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Archive for December, 2008

A Telegram

In Heaven.

Stop.

Don’t wanna come home.

Stop.

Three more days.

Stop.

Happy New Year!

Stop.

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Saving your things

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I’ve heard stories of people who’s loved ones pass away and they keep their things in their rooms, in the closets, clothes draped on chairs, just as they left it before they were gone.

This hardly compares, but on a miniscule level, I totally understand.

J left his winter hat in my car when we dropped him off at the airport shuttle an entire month ago. He didn’t need it where he was going and just thought to leave it with me for when he returns. It’s still sitting on my front seat.

Same with his work boots, that he wore on his last day with us, when it was a sort of wintry mix kind of day. Those are in the laundry room.

And then lastly, a pair of boxers, a tshirt and a pair of socks from his last night sleeping with me. I washed them for when he gets back to us. They are clean and folded and sitting out in my bedroom in the corner, where I see them every time I walk into the room.

It won’t be hard to leave everything as it is for another two months with him gone.

It won’t be hard at all.

Tomorrow I fly out of the country to see J.

It will take me all day and is well worth waking up at 3am to get to the airport in order to take this international flight.

He’ll be at the tiny airport when I arrive, in his jeep, and I know it will feel like I can completely exhale.

For the next week, I’ll be wearing tank tops, skirts, little dresses and flip flops, sunglasses and sunscreen (because here in New England, I’ve become pasty white, chapped and grody-wintry-white).

I’ll get to hear him play and sing again, every night except his night off.

But I am sure that most of the time I will not only be swimming topless (I must try this) and basking in sand, seawater, sun, fresh fruit and from what I hear, really GREAT cups of coffee…yet I will generally be just lying naked next to my man while the roosters crow outside his window.

To think, I will be naked for the first time in months, without freezing my ass off.

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What’s that I smell?

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Not long ago, Blue was eating breakfast and stopped suddenly and said, “You know, Scott, in my class at school, he has a big forehead and he smells like coffee!”

I have a friend who’s house has this certain smell. As does her car. Her car and house smell the same. So do her kids. So does she. It’s a good smell, that’s the fortunate part. I have never pinpointed what the smell was, but it is always lingering around their family and family whereabouts.

In college, I dated this guy briefly who lived off campus a ways. He’d drive up some evenings to visit from St. Louis and come find me in my dorm. It didn’t take long before friends in the house started making fun of how they knew when he arrived, before they saw him. Because they smelled his cologne. Which, as a side note, I hated.

That being said, I like the natural smell of a man.

My dad always wore some sort of after shave, probably Old Spice since it would have been the 80s that I actually remember. But it was subtle and I think by the time he got home from work at the end of the day, it had worn off. He never wore it on weekends.

My former husband never wore cologne, thank GOD. And my remembrance of him is that he never smelled like anything. Nothing bad. Nothing good. Just plain old nothing. (which is how I feel about him, aside from that he’s my girls’ dad)

When I met J, I never smelled anything at first on him either. It wasn’t until I went to the cottage where he was staying that I smelled him. It permeated everything, an amazing natural smell I call “the J smell”. It’s not cologne, it’s not bad body odor. It’s just him.

When I mentioned it, he told me that he never wears cologne. No aftershave. And no deodorant.

One really sweaty summer evening, he came over and we had plans to go out to dinner. He came in and gave me a hug and I sniffed and said, “You’re wearing something!”

He dropped his head and said, “I thought I’d try deodorant for a change.”

I didn’t like it, I think he didn’t like it either, and I don’t think he has worn it since. It was one of those deodorants that had this faint smell of someone else…it covered up “the J smell”.

We were hanging out another day that was on the cooler side, but as the day grew warmer, he took off his green hooded sweatshirt. And it got left behind.

I have to admit, I purposely slept with it that night and it smelled like him.

I also admit, it is still upstairs in my bed and I sleep with it every night.

When it was apparent he wasn’t getting it back after a few months, he smiled gently and asked, “don’t you think it’s about time to put that through the wash?”

Unfortunately, it lost his smell and has been washed since, but still feels like him.

We were talking on Skype recently and I was up in my bedroom and I picked up my framed photo of him on the beach from the summer. I showed it to him and then kissed it. He laughed.

Then I moved the laptop so the camera was facing the pillows on the right side of the bed. “There’s your spot. You should be right there, right now.”

He looked and spotted something and says, “What’s that? Your blankie?”

I pulled out the sweatshirt and shook it in front of him. “Yup!”

(post script: in case you’re wondering, I wear deodorant, Coco Butter lotion and “Flowers by Kenzo” perfume. He doesn’t seem to mind, but declares that I am going to die before him because of all the toxins I put all over myself.)

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Snowy birthday

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Some recent conversations:

“You know why I am scared of skeletons? Because they’re all boney.”

Blue wrote on a card to J, “All miss you”. (instead of “I’ll miss you”, she always thought it was “All”, not “I’ll”. But it’s true…”all of us” miss him.”

As I was making the girls’ lunches, Red piped up, “Mommy, you’re the producer and we’re the consumer!”

Yesterday was Red’s eighth birthday. We had our second major storm in just three days. My mom came over with a cake at 9am because she needed to get home before the snow got heavy at noon, and we decorated the cake all together. (we make our kids work for their birthday cakes) Red was excited about opening her presents right after breakfast and I cursed my sister for sending some sort of weaving project kit that I would think someone like me could figure out.

But I can’t.

The age on it was for 8 and up…this 35 year old can’t figure it out. Nor can the 8 year old. I don’t even understand the directions!!!  

By ten thirty, it was time for eating cake. I made the girls each have a banana and then we dove into cake.

They thought that was cool, cake in the morning.

I’m a cool mom that way.

Despite the snow, their dad weathered the storm and picked them up at 1 to take them to his house for Red’s birthday bash with his side of the family. His 45 minute drive turned into 2 hours and I wonder what the hell he was thinking, driving them in such weather. 

In the end, Red had a great birthday. She got snow. She got lots of cake and presents. She got calls from all across the country from my dad and his lady, my sister, her great aunt and a few friends. She was very very proud to be getting phone calls.

When my computer notified me that J was calling on Skype and his face appeared, he asked for Red. He sent a gift but it’s late getting here and she’ll get it in the next few days. Yah. I love the man.

With the girls gone overnight, I did something last night that not long ago I argued.

I had ridiculed it. I complained. I opted out of it.

But alas, things change when there’s real incentive.

Like wearing a bikini for a week.

Or um, being naked.

I bought some Sally Hanson wax strips and then I sat naked on the stool in the bathroom after a bath and gritted my teeth and did it.

I didn’t do ALL of it, but I did the right places, the proper parts, cleaned things up a bit.

I gasped and squealed a few times.

It sucked, but listen up, after you put on that cooling lotion stuff, and everything’s torn out with a promise to not come back for a little while, well, I am relieved and somewhat happy.

Mind you, I won’t be doing it again until February.

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We were heading towards bad weather, apparently.

The day was supposed to be a full day of school on Friday, but they called it short because the snow was going to start falling by noon.

I picked up the girls at 11:45 on their last day before their holiday vacation, and they came home with an excitement I remember vividly from my own childhood, something I find myself reliving, wildly, through them.

Finally, I feel like I am somewhat getting in the spirit. THANK GOODNESS.

Something lifted yesterday when I came home from my last shift at a local artisan’s collaborative that I have been a part of for two years now. We set up shop for two months in the holidays and rotate hours and have our wares for sale. The town knows about it. People come through. It turns out, with the economy and all, folks are buying all things for under $20. I was an exception twice, selling only two paintings over the course of the last six weeks. I sold alot of the tshirts I designed a few years ago, and a ton of notecards and prints of my work. My price point is higher than the other “artists” (more like knitters and jewelry makers) and in the end, I think we all are going to make about the same amount.

I haven’t written about it at all because for some reason, it caused a high amount of stress for me, something that I sorted out a few nights ago in my head about why I have been out of sorts this week. Waking up in the middle of the night with high anxiety. I know I miss J but I feel so secure with him, and him being gone, I knew for sure it wasn’t that I was suddenly FREAKING OUT.

In the shop, I was signed up to work twice this week, four hour shifts at a time. It’s boring. The dynamics since some of the original members left and new ones came in, changed and feels less unified. There’s no internet access in the shop. Most of my paintings stare me in the face, paintings I have worked on and enjoyed and loved and expected folks to snatch up, because actually, in other venues this holiday season, they did. Orders off my website. Usual clients contacting me to buy or do some holiday card design work for them. Nothing else really was a letdown other than this shop.

I’ve watched people go through my paintings and the appreciation and comments are nothing but positive and for that, I am grateful. I know that validation for the quality of my work doesn’t come from people opening up their wallets. I know so many that would if they felt they could. I know some wouldn’t. But the validation that comes first is that I do what I love. The money people will pay for it, SHOULD be second in line. But you know, it goes hand in hand sometimes, especially when there are bills to pay and trips to take and a laptop to pay off.

Unfortunately, this season, I have felt discouraged, disheartened, angry, sad about my work and considered stopping for a while. 

Instead, I broke out the sewing and started working on a quilt I started over the summer. It’s a “crazy quilt” from scraps and ends up I am also hand embroidering on each piece. I am double stitching the top seams with a zig zag because a) I like how it looks and b) I am considering turning it into a slipcover for the overstuffed chair and it will need reinforcement if I do.

I pulled out blocks of wood, parts of beams from a friends’ house-gut when they were renovating. Months ago, in the middle of summer, J helped me unload them from my car after I had been rummaging in a dumpster for them. So they are sitting right here beside me at my studio desk and I am trying to figure out what the hell I am going to paint on them, do with them…anything. 

I decided that despite the slowness of this shop and the time I spent worrying about it and resenting it and wanting out can be shoved aside now and cannot take part in sabotaging my creativity.  So, I finished up my last shift. My anxiety is gone. My work will stay in there until Christmas eve and on Christmas I am going to drive my girls to their dad’s house for their week with him and on the way back, stop at the shop and grab all my stuff and bring it home for good. What a relief. I already feel relief from the icky-ness of it all.  I have a show booked for September but I know I’ll travel other places with this stuff, before then.

At any rate, as I write this, the girls are asleep upstairs, I spent the night watching Project Runways on Tivo and sewing and eating a few Dove Bars. (really). And we’re completely snowed in. Our plow guy will come by morning and then we’ll go out and dig and play and hopefully not freeze. ( yeah right, this is New England).

I love cozy-don’t-have-to-be-anywhere-anytime-soon days.

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Affirmations with the ex

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So, the girls’ dad called a month or so ago to go over some dates for holidays and vacation weeks and when he thanked me for agreeing to his taking the girls for some extra time in April (April Vacation) I joked, “Aren’t you glad you have such a great ex-wife who is reasonable about your time with the girls?” And he goes, “Absolutely, and aren’t you glad I am a good ex-husband who hasn’t abandoned their children and show up for visits and vacations?” And my answer? “That doesn’t make you a good ex-husband, that makes you a good father.”

It has annoyed me to no end that since we separated and went through the divorce, that he tends to present to me that he is doing me a favor and doing good things for me by spending time with the kids. He isn’t doing me any favors. I mean, sure, when he has the kids, I rest, get things done, work, go out with friends, have a one on one relationship with J. But it isn’t about me, it’s about the kids and he tends to forget that, unfortunately.

Then, I did let him know that I am grateful that, for the most part, we are amicable co-parents and that I think he is a great father to the girls.

And his response? “Well, aren’t you glad you married and divorced a man wealthy enough so you don’t have to work?”

And true, I get decent child support and alimony. I got my half from OUR investments and OUR real estate.

I was pissed when he said that. He even had the gall to quote a number that he gave me in the end that should have me set for life. The actual number, was half of what he quoted. I know. I am the one that bought my condo and does my finances. I am also the one that paid her own lawyer.  In his head he has inflated it which is sad. At first, I thought maybe I was crazy, but then, I went back and looked at out divorce agreement and financial settlement, and affirmed that I wasn’t the crazy one.

Interestingly, this conversation, where he brought up money, is one that showed me that he will carry on resentment about money and child support, for a long long time .

I basically break even. Even with the fortunate events of some family things happening (on my side of the family) that enabled me to pay off my mortgage last year, I am still breaking even. Things are still mega tight. I put $3500.00 into my car last year. Bought a new water heater. My computer died so I bought a new laptop for my business. 

His comment about my “not working” is a testament to his attitude when we were married. When we were married, I busted my ass with two babies, in the midst of postpartum after the second, doing it all alone while he worked and went on trips with buddies, worked out at the gym, and rarely was home for family time. When the kids were sleeping, I was in my studio attempting to paint and create a business for myself that I wanted badly, a business that is growing still, one that I can focus on and believe in.

I look back at the time when we were married and he walked into my studio and looked down at my painting and said, “I don’t get it. I don’t get the meaning of art. What the point of it is.” 

If he had said that to me before we were married, I wonder if I would have married him.

I love the fact that he thinks I sit at home and eat bon bons and let the kids run free and wild and that I don’t “work”.

And after that comment, I interrupted him and said, “OH I WORK ALRIGHT! And aren’t you glad your kids are with their mother after school and before school instead of before school care and after school babysitting? Aren’t you glad they are living in a comfortable home and are well adjusted and bright and feel love from both of us because we are both there for them?”

He was quiet a minute and then started in…I interrupted him again. 

“Okay, we started out with compliments, how about if we go back to there and say goodbye.”

(in my head, I ended with “DUMB ASS!”)

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Half and Half

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There’s this restaurant that I love, J and I had our first dinner out there on their outside patio after we met. On the menu, is something called “The Harf ‘n Harf”. Half hamburger/half hotdog on a bun. Seriously. I haven’t had it and not everything on the menu is quite so obscure in such an American sort of way.

I was thinking about it, randomly, because this morning I put milk in my coffee instead of half and half.

Half and half is SO much better, people. I used to drink milk in my coffee, but gosh, after being used to half and half, well, milk is like fat free, no sugar vanilla icecream on a night when you crave Ben and Jerry’s chocolate chunk fudge brownie with chocolate fudge sauce.

Anyway, back to that night with the “Harf ‘n Harf” on the menu.

J ordered wine and I ordered a beer. It was a beautiful summer night.

The lady poured his wine and he picked up the glass and swirled the wine around and sniffed it. Took a little sip. Swirled it and sniffed it again.

I looked at him a moment and asked, “Why do people do that? I mean, what is the point of that?”

He took a moment and then shrugged. “I have no idea. My sister does it.”

He got a billion points for that one. I kept laughing all night.

I’ve been feeling weird anxiety lately the last few days, and I am not sure why. Sleeping has been difficult. This week is very busy with appointments, work and school events for the kids, getting holiday gifts ready for their teachers. Red’s 8th birthday is Sunday, a holiday party to go to on Saturday at D’s house (sigh, I wish I could beam in J for the night) On top of it all, I often wonder what the hell I was thinking, conceiving so the timing of the births of my children were all during the holidays!

Anyway, I feel like I am doing things half assed at the moment, mainly because I am so tired and I feel some ups and downs with sadness with J gone. I know I need to snap out of it because Red asked me last night why I looked so sad. That just ain’t good for my almost 8 year old to notice that. So, today, I feel like I am snapping out of it finally.

Speaking of…A man walked into the club and basically hired J on the spot for a two week gig in the spring, in the tropics, on a private yacht. To be a part of the crew and play piano every night at cocktail hour. And to name his price.

Seriously, does it get any better than that? And besides, it’s only two weeks. EASY for me. Easy for him. 

I am so so proud of him.

So, yes, I am heading down south, a week from Saturday. It’s tropical and beautiful there (as opposed to this horrible wet, cold, dreariness of winter we’re getting here in New England) but to be completely honest, I would be just as excited (and I am overly excited)  if I were visiting him in Kansas City.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, today I feel somewhat normal again.  I am done feeling half and half over things…half “good” and half “bad”. I feel less anxiety as I am through the better part of a very chaotic week, I finished all my art shows for the holiday season. My work is done. I got a haircut today and came home and feel the need for the back to be shorter and feel gross and wintery-grody-like…I called my hair lady and she is going to see me first thing in the morning to get it shorter to where I need and want it. I am so grateful for such a great hair cutting lady. She rocks. 

I’ve lost almost ten pounds since J has been away. I think it is partly due to stress of the season, some to sadness, and some to wanting to get rid of the little pudge, before putting on my bikini, and/or going topless. 

Yes, I just said that.

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