Since there are only a few days left to the month, I decided to dispense with the routine I set for myself at the beginning of NaBloPoMo for this blog. I'm just going to be writing extemperaneously about anything that comes to mind and hopefully I'll come up with some decent entries to close out November. I'm not sure how this might impact my ability to blog here on a regular basis -- I seem to be forsaking an awful lot of other things I typically do online -- but it might end up being that I might drop by here for a visit for a couple of times a week or so, and this exercise has given me more confidence to type out normal online journaling entries about what's been going on in my life, as well as writing about what I enjoy pop culturally. I should try to do some more of that throughout the rest of the year, instead of aspiring for deep entries where I philosophize about whatever's been preoccupying me, whenever I'm in one of my contemplative moods.
So much happens beneath the surface that I don't really bring to this blog. I believe I've mentioned my mom's continual medical situations/dramas in brief spurts, but I left the story half complete. Truth be told, I've spent so much time being my mom's caregiver and experiencing as much as what's happened to Mom as someone as close as a daughter/caregiver can process that it's been difficult for me to express fully what's been going on to an impartial, indifferent third party outlet, even if said "outlet" is the blank slate of the web blog. I had my fill of visiting Mom at various hospitals and skilled nursing facilities ever since the very first medical event happened for us in 2005, and the tasks of being Mom's caregiver have taken up a good portion of my life. I sometimes stop to think about how much my life has changed in the last five years and feel overwhelmed by it. How am I able to manage to keep going on? Honestly, I don't even know.
And there have been other things going on in my life. Good things, even. Something has happened that I once thought never possible -- I've found someone who understands me more than anyone else has ever had, who can relate to my thoughts, opinions, ideas, experiences, etc., in a way only their own personal experience could bring. He and I are so intellectually, mentally, philosophically, and internally compatible that it's as if I'm in a dream land sometimes, considering how this could ever be, how possible this is or isn't. I am beyond grateful to have him in my life and that he and I feel similarly toward each other. A part of me feels that I had to go through the shit in my earlier life, the shit that has caused me a lot of anguish and pain in my past, in order to be worthy of this huge blessing in my life. And he is a real blessing in my life, and has been there for me (as there for me as he could be) through a lot of the recent drama in my life. I cannot imagine life now without him in it. And I'll stop there before I completely go mushy and limp and you guys have to reach for the Pepto Bismol to prevent you from revisiting your dinner.
So thus ends my latest entry for NaBloPoMo 2010. I haven't elaborated on my day or week thus far, nor have I expressed any thoughts or ideas in the worlds of music, television, film, or reading. I might've revealed a few minor secrets here, and this could definitely be considered a "free for all". Just the thought of trying to keep to a certain theme each day throughout the month has helped keep me coming back here. Perhaps that's what's needed here on this blog; perhaps by laying out these patterns, that has reined me in enough to where I could keep on going throughout the month.
Since today is the day in which we all gather around our various tables and give thanks that this country was founded so we could live the privileged lives we live as Americans, I decided to start breaking with the month-long patterns I've set up for myself on this blog and start writing about Thanksgiving. First off, anyone who would bitch about Thanksgiving deserves to get slapped in the face and/or shipped off to a Third World country without any credit or debit cards, cell phones, laptops, or anything else aside from the clothes on their back. I have Native American blood in me. I'm more than well aware of how much they suffered because of the "white man". Thing is, now is not the time to commemorate that. Thanksgiving is a time that symbolizes peace and harmony throughout the nation, a nation that was built on the best of intentions and the highest of ideals that has also given all of us the opportunity to live lives so many billions of times more wonderful than had our ancestors stayed where they were. Even the Native Americans; had they not crossed the Bering Strait when they did, they would've stayed in Siberia and frozen to death, or been slaughtered by any one of the marauding bands of Russian conquerors, or lived in misery through the reign of the Bolsheviks, or later through the Stalinists. There would've been no greater Trail of Tears than the one they would've had to travel as they'd be force-marched to the gulags.
And the rest -- if you're white and bitching about Thanksgiving, you are officially a spoiled, privileged white person who doesn't know how much worse things could be for everyone, including your ancestors. All the people of European descent who came from the poorest ranks of society and who could've made something of themselves, ended up jumping on the first boat to the "New World". Only in America can you find someone who lived on the streets as an adolescent, began working at a store, and later went on to own the whole business AND become the governor of a state, as Maine's Paul LePage has done. And the people who are most appreciative of what America has to offer are those who are aspiring to garner for themselves a piece of that great American pie. There is no better ringing endorsement of the American dream than to look at any one of the migrant workers who enter the U.S. illegally on a regular basis, live in a rented house with eleven other laborers, work so tha they can send at least half the money they earn back to their impoverished families back home in Latin America, and risk their lives so they can have opportunities they never would have in their home countries, the same opportunities the insufferable, upper middle class, college-going or -educated white young person with not a speck of dust underneath their pristine fingernails either doesn't recognize or takes for granted. If you're a poorer person or a person whose more immediate family lineage includes immigrants to America, you're usually more cognizant of the blessings that America provides and are aware of how grateful to be on a day that's all about being grateful for being an American.
So. I'm so glad to have gotten that all out. It's been festering in my mind for months and finally I have an outlet to express what I've been thinking for that long. Having said all that, usually a lot of people simply think of the Thanksgiving dinner when thinking of the day, and that's not a bad idea at all. It'd make things a whole lot less complicated, and everyone enjoys Thanksgiving dinner. Even vegans, now that there are vegan options for the day -- Tofurkey, vegan yam loaf, etc. Whatever you're serving on the dinner table, it's guaranteed to be delicious and comforting. I'm going to two separate family gatherings today to celebrate the day and planning on restraining myself at both, but I will enjoy myself a lot more tomorrow when I make my own Thanksgiving dinner with all the seasonal foods I grew up with -- the turkey (though that's been reduced to just a turkey breast now that it's just the two of us), cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, sauteed brussels sprouts, gravy, yams with brown sugar and pecans, cranberry sauce, rolls, and the requisite pumpkin pie. And my favorite part, enough leftovers to last for awhile. I already made the cornbread dressing (delicious!), the brussels sprouts have already been chopped, and the turkey breast is defrosting nicely in the fridge, so tomorrow shouldn't be too much of a problem. My dishwasher is at the ready for the dirty dishes that will accumulate quickly throughout the day, and I'm planning a quick trip out to the store on Saturday (hopefully the Black Friday dangers will have subsided by then) for a couple of large bakery rolls to fix my first Thanksgiving sandwich a la Monica Geller. And by the time I've gotten my fill of turkey dinners, it'll be the Christmas season and time for ham and tamales!
So happy Thanksgiving, if you're American. Take time during the day to recognize how good you have it, living in this country. Don't be caught up in contrarianism for contrarianism's sake. And eat up! Whether you have a traditional spread laid out or you're celebrating a vegetarian/vegan Thanksgiving, let yourself get filled with the comforting food of today.
1. Something I'm currently taking is making me feel really, really woozy and causing me to crave more sleep than I would crave otherwise. I don't know precisely what medication it is but I've narrowed it down in terms of which medications aren't causing me to feel that way. Nothing I'm taking in the morning is causing it. Nor is the Singulair, Low-Ogestrel, or daily multivitamin I'm taking in the afternoon. Everything else is up for suspicion. I know that there's a small chance dicyclomine could be doing this to me, but I don't really think that's it because I've been taking that for awhile and this is something that's only been happening for the past few months. I wonder which one it is because if so, I'd like to get my doctor to change my prescription there for something that won't make me feel quite as sleepy-headed. I miss being able to stay up until about 2:00 in the morning chatting with my favorite person in the world, since my extreme sleepiness is robbing me of that ability.
2. I've grown accustomed to drinking coffee in the morning, even if it's warm out. Like this morning, it was warm enough to where I put my hair up in a tight bun and put on a short-sleeved blouse (which is such a ripoff -- it's late November, so it's supposed to be so cold I need sweaters, damn it!), but did I drink a large glass of cool water along with my morning muffin? Nooooo. I microwaved water and made myself a big mug of instant coffee. I nearly drank the entire mug, too. I think there's something to the daily routine of coffee drinking to where you start to rely upon it like a crutch, and if you skip a day it feels like you're missing out on something. Perhaps when it comes time for summer I can get into the routine of making iced coffee; there is no way that hot coffee in the morning and 100 degree temperatures in the afternoon would mix. Robert D. Kaplan even pointed it out in one of his books -- he was traveling through sub-Saharan Africa and talking about how, back at home in the Boston area, he would ordinarily drink a lot of coffee, but in hot climates hot coffee destabilizes the stomach, so he relied on soda while traveling through countries such as Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. The same -- or similar -- could apply to where I live, since my town is equidistant to the equator as Kuwait City, and has only a slightly more moderate climate.
3. I finally broke down and got an external hard drive! My regular hard drive was crushed from the weight of all the files I had on it, particularly all the music files from when I did an iPod backup. It was making my computer unstable and causing me all kinds of headaches with the programs I normally use. But ever since I've transferred a lot of files over to the external hard drive, my computer's been humming quietly (thus eliminating the weird grinding noise it was making, possibly from being overloaded/overheated) and I've noticed a lot more stability on my computer. I still had a situation to deal with concerning Firefox always crashing on me, but it seems that upgrading Java and Adobe Flash has done the trick. When I quickly checked up on it this morning all seemed well in that world. There is something curious about the external HD, though; I'm accustomed to seeing larger external HDs, akin to the size of some of the older external HDs. But this external HD is the size of a small pocket notebook (the kind we all used to write down our homework assignments in) and weighs just about as much as my first cell phone. It also contains ten times the amount of hard drive space as the last computer I had! But at least that computer's hard drive was upgradeable. There would've been no way in the world that my first computer from 1992 could've handled 1/100th of the hard drive space my external HD has (at 350 GB). Yet this hard drive is so small it could fit in my regular-sized purse, along with the USB cable, my wallet, iPod, notepad, pill organizer....
4. You know what would be the most kick-ass Christmas gift of all for me? A year-long membership to the McNay Art Museum. It's been about a month since I took a break from my world and dashed off to the McNay for three solid hours of art appreciation and I still can't forget the whole experience. There were so many exceptional pieces of art from all the classic artists and I was overjoyed to spot an Andy Warhol and a Chuck Close in the contemporary section, but my favorite contemporary piece of art was a sculpture by Venezuelan artist Jesus Rafael Soto called Jaune et Blance Bi-face (Yellow and White Double-sided) from 1969 (thanks a billion, McNay curators!) that almost literally took my breath away. Had I the whole day to spend there, I would've spent thirty minutes just staring at that work of art, absorbing it in my psyche and memorizing every single facet of the modernist sculpture. The McNay is one of the best things this city's got going for it and it did me a lot of good spending time there. If I could, I would love to go there at least once a month for a year to immerse myself in art and familiarize myself with what's there. I don't need clothing. I could purchase my own underwear. I hate shoe shopping. I don't really need anything for the kitchen and what I might need, I could purchase throughout the year on my own. There's nothing gadget-wise I'd need. I have a large selection of books at home that I need to get to first before purchasing more, and I already have a pretty sizeable music collection, both physical and digital. But the gift of the McNay -- that would be just about perfect.
5. Work has been pretty mundane this morning. We really haven't needed to do much and I don't anticipate that changing until the afternoon. I have a feeling tomorrow and Wednesday are going to be about the same; I'm planning on getting all my Wednesday work done in the morning so I can take off early and get things ready for our Thanksgiving dinner at home in the afternoon. We're invited to two different places for Thanksgiving dinner on the day itself so we'll be eating elsewhere that day, and I'll be cooking the at-home dinner on Friday, when I'll also be off. I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week. Where did 2010 go? And speaking of going, I must be going. I have the rest of the morning waiting for me.
It's funny how times seem to change faster than I can process the changes. It used to be that when I was smaller and a year felt like forever, the days hung for ages and yesterday felt no different from today. But now that I'm getting older and the world appears to be progressing faster, I can't keep up with the changes that are occurring. It feels strange for me to admit this being that I'm very technologically minded and all, but I find myself at times not being able to keep up with what's progressing as far as gadgets and electronics technology and the like. I remember when cell phones were the size of a block of cheese and were only good for calling other phones; well, that was all we wanted them for anyway! But now cell phones fit within the palms of your hands and can access the Internet, play music and videos, text message people, organize your life, help you take notes, and make the odd occasional phone call if you wish.
The same goes with pop culture. In my day -- see, I'm already using "In my day"! -- teenaged girls swooned over Eddie Vedder or Chris Cornell. Seattle grunge was king and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain was considered the spokesperson for our generation. Those of us who weren't interested in rock music turned our attentions to the world of rap, which was undergoing a massive revolution known as "gangsta rap". The most sugary our pop got was Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, both with historical pop precedent and some considerable substance and talent. On TV our dramas dealt with social issues of the day and our comedies were aspirational; we tuned into "Friends" because we wanted to be like those people when we grew up and were twentysomethings in the big city, and we tuned into "Seinfeld" because we wanted to learn lessons on sarcasm, snark, and witty observations of ordinary banalities. In the world of film, we watched the typical Hollywood blockbusters and escapist cinema, but somehow the dialogue seemed wittier, the scenarios more realistic, and the characters more fully fleshed out and likeable. Also, the Hollywood filmmaking climate was such that even high-quality films could be made in Hollywood; you didn't have to delve into the world of independent cinema for something that required thought to watch.
These days, teenagers are expected to listen to such trash, except most of them tends to rebel against that and listen to indie rock. But the expectations are there and the music sales indicate that; with the severe downturn in overall music sales, it's clear that what most often gets pushed in the world of pop music is heavily out of sync with what most teens are interested in. Television seems to be mostly about brainless escapism; the comedies are, for the most part, dumb, the dramas are, for the most part, incredulous, there are a fair few "reality" shows that are as far removed from reality as the most ludicrous '50s science fiction, and there seems to be a sense that television is mostly about the celebration of the ridiculous and stupid. And films -- GOD, forget about films! Unless you're talking about indie or foreign films, movies are a gigantic trash heap of mush-headed garbage. It's why I haven't had an interest in watching movies in many years and why the last time I went to the movies, I saw the worst film I'd ever seen by far.
Anyway, enough mumbling about this topic for now. I have to press "submit" before midnight, don't I? I'll continue with this at a later date.
Watch from 5:54 to 6:55 in the video. This is the "Flatbush" theme I mentioned on Wednesday's NaBloPoMo entry, written by "It Only Takes a Minute"'s own Dennis Lambert. And if Lambert knew anything about anything, he'd release a single version of this theme and sell it on iTunes.
Speaking of "It Only Takes a Minute"...
Dennis Lambert, you are a hero. BTW, the original Tavares version of this song is the only acceptable one around. Accept no substitutes!