Tuesday, June 15, 2021


The cats know how to Summer. They know how to enjoy the sun, how to relax, when to nap, and where. They know where to get the best snacks, and they know not to fret about looking good, in a swimsuit or nekkid. Clever cats, living their best lives, happily in their moments. I am taking notes.
Hear me say, "Ta Da!" I've been doing an informal summer camp, and we just finished the last scheduled date. Instead of stashing everything in a heap putting all of the supplies away, I filled our exhibiting cart from Maker events, and now it's waiting for me to schedule more Bird House Camp days! If I add some more books, and some fresh craft ideas, I will be all set for more fun.

Confession: I have a goblet habit. A goblet collection? We are amassing a multitude of large, lavish, colorful, ornate stemware from a particular, large, lavish, colorful, ornate establishment, that I have been visiting since about 1976. Do you know the Madonna Inn? It's camp. It's over the top. It's a must-see. The first time we went, when my Mom took me and my two brothers, I was 9 years old, and utterly gobsmacked. It was (and frankly, still is) about the most garish, kitschy, ridiculous thing I'd ever laid eyes on, and that is the very thing that brings me back, as often as possible. It's on the way, is the excuse, but also... why not? Why skip the garlands of silk flowers streaming from the ceilings, the tufted and trimmed cushions, the hot pink, circular booths? I was thrilled when I had children I could introduce to this wonder and I thought they would see it like I did, skeptically, cynically, somewhat agast, but instead they embraced it with pure hearts and open minds. They saw the free expression, the mind at play, the fun of it! And I like what they taught me... I don't have to love gilded lights, cherubs, and pink flocked wall papered walls to appreciate that someone is enjoying themselves, having fun with their expression. It's all a style and grandeur that I have an aversion to, yet something keeps me coming back for more! I love the play, the exuberance that went into acting on a vision. I love seeing what happens when someone imagines what they love, and builds it, creates it, makes it as good as they envisioned.

And another thing, I can be way way too concerned about what other people will think of my taste, my likes, my style, and when I didn't have money or sense to even have a style, I wrapped myself in a defensive cloak of acting indifferent, of resisting being labled, or standing out, or even admitting that I wished I could wear the popular jeans, have the latest fad thing. It's made me a snob, I hate to admit. My defenses, and small sense of self, became an excuse, then a bad habit, to mock rich people, look down on fans of anything, resist freeing my heart to imagine, wish, and express desires, dreams, wild-out-loud expression. I think it's a sour-grapes mentality, a habitual riposte to real and imagined criticism, and judgement. By hiding behind my cloak, I have missed out on distinguihing what I actually do enjoy or admire, want to fan-girl over, and I think I really started to realize this loss of opportunity when getting to know my children, especially Maria. It was Maria, by her own natural expressions and interests, that helped me realize I had been supressing my femininity (the pink, soft, pretty things we are taught to call "feminine"), that I had been fostering oppresive ideas about loving things that might reveal vulnerability, or simply an assertion of who I am.

It's interesting to me that all my life I have been in love with some element, some idea of the Madonna Inn, and visiting again and again, over the years, initially to be shocked, to laugh at it, because it is funny to me, but in the end... they got me! That place makes me happy, it tickles me. I get excited seeing it as a landmark when we are driving north, then home, again. I thrill at the chance of introducing people to it and seeing their eyes widen at the cherubs, and the colorful goblets, the themed rooms in the hotel. I thought I was above it all, and immune to the trappings, but no. And the last time we stopped, for a delicious breakfast, the young folks convinced me that bringing some of the fun home would be a good idea. Goblets. And no, not just plain clear ones, but every color, a few at a time. Even, God help me, an iridescent blue one. The iridescent ones are, I admit, a little cringey for me. But when I look at them all together, I get giddy, and I think about the next color. The deep golden yellow? I hope so. And celebrations, company, sharing, being our own selves, colorful, true... there is and should always be room for all of this.
I feel lucky, all the time. Like just now... I feel lucky to still be learning, to feeling curious, to be wanting to do things better, and be a better person, to others, to myself. I joked on Instagram about taking selfies with goats, chickens. I use them, I can see, as a filter, the way some people use filters to smooth their skin, or add sparkle. Goats give me the confidence and sparkle to show myself, to see myself. And I've started doing some Live posts on IG... gah! no editing or sparkle when you just let the camera roll! It's helping me practice speaking, to not feeling like it's unsafe to talk aloud. My stutter/memory/confidence issues are difficult for me, and a year at home has not been so good for overcoming those things. So, I guess I am trying to prescribe my own therapy... recording myself, posting things that might feel are embarrassing to me, and letting go of the self-judgement, the compulsion to hide, stay small. You know what, even blogging is an exercise for me, because I am constantly stepping forward, then retreating, and always hearing a voice, "Don't be a narcissist. Don't overshare. Don't say "I" and "Me" so much." But, increasingly, I am believeing that playing small isn't great. And I don't want the blog to be all about me, anyway... I love hearing from you, knowing your thoughts, and ideas.
Last night, very spontaneously, we jumped into a very good bit of Summering. I messaged friends, I'm building a fire. Come by. Bring marshmallows. It was low key, and wonderful. The group changed, people came by, left, came back. The fire popped and crackled, and the moon shone. And we talked and laughed, some even dozed-off, then suddenly it was midnight! We'd comfortably and happily passed the night away, like we were on summer vacation, unaware of the time. Let's have more of that, please! More easy gatherings, laughter, more losing track of time and cares, keeping each other company. I'll make a wish, for all of us... A summer that is easy, with happy company, time to notice the moon above, and the moments at hand, and space to express our true voices, dreams, and wishes.

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