Monday, July 31, 2006
Thank you all for your good wishes and prayers.
To that end, I applaud those who blog simply to blog. Those who write because it makes a difference in themselves, not because they think 40 readers will find it funny or because they hope to quit their day job to blog professionally. I read some of the "big time" blogs, but the minute they ask me to fill out a survey for their advertisers I realize their heart isn't in the same place that mine is. I write simply to write. I don't care if I have 2 readers or 22. I don't always comment on what I read and I don't expect everyone to comment on what they read here. It just is. And that is just perfect for me.
And that is why, every day, my favorite blog is Oliver. Void of pretention or intention it simply is joy.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
The sign at the pool meant to indicate “No Running” was confidently translated by George to mean: “No Picking Your Butt at the Pool”.
Lying in the hammock together under the shade of an oak tree in the backyard, with a fresh cut lawn under our feet and a cold drink in our hands, I whispered to George, “Isn’t this heaven?” George shook his head no, “This isn’t heaven” he said. I said, “But it’s like heaven cause I feel so happy being right here together with you.” George reiterated, “This is NOT heaven.” I said, “What do you think Heaven is like?” He said, “It’s not a happy place.” I said, “No?!” He added, “it’s underground.” Realizing he was perhaps confusing Heaven with another eternal destination I suggested, “Do you think you’re thinking of the other place? The place where the Devil lives? What’s that place called?” George proudly proclaimed, “China!”
Bear was explaining to George that he had to attend a funeral on Monday so he wouldn’t be home right after work, he’d be home after George was asleep. George asked how come he had to go to a funeral. Bear explained that someone had died. George wanted to know who died. Bear said it was someone he knew when he was growing up. George wanted to know if he was older than Bear. Bear said no, he was younger. George wanted to know if he was bigger than Bear. Bear said, no, he was probably a little shorter. George wanted know how much shorter he was than Bear; “Did he come up to HERE on you?” Bear said no, but he probably came up to HERE on him. George asked why he died. Bear said, “cancer.” George exclaimed, “Everyone dies from cancer!” and then quickly qualified with, “well, not everyone. Not Army people. They die because they get shot, not because they have cancer.”
I commented to George that he must have decided to change his name again because his shirt said “Tommy” on the pocket. He said, “No!! My name is George!” I said, but it even says “Tommy” on the tag, so it must be your name if it says it in two places! George didn’t believe me that his tag said “Tommy” so we turned his shirt around so he could see the tag and see that it did, in fact, say “Tommy” (Hilfigger). And that’s how George got his Mafia name: Tommy Backwards.
Friday, July 21, 2006
The “unknown” book that I picked up, I can’t put it down. I’m about ¾ of the way through and I know I’ll finish before the day is done (I can’t help it!!)
By the way, it’s called “Wrapped in Rain” by Charles Martin.
Disclaimer: I have had many a friend recommend a book that I hated. To this day if I tell my sis about a great movie, she knows never to rent it as she probably won’t like it. To say I’m in love with a book in no way indicates that it would be widely embraced by normal book-loving people.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I rarely set foot in a bookstore knowing what book I wish to purchase. I’m a browser. I like to look at the books; I like to read a sentence or two. I like to read recommendations by the bookstore staff. I wasn’t sure I would have a similar experience at the library so I visited Amazon.com and looked at their most recent recommendations for me (and fought my inner demons to not put each and every one into my cart and ship them overnight to my door. Sigh. ) I headed off to the library with a list of about five books, not knowing what I might find.
Upon entry, I headed straight to the check-out desk to obtain my library card. A painless process, it turns out, I had a card in hand within five minutes and was set free into the vast array of books. I quickly found the fiction section and prepared myself for the rush of adrenaline that comes when my eyes feast upon shelves and shelves of new, pristine books.
But these weren’t. They were used, dusty, dirty books. And there wasn’t really that many shelves of them. And they weren’t turned to face me so that a cover or title might catch my eye and beg me to read. And there weren’t any lists of suggestions, “If you love James Patterson, try…” I held my pessimism in check and with list in hand went searching for the titles I had written down. None of them were there. I found a shelf of “New Books!” and looked sideways at all the titles hoping something would jump out at me, but it didn’t. I was frustrated with the Damn Dewey Decimal system for covering up parts of the titles or authors of the books on the binding. I finally picked up a book by one of the authors on my list, although not the book I had hoped to start with. And in an effort to feel successful, I picked up another book, completely unknown to me, so that I might at least feel as if I had found CHOICES among the shelves.
I checked out.
I went home.
I felt defeated.
There is something to be said about marketing and product placement. There is something to be said about the atmosphere of a Barnes and Noble that draws me in far more than the death-like stillness at the Public Library. There is something, even, in the scent between the pages of a brand new book.
I’m reading the two books I picked up. I am. I am trying to overcome my need for “new” and to try to simply enjoy a good read no matter what the pages look like.
But it’s not easy. And I don’t like it.
I miss my books.
Monday, July 17, 2006
I remember a time when I wrote letters. I remember the promises within. I remember the words he wrote back, words on a page I can see so clearly even now. I waited. For the time to be right, for the pieces to be in place, for everything to come together, I waited. But he didn’t.
Tonight I miss those words on the page. I miss the absolute certainty with which I trusted those letters, those words, that love. It is not him perhaps, that I miss anymore, but the woman I was when I was with him. The woman of whom he spoke in those letters. The woman I could only dream of being. I was a woman in love. Once.
Tonight, I am diminished to a woman in tears. Over all the things that might have been. Over all the things I have closed myself off to. It would scare me now to read such words. I am a cynic to anyone that might try to urge my faith in such promises again. It is my own undoing. Perhaps once upon a time it was to allow my heart to heal. Now it is just a way to keep it from having to feel at all. I know, deep down, that I believe, still, even yet, but I also know the depths within that I would have to climb to unlock that door, the depths that someone would have to go to even find the key. It is, perhaps, asking too much. Love is difficult enough in the years together, it shouldn’t be nearly so hard to get to in the first place.
I shall go, it upsets the pup when I cry.
Smart, self-educated by a hands-on approach to life he reads, listens, talks, discusses, travels, dares and dreams. Although he’ll quickly beg off the word “fluent” he speaks a handful of languages better than most and can turn words into picturesque visions on the page.
His self-deprecating humor comes honestly enough. He’s aware of his talents and his shortcomings and accepts both with the same tip of the glass and moves on. He is always invited and rarely declines. His friends find him to be honest, funny and generous. He is a friend to many, allowing anyone and everyone to be their most human in his company, but he has allowed few in to the depths of his quixotic heart. His career and his social life are full of people, gatherings and parties and yet he has perhaps never felt more alone. Finding people to share a drink with is easy, finding someone to wake up with for the next 50 years has proved more of a challenge.
His eyes watch the horizon looking for a reason from any direction to move, for his life to finally be uprooted for all the right and provocative reasons. He is divided on whether to go it alone or stay the course. I have no right, of course, to offer up advice or direction, but to this man, to a body so full of talent, compassion and romance, I dare say that in the place where his heart leaps, where the setting is one of choice reached through determination and will, at the very spot where he might breathe the air of truth and freedom, he might just be found. And the elusive, mysterious love that has escaped him thus far, it might then be able to find him, too.
Forgive me, Ghoti, my perceptions.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
* This blog in no way means to suggest that humans have evolved from primates. This is a Christian blog with the author a firm believer in God and creation. Consider this simply a humour attempt at further self-deprecation, specifically a poke at the size of my nose.
What is your favorite word? Joy
What is your least favorite word? hate
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Moments of majesty or grace.
What turns you off? Ambivalence, arrogance, anything done to excess.
What is your favorite curse word? I rarely, if ever use it myself, but when someone uses the word “Bastards!” in a sarcastic tone it cracks me up every time.
What sound or noise do you love? Children laughing, a distant lawn mower, the sigh of a horse.
What sound or noise do you hate? Listening to a neighbors air conditioning compressor when you have your windows open in the summer.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Photography or perhaps writing children’s books.
What profession would you not like to do? Anything mundane or lacking any socialization. Any sort of fishing.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Welcome home! Your mom can’t wait to give you a hug!”
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
It feels impossible not to take for granted the amass of freedoms we experience each and every day of our lives as Americans.
God be with these people, these countries and this world.
Monday, July 10, 2006
We walked the bike across the street and down a block to a small playground. The basketball court had a layer of little rubber pieces over the pavement that in my mind might make for a softer landing. I talked him through the process. I reminded him that falling was part of learning. I was there to help him on and to hold on until he was ready to go it alone. I was right.there.behind.him.
To say I was ill-prepared for the emotions that followed is an understatement. I didn’t realize how much I would hurt each time he fell. I didn’t realize how much strength it would take to let go of his bike when I knew it would fall again. I wasn’t ready for the tears that soaked my cheeks. But we kept at it and I became the cheerleader I never was. LM was a trooper. He stuck with it for several nights slowly getting the idea and gradually making progress. I remember saying over and over to him, “Jacob, when you get this, when you go all on your own on your bike, you will feel like you are flying!” and I knew he would feel that flight in the depths of his soul. And when, at long last, his bike found its way to the opposite corner of the court while I stood back and watched and cheered and cried, his face lit up like something I had never seen. I knew immediately what the expression was: Accomplishment.
A week ago, I rode on the back of the pontoon boat as my brother floated in the water explaining to LM how to get on the knee board and how it would feel when the boat pulled him. I worried and fretted as I watched that short little board wiggle under his weight and I was nervous that the first fall would end his desire to learn. It was really only the second try when he did it, and the boat cruised around the cove with LM smiling as wide as the lake. Sitting next to G’ma Judy, we both cried. I cried again a few days later when he did the whole process all by himself, without his uncle holding onto the board to get him started, having to pull himself up as the boat tugged him behind and to get the strap up over his knees while still holding the tow rope and balancing on the board. My tears are not for a sadness over a new-found independence. I don’t cry because he is growing up and growing away. I cry because so far, I haven’t messed it up. That allowing a village to raise our children makes them better people than we could raise alone. That a week ago, just like three summers ago, my son felt the pride of a new accomplishment. He did it. And I thank God that was there to witness.
I am reminded of what a crime it is to underestimate our children. I am so grateful to my brother for even thinking about teaching the kids about a knee board, something that would never have crossed my mind. And LM taught me, again, what it feels like to let go, little by little, as our children learn to fly with their own wings.
He will be gone for 8 weeks before I’ll see him again. I miss him more than I have words to describe. But I can close my eyes and hear him holler, “I did it!” under the sunshine on the lake and I know that I am doing the right thing. So far.
Last weekend, however, I drove 11 hours to TN to visit my family. This drive required my entire cd collection, the laptop for LM’s amusement and copious amounts of Diet Mt. Dew to keep me from taking a little siesta during the drive. My visit was a short one, so I saw no need to force my family to suffer through my withdrawal, so I continued to consume Mt. Dew as if it were not available in Pennsylvania during my stay. On my return trip home, having barely slept the night before and driving without any companions to help keep me alert, I relied upon three 20-ounce bottles of Diet Dew to carry me through the trip.
I had one caffeinated Diet Coke upon my return to work on Wednesday morning and then cut myself off cold turkey to deal with the withdrawal and just get it over with. By Friday mid-day I had a raging headache that would not succumb to the medicinal effects of Advil. By Saturday I lay listlessly on my couch begging the throbbing to please stop now promising a life of atonement. By Sunday pup and I were out to the Bark Park and I was back to feverishly cleaning the condo (four trash bags left my home last evening. Four. Translation: LM’s closet has been cleaned.)
I am now on the other side of addiction and have only this to report: How in the world do smokers/drug addicts/alcoholics/etc. cope?!
Friday, July 07, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
1. On the 11 hour drive down, LM and Amy saw something in the sky they couldn’t immediately identify. What was it?
a. Hang glider
c. MetLife Blimp
d. Hot air balloon
2. What 5 states do Amy and LM pass through to get from their house to Papa’s?
a. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee
b. Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee
c. Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee
d. Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee
3. Throughout the weekend, Amy’s sister declared that despite being the eldest in the family, she was NOT:
a. In charge of disciplining the children
b. Making decisions
d. Doing Laundry
4. When asked what the plan was for the day, George said the family was going to:
a. Go boating, golfing and then eat cake.
b. Go swimming, shoot pool and order pizza.
c. Drive the lawn tractor, play baseball and have ice cream
d. Catch butterflies, play and eat blood.
5. On LM’s first publication of the Daily News, the dinner menu included “MM”. What did the MM stand for?
b. Mystery Meat
c. Marinated Monkeys
d. Mom’s Mess
6. Uncle G scored major points with the kids by:
a. Teaching them how to knee board.
b. Giving them each $10.
c. Telling them they could stay up past 11
d. Doing their summer homework for them.
7. AWTAA stands for:
a. Amy’s Wicked Tea (with Absolute and Apricot)
b. Another Weird Technique for Annoying Amy
c. American Washer Throwers Association of America
d. A Wet Towel Armors All
8. When told he had to eat the salad he put on his plate even though he disliked the dressing it came with, LM:
a. Gagged and ended up choking on lettuce.
b. Ate three bites and threw up.
c. Put the lettuce in paper towels and tried to wash off the dressing.
9. The funniest joke Bear told involved:
b. A blonde
c. A priest, a rabbi and a nun
d. A man (and his horse)
10. The most shocking truth about the trip is:
a. We’re all still alive after driving the hour long boat ride in the dark.
b. George’s arm did not fall off after making no less than 2008 armpit farts.
c. Papa played poker.
d. LM, Jules and G’ma J don’t suck at the various games they all played.
e. All of the Above
1. c. But it took quite awhile to figure out it was in fact a blimp because it was not circling, it was traveling in the same direction we were, thus all we saw was the “butt of the blimp”.
2. d. Strange, but true, when you pass through south central PA, you actually pass through that funky arm of Maryland and a little protruding part of West Virginia and then enter into Virginia all within 30 miles.
3. b. Therefore a qualifier is in place for all happenings since “Youngest” and “Middle” were thereby left in charge. Oh my.
4. d. And I believe it was moth blood to be exact. Oh to be 5.
5. b. It was yet undecided what dinner would be at the time of publication.
6. a. While I will never forget the look of accomplishment on LM and Little Bird’s faces, I am certain I have grey hair from watching the process.
7. c. And if you don’t know the game of ‘washers’ you’re just not redneck enough to roll with my fam.
8. c. Ingenious, you must admit.
9. d. And it was an ‘in the moment’ sort of joke that may never be as funny again.
10. e. Emphatically. We all had a great time and can’t wait to be together again!