puppets he has at the beginning of his show.

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be?

Fabudite – – Goddess of Fabulousness and Awesomeness

7. Favourite holiday spots?

Paris!!!! But then again, I think my favorite holiday spot will likely be somewhere I haven’t been yet…

8. Reading right now?

Dooce’s (Heather Armstrong) “It Sucked and Then I Cried”

9. Four words to describe yourself.

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, and Modest

10. Guilty pleasure?

Facebook, Reality TV and Chocolate. Horrors – – HORRORS!!!!

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?

My old college friends. My friend Stacey Supina. Will Farrel. Really good Muscle Relaxor Pills.

12. Favourite spring thing to do?

Well this is kinda my favorite summer thing to do, but I’m going to say it anyway: eating big, ripe bing cherries while drinking a clean, crisp cold white wine and listening to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald on a hot afternoon. Bliss.

13. When you die, what would you like people to say about you at your funeral?

“Amy used really great hair products and could spit a cherry pit into her hand in a very unobtrusive, classy way..”

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?

Two cold glasses of the white wine called “Conundrum”. Slightly fruity, complex, lovely.

15. When did you last go for a night out?

Last Saturday went to a concert at the Variety Playhouse. Twas super fun! 🙂

16. Favourite ever film?


I’m going to have to say Amelie – – there are great movies out there, but “Amelie” just completely touches my heart due to the overall message of the film AND the delightful quirkiness of Amelie herself.


17. Care to share some wisdom?


Yeah – – this goes out to all the men based on an experience relayed to me by a male friend of mine: Don’t cut up jalapenos, not wash your hands, then go to the bathroom. You won’t be able to say much other than “Holy Mother of….—>*insert expletives*!!!!!” for hours.


18. Song you can’t get out of your head?

Lately it’s been “Across the Universe” by the Beatles.

19. Thing you are looking forward to?

Taking a trip soon – – I don’t know WHERE I’m goin’, but I’m goin’ somewhere!!!!!

20. Which disease or condition would you most like to see eradicated?

Dementia/Alzheimer’s – – and cancer. And of course constipation.


21. What is your most irrational fear?

That a snake is going to jump out of the toilet and bite me in the ass – – and I’m going to have to get to the hospital and have them treat the ass wound. THIS IS NO JOKE, PEOPLE!!!! Those snakes can get into the plumbing and go all mutant and crazy and next thing you know, you’re walking around with a bandaged ass. Or worse, you end up DYING from the snake bite and then everyone knows that you died because you got bit in the ass by a snake. And so everyone will be trying to be all sad at your funeral but periodically, people’s lips will start twitching and they’ll break into maniacal laughter. And then I will haunt ALL of you for eternity!!!! I’m just sayin’….

22. Name the chore you like doing the LEAST.

Hands down: cleaning the toilet.

Rules of the game. Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag 6 people (though I only tagged 4)

I tag:

http://www.jensdenofiniquity.com/
http://www.emmaginations.blogspot.com
http://www.gramercyriff.blogspot.com
http://www.rightturnatabq.blogspot.com

(On another note – – I canNOT figure out how to do url links on my blog with the wordpress software. I press the “link” button but then it doesn’t work. If anyone out there uses WordPress, please let me know if you have any hints because it’s been driving me INSANE trying to figure it out.)

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Last Monday, I saw a fairy in Atlanta purposefully walking at a jaunty clip toward Moreland Avenue en route from East Atlanta Village. And I suppose it would be note-worthy to mention that the fairy was a middle-aged male whose hair was arranged in two crooked pig tails, was clad in a purple leotard, lavender glitter wings, and, of course…..clutching a magic wand. And the reason why it is note-worthy to mention this is that in all honesty, while the “fairy” did get a second glance from me, it was a respectful second glance. A second glance that said: “You go ON with your big, bad, wand-wielding self, dude. BE THAT FAIRY!” Because, you see…the Creative Crazy Folk in Atlanta are aplenty, and the longer I live here, the more I appreciate them. I had to fight the urge to go back, shake his hand, beat one fist on my chest, and give him some intricate, made-up gang sign that clearly means “RE-SPECK!” in the Land of Mystical Creatures.

I was excited to see a new character because the my other Favorite Crazy Person has become just like a part of scenery during my regular weekly route to dance class. He’s almost too normal to me now. He gets a quick head nod and wave from me from my convertible as I wait at the light at the corner of Briarcliff and Ponce de Leon, sipping from my light Frappacino after Latin Jazz class is over, but otherwise, he’s just another Atlanta citizen, out for a friendly loitering on the corner of a busy street. It was several years ago that I, and every other Atlanta citizen, began to notice him there – – a tall, older, smiling African-American man, holding a cane, wearing bicycle shorts and waving at motorists as we went by. At first you didn’t notice IT because you weren’t expecting IT….then one day, IT jumped out at you like Godzilla in a china shop. Large and menacing and – – well….did I mention LARGE? And did I mention he was wearing BICYCLE SHORTS. Are you catching my drift yet? Here…the only way I can explain it is through illustration (but if you’re easily offended or have children in the room DO NOT SCROLL DOWN ANY FURTHER. And don’t say I didn’t warn you…)

cornerman

Yeah. His name is, of course, “Willie”, and he’s a bit of a legend. He’s been dubbed Spandex Guy, Disturbing Package Man, Crotch Man, Dong DeLeon, Zucchini Man, Bulge Man – – and a whole myriad of other colorful names by the Atlanta population. And there is much mystery that surrounds him. Is he a male prostitute? One would think so – – but if he is, he’s extremely elusive about it because he doesn’t appear to ever be “picked up” by anyone. Is he homeless? Doesn’t seem to be – – he does go somewhere at the end of the day and hasn’t been seen sleeping on the streets. Is he a beggar? Nope. Doesn’t accept hand-outs. In fact, his main occupation appears to just be smiling and waving his cane at passing motorists while advertising his very impressively long appendage. Apparently at one point, he was prosecuted for indecent exposure but he fought it in the courts and won – – and so he is allowed to continue to wear the bicycle shorts. And wear them he does – – come rain, sleet, snow or shine.

Then there’s Baton Bob. I’ve not actually seen Baton Bob – – but he’s apparently the most legendary Atlanta character around. Basically, he’s a tall, physically fit, African-American man with a penchant for dressing up like a majorette. And a bride. And showing up at various functions doing various gyrations. A Baton Bob sighting is a good omen – – because who couldn’t see a large African-American man dressed as a majorette or a bride and NOT have something good befall them? I mean look at him…

baton-bob

Baton_Bob_bride

Bob-sidewalk-web

I DEFY you to tell me that you’re not in a better mood now, having seen Baton Bob in his Easter get-up. I mean – – come on. The crazy folk out there ROCK – – because, let’s face it. They’re doing what a lot of us wish we COULD do were we not confined by the societal rules which bind us to a world of “acting sane”. Or, in my case, acting SEMI-sane.

All I’m sayin’ is that if you see me dressed up one day as a superhero wearing a viking hat and a cape, waving at cars with a magic wand made out of tin foil and old newspaper, then I MIGHT not be crazy. I might just finally be really, really SANE.

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