Friday, December 31, 2010

Bloggerstock: What Inspires You?

It's Bloggerstock time again!  I'm hosting the lovely Lily (see below) with a really great post!  Feel free to visit my post which is, once again, hosted over at Michael's blog!  Isn't this a great topic for the end of the year?  On to the inspiration!

Why, hello there! My name is Lily and I write for a little blog called Is it too early for a martini? I’m writing on “Because or Why Not” because both Kris and I signed up for a cool project called Bloggerstock. Each month there is a different topic. This month, the topic is “What or who inspires you to do whatever it is that you do be it blogging, writing, school or your job”. Be sure to check out my blog and read what inspires Riley from Wayfaring Warrior
Different things and people inspire me to do different things. 
But the one who takes the cake is my little sister, Alejandra. 
Even before she was born, I always wanted a sister. I hated that I only had an older brother, and that he was kind of mean to me. He would punch me and take my allowance. And then would threaten me with another punch if I told my parents that he took my money. He stopped taking my money when I learned to punch back, and punch back harder. 
Before my sister and I become friends, I was a typical kid experiencing middle-child syndrome. My older brother is the only boy so he got all of attention, and my sister was the baby so she got alot of attention. And in my mind as a 10 to 19 year old, I could be doing flips in the middle of the street with on coming traffic and no one would care. 
But I was wrong. 
I guess I never noticed it; I was in my own little world. Unnecessary partying in high school, not focusing enough through my first round of college, and being too busy trying to find someone to fix a broken heart. Though I thought no one was paying attention to the destructive things I was doing, I had a little sister who was growing up and was taking notes. I had to sit back and reevaluate my life and how I was making decisions. Do I want my little sister to feel like me? Do I want her to think that what I’m doing is right? No and no.  
To me it’s kind of sad that I didn’t realize that she looked up to me. I feel dumb that it didn’t even cross my mind. I am her only sister. And I am her older sister. I never wanted to be a role model for anyone. Nor did I know how to be an older sister. Still, I stepped up. 
My sister is now at the same age where I started doing things that, in hindsight, I regret. I told my boyfriend that I didn’t want her to do the same things I did, and that she should enjoy her childhood. I do think I grew up way too fast- kind of like all the Disney kids, but not as glamourous … but a bit more alcohol and drugs. His response was “then you have to give her the talk”. I didn’t think that was my job. She has parents… they could do it… but then he responded with “who do you think she’ll listen to more? Your dad and stepmom or you?”.  I hate it when he’s right.
I’m not trying to toot my own horn, or say I’m the best sister ever. Because I’m not. I’m human, and I have a low patience level. I try to be as best as I can. 
She inspires me because I see myself in her. I want her to be better than me. Even if that means she’s actually better than me.  
As two of my favorite people have said (Kanye West and Tyler Sutherland): “One bad bitch from the Chi-city, crusin down Lakeshore doin’ at least a buck fity”. Okay, maybe not so much. But I do live in Chicago, but obey all speed limits, unless I’m running late for work. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bitter New Year To You


New Years isn't something that was ever tradition when I was growing up.  I remember bitterly spending it with my family.  Or, even more bitterly yelling it in with our lamps defiantly on and my sister's wrist watch reminding us the rest of the world was partying.  Once we avoided a party because the adults were going to have one upstairs, and us kids were going to party in the basement.  Family first.  I was bitter about that, too.

As I got older we spent New Years eve playing pool in our church basement or watching the ball drop in New York through my Grandma's television.  One of the more memorable was being at the top of a pine tree.  My sister and cousins perched on branches below me.  Driving around town and trying to set off car alarms.  I was bitter then, as well.  My friend group had intentionally uninvited me.  Or fighting on an Israeli beach at midnight in a country that doesn't really acknowledge the holiday.  Or getting slurpees on a volunteer program that required us back by midnight.

I've kicked off too many of my years bitter and lost.  My toughest break-up happened on a New Years day.  Despite all this I still anticipate the holiday with a sort of respectful admiration.  Maybe I have a little glimmer of optimism that insists on the possibility of fresh starts, dynamic celebration and successful resolutions.

Or maybe I'm just a fool.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Just This

If you read this blog this month there's nothing to indicate that I celebrate Christmas, let alone that it's altogether and absolutely my favourite holiday of the year. 

If you read this blog this month you wouldn't know how proud I am of my Christmas tree.  You wouldn't know the joy I find in Christmas music, the people who smile at you on the street.  A white season, gift wrapping and baking.  Hockey on our outdoor rink, snowboard plans, cards thanking the people in my life for a year of memories.

I savour tradition.  Stockings, paper snowflakes adorning the windows, real ones caught in my hair.  Smiles, Charlie Brown's Christmas, memories.

So, I am sorry.  If you read this blog this month I never shared any of this.  As usual, it's also the busiest part of the year.  Ironic that Christmas day is when I get time to sit and type this to you.  Really all I want to say is something you've heard a million times before.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Middle of Nowhere in the Middle of the Night

Dec. 31st, 2009, 11:30 PM.  I needed change.

11:30 PM and someone said we should climb the lookout.  In the middle of a wildlife reserve.  In the dark.  We were in the middle of this nowhere anyway.  We were tired of flying down an icy hill on over-sized tubes and throwing gasoline on the fire.  I was tired of chocolate Christmas baking and being the oldest in the group.  I was tired of doing doughnuts in empty parking lots and hours spent running in a mild winter out of pure frustration.

twenty five of us piled into four cars and sped down to the empty reserve and a clear starry sky.  We ran down clapboard paths over dead winter marshes and up the four flights of steps to the open top.  We made it, breathless, by midnight.

I screamed at the emptiness and my small town's lights in the distance.  I grabbed my blonde friend and we looked at each other, jaws set.

"Get lost, 2009.  We're so done with you!"

She was going to Calgary.  I was going to Arizona.  I haven't seen her since.  I miss her, but I know her life has gone the way she wanted.

And myself.  I just didn't know.   I'm not my brothers that were hugging me, lifting me, threatening to throw me over the rail.  I'd given up construction long ago.  I was twenty three.  I'd seen the world.

Twenty four of us yelling in the new year.  Crammed in an open look-out tower blindly hugging and looking forward to 2010.  And me.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Foreign Flavour

I think I think I like you
'Cause I really think you're cute
You're sweet but you are edgy
Like you're trying to improve

You smile, hold the door,
but in every conversation
I'm really very certain
you swear without realization

You're genuinely thoughtful,
even when I know you're wasted
Like a new and foreign flavour
that I've never really tasted.

You wear death metal t-shirts.
Yeah, you seem a little shady,
but you really are exceptional
at helping out old ladies.

I think I think I like you,
and I know you think I'm hot.
So this may seem a little crazy...
I won't give us a shot.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Brave Enough

A string of lights in a summer evening.  She's brave enough to dream.  Like dreaming is enough.  ---


The hours feel long.  Endless smiles for endless customers.  Peppermint gum and a particular aptitude with the Numerical keyboard.  Something to be proud of.  Gossip with the next cashier over the party last night or customers best forgotten.

Jostin in deli is leaving, she's been told.  She'll miss his smile when he comes through her till with a sandwich for lunch.  She'll miss quirking her eyebrows when he offers her a ride home in his pickup truck.  And saying that she'd rather walk, thank-you.  She'll miss the reminder of an awkward kiss between the shelving in the back before Julie asked him out.  Before he said yes.

She's drafted a cover letter.  She'll make the deli position hers.  It's opportunity.  To learn to slice peppercorn turkey, weigh salad and hang her white apron on her own hook in the hallway.  And benefits.  After two years it's certainly time.

This is where she's going.  But dreaming...  Dreaming is what she does in the silence of home.  When she gets caught in the quiet with her guitar in her lap.  And on lunch breaks.  Lying on the picnic table.  Eyes closed, salad forgotten and sun on her face.

Winter isn't for lunchtime naps and dreams.  Winter is for reheated soup in the staff room.  It's icy breaks and cigarettes on the plastic chairs outside.  There's nothing better then her burgundy trench with the lighter in the pocket.  It's winter.  She doesn't care.

Her favourite season.  She forgets how to dream.

---One light fades.  It fails.  The string drops into darkness and a wounded socket.  Just a moment, a shadow.  Not even a hope.  One day she'll let it go forever.