Friday, November 30, 2007

Digestible Friends

I hosted a big party the other day. One of those things you do when face with a choice of wallowing or celebrating. It was a big celebration – 65 people crammed into my little apartment – people from all corners of my life and I needed to get a lot of food. There was fruit, cheese, sushi, dolmas, samosas, lots of dips and then the inevitable chips, beer and cookies. In international and overflowing feast.

So it occurred to me as I looked at the food and at the people all enjoying each other then back at the food that the people in our life nourish us or fill us up with empty carbohydrates just like our meals. I saw a lot of healthy nourishing friends there – some basic proteins, a lot of raw veggies and some succulent peaches. Not a Happy Meal in sight, though there were several bags of organic non-gmo corn chips, a steady diet of whom would not be particularly healthy.

My people diet has become so much healthier. The carrots and beets were always there but I neglected them for the seductive chocolate ice cream and fried chicken. I no longer eat that kind of food and I’m spending less of my energy on that kind of person, though some can’t be avoided.

It leads me to wonder what kind of nourishment I offer to my friends. I hope I give them energy to sustain them and something sweet and salty to keep them interested as well. I hope above all that I am a healthy alternative and don’t leave them with a vague sense of malaise such as I experience with some (though fewer and fewer) people.

Okay, enough of the too- cute food analogy. Suffice it to say, I’m growing up and the people around me reflect that. Lucky, lucky me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is upon us. It’s not a holiday that matters much in Canada but here in the US I quite like it. For one thing it’s usually spent with the family of choice rather than the family of origin so the dysfunction, over-eating, drinking too much etc don’t factor in......for me that is. For another, if you bracket out historically what happens later to the Indians, then what you have left is…gratitude. A holiday about giving thanks. I have spent so much of my time lately thinking about what I’m grateful for. One of those things is a job with sick days. Another is health care. Most of the time I focus on how shitty our healthcare system is compared to the rest of the industrialized nations of the world and how evil the corporations who funnel millions into lobbying to keep this country in the dark about what is possible vis-à-vis health. I avoided the movie SICKO for the longest time because I knew it would make me apoplectic. It was a wonderful film though and I’m glad I got to see it. Right now though, SICKO not withstanding, I’m glad to be covered, pleased with the level of care I’m receiving and glad to be able to take the sick days.

It’s hard to balance that sense of gratitude – so essential to well-being – with that sense of righteous fury that makes people demand a better world for all of its’ citizens. Maybe we need to take shifts. Those who are robust and healthy take turns fighting “the man” and the rest of us focus on what we appreciate.

Here’s what I’m grateful for right now:
1) My son. I don’t even have words to communicate how much I treasure this young man, how much I admire him and love his company so I won’t try.
2) My girlfriends. These women drive me to appointments, do my grocery shopping and are just there for me. Everyone needs a group of women friends when they’re in a pinch.
3) Music - insert clique here.
4) Mary Zimmerman’s theater pieces
5) Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Flight of the Conchords
6) Poetry
7) Sunshine
8) Yoga - it has saved my life once already.
9) Optimism - my salvation.
10) My dad and my brother - I will be single forever unless I can meet a man as thoughtful as one of these guys.

There is so much more to be grateful for and it’s important to bracket out the bad stuff just like we have to bracket out the whole mess with the Indians tomorrow. Why? Because this is the only moment we are guaranteed. It can all be over in the blink of an eye and why are we here?

I am so in love with this life, the complications, the difficulties, the frustrations – the whole chaotic mess of it all. Why can’t we all wake up every morning, roll over and gaze at life like a new love we can’t believe is really lying next to us? Don’t you ever feel like that all of a sudden, when you’re walking down the street, a smug little grin breaking into a beaming smile as you are awash with a giddy almost guilty delight at just being alive? Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone and everything that makes this life so sweet that I want to hang on to it for dear ….well …… for dear life.