While The Cat’s Away…

Okay, if I am honest here the whole “DRESS UP FOR YOUR MAN” thing weirds me out a little, especially at my age.  When I was 20 I could pull it off because…well…I was 20! Yet, as a feminist dressing up for a man often feels degrading and so out-datedly contrived. And as a mother.. yuck…just yuck…thinking that someday the men in my three daughter’s lives will be oglingimages-9 them as they flounce about in an effort to try to please their husbands.imgres

 

Yet, I do recognize the fact that men are visual creatures and that after being married for so many years that sex can become a tad boring imgres-2 unless you do something to spice it up a bit. But what to wear without looking like a chubby little schoolgirlgirls-skipping-school-costume that really sends a really perverted message?images-14 It is always a dilemma for a not-so-skinny 50 + year old woman. images-18

 

So I decided while the cat’s away this mouse will play…with different styles of sex-wear. I’m starting with the easiest first…stockings.

Frankly, I was surprised at the variety of stockings that are available these days. When I was 20 years-old fishnets were really risque and only the “bad” girls wore them. Now perhaps I should have been “bad” a little more often so I have decided to regress and try these on for size.

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I mean seriously if these don’t catch a man’s eye he is stone cold dead.images-3 But frankly, it would be helpful if the manufacturer included a tutorial on how to put these on so the seam goes STRAIGHT up the back of your legs instead of swerving side to side like a cheap drunk.

FISHNETS have come a long way baby! My oh my, the choices are mind numbing these days. Bows, lace, and streamers are now standard fishing gear allowing you to reach even lower depths than before.

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I have to stop here to confess that I’ve always wondered why these types of stockings are called fishnets. (Yes, those ARE the crazy questions that keep my mind spinning out of control) Yet, as I wrote this, it occurred to me that wearing fishnets have one purpose and one purpose only….trolling for fish… and once you catch that fish in your net it is yours until you decide to throw it back. In this case, size really does influence that decision.

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I never knew until today that you could buy stockings with writing on them. What a great idea! I know a lot of women who would like TALK TO MY LAWYER climbing the back of their legs as they were walking away from their cheater husbands. zu6932816_main_tm1388876938YOU DON’T DESERVE ME and FUCK YOU would probably be other popular choices.

 

There are also the RICH BITCH hose. I propose that any woman who wears these sparklers should demand a real diamond for each of the fake ones that grace her legs.zu6295865_main_tm1390849776

 

 

Then there are the WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST thigh highs. zu6369623_main_tm1385773170You’ll have to buy your own flying monkeys if you want to add an element of danger to your sex life.

There are also the sentimental I LOVE YOU type of nylons.zu20591130_main_tm1414434537 Somehow I imagine this just wouldn’t look good on a 50+ year-old broad and I shudder to think of being in a car accident and having the paramedics cutting them off with an onslaught of rubberneckers witnessing this kinky event. I am sure that those paramedics would never be able to work again due to the trauma they had endured.

Finally, a burning question that I have always had is this… do stockings go with flats? I have bad knees and wearing shoes like the models wear  would bring me to my knees which, I confess, is probably where my husband would like to see me, if you know what I mean. But seriously, doesn’t it look like something is missing here?    images-22

So I am off to the store for some sexy seven story high stilettos, a knee brace, and a tube of Ben Gay. I  can only hope that I don’t fall off of them as I greet B at the door wearing almost nothing but a red face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Miracle

Yesterday I spent the morning in a courtroom. No, I wasn’t on trial for murdering the guy next door who blares his music at 1 a.m. though the impulse is sometimes there. It wasn’t for a parking ticket or a jaywalking offense. It was for something much better…an adoption!!!

My dear friend (I’ll call her M) started down this path many years ago. While she and her husband (K) have two of the nicest boys you will ever meet; M felt like their family was incomplete. Her desire for a girl pulled at her heart for so long that she was unable to ignore it no longer. But first she had to get K on board. It took a while but once K made up his mind there was no turning back. They have worked hard to become a loving family of five.

Adoption is not for the faint of heart. There is the fingerprinting, the intense and intrusive background checks, the numerous day-long adoption classes you are required to take, and social worker visits that happen so often that often it feels you are adopting them. And then there is the paperwork. Mountains of it. Enough paper to clear acres of pristine forest. But perhaps the worst part about adoption is the waiting and uncertainty. The amount of faith you have to have to love a child with all your heart, even though you know there is a chance that their birth parent may try to reunite with them, often to the detriment of the child, can be crushing to your soul. Yet, you just keep loving despite of your own fears that a social worker could arrive at your door at any time and leave your arms empty once more.

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Adoption is fraught with challenges. It is often conceived in fear. In addition, there is immense loss felt on the part of the child even if their birth parents were less than stellar.But when it is done right it is the most miraculous thing in the world. Somehow  families are created despite all the chaos and the gift you receive with the first hug that your child spontaneously gives you and the first time they call you Mom…well… there is nothing like it in the world. It’s like stumbling out of the forest into a sunny field full of wildflowers.

And so I was honored to be able to sit and witness the legal creation of this family especially since my three adoptions had been such a blur. As I sat there watching the sunshine unfold and M trying not to cry; it gave me time to appreciate all that I have been given through adoption and how much richer my life is because of it. And while I distain the word “lucky” in the same sentence as the word adoption I do have to say that the Smith family has been lucky all the way around. Miss S now has the best set of brothers who willingly share all they have and teach her in such loving and touching ways. She is lucky to have found the best set of parents EVER.  People who are there for you no matter what, who provide unconditional love and lots of laughs. They provide patience and support, and spend time well spent reading and playing with their children, and exposure to new and wonderful experiences outside of their home. Together M and K make every day the best that it can possibly be for their family. They are the kind of parents every child deserves.

The Smith family is also lucky to have Miss S enter their lives. She brings her own fiery brand of temperament into a household that lacked her kind of undeniable and exuberant spark. She also brings that girlishness  that was so wanted into a testosterone ladened home. Miss S also brings a fresh look at life and an exuberance for it that makes everyone around her smile; her constant joy reflected back to them on her beautiful and radiant face. I do not know of any family made for each other more than this one. Lucky. Yes. Blessed. Yes. Content. Yes. Complete. Finally.

And so my friends, may you always remember the gift that each of you received today and when life’s little irritations arise may you always look back upon this day to put a smile on your face and give you some perspective. You are the family you dreamed of and what you have created all together is, indeed, a miracle. YEAH!!!!!

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Fibromyalgia

I am a very lucky person. I have fibromyalgia but it is not as debilitating for me as it is for many. It used to be that I had tremendous pain on a fairly regular basis for days at a time but since I started following R. Paul St. Amand, M.D.’s protocols, I have found that for the most part I can live a fairly pain free life. That is why when I woke up in excruciating pain the other morning I was more than a little surprised and very disappointed.

It started with that deep ache throughout my legs as if a truck was laying across them. Moving didn’t help. Shaking my legs didn’t either. Massage didn’t work and beating on them to relieve the pain was for naught.

“Crap,” I thought with a sigh reaching for the aspirin before climbing out of bed. “I am getting old.This sucks.”

It was when I stood up that I realized what was happening. I could barely walk and when I did I looked like a 90 year old lady doing the Downtown Shuffle. I knew that the fibromyalgia had returned with a vengeance and I was pissed. Actually, I was pissed at myself because there are some things I can do to myself that trigger the pain. Yet, the day prior I  had ignored those triggers and ate myself into a sweet oblivion. Yes, sugar is one of my culprits and yet I dive into it like its a cool pool on a hot summers day.

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Usually, I don’t share the pain that I am in. Family members don’t understand why I can feel great one day and a week later be in so much pain. So I usually hide it…until I can’t. The pain makes me grumpy and I either can’t sleep or sleep to avoid the pain. I have serious brain fog (constantly) but I am thankful that with Dr. St. Amand’s help my days in pain are kept at a minimum.

I keep thinking that someday I will “get” it. That I will get tired of feeling crappy. That someday I will care enough about being pain free that I will actually “THINK” about what I am doing BEFORE I put things into my mouth that are going to hurt me later on. That I will care enough about myself to be mindful of what is going in and on my body. And it also occurs to me that perhaps this is some form of self punishment. I mean after all who would knowingly do something when they know they will severely pay for it later?

For now I will do what I can. Drink a lot of water and get out there and force myself to walk…miles. While it used to be I avoided movement when I felt this way, I have come to understand that for me, exercise, even if forced, seems to help alleviate the pain. And tomorrow I will try to stop crucifying myself once again.

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Food And Men

Finding the perfect watermelon is a little like trying to find the perfect guy. In a hoard of either, they are both extremely elusive. While they may both look beautiful on the outside they both are often lacking the sweetness that is needed to be considered “fit for a queen.” And while you may test their ripeness with a slight thump to their sides there is no guarantee that the sound you hear will be pleasant to the ear.

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A good ear of corn is another food that can be as difficult to find as a good man.  When shucking and stripping you often find that there is way more of that impossible to remove tassel hair than you imagined before the sweet treat shed its “clothes”. Often you shuck thinking the niblets will be perfect and round only to find they have shriveled or not developed at all.  And sometimes you find worms embedded deep within the cob that only a psychiatrist can safely remove.

Finding the perfect wine/man is also a challenge. A major problem with both is that one day you might have a craving for a robust red, and the next, a less dense white may fit the bill. Unfortunately, wine and men cannot not be both and plural marriage is frowned upon. But if you are extremely lucky every once in a while you will happen upon a perfectly crafted Rose’ which is a combination of the best of both. Yet, a high-quality Rose’, like a man whose traits span the red/white conundrum, is difficult to find and while a taste test gives you an inkling of what’s inside, how they will hold up over time is anyone’s guess. And of course there is always the issue of corking.

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As we all know few things can bring you as close to heaven as a chocolate bar or a good man. Yet, unsweetened cocoa is bitter and unrefined until it is processed.Same with men.And I can say with total confidence that neither man nor chocolate are good if they are bitter and until you taste the final product you never know whether you have heaven or hell on your hands.

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Finding a good man and finding the “perfect” food are difficult tasks. But if you sample enough, travel far and wide in pursuit, and strip enough of them; there is a chance you will end up with something really easy on both your eyes and your palate. Let the taste test begin!!!

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Religion’s Impact On Marriage

Religion

My husband and I come from very different religious backgrounds. He was raised Catholic with a mother who fought for the anti-abortion movement. His father, in his later years, returned to the church where he attended on a daily basis with truth and conviction on his side.

I was raised Methodist. My father is an agnostic who doesn’t have much time for “religious nuts.” His term not mine. He met his current wife at church while still married to my mother. A divorce ensued. For this reason and others that have occurred within my marriage religion to me often feels problematic, unsafe, and hypocritical.

Anyway, B is much more of a straight line liberal Christian believer and I am what I would call a seeker of religious tradition from several faiths. I attend a liberal church with B and our family but I also like attending the local Buddhist Temple and the Unitarian service. This has at times caused issues in our marriage. B believes we should go to church almost every week and feels if I do not attend with him it sets a bad example for our children. He believes church should be a family affair not two people going to separate services at differing religious institutions. And while I agree that might be ideal I don’t want to be bound to convention or ideas of what one must do to prove that they are indeed religious a/k/a a “good” person. I want to be free to explore/learn those things that meet my spiritual needs whatever they may be that week.

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Along these lines it has recently occurred to me that if we are indeed a unique creation of God then that must carry through to all parts of our lives. I am unique. I like books, horseback riding and meditating every day. B is also unique. He loves to play his bagpipes, he rarely reads a book, and he wakes up in the morning (every morning) to read the Bible. It seems to me that while religion gives a nod to the uniqueness of us all that it should follow this would also be true concerning religious preferences and beliefs. Why is it we expect that because we are all unique we will have different preferences and yet somehow, for the most part, couples are suppose to have almost identical beliefs when it comes to God? In almost all areas of life this is not expected but in regards to religion the expectation is there held fast and tight by society and often by couples themselves. I mean up until recently people of differing faiths were often ostracized by their own families if they married outside of their religious traditions.

Personally, I like to think that by exploring different religious perspectives, I have the kind of faith needed to fill in the cracks that most people find exist between the discrepancies  in what they personally believe and what they are taught they must believe if they are following their religious traditions “correctly.”

Sometimes I wish that B could just accept that for me attending church with him is a gift for us both. It shouldn’t matter why I am there just as long as I am and I want to be. My reasons should be mine alone and not some sort of test regarding whether those reasons are “good enough” or if this makes it so we are not “compatible.” And while, for the most part, B is not that uptight when we don’t see eye to eye on how we both practice our spirituality; I know that he wishes that we had this common bond in which our ideas meshed together in a way that would strengthen our relationship instead of  emphasize our differences.

Perhaps someday my spiritual believes will align more with B’s… or maybe not. But one thing I do know is that I don’t want religion to further divide our marriage. It is foolish to expect that we will be thinking and feeling the same way at the same time. So I just hope that God’s love will shine bright enough to light the way along both of our spiritual paths, whatever they may be, as we journey through live/marriage together.

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Departing Wisdom

Running-Late

Recently I saw a sign which read: WHEN ANGER ENTERS, WISDOM DEPARTS. These words touched my heart as well as the profound which rests in my soul. I felt as I read this simple truth that the words were meant for me alone and that they were there because I needed that gentle reminder.

This summer has been hectic what with sports practice five days a week, my volunteer work and with my chauffeuring  kids to college and high school summer school. The reason for my increasing anxiety over the summer is a very tight schedule in which pick up and delivery had to be perfectly timed. Frankly, I don’t do being late well. For whatever reason since I was a little kid it was hardwired into my brain that you are not late. EVER. And I have lived by that rule my entire life. Except once. That was the time I was 5 minutes late and it haunted me for days.

“If you are late it shows a complete disregard for others and that you think that your time is more important than theirs. Your time is no more or less important than any one else’s. Don’t forget that!” admonished my father throughout my growing up years.

And so I have a heightened sense of anxiety if I have the slightest inkling that I (or anyone I am responsible for) will be late.

The lengths to which I go to ensure that I am never late come with a price…my sanity. I am three hours early before taking an airline flight. I am 30 minutes early for my Gracie’s orchestra performance. I am early enough to get my choice of premium parking spaces and my favorite pew at church. I get the best seats at the movie theater and I am always the person who is waiting for their friend to show up for coffee. Anyone who knows me knows that if I am 10 minutes late that means I am probably stone-cold dead.

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And so with back-to-back obligations this summer it is hardly surprising that I found it difficult to just stay calm. Unfortunately, as my anxiety rose it often turned to anger. This is not to say that I yelled…I didn’t…but irritation crept into my voice way too often and words came out of my mouth that that are not meant to be heard by a child. Thoughts of shooting the bird to that 85 year old woman driving at a speed of 10 miles per hour entered my mind on way too many occasions. And as my anxiety/anger increased I became distracted and I once almost mowed down a kid on a bike doing stupid tricks in the street to impress his buddies.

As I reviewed my actions during these dog days of summer  it became apparent to me that in those moments of high anxiety and anger; my wisdom did indeed depart because:

I said thoughtless things.

I thought evil thoughts.

I showed my children a side of me that they do not want to see.

And I disregarded my own health by letting stress take minutes off my life multiple times a week.

So in an attempt to increase my sanity I made a change. I now have the saying WHEN ANGER ENTERS, WISDOM DEPARTS taped to my dashboard. I find it comforting. And now as I drive along and the tension starts mounting, I just look down to give myself a gentle and loving reminder that wisdom in all aspects of my life are important if I am to become all that I am meant to be.

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What A Woman Needs To Know

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Lately I have been thinking about what a woman needs to craft a joyful and successful life. Of course, being a ying/yang sort of person, I also ponder  what women don’t need as well. As I have thought about this it occurred to me that what I would write now is something completely different from what I would have written at 20, 30, 40 or even, God forbid, 50 something. Seems to me each decade brings a different sort of wisdom that carries us forward, and yet, we also seem to mislay this wisdom because of the mistaken notion that at various ages in our lives we are “suppose” to live and act in a certain pre-defined ways.  Culturally defined ways. A way our mothers would be proud of. A way that we must act and things we must lose if we are to find “true love” like Katie Morosky in the movie The Way We Were.

I think that as women we often we work so hard at becoming who we think we are suppose to be that we lose who we really are; our souls slipping away before we actually do. So in hopes of avoiding becoming soul less souls sooner than later I have written a list of What A Woman Needs  To Know (Or Doesn’t Need To Care About) for my daughters and granddaughters. Here you go girls:

  1. Laugh. Loud and often. Snorting is even better.
  2. Never compare yourself to another unless it is to encourage yourself to go in the direction of your dreams.
  3. Keep your body in shape for you and for your future health. Never diet for someone else…it doesn’t work.
  4. Get all the education that you can so you can be interesting to yourself and others.
  5. Get all the education you can so you can support yourself in the manner you would like.
  6. The first time he hits you…leave.
  7. If you are being called bitch, cunt, or slut by your “loved” one; then you don’t know what love is. Run away fast and find YOURSELF before you find another partner.
  8. Seeing IS believing.
  9. Every week… without fail… put away $10 into your “If I Die Fund.” Then if you have to leave your love interest you won’t be without resources and if you do die your relatives  can bury you in a coffin instead of a cardboard box.
  10. Vacation often and in places that help you to learn more about yourself.
  11. Learn to disagree pleasantly but if the other party is an asshole let your inner “mean girl” come out.
  12. Being a doormat only wrinkles your dress.
  13. Every time you have sex with a stranger you chip away at your soul. Get to know someone first and for goodness sake use a condom (or 2)
  14. Find someone who puts your needs in line with his/her own.
  15. Pick someone who is smarter than you but doesn’t lord it over you.
  16. You will never sustain that honeymoon glow. Be realistic and just try to keep the extreme highs and lows to a minimum.
  17. Being on an emotional rollercoaster DOES NOT mean that it is true love.
  18. Practice kindness especially with those you love and those who love you.
  19. Grant grace as often as you can.
  20. You can choose to be miserable or you can choose to be happy. Choose HAPPY.
  21. Find the things you really care about and then do them. Often.
  22. When you are older you will realize that it is all about the connections. Nurture them.
  23. If you are unhappy it is up to you to have the courage to take the steps to make some changes.
  24. For years I lived in the past and the future. Now I live in the present and I am able to tie my shoes. ( Yeah, scratch your head and think about that one)
  25. If you don’t take some risks you will never know what you are made of.
  26. Find love in all its many forms. We all need as much of it as we can get.
  27. Once a day do something nice for someone.
  28. Words without action are nothing but words.
  29. You will not always be young and beautiful but if you have good manners and great confidence you will be treated like the queen that you are.
  30. If your thoughts/actions are hurtful or unkind you are blinding yourself so that you cannot see clearly.
  31. What seems impossible will be…until it is done.
  32. Have many “huggers” in your life and be the first to give one freely.
  33. Every person has a story so take time to discover what it is.
  34. Be aware enough to know when to give up and when to stay the course.
  35. Beating yourself up leaves nothing but bruises.
  36. Change your mind only if YOU want to.
  37. Be brave. Take risks.
  38. Replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.
  39. Dance freely.
  40. When you are 30 take up a new interest. When you are 40 do the same.
  41. Be around people who cherish you.
  42. It will always get better especially if you take the steps necessary to make it so.
  43. A hot beverage that is drunk it a hot bath is as near to heaven as you will get without being there.
  44. Get over the notion that LIFE WILL ALWAYS BE FAIR. It won’t.
  45. Your job is to raise your children to be the type of person you would want with you when you are on a sinking ship.
  46. Sometimes the only words that fit are “Fuck You” said with total conviction.
  47. Pulling the covers back over your head is often better and smarter than drinking a martini.
  48. Save for your old age. It will be there before you know it. Yeah, I know you don’t believe it… but it will.
  49. Chances are that when you die you will only be talked about by three generations. Try for five.
  50. If you are living on a beer budget, then drink beer, not whiskey.
  51. Which reminds me, if you are getting a cold get in the hottest bathwater you can stand and lay there for awhile while throwing back a couple of shots of whiskey. The cold will mostly likely not develop but you may have a hell of a headache instead.
  52. You reap what you plant.
  53. Be honest.
  54. Don’t let evil into your life whether it be people, music or movies.
  55. Only be as old as you want to be.
  56. Be thankful and look for everyday blessings.
  57. Expect more than what others think is possible.
  58. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules.
  59. If you only had 6 months to live what would you do? Do it NOW.
  60. Your happiness is controlled by you.
  61. Don’t get complacent in your relationships, in your work and in your life.
  62. Be dependable to yourself first.
  63. Speaking and doing are the same action.
  64. Sometimes in saying nothing you are as guilty as the person doing something.
  65. If you are drinking too much you are probably saying too much too.
  66. Pursue excellence.
  67. As you age you will get hair in places that your dog doesn’t.
  68. As good as it sounds having a threesome is rarely a good idea.
  69. As good as it sounds drinking on an empty stomach is rarely a good idea.
  70. Sit with yourself often.
  71. When you screw up apologize immediately.
  72. On your deathbed you will not be saying “Geez, I wish I had put more hours in at the office.”
  73. The sooner you learn to let things go the sooner you will stand straight again.
  74. Trust your intuition.
  75. Never be afraid to scream or run if you think you are in danger.
  76. If you are feeling uncomfortable there is usually a good reason.
  77. Most of what “others” think doesn’t really matter.
  78. Be silly. Be playful. Be that person that others want to be around.
  79. Say whats on your mind but say it without malice.
  80. If you are in a serious relationship don’t let a week go by without sex. Okay, a few days actually but who wants to hear their grandmother say that!
  81. If your friends and loved ones don’t like your boyfriend there is a reason for that so dump him.
  82. Gossiping is like running a truck over yourself…again and again and again
  83. Going after a married man only leaves you with crucifixion scars.

10 Minute Poem Challenge-Slowly Walking

As I walk the cliffs with you

The ocean sparkles below

Like the diamond

You gave me so many years ago

A diamond of hope and promise

So many of which were broken

Over the years

By both of us

Intentional and unintentional

Causing a slow moving

 And churning tsunami

That crept over the break wall

Consuming

Us as it roared

To shore

Today I look at you

In a new light

And I see that

Your eyes crinkle

When you laugh now

Your is hair salt and pepper

Instead of black

But now you have a

Glimmer of love in your eyes

When you see me for who I am

And not for who

You wish I would be

It’s a start, anyway

And as the sun shines upon

Your thinning hair

 I get a glimpse

Of how things

Used to be

And I think

That I am falling in love

With you

All over again

How did we let

Our marriage suffer

In ways to0 painful

To remember

But so difficult

To forget?

How did those days

Drift by

Unattended

Like like a 100 year roof

Sagging in on the people

It is suppose to protect?

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Yet, as I walk along with you

I see we getting ahead

Slowly but surely

Getting back to a new place

A place where I think

We can find peace

And understanding

With each other again

A place  of joy

And Friendship

And of course

Great sex…

That really never left

Even when everything

Else did

And so I walk the cliffs

With you

The wind blowing

Harsh and strong

Taking our troubles

Out to sea

Away from us

To somewhere distant

Remote

Far away from what was

But now isn’t

And I get a glimpse

Of how things

Used to be

And I think

That I am falling in love

With you

All over again

Childhood Memories

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Going to my Grandfather’s cottage on the lake holds fond memories for me. It was a long drive north with stops to see the bears who were caged next to gas stations in an attempt to bring in the tourist crowd.It was back in the 60’s before PITA and other such organizations existed and as a result bears who had lost their mothers became entertainment for bored little kids traveling the backroads in old station wagons. Kids like me.

I  still remember the blue Rambler pulling up to the cabin. The smell of the leaves and the fresh clean air. And mushrooms “Don’t touch those!!!! They may be poisonous!!!” poking their heads out from under rocks and growing alongside north facing tree trunks. I can still remember the loons calling out a greeting from the lake below while squirrels flew like acrobats from tree top to tree top. And I recall the sun filtering through the leaves making them light up like the colors found in a stained glass window. No doubt about it there was beauty and tranquility no matter which way you turned. All of it was amazing in the eyes of a six-year-old kid.

After being released from the confines of the car the first thing I would see in the cabin was the old refrigerator that stood guard in the service porch. It smelled musty and was in desperate need of air. My mother would clean up inside while my father would go after the spiders whose webs were proportional to the amount of months that had gone by since the last visit. Of course, there was no television, so my sister and I would go outside to chase leaves, find critters, and do the things six year olds do while in the woods. It was a time of discovery and a place where life slowed down to a crawl.

Memories fill my mind of this special time in my life. I remember the day my father laid his head down on the pillow to go to sleep and inside was a mouse nest filled with babies. I remember a green frosted cake. I remember Chippy the Chipmunk who would scurry over to take peanuts out of my hand as I sat barely breathing on the porch. This is the place I first learned how to swim in waters so cool it took your breath away. This is the place I learned that the sandy bottom of the lake felt silky like the fuzz on the ear of a puppy. This is the place I learned how to dive and this place was where I first got the sense of my own self. I loved this cottage in the woods.

Unfortunately, my grandfather died when I was six and the cottage was sold soon after. He had been the outdoorsman not my grandmother. The trees held little meaning for her as did the hunting. It was the water that captured her attention. Yes, the water was her thing and every day started in the same manner for her. She would arise early in the morning, make a cup of bitter black coffee, and head down to the lake. I can still picture the daily the ritual of my grandmother trying to pull a too tight rubber bathing cap down over her head while snapping off the  cheap rubber flowers that lined the outside in her hast to be the first one to  produce a ripple on the sheen of the sleepy and slowing awakening lake. Yet, my dreams about this place are short and often disappear in confusion … gone the way of bathing caps… which are now regarded as relics and left to rot in a box on a museum shelf somewhere.

Anyway, with these recollections comes a distortion of the truth which often occurs in a young girls mind. For instance I remember a yellow cottage…it was red. I remember it being HUGE. It was tiny. And I know all of this because for years I had told B about this special place, the place of my youth. But what  really stood out in my mind about the cabin were the million steps that it took to get from the cabin down to the lake. Yes, you could have hooked me up to a lie detector and I would have passed…there were a million steps top to bottom.That was the one thing in life that I was absolutely certain of.

Then one year we were visiting my grandmother. By then she was living in a nursing home and she had lost her only daughter, my mother. So B and I asked her how to get to the cottage. We both wanted to see this place that built so many happy memories for me.

“You’ll never find it,” she said. “I guess I will just have to go up there and show it to you myself!”

So my 84-year-old grandmother plunked herself into the front seat of the car and we took off. The roads were better than they once were and we made it there in record time. But by there I mean the lake not the cottage because as we stood in front of three of them which lined the lake she didn’t know which one it was and neither did I.

“Well, we’ll just have to go find the one-armed man who built the place for us. He’ll know. Never saw a man who could hammer faster and better than him,” my grandmother muttered.

And so we set out for his place. We were unsure where he was located or even if he would still be alive but as luck would have it there was an ancient one-armed man standing next to a bright red mail box alongside the road and my grandmother charmed the information right out of him. So back we went over slick rutted roads…this time to the right cottage sitting in the right place.

It was wintertime and it was bitterly cold, yet, we trampled the snow and the decaying leaves around the cabin trying to peek through the blinds which lined the windows. I was trying to see inside just enough to grab tight to the memories that were floating around somewhere in my head. And then it came to me. I could gather those memories by way of the steps  down to the lake…all one million of them.

So I raced around to the back of the cabin looking for a very long stairway leading down the hill to the lake. The one with the millions treads. The one that it used to take half-a-day to climb from top to bottom when I was a little kid. Yet, it was not to be found. Instead, I saw an old rickety set of stairs, hidden in the trees, twisted with age, descending down the hill towards the water. So I began to count the stairs…it didn’t take long. For there were only 14.

I have to confess that am not sure when 14 stairs became one million in my mind. Perhaps it was as my chubby three year old legs had to take so many steps between the steps leading up the hill. Or maybe it was when the horseflies were out and you couldn’t get up the hill fast enough. All I know is that there were once one million stairs and you cannot convince the six-year-old in me otherwise. Never. Ever.

Not surprisingly, I have found that when you venture back to the past you find it is never how you left it. For better or for worse it will have changed. Yet, our memories often remain the same, stuck in a place we want to remember rather than in one that actually existed. And I’m okay with that because childhood memories should be some of the best memories of our lives. They should be the memories that were created in a simple time that was free from expectations and fear. They should be the recollections made when hope was still alive and when our imaginations ran free. A time when conquering the world was doable and when our kryptonite could be found in a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie. For childhood memories are precious, even though imprecise, and they are what motivates us to create a world the way we would like to see it rather than the way that it is. And even though one million steps may seem insurmountable when you are six, one  day you come to realize that a million steps isn’t as daunting as you once thought all thanks to the memories created during a simpler time in our lives.

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Comfort

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The other night B hurt my deeply. He didn’t mean to but he did.  We were dialoging and I got to choose the question. It was: How do I see our future together?

His response, ” Is this tomorrow’s future? Like how do I see tomorrow?”

“No it would be in ten years.” I replied.

“So how about in one year,” he shot back.

And so it went until I told him that whenever there was talk about a long time future together he avoided it and it hurt me deeply.

Perhaps I push too hard.

Perhaps I want answers that aren’t ready to be given.

Perhaps I demand too much.

But with tears in my eyes I said to him,”It hurts when you don’t talk about a long term future together. It makes me feel very insecure and sad. And it makes me wonder about why we are doing this at all. For when you love someone you talk about the future. Remember how you felt before we got married? All we wanted to do was talk about our future together.”

He replied,”I am trying to just take one day at a time. My therapist wants me to be in today’s moments not projecting out into the future and I have found I am more peaceful living that way.”

And with tears in my eyes I explained, “I understand that and it is a good way to live. I am trying harder to live in the moment too. However, when this happens, when you refuse to talk about a future ,it takes me back to when I was a 9 year old child who didn’t know where she would be sleeping or who she would be staying with. It puts me in a scary place. So for me the future is very important. It reduces my anxiety about our relationship and talk of it makes me feel secure. It makes me feel like I know where my head will be resting and that is really important to me and that scared little kid who still lives inside of me.”

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B looked at me. Hard. Tears coming to his eyes.

“Come here,” he said with open arms. “Let me  just hold you,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me moving me closer towards his heart.

And so he held me. He stroked my hair. Then, quietly, he began sharing his thoughts of what the future with me looked like. And it was then that I knew he really heard me and understood why “knowing” the future was so important to me. He opened himself up and shared because it was what I needed.

Comfort means different things to different people. It may be provided in different ways and at one time it may be meaningful, at another, not so much. But providing comfort because you have heard a need and you wish to answer it is probably the greatest thing that we can give to one another. It promotes good will. It promotes understanding and healing between two people.

So today, instead of asking what we can do for our partner, perhaps, we would be better off asking how we can comfort them. For when we do a strange thing begins to happen. Love awakens. Love strengthens. Love endures. Because by stepping outside of our own comfort zone to comfort another, we ultimately get provided with a kind of comfort we didn’t even know was needed.And as it turns out, we end up giving and getting a gift more precious than gold.

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