A Letter to Congress

Feel free to send this to your congressmen as well.

In light of recent events, I felt the need to reach out to my congressmen. In my case, these are Representative Adam Smith, Senator Patty Murray, and Senator Maria Cantwell. If you agree with my statement below, feel free to send it to your congressmen as well, either by letter or by e-mailing them a link to this post, as long as you give me original credit for the idea.

“First of all, thank you and all your colleagues for being public servants in these trying times. Your service should never put your life at risk. The insurrection in our nation’s capitol was unconscionable and should never be repeated.

“In light of that, I humbly request that the first paragraph of the preamble of the Democratic Platform should be changed. This paragraph should reflect a moral compass that all rational human beings can agree upon. This or a similar paragraph should always be included in every party’s platform.

“My suggestion is as follows:

“’As Democrats, we believe in the rule of law and the constitution. We believe that violence and terrorism are unacceptable, and that our democratic process should be inviolate. Anyone who disagrees with any of these tenets does not, and never will, speak for the Democratic Party.’

“I hope you’ll consider putting forward this suggestion, and as a fellow Democrat, I would encourage you to suggest that this should be made the first paragraph of the Republican platform, and indeed, any other party’s platform, as well. (If every party made this change at the same time, it would show unity and strength, and no one would have to feel that he or she is copying a political opponent.) It is high time we disavow the lunatic fringe. They do not deserve our endorsement in any way, shape or form.

“Thank you for your consideration, and, again, thank you for your service.”

Sincerely,

Barbara Abelhauser

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Making an Entrance

Carpe Annum, dear reader!

This is probably rather short notice, but have you thought about how you will be entering 2019? Think of it as a crowded room. How you enter it will make a difference as to how the year-long party will go for you.

Will you enter with energy and enthusiasm, or sneak in the back way and hope no one notices you? Both are legitimate ways to get from this year to next, but they’ll probably yield wildly different results. I suppose it depends on what you want to get out of the months to come.

Personally, I’ve never seen the point of getting roaring drunk and entering the year with a head splitting hangover. To me, that seems like starting yourself off thirty yards deep in your own endzone. But hey, we all make choices.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that you attend a great big New Year’s Party if you don’t want to. I never have. I’m a lot more low key than that. I’d rather not walk into 2019 feeling awkward and uncomfortable. That’s not a precedent I want to set.

No, I’m talking about the party of life in general. Do you have a plan? Do you have goals and intentions? (Forget about resolutions. How many people do you know who have stuck to those?) No, I’m talking about attitude. I’m talking about expectations. I’m talking about seizing the year!

I plan to enter this year with gratitude, joy, and anticipation. I want to have a wide open heart so that all my hopes and dreams can flow freely. I want this year to be one of hope and happiness.

So, Carpe Annum, dear reader! I hope you enter the year with a clear vision. I hope that you take some (measured) risks and have some adventures, and that this year yields everything you wish it will.

wicked_witch_of_the_east
Talk about making an entrance.

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Drunken Karaoke

It’s funny, unless you live next door and are trying to sleep.

I don’t drink, myself. And I’ve written about the havoc alcoholics can wreak. It’s actually one of my most popular posts.

But I don’t begrudge you your right to partake. Unless you get mean when you overdo it. There’s nothing worse than a mean drunk. If drinking lowers your inhibitions, and that was the only thing standing between you and being violent or destructive or cruel, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with you. I have zero tolerance for that.

People frequently use drinking as an excuse. “I was drunk. I’d never do that, normally.”

Well, I don’t think alcohol invades your body and turns you into someone else. I think it strips you down to your bare essence. Drinking lowers your mask. It’s kind of sad when what’s underneath isn’t pretty. (That, and nobody held your nose and poured the vodka down your throat. You chose to drink, so you need to take responsibility for your actions.)

I must admit that I do find happy drunks kind of amusing, within reason. I know some who like to have a party once a week in which everyone gets drunk and sings karaoke. They don’t drive. They don’t mean anybody any harm. They appear to be relatively functional the rest of the week. It’s funny, unless you live next door and are trying to sleep.

I know others who get all romantic when those inhibitions take a hike. Not that they can follow through, but at least it’s positive energy. That counts for something.

But when all is said and done, you need to make very sure your behavior isn’t negatively impacting others before you indulge. If you aren’t capable of doing that, then you should take a good, hard look at your life. Because it’s not only about how much fun you have, it’s about the legacy you leave behind.

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An Introvert Throws a Party

Now that I’m a homeowner, I decided to have a housewarming party, for many reasons. First of all, it would give me the incentive to actually unpack. Second, this is a very close-knit community, and I really want to become a part of that. This would give my neighbors a chance to get to know me. And it would be a delightful mix of old friends and new, coming together to make my house a home. I really like that concept.

No, it wasn’t a cheap plea for gifts, although some people did bring some thoughtful and lovely ones. But it was a potluck, and I’ll be eating leftovers for at least a week. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

I am a classic introvert, and I haven’t thrown a party in at least a decade for good reason. The planning and preparation stressed me out. Who to invite? Who won’t show up? I need to clean x, y, and z. How will my dog Quagmire behave? I need plates, cups, chairs, condiments…

The party was to start at 6:30. No one showed up for the first 25 minutes. This gave me plenty of time to try not to freak out. “Nobody loooooves me!” It also gave me time to think about all the people that I invited who told me they weren’t coming. They love me enough to not stand me up, but not so much that they’d actually come. “Ouch! Stop that!”

In the end, 15 people came, and it was a wonderful time. Well… except for the Quagmire incident.

I needn’t have worried about how he would behave. He showed his ass from the very start. The first person who had the nerve to enter the house without his permission got attacked.

I was mortified. There was blood and peroxide and band aids and apologies. But the attack-ee was a lot more gracious than I would have been in similar circumstances.

Quagmire’s piss-poor behavior gave the party an awkward start. And he spent the rest of the evening in time out in the bedroom, barking his fool head off. (Had I known no one would see that room, I wouldn’t have bothered to clean it.)

But if you overlook the initial crisis in confidence and the canine violence, a lot of friends from various parts of my life came together and made new connections. The time flew by. The food was good. And apparently I’m not going to get sued. I’d consider that a success.

But introvert that I am, people suck the life out of me. So even though I had a great time, I was really glad when it was over. I slept for 10 hours straight that night.

So, that’s me done with the party obligations for at least another decade. Whew. There’s a load off.

Housewarming

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Slumber Parties

Did you ever have a slumber party as a child? Just thinking back on them gives me butterflies in my stomach. It was always so exciting to change your routine, stay up late, giggle with friends, eat unhealthy stuff, gossip, bond, play… Seriously, why did we ever stop?

I think it would be great fun to have a slumber party as an adult. The biggest hurdle would be finding adults to invite who wouldn’t think you were completely off your nut. I think this is one of the reasons we go camping and sleep on the cold, damp ground. We aren’t willing to admit that what we really want is a slumber party.

So this week I did a little thought experiment. Every night I had a slumber party with my inner child. I indulged myself. I got comfy, cozy, ate stuff that wasn’t exactly good for me. I watched movies, snuggled with my dogs. Stayed up late. It was kind of nice, actually. You should try it.

“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” ― C.S. Lewis

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Mudbug Hot Tubbing

The other day I began what I hope will be an annual tradition. I attended a friend’s Mudbug Hot Tubbing party. What a blast. There must have been 70 people crammed in to her back yard, each one nicer than the last.

No, we weren’t sitting in hot tubs, thank God. Given that everyone was pretty much in my age range, for the most part that wouldn’t have been attractive. No, the hot tubs were strictly reserved for the mudbugs.

Don’t know what a mudbug is? Then you haven’t lived, Buddy-roo. Back in my old Florida stomping grounds, we called them crawfish, but you might know them as crayfish, crawdads, or freshwater lobsters. Whatever you call ‘em, they’re freakin’ delicious. Especially if you suck the head. (Oh, but I do.)

I used to pluck them out of the creeks when I’d go to the mountains of North Carolina, so I didn’t really need the lesson on how to devour them. I’m an old hand. But I really never expected to encounter them again now that I’ve moved to the Pacific Northwest. My friend had them flown in live for this event.

Everyone who attended brought side dishes, so there was a wide variety of food to go with the bugs, and a good time was had by all. The vast majority of the people in the crowd were musicians and/or writers, so it was quite an expressive and fun group. I met a lot of interesting people.

The musicians were getting their music on in the music room, and the talent was varied and outstanding. I hope the neighbors agreed. I’m sure they were taken aback if they peeked over the fence during the tinfoil hat contest. Oh well.

I was kind of hoping to meet the man of my dreams (I tend to always hope that), but everyone seemed to be paired off and/or spoken for. That’s probably best. It allowed me to carry on a nostalgic love affair with the crawfish, and they didn’t judge me, even once, for ripping their little heads off.

Mmmm, mmm, good.

mudbug

Storytelling Parties

A friend of mine had a party the other night that was a great success. Usually I avoid parties, especially ones where the only person I know will be the host. I’m just too introverted to mingle with strangers. But this party was structured in a way that it made “mingling” unnecessary.

12 people came, each bearing desserts. That turned out to be, in my opinion, an ideal number of individuals. Not too many, not too few. (And of course you can never have too many desserts.)

We all sat in a circle, and the host explained the rules. She’d start off, asking for a certain type of story. We’d all think for a minute, and then someone would tell one that pertained to the topic. It had to be a true story about them or a very close relative. When that person was done, if people wanted to ask questions, they could. But after that, it was that storyteller’s turn to ask for a story of a different topic. And so on. There was no pressure to tell a story if you didn’t want to.

That night we heard stories of courage, of surprises, and of starting over, to name just a few. We all got to learn some amazing things about each other, without having to break off into little awkward mingling subsets. At no time did I feel uncomfortable, and no one seemed to feel left out. No room for wallflowers when you sit in a circle! The time flew by and I enjoyed myself quite a bit.

I look forward to the next storytelling party. Maybe I’ll see you there!

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[Image credit: ecyc.org]

On Making a Fool of Oneself

I just watched a short Youtube video about a guy in Perth, Australia who likes to start impromptu dance parties with strangers on trains. What fun! Before long, most everyone on the train is getting their groove on, and I’m sure they all have smiles on their faces for the rest of the day.

I am a big proponent of making a fool of oneself. That doesn’t mean it’s within my comfort zone to do so, but I’ve found that when I give myself that extra little push and do something silly…Wow! What a rush. It’s liberating.

I did notice one guy on that train who wouldn’t dance, and sat there frowning. I know a lot of people like that. They absolutely will not play under any circumstances. They tend to be bitter, angry people that are filled with regrets. I feel sorry for them.

But I don’t feel so sorry for them that I wouldn’t boogie down. Life’s too short!

train party

[Image credit: popsugar.com.au]