Monday, December 28, 2015

Dreams of Ruth

There is a tiny spark of being led by the wind that carries me through life. It's shown up throughout my life in shadows that walk with me in dreams and wake. When I dream of it I see it as a character resembling Miss Havisham in Great Expectations and when I wake it's the calm that drags me through the day. Not a day goes by that I don't scan my day for the next moment when I can just feel free, peaceful and calm.

When I was younger during the 70's and 80's in Livingston, there used to be a lady named Ruth Brady who owned a clothing store that had stock from the 50's and 60's. It was like the store had just stopped in time. Everything in it was covered in dust from sitting in the same spot for more than a decade. When I was in 7th grade I was in a play about rock through the decades and I went to Ruth's to get my costumes. The place amazed me. It had so many beautiful dusty pieces, all with tags still on. My grandparents knew Ruth so I was able to see her as an acquaintance though most people only knew her through legend. She wore really big wigs that gave her head the appearance of a muffin and she was always adorned with large earrings, blue eye shadow and red lips. When I knew her she was already way up in her years and everything she had was in ruin, reminiscent of the Beales of Grey Gardens. At one time she was said to have had a lot of money but people say that she allowed her boyfriends to run through it all. I always wondered what it would have been like to meet her when her store was still fresh and new.

I dreamed about Ruth. She was my Miss Havisham. In some dreams I'd be there watching her at a vanity applying makeup, in a room lined in old rose/pink satin, trimmed out with touches of black. In all the dreams she always lived in a place crumbling to the ground and I'd wished that I could make it nice for her again.

I grew up and there were others, in my dreams like her, living in houses falling to the ground but sharing the secrets of the universe. Sometimes the homes themselves took the place of Ruth showing me that there were layers and layers to what the world was and is. There'd be buildings with numerous rooms to roam through and discover. Sometimes the place in my dreams would be familiar but I'd still find rooms hidden that I didn't know existed. There'd be doors that when opened, would reveal another world. These people and places, though sometimes falling apart, felt richer than anything I knew in my waking life. If you could be addicted to these things then I would be a junkie.

In 1980, after turning 14, I saw the movie Times Square and it was like watching my dreams become a movie. I wanted to be Pamela and Nicky, finding my own way in the world and living as freely as I possibly could. In 1985 Desperately Seeking Susan came out and once again I watched the things in my head play out on a screen. These two movies just seemed so underground. Madonna just seemed so underground. Seeing Madonna the way she is now there is no way to go back and see her for what she was at the time. She was so free. It all seemed like magic. It was the decade we watched punk really wake up. To be alive at this time was to see art in every form come to life more than ever. If you weren't alive when it happened then you could not know the electricity of it. It could not be explained. It was freedom peeking out through neon, mesh and lace. Dance was all about taking up large amounts of space and bouncing with life. It was birth and it was beautiful even if you were seeing it from a tiny town in Tennessee where girls cared nothing about fashion, all the boys listened to ACDC, had a hot rod, a knife on their hip and every family truck had a gun in the back window. I didn't have a problem with these things but I also didn't feel connected to it at all.  I was glued to my 45s of David Bowie & Madonna bought at S-Mart, my Esprit catalog, spending all my babysitting money on outfits I could only see in Seventeen Magazine because the people I was around dressed just to fit in. I remember the day we took yearbook photos I took a whole wardrobe to school so that I could change for every photo. Everyone else just wore the same thing in every picture. That amazed and bored me at the same time. I was in the tiny town of Rickman, with dreams of living in a big city while still knowing I never would. I think that having interests that no one else cared about is the reason I've never really bonded tightly with anyone but B and the boys. I think I just didn't have anything to bond over. I know we all have different interest that effect how we turn out, so I'm not judging that.  I just think my main interest was being free and being me while everyone else had grander goals.

So here I am looking back from 49 and I can see how it all shaped my world. To be underground seemed so much more enticing than mainstream. I didn't know how to be underground but I knew I wanted to be. Going to New York at 17 with my senior class made me just want to get lost so that they'd leave me there. I never called home one time because my mind was so far from my house in Tennessee. I couldn't wait to tell Bryan Roberson all about it. I somehow knew that he felt just like I did even though the words were never spoken between us. He so largely did not fit in with the knife wearing, tobacco chewing boys at our school that I knew he had to feel out of place too. It seemed to me that he'd be the only person that would understand and I just had to share my experience with someone. So, my first day back I went to school and went to classes with Bryan, who was a grade behind me, since my classes didn't meet. I was the only senior there because we had been dismissed for the week for our trip. I grew so tired by lunch I had to have Bryan drive me home and by that time I was satisfied because I got the chance to share. He does not remember a note of this but it was so meaningful to me that it's hung in my mind all these years as if it were glued.

I've always wanted to be part of something with the spirit of being exactly who you are, loving what you love and looking exactly like you wanted to look. It was the wildness in me that I kept mostly in my head until I finally decided it was okay to show. I think it's why I want to open my wallet to anyone on the street and invite them to take what they want. It's why in my youth I had a bad habit of picking up strangers on the side of the road. Any filth, lack of motivation to work for money, mental illness, addiction or need to live freely never bother-ed/s me. I am willing to accept these people as they are. I have a lot harder time accepting people who have grown their wealth passed what they need, who don't pay tax on their wealth and gain wealth by not compensating the people who work for them to the extent that it grows their wealth greater than what they can spend in a lifetime. If you have more money than you can spend and the people who work for you still have trouble just paying common bills, then you have not compensated them appropriately for what they do for you. Share the wealth. Note: Sorry I got off track. I had to vent for a second.

If the spirit in me was the flesh person that you see with your eyes, I'd be one of  The Dharma Bums, On the Road with Jack Kerouac in real life and not just in my head. This level of freedom has always been reserved for my thoughts, underground and in dreams of Ruth. I am free in spirit and in my dreams but I'll never be as free as I want to be in flesh.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

a girl and her uncle

I could look back at photos of these two all day. They have had the most beautiful perfect love for each other since the day he sat beside me while I held her and finally saw her smile and decided all of a sudden that she was no longer too tiny to hold. That first time really holding her was the beginning of a very tight bond.

Uncle Bryan has never said no. Uncle Bryan has always took time for her no matter what adventure she wanted to go on. She would tell him she loved him and sometimes he'd try to make sure I didn't feel left out by getting her to say she loved me too. I gave up on ever trying to get her to love me like she does B. I just told her that I knew she loved Uncle B more than me and I was fine with that. That it made me happy that she loved him that much.

I remember once we took her to Don Fox Community Park in Lebanon. We were all running and playing and it just seemed like a special time. I decided to stop and take it in for a moment. So, I sat down on a railroad tie on the edge of the playground. While I sat there I made a wish that if ever there was a way to remember a complete moment, this could be mine. There was a  slight breeze blowing where I was sitting in the shade. B and Kenlee were running after each other giggling and squealing and all was right with my world. I sat in my little space and tried as hard as I could to record every sound, feel, sight, and second as perfectly as I could, with the hope that anytime I needed this feeling again, I could call on this perfect moment and feel the way I felt on this day. Just to watch these two people who are so special to me love each other the way they couldn't help but do.

How could you not love a man that could love his precious niece like this man does? It really says all you need to know about him.

Friday, December 18, 2015

I'm gonna Seinfeld this one.

How about a post about nothing? Sound good?

Life has been a nice bit of calm lately, if you don't count going to Shopryland after bragging about being too hip to stand in line at Porter Flea. The place was a madhouse. We did get in one kayak trip earlier in the month. Other than that we've been hanging around the casa, going to the movies and concerts and lovin' life. 

I have basically bought every Christmas gift online that anyone is getting from me. Every time I thought about shopping in an actual brick and mortar store I thought about Porter Flea and Shopryland and quickly changed my mind. Me and the B decided not to buy for each other and I've for once kept that promise. We just decided we'd take one another out for diner to the place of our individual choosing after all the hustle and bustle is over. I'll take him to diner and he'll take me. I cannot think of a thing I'd rather have from him than his time. 

I'm excited for the little people to open their gifts. That is what makes Christmas. I think we've done well but we'll see. My family Christmas is this Sunday at Matt's and B's family's will be Christmas Eve. We'll have brunch at the house and open presents with our little family day of the big C. 

No one in our family is getting a gun, knife or any sort of item that one would consider protection. We are claiming our peace and carrying it with us everywhere we go. I guess you can say we'll be armed but not deadly. The world is a crazy place but I'm wishing as much peace and calm as I can out into the world this season and I hope there are others like me out there. If you are out there slide a $20 spot to the next homeless person you see and walk away with no worry as to what it will be used for. It will be used for whatever they feel is most important and that is for sure. No need to judge what that is. 

Peace, love and warmth to ya'll. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


If you have followed any blog I did leading up to this one you would have watched my style evolve into what it is now. Fashion has always been high on my list of interest and that will probably never change. I spent so much time in my brother's hand-me-downs or girls clothes that just didn't fit as a child, that as soon as I could do my own thing I got really into it. I remember going to New York on my high school senior trip and having my mind blown. I never wanted to leave.

I don't mean to sound judgmental to people who could care less about style but I have never been a person who just grabbed something and put it on without some thought. I may look like that's what I do but I take time with every outfit to think about proportion and androgyny. By always keeping these things in mind when I dress I've cultivated my own look and it's a look that I am very proud of.

I love looking at style blogs and I take a lot of inspiration from the male fashion scene. Two of my favorite style blogs are The Sartorialist and Backyard Bill.  I also love tumblr for fashion inspiration. I guess that finding Nick Wooster through The Sartorialist was one thing that absolutely changed my fashion sense. He made me think even more about mixing genres, like mixing something glam with something casual or something sporty with something business.

If I think about the one thing that makes an outfit my style it would have to be proportion hands down. I really love mixing an oversided top with a slim fitting bottom or vice versa. I'm really big on oversized pants with a more form fitting top. I also like mixing my girl clothes with my boy clothes and mixing worn and tattered with fresh and new. An outfit that has these things makes me feel most like myself.

The type of things you'll find in my closet include, men's jeans, men's casual button ups, men's loafers, women's form fitting dresses, lots of old (goodwill) sweaters (cardigan and pullover) both men's and women's, lots of flannel, a lot of solids, a very tiny bit of small prints, a few women's jeans and loads and loads of shoes and boots.  A good portion of my closet sports a label with cotton as the content. I love natural fibers and I feel like most things made of synthetic fiber look like it belongs in the closet of someone much older than me, that likes playing bingo and going line dancing.

When I think about people whose style I always love, I think about Lauren Hutton, Robert RedfordCharlotte RamplingJane Birkin and Ralph Lauren. I love the way they can all take casual up to the next level of prime time ready.

Probably somewhere around 15 years ago, B was getting rid of a pair of jeans that I really liked. I told him not to throw them out because I wanted them. I wasn't sure what I'd do with them but what happened in the end became a large part of my style. Because the pants were too large for me they were also way too long. I decided to cut them off and leave the hem raw so that it would ravel when washed. At the time Skyler had been copying the then Johnny Knoxville look of wearing work pants cut capri length. I loved this look so I decided to go for that length when I cut off the pants. I could not stop wearing these pants and after many years and many more jeans cut the same way, I'm still sporting this look to this day. Every time I walk out in these pants I wonder why everyone I meet that day doesn't go home and start cutting up their husband's jeans. It meets my need to mix proportion, it's comfortable and it looks good dressed up or down. Here I am wearing that first pair of cutoffs with my Flax shirt that I always swore I'd wear when Oprah finally called me to be on her show. That outfit was my favorite at the time, right down to the flipflops. I was going to change Oprah's life by having her wear her own pair of oversized cutoff capri jeans while she was interviewing me. Her look has always seemed way to fussy for me. Let's face it, you know you'd rather hang with jean wearing Oprah more than everyday Oprah in the studio. Little by little the corporate world is catching on to the idea of a more relaxed dress code with good reason. It just makes sense in the world as it is today. So, come on Oprah, lets just chill cause you look amazing in those jeans.

No one asked for this fashion post but because I get a lot of compliments on my look, along with people professing that they wish they could pull off this look, I decided to share what inspires me and how I make it happen with what's in my closet. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it and looking up all the links.

Now take your rattiest jeans, paired with your nicest top and make magic happen. If one of those items comes from the men's department and the other from the lady's, all the better. Don't forget to add a nice pair of leather loafers. Don't buy cheap shoes even if you have to buy second hand. If you can find a way to show a little ankle skin that'd be good as well. Bam, you've got this.

I will leave you with a few old wardrobe shots from an old blog. My style has changed even since these photos were taken 4 years ago. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

the knowing

It is hard to fathom what it is that we don't understand because if we don't understand it, then we don't know and technically, the not knowing and not understanding go hand in hand. If we knew it, then we'd probably understand and vice versa. It's how we all end up so different. It's like being handed hand-me-downs that have been re-gifted in a long line of heredity, generation after generation. The previous generation gave you what they had to give because you cannot give a thing you do not have.

If your parents were happy go lucky, fly by the seat of the pants and living by no man's rules then you might never learn structure. If they were structured to a fault and could only function by following rules then you might have a hard time learning how to play. This could all be playing out in your life everyday and you could simply have no idea that it is. You cannot know, what you don't know, until you know.

Your account of how the world should be could look very different from mine. Given this, there is no wonder why people are sometimes so intolerant and bigoted. They just cannot know, what they don't, until they do. Sorry I keep saying that but it is so true.

As long as you resist a thing you will never know what it would be like to live with accepting this thing you resist. You cannot know if the thing you resist is beneficial to you unless you accept it and just give it a try. In other words to get to the other side of the mountain you have to climb over or go around the mountain. You'll never get there by just standing there looking at it. The other side of the mountain might be just the thing you have been missing all of your life but you are just to scared because you never saw anyone go from one side of the mountain to the other. It is the same with intolerance and bigotry. Unless you loosen your grip and open your mind to tolerance you will never know if you are wrong about your views. You cannot know, what you do not know, until you know it.

I can tell you one thing I know for sure that you will never be able to disprove. That is, that treating every person living as your equal is the only thing that will ever truly make you happy. You can try to argue against this but until you have made the effort to know this, you will never know if you are right. Once you make the effort you will see the truth in this and you'll never be able to unsee it again. If it's not love then it's fear. That is all there is to it.

So maybe you got a pile of shit handed down to you. You don't have to sit with it. Think about whether the people around you know something that you don't simply because no one prepared you. Maybe they know that sitting with a nasty pile of shit is not what is preferred and they are all walking around shiny and smelling fabulous. You are still sitting there with your pile of shit because sitting with a pile of shit is all you ever knew. Stand up and toss that shit and figure out what the next step is. There is a whole world out there waiting for you. You've learned to walk before, you can do this. You learned to talk before, you can do this. You learned to live this long, you can do this. You cannot know, what you do not know, until you know it. If it's not love then it's fear and you need to stop being a chicken shit. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

these two

There once was a man name George who married a bubbly, big hearted lady named Lucille. They were together for more than 50 years and they never fought. Somewhere inside of them they had a deep root of knowing just how to be together and love all that the other person was. They were not stingy with this either. This also extended out to everyone they knew. They collected family wherever they went. Not having the family blood in your veins did not exempt you from being drawn into their magic.

George was the glue that made it all stick together, while Lucille was the one who sweetly dropped the breadcrumbs that lead everyone in to become family. These two were the most giving, loving and happy people I've ever met.

These beautiful people were the parents of my mother and so, also my grandparents. They made me feel loved when no one else did. I know I'm not alone in that.

Not just today, but everyday, I want to say thanks Granddaddy and Grandmother, for being a shining example of what is possible. Without you I would not have known the peace I've had in my marriage that will soon be 15 years. Thank you. Thank you.

We still miss you.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

2015 beep beep zip bang

IT'S DECEMBER.  How did that happen? This may have been the fastest year of my entire life. I asked B recently, "Has Christmas always been this close to Thanksgiving?" It just seemed like the space got sucked out between these two holidays somehow. It has been a great year from start to finish-ish.

Here is just a little taste of what my year was like:

ThAnK yOu TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. And thanks to all the peeps I shared it with. You have been good to me.