Six Months… What Goes Through My Mind in Six Months…

I should kick myself in the arse for being so… well, indecisive about continuing this blog.  Not because I don’t enjoy writing, because I do.  And not because I don’t appreciate the generally positive feedback I get from it, because I do.  But maybe because of two people and one idea.

The two people are ghosts from my life and while I try to ignore them or pretend they have little, if anything, to do with my present, they always seem to just pop up and annoy me with their ghostly presence.  They are likely see this post and knowing that – again –  I’m sharing something of myself with them is, well, icky.  But the reason for even establishing this blog was to bust some ghosts and mostly, I’ve done that.  Mostly, I’ve learned to step back and breathe, to take a second or third or tenth look at a problem and then either write about it OR accept the fact that some things in life, baby, you just can’t change.

The idea is different.  The idea was that maybe now I’ve busted those ghosts I can move in another direction.  What that would be, I wasn’t not sure but still….

But there’s more to writing this blog than just exorcising some bad ideas, some bad relationships. I write because I seek inner clarity.  I write as a way to express myself, and find myself, and be myself in a world where sometimes the masks are pretty heavy, stuck in place.  Of course, sometimes I write just pap and crap, and that’s okay!!  I love a good gossip or picture magazine at times.  But sometimes, I need to find words to figure out what the hell I’m feeling, and to get rid of the bad ones, and snuggle up to the good ones.

I’m keep a gratitude jar this year.  The idea is to jot down one small thing every day that’s made you feel grateful or happy or some other positive crap, put the notes in a jar, and at the end of the year, count ’em all up.  Well,  30 days does not make 30 notes but there are some in the jar, and there will be more than 185 by the end of the year (that’s more than 1 every other day, fyi for my arithmetically challenged friends!)

Maybe it’s been the jar, maybe it was getting a letter today from someone I did NOT expect to hear from, maybe it was a lot of PMing with a long-time colleague that just turned into silly fun… but I’m feeling really positive and lucky and peaceful this week.  A feeling which will last if the Seahawks win on Sunday.

Anyway, I’m back. I’ll be here a lot.  I hope to hear from you soon.  And I hope all the monsters under your bed are gone!
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Crazy Is As Crazy Does… Loudly

All families are crazy.  This can be good, this can be bad.  This can be happy, this can be sad.  This can be loud, this can be whispered.  But let’s be honest, all families are crazy.

Mine included.  Some days, I think mine especially.

I watch my friends and siblings who still have young children and I am amazed at how busy they are, the constant running, the activities, the school work, the obligations to other family and other friends and wonder how they hell they do it!  And then I watch my friends who are coping with aging parents, the slowing bodies and disengaging minds, the  fear and anxiety, and the pressure, and wonder how the hell they do it!  My own little whirlwind of activity and anxiety seems nothing in comparison although, as I have pointed out before, given the essentially selfish nature of most of us, my anxiety and activity will always trump yours!  Well… for the moment any way.

The reason for bringing this up are a few bitter moments I watched over dinner last night.  As it’s not exactly my story to tell, I won’t provide details but can make a few observations.  First, we all seek allies.  I saw that happen last night, one person confiding in another seeking the approbation needed or the confirmation desired.  The fact that we need to unload our troubles means we look for sympathetic shoulders on which to weep, even when what we should rather have is someone to slap us across the face and say “wake up! you’re actually fighting about something quite different here than you think you are!”

It is so hard for us to recognize when we have chosen the wrong path, or at least, are staying on a path was a good one for awhile, but has now become the wrong one for us.  I saw that last night too, but I think maybe I was the only one who did.  And it’s also hard for us to not get the support and kudos we think we should for doing a job that’s hard to explain to others, demanding of our time and even of our souls, and for which we sometimes feel that our successes and accomplishments are, if not denigrated, certainly ignored by the very people we need to hear say “good job!  I’m so proud of you!”  I also saw a little of that last night, although I might not have been the only one to catch that feeling.

What did the poet say – home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.  Substitute ‘family’ for the word ‘home’, and you know what we want family to be.  This perfect place of love and welcome, where we all think alike, and behave alike, and share values and goals and dreams that match each other to a ‘t’. Ha!  Maybe in Jim & Margaret Anderson’s perfect “Father Knows Best” world but not in mine… or yours… or yours over there in back corner pretending to be interested in something other than the fight that’s going on.

We are born into family, and they are ours for better or worse, and we always want them to love us and accept us. We make family out of friends, and because we have chosen them they may provide us with more validation but may also come to the dinner table with less honesty.  We marry into family, and they are ours until death us do part, and we make comparisons between the family by blood and by marriage and who does the stupider things, but we want our significant other’s significant family to also care about us as they care about the s.o.

Family is crazy, and messy, and demanding, and rewarding, and loving, and pitfall-y, and ugly, and imperfection seeking absolution.  We need it, until we don’t.   And then we miss it, and we ask to be let in again, and we wonder how could we live without family, and how do we cope with these crazies, and so the cycle goes.

Until it’s somebody else’s turn to host the next family dinner….

What Dreams May Come, or Not…

We took the grey cat to the vet’s yesterday.  Since she adopted us when we moved into the house, we haven’t needed to do anything about her health care, and we didn’t know anything about it in her previous five years, other than she’d been spayed, which we were pretty sure meant she’d received her first shots.  With our move coming up however, we needed to have the paperwork to show that she was up-to-date with her shots, and we also felt it was a good idea to do a general checkup before hitting the road.

First of all, she travels well.  And quietly.  Not that she goes willingly into her travel box.  It was kind of like trying to pour mercury from a large pitcher into a small receptacle getting her into the box.  However, once she was in there, she didn’t vocally complain about the adventure, which is the complete opposite of our last cat who didn’t stop meowing all the way from New York to Buffalo.  Not for one minute.  It go to the point where Jeff & I couldn’t stop laughing, Brie was so loud and so funny and so indignant that we were laughing while she was trying to tell us just exactly what she thought of travelling!

Anyway, we got to the vet and the grey cat fell in love with the baby scale on which she was weighed.   And she seemed to like the vet, too.  Enough to lick her fingers!  The shot made her a little loguey last night – she was ready for bed about four hours before we were and aside from one trip to the litter box, she stayed on our bed all night long, a most unusual thing for her to do.  And, can I just say, it’s very weird being the third person, the one in the middle, in one’s own bed.  The grey cat knows better than to sleep on Jeff’s side – if his legs ever detached from his body, he’d walk to Chicago and back every night, he moves them so much.  So she was on my side of the bed, leaving me to slip in around her and before getting to Jeff to try to sleep very, very still all night long.

Or, as it turns out, sleep in fits & starts all night, checking on the grey cat to make sure she was fine and fighting off the travelling legs.  And when you’re not sleeping all through the night – or at least when I am not sleeping all through the night – the imagination starts to run.  And as Miss Moore, my grade two teacher put it so well, I have a very creative imagination.

I got to thinking about how much money I have spent over the years on books which lead to me think about the books I really love which lead me to think about the movies I love and the last five movies I’d watched (four DVDs while I was ironing Thursday & Friday, that’s how much ironing there was!) and our date movie on Saturday (“The Adjustment Bureau” – a great date movie, although my friend Francesca says the premise drove her crazy.  However, because I actually worry that there are guys in hats exactly just like the ones John Slattery and Terrence Stamp and the brilliant Anthony Mackie wear in this movie who are constantly updating the Book of Life that is my life in progress, I sort of believed in the premise.  Makes you think Miss Moore was right, doesn’t it?) and that lead me to think about my work in New York which immediately included thinking about George and wondering when was the last time I’d talked with him or his daughter Emma which reminded me that I had made a promise to write back to my niece Coco if she wrote to me after I sent her some photographs.

Maybe it wasn’t just the grey cat and the travelling legs that kept me awake last night.

I am a very lucky person.  I have a life filled with good friends around the world.  I have had the chance to do some really interesting and fun things professionally and in several different industries, which is unusual and rewarding.  I have experienced some extraordinary travels and a few adventures. I have loved and been loved in such sweet and wonderful ways.  I have a warm and generous family that is all healthy and doing well.  And I have the grey cat, and Jeff.

For the past few months, as I was looking at life through someone else’s reality, I put my reality – my own quite good life – in the background.  I let someone else’s perceptions affect mine.  Which was stupid.  And last night’s lack of sleep brought that home to me.  It also reminded me that I should write more letters and read more books and catch more movies and write more short stories about “my” little town and pay more attention to my blog.  And tonight, when the grey cat & I snuggle on the love seat and listen the Sirius 118 and miss Jeff a little, I will remind myself that a creative imagination is a very good thing and so is accepting one’s own rather good life and I will sleep like a baby.  Or a contented grey cat.

 

Finales

This is one of a few entries I wrote, and was unable to post, for the past couple of weeks.  Please accept my apologies for bringing you so much delight all at one time!!

I was disconnected Saturday.  The year I thought I was going to have didn’t happen all the way through, but the year I did get, ended on Saturday.

I know you’re going to say “2010 ended for everyone on Saturday” which is true enough, but mine was over in a slightly different way.  I lost something in the past few weeks which I didn’t know was mine to lose, and without properly realizing it, I spent a lot of time since looking for it, or at least an answer for why it was lost.

It’s an answer I can’t ever have, but right up until midnight Saturday – well, it was probably about 00:30 Sunday when the lights went out – I kept telling myself I should be trying to get one.  A real answer, an explanation, some thought, some truth to the change that came into my life.  But here’s the thing… it wasn’t the fact that the answer, any answer, wasn’t forthcoming.  It was the personal loss.  Or maybe I should write personnel loss.  Whatever…

A couple of weeks before 2010 ended, I found myself actually saying the phrases ‘man up!’ and ‘grow a pair!’, two phrases one would not normally find coming from my mouth.  The incident that made me think these things was actually the start of the end of searching.  I realized that my loss had very little to actually do with me, and a very great deal to do with what is missing from others’ world(s).  I can’t fix that for them, any more, and I don’t need to fix what ain’t broke in mine.  At least, I don’t need to try any more.

I’m actually rather good stuff, but as much as I need to always believe that about myself, I also need to understand that there are lots of people who aren’t going to get that.  So… pffftttt.

Dear David, Dear Donna & Sydney, Dear Britt, Dear Kim & Travis & Tim… thank you for not being pfffttt.  I am so enjoying moving on, and I very much hope you’ll be around for at least part of my journey, and let me be part of yours as well.  The door is always open to anyone who brings laughter and light, humour and truth, and the occasional piece of chocolate (or cheese) into my life.