'Tis Beltane Eve, children. And I can't help but hark back to a previous life when the Wild Women ruled. We threw a party on the weekend nearest to May first that included costumes and music and mead and roasted meat and an induction ceremony where we welcomed new members into the Wild Women fold. We called it the Druid Festival. I hear this party is no longer held and that spring is no longer ceremoniously welcomed in the social circle that abandoned me when my marriage was over. This photo is from late April 2002, and if I recall correctly it was sleeting outside. It's one of those miracle pics from the film age, a one snap fortunate circumstance where eight women, eight!, have all been captured in a flattering pose. No eyes closed, no one hidden. We are all smiles and frivolity. Twelve years later, this is how I choose to remember this time. These women were my closest friends. On this Beltane Eve I am reminded that the only constant in any of our lives is change. Embracing that chilly fact and making it your friend is basic to survival. Don't we all look fabulous?
After a quite dismal showing at trivia tonight and feeling across most of the day that I'm suffering from a serious lack of intuition, intelligence and insight, please enjoy this song that so eloquently expresses my state of mind. It's on the soundtrack from one of my top five fave films, High Fidelity. Though I have yet to figure out if even a trace of it appears in the movie. I'm certain a good night's sleep will restore my subgenius cred.
Okay, technically this isn't a photo of my Newport Blue Pearl 2007 Subaru Outback. It's a stock photo of one that looks pretty much like mine. I bought mine seven years ago today. She has sixtyfivethousand-and-something miles on her. She is on her second set of tires. Still happy I bought her, still enjoy driving her. Hmmm. The average length of a marriage in this country is around eight years. I was going to draw some sort of brilliant, intuitive comparative thingy there. But I lost interest along the way. I will say this. I have raved a teensy bit about how much I like this car. And since I purchased mine, five friends have bought one, too. You will have to talk to them about their level of happiness.
I am deeply saddened and disappointed over your decision to discontinue your New Every Two plan. Perhaps it was too popular, thus hastening its demise. I remain steadfast in the belief, however, that it is patently wrong to offer a phone for ninety-nine cents and then proceed to charge said potential buyer of the ninety-nine cent phone thirty dollars (thirty dollars!) for "upgrading" to said ninety-nine cent phone. There are no other available options for the ninety-nine cent phone. This, people, is not a ninety-nine cent phone. It is a thirty dollar and ninety-nine cent phone. $30.99! I was not born yesterday and my sense of smell is intact and fully functional, as are my basic math skills.
Love is on my brain. As it often is, given love's myriad applications in our lives. I love pizza and my kids and my cats and the smell of blooming lilacs and road trips. I have known romantic as well as platonic love. Physical as well as spiritual. As usual, the problem seems to be the English language. We toss about the word in equal application whether we're talking about our significant other or football. If your SO actually is football, my apologies. And sympathy. I listened to this TED Radio Hour yesterday concerning the subject of love. What hangs with me are the words of Esther Perel in the third segment of the program. That she doesn't have a prescription for success in a marriage. That we expect in our culture to have opposite-ends-of-the-spectrum needs satisfied by one person. Contradiction! A recipe, it seems, for failure. Her answer? Love is a paradox to be managed rather than a problem to be solved. As one who feels there often aren't easy answers or cures for our human dilemmas, I like this approach. Maybe it doesn't appeal to those who prefer to live in the world of sound-bites and trite aphorisms as solutions. All I know is, love is an adventure. And home. My brain has no problem reconciling the two.
I realize that I'm dreaming. And it wasn't the wiener mobile, but a semi truck backing into my driveway. I open the garage door and two men begin unloading boxes and boxes of Oscar Mayer wieners and stacking them in my garage. I tell them I didn't order all of these wieners. One of them replies that I have won a contest and all of these wieners are mine! All mine. I wonder where I am going to store all of them and decide instead to fire up the grill and invite lots of hungry people over for a wienie feast. That's all I remember. Except for the fact that the garage floor was very cold and I was barefoot. Dr. Freud would have had so much fun with this.
My horoscope for today: With so much available to you at the click of a mouse, it's a difficult time to develop patience. And yet you'll have a beautiful relationship with a certain person in your life if you just slow down a bit. Point taken, stars and planets, point taken.
So lovely chatting with Jill this morning. In our wide ranging conversation, including fixing global climate change and achieving world peace, we also touched on how entertaining it can be to view an attractive man. We can mine more out of a parking lot glimpse than from some previous relationships. Thereby explaining the why of why they are previous. Meaning so in the past, defunct, over and out. Which reminded me of this. In the future I shall refer to this utterance as the pheromoan. Go forth and use this term wisely. Or wantonly. What the hell, it's a pheromoan, not a pherowhimper.
Feeling a bit lazy-ass today. Contemplating moving my ass into another room to do stuff. But haven't done that yet. So lazy-ass, in fact, that while thinking about doing stuff rather than actually doing stuff, I was reminded of this post. About the nature of doing stuff. The epitome of lazy-assedness is writing a blog post referring to an older blog post when you actually had a thought somewhat original in nature. I blame it on the ennui of Wednesday.
Yes, this photo was taken today. About ten minutes ago. And yes, as you can see, I still have Christmas decorations lingering about. In my defense, these bits of holiday frou-frou are in the stairwell. Which means the eight foot stepladder must be hauled in from the garage and maneuvered down the basement steps in order to facilitate removal. I figure if this task has not been accomplished by Memorial Day, they may as well stay put until Christmas 2014. Procrastination is mine.
If you heard this post's title in the voice of Captain Jean-Luc Picard aka Patrick Stewart, then you are now my minion and will do whatever I say! Make it so! Okay, not really. But yesterday I discovered that I live in the number one of the top ten best places to live in South Dakota. I feel a little ungrateful all of a sudden for wanting to move away. On the other hand, news of this sort may help me sell my house. Now I feel slightly greedy in addition to the ungratefulness.
It wasn't on purpose, I assure you. But I seem to have sailing ships in this room. Decorators warn of the poor taste shown when one theme decorates a room. This decorator says, where's the fun in that! The etched window was rescued from a falling-down farmhouse.
No one else wanted it all covered in twenty years of dust and guano. But I did. And, yes, that is the original framing.
The brass plaques with a Spanish galleon motif were Mom's. Probably a wedding gift to my parents. I remember them hanging in pretty much every house we lived in. They are well-traveled. But as far as I know, only across land.
He's sort of rumpled and goofy, but at the same time incredibly sexy. And smart and funny and thoughtful. And honest. But in the kind and direct way rather than the brutal way. His laugh is genuine and hearty. He has good eyes. They don't waver or avoid contact or look past you. When I finally met him face to face last night after a month or so of over-the-internet flirting, he was precisely what I had hoped he'd be. I had waited with wobbly knees and clammy hands, but all my nervous anticipation melted away as soon as he smiled at me and spoke my name. I can't begin to slap a label on what this is or what it might become. But I have been reminded in a very real and profound way how wonderful and deeply satisfying it can be to connect with a kindred soul. This, children, is what life is all about.
Another cd-eating stereo is gone. So are both of the dilapidated folding chairs. Did I mention that the vinyl seats on both of these chairs is mostly disintegrated? And that they are rusty? And that whatever cushioning material that once existed under the ripped vinyl is either missing or crunchy? These chairs can be carbon-dated for their age by their avocado green color all the way back to the 70's! Also missing are the two white plastic oblong planters. I thought they were a good idea for the front yard about 15 years ago. Fourteen years ago they were moved to the back yard. They have been languishing behind the garden shed for twelve years. After all that rejection I am happy that they have found a new home. Oddly, the waterbed drawer pedestal is gone. But only the framework! The six drawers remain. The carpet pad is still there. People! This is a roll of premium quality virginal carpet pad! Where are your priorities?!?
With a name like The Boneyard, this sort of decor isn't the least bit surprising.
Nor is the de rigueur presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
These two festive fellows bear a striking resemblance to the impish ones who regularly appear on my left and right shoulders. They whisper conflicting advice into my ears. I only listen when they speak English.
What's this? Why, it appears to be a south of the border version of da Vinci's famous mural! The Last Supper holds some kind of record for being the most satirized painting known to man. This version would be evidence upholding that claim.
Once you have drunken in the atmosphere, drink down some authentic Mexican beer! Oh, and the food was absolutely delicious. I had the chicken avocado quesadilla and a sopa topped with black beans, peppers and shrimp. Oh, and the tequila was pretty tasty, too. Don't ask me the variety, it just appeared at the table in tiny goblets. Mmmmm.
In less than 24 hours a few more items have disappeared. The broken kitchen stool is gone, as is the dilapidated toy stove and the rickety yellow stepladder. Both boom boxes have vacated the pile, one of which was totally nonfunctional and the other was lacking a power cord. The perfectly good carpet pad is still there, as is the drawer pedestal for a long gone waterbed. I do understand the lack of interest in the two broken folding chairs and the cat-shredded wicker hamper. If any of these curbside items appeal to you don't wait too long! The city crews begin their rounds today to pick up what remains. Happy shopping!
I don't always wait until the last minute to accomplish a task, but when I do, it's almost guaranteed that the weather will be cold and windy. So. After making mental notes all winter as to which stuff ought to be consigned to the curb for the city's annual clean-up, I discovered that they start picking up said stuff tomorrow. Tomorrow! A quick check in and around the garden shed, the basement and the garage produced these choice items. I wasn't quick enough to capture them in the act, but it was only little more than an hour later that two women hopped out of an already overflowing pickup to claim the rickety white bench. I wish them the best of luck in shoring it up for use as the wood is the consistency of something between a mushroom and aged chewing gum stuck to the underside of a table.
A primary reason for the recent sisters gathering in Atlanta was a bittersweet goodbye. Pam had decided to sell the house she and Cullen had lived in for most of their marriage. A sign that she is ready to move on after nearly five years there on her own since his death. She wanted Martine and me to be there with her to help her fill the house with love and good Karma and to ease her into the next phase of her life. I don't know what y'all do in your family, but we throw a Viking funeral. Or at least our facsimile of one. Having a creek bordering your property is a nice touch. Throw in some origami arks, fire, and a beer. Heartfelt words were said. Tears were shed. I came away with a sense of completion and healing. Funerals are, after all, for the comfort of the living. Two days later, we awoke to torrential rain that continued through much of the day. The creek was swollen with the runoff, almost unrecognizable compared to Saturday's lazy, flowing rivulet where we had set the tiny boats afloat. As if to help move Cullen's spirit along to the next realm. Movement is good. Sometimes all you need is a little push to get away from the shore.
The grief process is a long and strange journey. Approaching the five year anniversary of Cullen's death I realize that it has been only in the last year or so that I have been able to hear his voice issuing occasionally from my younger son and laugh rather than tear up. I still do, sometimes, but the sadness is of a gentler variety and the intervals in between have grown longer. Last winter I was taken completely by surprise by the mere mention of the word "brother" in the song Walking Tall while listening to Lyle Lovett's collection of movie songs, Smile. I was so overwhelmed that I texted Pam to commiserate. I couldn't remember the last time I had cried to the point of sobbing over Cully's memory, and was grateful for the texting alternative because I was so overcome I was unable to speak. He was my brother and I loved him dearly but it is the way of the world that siblings grow up and follow their own life paths. Parting is inevitable. Cullen was her soulmate and had been a part of her everyday life for close to twenty years. I felt that Pam's loss was of a magnitude so much greater than mine. Yet here she was comforting me.
So today I gave Walking Tall another listen, the first time since it elicited such an emotional response from me a couple of months ago. A few tears but no sobs. The memory of loss has been replaced by the memory of Pam's generous consolation.
Needing some music for my Sunday morning ritual, I dug out The Hollies' Anthology and found another brother song. The memories I carry of Cullen grow lighter as time passes. Indeed, he ain't heavy. He is my brother and will always be in my heart.
While visiting Altanta, I became enamored of two drinks. The first being Smithwick's Irish Ale. I swilled a few of these at a genuine Irish pub. It's rich and smooth and delish. When I Googled information on this ale, I deigned to click on the link providing caloric information. Sometimes it is best not to know anything that might interfere with enjoyment.
This, children, is the traditional Brazilian concoction known as a Caipirinha. It is not for the faint of heart. And it is almost ridiculously simple to prepare. First a lime is quartered and placed in a glass, then pulverized with a muddler to release its juice and pulp. Sprinkle the lime with a couple of spoons of sugar then fill with ice. Fill with rum, preferably a premium cachaca, a Brazilian rum that is light and sweet. I recommend drinking this slowly. Slooooowwwwwly. Close your eyes and dream of Carnivale.
Just an interesting observation during my recent plane travels. Soon after takeoff I noted that the everpresent neuro background pain in my hands and wrists was all but eliminated. And remained gone for the duration of the flight. It returned shortly after landing but I got to wondering if altitude or cabin pressure or something else entirely produced the palliative effect. The voice of reason in my head is saying that clearly I need to spend more time flying to remote vacation spots. For my health and well-being. I'm working on a fully fleshed-out rationalization.
Waiting patiently for fifteen minutes past the hour so I can check in for my flight tomorrow. The waiting is entertaining, though, as I am seated at a table adjacent to an enormous expanse of hardwood floor. Michael Buble is crooning over the sound system. Yes, children, this is a dance studio. And Miss Pamela is in the midst of her weekly dance lesson. She's all posture and attitude and grace in high heels. Miss Martine has safely returned home as of last evening. Which means we don't have to arm wrestle for shotgun in Miss Pam's BMW convertible! I'm here an extra day so that coveted spot is mine all mine! This has been a wonderful week of bonding and laughter and saying goodbye to the past. At the same time all of us are looking forward to some enormous life changes. For the better, ready or not. I am so fortunate to have two beautiful sisters who rejuvenate and repair and revitalize me. One given to me by my mother, the other given to me by my dear little brother. There is no such thing as too much love.
1. I have been sleeping. 2. In reference to Item #1, I have not been doing a whole lot of sleeping, so it really is kind of a lame reason. 3. I am involved in TIST* with Miss Pamela and Miss Martine. 4. Bella and Zsu-Zsu require ear scratching and belly rubbing. 5. Michael, Miss Pamela's beau, keeps distracting us with things like tequila, wine, music and going out. 6. We went to the Georgia Aquarium. 7. We had lunch at The Boneyard. 8. We are becoming regulars here. 9. There's this thing called First Friday. 10. We spent most of a day visiting Miss Pamela's parents, Jean and Larry. * Total Immersion Sister Time