Good morning everyone, and Happy Saturday once again! It’s been a very busy and HOT week to decompress after all that is PSG, and another Saturday is here before I even realized it! Yesterday, I got two leases signed, another the day before, and one more due today, and I only have one apartment left on my list. WHOA! And that one apartment? Well, it’s a new listing for this week, and I’ve already shown it a half dozen times, and I have a bunch of showings for it today. Like I said, I’m busy! LOL! Like Hank Hill says, it all comes in at the end of the month.
Besides that stuff, this past Wednesday was our fourteenth wedding anniversary. Because I hadn’t rented a single apartment all month at that time, I wanted to be super cautious not to spend any money on that stuff, leaving our savings untapped. (We’ll need that for taxes later on!) So I got creative: I hit Aldi for super cheap groceries and the dollar store for a pretty-colored tablecloth and funny card (I’m not at all a fan of the sappy/serious storebought ones). We already have nice dishes and silverware, so all I needed to do was pop open my folding table, pretty things up and make dinner, all without Ron even knowing what I was up to. (I set the table while he was in the shower.) I made a big garden salad, some garlic bread and one of his favories – pasta with alfredo sauce, chicken and broccoli, with oatmeal raisin cookies for dessert. (He doesn’t like oatmeal or raisins, and yet he loves those cookies. Go figure!)
And you want to know something? So I have a full meal spread out, we were eating on either side of the 4′ table, and Ron was like “Naw, this is silly. I’m coming to sit by you. What am I? A king or something – talking to you from the far end of the table?” So, he brought his plate and chair, made room for himself next to me, grabbed the remote and found a movie for us to watch while we ate. Yeah, that’s more like us. Oh, and what did we drink? He had a glass of milk, and me an iced tea. I know, blah, but that’s what we prefer. I’m not a drinker, and he doesn’t drink any type of alcohol during the week.
We don’t have dedicated eating space here – no dining room, no eat-in kitchen, so we’re used to fixing our plates in the kitchen and eating in the living room at the coffee table while watching TV. Or, sitting on the bed with our plates in our laps, making snarky comments during the commercials or fighting over the remote. So I thought putting up the folding table over the coffee table would be a nice surprise – something a little more fancy-like and formal. But really, it’s not us. I guess it took my little surprise there to realize we really are pretty simple people who shun even the basics of societal norms. We still eat together most of the time, I still make most of our meals, but we do it our way.
What basics do you do differently than most? Are you also TV-eating type people? Do you pray before meals other than Thanksgiving? (That’s actually not all that common anymore.) Do you wear sarongs even when not at a festival? Do you have access to a car but do most errands, including your grocery shopping, by foot or bike? What makes your family unconventional but still very close – that it just works for you? What is the most simple thing you do in your daily life that makes life worth living? And, how does your faith tie in with that, if it does at all?
For many Americans, we are defined by what we do. One of the first questions we tend to ask when we meet someone new is what they do for a living. Some of us are very proud of our jobs, and others brush off the question. In high society, that line of questioning is actually considered rude, especially for people who inherited their wealth. Me, I try to shy away from asking that, not because I’m a trust fund baby or anything, but because so many people I know are either retired or un/underemployed. Rather, I ask,
“What brought you here?” It’s a nice, open question that can have a multitude of answers or perhaps nothing in particular. Sometimes, I’ll be corrected when they respond with something like,
“Oh I came with Bob” as in a who, not a what, brought them here, and they may not even be all that interested in attending. Even so, it’s still a nice ice breaker, because then it can lead to further chit chat in a “what would you rather be doing?” type of question where some commonality may be reached.
“Yeah, I’m not a sports fan myself, but I figured a Superbowl party had the word party in it, and I wanted to spend some time with Bob.” While Bob becomes enthused with the big game, you and your new friend can talk about your interests, goals and whatnot, and who knows, you just might find out what it is Stacy does for a living. But more importantly, even if she is an independently wealthy rocket scientist, far outshining your cubicle data entry job and primary source of income, you also learn what Bob really likes about her – that she builds homes for disadvantaged people in her spare time. You coincidentally donate food to some of those very same people she helps. You exchange numbers, she flies you down there to help with the catering during a weekend construction function, and a lifetime bond is formed. That’s real magick in the making – connecting and interacting with people – people who, on the surface, seem to have hardly anything in common.
So the question is – what brought you here? What motivates you? What inspires you? What makes you tick? I’ve asked that question a million times to those who serve in our military, and yes, this applies equally to those folks out there right now putting out those wildfires. To my surprise, I’ve gotten a million answers. Some people have told me they just have an inner need to serve. Others were primarily after school money. Some just needed a job. Some wanted to learn a new skill they could carry with them into the civilian world. Some wanted to leave their small towns and/or crappy home lives behind. Some wanted a free pass to travel. And, yes, there were a few, in their angsty youth, who just wanted to blow stuff up and see cool stuff. (Huh huh huh! Fire! Fire! Fire! Rat-a-tat-tat-tat! Yeaaahhhhhh!) And one answer, which I hadn’t even considered, was to get the opportunity to meet that special someone. Interesting, no?
My follow-up question of course, which I try my best not to sound like I’m trying to interview people but just really just get to know them on a deeper level, is how your experience had changed you. All experiences, big and small, change us in one way or another, and serving in the military can take a bunch of little experiences and form them into one big change. Had it changed your outlook on life? Had it resulted in a deep, spiritual awakening? Had it caused a deep depression? Do you feel better about things? Worse? Are you now more optimistic? Pessimistic? Opportunistic? Maybe even just a little less vapid? Feel free to chime in!
Welp, before I start getting ready for another busy day, I wanted to put in a reminder about the Clip for the Troops campaign. We’re still going strong, and a lot of folks have started to send their coupons directly to various bases and posts overseas. Thanks so much for your love and support! If you want to send them to me, drop me an email at doom diva (at) ya hoo (dot) com for sorting and shipping, or of course you can visit the Overseas Coupon Program for a list and instructions on how you can get your covens, friends and family involved. The idea is to just send the coupons with no more than a simple “Thank you for your service and sacrifice” note tucked inside, but that the recipients know the coupons came from Pagans in some way. That way, we are sending a very basic, grassroots message, that we’re good, pretty ordinary folk who are out to do good. No big deal, nothing special, and certainly no strings attached.
By us helping these families maintain their independence by using coupons, instead of, or at least to lessen the need of, food stamps and food pantry assistance, they see us as good people. Ordinary people. Mundane even. (Like I always say, what can be more mundane than sitting down at the table on a Sunday morning clipping coupons out of the newspaper?) And, good, ordinary, mundane people is something we generally all have in common. That connection that brings us together. Lets build more bridges and make more connections!
Off to work! Take care everyone and many blessings to you and yours! And yes, have a wonderful Independence Day!