Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Dormant Traveler Daydreams ...

Today is my 8th wedding anniversary. It’s been a wild ride!

I happened to stumble across some photos from a few trips we’ve taken in the days before we were parents and for all intents and purposes could come and go as we pleased in life. It got me thinking about the world in general, and about how there are so many beautiful places, so different from my everyday scenery. And how not just are they there when we discovered them, but have been there forever and are still there this moment and will be there forever to come. Don’t ask me why this epiphany thrills me so, but it does. I guess I just get twitterpated by what a beautiful planet we live on from time to time, and my heart longs to return and to see even more undiscovered sceneries.

When we were in the Valley of Fire in Nevada, we took a few rocks and brought them home with us. It’s against the law to take anything out of state and national parks like that, so don’t tell anyone. But these rocks adorn the corner of our hearth and reside on various bookshelves in our family room. Though I love my Midwestern surroundings and there’s no place like home, these rocks virtually glow with hues that you can hunt for in my area for the rest of your life and will never find. Bright oranges, luna-moth greens and romantic shades of purple and puce. They’re simply luscious to the eye, and as photos never do the real thing justice, I’m glad we have them.

We have been to St. Thomas twice. You know the tv shows on the Travel channel and the rich colorbursting spreads in the glossy pages of magazines that you look at and swear have to be tweaked? They aren’t. The blues and greens of the Carribean Sea are every bit as rich and quenching as that, if not moreso. The entire place is an orgy of vivid color and texture. I found myself standing on the balcony of St. Peter’s Greathouse, overlooking Magen’s Bay, just trying to soak the images into my brain like a thirsty sponge, so that I could keep them with me forever.

We took a catamaran trip around St. Maarten. The sea was rough and the swells deep. Other passengers huddled on board but Hub and I scampered out onto the nets, clinging to the ropes and taking facefulls of Mother Nature with every dive into the swells. I was keenly aware that one false move and I could teakettle right into the sea. That might kill me. But it was worth the chance. I knew what it meant to be alive that moment.

A few summers ago we stood on the Continental Divide. The sun was setting and there were clouds curling about a few thousand feet below us in the valleys. The air was thin and crisp and it was remarkably chilly for July, by a midwesterner’s standards. The elk were grazing in all directions. I ached to remain.

One summer afternoon a few years ago as we returned to our cabin after spending the day on Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana, a short but needling rainshower galloped through the valley. As it moved on through, the sun came back out and a rainbow burst out. Rainbows are somehow different in Big Sky Country. You could swear they're no more than a foot from your face, and are even surprised when your fingers only rake sparkling air when you reach out to touch it.

While I am home now, in familiar surroundings and monotonous routines, these and other places remain and are the way they are at any given moment. That lifts my heart somehow. Just knowing that if I ever return they’ll be there waiting for me makes me happy.

I’m glad I got to share it all with the Hub. Sometimes we make each other crazy but he’s the best traveling companion I could ever have.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pennies in a Coffee Can

This is the phrase I use to describe the state of just having a bunch of random thoughts clattering around in my brain. Such is my state today, and I thought I’d let a few out.

I've been thinking about what I want this project to become and I still don't really know. Probably it will continue along its path of a quilt'o'randomness, which is fine. If I feel like talking about politics on monday and how molasses are better than brown sugar in baked beans on tuesday and how great "Cinderella Man" was on Wednesday and why I believe that when you die you go to Heaven or Hell but also believe in the existence of ghosts on Thursday, I'd like to have a place where it'll all fit. Nothing being off topic because clearly everything is off topic!

Yes, that's it.

Thus, onward ...

I was going to get some bing cherries at the store this morning, but decided to get these other cherries instead. They are called Rainier cherries – they are yellow with a red kind of blush on them and look almost like miniature apples. They kind of look like they’d be sour (what does sour look like?) but they’re great. I might even like them better. Speaking of fruit, the black raspberries at the back of my property are getting ripe at a rapid rate lately. I’ve probably picked 4 cups in the last 2 days, and now I can’t find that awesome berry pie recipe I made so many times last summer. Probably just as well, as I don’t really need to be eating pie when my can’s been eclipsing the sun lately.

I was surfing through blogs last night before bed, as I wasn’t feeling exhausted for a change – and I couldn’t believe how many of the random pullups originated in Singapore. Blogging must be hot in Singapore.

I also noticed the two most annoying things that anyone can do in a blog (in my own opinion, of course) is to either spell stuff with AlTeRnAtInG cApS AnD LoWeR cAsE LeTtErS – geez, talk about instant migraine – and/or to spell things so badly that you can barely even decipher it. What the heck is that mess, ebonics? I guess that’s bloggy slang to do that, but I hate it. Guess I’m no longer young and hip.

I saw a top 5 list blog last night. The cat just listed his top 5 movies or songs or whatever as his posts, inspired by the movie High Fidelity. I loved that movie. Mainly because I love to talk about lists. My lists, your lists, anyone’s lists. Maybe I’ll start doing that occasionally in my lil’ ol’ bloggieblog.

My feelings are hurt about something I don’t really feel like talking about. Therefore I will simply record an ambiguous whine about it. Wah. There.

The horseflies are starting to appear. There’s about a 2-week span here where horseflies are pretty prevalent. You can barely even go outside because some dang horsefly will immediately land on you and bite a big hole in you. Luckily it doesn’t last too terribly long.

There was a big doe in my back yard last night. There was a buck in my back yard a few days ago engaging in a Mexican standoff with the dog, and a doe with a speckled fawn a few days before that. There’s a doe with twins who frequently munch in the soybean field across the road. I see deer all the time on and around our property, but being born and raised a city girl, I can’t get over them.

The worst part about where we live now is the fact that skunks are about. The dog has been sprayed twice since we moved here last summer, and that choking stench that lies somewhere between burning tires and xylene is a mo-fo to get rid of. In case you’re ever in need, I found a recipe on line that does a decent job (please note that tomato juice does NOT work). Here’s the recipe: 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Blend well and use immediately. Cover your dog with the mixture, careful to avoid the eyes, nose and mouth as it will sting and peroxide makes dogs throw up more liquid than you’d ever believe they could contain. The little bit of soap in the recipe allows the mixture to adhere to their fur. Let the mixture sit on the dog for 5 minutes, and rinse. Repeat if necessary – one round worked for my dog, though.

I keep musing to myself that I'm hungry, but I don't think I really am. See, I call it the stinky shoe effect. I started my healthy eating plan again this week because I've been feeling so crappy (speaking physically now, not mentally as usual). Anyway, my theory is if you start a diet that says you can't eat any stinky shoes, you'll crave stinky shoes like nobody's business. My friend M-M told me last night as I explained this theory, that she's eaten stinky shoes and they aren't bad. This is of no help to me, to know this. It just makes me hungrier. LOL. Long story short (too late), I think I just want to eat. It's my oral fixation. Speaking of oral fixations, I quit smoking 10 years ago this summer. Yippee!

I’ve still been feeling sad. Not about anything in particular, which is why it’s so annoying. Yes, there's that whole thing from yesterday's post, but it's beyond that. I don't know ... Do you ever just feel that your heart is crammed full of brambles of ambiguous origin?

BTW, I found a recipe for raspberry crisp on line. In the interest of my healthy eating plan I subsitiuted the sugar with Splenda, butter with olive oil, and white flour with wheat flour. It sucked. Oh well, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

May offend some ~ but frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

This entry disappeared for a while and I'm not sure how that happened. In any case, here it is again. What can I say, I'm computer-impaired.

I was browsing other blogs on this most uneventful day and ran across one that has made me sad. These were things I already knew, but in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, sometimes we forget what is unpleasant to think about. Funny that such a thing becomes faint in ones memory when all anyone seems to be blabbing about is how the new supreme court judge's politics will affect the Roe v. Wade law.

Few are lukewarm on the subject of abortion. I've gotten my head bitten off by close friends instantaneously just from mentioning it, and there have been times they have tried to make me feel as if I were the one with no sense of decency.


I used to be pro-choice, until I thought beyond the scope of self. Until I learned exactly when life begins, and exactly how the procedures are carried out. It's a "choice" that is not just about the woman's body. And it's brutal. Should you wait until after it's born to terminate a child's life, even by methods immensely more compassionate than those administered in the act of abortion, it would be murder. I fail to see the difference if this act is carried out before birth.

What can you say to someone who feels differently, though? For those who agree, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no references, examples, or even medical facts will suffice. And please. Don't give me any sh*t about it's better to terminate an unwanted pregnancy because the child will merely become a burden on society and will live an unloved, miserable existence. How do you know that? How do you know that God, the universe and everything doesn't have a remarkable plan for that little life?

I heard Al Franken say the other day that he thinks it's ridiculous that right wingers are against abortion because it interferes with the life cycle, yet many support the death penalty. Saint Al feels that the death penalty interferes with the life cycle. Hm, interesting. He isn't concerned at all about how and in what ways that waste of space on death row has interfered with his victim's life cycle - and that of his/her family, friends, community. I guess the inmate's life and existence is much more valuable and precious than anything those people could have offered the world. What kind of assanine logic is that?

Another mental giant, Jerry Springer, raised my blood pressure through the roof just this morning. Someone on his show was speaking of a woman who is involved in a group called Feminists for Pro-Life, and Jerry muttered, “you mean anti-choice.”

AAAAAAGH! See what I mean? It breaks my heart.

I guess people do and believe whatever they must to relieve their own conscience, deal with their own skeletons, live with their own choices or the choices of those they love. Whatever. Spare me the melodrama as I have tried to spare you. I'm only speaking my mind here, I'm not picketing clinics and marching on Washington. Right or wrong, Roe v. Wade seems to be a settled law, and thus I live with it. Likewise I'm not going to judge anyone or bust anyone's chops if they have made such a choice. But I'm allowed to feel what I feel too, and if they want me to keep my ideals and values from being shoved down their throats, I expect the same in return.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Touch of the Master's Hand

So I’ve been thinking about Joe lately, as his birthday is coming up at the end of this month. He has been gone for 17 years now (geez has it been that long?) and I still grieve at least twice a year. The birthday, of course, and the anniversary of his death. Ironic that someone so sweet and kind and selfless would die at the age of 20, trying to save someone else. Well, actually not ironic I suppose, as that’s how it tends to go.

I suppose so recently losing J has fueled the hollowness I am feeling as I remember Joe and how difficult it was to lose him, and during finals week of freshman year. I’m surprised I didn’t drop out of college. I can remember sitting in art history class, thankful the lights were low for the slide presentation so I could privately allow the tears to roll down my face.

I freaking hate crying in the presence of others.

I remember calling K to tell him. He was stationed in Shreveport at the time and getting hold of him was next to impossible since buttheads never gave messages. But whomever I left word with must have sensed the urgency because K called me not long after. I told him and we cried forever on the phone. The 3 of us had such a strong bond that there were just no words. We never fully got over it and not a conversation went by that we didn’t mention him.

I don’t know where K is now.  So weird how people, even ones you think you could never live without, can one day just not be there.

I think back on that week at youth camp and the roots of our friendship and I practically long for those days. As sucky as getting through our teens was, and I would never want to go through that mess again, we were untouched by the tragedies of life then – and of losing things which would be so valuable. You never appreciate what you have when you have it. That was the summer that Joe taught us that song, "The Touch of the Master's Hand". Actually we learned it just from making him sing it over and over. His voice was velvet, it was his gift. One of many, really.

If I block out the world and think really hard, I can still feel his hug. Is it real?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Decade After

10 years ago today, I earned a new title: Divorcee’.

10 years later, I’m remarried, with a family and a life beyond anything I expected I deserved. But there was a time that I never thought it would happen.

I don’t tell many people I’ve been divorced. Though it was my emancipation from a life of hell, it still feels like a black mark. Though I did nothing wrong, though I was the one betrayed, it still makes me feel like a failure. I don’t know if that will ever change.

Still, for all its weight, it’s been a blessing. It tempered my steel, it empowered me. And it’s taught me things that will remain with me forever:

* That what you think could never happen – indeed could.
* That I am stronger than I ever thought I could be.
* That the soul can starve, and takes much longer than the body does to renourish.
* That words can bruise more deeply than any blow.
* That someone will add insult to injury.
* That forgiveness is a difficult and far away destination.
* That anger is part of the healing process.
* That love is not enough.
* That one person cannot keep a marriage together.
* That one person can break a marriage apart.
* That the legal system is not always fair.
* That if someone doesn’t love you as you are, they won’t love you if you restructure for them either.
* That if you want control of your life, you must take it instead of waiting for it to be granted to you.
* How much you may not know about the person you trusted with your life.
* To trust your instincts. Always.
* There’s no substitute for time.
* That in time, life would be good again.

Monday, July 18, 2005

BP 250 over 125

The capital city blew 20 million dollars last week. They passed a weapons ban and ticked off the NRA who were planning to hold the 2007 convention there. Now they've pulled out and have taken the estimated 20 mil revenue the city would have made with them. The town officials are acting all aloof about it, but you know they're crapping their pants. HAR! Serves them right.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

New friends, old friends - it didn't suck

After this past weekend, I'm feeling rejuvenated.

Friday the hub called me at work and told me he'd made plans with our new friends C&M. To be honest, I didn't want to go. But they'd made arrangements for their sitter to also watch the boy (it would be the first time we'd leave him with someone we didn't know, let alone someone we didnt know through other people we didnt really know and just the thought was giving me a stroke) so I kind of felt obligated. Besides, I'm always wishing I had things to do - and when I finally do I don't want to go? What's my problem?

We ended up having a great time. We gabbed a while at their place (they really dont live far from us) and then went to dinner at a casual eatery. It was busy so we had a few beers in the bar and just had a silly old time. Dinner was good and we had a lot of laughs. I got along with M so well! It was like we've known each other a long time - I'm really happy, as I have few girlfriends, particularly local. After that we went to a local bar and saw a band and continued with the chatter and laughs. Just like that it was midnight! They invited us back to play a few hands of euchre but we were feeling terrible about the dog being locked up all day and then again all night. So we declined. We picked up the boy - he had been just fine, BTW - and went home.

Saturday we were supposed to go to B&J's. They live on the other side of the city (in the country) out by the raceway. I was looking forward to it because I hadnt even seen J since they moved out of the old neighborhood - even before we did. Plus T is just a little older than the boy and I'm anxious for him to make friends. Hub and B went to the raceway and J and I hung out with the kids and had a mom pow wow. It was not the wild life but it was good. We all cooked out and T drove the boy around in his fireturck (very cool). I think they're going to be lifelong friends :).

Today I went to the grocery which was a pain in the butt because they moved everything somewhere else and I couldnt find stuff. But I wasnt stressing because frankly I had a great weekend. It was wonderful to connect with old friends. I mean really - like coming home again. And I cant even describe how much good friday night did for me. I dont even remember the last time I'd been out for the evening like that really. I've missed it. Just some time to unwind ... relax ... not be in charge. It made me realize what's been missing - the piece I've needed in the puzzle of my well being. Just simple time when I'm not doing 5 things at once, when I'm not mom, or housewife, or employee ...

... I'm just me.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

in blog-nito

WARNING: You are entering a free-association zone. Topics and demeanor will have no apparent pattern and are subject to frequent and drastic change.

Hello and welcome to my dumb ol’ blog.

I had another blog about a year ago but I got hassled about it. There was a problem with me putting private thoughts and info out for any lunatic in cyberspace to see. I shut it down to keep the peace. But the truth of the matter is:

1. I like to write
2. Writing helps me think
3. Despite the fact that I am rarely alone, I feel painfully lonely on occasion
4. Nobody seems to have time for me or my concerns

Plus (true confessions time): I have a propensity to whine despite my disdain for whining. Long story short, I am starting one up again. Vague enough to be anonymous, and specific enough to be therapeutic and mildly interesting. It's not my desire to maintain an alter ego within my daily life. Nor is it my intention to withhold secrets or bash anyone. I just want a place that is mine, a refuge to sort out thoughts and maybe be a little creative. I'm sure it will blow up in my face, but I mean no harm. I just like to write. That's all.

Onward to today’s grievances …

I’ve been in a fonky mood for countless weeks and I can’t seem to snap out of it. I can only guess it’s due to the series of unfortunate events that have befallen me this year – I have lost 3 people (dead dead and dead) in the past 5 months or so, and each must be digested and processed in its own unique way. Juggling so many albatrosses along with the regular daily loads has made me stressed and weary. To accentuate the fun of it all, nearly all the people I used to share my burdens with are either no longer there for some reason or another, or are too busy with their own lives and concerns (justifiably, their concerns are more weighty in most cases) to seemingly have the time to be interested in mine.

Not that I’ve even felt like taking the effort to put anything into words lately.

Anyhow, one of my best friends ever has been dead for 6 weeks now. It’s funny, she’d always told me she thought she’d die young. Her health was never good. But who’d have thought it wouldn’t be from her diabetes, but from cancer? The pit that missing her has left in my chest is bottomless. Things have been happening that make me wonder about stuff though. I saw a rainbow the moment I looked up from learning of her death. Exactly a month to the day, I received an uncompleted letter J had been writing to me when she died, that R had found while going through her things and sent to me. The weird thing is the letter had been bouncing around several extra days due to a postage issue, allowing it to arrive on the anniversary date. And the other night I dreamed of J. We were at a baseball game. Her hair was long and she was in a yellow shirt. She looked beautiful, and when I hugged her, I noted that her hair smelled like Salon Selectives. In my dream I knew she was dead but regardless it all made sense that we were standing there together. Perhaps I was afforded a glimpse of her in her new celestial body, free from illness and pain.

I’ve had a few people tell me how lucky I am, to have received these things. Some call them signs. I do feel lucky. But I wonder. Are these things intentionally real, or mere coincidence? Am I naïve to believe it is the former rather than the latter?

And now, just so I’m not categorized as a total raincloud, a happy anecdote ... Last night the boy had an epiphany and it was really wonderful to see. He has some puzzles – simple wooden puzzles that have 9 animals. Each one piece, each with a picture of the animal in the hole as well as on the piece. Until now he has played with the puzzle but hasn’t really made the connection of how to match the animals up. But last night the light bulb went on and he understood. We put the puzzle together over and over, and each time he got better and better at recognizing where each animal went. On the last go around, he barely hesitated at all when deducing where each piece should go, regardless of the fact that I’d scramble them up and out of order.

A small thing, really, but a thing to make a mother’s heart burst with love and pride. I love the boy more deeply than I ever dreamed my heart could love. And I’ve loved deeply, let me tell you. Still, never like this. Never.

Well I’m outta here for now. Oh, BTW, if you ever think I’m writing about you, I’m not. It’s someone else, and actually I’m someone else as well. In fact, you’re not exactly certain I’ve written anything at all … ;)