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the polar antonym of hip. [two artists tuesday]

polar antonym

i would like to start with synonyms:

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and now some antonyms:

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ick.  i would much rather be thought of as “swell” than “moth-eaten” or “chic” rather than “dowdy”.  good grief.  this is full of possibilities for an emotional breakdown, an inferiority complex in the mixing bowl.

in the show schitt’s creek, moira (the ever-present, loving and compassionate mom -NOT-) is speaking to the dad (equally as despicable in his own right.)  she states that to their children they are “the polar antonym of hip”.

hmm.  is this not a defining characteristic of parenthood?  we simply cannot be hip like them.  we are not them.  our children have different hip-ness than we do; our children are swell – and will be swell – in different ways than we have ever been.

i hardly think that the well-practiced eyerolls that my daughter has given me (in my view or from a thousand miles away) are because she thinks i am “modish”.  nor do i think the radio silence in-between my equally sweet love-professing text messages to my son are because he is thinking, “wow!  my mom is supercool!”  it is part of their job to think we are un-hip.  it is part of their journey in life to think we are “antediluvian”.

it IS the circle of life.  forget rafiki and mufasa and the lions and all.  the circle of life is the circle of hipness.  you are hip until you are no longer hip.  the line is foggy and you will not be notified until it is too late.  there is no expiration date or deadline for payment.  it just happens.  the crease between your eyebrows is deep and the waistline on your jeans slowly creeps up from your hips.  un-hip.

but such is life, as my sweet momma would say.  maybe it’s time to embrace being ‘the polar antonym of hip’.

i will not be whipping out the credit card to try and stay ahead of it.  ‘hip’ is untenable.  the silky threads trailing behind it escape grasp.  my boots and flipflops and black shirts will have to be my new ‘hip’.  my philosophy of less-is-more will have to be my new ‘hip’.  driving big red and littlebabyscionwithhundredsofthousandsofmiles will have to be my new ‘hip’.  listening to john denver and james taylor and carole king will have to be my new ‘hip’.  trying to keep being an honest artist in this world of machinated stuff will have to be my new ‘hip’.  and my jeans, sitting sort of on my hips, will have to be my new ‘hip’.

and i will hope-against-hope that maybe, just maybe, my children will think, “wow!  mom’s pretty hip.”  (only even the word ‘hip’ isn’t ‘hip’.)

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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happiness. freedom. courage. [merely-a-thought monday]

choir room calendar

my sweet poppo ended up in solitary confinement.  shot down over the ploesti oil fields in romania, he was a WWII prisoner of war and was being held in a prison camp in bulgaria.  he was courageously condemning the rat-eaten stale bread the prisoners were served, throwing it down, and he was hauled off to solitary confinement.  after months of imprisonment my dad, along with others, was able to escape this POW camp and find his way to freedom.  freedom.

each of us has our own freedom route, courage to summon up.  i look at both of my children as they make their way in this world.  they are courageously carving out their lives.  they are scrappy and they make sacrifices to seek happiness and freedom from fear of any kind.  my sweet poppo is cheering them on, both of them.

this calendar page hangs in the choir room.  the words seemed particularly timely to us, for many reasons, on many levels.  we looked up the person to which they were credited:  thucydides.  a studier of human nature, he:  “also has been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by, and constructed upon, the emotions of fear and self-interest.

we owe the freedom of our country to the veterans, like my sweet dad, who we honor today and to wise, thoughtful, inspired leaders of this country.  we have much to be grateful for.

and yet.  these savvy words of this ancient greek historian…”the emotions of fear and self-interest”.  this is relevant.

my poppo sat in a prison camp cell representing a country fighting against leaders filled with self-interest and the indiscriminate propagation of fear and atrocities upon innocent people.  his courage was buoyed by the courage of his fellow soldiers.  my father was staunchly determined to put others’ needs first.

i fear what is happening in our country today would sadden him; his response would be that our leaders are not acting out of courage, not out of a rallying call for equitable independence of all, but instead, out of bullying and grandiose self-serving.

and i believe my sweet poppo would throw down the rat-eaten stale philosophy of this current government.  with his great courage.  in true freedom.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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the best present. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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we walked past macy’s in downtown chicago and i noticed a digital billboard as it transitioned into its next message.  “the best present?  being present.”  i couldn’t agree more.  as trite as that message may be, it is a truth that spans the ages, spans time, spans generations.  if there is one consistent thing i talk about, it is moments.  moments i’ve noticed.  moments i’ve memorized.  moments i’ve written down.  always – moments i’ve spent being present.  whether present for someone else or present in the universe for myself, it matters not.  it is the act of showing up….all-in….that makes all the difference.

the beloved moments on facetime with my daughter, son and his boyfriend.  the moments spent laughing on a phone call with friends or family.  the moments watching a dear one open a present or two.  the moments walking outside under a cold dark sky of stars.  the moments in the dark room alit only with twinkling lights.  the moments snuggled under a blanket.  the moments cooking or eating together.  the moments singing carols at the top of your lungs.  the moments sharing stories.  the moments making music.  moments where distraction would make you would miss it.

in this time of full-tiltedness…heading into the new year, i hope that you are gathering moments like this in your heart.   they are the best presents.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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oversized joy. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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we spent a wonderful day thanksgiving friday in boston with craig and dan.  taking trains here and there, we had brunch at the greatest little dietary-restrictions-aware-diner called the friendly toast, walked through a magnificently decorated copley place, had drinks together and went bowling, a tradition that has been established now for a few years.  it would have been hard not to feel the holiday spirit; carols were playing and everything was decorated…and we were together.

copley place had enormous decorations.  i mean eNORmous.  everywhere you looked there were oversized ornaments and lights.  now, normally i might find that gauche; in this case it was stunning.  they really made you take notice.  i wanted to sing carols and skip through the mall.

i keep carols on pretty much non-stop in this season.  in the house they play on a boombox booming out of my studio.  we drive with them on in the car.  i sing in the shower.  i make up new words to old standards and sing LALALALALA really loudly when i can’t think of the lyrics.  joy joy joy!  big joy!

thank you to copley place for the reminder that THE JOY of the season – those moments we are together – is enormous.  it is oversized.  it is stunning.  take notice.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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shine. [two artists tuesday]

shine copy

The Boy is sometimes very wise.  there is this moment from years ago i carry with me, a moment in the kitchen.  i was particularly upset and had been for some time.  it was a time of darkness for me.  my son looked at me and said (words to the effect), “mom.  you are going round and round in a circle.  every time you get close to the top you get pulled back down into the circle.  you need to be a ray.”

as a math person, the circle and ray analogies are good ones.  i can visualize these.  the circle, the cycle.  and a ray makes sense.  starting at one point and going ever-outward.  never returning to the very initial point again.

as a sun person, the ray is also good.  it brings beautiful images of streaming sun through the clouds, of warmth and light.  a ray always brings light; it gives light.  it is light.

good words, my beautiful son.  yes, indeed.  be a ray.  shine.

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