Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 33 (or: Foisting Cookies)

It’s Freaky Sunday! Today Annie Parker, of The Sunday Hiker, is being Cara, and is guest-blogging on DAY 33 of One Thousand Days, while Cara is posting on Annie's blog The Sunday Hiker. We’ll have hiky goodness all around!

“I’d love to guest-blog, brilliant, fun, easy!” I said.

My guest-blogging relieves Cara of doing good for one day. Hey, that sounds like a good deed. Guess I’m done.

I know, that would be cheating, on to plan B. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’ve made an homage is to Day 14.  No, I didn’t smooch Bad Relationship, plan a lobotomy or bury myself in chocolate and brie... I baked cookies for the fire department!

When I was eleven, I stepped on a needle. It went clean through my foot. It’s always disconcerting to see a foreign object protruding from one’s body but especially so when home alone. One quick call to 911 and a fireman whisked me away. But there is more than romance to admire in fireman. Public servants in general are worthy of appreciation but unlike firemen most gain some power in their position. The cop, the auditor, building inspector, they can all make your life hell if they want to. But firemen are just there when you need them.

Baking cookies sounded like a good idea, until I committed to it. Then clouds of doubt rolled in. “Is foisting cookies on the fire department my definition of a good deed? In this day of overabundant caloric intakes lurking everywhere, are cookies a blessing or a curse?” If I were resident blogger for One Thousand Days, inevitably we’d get bogged down arguing the moral value of cookies regularly.

Defining “good” sounds simple but has been plaguing philosophers forever (or at least since the Hellenistic period). In these situations sometimes, it’s helpful to ask, “What would Epicurus do?” Epicurus was the “pleasure is good, pain is bad” guru of the Greek’s golden age. Unfortunately, he had one qualification on pleasure. It has to be a lasting – drunkenness and debauchery were out. But what about cookies?

It’s tempting to fall into a philosophical abyss, pontificating on Epicurean ideas mutating through the philosophical lineage landing in our own age with Utilitarians, Economists and the slogan “maximize utility” (utility being a sterile word for pleasure). But I won’t.

Good deed or not, I delivered the bedeviled cookies.

“Did we do something for you?” the fireman asked.
“Um, no,” I said, “and I hope you never have to.”
He smiled and nodded. “Thanks,” he said looking a little puzzled and a lot bit happy.

Photo credits:
Fire Truck
Epicurious Free Clip
Cookies Annie Parker

and Cara says: 33 down, 967 to go.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 32 (or: Here’s to all things Quirky!)

One of the many wonderful things about living in a quirky, artsy, rustic, raw and wild little seaport town is that quirky things occur without any sort of prompting or contrivance.

Things like Kinetic Sculpture races (for the Grand scale) or seagull art (on a minor scale) or the local greasy spoon standing in as a lending library.

Yes. Sea J’s Café (using the word café very loosely) is a fixture in Port Townsend. A greasy, tiny, bawdy, fixture of true local significance and culture (not to be easily usurped by the new urban yuppies and health food junkies). One room, about 15x15, with a kitchen as large, both splattered from floor to ceiling in coffee and grease and off-color jokes, pictures and bumper stickers, all presided over by the sweetest rough around the edges staff you could ever find.

If you imagine something out of a movie scene, where local fisherman dine cheaply on boxed Danish and self serve mud which stands in for coffee, you’d be just a hair shy, because not only does Sea J’s make the meanest mushroom burger, onion rings and coffee milkshake, but it also hosts an informal book exchange (color me pleasantly shocked!). Today, as I was waiting patiently (read: slobbering slightly and slamming my spork on the table in anticipation) for my grease fix (more about my lapse of no meat-cheese-and sugar-ness in some other post), I took a minute to look around (actually, you could probably take several days to look around and still not see everything) and discovered the most phenomenal book about mothering lingering amidst a stack of paperback romance novels and historical murder mysteries. When I asked about the book, the staff gave a flick of a hand and said: “oh, people just bring ‘em in when they’re done with ‘em and take ‘em when they want ‘em!”

I walked away, hands heavy with a heart-attack-in-a-bag and my new book, imagining a world where we all took our read-through books to the local diner, ate our sustaining slice of pie and left with a different book in hand. What a lovely world that would be. I then imagined sharing my lending library find, only to cause a cascading over-abundance of books being donated to Sea J’s. Where would they put them all? You’d run out of room awfully quick in a 15x15 room.

Ah well, imaginings aside, Quirky, Offbeat Day 32 of One Thousand Days I picked out some choice and not so choice books from my bookshelf and took them down to Sea J’s to replenish the stock I took and to add to this very charming little library.

32 down, 968 to go.

Sea J's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 31 (or: This is Going to Require Copious Amounts of Grease and Alcohol)

Baby bunnies? That’s nothing compared to today’s Thing. The girlie conversation started at 10:30 a.m., and the Besty didn’t leave until 7:30 at night. That’s right, one mushroom burger, a grilled cheese sandwich, one plate of greasy onion rings, one plate of crinkle fries, one shared milkshake, 2 bottles of champagne and 1 bottle of wine later, I managed to talk the Besty out of the trees and back into her 7 year committed relationship (granted, she’s a smart-as-a-whip Besty, and would have figured things out without me, I’m sure). Whew! It’s all in a days work.

And let me tell you what: Day 31 of One Thousand Days, I realize that in the face of my dear friend's 7 years of commitment and constant work on a relationship, my previous paltry and murky One Thousand Days, and future glorious 969 days is nothing but an annoying little unimportant gnat. Buzz, buzz (Somewhere, Holly once again says:  "Duh!")

31 down, 969 to go.

Day 30 (or: Brush Your Teeth…it’s important)

What a delightful day! Yes, you read that right, your eyes deceive you not, there’s no catch here whatsoever, and I’ve just experienced a lovely, delightful, engaging, fulfilling day. Me. The queen of grump. Good day. Will the miracles never cease?

I did the most quietly remarkable things for day 30, and must say that quiet is a nice way to carry on when everything seems to be so loud. Loud cats (MRAWR!) loud kids (RAWR!) loud life (GRRRRRRrrrrr!)…quiet woods!

Day 30 of One Thousand Days, the darling child and I took a lovely little detour and hit up the area natural wonder, the Rain Forest. We drove for an hour and a half, and then we dawdled up a very short but engaging trail leading to a huge waterfall. We laughed, and tripped along, paused to admire the foliage and fungus, and measured the huge cedars, basked in the mist of the waterfall and discussed the necessity of decent tooth-brushing technique (a response to what appeared to be three weeks worth of plaque built up in the childs mouth – despite having just brushed). As we were coming to the conclusion of our tooth-brushing conversation, the kid pointed at a nearby rock formation and said “oh, yeah? Well it looks like I’m not the only one who doesn’t brush his teeth!”


We wandered in the woods today as a part of a delightful new endeavor – Guest blogging! On Sunday, March 28, I’ll be guesting on my friend’s blog,, and she’ll be guesting on mine! Shake Things up a bit, and share the wealth of Things.

The day wrapped up nicely with Soup for You(p) which produced a fair amount of empty wine bottles, and saw two of my favorite girls fed with the most delectable mushroom rice soup I’ve ever made. It was yum. The whole day was yum.

30 down, 970 to go.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 29 (or: Out of My Way! Woman With a Chip on Her Shoulder Coming Through!)

Just when it seems that you might conceivably “good” yourself to pieces, and you may actually have to resort to cookie baking again, you wake up in the morning and find your good thing is just a phone call away. And, better yet, you don’t even have to make the phone call. In other words, the “good” thing comes knocking at your door (or ringing, as it may be).

For the second time in a month, darling friend Holly provides me with the opportunity to “good” someone else. Desperately in need of medicine for the ear infection she’s developed, and too high and silly on vicodin to get herself to the pharmacy, guess who calls on who for a ride? That’s right. Good Thing accomplished by 10:30 a.m. Hah! And what’s better, she approves whole-heartedly of the return to authenticity. In fact, she pointed out a lovely little quote that goes something like this:

"You know those things about yourself that you're self conscious of? Those quirks that you're trying to hide? Those are not your weaknesses, those are your strengths." - Terry Border

What a gem.  I really should run these “good” things by Holly for approval before undertaking them (Somewhere, Holly is reading this and saying "duh!"). I think she knows better than I do when it comes to remaining real in the face of the overwhelming need to prove ones-self. Sometimes we need to rely on others for those vital reality checks. Thank the heavens I’ve got these wonderful ladies in my life (and at least one gentleman) who will tell me what’s up when I can’t figure it out for myself. It’s almost like I’ve got a Greek chorus following me around as my consciences. My life is interesting enough to qualify as a Greek tragedy, so why not have a chorus?

But you know what? Because I realize this Thing fell in my lap (and was sort of a cheat), and I should probably make a bit more of an effort, I went to the extra effort and for Day 29 of One Thousand Days I (gulp) baked cookies. For the second time in a month and a half! I’m becoming a regular Betty Crocker. Or a Happy Home-maker. Or a Happy Hooker. Oh, all right. I fess up. I baked the cookies for the Boy Scouts. Because - ok, I admit it! - yesterday in a fit of hysterical no-fun-ness I quit the Boy Scouts on behalf of my darling boy. And I wasn’t very nice about it. This can’t come as a shock, can it? You can picture the scene, right? Me and my forthrightness trying to wade through one of the most uptight bureaucracies alive in America today. Yeah. It wasn’t pretty. But hey! I made them cookies, which proves that I’m just as American as the next gal. It's just that I happen to like gay people. And I’m not a misogynist. Which makes me an American who (other than the cookie baking) is pretty much ineligible to be a Boy Scout mother. 
29 down, 971 to go.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 28 (or: I’m a Bad Girl, and Proud Of It!)

Well, as S.C. (Hi, you!) kindly pointed out, I’ve been gone for another stretch.

Ok. Here’s the thing. I know it's going to come as a shock, but I am not a good girl. I don’t even come close. I swear, and I cry and I can’t spell for beans and I throw minor tantrums and I harass people and I’ve been said to be “shrew-like” (granted, the person who called me a shrew was also a shrew, so I don’t know if it counts). What I’m trying to say, is that all this quitting swearing, and trying to be happy all the time really got to me. I couldn’t pull it off and felt guilty about it, and avoided the heck out of this place.  And drank a little too much red wine.

But you know what? One Thousand Days didn’t start when I joined a nunnery. They started when I killed a baby bunny. I Killed A Baby Bunny. So what was I thinking - trying to “good” the me-ness out of me? Because you know what? Sometimes, I’m an ass and I’m supposed to be an ass. Like when I point out injustice, or lay down the law (both really the same thing, but you get the idea). I AM precisely who I’m meant to be. Flawed, imperfect, radical, delightful, passionate and irreverent (and sometimes I swear and eat cheese).

And you know what else? I can also do important things. Some of them may even be good and important at the same time. But I don’t think any one of my 14 followers would tell me that I need to change who I am in order to be good, so why in the name of all that is green and lovely was I trying to tell myself that that’s what I needed to do?

I may not be a saint, but I’ve been up to some things, regardless of not having been “here”, and I like to think that these things are…well…good. Like holding a fund-raiser for my Kiddos and their coffee-shop. And hosting “soup for you(p)” again (in which I did my level best to cut off my fingers – can we say Karma?). And hosting a “Painting The Town Red” celebration dinner at my church. And planting the baby trees that I ordered last month in the open community trail next to my house. And this:

I have a delightful friend, who is ALL of the good that I would aspire to be, and who has recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Which is a rather un-lovely thing to happen to such a lovely person. Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between brain and body and stops people from moving. Millions of people and thousands of them in our communities are affected by MS and the challenges of living with its unpredictable symptoms. But true to form, said delightful friend keeps a smile on her face and does the things that she can to support her health, and continues to be the person who she’s supposed to be (and to be honest, MORE than the person she’s supposed to be). She’s sort of fabulous.

Interestingly and synchronistically (this may or may not be a real word), one of my admirers left a book for me to read called “29 gifts - How a Month of Giving Can Change your Life” written by Cami Walker. The book is a journey through 29 days of giving as a part of an emotional cure for a woman who suffers very terribly from Multiple Sclerosis. I was told, when “gifted” with this book that it reminded my admirer of me, except that I’m (ahem) much funnier (but how funny can you be when you’re in agony and can’t move. No fooling). Not to mention that the author of this book had 29 gifts – and me? Obnoxious, obstinate and obtuse ME? I am currently on 28 of One Thousand gifts (not to toot my own horn or anything…HONK).

At any rate, Day 28 of One Thousand Days, I and my little tiny family of 2 have pledged to walk to raise awareness and to help fund research for MS.

We’ll be walking on April 10th, along with a whole bunch of other dedicated walkers, and are already at 44% of our $250.00 fundraising goal thanks to a generous anonymous donor! Now, this blog isn’t about begging for money, but if you feel like supporting us in this endeavor, I won’t say no. And for those of you who are my neighbors, expect a knock on the door!

Did I do good? I think I need to reward myself with a tattoo.

28 down, 972 to go.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 27 (or: The Most Unlikely of Good Deeds)

10 days.  I'm sorry.  I've been gone for 10 days.  I've been sick, and bed-ridden and traumatized and trying to be nice.  Really, I have been.  But it hasn't worked out all that well (read: I've been a heinous hose-beast).  You try to be nice when you're sleep deprived from hacking up a lung and when it feels like there's a small human sitting on your chest!  And (go ahead, I dare you!) YOU try to be nice when you feel like the worlds crashing down your around your ears because you can't get the laundry done and the cats are taking over the house, and the Son hasn't done any homework in god only knows how long.  What's that?  You say it would be a breeze?  You say I'm being whiney?  Well, you're a better human than I.  But that's what this blog is all about, isn't it.  Me being a better human. 

Okay.  Whining, lamenting and railing is over-rated.  I have to say, that while I haven't been being nice, all the lovelies in my life have been (bless their loving hearts!).  So for all of those un-done Days, there are the heros who brought me spicy soup and sushi (thank you, Holly!), and water in the middle of the night (darling boy!), and emailed and stopped by to see if I was okay.  And all of the extraordinary people who worked hard in my absence (sweet co-workers!), and sent me worried messages and offered to make me "witches brew", and who bought me herbs and entertained my son and drove him to soccer games.

And lastly, there's the secret darling who left chocolate on my car for me to find this morning.  And guess who that darling was?  That's right.  Day 27 of One Thousand Days, the Bad Relationship did the daily good thing and left me "subtly compassionate" chocolate (he's not an admirer, he says, but at least he's not a stalker!).  He's not all terrible, Holly!  Only partially.

27 down, 973 to go.
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