Monday, January 31, 2005
Adrian Rich, from An Atlas of the Difficult World: Poems 1988-1991 (1991)
Taurean reaper of the wild apple field
messenger from earthmire gleaning
transcripts of fog
in the nineteenth year and the eleventh month
speak your tattered Kaddish for all suicides:
Praise to life though it crumbled in like a tunnel
on ones we knew and loved
Praise to life though its windows blew shut
on the breathing-room of ones we knew and loved
Praise to life though ones we knew and loved
loved it badly, too well, and not enough.
Praise to life though it tightened like a knot
on the hearts of ones we thought we knew loved us.
Praise to life giving room and reason
to ones we knew and loved who felt unpraisable
Praise to them, how they loved it, when they could.
I'm already so excited I can't stand it. Good times in the future!
Saturday, January 29, 2005
It wasn't love at first sight, not like other cities I've visited. But after our first date, I am intrigued and I'd like to see you again. Maybe after you warm up to me a bit. I mean really, two degrees? How am I supposed to discover what you have to offer when you are frigid? Your waters are ice, your winds make my cheeks red. But still I know there's more to you than this. I saw your lake shores and your Navy Pier, your Millennium park, your Soldiers' Field. I saw your Gold Coast, Sears Tower and John Hancock. But how can you expect me to get to know you when I can't be outside for more than five minutes? You and me? We will happen, but we'll be a spring and summer relationship. I think I can love you, but I need your heat, not your cold, cold heart.
Friday, January 28, 2005
What I don’t like about hotels is that I’ve stayed in so many I forget my room number, much less which direction my room is from the elevator. And new trouble brewing for me is forgetting to bring my key when I leave the room, or bringing a different card altogether. Earlier this morning, I brought my valued guest card with me, and that may have been great for getting fresh fruit delivered to the room upon check-in, but it did not get me access to my room. Carol, the woman at the front desk, found this a bit too amusing for my comfort at 7:00 this morning.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Sunday, January 23, 2005
So for someone who struggled with lighting a Duraflame, what do you think I was thinking when I decided to put leashes on all four dogs this morning to take them for a walk? Something in my mind rang a bell to warn me, but I did not listen. Foolish, foolish decision. All I can really say of it is that different dogs have different ideas of which scent to pursue and care not if they wrap leashes around trees, light posts, other dogs, your legs, or their own. We were out for 30 minutes and it took me no less than 15 to untangle the leash lines when we finally did get back to the house. This little exercise has completely shattered my dream to one day have two or three dogs. Completely.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
All of this is relative because this morning when I was feeding the four dogs, in effort not to repeat last night’s fiasco, I was standing in the kitchen watching my dog eat while Finicky was outside and the other two dogs, the dogs that live in this house, well, they were eating in the garage. After all this time, I understand Mrs. Matsky. But I don’t regret the guinea pig incident. Oh, and when my parents did get home from that trip, they were beside themselves with laughter, my father in particular when Mrs. Matsky told them that their children were – and I quote – heathens. We never saw her again.
Friday, January 21, 2005
I did title this post with disasters plural didn’t I? The next disaster is all Finicky’s doing. When I got here, this house was spotless, and by spotless I mean that it was sparkling, eat-off-the-floor clean (not that I would, understand, but it was that clean). And within two minutes, while I unloaded my bag from the car, Finicky had brought a stick in the house and before I knew it, she had walked around while chewing and gnawing and tearing that stick into unrecognizable bits of stick. And the floor became something you wouldn’t walk on barefoot. Stick bits everywhere. And by everywhere, I do mean all over the friggin place.
Lastly, also to be filed under disasters, is my brilliant notion to take the cover off the patio table and chairs. The cover has been there a while, I assume, because there were fairly large pools of water that had accumulated here and there. Obviously it was doing its job to protect the chairs from the elements. But, sadly enough, not from me. Although I tried to approach the task systematically, I failed miserably, and while pulling the cover off, managed to soak myself. And the chairs. And all four dogs. So, all within an hour’s time I’ve managed to fall down, to likely starve one dog, to get the patio furniture wet, and to get this previously sterile floor covered in bits of sticks and semi-muddy paw prints in all sizes and strides. I'm sure I'll never be asked to care for the dogs again but the real burning question is when is the cleaning lady coming again?
It's no secret that my attachment to Cheyenne goes way beyond what can be defined as normal. Since the first time I held her and she flashed her baby blues at me, I've had a serious case of puppy love, and she has pretty much ruled the show. I first felt the lump in her chest in December. And every day I've felt for it again to see if it had grown or changed shape or hopefully gone away altogether. No such luck. So, today, we went to the vet to face whatever it might be. As we waited for the doctor, I sat in the chair wondering what I was going to do if this was cancer. Of course treat her, but what was I going to feel, how was this going to change me, us? She sat nervously at my feet and kept looking up at me for a clue as to when we could leave this place. And I mindlessly played with her ears while inside I was shaking and wanting to throw up, wondering in what state she and I were going to walk out of here. After sticking a needle in the lump and drawing out some horrific looking fluid, the vet said something about tests and being back in a few minutes. My mind worked overtime during the wait, palms sweating, feeling in that little room that we were all alone in the world, and very ill-prepared. So when the vet returned and said benign fatty tumor, well my relief was audible, and the room and our lives came back into happy focus again. After that it was all about the park and treats and joyfulness. She's on the couch right now, fast asleep and cancer free.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
I haven't once pointed out to you your complete lack of maturity or your total refusal to take responsibility for your actions. I have not once said, "You know, it's really NOT okay, what you did." Instead I’ve run around behind every one of your disasters and picked up all the pieces. I’ve even damaged my own standing in the family with my insistence that what you really needed was a break. Some time. Love. Compassion. Whatever. While you have been busy damaging yourself and the family at the rate of at least one HUGE episode a week, I have walked the fine and exhausting line between defending you to them, and then defending them to you. I have tried to be mediator and interpreter, and for what? You keep going about your selfish ways, without even a second thought. I have asked you, no, begged you to try. I’ve begged you to just try. And you, you look me in the eye and say that you will. And as quickly as you’ve said the words, you turn around and forget them. I wonder, do you think I'm in this for myself?
I wish you had the maturity to acknowledge that the very things that you've done are what have brought about the consequences you face, or don't face as is your case. I wish you had the maturity to acknowledge that these consequences came from your own poor decisions and not from some teacher, coach, parent, uncle, aunt, or some notion of everyone ganging up on you. I wish you’d stop being such a self-important little shit. I wish you’d realize that YOU are responsible for the mistakes you've made and continue to make. I wish you would not blame your mistakes on anything and everyone. I wish you would see the direct line between your behavior and your unhappiness and anger. You want the privileges of an adult? Then grow up. Really, it’s way past time. If you ever took an objective look at how hard we have all worked for you, made adjustments for you, ran interference and came up with alternatives for you, you would be so humbled that all you would be able to do is drop to your knees and cry out loud for the amazing and undeserved gifts you’ve been given, and the equally amazing and undeserved responses and actions we've gotten back from you. Because every single thing we’ve done for you, you’ve gotten pissed off at us as if we were doing something TO you and not FOR you. Well, you know what? YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU. Get it? Understand that much if you don’t grasp anything else. And grow up, please. Stop smoking pot, stop stealing, stop lying, stop tuning the world out and the volume up, stop complaining, stop talking back and cursing and yelling, stop thinking that the world owes you, that your family owes you, stop refusing to see what you are doing to yourself and what you are doing to this family, stop locking us out, and stop this behavior that is going to ensure you live your entire adult life plagued with regret. Stop killing any and every chance of a happy life for yourself. And stop breaking my heart. Please.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
He took his sweet time about it, and drove his Mom bonkers with the wait, but he has finally made his debut
My friend called me this morning to tell me about Rider's entrance into this world and I was absolutely floored by the sound of her voice. There was a lilt to it and a certain beauty and delirious happiness that is not at all of this world. I've only heard that one other time, and that's when a different friend gave birth to her first child. I have no personal reference whatsoever to birthing a baby but I do know this much -- it brings a definite difference to the voice. Who knows, maybe it's the "What was I thinking?" exhaustion.
I'm proud of my friend. I've known her for years now and she's always been a brave girl, graduating college and moving away from the home she knew well to a part of the country she didn't know at all because she thought the guy was worth following (wise decision, he's the father of the children, her partner in this joyful but daunting trek through parenthood). And in this strange city she found a job and earned her Masters degree, and met me. Lucky me! And then several years ago, her courage kicked in again and she again left everything she knew and moved to New Jersey because it was time to start thinking about starting a family and she knows that Grandparents will not let you live it down if it requires airplane trips and holidays for them to see their grandchildren. Grandparents also make great babysitters when you need some time to yourself. My friend is no fool.
Welcome to the world, Rider. As I post this, you are only about 13 hours old. Hours old. Odd to think about. I cannot wait to meet you. Apparently your older brother cannot wait to meet you as well. Your Mom told me that he built a bear for you last week. Your first! Though books and reading are a bit in the future for you, you'll no doubt meet another bear, Winnie the Pooh, along your way through this world. A.A. Milne wrote the Winnie the Pooh books and today is his birthday -- again, you really are in good company. Milne said, "Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."
Rider, may your world be enchanting, and may you always have that special bear friend to play with.
Monday, January 17, 2005
Sunday, January 16, 2005
This weekend, my friends and I have perfected our skills at doing absolutely nothing at all. Beyond putting wood on the fire and breaking out the Scrabble board or maybe flipping through a magazine for the latest Brad & Jen stories, or doing the Crossword puzzle, there has been precious little activity going on around here. And that's just about as perfect a weekend as you can have at the cabin.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Thursday, January 13, 2005
I don't care on which side of the fence in this argument you sit. Has anyone noticed the real problem? Has anyone noticed that while the so-called adults are squabbling over interpretation of the word theory on a textbook's warning sticker that STUDENTS WILL NOT READ ANYWAY, that we are turning out some of the dumbest highschool graduates that we ever have? Can we please focus on the real problems? Because, you see, while you're arguing the pros and cons of barbecue sauce, Junior is playing with matches by the lighter fluid.
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A federal judge in Atlanta, Georgia, has ruled that a suburban county school district's textbook stickers referring to evolution as "a theory not a fact" are unconstitutional.
In ruling that the stickers violate the constitutionally mandated separation between church and state, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper ruled that labeling evolution a "theory" played on the popular definition of the word as a "hunch" and could confuse students.
The disclaimers were put in the books by school officials in 2002.
"Due to the manner in which the sticker refers to evolution as a theory, the sticker also has the effect of undermining evolution education to the benefit of those Cobb County citizens who would prefer that students maintain their religious beliefs regarding the origin of life," Cooper wrote in his ruling.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Friday, January 07, 2005
I got to thinking about her age. Ninety-four. When she was born, the life expectancy for females was 51.8 years. Well, she showed them, didn’t she? She was born when Taft was President of the United States – and 17 Presidents were at the helm of this country during her lifetime. She lived through two world wars, Vietnam, and several others. Not to mention the prohibition. Stamps were 0.2 cents when she was born, and the average annual income was $750.00 a year. The transatlantic phone call had not yet been made. Can you imagine how far away walking on the moon or cell phones or vaccines were in the collective thinking at the time? Can you imagine the library of world events? She was alive when the Boston Red Sox won their first world series. And their second. She witnessed the debut of Kleenex, and the discovery of penicillin.
I never met her but I’ve heard a houseful of stories about her that left me laughing until I cried. The impression I got was that she was in many ways a lady, and in some ways a pistol. All the way up until last year she drove her big ‘ol car down the streets of her town – usually in the middle of the road. Say what you want about safety, but in Texas, we call that Character. A pistol indeed. May she rest in Peace.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Originally uploaded by withoneel.
and with the last of the sun
you can feel the approach of the winter
Now is the time of each day
that I Desperately miss her
I suppose I will learn how to live my life without her.
- Come Calling, Cowboy Junkies, Lay it Down
I miss you. I miss your laughter and I miss your anger. I miss your hair and I miss the flecks in your eyes. I miss how very well you knew me. I miss the absurd luxury of the option to return your phone calls. Every day I think of you. Every. Single. Day. You do not haunt me but you have not left me, and I will never let you go. It has been years now, soon it will be ten. I talk about you often and friends worry that I still grieve, saying “You have to get over this.” Over this? The statement is laughable but also so ridiculous that hearing it pisses me off. I hear new music, new songwriters, and I wonder what you would think. What words would come from your mouth, say, to describe Pete Yorn? I meet new people and wonder what you would think of them. I stand still and quiet and wonder what you would think of me. I think of how happy you'd be for Gus, how you'd adore her husband and children, especially her children. You would spin magic around those girls. When I drive by your old place on Gramercy I cannot do so without glancing to your old window and sighing. Intuition whispers to me that you are the surface of every calm lake, the bow of the willow, the steam rising from a galloping horse’s chest in the winter. You’re a ball cap and blue jeans. You’re coffee. And eggs. And cheeseburgers. You’re a rope swing swaying from a high branch of an old Cypress tree on the banks of the Guadalupe river. You’re the drum beat over any dance floor. You’re a stuffed penguin. You’re La Jalience and Fairview. Austin and Houston and San Antonio. I love you. Do you know that? You are my friend and I still talk to you. All the time.