Monday, May 30, 2005
Starting with the birds. If I could identify them by their songs, I’d sprinkle this post with some telling information but I cannot. All I can reveal is that there are several different sounds of chirping and singing going on around me. There are two birds in the Oak tree, and a couple in the Willow behind me. Several are across the way in the woods. They’re all going about their morning, conversing over what, I do not know. Add the Cicadas and I’m surrounded by the voices of summer.
A storm blew threw last night in a blaze of glory, lightening, high winds, the whole show. Put me to sleep in a nice way. The ground is saturated, puddles everywhere. The Oak tree’s branches are heavy and dark. The porch is still wet and moisture clings to all the furniture and railings. It’s been a while since I’ve not had to pull out the sprinkler and water the grass and trees, but with the rains Friday and Sunday, nature is taking care of her own. This means I haven’t had to combat the ant pile beneath the hose once this weekend.
At the edge of the land, I can see the river, smooth as glass and reflecting the sky. Cheyenne ventures out, twitches her nose at the top of the stairs, circles to find just the right spot by my feet, and sighs. It's good. A summer morning, a girl, and her dog.
What a day she had. Watching her walk across the stage, I had such awesome emotion in me. I was filled me with pride, of course. But excitement and and the sense of time passing as well. She sat in a sea of red caps and gowns, young people embarking on the futures, the group never under the same roof together again. We sat in a crowd of proud families, each hooting and clapping when their child’s name was called. The coliseum filled with smiles and the good feelings and celebration of accomplishment. I felt my father's presence in the coliseum, just over my right shoulder. I felt his pride, his smile, his raised eyebrows.
After the ceremony we had a luncheon at Ninfa's in her honor. When she called and asked where we were, I told her we were in the back dining room. She laughed and said she was in the main dining room. We hung up and I waited. Then I got a funny feeling and called her back, and asked which Ninfa’s she went to. She said Westheimer. I said, Echo Lane. Once that was sorted and she came to us, the celebrating began.
Graduates make out well, and she was showered with gifts, cards, and envelopes that revealed monetary contents that brought wide eyes and big smiles to her face. She received affection and kudos from people who have known her throughout her life and watched her get to this day. After the party, I went home. She took off into the day with her friends. The next day on the phone I asked her to rate her graduation day, one to ten. Without hesitation, she said it was a ten. As it should be.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Thursday, May 26, 2005
There's not a friend in my life who hasn't at one time or another commented on my chapstick usage. How I won't leave home without it, can open, apply and shut it with one hand only (such skill), am nervous if I think I've lost it, etc. Suffice to say that I'm known for it. It could easily be the deciphering clue between figuring out which Alison someone is talking about (assuming the other tell-tale identifiers, blond or champagne, weren't used).
Oh, that Alison.
The chapstick has recently gone overboard though; and by overboard, I mean its numbers are growing as out of control as the Kudzu vine. I have three in my purse, three in the wooden bowl on my coffee table that holds the remote controls, two on my bedside table, two in my sock drawer, one in my overnight make-up kit, one on the silver tray in my bathroom, and about seven in the wooden junk bowl on my kitchen counter. That's 19 chapsticks. I like to have a back-up but it's beyond that now, isn't it?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
But then I started noticing other cars and realized all the makes were in caps, except for the Mazeratti, but that's more along the lines of whispering to be heard. So, I felt like a hypocrite. And then I saw yet another gas guzzling tank of a HUMMER on the road and realized the real source of my new found additional reason I hate HUMMERS. It's not the caps, it the size of the caps. I'd say those letters on the back are five inches and the ones along the side are even taller. As if we couldn't figure out what kind of tank that was by the size? At least the other cars and trucks are appropriately sized caps, off to the size of the tailgate or trunk, not front and center. Hey, Hummers, lower your voice, I can see you, I can hear you. I have no doubt who you are.
Monday, May 23, 2005
What it feels like is a breeze traveling over a hill and pulling with it the scents from many camps on the other side - warm bread, lavender, wood shavings, laughter, desire and water. It feels like my heart twitching. It feels like looking through an album of photos of my life. I'm sure it feels like nothing even close to the song's meaning. It feels like my father, and my nephew. And the guy who is far away but always steps in at the right time with just the right words to connect. It feels like looking through a window. And it feels like the breeze picking up the ribbons in my hair. It feels like a memory and a vision. It feels like a dusty road beneath a starry night. It feels like the blood in my body, warm and familiar. And it feels like home and taking it with you when you leave, yet missing it when you're gone.
Long Way Home
Well I stumbled in the darkness
I'm lost and alone
Though I said I'd go before us
And show the way back home
IS there a light up ahead
I can't hold onto very long
Forgive me pretty baby
but I always take the long way home
Money's just something you throw
Off the back of a train
Got a handful of lightening
A hat full of rain
And I know that I said
I'd never do it again
And I love you pretty baby
but I always take the long way home
I put food on the table
And a roof overhead
But I'd trade it all tomorrow
For the highway instead
Watch your back if I should tell you
Loves the only thing I've ever known
One thing for sure pretty baby
I always take the long way home
You know I love you baby
More than the whole wide world
I'm your mamma
I know you are my pearl
Let's go out past the party lights
We can finally be alone
Come with me and we can take the long way home
Come with me, together we can take the long way home
Come with me, together we can take the long way home
Friday, May 20, 2005
We've all lost our children. It's like the children of America are dead to us. Just look at them, for God's sake - violent on the streets, comatose in the malls, narcotized in front of the TV. In my lifetime something terrible happened that took our children away from us. I don't know if it was the Vietnam war, or the sexual colonization of kids by industry, or drugs, or TV, or divorce, or what the hell it was; I don't know which are causes and which are effects; but the children are gone, that I know. So that trying to protect them is little more than an elaborate exercise in denial.
Exactly! And does it matter? Hardly. Causes, effects and symptoms are not braided together as easily distinguishable and manageable separate parts. Our personalities are born in our experiences; our lives are born from our choices. And still, the children. How to help them? How to get him to realize this truth: he is responsible for his life. And that truth would be a simple one, though it is not the whole truth but really just a string of words that should be true. He is not responsible for his life because we have not made him be. There are no consequences for him, just changes in the scenery. This pattern, it has to change. And it will change. Because if it doesn't, it will change us and everything about and around us. Well, except for him. He would just have a change of scenery.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
She's doing very well although I fear that I stripped her of her dignity this morning. By doc's orders, she's to be in the crate when I'm not at home and, since she gnawed her stitches out the night after her surgery, she's to wear the horrific Elizabethan collar. Doc prefers that she wear it at all times but I just don't have the stomach for it. She has no experience with the collar so she holds her head down to see where she's going - of course that results in her bumping into things, say, walls, before they come into her view. It's confusing to her, and heartbreaking for me. But, truth be told, she doesn't have to wear the collar as long as I'm at home keeping an eye on her.
But when I go to work, the collar has to go on, and the crate has to come out. She hasn't been in a crate in years but didn't at all object to the reunion this morning. That is until she tried to turn around inside the crate. Since the collar is so wide, that simple action was difficult and she started turning her head back and forth in a panic and then backed out of the crate quick. I had to turn her around and back her back in and help her sit down, trying to get her calm again. Before going down the stairs, I turned back to look at her. There she was, sitting with her wrapped leg stiff and unbendable and shooting out to the left, and her head hung real low beneath the invisible weight of her missing dignity.
I cannot explain to her the necessity of the collar, so even though I know she must wear it, it hurt me to see her like that. I felt like listening to gospel music on the way to work, Swing Low Sweet Chariot or Will the Circle be Unbroken. And Cheyenne, she was likely wanting to hear the blues.
So for those of you who fall into that category, let me offer up this: Stevie Nicks. She’s coming to Houston in July. I have the notion that her tour manager secretly does not like her because she’s always scheduled in our outdoor venue in the summertime. What’s up with that? Anything outdoors in Houston in July that does not involve a pool or the few moments it takes to get from your air conditioned house to your air conditioned car, or your air conditioned car to the air conditioned building that houses your job or your grocery or otherwise shopping needs, well, it’s just insane. Nonetheless, she’s going to be here so we’re going to be there. I just got the confirmation email from my friend, Carrie. It’s a birthday thing for me. Four of us are going to sit on the hill and sweat, for sure, but we’re also going to sing and dance and drink beer and rock and sway to the music. I know this because we've done it before. And as far as repeating experiences goes, this one is well worth it. Oh yeah.
Now, be warned, the next post will be about the girl. Because, seriously, she’s the most precious creature on the planet and I am all wrapped up in that. And it’s perfectly okay with me if you think I’m pathetic and you’re embarrassed for me. Perfectly okay.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
One plate, five screws, thirty stitches, and she's back together again. And now she's back home again. Sound asleep at the moment.
And, not to offend my little princess in any way, but how about that shave job?
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Monday, May 16, 2005
At the Surgeon's office this morning, more x-rays and some motion tests proved that the girl has a partially torn ACL in her left knee. (My little athlete.) She's there now, going through pre-op stuff today. Surgery is tomorrow morning. I can retrieve her Wednesday between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Six at night? Yeah, right. Anyone who has spent more than, oh I don't know, five minutes with me, knows that I'll be there at 10:01 a.m.
The upside of this: The x-rays show she has good hips.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
X-rays show that she's blown her knee, although that is not the name of the official diagnosis. We have an appointment with the surgeon on Monday morning. It's a consultation but her vet explained to me that, in her opinion, she will need surgery. I'm to bring her to the surgeon's on Monday prepared for that, meaning that she is to have nothing by mouth after midnight on Sunday, and that I should plan on leaving her at the surgeon's office. Her surgery will be Monday, and I can pick her up on Wednesday. Well, hold on a minute. When are visiting hours? And are they prepared for the cot I'm going to bring in so that I can spend the night there?
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
- While you don’t have to dress up for flights, it would be nice if people at least wore clothes they would wear to, say, a restaurant that is a step above fast food. Seriously, when did sleeveless tank tops on men (or women) become appropriate? Mister, I do NOT want to see all your body hair. No one does. That’s not travel wear, it’s beachwear.
- Let’s get something clear, okay? Just because you are able to carry something onto a plane, does not mean that you should. What happened to the area by the check-in that you had to (or could) drop your carry-on bag into to see if it would fit into the overhead bins? Seriously, an over-stuffed hanging bag is not a carry-on just because you are able to drag it onto the plane. And the flight attendant? She's got your game.
- When you're boarding a plane and you bump into somebody, it is polite to say “Excuse me.” When you bump into them so hard that you almost knock them over and you don’t stop or even pause, well, the people around the person you bumped into (me), they’re going to talk about you. And what they're saying, it’s not nice. Not nice at all.
- Note to the man across the aisle from me: We backed away from our gate five minutes early. The Pilot told us that we would arrive in Philadelphia 23 minutes early. When he then announced that we were eighth in line for take-off, I'm curious what made you throw a fit a two-year old would be proud of and say in a voice loud enough for three rows up and back to hear, “This is ridiculous.”
- Question: Why is it that some people think that the "all cell phones must be turned off" or "portable electronic equipment must be turned off" announcements do not apply to them? Because it makes me really nervous when you're in the seat next to me and playing with your Blackberry while we're going down the runway, AND THEN YOUR CELL PHONE RINGS. You don't know me but I'm a nervous flyer and if I weren't so sad today, that little bit of rule-breaking would have sent me over the edge.
- All of this is to say that when flying, it would be nice if we could all agree to abide by the rules and exhibit a set of basic manners. I for one would really appreciate it.
- This has nothing to do with anything, but I bought a People Magazine to read on the flight, and I have to say that Mary Kate and Ashley Olson always holding hands or with their arms all over each other, it just gives me the creeps.
These days, these "firsts" after losing him, they are raw. I awake having no idea what to expect and am more or less carried through the day rather than leading myself through it. This is similar to how I felt on Easter and my parent's anniversary. And yet, today is really all about him, not missing him on a holiday or event we shared. There's nothing to work though, no trouble to resolve. I think that I'm feeling exactly what could be called normal. It's sad and longing but it's not desperate. It's tearful but not weepy. It's all about missing someone I love. And the impossible distance of death. It's about wanting to celebrate the day that brought the entrance of someone into this world, knowing he's no longer here, and getting caught in the riptide of that emotion. It's about missing him more today than any day that's passed since losing him.
I'm traveling today. Opening the day in Houston and closing it in Philadelphia. I'm comforted by that. Comforted by spending the day with strangers who know not who I am or what this day is or what I'm feeling. It allows me to be invisible. And for today I like that.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
My yard is about the only thing that is keeping my feet on the ground, so to speak. I've found that gardening, or any type of yard work really, helps keep my mind balanced by keeping me close to the earth. It gets me out of my head and connects me with life outside of my own, and it's good for me because I can successfully take care of my yard, whereas there is much in my life that I am struggling with taking care of. In my yard, I can see the results of my work (presently blooming and doing well). Life, on the otherhand, moves a bit slower. In my yard, weeds, antbeds, etc., while mentally symbolic of life's problems, are much easier to address and resolve. Still, working in my yard reminds me that I have some power over my troubles.
It's an obvious connection: gardens / life. What am I planting in my life? What am I planting in the lives of my loved ones? I know that my words will either plant flowers or weeds in our lives. I am trying to plant flowers, not weeds. I'm fairly good at that. I know that my actions are for the most part planting positive. What of my decisions though? Some decisions we cannot know for a long time into the future whether or not they are the right ones. Decisions like that faced me today.
We've made the decisions and while I believe they are the right ones, I do not have that accompanying feeling of, well, feeling good about it. Perhaps because even though we had to make decisions today, we really had no choice. We've been backed into a corner and that's why I don't feel good about the decisions. I don't feel good about being forced into the position of having to make them. In fact, I feel pretty sick to my stomach about that. I've had to realize that no matter how much good I've tried to plant, there are internal and external circumstances beyond my control, and also much larger and more powerful than my influence. And yet, what to do has fallen squarely in our hands because something has to be done while something can be done. And something will be done - we've made sure of that. I'm left now to hope and pray that like my little yard, the results will be positive.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Funny to be writing you. Desperate, actually. I'm just not sure what else to do. I know without a doubt that you would be appalled by what is going on now. It's not what you wanted and I'm pretty darn sure that it's not what you ever imagined. But it's happening. And I do not know what to do. Funny, that. I've never felt that before. I thought I had, and that's amazing and shocking because when I realize that I am actually without a recourse, actually desperate, it's terrifying and I know that you could and would tell me what to do. You were here. You were. I saw it, I heard it. I listened to you and I watched you put your head in your hands without a single idea left, with only an eye to us for ideas, any ideas. Come to find out, we don't have them. And there was nothing but quiet. That's desperate. I understand that now.
You know that when we tell her she's being unreasonable, she doesn't hear us, won't listen to us. She gives us the same threats she gave you. Well, she can't divorce us but she's all piss and vinegar just the same. And she uses the same cruel words. Did you wonder if she meant it all? I wonder that. I wonder if she knows what she's doing and saying - it's so clear and so powerful it seems real. But is it? Did you wonder? Did she defeat you as she's defeating us? When you slept on the chair or in the guest room, was it about that defeat? Nevermind, I know that it was.
I can't believe that I've lived through two months without you. Two whole calendar pages without my father. I can't believe the ground I walk on is so raw and unfamiliar. I can't believe that I watch the news and think I need to call Dad so that I can understand it. How am I going to understand the world without you? How? How do I handle Mom without you? My goodness, all the times you told me that you didn't know what to do and I thought I understood. I had no idea.
I walk through your house, I look at your pictures, I smell your cologne and I hold your toothbrush. I do everything I can to put myself as close to you as possible. I look in the mirror and try to see what you saw in me. I am beautiful. I am smart. I am independent. I am clever. I am your daughter. I am so many things that I am because you saw them in me. But am I capable of taking care of what is left behind? I want to be your miracle. I'm just not sure how. I am closer to knowing you than I ever have been - and it's because I'm tasting the same pain and desperation that you did. I don't like that, but I'll take it. And I'll take it because of you, because of what you taught and lived and practiced. Watch over me, will you?
I miss you,
This morning there was a young guy in line before me. A bit trendy, a bit full of himself. He gets the Mom. He asks if they have prosciutto. No. He asks if they have capers. No. He orders a sandwich and steps back while she goes to prepare it.
While my order is being filled, the guy asks the young girl waiting on me, "Do you take requests?"
She asks if she can help him and he says, "I'd like for you to ask the manager to get prosciutto and capers."
Mom overhears this and returns to the counter. "We are a bagel shop, not a deli. You want prosciutto or capers or chocolate chip bagels, you go uptown to one of those fancy bagel shops or you go to a deli. We're just a bagel shop here."
To which he replies, "I understand you're a traditional business but you also should keep up with the times. It's good business."
"We've been in business twenty-three years and we're doing just fine without prosciutto and capers."
"Well, maybe you can just tell the manager that I've made the request."
"I am the manager and I don't have time for you, I'm busy."
He pays for his sandwich, takes the bag, and that's it. Normally, I'd think the whole exchange to be poor business on their end. But I like her kiss-my-ass attitude. And I know this much: prosciutto and capers will never be on the menu. And the guy will be back. It is what it is.