Tuesday, May 29, 2007

and the life in between

Normally, society functions as a set of wheels and we are the cogs- but for a birth or a death we are allowed one at a time or in groups to step out of our places in line while those ahead and behind take over our burdens until we can take them up again.

The grandfather of a dear old friend died over the weekend. It was expected, just not this soon. He had a fall last month and as these things go the injuries took the rest of him down successively.

I have a photo on my dresser of him holding his great-granddaughter, the first child of my friend and his wife, the first child of this man's only grandson. He cradles her in his arms, smiling down face full of glee and pride- beaming, you know?

My dresser's surface is changing, with my values I suppose and with the map of my life. There is the photo of my grandfather holding four month old me, and on the back my mother has written how he loved this photo and carried it in his wallet (it is creased down the center, between him and me) and how she took it from his wallet after he died. I am lying upon his outstretched arm smiling at the face smiling back at me, likely in much the same way my friend's grandfather was smiling down. It is a 3x3 and I toted it precariously through move after move until I found a frame to fit. It's lived on my dresser ever since.

My grandparents took their turns slowly disappearing from my life. I lost them over a period of 17 years rather than all at once. I think of them each now and again, but doesn't an event in another's life also call up your own past experiences?

On my dresser is the photo of my 26 year old mother holding me to her chest. She kept it on her own dresser until she decided when I turned thirty the time had come to pass it down.

I have a picture of my cousin's new son staring wide eyed at his father, and a photo of my four year old self in 70's era piped shorts and bedroom slippers sprawled across my father on a lawn chair on my great grandmother's Florida yard. We must have been watching for peacocks.

Work is allowing me to slip away to attend the Thursday services in Pennsylvania and I am grateful for there are certain decisions I have made along the way and once upon a time I knew I would do whatever I could to be there for my friend when the time came to send his grandfather off peacefully.

Because don't we do that for each other, for our friends? We are there to celebrate the births, and commemorate the lives before the deaths, and for everything in between.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The price of fear

I am in a self imposed painful place just now and afraid of self destructing because of my self inflicted fear.
What a thorny circle.

My last relationship started out with me madly in love, albeit occasionally crying and feeling neglected- but I stayed, for almost four years, because I loved him and I knew that in his own way he loved me. Even if his way didn't fulfill my emotional and social needs, I loved him and he was my man so I stayed and nearly married him. It took three severe panic attacks and losing 15 pounds spontaneously to realize that just maybe that relationship wasn't truly the best thing for me.
Most of this you have all heard before.

In December I met a fabulous man, a man who was all my dreams and fantasies rolled into one and wonderfully real and exactly what I needed. After nearly one year's hiatus each from dating, we were ready and we quickly fell closely together. We couldn't believe our good fortune.

After a while I started to notice little things that reminded me faintly of my last relationship but I didn't want to speak my doubt. Boyfriend had been hurt a lot in the past and I didn't want to hurt his feelings. But these things, these things they festered in me fertilizing the doubts from sprouts into great trees with deep and gnarled roots and suddenly one day when I was scared of being hurt down the road and more scared that I might be unhappy one day and hurt Boyfriend, I decided the best thing for both of us would be to leave him now- even though every time I was with him there was nowhere else I wanted to be and even though every time I was not with him I missed him and looked forward to the next visit.

And so I broke up with him only to hear the one thing I so desperately needed to hear but was afraid to ask for- he was madly in love with me and thought I felt the same.
Well, I did.

And off I tore to his house pushing 80mph in a 60mph zone, and then in a 50mph zone. And had the wisdom at least to plead straight from the heart. And he loved and wanted me enough to let me stay, to give me another chance.

If I hadn't broken it off with him in my confusion we could have happily talked about wanting to marry each other without it being peppered with his fear that I will dump him again some day. I wouldn't now be riling with fear myself that maybe I scared him so much we won't recover from it. And now I am backpedaling furiously and starting to feel a little desperate to do all I can to reassure him my gigantic mistake sacked my own fear and showed me how much he does love me and how much I love him- how unless he breaks up with me or does something undeniably horrid I will not leave him again.

I can ask and tell him anything. I knew that before I flipped out. I know that now. I just don't want to bite my own nose off again out of fear of the fear I gave him and guilt for hurting him.

Oh, what a thorny circle.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Showing off again

Me holding my cousin's son on Mother's Day.

Everyone was concerned I wouldn't be able to eat if I had to hold him much longer.
Have to hold him?
What's food when you have an infant on your chest?
He is about six weeks old now, and so alert! How wonderful to see those big, gorgeous eyes wide open and looking about.
How wonderful to lean my face down to nuzzle, smell, and kiss his precious sleeping head :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

traveling back

(a post I began last week, figuring I'd 'finish' it later- silly me; muses can't often be reawakened; here it is as left)

While photographing the things I love in my days, montages of my homes are invariably recorded for posterity but often before I move away I'll purposely capture each room before the packing begins so that years later I can rewalk it by looking at 4x6.

Last night before bed and after hanging up with boyfriend I replaced the Mosby's medical encyclopedia directly beside a packet of stashed motley photos. Of course they were excavated and there lay pictures of my home with Harold, his jacket lying near the air compressor in his studio, the latex dust on the floor tiles; my Christmas garland and icicles strung upon the over hang.
There was my home with ex-fiance, his science fiction novel on the kitchen table beside my book of wedding plans; and later on, as I tucked one photo behind revealing another, his face popped out at me; my engagement ring proudly displayed in pictures to send home to my cousin, my kitty splayed in the sunspot windows she loved.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

the life inside

I lied to a professor once. He asked me, regarding the way I moved when walking, if I was a dancer and I, answering from my heart before thinking, said, "Yes."
"I can tell," said he.*

My disclaimer before attending weddings is that I do not dance. Don't even take me to the floor. Stage fright sets in and I begin to swivel into the ground.

But I dance in the car, on the bar stool, in my seat at the reception. I sit here at the computer now jolly to have accidentally found a favorite song the name and artist of said song unknown- but here it is on my headphones and the butt is grooving, the hips are shimmying, the head, neck, and shoulders in groove.

Music moves me deeply inside and there I am such a dancer, but in public my legs lock up and I am afraid to let it show.

I love to watch the human form in motion. I study how others walk, envy the strength of those who run, marvel at the sculpted musculature in cyclist's legs, and diviningly hope to be a fluid dancer in my next life.

I am a dancer in my heart in this one.

(taken blindly this sounds like it could have been a pick-up: you'll simply have to trust me that it certainly was not :)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Ah, the sleep of the emotionally winded. Yes, that was our Sunday nap.

I have met two people in my life who warn they may fall asleep in the middle of a terse discussion. Self preserving narcolepsy? Things get too distressing and they just pass out. Do you know anyone like this? Have you ever witnessed it?

My sister's boyfriend is looking for an adjective that rhymes with 'forty'. All I come up with is 'warty', and I doubt that's what he has in mind. Any suggestions?

After mentioning to a coworker that I slept only 2 1/2 hours last night due to insomnia and was a wee bit punchy today, I directly turned around and walked into the edge of the door I'd just opened. "Open door and walk through."
No, walk through the opening.
Well that changes everything.

Whilst occasionally straying to skinny or chubby, I usually stay in the center at thin. I also stopped growing at age 12, and only two years ago threw away a pair of Camp Beverly Hills comfy pants my mom bought for me in 1987. This all means I am a 1.5 beer queer, and I could use some rappelling gear for tackling the top shelf at the grocery store and the top cabinets in my kitchen. It is not unusual to find me crouched in my socks on the outer of edge of the stove, tossing ingredients from the cabinet onto the counter, or hanging off the freezer aisle at Shop Rite winging yogurts down into my cart.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Stop that train!

I know he never meant it, but in my last relationship with the man I almost married I was very lonely a good deal of the time for the final two years. Before we moved in together there had been instances of emotional neglect- except for the times when he got a rise out of teasing me with affection he didn't intend to give, I know it was just inexperience and ignorance. I was his first girlfriend, after all.
I spent two more years bending myself into pretzels, searching and pleading and changing my work schedule three times even to the tune of six months of insomnia with daytime hallucinations trying to get my emotional self satisfied. By the time he started to try, by the time he started to pay me some direct attention, I had cheated on him, dropped 10 pounds from stress, and had my packing and my escape strategy planned. Leaving meant I would hit rock bottom but the risk of losing my self sufficiency and all the tangibles I had worked for was worth getting away from the pajamas I barely got out of any more and the life I had dropped out of months little by little over the last year.
He had his side of it too, but mine is the one I know by heart.

A woman at work, a fellow nurse, gave an analogy that fits why I broke up with my boyfriend yesterday. She said if you don't discuss things when they come up they turn into something you don't recognize and take over and then (you) are like a runaway train.
I was that train yesterday for too long afraid to say I worried about not being all I thought I should be, afraid to ask for what I needed and hurt his feelings, so afraid of potentially being lonely in love again.
It was one of those very terrible afternoons and by the end of it we had reconciled; we were able to sort it out and he was going to let me stay. Thank god, because I was terrified he wouldn't.
Even though all the signs were there, I needed to hear and be sure that he was in love with me and that I was enough for him. I needed to know before I let myself be fully vulnerable. Now I know it's safe to let all my love fall on him.

If it hasn't previously been apparent, I can be a total idiot and my own worst enemy sometimes, but I think sometimes we all can be like that and I am learning from experience to forgive myself because we all accidentally hurt each other, and we forgive.

And after all the emotions we had been through yesterday, we curled up and napped together and slept very, very hard.

Friday, May 04, 2007


This afternoon, walking to my car, I heard a small voice yell out, "Hey lady!"
and turned to see a brunette pipsqueak looking up at me.
"Remember when we saw the ducks here?" she asked with an earnest grin. Startled as I was to have this childhood friendliness bestowed upon me- me!- I only ambled out the best smile I could muster and agreed.
"Have a great day!" she yelled as I got into the driver's seat, and again as I slowly- oh ever so slowly with a sundry of children rolling about the parking lot on all sorts of wheeled things- drove away feeling blessed to be given her attention and thinking,

When did I become a 'Hey lady'?

Sadly, later in the evening I caught myself saying out loud as I polished off a bowl of tuna I covered only yesterday,
'It would be a shame to waste such a lovely piece of foil.'
Apparently while I disparagingly shopped the matronly sole petites section of Kohl's tonight, I indeed became a senior citizen. Guess I'm good for the discount at Friendly's now.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Three cats in the living room ,all lying on their tummies facing West.
At least until I laughed musingly at them and one turned toward the South.

Joyfully rolling away

I took down the photo of my boyfriend and I taken by him on the beach that greeted me on our monitor every morning and afternoon and replaced it with a black and white (really mostly gray)picture of a wide open road I found on someone's Flicker site. I don't remember whose site it was, or even where the picture was taken. I do know it sheds a light on the freedom in me to be greeted by a road-to-anywhere.

The open road is a theme with me and in unplanned fashion I've gathered photos of them over the years casually finding ones that left me feeling I could roll away on them if I could just get onto the page. I've snipped and clipped, and taped greeting cards to the fridge. A favorite of mine was a wee little colorful van laden on top with bushels and suitcases heading away into the wonderful unknown. Somewhere in my storage unit it is packed away. How very many times I stood afore dreaming of where I would go inside that very van, fantasizing about the next time my bags would be packed and I could be on my way- away to somewhere I've never been.

I won't be rolling far away any time soon- but I am going camping Memorial Day weekend and can't wait to break out my tent, build a campfire or three and hike until I feel the hills in my bones and smell the trees and dirt in my sleep.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Baby sitter needed

There are moments in my life when I wonder how the hell I've gotten this far without accidentally killing myself, and whose brilliant idea it is to let me out on pass every day.

Like when I get the bow on the back of my scrub top hooked on the doorknob at work all day long.
Like when I get the entire office in a panic over something important gone missing- only to find it in the very first place I looked.
Like coming out of the grocery store to find I left my car trunk yawning open the whole hour I was shopping- or when I lock the car door but leave the window down.
Like when I've spent thirty minutes searching for the glasses that are perched on my head.
Like when I almost get my leg caught in the revolving door.

Do you have those moments? I have a lot of those.