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Archive for May, 2008

Flowers for the table

I was at my friend’s house and hanging out on his back porch for a bit this morning.

“D” lives just down the road and his garden is amazing.

I drink it in whenever I am there or drive or walk by, before coming home to the two potted plants in front of the door of my condominium on the corner of the square.

Honestly, if i had a garden, it would all be dead. Just merely for lack of remembering to water.

Was it three days since I last watered those plants?

DARNIT, I thought it was this morning.

No wonder they are dead.

Story of me and my life as a gardener.

So, I was visiting “D” and I took him some scones to have with his coffee and when I left he said “Wait, I will get you some flowers to take home from my garden!”

So I took an armload home and put them in a vase and have been enjoying them.

I even remembered to put water in the vase.

When Blue came home from preschool she noted the flowers.

“What kind are those?” she asked.

“Peonies”, I replied.

She started to laugh and blurted “PANTIES???? PANTIES????!!! HA!”

Me: “No, PEONIES!”

We walked up to the elementary school to get her sister and she yelled out in front of the crowd of parents “Mommy put some PANTIES in a vase and has them on the kitchen counter! They are BEAUTIFUL!”

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Life’s actually been pretty good considering that my relationship has been rocky.

I mean, are we or aren’t we? I have an idea.

Nothing worse than being stuck in the middle.

Actually, I’m not stuck, but as long as I am home right now and not with him, I am kind of floating in between non-committal and wanting to be with him on occasion.

Don’t ask me why. YAH INSANE.

Am I that flippin’ afraid to be alone?

This winter has been WICKED long. (yes, I live just outside of Boston). I mean, it was LONG. We’re seeing signs of spring and with that, signs of resolution to some things that have been hanging in the air around.

In January, I started having back pain. Upper back. Shoulder. Neck. Head.

Being the smart woman I am, raised a Christian Scientist and damned for leaving the church and scorned by my devout Christian Scientist mother for many years, I still have the tendency to put off going to the doctor unless I need some of that hearty cough syrup with codeine in it that I hoard for emergencies.

“Do you have trouble sleeping because of that cough?” my doctor always asks and I nod ferociously because I can’t wait for him to write up that prescription that will help me sleep and stop coughing up my lungs each night.

So, two months ago, I had an appointment with my doctor. It was my annual, but I just happened to be two years past due.

I explained some issues I was having. I actually had a post-it note with a list on it.

You know you’re getting older when you actually have a list when you go into the doc’s office.

Along with the back pain, the circulation in my left arm was cutting off. My left hand would turn blue because of it. And get very very cold. And it hurt and became numb.

So, we thought “thoracic outlet syndrome”.

He ordered xrays and bloodwork.

Which took me about a month to get around to doing.

When I recently got my results I was happy to hear the bloodwork all came back normal. “Excellent” was actually his handwritten comment on the scientific diagnosis from the lab.

On my xrays, he notes “arthritis in upper back”, “Scoliosis” and “osteophytes along anterior disk space margins”.

So, um, no wonder.

But when I called him to talk to him about it, he said “you know, that alone is not going to be giving you the pain you are experiencing in your neck and shoulder. Are you under any stress at home?”

Hmmm. Let me think. Single mother to two children, age 5 and 7. Self employed. Works at night until midnight because it is the only time I can focus. Have boyfriend I don’t want to be with BUT AM STILL WITH.

Sore neck comes about progressively over the course of the weekend that I am with him.

Sore neck goes away when I go home and dont see him for a week.

No wondering here.

Doh.

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This is totally random. 

I was listening to Patti Smith on my iPod today when I was cleaning the house and she sings a great version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. I was reminded of the anger in a boyfriend I had in college. He was the one who used to “lead” me around by the arm and to direct me, dig his fingernails into my flesh. He also had a problem with drinking and chewing tobacco. He was a little, well, crazy.

I vividly remember him belting out “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the stage of a nightclub down on The Landing in St Louis. It was amazing, the way he could carry through the song. Knowing the anger he carried, it also scared me.

When he moved to Boston and I stayed in the midwest to finish school, he never called. I visited him once and it was a horrid affair. I went back to school and promptly broke up with him on the phone. And then he went even crazier and quit his job, got out of a lease, rented a car and drove back to the midwest to stalk me for a while. Until I got him banished from the campus. And I never heard from him again.

Supposedly, Kurt Kobain wrote the “song of nonsense” as I call it, inspired by a girlfriend who used Teen Spirit deoderant…therefore, you get “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. And apparently, another friend of his painted on his wall one time “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit”.

So, then, you get the song.

A song that was always incoherent to me, not only for how it is sung, but in knowing the lyrics, just feeling anger and rebellion…feeling nothing other than the energy put into singing it and the nonsense of the words. Some say it is a song of “teen revolution” .

Regardless, I have always loved this song and still do.

I love how it rhymes. And some of the words and phrases just make me laugh. I mean, “Hello” is sung 16 times in the chorus…

And thinking about a teen with a libido…I would just say “a horny teen”, but in the song it is “my libido”.

Smells Like Teen Spirit
Nirvana

Load up on guns

Bring your friends
Its fun to lose
And to pretend
Shes overboard
Myself assured
I know I know
A dirty word

Hello (x 16)

With the lights out its less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yea

Im worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

Hello (x 16)

With the lights out its less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yea

And I forget
Just what it takes
And yet I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard
Its hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind

Hello (x 16)

With the lights out its less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yea

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I was driving a well traveled back road on the island towards home with my girls in the back seat, and I came upon a red sports car with four people crammed in it driving about ten miles an hour. It was one lane so I slowed down and went around them, noticing the young girl, she looked like a highschooler, walking with her hood up and facing forward and walking with a stoic expression on her face, hands in her pockets, paying no mind to the highschoolers in the car. They were laughing at her and yelling out the window.

I went around them and kept driving and then suddenly pulled over, made a u-turn and went back to where they were. I pulled up along side them and rolled my window down and the girl looked at me and I said “Hey, are you okay?” And she gave me a little nod. I wouldnt let it go “Are you sure?” And she nodded again, never breaking pace or expression.

The kids in the car (old enough to know better) looked out at me and our windows were nearly side by side and I yelled “HEY! LEAVE HER ALONE!” and then sped off. I drove back up and made another uturn to return home, the whole 3 mile road to town, made sure I didn’t see the red car again. Because if I had seen them return, I would have called the cops, whether she said she was okay or not.

Call it meddling but I only hope that someone would do the same for one of my daughters, tomorrow or years from now if they find themselves in a situation that lends themselves to experiencing disrespect, danger, insecurity, low self esteem.

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God Steers

If you ask me why I have four boxes of Nilla Wafers in my cupboard, I will say “it’s for the girls”.

I mean, they love ’em.

If you ask how many the girls have eaten by the end of the week, I will say “oh, about a handful.”

And don’t ask how many I’ve eaten. And that was just this week.

This morning I woke at 5:30 to my 5 year old playing the harmonica in her room. I walked in, sleepy-eyed and both girls were fully dressed in their princess dressups and crowns and heels. My 7 year old was sitting on her bed drawing pictures with crayons that aren’t allowed in the bedroom.

It kind of hit me, when I walked downstairs after a late night of talking to Steam on the phone, that no matter what’s going on in my head, my heart, my work, I have two little girls that stay steady and true, with continuing needs and habits and they offer surprises every day.

And so, I stayed up late, as many conversations with Steam go…defending myself and how I feel. In return, he’s defending himself and how he feels. And I keep saying over and over and over again, out loud, to him, on the phone, “I’m not happy and this isn’t working for me anymore.”

Have you ever heard of someone not allowing you to break up with them?

It is very very strange that I keep hanging up the phone and we’re still the same.

It is very draining.

I hung up last night saying “I need to let this go, I have go to bed.”

He hung up saying “Okay, I can’t wait to see you again soon.”

And I’m like, “I just told you I wasn’t happy anymore and I didn’t want this anymore and you behave as if I never even said it. What don’t you get?”

Unfortunately, I didn’t say it aloud.

Because I am a wuss. Even though it is really what I want, I am a wuss about change. And a wuss about standing up for myself. A wuss about trusting what comes out of my mouth.

The day with the girls has been slow and steady. We’ve had breakfast, watched tv, played teaparty, made colored snowmen with playdough. We walked down to the small village shop and got a pint of icecream and sat with spoons on their front walk, eating from the same bucket, watching neighbors drive by and talking to friends who were there shopping.

And again, it hit me, that we all still plug along with everyday needs and wants, especially when it comes to our children. And the revelation (not for the first time) that my greatest fear is having my girls more involved with him than they already are, for fear of them seeing some of what I’ve been experiencing… And so, what’s the point? The unease of the casual hour long meal, a beach trip, a quick hello reminds me that we are far far far from resolution.

And they have never seen him angry at midnight or answered the phone at 3am to a drunken call.

And they never will.

These revelations come from somewhere and often I see it as my opening my eyes to their world and what I want not only for myself but for them as little girls and for them as the women they are going to become.

And although I am a total wuss and can’t seem to just walk away, I need to for my girls.

The revelations come…God steers but I have to row.

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Happy Spring, Neighbors!

Every morning we walk up the street three blocks to the elementary school. In the spring, when all those dandelion fuzzy things are sprouting in the yards of our neighbors (I am in a condo, we have no yard!) my little girls run across their lawns at 7:30 am and pick them and blow them around.

If they don’t pick them, because I tell them not to or we have no time to stop, they run through, kicking at them, releasing the seeds into the air, only to fall back into the neighbor’s lawn to sprout up again by the next morning.

I am sure the neighbors are eternally grateful that my two charming yougin’s are fully responsible for the never ending growth of those damn cancerous dandelions in their yards.

Whoops.

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