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I am avoiding an authentic life

Foal Eagle ’98

I wrote in my blog that I am walking around the edges of my life, afraid to dive in. It hurts so much, this life. It is so much easier to be vague and distant. Living on the internet, living in a book, walking alone in the woods, drinking my coffee alone on the back porch. I think of being like a person patrolling the edges, I have my weapons, my defenses, but I am always on the outside of it.

I know how to live. But I cannot. My daughter and I talked about how I didn't clean the house for a year after the husband left. I couldn't. She did, ran the vacuum, cleaned the bathrooms. Did the dishes. I still did the household laundry and mopped from time to time, raked the leaves, shoveled the driveway, mowed the lawn, but I couldn't do housework.

There were home improvement projects left undone too. My ex, whom my next door neighbor describe as a lazy fucker, mainly because her husband helped me more with the outside chores, started projects and never finished them. Recently, we were tearing up the cream colored carpet that he insisted we put in the family room with three cats a dog and a pre-teen, with an outside door and a walk thru to the unfinished basement, when my daughters boyfriend took a smoke break. I said, "guys I really want to get this done today." The boyfriend said I am not (A) we will get it done. I couldn't do those either projects either for two years, this summer I have finished up a lot of it, with the kids help.

Now I cannot cook. I am invited to friend's houses for dinner. I think oh I will make peach cobbler, at the last minute I run to the store and buy a peach pie. I think oh I will make a lovely spring green salad with cranberries and toasted almonds for dinner, but instead I throw a pop tart in the toaster, and crack a beer or a diet coke. I sit around all day in my pj's and write and read and make art and at work I know what I need to do but I do it all at the last possible second and half-assed. The thing is I am a damn good cook, I do it well and when I was actually doing it I did it all from scratch, handmade pie crust, home canned fruit.

It is a symptom of this greater thing though. This living on the periphery. I am avoiding it, living it, whole hog.

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Rants

Crestfallen

For once I think this post might just be about someone else and not me.  But then again perhaps this is a small lesson for me.

He was beaten as a child, pretty severely, they tell me he took it out from time to time on small animals.  He will deny it though, claims he hates to see creatures and people suffering.  The thing is, somewhere in there he learned that he was unworthy of true love, perhaps of any love.  He found himself in relationships with people that self destructed, again and again leaving him alone and battered, torturing himself with the pain of loss.

Finally, someone comes along that just absolutely adores him. He doesn’t trust it though.  Why on earth does she love me, and eventually he comes to a place where he cannot love her anymore because she loves his ugly naked self so perfectly, and he knows she doesn’t see his darkness, and he cannot live with it anymore.

He confides in someone he thinks is his friend.  She too is alone in this ugly world.  She comforts him, tells him that his penis is pointing to true north when in fact it is pointing to a hell of his own making.  He doesn’t realize it, lies to himself that he is doing what is best for himself.  And perhaps in some selfish way he is, but men real men, don’t always do what is  best for themselves, sometimes they have to choose to do what is best for the people they are supposed to care about. Or perhaps not.

He confides too in someone who is like the one he is rejecting, is throwing away.  She reads each text with a growing horror.  She feels like she did nearly two years ago nearly, just about three weeks shy.  Her legs feel wobbly and her heart is pounding.  What is this ugliness now, dear Universe.  What are you trying to teach me here?  Not in love with her anymore, seeking companionship with someone new.  He has to put himself first.

I hear it like it is my dead husband talking to me (dead to me these days, completely dead to me).  I hear it and suddenly understand him.  Selfish bastard.  Got what you want huh?  Happy now?

She is devastated.  Wrenched apart.  All the women folk an both sides of the family talking karma for him.  Thinking he has made a terrible mistake, thinking he is a damn fool.  Which really he is.  As you sow so shall you reap.

I think about this foolish quest for a loving relationship, and realize that maybe men (manboys) are not all they are cracked up to be.  Maybe women should just take their sperm when they are ready for children and then kick their asses out the door.  Let them live in their own squalor with the whores who don’t care anyway.  And then let us real women, the ones who cannot help but love with all our hearts, who believe that your actions matter, that putting other people first is actually part of doing what is right, let us band together and help each other in the ways that manboys are not capable of.  But the problem is that women cannot see that their manboys are not men, this one is different they tell themselves.  This one won’t do that.

Books

The Difference Engine

The Difference Engine

I have had this interest in the Steampunk genre, an interest that is open to any music, literature, film or art.  This is the second steampunk novel I have read the first being Pyncheon’s Against the Day.  I rather liked this book at least the first 4/5ths of it.  I don’t really get the little vignettes at the back though and I scanned them and found them of little interest.  Maybe it is me, but the characters do not drive the story with this book.  Oddly there were so many characters in the Pyncheon novel that I nearly got lost a half dozen times, but I steadfastly trudged on.  Don’t misunderstand, and I will admit I am feeling snarky after a “relaxing” yoga class in which I wanted to burn some calories off but I was denied said pleasure; I liked this book.  I just wanted the characters to be more…I don’t know linked somehow. I hated the way Mallory just kind of floats away in the book, to be replaced by the vignettes. How Sybil is just kind of stuffed into a Parisian cafe and left to linger without resolution until she acts like a total nutcase in one of the vignettes.  And I hate the way Frasier just kind of loses his well you know….stones…after the great Stink ends.  The thing is that I am tied to these characters and I wanted something to happen to them, so isn’t that alone a reason to like the book?

Cooking · Recipes

My Grandfather’s Pancakes

I am awake in my bed.  I am blind because without my glasses the whole world is a blur.  There is an echo of smoke that permeates everything in this house, the Hudson Bay blanket, the heavy sheets, the special pillowcase that my grandmother puts on my pillow with a Victorian lady with a large crocheted skirt.  I can hear my mother and my grandfather talking, cups clicking on the table, a zippo lighter striking and catching, chrome chair legs pushing against the linoleum.  I know that Jesus is on the other end of the room watching me with a palm leaf across the top of his portrait. After a while I hear cupboards opening and closing and then this distinctive sound of a metal ring slapping rhythmically against the side of a metal bowl and a spoon whipping the batter inside the bowl.  I leap out of bed and make it in record time, carefully folding the green bedspread so that it will stay tucked under the pillow.

I burst into the kitchen and take my seat at the table.  How many pancakes?  3 please.

It is 35 years later.  I am home alone for dinner again, and these days I don’t cook too much, it is kind of sad and pathetic to cook for one.  I always have too many leftovers, I cannot seem to reduce my recipes.  It makes me feel alone to eat and have all that food left sitting in the pan.  I have fresh blueberries in the fridge and I look down at the dog’s happy smiling dog face, his jiggling butt wagging with his tail.  You want a pancake?  A HOT blueberry pancake.  He barks excitedly.  Of course he does.

I take out my metal bowl and metal spoon and whip the batter til it gets that stick together look that says the gluten in the floor has been activated.  I turn the fire onto medium under my cast iron pan, grease it with a little olive oil from a pumping spray bottle, I wait for it to get hot and then spoon one two three pancakes and then throw about 10 blueberries into each.  I wait for it to bubble a little and get dry around the edges and flip.  I take each out of the pan and then take the leftover batter and make one big pancake, putting a small handful of blueberries.  Flip.  I take it out and put in the dog’s dish.  He stands over it.  It’s hot.  I say.  He barks at it.  Barks, then tries it.  After a moment he tears into it.  I melt butter onto my three pancakes and then I put alot of brown sugar on each.  I almost never use maple syrup. I like maple syrup on popovers, but not on pancakes.  I take my little dinner to the family room and watch TV.  I savor each bite.

Pancakes

one egg
about two cups of buttermilk *(I think – maybe a little less than two cups)
a tsp of baking powder
a dash of salt
about one and a third cup of flour* (I think)

*(I am guessing on the buttermilk and flour amounts, I never measure.  You want the batter to be thick without being lumpy and thin with out being too thin you can add a little more of either to adjust and it wont hurt the batter)
whip til the gluten starts to stick together, cook in a frying pan or on a griddle.  Add fresh or frozen berries, frozen berries require the heat to be lower so that the outsides don’t burn before the insides are done.

Great Quotes · Musings

It’s all about the love.

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. ”

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere.  You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”  — the Buddha

I do not want to go in to the house.  I tell my daughter that I cannot go in, to please meet me outside when she is done.  I cannot face the how is your husband question.  I hate telling people.  Oh he left me for another woman.  But I cannot do anything else.  Honesty is not just a word in my dictionary it is the title of my book.  I drop her off and go to run an errand and to take my book to a cafe and read in the sun for an hour.  My cousin calls, another texts me back and forth about music, and I regret that I haven’t called my friend back, who is facing a divorce and struggling with custody of her child.  I would rather sit and have coffee with her than chat about it over the phone but it is no excuse.

I pick up Morgan and the woman comes outside.  I tell her how I love that she too feeds her birds in the summer.  That they starve due to human encroachment on their habitat.  She is very friendly and kind and loving.  I have always really liked her positive boisterous energy.  I forget who said it Morgan or Will but one of them says you have no idea how many people are standing behind you supporting you and giving you love.

I rattle around my life, on the edges these days.  Not really deeply involved in anything.  Just a periphery of life.  I know I need to make changes, I think it is all part of the transition.  I know I have to jump in the water.  But I just pace about on the shore.  The last time I was in the water I felt I was drowning, I am afraid of that feeling.  I know what I must do.  I just need to do it.  I also know now that if I am drowning that there will be any number of hands reaching in the water to pull me to safety.  And some are actually there in the water with me.  What a good feeling this is.  It is all about love.


Musings

It comes and goes

This feeling I have is overwhelming.  I am in my bed a bowl of ice cream empty by my side.  A good book in my hands, the dog eyeing that bowl.  The cat trying to get more of my attention than the book is getting.  I feel tired, and a kind of alone-ness that is not particularly healthy.  The book I guess is not that good.  My quads ache from hiking up Black Bear Mountain.  Previously I had gone around the back from Uncas Road but this time I decided to try the main trail from the highway.  I take the dog and he cannot manage the slippery granite without a pull up or a push up in some places.  At one point Ben has to reach down and pull me up with both hands.  Were I alone I would take off my boot perhaps and try to get my toe in the toe hold.  But even then my broken right pinky toe is telling me uh-uh forget it.

I am walking alone on a beautiful old growth trail.  It is damp from the heavy rain and a myriad of fungus is growing here.  I hear no cars, just a jet or two passing overhead.  The silence is heavy and seems to bear its own weight.  There air is still and cloyingly damp.  The kids and the dog have run up ahead and I am alone with my thoughts.  It feels good and right to be here.  I feel at peace.  I note only briefly that I haven’t had any negative thoughts.  Notice and let it pass.  Even at the campfire I feel a deep tiredness but it is a good tired like the tired of walking and carrying wood and cooking over an open fire tired.

Once back in civilization I feel the overwhelmingly deep sense of being out of place again.  The intensity between these two feelings, that of rightness of place, of peaceful solitude, and of an acceptance of my aloneness contrasted with the out of place, ugly loneliness and disquiet.  I fall asleep on my left arm book falling to the ground as my right hand relaxes against the night stand and then more.  I wake to the sound and sit up to turn out the light.  Sometime later a text from my cousin and one from drunk boy, but no phone call from the one I am waiting for.  I realize I am waiting in vain.  And I find a tear sliding down my cheek.  Why is the unified being torturing me, what did I do to deserve this karma?  I wrack my brain trying to figure it out, but I cannot.

In the morning I wake and my back aches worse than it did from sleeping on the ground.  My quads ache from that challenging trail, I hobble to the bathroom, bladder aching not from fresh clear water but from a cola and a beer.

And still there is this disquiet in my heart.

Great Quotes · Plinky Prompt

My Dream House

“Love is like wildflowers; It’s often found in the most unlikely places” ~

Woods, wood stove, running water, fruit trees and berry bushes, a garden, some sheep, goats or lamas and a horse. A big comfy warm bed with a big down blanket puffy and cozy.

Sunlight lots of sunlight.
Laughter. Lots of laughter.

Coffee every morning.
No cars no cars no cars.

A view. A crystal clear place to swim buck naked under the moonlight. A porch with a basket of knitting and my spinning wheel. A window with paints and a desk. Meadows and wildflowers. A good kitchen. Homemade bread. Fresh meat if any. Dreams, grandchildren, cousins and babies.

Love. Lots of love. Lots and lots of love.

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Fungus · New York State Parks · Photos · Zen Buddhism

Camping in the ADK’s

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It is the first night of camping.  We have just set up our tent and it begins to rain.  Our fledgling fire surely about to go out.  Shortly we are drenched.  Master Rinzai says to not be swayed by the events of nature.  But here we are soaked with nothing much to do but be soaked, and even the dog is miserable.  His tail between his legs and his butt just barely off the ground.  He looks up at me utterly dejected.  What the F___ says Ben.  We are already soaked lets just walk down to the beach in the rain.  Ah Zen Master Ben, how correct you are.  Let us delight in our soaked and sodden selves.

Next day I read him this, and he says with a goofy grin, yep I am a Zen Master.  Let’s go buy fireworks.

I am bitching like crazy.  Morgan has changed her mind a thousand times.  Let’s just climb Black Bear.  It is a tough hill and I don’t want to just go for a walk, I want to go for a hike.  At the top we have to push and pull the dog over the slippery granite.  At one point I cannot go on.  I am whining like a baby.  But Ben reaches out with two hands and pulls me up.  We pass an old man, in his seventies at least, he is all worried about the dog, yes sir I say he has water, his own bottle with a dish attached, yes sir he has had some.  And another man who comments to Ben about the dirty muddy paws, as I pass I say, when you hike with dogs you are prepared for these things, we have towels.   On the way down Ben runs with the dog.  Playing.  I say to Morgan he will sleep like the dead tonight.  Who? she asks, Ben or the Dog.  Yep.  Both.

Music · Photos · Small Joys

RE new

repainted room

Friday Night:

I walk in and the smell of paint and Murphey’s Oil Soap hits me.  The hardwood floors are shining, and the walls are soft and wonderful.  I look around and my bright paintings on the pastel walls are striking.  The touches of blue in the accents against the ivory yellow soothing.  I walk up the stairs which seem to open onto heaven, the light shining through.  I step into my peaceful bedroom, I sign in contentment.  Beautiful.  Space.

Saturday morning.  I wake at dawn.  The birds are singing.  I go to the farmer’s market and buy all the fruits and veggies I need for the week.  I see several students.  They smile and wave at me.  I am looking forward to the start of school.  I buy Michelle three gorgeous sunflowers.  She talks about our friend whom I haven’t spoken to in a year.  I start to cry.

Red Onions
Flowers at Farmer's Market
Buckets of Sun

We talk about social anxiety, how hard it is sometimes to not allow your internal responses control you.  Your internal dialogue can be quite rational and yet your heart is pounding like timpani and your face feels like it is on fire.  Just notice this.

This song is playing on the radio.  I find myself hoping for an exception.