I can't call it SAD as she did, because really we have no seasons. It alternates between chilly and warm and the sun is usually shining. I know it is not depression. Not even the slang term we have adopted to represent the clinical diagnosis. It is just the blahs. At times linked to hormones other times to circumstances. A sort of wah feeling. That I want nothing and to do nothing. Really it feels like nothing fits right. No I don't mean my clothes, because those are actually looking good. I am talking me. Anything I try on for size does not seem, well, correct. I need something more, something different. I feel restless and tired at the same time. Worn out and annoyed. Nothing seems to soothe this emotion. I read what she said and think that sounds wonderfully lovely. Back to back posts about self improvement, visualization, goals and pampering. I think I will go to Borders and pick up some books like those she mentioned. Then I grow tired and don't feel like driving. It seems too far and too much trouble. And I think that I don't really want to do any of those exercises anyway. And how when I quit half way through that project I will feel worse about myself and my state. So I try to conjure up ideas on what else I can do to get out of the funk. Small things, like a Starbucks, a magazine or playing music. All seem, too small. I don't want to make busy with dinner or baking. The effort in planning, executing and cleaning is too much for me. It is taxing even considering such an endeavor. I tried yoga the night before and it helped. But only for a while. Because the feeling came back. So I am not sure if another class is the true fix. And again, I just feel too spent to put the effort in to change clothes, grab my mat and drive over. Ditto for the treadmill. Seems like such an ordeal. When in reality it is there in the second bedroom and all I really need to do are tie my sneakers. But it is just this mindset and feeling. And an idea that more needs to change, which will not be helped by cooking a lasagna or doing a few miles on the treadmill. This is bigger and needs a larger band aid. I am not there yet though. Diagnosing the problem is still the top priority and that is in it's infancy. It is multi-layered. I feel bad about myself and not in the I am fat and ugly bad about myself. This too is multi-faceted. So I am not yet at solutions stage of the game. For now I am assessing and evaluating. Trying to see if I am a complainer or a realist. If these are legitimate concerns or just a passing emotion. These ideas and notions hit all of us from time to time. At least I tell myself that, to make myself feel a little better. These blahs come and go and sometimes they are real and we need to address them to improve ourselves and our mental status. And sometimes I am just a whiner. So for the time being a glass, or several, hell really it was a whole bottle of wine and some cheese-ass TV will soothe the pain. At least until I pass out from the alcohol.
Labels: Everyday Life
It is Friday night. Yeah, one of those Friday nights. I am cleaning up the Annie’s (cooked with broccoli) from dinner and getting ready to make these treats. Willing to give it a try, learning later they are difficult to serve. Too cold makes them hard to eat, too soft makes them messy. But in the moment it is fun to bang and mash the pots and pans around. I am overcome with a memory and an image. Instead of standing at the kitchen counter in a tee shirt and bare feet, sipping a red, and mixing cream cheese and Cool Whip, I am standing at a bar. Holding a martini, sipping softly and standing awkwardly. Countless nights spent like that, waiting. For something. Or someone. I always felt that there was something else out there, as I stood in three inch heals waiting for it. I looked around, half listening to my girl friend's chatter and discussion. Waiting for that moment. People pass by, smile politely. On occasion, an offer of a drink or a pick up line. That is occasionally. I traveled in packs and appeared un-inviting. At least I have to think so. I never met people at bars. I thought it was a possible, every night I went out and dressed. Applying perfume, eye make up, and cleavage. But it never happened, not that way. Instead I stood there, enjoying the ladies company and laughter. Always darting my eyes and looking for something. Waiting. I think I was waiting for this.
Labels: Last Life
In a free association moment, I saw a crushed cardboard coffee cup in the middle of the street with the words Joe written on the side in bold print and a few steps away was the black lid that once topped the cup off, now also smashed by the traffic. This triggered a memory of a guy I went to law school with. Whose name I cannot recall. He dated and eventually married an Anne. I remembered hers because, well, she was memorable. She wore plastic Notre Dame shower shoes, everywhere. Everyday. Including with a satin dress to the law school formal, or Prom as we liked to call it. I get the whole alumni thing and I know those Fightin' Irish are pretty passionate, but no one understood her. Chris. Thinking about her and those shoes, his name popped into my head. Chris carried the biggest coffee mug I have ever seen. It was white, with a red handle and top and must have been purchased at a gas station of sorts, as their logo was splashed on the side. He arrived every morning to Professional Responsibility with a cup of coffee the size of his head. Literally. It was enormous. I sat there wondering how he held it (I learned nothing in Professional Responsibility and this could be why). I know I would spill such a monster of a cup. Hell, I spill the grande size 'bucks without even taking a step. So I wondered. How did he transport it in his car? It could not possibly fit into those tiny cup holders. I also wondered how he made that much coffee? Did he have giant sized appliance at his house too? The big-as-your- head coffee maker by Black and Decker? And, and, how did he drink it all before it got cold? There was so much liquid in there, no way he could enjoy all that coffee. It could not still be hot coffee at the end. It did not seem possible. Which was why I always believed it was not actually coffee in that cuppa Joe. He was just like that. After all he married Notre Dame. Or maybe I was the one with the spiked coffee this morning.
A few days ago, while playing one of those games you play on car trips, Magoo asked me, if I were stuck on a deserted island, with one musical group, who would it be. I immediately answered Ray. Ray LaMontagne. I think I have extolled his virtues to a few of you on your own web sites. I could just kiss his smokey, smooth, sand paper voice. I think I would forget I was on a deserted island and just lie in the sand listening to him serenade me. That was, until last night. When I saw the Indigo Girls in concert. Thinking back, I must have been listening to their music for over 10 years by now. So it is evident I have a love of their music. But I had never had the opportunity to see them live. Which in retrospect was unfortunate, because they rocked. I swear, unreal. More amazing than I could have ever imagined. Their harmony was perfect. After each song they changed guitars and played 96% of the show acoustic. The venue was a small theater and we (by luck) were blessed with seats a few rows back, so we could see their every move. It was amazing and I wanted them to come home with me and sing me to sleep, that night and every night. What was more amazing is how long they have been doing this and how good they are. It has been twenty years of making albums, singing songs, strumming guitars and touring. I have a live CD of theirs from 1991. 1991! That was over 15 years ago and in that live recording people knew all the words to their songs. To be honest, they sounded louder, clearer and even better last night, than they did in 1991. Seriously amazing. They still play to sold out shows with the entire audience on their feet singing every word of every song. Really, can you imagine such? The pride and joy they must have after all these years to sustain such a fan base and a talent. But there is a reason for it, their lyrics are poetry, they have a message and real social activism and their voices are unbelievable. I tell ya' those ladies can come with me on that deserted island.
Labels: Everyday Life
If we had made it we would be living there, most likely. My clothes would be cramped into a guest room closet with an old comforter and our diplomas, down the hall from the bedroom. The house decorated like you, just you. With my ideas, tastes, and tokens of the past 27 years stored in the other guest bedroom, the one where your brother lived. You would still be attached to your parents, using their house for gym equipment and meals. Your after work routine. Not mine. I have to create my own, like it always had been. It would be unaltered by my presence or our seriousness. I would be a guest, but not welcomed. Your mother cannot handle the competition. So I would eventually avoid it and make excuses about work, my family and personal time. Which is the way they wanted it anyway. Despite that they would be just a mile away. I would see her at Publix as I am now the one buying you a toothbrush and diet coke and she will resent me because that was her role for thirty years and some how my choice in diet coke is wrong. Because everything I do will be wrong. When in reality it was us that was wrong. And it felt wrong. I hated your small toes. I sat nightly on the worn brown leather couch, watching terrible action movies, and wondered if those were feet I could look at forever. You later handled that inquiry and cut us off at the knees.
If we made it, would the linen covered table clothes have turned? Would the good start to out number the bad. When we were together, the bad was there living amongst us hanging in your closet next to the ties and dress shirts aligned neatly. It should not have been bad, not in the beginning, not like it was. There were moments of glimpses of good. Where I sought happiness and reveled in the gaps. I believed that would be what we would be. When it fell together coherently lined neatly like the books stacked on the shelf. I truly thought it would do that someday. I was wrong.
If we made it would you continue to bring me orange juice in bed while I lounged. Offering to make coffee and instructing I stay put. Sleeping in the bed you initially invited me into our first night. At that time I declined. Thereafter, it was the best sleep I got on the soft comfortable expensive sheets, next to you. I took it as a sign of us. But the bed was the only thing inviting in that relationship and the only time you let me in. I would relax in that bed until I have to tip toe through the kitchen to the bathroom and sneak a moment by the coffee pot. The day started with us laughing and embracing. Would it remain like that? Or would the relationship slide as the day progressed, as it always did. By night, we sat in silence, tired from the strain of the day and our burdens. I thought this too would get better. But we never made it that far, we lived in the strain, our waking hours spent spooning it out. We never got past that. Really, how could we?
If we made it would the small tokens continue; remembering the pearls and roses. Each a small gift that brought smiles and false promises. An innuendo that was not there, though I believed and willed it to be so. Carrying the gift and an image with me. Thinking that would be us when it all worked out. At times you meant it and expressed it as you could. The phone calls and text messages, "I am so proud of you" and teasing me about my quirks. But not really getting them right, since they weren't my quirks, since you never really knew me. You could not know me. To know me would mean to let me in. When it was your world all the time. You, you, you. And you never bothered to make room for me.
So, would we have made it? Would there have been an us, if we got the chance I wanted us to have. Would I have been given space in the guest closet next to the old musical equipment, when I was never given room in your life or your heart?
This was the second tag, this one from from PJ, someone whose posts I consistently enjoy as well written, interesting and often thought provoking. While reading her entry I thought to myself (see, though provoking) that this would be a fun exercise to undertake. And there at the end, she encouraged me to do so. It is something we all probably entertain from time to time, the what if. But to really sit down and think about it, as I have over the past few days, has proven harder than expected. I always come up with something negative or horrific about a certain profession and if I am going to dream I want my dreams to be candy coated perfection. So here goes, "What I would do if I was not a lawyer."
1. A TV news reporter. I could handle sitting at desk in jeans and a blazer and having my makeup done everyday to simply read off a cue card. I can read. I am not talking high profile, Today show type reporting either. Those folks get up at 3 a.m.; this is the reporter that does your six o'clock news. They are pseudo-local celebrities, and seemingly do not work all too hard. Please let me know if I am incorrect. I understand that in certain markets, Tampa included as it is apparently the fifth largest in the nation, it takes time and devotion to your career to land a gig like that. Understood. But this is my dream and I am a reporter.
2. A chef. Again, not a big fancy schmancy, multiple star, white glove type establishment. Too much pressure to perform on a nightly basis. Way, way too much stress. I read Kitchen Confidential and that is some crazy shit. It takes a special individual and leadership skills to run a kitchen like that. They are not joking around on Top Chef when they say you need balls and power. So I am thinking a smaller size venue, that is already established. No need to worry about drawing a clientele, but still have a fan base and a following and you are allowed creativity. Or as a caterer. Same story. The point is, it would be fun to cook all day and be good at it. Because, yeah, in this fantasy I have improved (dramatically) my cooking skills.
3. An event planner. Organizing, planning and making people smile. The idea of simply being organized and having a plan is so enticing. There are set dates and deadlines. There is room for creativity. You are planning (hopefully) something that someone else is excited about and is a celebration. There are flowers, photographs, and food. Picking those out, sampling, trying them on and making those decisions could make me very happy. Notice a theme here?
4. Owner of a flower shop. Same idea as the event planner. Making people smile. Plus being surrounded by fresh flowers all day, heavenly.
5. Photographer. Something I have developed an interest but only recently. Though to be paid to spend the day behind a lens and looking at ideas and angles to capture their beauty sounds pretty delicious to me. I have a friend who is a professional photographer and she spent the past few days erasing cellulite from a client's photos. See what I mean, every job has the potential to blow. But she did this from the cozy of her home. How bad can that really be?
I think I can go on. Honestly, if I had a 6th it would be an owner of a small boutique. This is a real dream though. One I have often thought about, given their relative absence in Tampa. They have fantastic ones in New Orleans that I would use a guide. Seriously, if in a few years this lawyer-ing thing does not work out, come check out the clothing selection I have on store, in my store. Because that is a true to life dream.
I have a few more ideas floating around in here and the obligatory no-no's to go with them. A bakery owner because that would just be awesome, but there is a fear of getting too fat. A professional ballet dancer because the pointy pink shoes are beautiful, but, and for the understatement of the year, I am not quite lithe enough. And a truck driver, because I would love to see the country, but I have a fear of that Oxycontin problem and of driving really big trucks.
You get the drift, if we could dream, our childhood fantasies would take over. How innocent and glamorous it all seemed. We think back to those days when wanted to be a fireman or an astronaut. Or in my case a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins. What were my parents feeding me? To their credit, I think it was a crush on Dan Marino and an era when the Dolphins were good. It was something that seemed so fantastical and magic. Everything you hope your life turns out to be. At least in your dream. Now we can dream out loud and think realistically. So, your turn - what would you be when you grow up?
I have started this before after glasses of wine and bottles of beer sipped at the counter of a bar. Surrounded by noise and conversations unnoticed as we were in engrossed in ours. Girlfriend to girlfriend and a week’s worth of stories to tell marked by, “why’s” and “how’s” of text messages and unreturned phone calls. These kinds of stories have been told countless times, by me, to me, multiplied by us all. These stories were created in bars just like that one started on nights just like that with a girl, a boy and a Gucci bag full of stories left for their friends in the nights to come. I have had this thought countless times.
These stories are not mine and are not unique to those who orbit around me. They are based on questions of, "why does this not work" and known for having such inconclusive answers as, “He’s an asshole”. In between the versions change but the message is the same. He said he would call and he didn’t. He spent the day with basketball, football, or anyone but you. You were neglected, trampled and made to feel less than. There were kisses, sex, but you were left in the morning with nothing to hold. Well maybe that phone when the texts came in that read, “Later babe, I am with the guys.” Taking solace in that he called you “babe”. But that is all there was.
It is clear it is not you, it is him. The problem is you want it to be a real relationship. You hope for it to be. In the moments of panic, when the call goes unreturned for three days, you reflect only on the good believing things will be fine. That last moment in bed, when he looked into your eyes and swore to your cuteness has to mean something, or everything. When he disappears at the party for twenty minutes and you find him in the corner talking to his ex-girlfriend, the tears and anger well up. But he makes it better by taking your hand and telling you that too expensive cleavage revealing BCBG top is hot. You know it and realize he does too. So you stay, squeeze his hand, and whisk him to the other side of the room. After all he came with you. And he leaves with you. That night it is again just the two of you, that sparkly top now on the floor in the hallway, but she still permeates the room as his phone chimes at 3:47 a.m. Just freshly asleep, you hear it and pray he does not move. Because it is supposed to be about you, snuggled in the pocket of his arm breathing in the D&G cologne. You think this is bliss and that this will last forever. But you are the only one who thinks so, you are the only one who is thinking, period. He checks that text. He makes plans around you, not with you. He spends whole uninterrupted days with no effort thrown your way. He cancels without an after thought. It is not about you. That is all about him. So why do we spend so much time thinking of him? Agonizing over him? Wanting to make it work? When he puts in the same effort as he does to pick out a pair of boxers in the morning.
These are the stories and questions that single girls lives are made of. What kills me and makes me want to dump the Stella Artois on top of the Chloe toting single-tte is that they stick around for it. Make excuses why it is okay, to make themselves feel okay. Excusing excuses. When inside they are hurt and tears maybe shed publicly and in the quiet of the down comforter. They wonder what they did wrong. When it was nothing. Not a thing. Except spending too much time wasting after a never will be guy. Basing their egos on a follow up date and his affirmation. When he is worth little and should not hold the balance of your worth in his effort to hit send. No person should make another feel that bad, that they excuse such horrible inconsiderate behavior. No person should hold that much power of your person and esteem. No person should allow that kind of respect-less attitude prevail. And what is worse is that no person should stick around once they are placed in that position. The excuses should not be excused. That should be it. One time and you are out; forget three strikes. That is too much to give to a person who has nothing to offer. It is never going to work, so why wait and try, again and again. It ends in tears and heartache each time worse and more humiliating than the time before. He cares less and less, keeping you intertwined and entertained. His entertainment at all expenses, with you left holding the bill. This is not it. This is a waste, of time, energy, emotion and tears. When it is real, none of this exists. Love is grander, easier, prettier and heartfelt. It will never wear this ugly mask not once, not ever. No excuses.
These tales are centered on the why did it happen and how do I get it back. When they should be focused on moving on and moving up. At that bar, next to cocktails and cell phones, we should not be looking for answers and making excuses. We should not be giving second, third and ninth chances. People make mistakes, but when your ego and heart are in the balance generally one is more than unforgivable. Especially in the early stages of love and smiles. It should be all good without the edge of anxiety and the possible tear fest. Those are saved for real drama and the meat of a relationship. Not the courtship. Our attention is focused on the negative looking for a way to make his ugly positive. When he has blown that wad early and already. When our attention should be focused on those around us, next to us at the bar stool to the left. Looking for new people, eager to buy the next glass of Pinot. Who have fresh chances at making it right, without the excuses. Who are ready for the pretty, to make you feel pretty, all the time. No excuses.
I was tagged twice yesterday, and I sorta feel like the cool kid on the block. And I am pretty okay with feeling that way. I decided to tackle this one first, thinking it would be easier. But really it has proven to be a challenge; to think about what people don't know about me, to make it original, and, I guess the theme is also to make it unusual.
1. Magoo heard a tirade about this one this morning; but I cannot stand Angelina Jolie. I find her unattractive; her arms are long and sinewy. Her tattoos splayed across her back and arms are unsightly and odd. A bar code? C'mon nothing feminine about that. Her lips are too big (and I have big lips and was once made fun of on the playground for it). When I saw the wax figure of her, I thought that did her the most justice, as she looks waxy everyday. I also am perplexed as to why she is considered saintly. Is it her new role as humanitarian? Because to me it is just a role. Remember just a minute ago when she was goth chick who wore Billy Bob's blood in a vile around her neck and made out with her brother at the award ceremony? Why is she suddenly reputable and genuine. Or her lesbian role years before that. Who is she really and why is this position revered? She broke up a marriage. Anyone remember that? Yes, she adopted two children and does world wide humanitarian work, but again is that because she is a celebrity and using her power to flaunt it? Is this part of her new role? And while we are at it, what makes Jennifer Aniston so horrible? To me she is the victim.
2. I cannot stand to be touched by bare feet. The touch of anothers toes is creepy. Like Jello, which I despise, it feels squishy and gross. Even clean feet. They are a no-no.
3. I strongly dislike 80's music. It's not a hate and there are moments and songs that can be tolerated. Those all 80's stations are awful. It is not that I have discerning music taste, there is Ashlee Simpson on my i-pod and I am a self professed country music fan. It is something about the pop-y, bubble gum-y, over played hype that I dislike.
4. I have to shop alone. That is when I intend to spend money it needs to be alone. I can browse with others. But the true, I am here to spend money, do not stop me now, kind of shopping is always done solo. If I see something I desire and I am with another I will wait and return another day to purchase it. I get a high from doing it alone. Breezing in and out of stores, maybe spending 30 minutes in a fitting room or not even and just purchasing. I am not harried or rushed by another. No one can pass judgment. It is just me.
5. I have an order to my shower routine. Everything must be done a certain way. It is not just an order it is meticulous, intricate and well thought out. Example, while conditioning, I wash my face to allow the conditioner to set. It is no longer just about order and efficiency, it is a necessity. I am generally half asleep in the shower and it is an easy way to keep things in check. Otherwise, I forget to do things. Don't think I have not gotten out of the shower without washing, or worse, forgetting to rinse the conditioner out. So annoying. That is what happens when my system was out of order and I do not remember what step I am on.
Five totally random facts about my existence. Feel free to comment, critique or even contribute.
Not like Britney and Kevin, but the word I would use to describe my life one year ago. Playing this game, I would say it was a sleep deprived anxiety induced heart palpitations chaotic. I had my one year, "I am a lawyer" review at work. And I had not idea what to expect, I had never been reviewed, at least not openly and to my face. And don't particularly like criticism. I feared the harshness of the words would lead to tears which would lead to embarrassment. Earlier that week I was at lunch with a new friend, when he offered a dinner and a plan for Saturday night. But I was planning on a trip to L.A., a real vacation. Not a day for laundry or one at the beach. This was vacation. Whole multiple days off from work basking in the glory of sunshiney movie stars. Two days before that transcontinental Delta flight, I learned my 93 year old grandfather had taken a turn for the worse. Flights off. We are on alert and Mom flew immediately to Montreal to be with the family. Instead of vacation, I could accept the dinner date extended earlier.
This was my first dinner, my first let's call it real date, with Magoo. Under the crazy pretense of a relative on his death bed. That Saturday night we dined, laughed, cried, and closed down the restaurant. I revealed in the first breath of the date that I hated basketball. He displayed his dismal sense of direction. Five days later I accepted a second date. In the interim, I also accepted an offer presented via IM at work, "Anyone want a beagle?". The message came through on a Tuesday morning, that a six year old beagle was up for adoption. This was how and when I came to meet Ginger. I lay awake those first few nights in a constant state of anxiety. Worried I would not be able to handle the responsibility of another creature. Worried she would commit the P trifecta; pee, poop and puke. But like all parents, you adjust and deal. 'Cuz yeah they all happen. I also stressed that he would not be a dog person and I just blew something by quickly adopting a dog in a matter of minutes. Then, I rationalized that I did not want to be with someone in the end who didn't like dogs. I had dogs in my future, so if you too wanted to be in the future, you too must love dogs. Just like the movie. Seemed simple but stress can play cruel tricks on your psyche and your heart. Mine raced and pounded out of my chest every night for a week. Pure sleep deprived chaos.
Date two. He learned via e-mail that there has been an addition to the family. Instead of flowers or candy he showed up at the door with a dog toy, a squeaky basketball. A present for her and a joke for me. Clever. I love clever especially in gift giving, it shows smarts and heart. And he had me at the squeak. Again, we close the place down while downing five too many classes of Sangria. Small plates of tapas and not so small talk. This was the real deal. After the chairs had been stacked on the tables and the staff swept the floor around us, we return to what is now our home to walk the dog together arm and arm, buzzed from the wine. Within the next week, my grandfather passes away. That la la la L.A. vacation turned into a week long trip to snow bound Montreal. Not the glam trip planned, but a necessary family event and a fact of life. He lived a hearty loving life, to an age we can all hope for, in good health for a majority of those years, accompanied down the road of life by his wife of fifty some odd years. A celebration of his life and not a mourning. All the time, awaiting for me at home was a new man, who diligently dog sat a dog he barely knew for a girl he may have liked.
Many sleepless night were had during those four weeks. The review was less than stellar, causing more panic and a fresh set of tears, both in an out of the office. I swore to Magoo life was not always this way. He made it through that time, including crying at that first dinner and urine on his carpet (Ginger's, not mine). And here we are one year later. Ginger still pees and I have a pesky review right around the corner. Somethings never change. We move on and in together. Holding and helping each other through it all. At least that is the idea. Since there is always going to be something chaotic. But we have each other and maybe that is where the chaos lives. We just learn to manage and control. Wheel and deal. Whine and dine. Coping is what draws us together and the chaos finds a home on the couch cushions next to the pillows and the hand knit throw. It lives there dormant and cozy. Controlled by the balance, waiting to appear again when the timing is not right. We just hope there are less tears.
Because she inspired me. And, yes, she is inspiring in more than her ideas on photographs; she is a wonderful writer and an inspiration for physical fitness, to say the least. Though, instead of scenes from my windshield, you get scenes from the chaise lounge. If it is going to be over 80 degrees in January, you better believe the Floridans are going to take advantage of it. Jealous? Just wait until summer. As I read in the paper this morning, with this progression it will be 137 in June. Anyone wanna visit then? To see the rest of the pictures click here.
Labels: Everyday Life
Ginger, I am sad. I say this out loud in my head as we wander around the house, doing pretend cleaning. She looking for missing scraps of food left behind. I am pretending because I am paying someone to do it tomorrow, but for now it keeps my hands busy. I strip down and put on his Simpson's boxers and the t-shirt left on the bed. Wearing them makes me feel girly and comforted. Men's clothing with a faint scent of his deodorant. When I am sad I eat candy. The sourer the better. When it makes your cheeks crinkle and your tongue sore. It is not a part of the diet. Fourteen hundred calories gets eaten up quickly with sugary candy. But he is not here to tell me not to. I love when he tells me not to. I look up at him and smirk. Pretending I hate being told what to do. But in reality I love it. I love the assertiveness and the control. And knowing he is right. Because later I will bitch about my thighs and wonder why I can't lose weight. So I listen when he says no. I just wish he would say it more often. I tell him that and he says, "shut the fuck up." Which I adore and maybe that is why he says it. The power of fuck. I can sense those words and his true favorite command, "pet my head" as I move around here. I hear the echo of his personality left here; his orange juice class on the coffee table and his flip-flops at the door. Gone but a few hours and we have a few days to go, but there is an absence. I know he is not just out for an errand, it is more. There was a plane ride and a last goodbye at the airport. He hates that I called a last goodbye. As if it were ominous and ending. I was dramatic, but it is the lonely I hate. That and all the work I have to do. Coming home to the quiet when you have been worked to death is gross. It makes me want to curl up in a ball and eat candy. The stores are stacked with the pinks and reds of Valentines. The whole bag full until my teeth hurt and my stomach is swollen. With the sugar in me, I will text him hearts and smiles. Damn Cupid. And pretend I didn't just consume 27 million calories in conversation hearts.
I had a broken leg. As a kindergartener, I determined I was capable of climbing to the top of the fireman’s pole. Like my male class mates, once on top of the pole, I knew I could jump off. Forget shimmying back down, the boys dangled from the top bar and let go, landing on their feet. So I too dangled and let go. But I landed on my ankle, smashed it against a rock, and fell over onto the side. My mom was called to the school, as I limped off the playground. I waited, able to join the class back inside for the afternoon art project; rolling a marble, dipped in paint, around a shoe box. See, I’m fine. I don’t need any help. I was taken to Dr. Geoffrey. My parent’s dear friend. I hesitated at the idea of a cast. How was I going to continue to play? While of course it was necessary, I stood firm and refused the use of crutches. No way, I was not going to look weak. I won the crutches battle and even grew to love and accept my cast, letting my friends sign it. After six weeks I was healed. The doctor removed the cast and I ran freely through the playground again. Trying to catch up with the boys and match what they did.
I had a broken finger. He was a crush and a friend of a friend and I determined he liked me. We must have been flirting. As much as 12 year olds can flirt in shorts, sneakers and our JCC camp t-shirts. This meant we tried to touch when we could. Passing each other at swim time or on our way to pottery class. He grabbed my hand, sending tingles down my spine. He didn’t let go as I passed by chatting with my girlfriends. Laughing and pretending I didn’t notice that he paid me attention. Also not noticing that he had yet to let go and in the process bent my finger backward. I hesitated reporting it. How was I going to continue to play? So I kept my mouth shut and proceeded to my sleep over date at Dani’s house, Dr. Geoffrey’s daughter. By night the pain was too much and the swollen finger was impossible to hide, especially from an orthopedic surgeon. He wrapped and splinted it. I was taken out of activities for two weeks. Not a way to spend your summer camp days. But the finger healed and the splint came off. I was able to freely hold hands again. By that time I had a whole new crush and someone else to chase around the camp grounds.
I had a broken heart. He was a love and I was determined this was going to work. We planned and he promised. He whispered of my talents and my beauty, swearing it would be forever. Until it was not true anymore and forever came on a Saturday in June. This time Dr. Geoffrey wasn’t there to cast or splint. It is not because a surgeon cannot mend a broken heart; but because he passed away in 1996. That is a whole different broken and a terrible type of ache. This. Now this, was a broken heart that cannot be casted, splinted or repaired. Unless you count whiskey or even tequila. But those are temporary and not a fix. This is not the kind of broken that allows you to show it openly like a band aid or stitches. Unless you count un-washed hair and puffy eyes. Even those don’t excuse a broken heart. So really these pains and breaks cannot be treated by a doctor in a white coat. This is not the kind of ache that gets you out of work or special parking privileges. It does not mean you get to miss play time or sit out swim classes. Life has to go on. And it does all around you.
This time I had to accept the pain, I couldn’t refuse a cast or pretend it didn’t hurt. The pain was too much. A broken heart meant that blood stopped flowing and my body stopped functioning. With legs, I had two. With fingers, I had ten. This was my only heart and it hurt. That pain echoed in the empty of the broken space, while people danced around merrily enjoying their lives.
This kind of broken takes a cliché to fix; time. And that was the only way for this kind of broken to ever go away. The schism of heart gradually moves closer back together like a fracture unionizing. While the opposite happens; the boyfriend who created the break gradually moves farther away, the union you shared grows more distant. The schism between you grows wider. It has to happen that way. Otherwise, the heart remains broken and there is no room to mend. Kicking him and those memories out, means there is space for the heart to become whole again. Pumping and functioning properly. You move out of bed, away from the wine bottle. The tears stop, your hair gets washed and you can leave the house. You become part of that world again, it stops moving with out you. New people, new events, new ideas all take form. With time and distance the heart finally re-grows. Stronger, healthier and ready to pump out a greater stronger love. For someone new, who has something new to offer. Someone who makes it skip a beat and pump faster. It is healthy and strong now. It is a renewed heart that is primed to chase after a new boy. Ready for a time when you can keep up with their activities, with no broken legs, hold their hands with no broken fingers, and sustain the relationship with no broken hearts.
I wish I could describe what some days are like at a law firm. Somethings are hard to nail down and others are protected by privileges. I just don't know if the same is true at other offices or other professions. No, I think that at other firms it is probably worse. Much worse on a more consistent basis. Higher volume, more stress, bigger dollars and less competence. Scary about that competence thing, but true. I am not sure if the non-lawyers out there get this kind of special treatment. I just don't know, if this is unique to our world. This, this is not the horror stories you hear about or see portrayed on T.V. With bosses screaming their heads off or associates burning the midnight oil hoped up on Dexatrim. See here, this is a comedy. Well at least to an outside observer, I would imagine them laughing. Doubled over, holding their sides laughing, "Ha, ha look at the girl in black patent heels running around like a crazy woman." Then they stop laughing when they see that she is sitting in the corner, rocking back and forth, and eating her hair. But only for a minute, because that too is pretty funny. She pays a lot to have that hair highlighted and cut and for those wonderful shampoos that she adores. So her eating her hair, well, that is pretty entertaining.
These kind of days are marked by scenarios like this:
"I said ASAP" (yes it is a cliche, but it gets said.)
"Well I took ASAP, to mean when it was possible for me to get it done"
"But that was three hours ago?!?!"
"Yes and now it is possible"
"Did you say David was going to run the document to the court?"
"Yes but he is gone"
"Oh can someone else do it?"
"No. He already left for the courthouse"
"That is super-interesting. Because I am holding the document in my hand"
Attitude is everything. I am not talking about presence. This attitude is what affects how you feel and what you do. Your behavior and outlook. Having a bad attitude is only going to make things seem, well, bad. Ditto for a positive attitude. It is all about frame of mind and like I said, attitude. A negative harmful one will not get you far. Not at all. It will get you negative results, a negative outlook and a negative response. No one is going to respond positively to a puss face and a sour mouth. I know this from being on both sides of the attitude train. I’ve seen it coming and going.
If you determine something is going to be awful, boring or just plain suck. It will. Your negative attitude has pre-disposed the event to suck. Doubly suck because you will spend the time thinking about how much it sucks. Good god it is like a big ugly vacuum, just sucking, sucking, sucking. And you know what? So do you. Why not try to think positively. Why not attempt to enjoy. Sure it may suck. But you never know it – because you already decided it did. My parents made me taste a food I decided I didn’t like. This decision was based on child like rationale such as smell and appearance. Of course, I had no real knowledge of whether the food was good. So they required I take a “no thank you portion”. Sampling it, to see if I liked. Otherwise, I was allowed to move on and from then say, “No thank you, I know that I don’t like it.” Try that on for size. See if you like it. If not, then say, “yeah, this does suck”. Without trying it, without giving it a fair chance, you can never know. Your pre-determination becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. My debate coach in high school would write PMA on our hands, when we came in with a negative attitude and a can't win determination. Positive Mental Attitude. Say, write, live it. And we did, just being that would make the difference in our appearance and confidence.
It makes no sense really. There are always times that things are waited for in anticipation. We look so forward to that event or occasion that it can never live up to expectations and inevitably something going wrong. Prom. No one ever enjoys that night. Too much hype. A good thing gone bad. Let’s flip it around. A bad thing gone good. Maybe, just maybe, this will not suck. Maybe it will be fun. You may even enjoy yourself. I bold statement, but possible. Even if just for a small time, it can be pleasant. But only if you allow it. If you make it that way. If you adjust your attitude and allow the fun in. You gotta have that attitude. Otherwise it really won’t be fun. You will never get to that place where the bad can become good. Or where a small sample means you actually enjoy the taste. It takes a certain level and a certain attitude. After all, attitude is everything.
I dreamt we broke up in a heated fight. At the end I escaped to the mall and he passed by looking at me. I refused to smile or blink. I just stared hoping to convey my attitude and disdain. He got that and it was over. In the dream I sat for the next four months numb. And sewing. I needed to keep my hands busy.
The fight had been over privacy. He scoured through my personal belongings coming across journals from days of old. He read them. Then he used them against me. Some, he alleged, were about him and were unfair. Others were about my past and again somehow this was unfair. I yelled and screamed about decency and respect. There are limits and privacy. I never once made the argument that this was all in the past and that the writings he alleged concerned him really did not. He mis-read the dates and mis-understood the meaning. To me that was irrelevant. The lack of privacy and the lack of respect were unforgivable.
After months in a near catatonic state I approached him. He was engaged. To a high school love, who he reconnected with immediately after our dissolution. They had plans to marry soon, as she was set to graduate and move out of state. In fact, they were taking their engagement photos in a few minutes, so he really did not have time for me. I lay in him, again, for his wrongdoing. He stood there lifeless. This time not defending his actions, as he had in the past. Arguing that he had a right to read them since the words were so hurtful. He had a right to know my true feelings and understand my perspective. This time, finally, I clarified. I told him of how these were all of past men and indiscretions. That he misunderstood. Why it took me so long to speak up, I don't know. But that seemed to do it. In one minute, and in a movie like sensation, he broke up with the fiance and we got back together. Just like that, all was well. No questions asked and the topic was closed. No further discussion about those events or communication about what we were going to do. We were together again.
Amazing how a dream can span several months, extreme emotion, and heartache and can be so vivid. Are there lessons in them? Or is it a reflection of our waking lives sending us a message and clarifying some confusion points. This may have been a stressor of the remnants of sharing my space with another. After five years I again have a roommate. Of course this one is far different than the five girls I shared a cramped apartment with in college or my crazy roommate in law school. But it is about the sharing and the space and learning to deal. The law school roommate dropped a piece of tofu on the kitchen floor. Both of us leaving it there for days as neither wanted to be the one to clean it. That shit does not fly now. We are a team and not out to passive-aggressively manipulate the other while sitting in silence. Further, we have to understand our limits and respect each other's private spaces. It is a balance and we both work hard at it. Since we feel intimately connected, it is often hard to disconnect that we are not allowed into every space and nook and cranny of the other's life. There are still private moments and private thoughts.
It is so much more than that as well. It is respecting the other's habits and annoyances. After almost thirty years and several of our own single years, we both have those perfected. They don't often overlap and at times drive each other crazy. It is about speaking up and stating what the annoyance is. The other may not know it is even that irritating. Otherwise the anger builds and the frustration level expands with every action and moment. Then it is ugly and loud communication. Much better to have gotten it out initially and not let it develop into a storm of emotion. That kind of communication is so key.
That may be what part of the lesson was in the dream. It took me several months, despite heated argument after heated argument, to finally say what was important about those diary entries. After all that, it was what turned us around. Stating your piece and defending yourself may be what saves a relationship. Isn't that what communication is all about? Getting the other person to understand what it is that you need and getting them to realize how important that is to you. It may be picking up your shoes from the front door or not leaving glasses in the sink. Those needs need to be communicated. Other things, though, they go without saying. Those things include privacy. That is understood and respected by all. Until it is not and all hell breaks loose.
Literally, I don't think the dream is significant. I have old diaries and journals. They are openly displayed on the bookshelf next to a Bar-Bri review course and the Practices of Accounting. He knows they are not meant to be opened on his own accord. Like I said, that goes without saying. But what is the difference truly? Most of the stories and people in them have already been relayed first person. That kind of communication, told with love, to let the other person in, is wholly welcome. It helps prevent later communication, one where our voices are raised.
The pictures tell a lot of the stories. Partially because my words cannot do it justice, but also because I was obsessed with my new camera. You only saw a percentage of the pictures, as a good deal were deleted. A many of the side of Magoo's face as I snapped and clicked at random times. He of course was a good sport - knowing that there is that handy-dandy delete function. The excitement of it all had me up most of the night on Thursday. I also am terrible when I know the alarm is going to sound at an early, ungodly hour. Somehow that thought keeps me awake. So in an excited trance we made our way to the airport, to be confronted by our first (and may I say only) disagreement. This one over the ever important use of my credit card to check into the flight. It wasn't working. Enough said. We agreed that we would not get pissy (well I am the pissy one) and we would not bicker. And we didn't. A lovely vacation.
We arrived early to New Orleans - 8 am central time. Got some delicious CC's coffee and enjoyed the atmosphere on Magazine Street. No one appeared to be working on the Friday of the holiday weekend. People all over the place drinking their morning coffee, shopping, and running errands at the Whole Foods and the bank (Beth - Hibernia is now owned by Capital One). It was wonderful to see the commerce and energy. But there is a noticeable difference. Just something slightly off. If you had never been there before, it would not have been detectable. Like a sadness that sort of lingers in the air with the smell of chicory coffee and the River. It hangs there as a past remnant even as people move about their days. You see it where things used to be. As Magoo said, 'used to be is the catch phrase of the weekend'. I said it over and over, "there used to be a Walgreen's there" or "there used to be a gas station", as we drive by an abandoned boarded up old building. Not noticeable to the normal eye, but prevalent if those were places you bought diet cokes, toilet paper, and gas. You feel they should be there and should be able to turn into them without thought. But they are not there and there is just a general sense of loss. Of course things change and cities and people move on. I have not lived there in over two years. But this isn't a new Starbucks. This is a loss and a general feeling of such. Noticeable at certain moments of quiet.
We headed over to Tulane to see the school and show Magoo my old stomping grounds. Again, Audubon Park was vibrant as ever with dogs, walkers, bicycles and golf players. But the absence was present. The large oak trees that densely lined the streets of St. Charles were sparse. You could see through them clearly into the park. Those oak trees are part of what makes Uptown a gorgeous place. It was terrible and tragic to see that spice of life missing from the scenery. But they, like the City as a whole, will grow back and thrive with the love and attention of New Orlean-ians. This much was evidenced throughout the whole weekend. New Orlean-ians have always had pride and love of their town. Sporting bumper stickers, long before Katrina, that read, "New Orleans Proud to Call it Home". This enthusiasm is what kept the city alive all these months and is what will help it to continue to thrive.
We did our part to help the economy and shopped the boutiques of Magazine Street. Purchasing for ourselves and family. There are more shops than ever and all have commemorative tees, knick knacks and goodies adorned with signs of New Orleans. Tons of Fleur de Lis. Not to mention the Saints gear. They are clearly no longer the 'Aints. This team has put several in the win column and the city is there to cheer them on every step of the way. Every where we turned there were hats, t-shirts and jerseys on sale. And each person was dressed in them. That night we saw the Soul Rebels at Tipitinas. Aside from being a packed crowd, the music was fabulous as they were a vibrant and upbeat brass band representing all things good in New Orleans. But in the midst of their set a group of fans started cheering "Who dat, who dat, who dat gonna beat dem Saints?", an anthem for all Saints. This got the entire crowd going and the band joined them playing a rendition of When the Saints Go Marching. Never has the city been this energized about their team. Clearly it is a rallying point on so many levels. This much was apparent. As the enthusiasm spread through the French Quarter on Sunday, with people cheering and partying, even with the loss to Carolina. We heard people planning their trips to Miami, for the Super Bowl, as if it were a given they were going. It is just that infectious and a sign of sure recovery, not just for the NFL players, but the entire city.
We visited another New Orleans heavy hitter for lunch on Friday; Emeril. We agreed that was the best meal we had, and it was not for a lack of trying with the other restaurants we visited. The BBQ shrimp was a-mazing, and we do not eat seafood. It was just that good. Of course beignets on Sunday morning, Mufalletas, the Mexican goodness at Santa Fe and our New Years Eve menu were nothing to laugh at. We dined hard core and enjoyed every breath of the bite. It is New Orleans and you have to eat. They weigh you on the way in and out to make sure you have eaten enough while visiting.
In between the gluttony, we journeyed over to Lakeview. The site of the 17th Street levee that broke on the Tuesday after the storm. To add to the gloom and the mood it was raining. A true New Orleans rain where it pours for hours with no end in sight. The puddles form instantly and the roads become unnavigable in a matter of minutes. It was but a small preview of what a Category 5 storm can do and how easy it is to lose a car to a flood in a matter of minutes (yeah that happened in 2004). In addition to the rainy roads, the mud painted an awful picture of the destruction that was still there. Almost a year and a half later, homes and streets looked untouched. Broken windows, belongings strewn about the street, trees down. The x's still spray painted on the sides of the home, evidence the National Guard had been there as well as the SPCA to check for animals left behind. I can't do it justice to describe the terrible condition of these houses or people's lives really. The power was back on, the street lights were back up and the signs had been re-posted. But those were the only indications of life. As if it mattered, since it appeared few returned to resume their lives. All the signs of hope elsewhere; the consumerism, the tourism, the protest banners against the Army Corps, and the flags of Rebuilding were totally lost here. None of it was evidenced on those blocks. Total despair and desolation was the only thing we saw. That and a tour bus making the same rounds and a Home(Hope) Depot, sure to drum up some serious business in the upcoming years.
We ended the trip and the year on a positive note. Filling the consumer coffers and our bellies with food and drink. Perhaps too much drink on Saturday night as I threw up from the revelry (and the tequila). Leave it to New Orleans to bring that on. We toured the French Quarter, admiring the art and the architecture. Listening to the sounds of New Orleans; the riverboats and the street performers. We saw the fireworks reflected on the sides of the buildings at midnight on the 31st and fell asleep to the other sounds of New Orleans; party-goers, horns honking and sirens. See life there is getting back to normal.
As we return to our normal life and tell our stories and look at the pictures, we will keep in mind those still affected by the aftermath of the storm. They live it everyday. The city wears it like an open wound, with the scars still forming. It is still fresh and alive and occupies a lot of conversations. It will change the landscape of the city for generations to come. In the end, the best we can hope for is that it is for the better. Improving on the greatness and helping the weak areas. For now, may 2007 bring health, wealth and prosperity and may the good times roll.