Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dear Santa

If I had a million dollars, I would buy these things for myself. Since I don't, I figure it doesn't hurt to tell Santa.

Gocco Print Maker (new, used, doesn't matter)
Macintosh Time Machine
Cleaning Lady (just once)
Fabric (all kinds of cotton)
A Mimi Doll (not the men dolls, they freak me out; not the misshapen lady dolls either. I guess that leaves baby dolls and girl dolls)
Any Johanna Wright painting that where the figure looks like me (no glasses) and is quilting, reading, loving or crafting.
Oliver + S backpack tote pattern (and oh, the hardware!)
Donation to my church since we're this close (picture thumb and forefinger within inches of each other) to figuring out a funding model for this post-modern project we're working on. Still, there's a little budget shortfall this year so any help in place of physical presents will be awesome.

You know, just in case you were wondering.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mac and Cheese

Someone brought Kraft Macaroni and Cheese that had salsa mixed in it for church potluck tonight.

This, more than anything else, makes me love my church tonight.

When we first started having dinner every Sunday, we brought food creations: soups from our moms' recipes, holiday casseroles, fresh-baked bread. We talked self-consciously about how the week had felt to our souls or stayed in party chit-chat mode. "So, where do you live?"

But someone brought Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with salsa mixed in.

That is someone's comfort food.

That is a dish someone makes when work was awful and the bus broke down on the return commute and it's fucking cold outside.

That dish is home.

And someone brought it to church.

Someone didn't care whether or not the rest of us would be impressed by what s/he brought. Someone didn't worry that it wasn't fancy enough to offer to other people. Someone just made what was easy and offered comfort and shared it with the rest of us.

This is why I love my church.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Being Poor

I'm catching up on posts from my friend Arloa and I was entranced by this poem. The sheer volume is hard to take. It just keeps going. But I encourage you to keep reading to the end. I encourage you to pay attention to how it makes you feel when you reach the end. Let it sit with you.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they're what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there's not an $800 car in America that's worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends' houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won't hear you say "I get free lunch" when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching that box of Raisin Bran you just bought and trying to think of a way to make the kids understand that the box has to last.

Being poor is wondering if your well-off sibling is lying when he says he doesn't mind when you ask for help.

Being poor is off-brand toys.

Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.

Being poor is knowing you can't leave $5 on the coffee table when your friends are around.

Being poor is hoping your kids don't have a growth spurt.

Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn't have make dinner tonight because you're not hungry anyway.

Being poor is Goodwill underwear.

Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.

Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your supermarket shoes when you run around the playground.

Being poor is your kid's school being the one with the 15-year-old textbooks and no air conditioning.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor is relying on people who don't give a damn about you.

Being poor is an overnight shift under florescent lights.

Being poor is finding the letter your mom wrote to your dad, begging him for the child support.

Being poor is a bathtub you have to empty into the toilet.

Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger's trash.

Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.

Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a difference.

Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.

Being poor is not taking the job because you can't find someone you trust to watch your kids.

Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.

Being poor is not talking to that girl because she'll probably just laugh at your clothes.

Being poor is hoping you'll be invited for dinner.

Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.

Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.

Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.

Being poor is your kid's teacher assuming you don't have any books in your home.

Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.

Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.

Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy.

Being poor is a six-hour wait in an emergency room with a sick child asleep on your lap.

Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn't bought first.

Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that's two extra packages for every dollar.

Being poor is having to live with choices you didn't know you made when you were 14 years old.

Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.

Being poor is knowing you're being judged.

Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.

Being poor is checking the coin return slot of every soda machine you go by.

Being poor is deciding that it's all right to base a relationship on shelter.

Being poor is knowing you really shouldn't spend that buck on a Lotto ticket.

Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.

Being poor is feeling helpless when your child makes the same mistakes you did, and won't listen to you beg them against doing so.

Being poor is a cough that doesn't go away.

Being poor is making sure you don't spill on the couch, just in case you have to give it back before the lease is up.

Being poor is a $200 paycheck advance from a company that takes $250 when the paycheck comes in.

Being poor is four years of night classes for an Associates of Art degree.

Being poor is a lumpy futon bed.

Being poor is knowing where the shelter is.

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.

Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.

Being poor is seeing how few options you have.

Being poor is running in place.

Being poor is people wondering why you didn't leave.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Written on the very late plane last night . . .

This is the worst turbulence I have ever been in. It’s a little like traveling in a bus over a poorly-paved road except the potholes are impossibly deep. Anne Lamott writes a charming story about how turbulence brought her seatmates together to form an impromptu community but although the guy next to me is clearly frightened from the looks of his shaky, grasping-nothing hands (just like me), I feel a little weird about talking to him. He’s turned off his iPod and taken out his headphones. Maybe I should, too, but my stomach is queasy, my shoulders are tightening and it’s too hot. I want to watch a DVD and escape but the computer got about 4 inches of air off the seat-back table. I am glad that I texted my boyfriend I loved him and that I checked in with my dad before the flight. I’m a morbid kid.

As usual, once I acknowledged that I didn’t want to do something uncomfortable, I went ahead and did it. I made a little chit-chat observation about how everyone else started talking, he responded a little, said, “That was wild,” I used my “impossibly deep potholes” line and he put his headphones back in.

Mission accomplished.