you’re beautiful as you feel…

Tapestry, the Carole King album of greatness, was released 43 years ago this spring…I bought it on cassette when I got my first car in December of 1984, and the songs have traveled with me as I’ve grown from a 17-year-old girl, thinking she was ‘all that’ with her Aqua-Net hair, and her Pontiac Sunbird, and her Calvin Klein jeans, and her high-heeled shoes, to the 46-year-old woman I am today with the occasional grays, sometimes tired eyes, and frequent bouts of “this is all there is?”

…and sometimes when I listen to great lyrics like this album, I am astonished to think, ‘YES! This is all there is!’  It takes just one listen through, either from start, I Feel The Earth Move,  to finish, You Make Me Feel Like (A Natural Woman), or shuffled, or mixed in with other singing ladies in an assorted playlist, to feel grounded and okay.  Every song has at least one line that speaks to me, so clearly, and effortlessly I am rebooted, restored, revived.  The album makes me think of new love, good love, lost love, friendship, longing, endings and beginnings, home and hearth…it makes me feel connected to everything and everyone and everywhere…which might sound silly, but it’s true.  When I listen to these songs and sing them, badly, but with my whole heart, I feel like it’s something of a soundtrack for a life fully lived, and the words to the songs are so pure that it could be a soundtrack for any one of us…

…I still have SO MUCH I wish I could do, and want to do, and am annoyed that I can’t do, but when I feel grounded in the words of these songs, I recognize how much I have done, have achieved, have survived…it’s strange how somebody else can write words that can mean so much to so many, but she did.  Her words make me feel good, make me feel beautiful, make me feel like I am a good friend and have great friendships, that I have loved well and to the best of my ability, that I have been the best woman I can be, despite all the uncertainty that comes with living a life…I don’t know, do men connect with the songs on this album too??  Rolling Stone has listed this album as #36 in its top 500 greatest albums of all time…and it is one of the best selling albums ever on the planet, so one would assume that men find her poetry to be powerful too…if you do not own the album you can’t very well listen to it today, but if you do own the album, you should listen to it today and think about how remarkable it is that words written 43 or more years ago are still so compelling…that’s a good song, or poem, or story, isn’t it??  Words that stand the test of time…to write one sentence that lasts forever would be amazing, can you just imagine writing a whole album?  Timeless goodness right there, in your cd cabinet, an old milk crate of cassettes, vinyl albums in your attic…

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Give a girl a fish

Since the new year I’ve developed something of an expensive habit…well, I guess it’s not a habit so much as a choice, but it is something that I find I want to do more and more, the more often I do it, and I suppose this is the case with most habits…So on the day after Christmas, my boyfriend, ♥ well the man to whom I had been engaged for 29 hours ♥, and I went out to lunch to celebrate our new ‘relationship status.’  He was in the mood for sushi and I was in the mood for anything that made him happy and after we were seated I said to him, “just order for us both.”  I love to try new things or to try things that have been prepared in a way I’ve not had before.  I am not what they call a ‘cheap date’ and I really will try anything.  When I go out to eat I generally try to order something that I would never make at home, primarily because I really do love to cook and I really do love my kitchen, and to me it seems silly to order food outside of the home that you could actually just make in your home…so I was excited to let him order for us both because then I’ve no choice but to try everything and anything.

I first had sushi in the early 90’s in New York City.  I worked with a woman who became a dear friend to me & who had a sister-in-law who was Japanese and lived in the city and who, to keep fluent in her native tongue, worked three nights a week at a Japanese restaurant.  My first adventure to this restaurant with my friend blew my mind…her sister-in-law ordered for the table, which was not only a long table, but a crowded table with an assortment of their mutual friends and family, and the food quickly started to be delivered and it just kept coming for an hour…plate after plate and bowl after bowl and I tried everything.  I also asked what nothing was until I had tried it, because as much as I like to try new things, I know that my brain might immediately make an assumption and I find that no matter how hard I try, once my brain thinks one thing, the rest of my senses follow…so to me, the NOT knowing what it is, is a better way to experience it fully.  I learned that day that I don’t like octopus, the texture just does not work with my mouth and my tongue.  I learned that day that I don’t like fish eggs of any size or color, again the texture and the ‘pop’ and the way they feel against my teeth and tongue I just can’t handle.  I also learned that I like wasabi paste but do not like fresh ginger. I also learned that I love fish and rice, and not so much the rolls that seemed so popular with everybody else at the table…so I like to have that kind of full sensory eating experience, a table full of beautifully presented and impeccably prepared food to try and try again.

So on the day after Christmas we sipped champagne and laughed and smiled and ate and ate and ate…we talked about how we might decide to set a date, how we might elope instead, where we might have a party, what we could or couldn’t afford, and all the while we ate…it was honestly one of the best meals I have ever had in my life.  Perhaps a combination of feeling dearly loved, blissfully happy, unexpectedly excited, and really hungry…and it was simply a GREAT afternoon, however, something happened that day that I did not expect…something got stimulated in my brain that made me begin to CRAVE sushi, like to the point that every time I had nothing planned for dinner or no food really in the house to make a complete meal, I would say, “let’s go for sushi,” which is a fine thing to say if you have a significant disposable income, which we do not, and it is a fine thing to say if perhaps you live in a large town or city where there are a significant number of restaurants in which to eat, which we do not…to make a too long story shorter, we have now spent many hundreds of dollars since the new year that could have been spent on say a wedding, or a wedding dress, or plane tickets to Vegas, or maybe even the electric bill, on sushi.  You know that adage about give a man a fish or teach a man to fish…you know it…so now I am on a mission…I want to learn how to make it myself.  I want to learn how to properly prepare sushi grade fish, I certainly know how to make sticky rice and shape it into a small football…I want to be able to do this myself…I am sure somebody gives lessons, or I might just search youtube where I have found out how to do just about everything else…take a girl for sushi and she eats dinner, teach a girl how to make it and she and her boyfriend eat happily ever after ♥

Are you there Judy Blume? It’s me, R*

…and so things are happening to me, inside and outside of me, of which I feel like I have little control, and I wondered this morning if there is a rite of passage book for women of my age, like there were rites of passage books for girls of our age, back then when things were happening to us and inside us and outside of us, and we felt so confused and out of control???

March was a wonky month for me, for many reasons, specifically things started to go wonky with my insides that had not ever been wonky before.  Wonky, you might imagine, is NOT one of the words I learned from my excessive searching on Web-MD during the last several weeks.  I have found that when you are feeling uncertain about things and have symptoms that are unusual or new to you, if you are a person with disposable income and/or health insurance, you probably go to a doctor, a person who knows you and to whom you go when things are wonky…if you are like me, a person with neither disposable income nor health insurance who does not have a “regular” doctor of any sort, other than the dentist, you likely go to the internet and begin typing in questions and words and finding that, according to Google, you are VERY MUCH not the only one with these questions and these words, IN THAT ORDER…because guess what??!!  the questions you typed in, or the words you typed in that exact order, are the second and third match that shows up in Google!  Yay!!  Some other woman, likely of your age, has also typed in this search at some ridiculous hour of the night when she inexplicably wants to punch the lights out of the man sleeping beside her, who has done nothing wrong, and who can’t seem to stop the sweat from dripping down her neck, and who now wants to unreasonably burst into tears because when she gets up to pee, again, she discovers that one of the light-bulbs is out on her porch light…so you feel a little less wonky, and a little bit comforted that some other woman of your age has typed in these same words and has these same questions and probably much like yourself has no extra money, no health insurance, and no regular doctor to whom she can discuss these “unmentionable” wonky things…

So back when I was in 4th or 5th grade or so, LONG before there was the internet and long before girls felt comfortable to talk to their mothers about ANYthing, and mostly just had each other to talk with about wonky things happening of which we had no control…we had Judy Blume, in the privacy of our rooms…she talked to us about EVERYthing and made us feel like we were going to be just fine…all the confusion we had, all the wonky-ness going on in our bodies and in our brains turned out to be PERFECTLY normal and Judy Blume made what was scary and unsettling, fine, sometimes funny, and totally easy to understand…so I want to know…what’s the book I should read now??!!  Is there a rite of passage book a woman ought to be reading when she is confused about the ungodly large number of wonky symptoms she has inside, outside, and upside down??!!  If said book does not presently exist, I think that THAT is my clue…no more blogging about blah-blah-blah romance, love, blah-blah-blah relationships, couples…perhaps there is a book that wants to be written and I have got to write it??!!  In The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath writes,  “Then I decided I would spend the summer writing a novel. That would fix a lot of people.”  …and now I think, no, not a novel, maybe what I want to write that might fix a lot of people would be a book about all this mid-life wonky business…maybe?  What would Judy Blume think?