Bold Fortune

fortune favors the bold

Month: December, 2011

What we talk about when we talk about love

by mollykl

In ancient and modern Greek there are four words for love, with varying meanings. It really beats the hell out of the tossed off, “Love you!” or the soulful but is he telling the truth “I…love you” or the patient “you got glitter glue all over the couch but I love you.”

ἀγάπη is agape, or unconditional love. It’s not the word you spout when trying to get laid, rather it means a sense of contentment and love in general that can apply to your spouse, your kids, God, your dog or your life in general.

ἔρως is sexual love, yeah, now this is the word to use when trying to get laid, because one of the ideas around eros is the concept of understanding that finding the beauty and worth within a person leads to an understanding of the world, and of beauty and worth in all.  You read that correctly: have sex, find truth.

φιλία is philia, or affection. You might feel this for friends, co-workers or neighbors for whom you feel a sense of loyalty.

στοργή is also affection, but is reserved for familial relationships.

Even within each meaning there’s room for misunderstanding. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!! As if there isn’t room for misunderstanding in general any time you use the word love.  The Greek is nice, but a little too clinical (probably the only time in recorded history the Greeks have been called “too clinical”) , and not humorous enough.

I much prefer “monkeys in hats”, from Zoe Archer’s Blades of the Rose series.

“I mean that when I see a goddamn monkey wearing a goddamn hat, I want to tell you about it. You and no one else.”

“I monkeys in hats you, too.”

See? It works. You know exactly what I mean, or at least you should, and if you don’t, well then knowing a couple extra words in Greek isn’t going to help you at all, is it?

Kind-ness: noun, a kind act.

by mollykl

This is what kindness gets you: a smile, a sigh, a grateful look, maybe a head held a little higher, maybe tears.

I went to get my hair cut this afternoon and when I walked in the nice girl, whose name I don’t even know, called out, “Hi M!” And when I went to sit down my hairdresser asked if I was all right, because, well, I looked like I’d been run over by a truck. I explained very quickly how the day had gone and he blinked for a moment, then walked over to her and whispered something and  they came back, he put his hand on my shoulder and asked, “How ’bout a cup of tea?” And with that she ran to get me one.

Once when I was in London I spent a morning in the British Museum and then went to lunch at a Middle Eastern place in the neighborhood. I love to travel solo, so it was rather odd that I felt incredibly lonely and I missed my now-husband-then-boyfriend J. I ordered and the man gestured for me to sit down (even though there was a sign marked “PICK UP FOOD HERE”). A few minutes later he set down my tabbouleh salad with a flourish and said, “Here my lovely.” Now, please realize that “lovely” is not something I get called. It wasn’t creepy, it wasn’t inappropriate, it was just nice and it made my day better.

When I had son J I had to have a cesarean and it was, easily, the most frightening thing I’ve ever been through. Husband J stood by my side and ran his hand over my hair to calm me down, but when J was born and had to go up to the NICU J went with him (he wasn’t abandoning me, we’d agreed ahead of time that we wanted him with son J so that he would at least have that presence there). When he left one of the interns stepped into his place without a word and continued running a hand over my hair. I never knew his name, or even saw his face (mask in the OR, you know).

One ad day (which, as I may have mentioned a million times before, starts at 3 a.m.) I was heading to the coffee bar for my much needed latte. I saw one of our regulars in front of me and said hi. When she stepped up to the counter she ordered for herself and her daughter and then turned back to me and asked, “What do you get?” I told her she really didn’t need to, but she insisted, saying, “You work hard, you deserve it!”

That’s all it takes: a cup of tea, and smile and a warm greeting, a hand on your hair when you’re terrified, a latte and a “good job”. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Seems almost too simple, that something that insignificant could change someone’s day, or possibly, their life. I’m sure that somewhere in London there’s a man at a Middle Eastern restaurant who doesn’t even realize that some 15 years later a stranger still remembers what he said to her one afternoon. But I do, and I hope I always will.

There is more to you than this if you have the courage to write it. –Little Women (1994 film)

by mollykl

I saw this quote posted today, and knew that I had my lead in to my post about NaNoWriMo.

I did it. Or rather, I didn’t do it. Well, both. I finally got off my ass and signed up and started NaNoWriMo.  What I didn’t do is finish. No t-shirt for me. And I’m okay with that, because I started. I got the first words down on paper, and once they were there and I re-read them I thought, “Damn, I’m NOT crazy, this is a great idea.”

I always thought I was one of those people who needed a deadline to flourish. No, I just need a deadline to stress out. What I need to flourish is the time to allow myself to understand what I’m doing, what I want to accomplish.

Husband J told me, “Don’t re-read, don’t edit, just get the words onto paper. And don’t expect much.” Bitter, hmm? He’s done NaNoWriMo before, and, yeah, he knows the ropes. But he doesn’t know the way I want to write.

I started, and I’m actually happy with what I’ve started with because that was what suck with me: how do I even start to tell this story? Well, I’ve a beginning. 30 days isn’t going to get this story told – give me one thousand and one and then we’ll talk again.


So, face your fears or run away (like a scared little girl?)

by mollykl

Son J’s class needs a parent volunteer for every Thursday morning. It’s an hour….the LONGEST HOUR OF MY LIFE.  I currently do it once a month…and I stress about for the three weeks previous.  Those of you who know me know this: I’m not particularly good with kids. I talk to son J as if he were an adult, and have more than once snapped, “Oh for God’s sake, act like a grownup!” (In his defense, I think I’ve done that to every guy on stock crew as well, and they’re all over 21).

So, should I take up the challenge and help out every week, face my fears and see this as a “growing” experience? (Mehera would be so proud!)

Or, should I run away like the scared little girl I am and make an excuse about “work” (um, yeah, I don’t normally work on Thursdays, BUT I COULD! IT COULD HAPPEN! THERE COULD BE A POS EMERGENCY!)

Part of me thinks this would be a good chance to spend more time with son J, keep an eye on him, and get over my fears of children (they’re small and they don’t behave: they’re like cats, which I’m also a little squeamish around.)

What’s the verdict?

Just go with it

by mollykl

Having spent the last 20+ years in retail, Christmastime is not lists on my list of favorites. You know what it has, for the past 20+ years, conjured? Working 40+ hour weeks and dealing with the public. And that’s a shame, because I loved the holiday when I was a kid, and a jaded teenager, and even a jaded college student.

I remember the way the lights on houses looked in the fog (it’s Sacramento, in December…there’s fog…lots of it). The way the snow drifted in Spokane downtown giving every stoplight facets. Dressing up for The Nutcracker at the Opera House with Suzy (yes, Spokane has an Opera House).  Marching in the Santa Parade and freezing my lips off (you try playing a sterling silver flute in 40 degree weather). My mom always had bayberry candles and these amazing pre-Martha Stewart decorations made from glass ornaments arranged as trees. Even after college I always loved the Saturday right before Christmas at Escential, because it was the busiest day of the year and we would invite all employees to our favorite bar in Portland and husband J would buy the first round (probably because he was damned grateful that he’d never had to work customer service!). There were even a couple of Christmas dinners that I spent with my then-boss that were amazing: that she would include me (I was used to being alone that day) still means so much (oh, and ok, it was so much fun drinking Sidecars with her kid E!).

That’s one of the nice things about having a kid: I get to hit a big re-set button. I get to go back and remember why I loved things, and experience them again. So, yes, we decorated the house for Christmas. Colored lights on the outside, white lights on the arbor vitae that stands sentinel by our door, and a pine cone wreath with, gasp!, gold glitter, on the door. Inside stands the tree, which is about 6 feet tall (we have vaulted ceilings so it doesn’t hit the top). Son J and I baked cookies last week, Christmas trees and snowflakes, covered, and I do mean covered, in sparkling sugar. We’ve already watched ‘Santa Claus is coming to town” and “Charlie Brown Christmas”. I’ve currently got a Christmas station on Pandora.

Yeah, work is busy, and I will have to work on Christmas Eve. People are stressed out and tend to get snappy with store clerks. It’s just the way things go. It doesn’t have to affect how I enjoy my holiday with my friends and family. I’m loving son J making “Christmas cards” for people, which consist of taped up pieces of paper that he presents to you as if it were a Middle East peace accord. His repeatedly asking if I know all of the names of Santa’s reindeer (for the record, I don’t). We turn on the Christmas lights as soon as dusk falls. We’ve been listening to Christmas music while making dinner. This weekend we’re going to take J out on a drive after dark to see the lights around town.

You can fight the holidays or you can just go with it.

“Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland.”

by mollykl

Because the layout of this blog had changed, it’s not as beautiful to watch the falling snow. But then, this is California, so we don’t see much of it anyway. It always amazes me that this is the post that garners the most searches.

Grab a port, or a scotch, and a comfy chair and a copy of “The Dead”, reflect on your mortality and the concept of grace and enjoy the snow falling softly and some of the finest words ever written in the English language.

“Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly on the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crocked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last, upon all the living and the dead.”

James Joyce