Cheap Metaphors and Good Ice Cream

Despite the yoga, the muscle pain, the ooooohming and the visualizing, I’m still massively creatively blocked when it comes to writing, especially of the fiction variety. This is the most painful and prolonged period of writer’s blockage I’ve ever experienced, and I can see why some of the greats like Hemingway would drink themselves into a stupor over a situation just such as this.

It’s brutal.

Amazingly, I’m still able to crank out blog posts. That’s probably because my blog posts are mostly whatever random weirdness happens to be on my mind on any given day. To me, writing a blog post is like I’m having a conversation with you, the reader.

I always was a good talker.

I imagine if you knew me in real life, you’d find I talk much like the way I write here on the ol’ blogarino. I’m quite grateful that I am able to keep these blog posts going. They are a lifeline. Proof that I’m not completely over, left with a life of envying somebody else’s art and not making any of my own.

As I often do when the ol’ noggin is backed up, I’m going to the random word generator to help boost me along today.

I clicked and it presented me with the word: Phoenix.

Should I get all literary and talk about the bird that bursts into flames then rises from the ashes?

Nah. Too metaphorical. And a cheap one at that.

Let’s talk about that wacky town, shall we? A place I tend to refer to as “The Surface of the Sun” when discussing it amongst friends.

Phoenix and I have a weird relationship. There are things about the town that I absolutely adore. Attending a Spring Training game at Scottsdale Stadium is chief among them.

Watching baseball on an 80 degree day while wearing shorts and knowing it is rainy and bone chilling cold back home in the Bay Area is something I truly, madly, and deeply love.

But then there are times like, oh say…August, when there is really very little to love about Phoenix. Now, I am a desert girl, but I come from high desert where when the sun goes down, the heat becomes tolerable. 100 degrees at midnight isn’t cute and it isn’t funny.

Sometimes when I visit Phoenix, I feel like I am in my groove.

Sometimes I visit Phoenix and I feel like I couldn’t be more out of place.

Phoenix confuses me. It’s an incredibly large conglomeration of mini-neighborhoods trying to be just like Los Angeles when it grows up. This makes me mad at Phoenix, because parts of that town have their own personality, and it’s a good personality.

But then I turn a corner and there is another adobe colored stucco’d strip mall gone up and I think “Really, Phoenix? You’re better than that.”

Or as my dad would say, be yourself fer chrissakes!

I’d bet that there are Phoenix denizens who would take umbrage to what I’ve just said. I’m not here to offend, just trying to understand why a town with so much going for it is so confusing sometimes too.

Well, I’ll love it for the good stuff like baseball, visiting my Mom, and the occasional visit to the Sugar Bowl. And I’ll leave the overly stucco’d strip malls for someone else to love.

That seems fair.

If you haven’t been to the Sugar Bowl, you are missing out.

Photo by Patricia Drury and found on Flickr.

What Black Friday Means to You….

…means something else entirely to me.

November 25th isn’t just the day after Thanksgiving, at least not in my family.

Today isn’t shopping in my world. What this day means to me trends more toward apple pie. No, not pumpkin. Apple.

That’s because today would have been my father’s 80th birthday. He was a rather cantankerous fella, and he didn’t like celebrating holidays or birthdays much. He didn’t like cake either.

Ice cream worked just fine. And occasionally an apple pie. That was his favorite. A simple apple pie and vanilla ice cream.

Dad always got a bit of short shrift by having a birthday that was either the day of Thanksgiving, or right nearby. Since he wasn’t much of a holiday kind of guy, I guess that didn’t matter.

Never one to be deterred by crankiness, mom would whip up an apple pie. Then after we ate dinner but before bedtime, we’d each get a slice of pie with some vanilla ice cream. If we were lucky, the pie was still hot from the oven and the ice cream would melt and we’d eat and have something like a nice family moment together.

Not long after I moved to the Bay Area, my mom, dad and sister came to visit me in my tiny apartment. I made Thanksgiving dinner, the full spread, in my ancient kitchen. And of course, I made an apple pie for dad.

It’s at the holidays when tradition seems to matter the most. So even though it was sometimes a little rocky living in the house with the incredibly strong personality that defined my dad, having pie on his birthday is still tradition.

Today, while the world shops and fights over deals on big screen TVs, I’m a little quieter. A little more thoughtful.

I asked The Good Man if he wanted me to make another pie (we already finished the pumpkin pie from yesterday). He said “maybe cherry?”

Yes. Cherry. Perhaps our new tradition begins today.

Photo by Crystal Woroniuk and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

Continuing a Theme

Yesterday I talked about being nice to yourself by packing a good lunch, if packing a lunch for work is the kind of thing you do.

Today I thought I’d take it a step further and talk about a guy where I work who has taken this self-care thing to a whole new level.

I’ve encountered this gentleman, an older fellow, small, slight, and very nice, several times in the hallways and break room. What’s unique about this man is that every week he brings a half gallon of ice cream to work.

Not just any sort of ice cream, but a half gallon of Baskin Robbins. The good stuff.

He brings in a variety of flavors. One week it was mint chip, another it was strawberry. There has been rocky road, plain ol’ chocolate, and a cherry concoction that looked yummy.

Every afternoon around 3:00, you’ll find him in the break room scooping out a small bowl of ice cream. He has a ceramic bowl and a real spoon and he serves up a nice treat for himself. I can tell he really enjoys it.

There is almost a ritualistic quality to this process of scooping out, consuming and later cleaning the dishes.

I gotta say, I have mad respect for the guy.

Personally, all will power goes out the door for me when in the presence of ice cream, so I couldn’t make a half gallon last all week. I’d be eating the entire container on Monday and crying my eyes out feeling fat Tuesday through Friday.

But I respect that he can limit himself to a small bowl and can *really* enjoy that bowl once a day.

There’s something so right about living that way.