Posts Tagged ‘grandma’

My Head is Full

April 23, 2019

Like so full.

So much stuff in there.

I have a touch of a headache.

This sometimes will happen when I have been trying to shove too much information into my brain and it just can’t take any more in.

Over the weekend I had to address a lot of homework and do a lot of research.

The research went well, the paper got written, eleven pages thank you very much, but I was still behind.

Not by a lot.

But by enough to make me a feel a touch chagrined with myself.

I had completely missed out a weeks discussion in one of my classes.

I figured out how today when I realized I had read all the chapters well in advance of the discussion and some part of my brain just thought I was totally ahead of the curve.

Plus.

I had met with the professor of the class last week and I just presumed to myself without checking into the actual syllabus that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I think unconsciously I let myself do it.

I tend to post well thought out, referenced, worded well, well supported, thoughtful post.s

I am typically one of the first people in my classes to respond to a post prompting and I am pretty open and transparent with the work I do, how I am in the world and what is happening personally.

My cohort knows I went through a break up two months ago.

My cohort knows I had shingles.

My cohort knows I juggle a full-time PhD program with full time nannying and a roster of clients, I’m seeing ten this week.

I’m busy.

I dropped the ball in one of my classes.

I can also see that I had a stupendous busy week last week nannying.

The two older kids were on Spring Break and their grandmother has been visiting.

I did not have any time, none at all, to spend on my homework.

I really do rely on getting in at least a couple of hours of work done during the week, sometimes, like today, I can actually even get in two hours of homework a day.

Not always, but anything helps.

Not having a spare minute or moment to do classwork last week put me behind and I didn’t even realize it until I was sitting in a cafe on Divisadero before my Saturday commitment this past weekend.

I literally thought I was going to burst into tears.

I had totally missed the deadline and I didn’t have the book with me that I needed to reference to have posted a discussion.

I made damn sure that came with me today.

I also had to just let it go.

I had to do research for the paper I wrote yesterday and I had to also do a big post for my Creative Arts and Leadership class.

I had to acknowledge that I wasn’t actually going to be able to do the discussion until today.

On top of that.

I have another paper due on Wednesday of this week.

So.

I got lucky.

I got really lucky at work.

Not only were the kids back to school, they had after school activities, I was basically alone the whole day with the littlest guy.

He didn’t have the biggest nap, but he had a long enough one that I did a 1,300 word discussion post with six references to the book in it and I responded to a classmates work as well.

I started looking over the work that I needed to gather up to do the next paper, the one that is due Wednesday, and I could feel my head getting a bit spun.

So.

Lunch break.

Sat down.

Looked outside.

Watched the sky.

Ate a nice meal.

Made some tea.

Got back in it and then the little guy woke up with one of those cries that says I’m not quite awake and something woke me up and I want to sleep more but I will need cuddles to do so.

You don’t know that one?

I gathered him up, snuggled him into my arms and he slept in my lap for another half hour.

It was enough to let my brain simmer down a little bit, but the pot is still dangerously full of stuff.

I went to a cafe in between work and my commitment tonight and I tried to do some more work and I managed to eke out a bit, but really, fuck, my head just said no way, no more.

It is at times like these that I do question what the fuck I am doing.

I know it will pass and I already feel like I have committed myself to it to stop now, but stopping, whoa, it might feel really nice.

When I get stuck I do tell myself to just focus on what can be done today, just today, that’s all I have anyway.

Today.

I did well.

Really.

I did and I need to acknowledge that.

I got caught up and I did the work that needed to be done to prepare for the next paper.

I have my books and notebook packed already for tomorrow with high hopes that I will get another good few hours without interruption at nap time.

It’s a smaller paper, just six pages, but it’s on theoretical framing, so, um, yeah, hella dry.

If I get two hours tomorrow I should be sitting really well.

I also had a client cancel tomorrow night, so I just have one after work.

I’ll lean into it and I’ll get it done.

In the mean time.

Fuck me.

I am tired.

I am in need of tea and a good mindless few minutes of a video that has nothing at all academic about it.

Seriously.

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Cozy Little Christmas

December 26, 2016

I was talking to the moms earlier and she expressed how sad she was that I was alone at Christmas.

I assuaged her.

I almost laughed, I haven’t felt lonely, despite, yes, spending the majority of the day alone.

I never felt lonely.

Sleepy occasionally.

I actually napped.

A lot.

I don’t nap often and it always feels rather epic when I do.

I blame the malingering cold.

Not enough to knock me completely flat, but definitely, defiantly still there, sitting on my chest with a nasty proprietorship that I am about done with.

Ha.

I foil you cold.

I signed up for a yoga class tomorrow, get out of my body.

I figure one more big night of sleep and some warming up and stretching will make me feel a lot better.

I didn’t get to the studio at all this past week, the weird hours at work, the onset of the cold, the holiday stuff, I got behind and nothing quite worked with my schedule.

Speaking of schedule.

I have been in contact with the new family I will be starting with on January 2nd and since I’m in town this week I’ll be meeting with them to go over the stuff and things and sign my new contract.

It’s for reals.

I am grateful for the week off.

Even with the stupid cold.

I will go to the MOMA.

I may go the DeYoung and the Legion of Honor too,  haven’t been to either in a while.

Maybe one day a ride over to Sausalito too on the ferry, it’s been a while since I have done that as well.

And as I let myself listen to a last few Christmas carols I really am reflectively happy.

Yes, I had other plans.

And I’m ok with the change of them.

I’m not upset that I spent Christmas by myself.

I’m good company.

Really good company.

I got myself a new dress for Christmas.

Oh god damn it’s cute.

From Hell Bunny.

Thank you Christmas bonus.

I don’t think it will get here in time for New Year’s but it might, not that I don’t have a dress, I did let myself get a dress from Ambiance the other day.

Two dresses at Christmas, so nice to do for myself.

I had a nice morning writing and drinking cafe au lait.

I opened cards and gifts from family and I talked to my mom on the phone and chatted and messaged with other friends and dear hearts.

I made turmeric spiced garlic brown rice and I roasted a pork roast.

Oh my god.

The roast.

I very infrequently buy pork or steak, it’s just spendy for me and if I get meat, I typically get a chicken, I can stretch a chicken into a weeks plus worth of meals, but you know, Christmas.

So I picked up a pork roast at the SafeWay the last time I shopped.

And what with the Adobo my darling friend gave me from Puerto Rico and the persimmons Santa sent me, fuck me, I made an amazing pork roast.

I seasoned it with sea salt, black pepper, the aforementioned Adobo, Spike, a tiny bit of tarragon and then slow cooked it for an hour and a half.

While it rested I made the rice.

Then I sliced up some persimmon, layered them over the top of the roast, added a tiny bit more salt, and yes, raw organic cocoa.

While the rice was cooking and the roast was resting I went for a walk down to the beach.

The waves were heavy and crumbling and loud.

There were a few folks out with their pups and one surfer trying to paddle out past the break.

I walked for a while.

Then perched in the dunes above the beach.

I was not sad.

I am not sad now.

I reflected, rather, that I have done a lot for myself, with the help of a lot of friends, over this past year.

I dis-entangled myself from a love relationship that was woefully not working.

I went to New York in May and saw all the art and things and friends.

I went to New Orleans and saw all the art and the things and made new friends.

I went to Burning Man, briefly, yes, but I went and saw all the art and the things and made new friends and saw old friends.

I rode my scooter all over the city.

I mean all over.

I successfully got through the first semester of my second year in a three year graduate school program.

I saw Mike Doughty and Paul Simon live.

I started doing yoga.

I finished a two year plus job with grace and love and got referred kindly to my next position with rave references.

I comported myself pretty damn well.

I told lots of people I love them.

I do, you know.

I sat up in those dunes happy with myself, alone, but not lonely and it struck me so resolutely how lonely I felt last year at Christmas with the man I was in love with and then the year prior with an old boyfriend, alone on Christmas as he chose to spend it with another.

I was not in pity for myself, I remember walking that same stretch of beach tears running down my face, in a white dress, my hair in braids, the wind so cold, the sun bright, brilliant, but cutting.  I took a picture of myself in the dunes that year and all the responses were the same, my god how beautiful and all I could think was my God, I’m in a relationship and alone on Christmas, my God how lonely I am.

Alone.

But not lonely this year at Christmas.

I came home from my happy gambol along the beach and lovingly put the roast in the over to sear at a high temp for a half hour and carmelized the persimmons and my goodness, my house may have never smelled better.

I read for a while then pulled out the roast and dug in.

It was beyond description.

So good.

And I had saved a Rau Raw Chocolate drink to have with it.

Best Christmas dinner ever.

Seriously.

I had a sliced persimmon after dredged in sea salt and raw chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg, and a big mug of Bengal Spice tea with cashew milk.

I was full and happy and warm and cozy.

I read for a little while longer, so many wonderful new pleasure reading things to get through, then.

I had a thought.

My how nice a nap might be.

So.

I did.

Merry fucking Christmas.

I curled up underneath my grandma’s afghan and watched the Christmas tree.

I drifted off, warm, safe, held.

Wrapped up in love.

Alone?

Yes.

Lonely, no.

Loved and taken care of.

Loving to myself and to others.

The best Christmas miracles are always the little ones.

Seriously.

So, mama, don’t be sad that your baby was alone on Christmas.

I had a beautiful day and when I reflect on all the people who love me.

Well.

I am surely blessed.

So very much so.

Wishing you and yours the same.

Always.

And.

Forever.

 

 

Last Christmas I gave you my heart.

But the very next day you gave it away.

This year I’ll give it to someone special.

Carmen, You Are A

February 25, 2015

Rockstar.

Why thank you.

It did take some rock star maneuvering to get through today, but I made it through.

The mom paid me the compliment.

The grandmother told me I was amazing.

The almost, in three days, five-year old told me he loved me.

The dog kissed my face.

The two and a half-year old had his Meow Meow hug me, his little white cat that is now grey from dirt and love.

Validation.

So nice to meet you.

It is lovely to be so appreciated at work and it’s nice to be busy.

Not too busy, I could use a little more down time then this week has afforded me, but the grandparents leave tomorrow and I have a half day on Thursday, so I can interview for the graduate school program, and things will roll right along.

The upside to being busy is that I don’t have time to be bored.

I am almost always doing something.

“Can I help?”  The grandmother asked as I started unpacking the bags from the market and getting the things for dinner arranged.

“No, but thank you,” I said.

Not because I probably couldn’t use the help, but because it actually, often times ends up being a hinderance to the preparation.

I don’t think in a linear manner.

I try, but often get distracted, and often find short cuts, and often have fifteen things happening at one time.

In the span of an hour and a half I prepped snacks for pre-school pick up for the oldest boy–thermos of milk, strawberries, hulled and sliced, clementines, peeled and sectioned, two small Fuji apples, cored, sliced, sprinkled with cinnamon, box of whole wheat crackers in a little container.

The kid likes having options.

Then I roasted cauliflower for dinner, made a marinade for salmon I had bought at BiRite (two pounds wild Alaskan salmon marinated in olive oil, Meyer lemon juice and zest, one lime, sea salt, fresh chopped flat head parsley, garlic, fresh pepper, thyme, and a little basil), big tossed salad for the whole family, and sushi rice in the rice cooker.

I did a lot of other things too, laundry, clean up, dishes, but I don’t think of it anymore, I just do it.

I just had my five month anniversary with the family and I would say it’s going well.

The almost five-year old celebrated his birthday tonight with his grandparents who fly out tomorrow afternoon.

I was grateful to not have to be a party to bed time.

It was hard enough wrangling the two monkeys after a couple of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes from Mission Mini’s.

It was like a sugar bomb went off in both their brains.

As I stood in the middle of it, watching the dynamic of the family I thought how lucky I was for my job.

And for the experience it’s providing me.

“You are so far ahead of anyone coming into the program,” a friend told me Saturday night, “leaps and bounds, you’ll do fine at the interview and they will take you into the program.”

It’s nice to hear.

Again, validation, affirmation, I am good, I do a good job.

But it was better to have it sink in, from my head to my heart, down to my gut.

I know she’s right.

I have had eight years being at the center of many a family.

I have done my field research to be a MFT, Marriage and Family Therapist.

In spades.

I have seen family’s that blew me away with their love and others that blew me away with their neurosis.

All of them have been instrumental in my own personal growth.

Learning how to communicate without being passive aggressive or manipulative.

When a kid whines, it’s hard to tolerate and there’s a wheedling aggressive manipulation happening.

If I make you uncomfortable, you will fold and I will get what I want.

I can’t handle it much better in adults.

It’s subtler, but really it boils down to the same thing.

And those families I haven’t stayed employed with long.

I have learned about self-care, how to prepare myself for the job and stay serene in my own persona and core.

I have learned to meditate at work, in the middle of the day when there’s a nap time happening.

I don’t always get to, but when I am, the magic is palpable.

I see what happens when families eat junk versus good food.

Or when miscommunication happens or feelings get hurt.

I see that we are all, all of us, me especially, human and I make mistakes.

I see also that I get to make mistakes and that’s part of learning.

“No!  I want you to draw it,” the oldest boy told me, “I can’t do it as well.”

“You will one day, and not so far off,” I replied.  “Just try, you don’t have to be perfect, it takes patience and practice and repetition, you have to start somewhere, here’s a great place.”

He picked up the crayon and drew outside the lines, smashing bright colors all over the page, “it’s my favorite color!”

Yellow.

Or gold.

“Just try, you are safe, I won’t drop you,” I told the youngest boy yesterday at swim lessons.

“I’m scared, I’m afraid,” he said.

“I have you, I won’t drop you, you are safe, and you can be afraid, fear is ok, but you still get to try, come on, you can do it, jump!” I smiled and lifted him up into the air and the splashed down into the water.

“See!” I hugged him and his wet arms wrapped around me and he smiled back wet eyed and beautiful.

I’m going to nail that interview.

I’m going to graduate school.

This is happening.

Never thought being a nanny would lead me anywhere, it was just something to do until the right thing came along.

Who knew it was the thing that would provide me with the foundation to do that right thing when the time came.

Life.

Full of wonderful surprises.

And sweet validation.

Thank you!

The grandma and grandpa said for the photos.

Thank you, you are a super hero, the dad said.

Thank you! The mom called out to me as I walked out the door.

You are very welcome.

See you tomorrow.

I have some more research to do.

You Are Right

February 22, 2015

I am wrong.

I found this business card in my wallet today and I propped it up on my dining room/kitchen table/desk spot and every time I have sat down for a meal or to balance my check book, to pick up a book, or to write in my notebook, I see the card.

Right

Right vs Happy

 

You are almost always right and I am almost always wrong.

I have a skewed sense of perspective and need help.

All the time.

I don’t find this statement offending, far from it, there’s comfort in the face of being wrong.

I can be right.

I have been told.

Or.

I can be happy.

I would so much rather be happy.

In that vein I have made some moves to amend some behaviors.

One of which was to send a text to a friend last night who was going to help me with my scooter.

I had been told to do otherwise and yet, here I am courting someone’s help, who yes, it was offered, and yes it is appreciated, but no, said person doesn’t happen to have any experience with vintage Vespa’s.

Plus, the only reason I was asking for his help was to avoid paying to have it looked at.

That’s an amend.

Paying my way.

Being self-supporting.

There is asking for the generosity of my friends and accepting help when I need it, which I often do and I have had to rely on people all throughout my life, especially in the last ten years, for help in all kinds of awkward situations.

But that’s life.

Awkward.

I need help.

I don’t like asking for it.

However.

There is also the reverse wherein I don’t do something out of fear that I won’t be able to handle the financial ramifications of getting something fixed.

I have a clock, a beautiful antique clock that I bought a flea market in Paris when I was visiting in 2007 that worked when I bought it, but about four years ago stopped.

I have been to petrified to have it looked at–I can’t afford to fix that, its going cost too much.

So it’s become a decoration on my wall.

Like my scooter has become, a decoration in the entry way to my studio.

I have been afraid of the scooter costing too much to repair, despite knowing that it probably won’t be.

So I found myself accepting help out of fear of financial insufficiency.

The date I went on last night, well, that was eye-opening, and for whatever reason I was able to hear what he was saying, suggested I take it in to his friend at Vespa SF.

Novel fucking idea.

Take my vintage 1965 Vespa to a place that um, yeah, specializes in Vespa’s.

Ha.

I texted my friend who had offered his help after the date and said, thank you, but no thank you, I’m taking it to the mechanic.

Side bar.

I slept with this friend over a year ago and it was suggested that after clearing up a little on my side of the street that I perhaps not hang out with him.

I took care of returning something of his and was prepared to do just that, but we had such a nice time hanging out after his stuff was got out of my garage that it was a great idea, yeah, he can come over and help me with the scooter.

Then I realized.

Wait.

I’m dating, new people, new guys, not hanging out with guys that it didn’t work out with.

That’s an amend too.

I’m supposed to walk away from the shut door, not that I can’t see my friend, but maybe right now, as it’s been suggested, not hanging out is a good idea.

So.

Yeah.

I cancelled.

And what do you know.

The guy I went out with last night, who is mechanically inclined as well, and yes, used to own a similar Vespa, texts me and says, let me look at it before you take it in to the mechanic.

Awesome.

Come on over baby and look at my Vespa.

Ahem.

I think there’s some adjusting that needs doing.

Ha.

Ah, I amuse myself.

Anyway, so he’s going to swing by and help me get it running, then I’m going to take it to the mechanic anyway, I want to get the fender popped out and that will have to come off to be done.

Changing behavior.

Not reaching out to my ex boyfriend when I have missed him.

Wishing him, instead, love and light every time I hear a motorcycle go by instead.

Not reaching out to my old friend who I said goodbye to last Sunday.

I really want to check in on him and see how he’s doing, but it’s not my place and I can’t.

Showing up for the relationships that are opening up around me and really getting connected with my community right now is what I need to be doing.

I can’t help an active heroin addict.

I can’t.

I can love him with all my heart, but I can’t see him while he’s using, it’s just too much and it sucks, but that’s how it is.

Someone suggested that losing my friendship may be construed as a consequence of his using and he may need to see that, otherwise I’m getting in the way of him having the experience he needs to.

Hard changing my behaviors.

Hard amending my life long habits.

Loyalty to people who aren’t healthy to me.

I’m the one who needs to change.

Not him.

He can use or not use.

It’s not my business.

My business is within the circle of my arms.

And my heart.

I shared tonight about an amends to my grandmother that I have been dancing around.

Basically, it’s to go to see her in Chula Vista.

The harm is not one that’s obvious, I didn’t steal from her, but I haven’t actively shown up for her in my life, and she’s the last grandma I have.

I don’t want to regret not having contact with her.

And there’s so much about my family that I don’t know.

So much of my father’s past and childhood, my ancestry, I know I look a lot more like my father’s side of the family than my mom’s, but that’s not a relationship, that’s just an observation.

I have done a lot of inventory, writing, therapy, and what all around the trauma and abuse that happened to me when I was a child and I know that this will help me, that I need to reconnect with my grandmother and not shut the door on the past, but move away from peeking through the cracks.

I need to show up and let go all at the same time.

“You need to go and hold her hand and look into her eyes,” he said to me.

Yup.

I may not get resolution, but I don’t need it so much.

I have acceptance, which though not approval is an adequate substitution for me, of what happened to me and the work that I have done there is tremendous.

I want my family back.

All pieces.

All parts.

I want to be whole.

This feels like the last big amend that I need to do.

I have flirted around looking at a plane ticket for the last couple of weeks, but keep saying, I’ll get it when…

Then I heard what I need this evening to finally have that key of willingness turn and click and I came home and wrote an e-mail to my grandmother and asked if she would like a visit and when would be a good time to come down and see her.

Just the relief that I got from sending the e-mail was affirming.

This.

Then.

The next frontier.

Dating is lovely.

But family.

Family is really where it’s at for me.

And I suspect, know, that it will be the key to the dating.

Clearing up the past to move on forward to the future I am destined to live.

Being clear and present for the right now.

So I can be with the right one.

Which is me.

In case you were wondering.

 

Saying Hello

December 15, 2014

Just to say goodbye again.

Goodbye papa.

I love you.

I kissed his cheek.

It was surprisingly warm, and the warmth and the prickles of stubble startled tears from my eyes.

I left his room.

I had said my goodbyes.

I told him what I needed to say, I wrote him a card, I held his hand, I stroked his arm, his knees, and the tops of his feet.

If he wasn’t wearing a helmet to protect his head, I would have stroked his hair, so like mine, still so dark, the gray is in his beard.

That was new.

I have never seen my father with a beard.

It was not a full fledge beard, but it was far more hair on his face than I can ever recall having seen.

“Does anyone know what happened,” the night nurse asked.

“No,” I replied, but the nurse who I checked in with on Friday read the intake notes to me and it sounded like he was assaulted for his wallet.

There was no need to say the rest of the story, my father’s body tremors spoke the rest of the tale, the bruises and scrapes and scars, the toughened skin, the cracked toenails, the hair, too long—another thing I had not seen on my father, long hair—the swollen hands, the alcohol withdrawal was hard to watch and bear witness to, but bear I did.

“You did a fine thing, you showed up as a woman of valor and strength and whatever happens this is between you and your dad, and you deserve to go out and experience every rich and wonderful thing that life has to give you, you let yourself have those things.”

Thank you Honey.

I needed to hear those wise words.

And so many others.

My darling boyfriend.

My dearest best friend.

My mom.

My sister.

My grandmother.

The worlds all convened in one spot for me in one fulcrum of pain and sorrow and grief and joy and gratitude.

The gift of my father.

I thanked him for helping me find closure.

I don’t know if he will come out the other side of this, but I do know that I will.

Breathe and pray.

She said to me.

Breathe and pray.

And that’s really what I did.

I prayed and held his hand.

I also cried.

But have I had a really good sob?

Not yet.

I did for a moment break down when I left the ICU, said thank you to the kind nurses; I lost it for a moment there in the waiting room.

Barren but for I.

I crumpled.

My face fell.

The tears scalded my cheeks and I let loose a wail.

Then I breathed in and prayed out and asked for a little more strength.

There was no one to hold my hand through the walking out of that waiting room, but I was held nonetheless.

My eyes so blurred with tears that I could barely respond to the texts from my boyfriend, then, the elevator, the intake desk at the ER, the cab called, the wait while the crazy of a busy ER bloomed around me.

“Please, sit, really, the driver will come and call out your name,” the receptionist kindly spoke to me.

I thanked her, looked at the melee in the waiting room and withdrew to stand by the doors.

I am done with this place, this space, this ER, this ICU; I just want to go home.

Home.

San Francisco.

I met so many kind people while I was here, was helped immensely by the fellowship, welcomed and hugged, picked up and brought places, asked to read and share, drank many, many, many large cups of coffee, and cried in the safety of rooms that I knew would hold my tears and keep them safe.

I am so thankful, grateful, and in deep debt to these rooms and the amazing people I met, especially one lovely lady who really stepped up to help and be of service, may I have the graciousness within me to play that service forward.

I have thank you cards in my bag, which of course, I did not find a mailbox to mail them from, but they are there.

I bought them as well as a postcard and a refrigerator magnet at the Anchorage Museum.

I got out a little today in between the church basement and the hospital.

My new friend took me to a museum and we talked and laughed and shared our experiences and then went to a café and I had a big old green salad, oh San Francisco I do miss your lovely food, and it was so wonderful to connect with someone.

I met her just yesterday morning and she feels like an old friend.

Just one of the many gifts I am sure will come of this experience.

The gift of seeing my father and finding my way through to an adult experience to deal with the being there for my family and to also find a small space for myself to have my own experience and interaction.

My heart hurts.

I am tender.

I am wrung with tears.

“The Christmas lights are so pretty in the snow,” I texted my boyfriend.

The Christmas carols in the hallways of the hospital, the crying child, the mountains capped with white, the blue sky, the blaze of golden orange at 3:30 in the afternoon as the sun began its fast descent, the mix of cheer and pain and sorrow and joy.

The richness that is my life that I can hold more than one emotion at a time and allow space for all of them.

I am a vessel of love and I found that the depth and parameters of my heart are far bigger than I suspected.

That’s what happens.

God breaks open your heart to fill it further.

A split open heart has more room, more area, a cup, a chalice, and a field of blazing aurora borealis against the deep indigo sky, to hold love.

It’s a feeling I have not gotten used to, but it is not unfamiliar and in the feeling I know that the rendering of it will only make me love harder and more if I keep my heart field open.

That’s the best I have.

I let go.

I let God.

I surrendered.

I accept and am loved.

I was brave and will continue to honor my family, my friends, my love, myself, and most of all this wilderness that I have come through to another pivot point in my life, and that, that is the choice for me.

Life.

I choose to live.

Thank you, my father for my life.

I will live it well and full of love.

I promise.

 

 

 

In Blackwater Woods: Mary Oliver

Look, the trees

are turning

their own bodies

into pillars

 

of light,

are giving off the rich

fragrance of cinnamon

and fulfillment,

 

the long tapers

of cattails

are bursting and floating away over

the blue shoulders

 

of the ponds,

and every pond,

no matter what its

name is, is

 

nameless now.

Every year

everything

I have ever learned

 

in my lifetime

leads back to this: the fires

and the black river of loss

whose other side

 

is salvation,

whose meaning

none of us will ever know.

To live in this world

 

you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

 

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it

go,

to let it go.

 

Sometimes People Die

December 14, 2014

I should rephrase that.

We all die.

Sometimes people die and then, well, they don’t.

I expected the worst when I got the phone call this week about my father, the surgery, the injury, the coma, the low quality of life he has had over the last few years (in and out of homeless shelters), rampant alcoholism.

Hell, the last few decades.

However, he’s tough.

Like me.

I get my toughness from him.

And my mouth and my hair and I hate to say it, my big old Hawaiian flat-footed feet, I mean, really, those are my feet.

And my nose.

And my hands.

And my hand in his.

It’s just a slightly smaller version.

Watching him struggle, watching the tubes tumbling out of every single limb on his body, was like watching a version of myself and what it could be like, well, if it weren’t like what it is, which is that–

I have recovered.

From a seemingly hopeless condition of mind and body.

My father has not.

Maybe.

Maybe he will.

Maybe he’s still digging that bottom of his.

Maybe he’ll die.

Maybe he won’t.

Well, he will, I will, you will, we all will, but maybe there might be some juice left, some special spark, some tremolo of love that sings out, come walk with me longer, look at the mountains, see the sunrise over the snow-covered trees and breathe the air–crisp, cold, bracing–let it fill your lungs and soul and heart.

Whenever it got to be too much I would walk the sky bridge between the ICU and the wing adjoining the Cancer Center.

It’s a skywalk with views of the mountains and it commands attention.

Nature.

God.

Great.

Out.

Doors.

What ever you want to call it; that which is a power greater than myself.

That tree, yes, that one, over there, its older than me, it was here before me and it will be here after me.

I am just a blink.

A particle of time and space and love.

But oh.

Such love.

How many times did I tell my father I loved him today?

A lot.

More than a few.

I told him, I told friends, I told my sister, and my mother, my grandmother, my uncle, my great-aunt in New York.

You know who I didn’t?

My boyfriend.

Not because I didn’t want to.

That’s another blog.

But out of fear.

And perhaps that lesson is the greatest one here.

Tell them all, tell them you love them, smother them with love, and tell yourself you love you.

“I have to go papa,” I said and squeezed his hand again.

It’s disconcerting, he’s so lively, so responsive, but it’s not cognitive response, it’s nerve response, it’s like watching a fish with electrodes moving it’s tail back and forth.  I don’t know how much is real, and I don’t want to give myself false hope or for that matter, anyone else.

He twitches and jerks and occasionally an eye opens and it rolls and I don’t see much there and I am afraid to not see it and afraid to see it all at the same time and then I think, he hears me, his head it turned, but then it turns back.

I squeeze his hand, my hand, that is my hand, there and stroke the pad of flesh with my thumb and rub it and touch it and warm the skin.

I lean in and find a place in between the maze of wires and find a spot I can kiss goodbye.

But not yet.

Not goodbye for good.

Just good-bye for a meal and a hot shower.

I stay as long as I can, then I go.

Twice today I went out, out into the world and then in and down into a church basement.

The great thing about where ever I go, there’s a church basement with a pot of coffee and some big styrofoam cups and some principles in red ink hanging from the wall and someone to offer me a suggestion.

“Pray and breathe,” she said to me.

Yes.

Pray and breathe.

It’s that simple.

And say I love you.

Again and again and again.

I love you for your brown eyes and your dark hair, and your big hands and strong legs, those legs, you gave me those, I recognize those knees and thighs–I use them every day on my bicycle or to walk or to kneel down and pray–for being so smart, “you got your intelligence from your dad” so my mom says (although I suspect I got my heart from my mom), and you gave me stories and you told me I was a writer.

“I always knew you’d grow up to be a writer,” my father said to me on the front porch of Patty’s house on Monroe Street in Madison.

We had just gotten a couple of cans of Barq’s (Famous Olde Tyme) root beer from the soda machine at the market–when it was still 35 cents a can and we’re drinking the cold pop on the steps smoking cigarettes and (watching Captain Kangaroo) watching the cars go by.

“You’re a story-teller, just like me,” he said and sipped on the pop and dragged off the cigarette.

The sun was warm, my feet were bare.

I was nineteen.

I was lost, pretty much a college drop out and my dad was basically couch surfing and dating the daughter (18 years old and therefore younger than me) of the woman who lived in the house whose porch we were sitting on (I ended up sleeping with her son, so I think we’re even on that score), living on food stamps and borrowed time.

But in that moment.

Exquisitely happy to be hanging with my pops on a porch, shooting the shit, telling stories, remembering when I was  little girl and he would ride me around on his motorcycle.

Not all my memories of my dad are so golden and shimmering and flecked with creamy root beer spiced carbonation.

I don’t know that I would cast the memories that I am creating here in this hospital as golden either.

But they are a gift.

It is a gift of immensity that I expect to be exploring with new and different eyes for some time to come.

And maybe my papa will come out of the coma while I am here.

And maybe he will not.

But I am here.

I showed up.

I grew up.

And in my heart, I’m still sitting on that porch listening to my father spin yarns and drink root beer in the dusk of a summer evening.

I love you Michael Martines.

I am your daughter.

You are my father.

And whatever happens.

Nothing will change that.

Love never dies.

Or grows older or fades.

It always stays.

So stay a little longer.

There are so many stories I haven’t told you yet.

 

 

 

18 Lbs Later

July 2, 2014

We went strawberry picking today.

18 lbs of strawberry picking.

I don’t think either one of us thought we were getting that much, there was the overwhelming urge to truck along the fields, bending and plucking and searching out underneath the green leaves for the sweet, fat, juicy berries, and the desire to fill the box outweighed everything else.

Until we took them up to the register.

Whoa.

I blame the size of the box and the glee in the fields.

Eyes bigger than our bellies.

And the bellies of three boys and one papa.

So as I type my friend is putting up strawberry jam.

The kitchen smells like heaven and as the night closes in, the warm scent lush in my nose, seduces me to dreaming of Wisconsin living.

The green, oh, the green.

The rain has been heavy here and by this time in the summer the temperatures should be higher, but it’s been cool and damp and wet.

Not raining so much as just overcast and thunder blue clouds thick with moisture looming over the country.

Makes for intense green, the verdant hills and trees and bushes rich in chlorophyll a back drop to memories and flashes to my grandparents in Lodi and my growing up in Windsor Wisconsin.

My friend and I stopped at a garden shop on the way back from strawberry picking and as we hopped out of the car I was overwhelmed with a scent I can only recall from my grandmother’s back yard.

I think it was the trumpeter vine or a kind of lily.

Whatever it was, I smelled it, and I had not smelled it since the last time I saw my grandfather alive in Lodi before the family had to place him in the assisted care home he eventually passed on in.

I was transported to the back yard of my grandparents home in Lodi and all the time I spent running around that back yard; the times spent with my grandmother picking raspberries off the vines in the garden, forefront in my mind.

I had raspberries all last week before I left for the trip, so grandma was on my mind, and now, being here, though it is not the land of my family, it is still Wisconsin, and it is not all that different.

The difference is the accent in the voices.

There’s a little more north in it.

Then too there is the unfamiliar and yet deeply familiar look of the land.

The trees, the grass, the rolling hills.

I wish I were more mobile.

In fact, slight sidebar, I am a little concerned about how not very mobile I am.

I got exhausted and perhaps in that exhaustion, the memories surfaced faster, thicker, harder.

I broke into tears on the down town walk back from pursuing a vintage antique mall and meandering through down town Hudson.

I don’t know that it was so much from the walking, but more so from the lack of sleep.

I realized after some time sitting still and elevating my ankle, that I have not slept that much the last two days and that added to my hobble about.

I am also wondering if perhaps the time for the boot has come to be removed.  The boot seems more a hinderance at this point than a help.

I shall see in the morning.

I suspect I will go to bed earlier than the 2 a.m. I lay down last night.

I suspect I may sleep longer than the 7:30 a.m. I got up.

Granted.

I did drift in and out lazy like for an hour and then joined my friends brood in her bed where we all cuddled and snuggled and drank some coffee planning out the day.

It was a good day.

A lovely day.

Lunch on the back deck area of the restaurant we went to was overlooking the St. Croix, the rain spat down  a few times on us, but the view was more arresting than the rain.

The company damn good too.

The town is gearing up for Booster days, the carnival opens tomorrow at 4p.m.

Not certain what the days plans are for the morrow.

I just plan on sleeping a bit more.

Eating more strawberries too.

I suspect I will have more memories from childhood dance around in my head as I catch the land rolling past me or smell the remnants of a late-blooming peony bush, these are lovely things.

My friend asked, as I suspect she always may, if I would consider moving back, or if San Francisco is my home.

I always feel the same thing, a mix of nostalgia, a deep need for the smells I associate with my child hood growing up, and also a desperate need to return back to the city by the Bay.

I could move here.

Were I laden with money to buy a house and a car and maintain them, a career of sorts that I could do here that would sustain me.

Perhaps I might.

The houses are beautiful, the land is comforting.

But.

No.

I am spoiled.

I love my San Francisco and don’t know that I could bear to part with her.

For despite the memories, of which there are many, and despite the depth of my love from my friend, (the depths are deep) I have too, an abiding love in my California roots.

I was born there and my first memories are from the Bay Area.

If memory serves than and home is where the heart is, San Francisco’s sweet lulling song will continue to wile me into its bosom of fog horn and sea air.

I will always be a Californian girl with Midwestern roots.

I get to have the best of both worlds.

Fortunate for me.

Both places have strawberries.

 

 

 

 


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