Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Raising the roof

Cheyenne, bless her, got into something yesterday. Something that didn't exactly agree with her. And she had gas. Bad. And by bad gas, I mean that I'm pretty sure she could have single-handedly imploded the Paige Parks building on Kirby last weekend, and saved someone a lot of money on explosives.

It was so frequent and oftentimes so loud that even she was a bit surprised - and a lot inconvenienced - by it all. She'd get herself settled on the couch, fart, turn her head quickly towards her backside as if she'd actually see something there, and then drop her head a bit and remove herself from the couch to the floor. Or from the floor to her bed. Or from her bed, to the rug under the dining table. She was chasing herself out of the room. I was camped out in the kitchen with a can of Oust Air Freshener, and surrounded by Yankee Candles.

I took her for a walk, thinking the exercise might help her get it all out, so to speak, but when we got home and I was taking her collar off, she let loose again. Necessarily, all the windows were open, all the fans were on high.

This morning, like last night, I gave her some plain yogurt, hoping to calm her system, or calm the storm, if you will. Then I searched the internet to see if there was anything else I could do. Besides patience, air freshener and a clothespin on my nose, there's not a whole lot. But I did find this paragraph:

It should be noted that although bad flatulence can be reduced, all dogs experience daily flatulence and it should never be your intention to get your dog to stop farting altogether.

Um, after last night, how could that not be my intention?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Like a duck in water

I received a gift Thursday night. It came straight from the internet and revealed to me the person behind those well woven words on a screen of blue. Jessica and I chose a little spot on Washington, and when the door opened and I saw her there, I grabbed on to the oddly unique feeling of meeting someone I already knew. Where do you start? A handshake? We hugged. And then we started talking.

There was more than one bottle of Veuve Cliquot, a couple shots, several glasses of water, and non-stop talk. And by non-stop, I mean from the minute after that oh-my-God-I-can't-believe-I'm-meeting-YOU hug to the minute I shut my car door when we left five, oh come on let's be honest, six and something hours later.

ERM 028 ERM 009 ERM 024

She tells me she is one of five and she unravels their story for me like a rising moon makes a thousand glistening stars on the sea, she loves them that much and is that proud. I think she grew taller in her chair when she talked about one sister in particular. I tell her to go to China. She tells me to do something with my writing. The underlying message is that there's risk even with a net but some things matter more than others. I think it's the nature of women to inspire and support. At least it's the nature of this woman.

I have a friend who uses the word, delightful, so often that it has become common in my ear and I forget what a wonderful word it is. But right now I think that I'll take the word and make it my own because I can't think of a better word to describe her. Indeed, she is delightful.

We absorbed each other's stories, curious, asking questions, excited, talking with our hands, answering questions, changing subjects, and very few times pausing for breath. I thanked her in person for all her support over the past year, and being able to do so was an incredibly good feeling.

The hands-down coolest part of the entire evening though was when she said to me: I have webbed feet. *

I couldn't believe my ears and had to ask her to repeat what she said. (It's not exactly the kind of statement you want to assume that you heard.) And when she said it again, I excitedly said to her, I do too!

And before either of us could stop ourselves, we were taking off our shoes and showing each other our feet, which is not something that I usually find myself doing and I'm sure she doesn't either, but nonetheless, there we were waving our bare feet in the air in our kindred me-too-ness.

That right there, that was cool.

* I don't mean webbed, as in webbed. What I mean to say is wide. Yeah, wide.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Ghost tagged me with this little musical meme. Because I am visiting the Advil bottle today with precision timing every four hours, the challenge is much more appealing to me than using my own words at the moment.

Choose a band / artist and answer ONLY in their song titles. Not lyrics, titles:

1. Name of band/artist: Fleetwood Mac
2. Are you male or female?: Paper Doll
3. Describe yourself: Bright Fire
4. How do you feel about yourself?: Behind the Mask
5. Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend: Brown Eyes
6. Describe current girlfriend/boyfriend: Miles Away
7. Describe where you want to be: Landslide
8. Describe how you live: Beautiful Child
9. Describe how you love: Storms
10. What would you ask for if you had just one wish?: Wish You Were Here
11. Share a few words of Wisdom: Go Your Own Way
12. Now say goodbye: Goodbye Baby

I'll tag Reading, because I'm hoping that will remind her that she has a blog, since apparently she's completely forgotten. And Adam, because I'm curious.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

One pink suitcase and two brothers

When you have a friend who has two young daughters, during your phone calls you get used to hearing, hold on a second, she wants to say hi to you. And before you know it, you're being passed back to the three year old in the car seat who is apparently stretching and reaching beyond normal proportions to get her little hands on Mom's phone because there is a live person in there and she has to talk to that person right this minute. Not to mention that her lungs have the power to shatter glass, and she won't hesitate to use the weapon if that's what the situation call for in order to get her way.

This morning's call was no different. After Catherine tells me that she's coming to Houston to see me and has a pink suitcase that has Dora on it and it's her very own and she can fill it with everything she wants and take it with her on the airplane and she's going to see gammy and gampa and fly on an airplane and she has a pink suitcase she can carry with her, she takes a necessary breath and announces: I have two brothers.

What? Catherine, you have one sister.

No, Aunt Assen, I have two brothers.

And because they live in Vermont and were on their way to playtime at some little red house with a warm fireplace in the livingroom and cheese-making cows in a barn in the back, they drove along a country road and through a pocket void of cellular service. And our conversation fizzled to an end.

One week from today, I'll get to wrap my arms around these two squeezable, huggable, ladybug loving, Mom's knee hugging girls. And then their Mother and I will leave them with their Father and Grandparents and go to Carrabba's for best friend time over dinner and wine. I'm looking forward to that in about a hundred different ways, not the least of which being how much I can't wait to hear her explanation as to those two sons she's managed to hide from everyone until today.
The Moose The Ham

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Breathing room at the Sculpture Garden

Sometime after a crowd and before a valet stand, I was able to self park and walk across Montrose to the Sculpture Garden. It's quiet there. Green and grey and open. It's easy to sit down and forget about time. It's easy to sit down and let your thoughts float free along a color or a curve, along a line connecting leaf to reflection.

Sculpture Garden I
Sculpture Garden II
Sculpture Garden III
Sculpture Garden IV

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A stitch in time

A laugh with her brother, a hug from an ex. I'm with Canada. And Florida. A missed call from across the street, a text from London. I can't be where I want to be, and can't keep up with where I'm called. I heard a song telling me the thing about the rain is the way it falls, and I hit repeat.

I touch my arm, discover the nerves and the gaps.

The stitches came out today, all of them. I cried, a little, as the threads were pulled from my skin. She said to look out the window but I had to focus on the blue line being weaved from my arm. I had to breathe in from my nose, out from my mouth, but still I wanted to watch.

Rub cocoa butter on your arm, twice a day for twenty minutes.

If only all therapy were as sweet.

I'm driving in a mist, clouded and heavy. Home should be safe, but for the messages and the email. If not for a gem, I'd have quit. He says she reminds him of his Hemingway dreams. He's hard living, drinking, smoking, fishing, hunting and traveling to follow his pursuits. He says there always seems to be more to experience, more conversations that need to take place.

I hang on his words, more to experience and conversations to take place.

Isn't that why we all move forward? Isn't that one of the things that drives us?

I'm as lost as I ever was; as found as I've ever been. But he is right, there are more conversations, more experiences. More blue to be pulled from the skin.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Gumbo and the crossword with Mensa members on a Sunday afternoon

Received an email the other day from an analytical company keen to get our business. One of the service highlights in the email was this sentence:

"We provide your analytical results in a comprehensive, east to read format saving youtime and possible confusion."

East to read? youtime? Save you possible confusion? How about easy to read, you time and save you from possible confusion.

A little proofreading could have avoided those errors. Spell Check would have helped as well. But apparently Spell Check is not for everyone.

Yesterday two friends proudly stated they didn't use Spell Check, something on which I rely hourly and am not ashamed to admit (although I will confess that, like saving phone numbers in my cell phone and finding I must rely on the phone and not memory to recall a number, reliance on Spell Check has weakened my retention of some spelling rules).

The discussion took place during my futile attempt at the Sunday crossword. I think they were amused that I was having as challenging a time as I was, not to mention how thoroughly (or as they said, slowly) I was going through the clues. They offered suggestions, which I accepted, but I later discovered that, like some of my own guesses, some of those were incorrect, which left me understandably handicapped moving forward. Something they seemed to consider a slippery excuse, rather than a valid reason. As if reading upside down is a normal thing.

The puzzle did not get finished. Too much ink; too little brain. Plus, the homemade gumbo was ready and who wants to work on a crossword that makes you want to pull your hair out when you can eat gumbo that a friend has cooked from scratch all afternoon? Obviously, the answer is keep your hair.

In my crossword defense, I'd like to say that according to the Oxford Essential Thesaurus, ballot is synonymous with slate. The fact that it didn't fit is something else altogether. Oh, and Sara and Leah are two different people. That alone keeps me at least treading water in the same pool as they.

Still, I didn't know what the heck unguent meant. But I do know a good Sunday afternoon when I have one. And I do know a good Gumbo when I taste it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I'm just mad about saffron

It’s a cold February afternoon, perfectly gray and quiet. I put my long heavy coat on over my sweats and head to the park with Cheyenne.

Naked branches Dew on clover Swings

I think of Augusta and dial her familiar voice. On my end of the call I walk through the cold air and on hers, she relishes the free time to talk provided by both daughters taking naps. She’ll be here in two weeks. Our conversation tumbles round and round, from all the dinner plans to remembering when.

She tells me, we have to drive by the crack house.

We gave it that name the day we moved into the house that leaned and had enormous cracks in the living room walls. The house that had a rusted chandelier held to the ceiling by a bent spoon, and shingles on the interior walls of the kitchen. The ugliest house I'd ever seen much less lived in but she was determined when she found it and somehow convinced me to move in with her, so we could save money. I have no idea what we did with all that money we were saving.

The cold air is on my cheek, dreamy, alive. I take in the grey sky through the veiny bare branches of the trees. Peaceful and still. The park is empty, save for Cheyenne, me and this conversation.

I can’t believe we used to live there, can’t believe it’s still standing.

I tell her I can't believe it hasn't been condemned.

She laughs, says, remember when your mom came over and asked if the floor was slanting or if it was her martini getting to her?

We go back and forth, sharing, remembering, laughing. I tell her I’m craving an Orange Fanta and have no idea why.

She says, Orange Fanta, I haven't heard that in so long. That reminds me of the coke machine at the barn. It had Orange Fanta in it, and Tab and Mellow Yellow.

She teases me for not being able to remember the machine; I tease her for being able to recall the offerings. We fall into our memories of the barn, the afternoons spent sitting on the feed bin listening to music from the clock radio on the shelf beside the phone in the tackroom while waiting for our parents to pick us up, or running from the boys who would chase us with mice they'd catch, and all the desperate schoolgirl crushes on the polo players.

I put my hands in my pockets against the cold, holding the phone on my shoulder, leaning into the comfort of her voice. I think how good it feels to still be here laughing with her. For the moment, on this Texas-to-Vermont line, there's not a care in the world. For the moment, we're back on the feedbin on a warm afternoon, running grain through our hands and talking about school, boys, horses.

She sighs, says, I used to love Mellow Yellow.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Clouds of clouds streaming down your face

Summer, 2003

There are Fruit trees and Palm trees to be watered at FlyWay Farms. Recently planted, and since it has not recently rained, Dad is concerned about the trees. Though I don’t doubt his concern, in truth he’d load his dog, Thunder, in the Suburban and head south just to be there. This time, I had said I’d go with him. I was seeking time, and also to be of assistance.

Sunday morning I meet him at his house early. We pour hot coffee into our cups, load Thunder and drive South on 59, the rising sun reflecting pink and promising behind us in the mirrors. Thunder sleeps in his crate in the back of the Suburban. From the way he leapt into it when we opened the back gate, I feel sure he knows exactly where he’s going.

At FlyWay, Thunder chases scents while Dad and I fill every five-gallon bucket we have with water from a hose at the windmill, and load them in the back of the Mule. We drive down the road to the trees farthest from the house, and pour bucket after bucket of water at their bases, the sun shining hot on our backs and sweat forming on our brows. Just as we toss the last empty bucket into the Mule, I notice Thunder trotting towards us, finally closing the distance between the house and us, moving carefree across the pebble and dirt path, dust rising in clouds behind his feet. He’s going where he wants to be. With him. When he finally arrives, we’re in the Mule and heading back for more water.

Come on, boy, let's go.

When all the buckets of water are re-filled and re-loaded, Thunder has made it back to us at the pond. We leave again. He raises his black brows at us as if this is some kind of joke that he doesn't appreciate but is willing to play along with.

It goes on like this all morning. Back and forth.

When our work is done, we have the sandwiches I made for the trip. Thunder returns to us, walking now, succumbing to the heat and worn from the distance. Dad chuckles that Thunder is losing some excess weight today, then steps from the porch and throws a training decoy into the pond. Thunder flies after it, on fire with energy when he hits the water in pursuit.


They were friends, the two of them. The kind of companionship a man and dog have when the Field Trial Champ worms his way into the heart, and in doing so, slips out of the kennel and into the bliss of being a member of the family who lives with you, travels with you, and receives his own Christmas presents. The kind of friends that spend long days together, starting with sunrise. If he strayed too far, he’d answer with his presence when my father would bellow, THUNDER, in a voice loud and broad and surprising, a voice you had to hear and one I’m bottom-of-my-heart happy that a few friends can not only recall, but mimic spot on.

At many a day's end, Dad would sit in his chair, Thunder at his side. Dad would place one giant hand on Thunder's head, say, you’re a good boy, Thunder, you're a good boy. And Thunder would lift his head to Dad and love him right back. They were a pair.

When Dad died, Thunder knew he was gone, but always looked for his return.

February 16, 2006

Sometime during the night last night, Thunder stretched out beneath the picnic table on the back porch. And sometime after that, his life left his big black body, his shine left his dark, eager-to-please eyes. I do not know how and I do not know why. But I can guess.

This morning, on my drive to Austin, I was thankful to be in the muscle car with the top down. My mind needed the freedom of the wind in my hair and my heavy heart needed the wide open spaces. At one point along I-10, long stretches of geese flew overhead. Hundreds of geese, flying silent and out of reach above me. Sad and lonely and perfect. I looked at them and thought, they are carrying Thunder home. Sad and perfect.

He was loyal, eager and loving. Lord, was he loving. You couldn’t sit in a chair without him stretching his head up to lick you cheek, and if you gave him just a sliver of an inch, he’d put a paw on your knee, and if you didn’t stop it right there, you’d soon find yourself with 90 pounds of black lab standing on your knees and licking your face.

I’d like to think that right now, my father is somewhere above, his beloved Thunder back at his side. Together again. And side-by-side they watch the sun-kissed wings of hundreds of geese flying in giant V-formations below.

Welcome home, friend. You’re a good boy, Thunder. You’re a good boy.

Dirty boy

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The fine thread weaving age and familiar, so that you see in the new everything you ever loved in the old

I call her Sunday afternoon.

I was wondering if you'd like to be my Valentine.

I hear the smile on her face before I hear her response. I'd love that, thank you. She tells me she'd like to go to the club, that they always have a nice Valentine's dinner. But you'll need to call.

Our table will be ready at 7:45. The voice on the line tells me that he looks forward to seeing my Mother. It's been a while since she's come in. Yes it has. In their terms. My father brought her here weekly; now she comes when we can take her.

When we arrive, the formal dining room is vacant. Valentine's dinner is in the ballroom. It's not what I wanted, numbered tables, fixed menu, a table that is not our usual, a large dance floor but windows far from where we're seated. I had hoped for the usual elegance of lights in the trees along the bayou, for the piano player that plays to his audience of her. Tonight there's a three piece ensemble. She's pleased, orders a Beefeaters on the Rocks, with an Olive.

She's quiet tonight, even when she's speaking. Sharon points it out to me later. The pace of the restaurant and lack of service don't seem to upset her. Normally, it could be what sends her over the edge. She is enjoying the music, happy to be here and happy that Sharon has joined us. Sharon, who Mom thinks the sun rises and sets over, and hasn't seen in a while, just might be icing on Mom's Valentine cake, she's so happy to see her.

I look around the room and remember when I was last here. My father's company's 35th anniversary. A celebration of high order. I danced with my Father and with my Uncle that night. I floated from table to table talking with familiar faces who I'd known since I was that tall. We all shined that night, we were all proud to be part of the success. No one prouder than Dad, as he walked through the room congratulating, thanking, sharing.

I hear that night echoing in the walls and and see bits reflecting in the windows.

Our Lobster Bisque is presented but we do not see another morsel of food for well over an hour and a half. More drinks though, they're on top of that. I hold my patience as I tip my glass and taste the bubbles.

She tells us, Your father never loved me, that's why I married your Mother.

I ponder the absurdity of the statement and realize she's battling her own father again. It's often where she returns when she's drinks. If you have ever wondered how far poor or abusive parenting lingers, the answer is that it travels with you for the distance of the rest of your life. What she tried to say was that her father never loved her and that's why she married my father. My father adored her and respected her, and she knew it. She deserved it.

On the dance floor is a boy I later learn is eight years old, dancing with his mother and doing a fine job of leading. They dance like pros. I'm tickled as he walks to the trio and makes a song request. Memories bubble up. I'm dancing on my father's toes, being twirled and dipped and led across the floor like riding a cloud. I watch over the dance floor at the couples, elderly, young, fathers and daughters. I remember those dancing days. I look at Mom, she has a glint in her eye, enjoying the music.

Sharon drives home. I sit in the back seat, leaning forward a bit, my hand rubbing Mom's arm, loving her. I hear her quietly singing, Fly me to the moon, let me dance among the stars.

We all take something from the night. Sharons says that watching the elderly couples shows her that true love does exist. Mom takes home the music. I take home the memories.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Fried, like Valentine's Toast

I have a gift for you this Valentine's Day. It's the gift of knowledge, so pay attention.

If you ever find yourself in a convertible driving the freeway to work on a somewhat chilly morning, it's a good idea to either wear that lightweight jacket you brought with you or put it beneath something heavy in the front seat, or else the combination of its lightweightiness and all the wind blowing through the car will airlift that sucker right out of your reach and forever out of your life.

Back up your hardrive. Often. Or you might find the head of your IT department looking down at you with a face that saves him from actually having to tell you what an idiot you are and still assures you get the message, all while he tells you that your hard drive is fried, as in toast. This one's a two-parter and here's the second half: Do not respond that, actually, toast is not fried, it's toasted. He will not crack a smile. And he is what stands between you and your laptop.

Both of these learned the hard way by me on this very morning. Seems unfair not to share it. Even though I'm not proud of letting the jacket fly out of the car, and I'm certainly regretting not backing up my hard drive, in my world, I think both of these are preferable to saying out loud that something was fried, as in toast.

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all.

Monday, February 13, 2006

This is the post where all I talk about is that muscle car because I think I'm in love with it and I know I can't wait to drive it home today

It's silver and black. It's fun and sexy. It's all mine for a week. Besides the fact that it won't have its top up one time between now and next Sunday (okay, unless it rains), what I really care about is that it has gigantic speakers in the door that remind me of the speakers my boyfriend had in college, the ones that he removed the covering from so he could show them off, as if you couldn't just figure out on your own that they were ridiculously enormous speakers that logically would have ridiculously enormous insides. The speakers in this car are a bit like that. And they work quite nicely too, those speakers do. I've got the player loaded with CDs already. I feel that I should be listening to the Doobie Brothers or maybe America, but I drove to work with Toby Keith instead.

I'm not sure if it's the car and blond hair combination, or maybe the car/blond hair/chocolate lab combination, but it sure has been drawing a lot of attention.

Muscle car II Muscle car I Muscle car V

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My new muscle car will not be mentioned one single time in this post

The storm in my life, the target on my back, you've seen it. But that has been of my own doing. You know it, I know it. No sense in hiding.

The love in my heart, the vision from my eyes, you've seen that too. Dreamer with her dreams. That has also been of my own doing. You know it, I know it. No sense in hiding.

I've had dinner at El Tiempo, lunch at Los Tios, dinner at Tony's, and breakfast at La Mexicana. To them it's redundant - to me, it's going home. I miss Mexico. But really, I'm just looking for home. It wouldn't matter at all, it doesn't matter at all, save for the company. I've loved the company.

I drove by his office today. The name on the building is new and offensive. Should I have come here? I'm angry at the building, at them. There's no reason but for feeling it. They can't hide his windows or his parking place. Empty now on a Sunday. Quiet. I can see him walking out the door. I remember it like yesterday. Right there, but vacant today. It makes me angry. For some reason, I'm looking for blame. They can't take my memories. I've walked those halls, sat in that office, looked at framed photos of my life on those walls. My Dad built that business. My Dad built that building. His dreams, his goals. You can change the name but I own this place. You can take the halls but you can't take this from me. THIS IS MINE.

We drive on.

The neighborhood is empty, save for the homeless and nervous, a few kids chasing each other near a car that no longer runs. She's pushing a cart and wearing a boa and fuzzy slippers but I pay no mind. He never would build fences. We talked about it but he wouldn't consider it. They are my friends, Alison. We take care of each other.

We drive on.

He spoke the truth, there never was any trouble. Driving down the street tonight, I think the peace was set by his hands, his mind, his vision. Driving down the street tonight,I focus on that street sign. 1202 Hahlo. I always knew it would mean something to me, Hahlo.

That's my Dad.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

All Star Week

The world spins like it always has, only altogether different. It's been a year since I lost my father. Passing through this past week has been a kind of full circle that I didn't really want to remember or complete. It's also been good medicine. I've been blessed with reminders this week that even when we think we're alone, someone is out there holding us in their heart. I thank my lucky stars for each of you.

My brother, for taking care of things on the homefront. For keeping true to the promises he made himself and reminding me through example that sometimes we have to be our own North Star.

My mother for trying and not always succeeding but getting up every day and trying again.

My sister-in-law and friend, Kathy, for the long phone conversations, and picking me up on Friday and staying with me until I was ready to go to sleep.

Carrie and Jacqui for coming home early Sunday. And delivering time with open hand and open house.

Sharon for that brunch and bottle of white star, and for always asking, How's your Mom? Mostly though for well-timed water under the bridge.

Augusta for calling me about 20 times over the weekend, just to check in, even though she had a housefull of company and a sick baby who wouldn't let her out of sight. And for the long email in which among other things, she said, I miss your Daddy too, and I love you more than you know.

Mindy for sitting still and talking candidly with me on Monday, for sharing what it was like for her. And also for backing off of that whole Grotto idea and going to Chuy's instead, because it's where I wanted to go.

Gadfly for a really good conversation at dinner a week ago, and for being sensitive and taking the time to check with others before sending that Superbowl party invitation.

Shannon for mailing me a card that she made with fishhook stamps in honor of my father. And for always thinking of me and reaching out even though she has one child on her hip and another at her knee.

Thinking of you

It's two particular friends who have been in my life since our days in highschool: Donna for mailing me a beautiful card and reminding me of my spirit and perseverance. And it's Buddy for emailing me these words: Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you. Remember Heaven's gain. He is so proud of you.

It's the email from Sass who said she only had a minute to write but wanted me to consider thinking about the day as being the one he was welcomed with psalms sung by angels.

It's Sass and Network Geek, Ghost, and Adam. People I've not meant but won't deny what their comments, and therefore they, have meant to me.

And of course, that dog of mine. For allowing me to live with her, provide her with a comfortable couch, and spoil her rotten every day.

Right at home on her couch

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a single word can be all one needs to be reminded they are not traveling alone. All of you have touched me in the past week, and for that, you're my All Stars. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Learning my way

If only you were in Australia, I would have written you a letter on Monday and told you what it's like without you here, and you'd receive it and write back telling me what it's like without me there. Death and distance could be related if not for that impossibility.

I look for you everywhere. And while I don't see your face or hear your voice, I always find you. I see something I know you've seen or something I know you'd enjoy seeing. I drive roads you've driven, talk with people you loved, gaze at trees you planted. I remember the expressions on your face, the love in your heart, and words from your mouth. I remember your big hands and the way you whistled to pass the time. I bring you here.

I drank a martini in your honor yesterday. Truth be told, I drank a few. Just my luck your drink of choice was a martini and not, say, beer. We sat beneath the sun and smiled as we toasted you. It was sincere and sad but also a celebration of you, as if instead it were your birthday.

I'm getting better at it, at being here without you. I'm more familiar with it. And I can breathe again.

My friend sat across the table from me yesterday and asked, How are you doing?

I told her that I was okay.

She locked her eyes with mine and in a more serious voice said, Are you really?

I smiled at her and said, Really, I'm okay. This is not unfamiliar, I've had 364 days of practice.

The funny thing is that I've never thought that before. The words just came out of my mouth. It is true though, every day I practice being here without you. Some days are better than others but I'm learning my way.

Yesterday, the skies were blue, Dad, a brilliant blue. I couldn't help but feel that was for you. And for a little while it didn't feel like practicing at all, or pretending or even remembering. It felt like floating inside the color of your eyes. Then again, that last bit could have been the martinis talking.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Little things

In the past year, I've typed out here much of what I was discovering about grief, what I was learning about myself and the world following the loss of my father. The lessons always whisper, and never end.

When I think about this past year, I see that it's the little things that have been the most meaningful, and the most healing. Sounds, scents, a phone call, all have reached into my soul and mined my sadness in a way that broad gestures couldn't touch. I've learned that simple remedies heal the deepest ills. The love that springs from a friend, a quiet sunrise, the laughter of children at play. When you are an expressive person, it's a dangerous game to lock your feelings away. I've tried hard this year to face sadness and not hide it where it would catch me later and cripple me. I've tried to keep my thoughts and words in a healing tone. Choices are possible and this was the right choice for me. I've consciously chosen not to let the world steal the peace I find, not to fret about every little thing, and to get up and do on the days it would be so easy to stay lying down.

Certain things in life are not ours to alter. So too with death. We have to take what we can and go on. It's a choice that sometimes has to be made everyday. I choose to watch for the magic that tickles my heart in memory of him. I choose to listen for peace.

Friday, February 03, 2006

A fine memory that makes me smile

That man, that dog, that place, that day

Dad & Cheyenne

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Figuring it out

On my walk this morning, I realized something in a drop-a-safe-on-her-head kind of way. All this working up over certain dates regarding my father, it's only when I am looking out at some day in the future and presuming it will feel or be a certain way. When I stay in the now, in the moment, in the present, whatever you want to call it but when I keep my focus on today, I'm okay. Just as I was when I awoke New Year's Day and realized that I hadn't fallen off the edge of the earth just because it was a new year, even though I had worked myself into an emotional lather about it on the last day of 2005. Just as okay as I will be every single day of February. My as yet to be met friend is right on the money when she tells me to kick the shit out of it and make it my own. Yes I'll feel pain but the advice my father always gave me was to be brave.

I'm putting that advice to use again. And with that, I'm taking back February, one day at a time.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

and on a lighter note...

As an illustration to how sleep-walking aware I sometimes am in the mornings, I was just pouring the half and half into my cup of coffee, only it wasn't my coffee cup that received it, it was my can of La Croix.

That'll wake you up, quick.

Oh, and I would like to take this opportunity to state that that green lizard on the Geico commercials, the one with the British accent? I love him.

Who doesn't want free pie and chips? You've got pie. Chips. And they're free. Who doesn't like pie with chips for free?