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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
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4:32 p.m. - 2013-08-02
To Life!

Man, it's been one humdinger of a week.

Granted I was a bystander for about 94% of it but still. Just this week alone I had a friend start a new job. Another two lost theirs. There was an engagement. And a birth. After a long fight with disease busting/body blasting meds I have one friend who's going to get better...and one who isn't. One of my friends died this week. Another one's car burned up. One of my friends harvested a honking buttload of veggies from her garden and is happily blanching, freezing, cooking, and canning. And I have another friend who's too depressed to eat. I ordered my son's culinary school uniforms (happy!) and found out he has to wait until January to retake the algebra Regents (bummer). Mick finally got paid for the first weeks of summer school (there's a HUGE lag time) and almost all of it went right back out to pay bills. The battle of the ex's bank vs MY house continues to drag on and on. I got my goddamn period again. The week's writing netted zilch, but I did finally beat level 56 in Candy Crush Saga. At today's farmer's market spree I scored everything I'd gone for plus some. Today's haul: Organic pork breakfast sausage. Fresh mozzarella. A gorgeous savoy cabbage (hello coleslaw!). Half a blueberry crumb pie. Cunning wee bitty fingerling potatoes. A fluffy head of bib lettuce. Strawberry and blueberry scones. And, of course, a dozen ears of sweet corn.

While I was out I also hit the post office and the bank. I love my bank. For real! I live in fear that it'll be bought out by one of those horrid corporate banks and disappear into a maw of heartless outsourced misery. It happens. My previous bank, Podunkville Savings and Loan, was bought out about 12 years ago and immediately went to Hell. All the folks I'd done business with for 20 years were rifted and a bunch of deadhead automatons were put in their places. The fees skyrocketed, the service went to the dogs, heck, even the building was allowed to fall apart. Stepping around catch buckets under a moldering drippy ceiling in your bank's lobby doesn't instill a lot of trust, you know? Anyway, my current bank is also a local affair. A homegrown bank with a whole six branches besides the main bank building over in Malltown. There's a branch near the Shoprite and another in Podunkville and because it's convenient to my weekly rounds I divide my business between the two. I know all the tellers and the floor managers in both branches. I'm greeted by name and with a smile when I go in. If it's not busy I take a couple minutes to get the latest updates about Ashley's wedding plans and ask how Pam's son is getting on in Afghanistan. Henry the teller proudly points out the window at his new car and Maria turns sideways and smoothes her shirt over her burgeoning baby belly. She's due in late November and is over the moon about it. They might not come over for holidays or anything but the staff at my bank is definitely part of my tribe. Since I have to park my money somewhere I am very glad I get to do it there.

Do I get how trivial all my yadda is? Especially in light of the very Big Stuff going on with my friends? And beyond that the world at large? Absolutely. But I honestly believe it's the trivia that connects us. How can anyone truly take in the collapse of an entire country's economy like what's going on in Greece right now? Or the horrific scope of the genocide in Darfur? Or for that matter the breakdown of my own federal government and the callous ideological gridlock in Congress where actual governance has been forgotten and this country and its people's welfare stagnates and dies while posturing assholes make petty power plays and take schoolyard bully glee in stymying the President and to hell with the people who hired them to run things.

So no. Balanced against this and the upheavals in Egypt and the anarchy in Syria my savoy cabbage is nothing. BUT there's folks in 17 different time zones who'll come here to read my yadda and while none of them have the solutions to the big issues I'll bet all of them have an opinion about coleslaw.

I miss Jim like crazy. But I can't raise the dead. That another dear one whose friendship is more important to me than even she knows, that she's going to lose the man she's loved since high school and has made a life with for nearly half a century...goddamn. What else can I offer but my love and maybe a few minutes distraction gnarring on about hometown banks and farmer's markets?

One part of me mourns, yet another part is doing the Snoopy dance of joy. For the hopeful giddiness of a marriage proposal and a diamond. For the start of a new career. For the long awaited welcome of a baby. And for all the things big and small that fall between new life and sad death.

A medal for 'Most Helpful Camper' at vacation bible school.
A stocked pantry.
A visit from the grandkids.
Buying my son a floppy chef's hat.
Blueberry pie.

John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." This is true. It's also true when we're told not to sweat the small stuff. We should pay attention when we see a plaque in a gift shop exhorting us 'To dance like nobody's watching.' It's true the Devil is in the details. It all counts.

Big things. Small things. Bad things. Happy things. Sad things. Joyous things. Today's promotion, tomorrow's eviction, the next day's graduation from divinity school, and after that a broken arm (or heart).

What matters is we mark these things as they pass. We're here for them and for each other.

L'chaim! ~LA

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