Traditional Traditions

When holiday season rears its head, it feels like an annoying splinter I can’t seem to wriggle free.  The actual holiday itself isn’t the issue, but rather my expectations or perception of how the time should be spent.

Since I am an only child, don’t have children, and come from a small family, the stressful cooking and shopping serpent doesn’t loom overhead.  I feel like I’m dust slowly gathering on the outside of a fishbowl—everyone else is frantically swimming around gift buying, dessert baking, and holiday decorating, but I’m stationary—on the outside, hoping to be wiped free.

All of those actions haven’t made it to my to-do list or calendar and I don’t foresee it happening in the near future.  Does that mean I somehow feel left out?  Yes and no.  In some respect, I’m relieved I don’t have the same stress or anxiety as others.  However, there’s a part of me that wants the traditional traditions—baking, presents, tree, and family; real family.  Maybe a smidgen of Martha Stewartism could sprinkle my way and magically put me back in sync with everyone else.

As an adult who has moved away from my hometown and state, an unconscious question reveals itself, “What are you running from or running to?”  Due to circumstances, I haven’t had the chance to establish my own traditions, so there is a feeling of longing and insecurity.  For example, saying I was in Las Vegas for a Thanksgiving a few years back makes me feel slightly abnormal, as if announcing that I’m so thankful, I spent my time in Sin City!

Being packed in like sardines at a stretched piecemeal table, bumping elbows, and frantically passing food about while trying to partake in simultaneous conversations isn’t my idea of an ideal holiday.  Instead, going to a restaurant for a juicy steak rather than a dried out turkey and intimate conversation, seems more like my speed.  Or is it?  That Thanksgiving in Vegas, I was comforted to see there wasn’t an empty table in sight at the steak house and families were congregating at the door to be seated.  Apparently, the practice of eating out for a holiday is actually a tradition in itself, but I wasn’t aware, since I’d never done it before.  

Last year was the holiday season from hell.  Just a couple weeks before Thanksgiving my heart and life as I knew it was gutted.  I was in a massive state of shock, depression, and despair.  I was a walking empty shell of exhausted numbness.  At the last minute, I flew home to my parent’s house in Washington for Thanksgiving.  I cried on the flight there, cried the bulk of Thanksgiving Day, and cried on the flight home.  My family hasn’t experienced much turbulence, so the silence and sideways glances just punctuated, rather than comforted the pain.  Although they meant well and I was “back home,” I felt like I was wearing a massive Scarlet Letter with a capital “L” stamped across my forehead.  Loser.  

I’m relieved and proud to say what a difference a year makes!  My mental and emotional state has improved leaps and bounds.  I’ve never worked so hard on my own well being as I have in the last year.  At times it has been absolutely exhausting.  There are still rough days, sleepless nights, and tears, but it’s short lived.  The positives are prominent, my smile genuine, and my eyes bright for my future.  

This Saturday I fly south to Indio to spend Thanksgiving week with my parents.  We’re going golfing, wine tasting, out to a nice dinner Thanksgiving Day, and since I’ve never been there, I plan to do some exploring on my own.  BUT, there’s still a piece of me that has a longing for traditional traditions.  A yearning for my own family unit; to feel like I am not just the “plus one” at the table.   

Perhaps that’s my problem.  I’d like a reliable source to tell me that I’m okay; there’s nothing wrong with me.  Or, show me there is a way; a way that is purposeful, clear, and balanced.  

James Agee once said, “You must be in tune with the times and prepared to break with tradition.”  In some instances, this may be true.  However, I think tradition is repetition binding everything together; the backbone of family.  We’ve become so in tune with the times, we’ve lost sight of the past due to constantly looking ahead.  Thus, traditions have fallen to the wayside, unable to withstand the continuous onslaught of change.  

To me, life has become diluted over time and it is difficult to pinpoint exactly one’s original tradition.  We pride ourselves as a country of freedom, choices, and diversity.  However, what is our true identity as individuals and as a country?  

While trying to promote independence and respect for differences, there has been a silent trigger, which I believe has caused loss of culture in itself.  It is the repetition of actions accumulated over time that creates traditions within a culture.  Variation can lead to doubt or instability, which alters one’s identity as an individual.  “In America nothing dies easier than tradition,” wrote Russell Baker.  How sad.  

My heart is hopeful someday I will have traditional traditions.  Until then, I will give myself permission to accept what is as it is.  And dammit, I will continue to persevere.  I will continue to get out of bed each day, smile, and hold my head high.  The letter I now wear is “S” for Strength.

~D. Thompson, 11/16/15

Wine Lines, 2/20/16

Similar to “Quotes From the Felt,” I record lines said while out wine tasting.  These can be from friends, winery employees, myself, or conversations I ear hustle.  As the day goes on, conversations can get rather saucy.  Lots of innuendo, double entendre, and shenanigans. Hope there are some chuckles; consider yourself warned…

February 20, 2016 @ BR Cohn, Kunde, and Girard:

  • Wine, food, and friends I’m soooo ready!
  • As the youngest, I’m use to the hump
  • He was pissed on?  No, they were pissed.  He was shit on though.
  • Myriad?  Really, you’re throwing that down this early in the morning?
  • Oaky and buttery just the way I like it
  • Smart Ass Saturday, what can I say?
  • Guess all you have to do is make a crack about paprika
  • Once you’ve go red, your inhibitions you’ll shed
  • I like em over 100 yrs old
  • What’s the best advice you can give a girl getting married?  Don’t.
  • Wine will help with marriage, it’s a great lubricant
  • He somehow got nervous and had a big ass shit in the middle of the cubicles
  • The gouda with the gouda is amazing
  • Gouda down
  • Gouda, gouda, honey, prosciutto is the way to go
  • Does a cave a tunnel make?
  • I never got basil til I moved away from home
  • Thank god you don’t have a nut allergy
  • Fake man buns shouldn’t exist, but they do
  • Denim shorts still exist?  Umm hmm, check it out x2
  • He looks like a freeze dried Hulk
  • She’s ditching her husband for the Shake Weight
  • Last time I left cheese in my thingy
  • I’m covered, but I’m not Coverdale Page
  • Umm, who are you?  I’m AT&T.  Oh, well, I’m Verizon.
  • I judge wine by how it starts.  So foreplay is important to you?
  • Omg Wolverine is at the bar!
  • It was like dirty sock-a-way
  • I need a vent on my face.  I feel wine warmth.
  • I feel like I have purple lips, purple lips, and purple teeth
  • I see lots of red and it is not wine
  • “Perfect” One Direction, is my theme song
  • That’s the best line “does your mouth remember the taste of my love” Ed Sheeran

Me and Wine BarrelsOak Farm

October 17, 2015 @ Macchia, D’Art, and Oak Farm Vineyards:

  • I have a buckle up my butt
  • No!  I don’t know what a Yeti 110 is
  • You’ll see a whole new level of fury if you…
  • I have a summer and a winter pair of windshield wipers.  WTF, of course you do!
  • I’ll be licking that off later
  • Pour some brownie on me
  • I should’ve brought it to bring it
  • Everything’s better with sea salt
  • That’s a party in your mouth, but that one’s a high school dance
  • I you was a bag of chips, you’d be a bag of Frito’s or pork rinds
  • Omg, this thingy has a knob!
  • If I have to repeat this tomorrow, I’m going to bed now
  • When a dog is looking in your eyes, it’s giving you an endorphine bath
  • Riddle me this
  • I have a bush and I know how to use it
  • I have a knob in back, can you turn it on?
  • Oh sheep!
  • That’s naked pool party wine
  • You had us at naked
  • Oh no, he’s a pervert, he’d probably join you
  • It’s like the Beatles walking picture.  Umm, yeah, Abby Road.  No, the Beatles walking picture.  Abby Road.
  • Take the topper off and let me have more
  • You bread blocker!
  • Do they have a slurred smile?
  • I didn’t even get to touch the remote until 2009
  • If I was Gene Simmons, I’d get so much out of this glass
  • It’s not a walk of shame, it’s a stroll of success!
  • That’s not my cheese
  • Shove that on your pie hole
  • I did the pre, but not the thee
  • They have room to have huge whatever
  • Look, I’m a cone head!  That’s so in right now
  • That’s worth a magazine circle

Older…

  • I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy.
  • You know you drank too much wine when you’re teeth are purple.
  • When I die, I want to wake up in Rhone.
  • That’s missing another world (Chardonnay w/out oak)
  • What is it?  It’s a Chardonnay fortified with Everclear (Chardono).  It’s a mind eraser.  Do I want to go there? Yes.
  • Well, it’s a romance language (Italian)
  • Port tastes like liquid candy.  That’d be a good porn name.
  • I just got a cool breeze where I shouldn’t.
  • If he wants you to make tortillas in the morning, then we have a problem.
  • What are you doing? Get your hand off my button!!
  • Remember what you had in your mouth.
  • Go wash your Smurf hand.
  • After 6 beers you’re full.
  • That’s moanable!
  • Look at that crack pipe on that bottle of wine!  I wish I had my cigar lighter.
  • Do you need sunscreen because that was so tannini?  My knees don’t tan.
  • My falsies almost flew out!
  • We have lays in the car, do you want one?
  • Don’t go sticking your nose in the backside, unless you’re a member.
  • Better than wicker.
  • Ed vs head
  • I felt them to see if they were real.
  • Quick, make it go up!  (window)
  • You can take the boy out of the country, but not the country out of the boy.
  • Alejandro would be Lady Gaga; Fernando would be Allah
  • That’s the first snort of the day.
  • Are you from Texas?  No.  Aren’t you wearing a cowboy hat? Umm, no, it’s a fedora.
  • Pinky vs. Piggy Toe
  • Would you just push out and be done with it. (door)
  • Would you trim before you crop that shit? (pic for IG)

This list is as of February 20, 2016.  I’ll update periodically and repost.

Sunday Reflection Quote, 9/13/15

Epicurus

Sunday reflection quote…The past several months I’ve intentionally made decisions to reset my life towards simplicity, gratitude, health, and joy.

For me, existing in a pressure cooker mindset to please everyone, solve a full range of problems, and constantly racing to climb the implied social ladder proved unhealthy and exhausting. I left the essence of who I was in the dust.

Instead, scaling back on my career, establishing family/social boundaries, saying no thanks/not now, and prioritizing time to simply enjoy what I enjoy and want to experience has proved fruitful.

My parents visited this weekend, of which I haven’t seen since April. They saw my apartment and classroom for the first time (quite the contrast from previous). However, they said I was the happiest they’ve seen me in a long, long time. They couldn’t believe how much weight I’ve lost nor how my body has changed. They said I was glowing, smiling, and light. They said I seem to be doing great.

Indeed, I am abundant.

#Sunday #reflection #quote #Epicurus#priorities #reset #choices#perseverance #value #joy #perspective#worthy #thankful #balance #fitness#health #golf #poker #friends #fun#smiles #goodtimes#getoutofmyownway #myownstory#keeponkeepingon

Ode to Saku Mori

By LaLaPalooza
By LaLaPalooza

I’ve always carried my grandparents close to my heart, especially grandma aka Mamasan.  She was funny, gracious, and determined.  There was a conversation at the poker table last night about me not backing down in a hand and my quick wit.  I naturally said outloud, “I get that from my grandma.”

On the drive home today, my eyes were frequently drawn to the clouds.  I truly felt grandma’s presence as I captured the image above.  While writing the poem, I confirmed her date of death.  I was shocked to see it was July 16, 1999. Grandma is in me and with me, always…

Saku not Sake

The long aisle

divides-

family to one,

chanters to other.

Incense burns-

yellow roses,

Grandpa’s favorite,

draped across

her casket.

The chanting-

ebbs and flows

loud; soft

quick; slow.

Words I don’t understand-

but know,

know

are beautiful; peaceful.

A favorite song-

“We all live

in a yellow submarine,

a yellow submarine”

floats through the sanctuary

her final request fulfilled.

Saku

the daughter of Kai

mother of Kazumi.

I leave my grandma’s side knowing-

knowing

she smiles from above,

playful twinkle in her eye.

Grandma

**As individuals, we all grieve in our own way and our own time.  It is not for society to determine what we grieve about (not only a death) nor for how long (may never end).  For those grieving, please give yourself permission to do what is best for you, in your own way, in your own time.

#DontTellMeImTheTeller #MyOwnStory

~D.Thompson: 7/17/2015

The Simple Things


Life speeds by and before we know it, we’re looking back more often than looking ahead.  Somehow, I feel like these thoughts should be happening thirty years from now, rather than at the age of thirty-three*.  I wonder why at the moment does it seem insignificant, but looking back it is exactly what I long for?  Why is there a desire to capture the simple things, but a hesitation to establish or recognize new ones?  Perhaps that is the beauty in it all, random events versus forced.  The lack of simplicity coupled with escalating complexity has created a silent discontent within my own life.  Finding the brake to slow this ride eludes me.  Occasionally, there is a lull, but the momentum quickly builds, leaving me scrambling once again seeking the eventual stop I know is out there.

As a child, everyday normal to even boring events seemed to be a constant occurrence.  One doesn’t realize that those snippets over time actually mount up to a nugget of significance; a time of uniqueness that would be difficult to duplicate, only cherished.  During my childhood there were simple things initiated by my family or myself, which created an experience now savored.  

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Rolling By

Rolling By 2 WP

The circle of life rolled by while I sat near the entrance waiting for our takeout order.  Miniature white sneakers with velcro straps randomly bobbed to and fro.  A blue sweatshirt hosted Tigger bouncing on the side.  The slightly stressed mother quickly returned wallet to purse, balanced a bulky diaper bag on her petite shoulder, and pushed the stroller all at the same time.  The cute toddler was in his own world living it up—smile on his face and song upon his lips.

Right after, a similar image with added wrinkles.  Crisp, white New Balance sneakers boasting velcro straps contained stationary feet and swollen ankles.  A blue knitted sweater with an embroidered crest and half glasses perched atop the end of a seasoned nose momentarily captured the essence of the elderly man.  While pushing the wheelchair from behind, the twenty-something grandson leaned down to say thanks for the meal.  A partial smile and wink was extended from a craned neck as the elderly man labored to tuck his wallet into his back pocket.Read More »