Wednesday, December 31, 2008

year end inventory

he's putting on his coat. he's saying his goodbyes. he is preparing to leave the party. (is it my imagination, or has he had a little too much to drink? will someone please call him a cab?)

usually, i can't wait for him to go. i count the minutes, kiss him goodbye and shove him out the door. his exit now, though, is bittersweet. i hate to see him go. i do. no matter how far away he gets - this long, hard, joyful year - he'll linger long here ... in notes and pictures and smiles that take me by surprise and memories that erupt with little provocation.

and as this year gives way to another, it should be easy to spot the things that are missing ... the things i want ... the people far away ... that which i've been denied. but i just can't. not this time. nope.

there's stock to be taken, for sure, but this year, the year-end inventory is all about the things i have. good. bad. in between. they're mine. and they're (finally) all that i can see ...

what do i have that's all mine?

i have a cold. that's a lie. i don't have a cold. i have bronchitis. and if i keep coughing like this, i'll also have a concussion.

i have a job i love and can be quite good at. and i get to spend my days surrounded by lovely things and lovelier people.

i have finally voted in an election where my candidate won! and as a result, i finally have hope that the world might become a better place.

i have a jones for wii bowling. i love it! and i can be quite good. i am also a gold medalist in pool and in the shooting game. i am wicked fast. do not ask me to play anything that requires that nunchuck thing, though. it's the devil's tool.

i have a talent for inventing 'wii' wii-lated words. in fact, in the near future, i'll be publishing a 'dictionar-wii.' (for instance: where would you go to treat your injur-wii? the emergenc-wii room.) okay. perhaps it's not so much a 'talent' as an obsession. (i'm capt-wii-vated.)

i have a parking place for the night, just outside my door. a space where there is no street sweeping or hourly restrictions of any kind. a space that allows me to sleep in on my day off for as long as i can. which will be until 8 a.m., because ...

i also have an early morning pancake date with the two most adorable little girls you'd ever want to meet. their curiosity, their bottomless joy, they call up the same thing in me and i am powerless to resist. not a day off or a warm bed or great parking will keep me from those pancakes.

i have a handful of perfect days. i'd never had what i considered to be a 'perfect' day until this year. 11.1 was the first. it began and ended with a cup of coffee ... and in between, there were 'watermelon wonders' and the hollywood sign and jason mraz singing sweetly under an autumn sky. i've had a few more 'perfect' days since. and they surprise me every time. as much by my ability to recognize them as by their arrival. (who knew perfect days were like stars? ... once you discover one, you see the whole sky is filled with them. )

i have lost the ability to appreciate microwave popcorn. coffee made by an automatic drip. or pasta from a box.

i have a mother who is loopy as hell. she is also generous and silly and strong ... and completely unable to complete a conversation with only ONE phone call. (really, mom? was the call to talk about dwarfs on the learning channel completely necessary?)

i have a sister who is awesome. (no more explanation is necessary. laurie t. is awesome. period.)

i have a good understanding of the things i will never have, whether by choice or chance. i will never have small hips. or shoulders. or ideas. i will never have lots of money. or a boat. or fame. or a job i hate. i will never have fake fingernails. or breasts. or friends.

and i have really good friends. and it's not just that i have 'good friends;' i have genuinely good people in my life. good people. genuine people. they're smart and skilled and brave and funny. they teach me things. they let me be strong. and encourage me to be weak once and awhile and they hold me up when i can't stand on my own anymore. they celebrate the little things. and the big things. they warm my hands and bring me chocolate and lunch and tell me i'm beautiful. and when i get all twisted and twirly, they point me back toward the light. i have jenni and christopher and laurie t. and amy and meg and michael and corrine and lynda and tri and robert and maria and katharine and elizabeth and shannon and lindsey and brian and grace and isabella and ...

i have found friends from long ago, or rather, they found me. they're crushes and lovers and boys i loved who didn't love me back. they're castmates and teammates and soulmates. they're friends, turned rivals, turned friends again. they are people who meant the world to me, before my world got in the way. people who liked me long before i liked me and with whom i am excited to share this older, wiser version. for better or worse.

i have discovered that all it took to save myself was to 'ruin' my life. has that ever happened to you? do you know what i mean? this year, i battered down the walls of my life and let in the sun, and the wind, and the ice and snow. and i believe it was worth every drop of pain it's brought me. every time.

i have a desire to get another tattoo ... some little symbol to remind me of the light inside me; the light i shouldn't let go out ... a reminder of life and a reminder of how i was brought to life, not just once, but many times this year ... a reminder that the rough parts are a part of being alive and must be felt fully in order to experience joy.

and i have love. and not just the really, really big try seafood because he asked me to; let him eat the last piece of cheesecake; hold a radio over my head outside his window kind. no. it's also the sit quietly in the same room and read while he works; let him win at scrabble - 'cause when he wins, we both win; drink manhattans, watch 'mad men' and stay up all night kind. and the go ahead and say the things that need to be said no matter how afraid we might be of the outcome; believe him when he tells me i'm sweet and beautiful and not like anyone he's ever met; snuggle under the covers and read bedtime stories with the girls' kind. but mostly, it's the never saw it coming; wouldn't trade it for the world no matter what; i'm the best version of myself in his presence kind.

i have a sneaking suspicion he loves me, too.

and i finally have a pretty good view of 'forever' up ahead. if i start running now, i think i can make it.

see you there.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

yes, virginia. there is a santa claus.

was there ever something you knew for sure would someday be yours ... to have ... to experience ... to be?

was there ever a day you admitted to yourself that it wouldn't materialize? and were you lucky enough to find peace in that admission?

and were you luckier, still, to find one day that it might finally come to pass?

today was such a day for me and i am impossibly grateful for even the possibility of it.

and so i go to sleep tonight, knowing morning will come far too soon ... work will be hard and long ... but with this 'hello kitty' stamp on my hand and these braids knotted by tiny five.year.old hands ... i couldn't be happier if i tried.

Monday, December 15, 2008

... until then ...

hello, dear friends. happy ten days before christmas.

i trust that you're rushing about, enjoying home and friends and the warm texas sun.

it's cold and rainy where i am today. i love the rain here. the clouds, like everyone else in southern california, are polite, bringing themselves as close to the ground as they can so that the drops, plump and newborn, won't have far to fall. everything gets all shimmery and fresh-smelling and i get lost in the green and beauty of it all.

it's strange, still, to think of you, half a day and what feels like half a world and another season away. but still, from opposite ends of the earth, we get to meet here.

there is much to say ... tales of retail anthropology, my injur-wiis and my blinking reindeer nose ... of parking woes and new favorite things and giant leaps of faith.

but, the new day has already arrived and i should stock up on sleep before the real rush begins. (aside from holiday madness, i am in sale prep again, flipping our floor and racing headlong into 'spring.' and in the midst, days off will be few and far between. still, it will help me appreciate the rest when it finally comes down, no?)

but do tell ... where are you headed today?

i imagine you're immersed somewhere in sunshine and shopping and (hopefully) the relaxation of home and the holiday there. and i wish i could be nearer somehow.

and yes. i know i owe you a letter.

until then ...

a kiss. and another. i miss you.

... la

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