Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Snapshot

So here we are, all standing on the back of the boat looking at 2008 dissolving in the wake. While I occasionally, and by occasionally I mean always, really buck forced compliance and status quo, I do think there are times when the value of the effort outweighs the commonality of the function. I hope that made sense.

One of my personal struggles is routinely looking toward the future and failing to recognize the present. I miss the"little things" that make life great, and the more I do this the more I suffer.

So, with that in mind, here's my 2008 recap and 2009 outline.

2008
  • Acquired an amazing horse (who I can't seem to find time to ride but love anyway).
  • Went to Europe with my besties. Most awesome trip ever, even though I lost my camera the first night we were in Spain. I leapt over a major hurdle somewhere between Naples and Mykonos and yes, I got my groove back.
  • Earned my STOTT PILATES certification for matwork/reformer; continued training and moving toward CCB certification. In the beginning, this was my secret pipeline dream but I lacked confidence and felt it wasn't something I was worthy of pursuing. I've never been happier to have been wrong.
  • Spent lots of quality time with my friends and family and was reminded on the last day of the year that relationships - even the ones you depend on the most or rank as the most infallible - require constant attention and mutual respect, and if you cannot get the blinders off of your own harness race long enough to recognize that, you might need to go back to the training ring. (Ooh, good horsey metaphor!)
  • Wrote more in my book, and had a haunting interlude with a source I hope will add to it.
  • Perched my toes on the edge of a fun writing venture with some people I love and appreciate. It's going to be great.
2009

  • Robby Of The Month: I have vowed to go to Mobile once each month to spend time with my family. We're going to do a specific thing each month and work ahead so that Christmas isn't such a barracuda. I've put my parents on a pilates program (yay!) and as I have no big trips planned, am taking advantage of the semi-staycation.
  • 20 Years Old: My class reunion is in July and I'm having fun planning it with a committee of great people. Here's to a splendid event.
  • CCB: Finishing the Chair and Barrel training and earning my STOTT PILATES certification there.
  • Draft 1 of my book - even if it's 3rd grade - by July 1.
  • Making more time for people and things that matter.
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crazy In Holiday

Sometimes I be gettin' all crazy in holiday and by that I mean I could cut me some Christmas.

"You got your shopping did? You got your tree did? You got your life did?"

Those are questions I get throughout the season and if a bitch starts talking in September about how she has finished her shopping, I will hide behind a door and jump out and shank her.

Why is this? Obviously it's forced compliance and the fact that I have a HUGE issue with it. Please don't tell me what I need to do in the name of a "season." Just be nice year round. That would be an awesome gift.

Now, with that big spew of bitter out of the way, let me say that as soon as I am immersed in a holiday atmosphere - especially with my family - I'm all, "I'll be home with bells on, trim the tree and wrap the presents let the Christmas watermelonwatermelonwatermelon" so I do know I'm not quite at Grinch level. Just at Robby's Rock Bottom when it comes to the hols. So like any good 12-stepper, I'm going to accept that I have a problem so I can begin my recovery.

What might that mean?

1.) I have a neat idea for an abstract yet sustainable Christmas tree that I intend to build for next year. Simple, clean lines, easy to assemble and store. Say goodbye to fluffy synthetic fake trees and hello to art display.
2.) Summer shopping. Yes, maybe I WILL be finished by September next year. I mean, here's the reality: I have 5 gifts to buy and 3 of them are traditionally gift cards. That's accomplished in, oh, t-minus 2, so why am I so overwhelmed?
3.) Maybe even going giftless for 2009. Instead of establishing a predictable gift (I know he always gon' be getting me a gift card) maybe my predictability will be NO GIFT! Now there's a concept, right? I mean, I love me some people but what I love most is just being with them and having the opportunity to connect.

And so I give you photographic evidence of the legendary MSJ, new and improved with 40 years behind her, as well as the mystical, elusive MCV, who has sworn off her journey toward the big Four Oh. (You can do it girl, I have faith!) This was at our family holiday gathering Saturday night. I'm heading back down to the Coast today, after my yoga class, wherein I hope to "get right" and have my little chakras all dancing in a row so as not to be this year's Christmas Concern.

I'll be back next week. Enjoy your holiday!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hummingbird Me

So just so everyone knows my schedule:

Noon today I'm trouncing down to Mobz to get to my sister's 40th birthday party tonight. Happy birthday Julie!

I'll bounce back to Ttown on Sunday, work Monday and Tuesday, then back down Tuesday night (maybe Wednesday morning), and stay through Saturday when I zip over to New Orleans to roll it with my homey and body clip 2 horses. Then I'm back on Sunday the 28th.

Guess who has earned himself a spa day?
Guess who is NOT doing a damned thing in January?

Me! That's who!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Holidays

In case I missed you on Facebook or direct email, here's my holiday greeting for the year. And if this is the third time you've seen it, happy holidays anyway, muthafuckas! Daddy meanz it!

When I take Maddie walking through the trails in the woods at my parents' house, where I used to ride my horses (and fall off of them, sometimes even inciting a neighborhood SAR effort after said horse went galloping by kitchen window, riderless, freaking a non-horsey mom out!), I often marvel at how quickly the underbrush has overtaken the trails. And by quickly I mean 20 years but still, it seems like yesterday.

Like many, I typically protest encroachment by an uninvited visitor (unless it's Clive Owen in which case, visit on dude, visit on!) but I love the red berries on the highly invasive yaupan. I was walking Maddie over Thanksgiving and came upon this bush forming a canopy over the trail. I stopped to admire it and thought, "Wow, you bear this fruit and it's likely that no one will ever see it, but it's really beautiful and I'm thankful I was here to admire it."

And that led me to realize that no matter how shitty we think we have it, how Scrooge-y we are, we're all still very, very blessed and no matter how depressing the situation is we still have beautiful things around us to evoke fond memories, and help define our current moments. I cling to these recognitions when I get a bit melancholy; they give me perspective and make me feel healthy.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pokerface

I think this song is made hotter by the video, which I think is REALLY hott.

I might be in love with Lady Gaga. I know - so predictable, right? But what can I say ... sometimes that's just me.

Last night I picked up a neat little book of quotations my friends Schwynn gave me for my birthday, when we were in Europe. I was reading and laughing and flipped a page to SURPRISE! the Barnes & Noble gift card that was also part of the gift. I'm so excited. It's like Christmas for me all over again!

Thanks Schwynn!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Voices

I am very blessed in that my very good friend Joe has hooked me up with a friend who rents me his guest suite in the French Quarter, when I need to get my New Orleans on. The home is directly on Bourbon Street, just a few blocks from Esplanade Avenue, in a residential area. The guest suite is immediately behind the walk-up.

As a general rule, it's quiet. And yet it's also the sort of place where pedestrians have gotten just far enough away from the crowd to begin speaking about things of a very personal nature.

From my vantage point - comfortably ensconced in the four-poster bed, locked behind both the front door and the hurricane shutter - I can hear everything as if they're in the room with me. And over the past 2 years, I've heard quite a bit. Much of it is private; often its intimate. It embarrasses me, humors me, frightens me, and sometimes repulses me. And yet I'm oddly drawn to it because while it's akin to spying, it's not purposeful and the lacking element most spies rely upon - the visual - is missing. It's eerily inspirational from the perspective of a writer, and maybe how a blind person perceives a verbal exchange. With no other communicative reference (i.e. non-verbal feedback, physical perception of subjects, etc.) beyond the words, it's surprising what you tend to hear and retain.

Initially I was going to share some tidbits from the weekend because I found them comical, but the context here isn't appropriate. I think to fully appreciate it you have to hear the associated tones and inflection in the voices. However, I will say if one day you read a story I've written, and it happens to have elements of meth addicts eschewing their partners physical advances, or gay guys talking about their fathers' credit cards, or criminals threatening to kill each other by cutting off their legs, or ravers tripping on acid, you'll know its genesis.

Here's a pic of me with my dear friend Allie from the weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sara ...



OK, I've just purchased my first Christmas gift online. While there is no Cindy Loo Who to melt my Grinchy heart this season (what's wrong with me?), I have had a couple of nice experiences this week that've at least begun to temper it. I think what's wrong with me is that I've not heard "Feed The World" this holiday season and quite frankly, it's not Christmas until I do. Since I've been back in Alabama I typically hear it on our Muzak when I'm having a slash, and then I just hum it and sing - my favorite part is the George Michael vocal - while I notice that I tend to balance with my right leg like 6 inches behind the left indicating a possible rotation of the pelvis, and then I must focus on bringing both of my feet up to the same line of tile so that I'm balanced. I once got distracted mid-stream due to my ADD when a little bitty lizard found its way into the building and was sliding all over the floor tile, forcing me to quickly finish and revert to Robby: Wilderness Boy, capturing him then releasing him back to the wild, but that was last summer and had nothing to do with Christmas. Ahhh, Bathroom Crazy. Larry Craig has nothing on me.

A song I do love regardless of the season? This one. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And The Thunder Rolls

Between things that go bump in the night and the rapid onset of REALLY severe weather, I sometimes wonder if I were a medieval king (which I wasam), would my nemeses plot to overthrow me by a late night ploy?

"Attack at 2 a.m. He's completely retarded when awakened from a deep slumber. He'll give you the keys to his car and his American Express card just to let him get 10 more minutes of sleep."

Last night I actually came "this close" to doing something preemptive. The thunderstorm was so violent it was lighting up my room like daylight and not once, but twice, I heard the proverbial train.

Of course, I went right to the window and opened the blind (greenish yellow sky at 2:15? check!) then decided the smart thing to do would be put on clothes in case a tornado did hit, I wouldn't be found nekkid ... mostly because I felt like I was having a fat day. That was only after I contemplated going into the bathroom and sleeping in the tub which, can I just say, did not sound like fun.

I probably need some supervision when it comes to these sorts of things. Since I routinely find myself saying, "I didn't realize it was going to rain today," then right behind it admitting, "Granted, I've not watched the news in 2 years so why would I?" I need to be a little more aware of what the weather potential is.

Thankfully there's no sign of damage and I didn't even lose power. But, still, if you must strike, I think it's apparent the witching hour is around 2:15. Completely incapacitated, I am, at that time.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Janes

There are 3 Janes in my life right now.

They're scattered all over North America but each of them has a significant impact on my life, and I'm happy I have them.

Love you Janes!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Squirrel 2: Robby 0

I hate you.

It apparently has nothing to do with the chain and caribiner. Instead it seems to have everything to do with some sort of varmint being able to slide that green tube up while simultaneously rocking the feeder off of the small hook inside.

Seriously? This might be the work of something bigger than me. I have no idea how they do it. I just know they leave their little muddy paw prints as evidence and uneaten seeds on the ground as a testament to their power, like the woodlands version of La Cosa Nostra.

But I've got another weapon and I've already unleashed it. And that weapon is duct tape. I am taking back the night.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Aveda Pure Privilege

And it came to pass in those days that skin was in, and God said, "Let there be blemish-free faces dotting my beautiful Earth," and sent a messenger, Horst Rechelbacher, to fulfill this order. And the result is Aveda. And if you think I'm not a junkie, you're wrong. I've been an addict since 1992 or so.

I feel it's my duty, and God's will, to share with the world that this weekend there is a major opportunity to get discounts using your Pure Privilege card.

Align your chakras. Enhance your senses. Send crow's feet back to their corner. We all have choices in life, and we can be pilots or we can be passengers.

Act accordingly.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Baggu: It's Not Just For The Enviro; It's For Christmas!

I love me some Baggu. I was thrilled when I got their email yesterday. I'd forgotten how awesome the product is and I love how they've repurposed the bag as gift wrap.

This holiday season, give the gift of Baggu. It will intimidate the plebians at your grocery store and make you feel even more hipster and eco-chic. And isn't that what this season is all about?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Squirrels: Prepare For Battle

I know I know I know ... he's just a squirrel tryin'a get a nut, right? Squirrel gotta eat too, yadayadayada ... I've heard them all time and time again.

But here's the thing Squirrel. If you ain't get yo' black ass off my damn bird feeder we gon' go HEAD UP, ok?

I know my little feeder that is Squirrel-proof pissed you off so bad that you had to figure out a way to lift it off the hook (and not in a good way), causing it to fall and disassemble, and putting me in a perilous position of traipsing down a serious hilly incline - in my Hush Puppies for God's sake - to pick up the pieces, but I've got a solution. And that solution is a chain, and a caribiner clip.

And just so you know, my next step will be my CO2 pellet pistol. That's what we do here in Alabama and I ain't skeert to pop a cap. OK?

UPDATE: Image of treacherous feeder location added to illustrate the risk I take in feeding birds and going up against the squirrels. Let's see if my chain and caribiner solution works.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Breakdown Here II



Just when I thought I was going to post something all reflective and sentimental and thusly went on a search of YouTube for Julie Robert's big debut song (which my friend Shannon and I love), my ADD takes over and I find this. And it brings it all back into perspective. Comedy rulez!

I went to a World AIDS Day event last night which was quite solemn and stark but, at the same time, really accurate and authentic. Several speakers were very moving and struck some chords close to me - one in particular who told the story of her brother and how he was moved by seeing a cardinal just two days before he died, and how this specific cardinal stayed around throughout his funeral and followed the sister as she was making arrangements, etc. The same was true with my grandmother, to whom I was very close, and while possibly a bit "out there," it really did remind me of someone I loved, and how looking out into the cold, gray, bleak yesterday I saw two cardinals in the now-stripped dogwood tree outside my office window.

Afterward I shared my story with her, and had a bit of a breakdown with a complete stranger. She gasped audibly once I finally sputtered it out because I think it may've given her some validation for taking a risk and speaking publicly about something many might perceive whimsical and trite.

Sometimes I struggle for purpose and affirmation, but I always trust a guiding force and higher power and while I used to question why I was put in places that didn't fulfill me - moreso from an anger perspective - I have come to look for the lessons I'm intended to learn, and the contributions I can make to improve a situation, not just from my perspective, but from the larger community scale.

I agreed to sit on the board for West Alabama AIDS Outreach a few weeks back, and last night's event really solidified the decision for me.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I'll Remember

Today is World AIDS Day.

Yesterday I was driving home from Mobile with my new partner-in-driving Claudia Schiffer playing the role of wingman. It's not the real Claudia Schiffer (she's far too old) but instead, my kick-ass little pilates client who has become a pal. I heart her like whoa.

As we drove into Jackson, Alabama, I was reminded of a friend I had many years ago who was from that small town. I knew him when I was 19, and we worked together in a store in the mall. He was 21, and the first "out" person I ever really knew. As a group from work, we'd all go out downtown before it was revitalized, to watch the drag shows. Because I was young, they'd pull strings at the door so I could get in.

He didn't stay on at the clothing store after the holiday season, and quickly we lost touch. A few years later I was having lunch at a restaurant in the French Quarter and a mutual acquaintence was waiting our table. It was odd to see his face in that setting too (such a small world), and I asked about our friend.

He got this really puzzled look on his face and just said, "He died. Years ago."

As it turns out, our friend had AIDS. In 1990. At age 21. Dead by the time he was 23. Even now, nearly half of my life later, it's difficult for me to fathom someone dying so young, and so senselessly.

I remember him today, and I remind everyone that HIV/AIDS struggles are still very much a reality. There is no cure. There is no guarantee. Educate yourself, and remain committed to a cure.