Looking back and thinking forward

Month: August, 2007

Is there anybody out there?

In the dream I was trying to find my way back home. A recurring dream I have over the years, only each time structured just a bit differently I am supposed to know my way back home. It is easy. Just turn down road such-and-such and walk straight there. However, I am never able to find that road such-and-such, and proceed only to become lost down small, dark streets and lanes between ancient buildings with undesirable characters passing me by, looking me over. Inevitably I land up at a dead end, usually at a wild ocean sometimes even with a huge rising, dangerous wave forcing me to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction.

Early this morning the dream was similar. Only this time people kept disappearing over a ledge towards the sea startling me, as I thought they were jumping off a cliff. A shadow of a man, supposedly someone I knew, came to my aid and redirected me up a road towards the correct turn homeward, disappearing as soon as I tried to ask him a question. I soon found myself locked behind a gate, high up in a tight, narrow corner with a dangerous descent, impossible for me with my fear of heights. I started calling out, "Help!" in a tiny, scraping voice trying to make it louder. I seemed to have pulled a lever as I called out, panic rising in my chest, and somehow the step I was on started to descend gradually on its own. There were muffled voices of people down below and I awoke shaking with fear, not knowing where I was. I ran through the apartment looking for T. He had woken earlier and was sitting in the living room with his computer. He looked up calmly as I passed, watching me as if I was a mouse running through the house. "I had such a nightmare," I explained as I rushed by.

It occurs to me that I have had that feeling often throughout my life, since I was a very young child. Calling out for help high up and away as I am trying to find my way home, when there should be an easy route and I become lost in the shadows of some ancient land. And, always, there is no one out there. The sea is sure to engulf me at any time.

Remarrying does not make single parenting any less single. For I worry alone, celebrate alone, feel pride alone, call out for help alone. I think I have always been alone. Just getting on with it as best I could. Mostly not knowing what to do. Desperately watching those around me for hints and cues about how to do whatever it was I needed to do. Grasping at role models, strangers passing by. Trying to be a student, parent, wife, lover, teacher, friend, author, woman, sister, daughter. Always without a road map, it seems. Wandering through unknown avenues and down ominous paths. Never really finding my way back home.

Recently, when my son left, after a week’s stay with me, and for reasons I will not go into here, I cried as if my heart would break. I cried so hard and so much, that out of the congestion, the whole next day I could not hear in one ear and was completely hoarse. As I drove from the airport, tears poured down my cheeks like a thunderstorm.

I wonder, "Will I die alone too?" As Charlie did after we had all kissed him and told him that we loved him, alone in his hospice room that night? Or will someone be there to hold my hand and stroke my forehead with great love, or hold me in their arms as I did with Mar-Mar as she rose up to take her very last breath?

It occurs to me that for the past six years the leader of our country makes me feel even more alone than I have ever felt. Doing what he wants, thumbing his nose at everyone, lying, deceiving, joking and offending. I am terrorized by his abuse of power. Rendered help-less and alone time and again. Ashamed of his actions, statements, ideologies. Outraged, that as our elected leader he speaks for me and uses my hard earned monies in ghastly, abhorrent ways. Constantly, insidiously. His leadership permeates everything we do, accompanies us as we go about our daily lives. Every time I see his hideous, insincere smile or hear his cackling over some lie or other, it permeates my tender soul just a bit more. Come to think of it, have I ever lived under a political leader who I truly admired and felt proud to be a part of?

"Help!" I cry. It is squeaky and rasping, shrill and piercing. Perhaps, in my next recurring dream, I will fill my lungs with air, breathe in deeply and call out from the pit of my stomach with a loud, roaring voice, deep, strong and solid: "HELP!" – in such a way, that people will run from their homes, arms outstretched to greet me in a loving, compassionate embrace. And then, together, we will find my way home, arm in arm singing Kum Ba Yah as we go.

Playing with my new Web Cam (Update II)

QuickCam, quick capture moments:

Ada Mae and me


The jazz pianist and me while Skype-ing with Sister Sue


Sister Sue skype-ing with us



To: Madame L: in reply:


And … then … I … dedicate … this … to you, Madame Levy … as … Madame Tamarika … Part I …

Part II …

Part III …

Both sides now

It occurred to me, as I was traveling on the New Jersey Transit on my way to New York City, that there are two sides to feeling as if I do not belong. One is excruciatingly painful because I feel so victimized, marginalized, and excluded, that I become enraged and helpless at the injustice of being left out.

With the other side, however, I become an outsider looking in. I feel detached and peaceful, free of the burden of responsibility and relieved not to be a part of anything. It is the side where I seem to have control over my life. I am able to observe and choose whether or how much to become involved, or I move on untouched. It is the side that enables me to decide whether I owe anything to anyone or not. And the owing is in whether I will share my feelings or not, as much as it is whether I am responsible for anyone or not.

I have struggled with the former side of exclusion all of my life, starting within my family of origin and then transferring those painful feelings to everyone and everything I subsequently became involved with: marriages, lovers, organizations, work, friendships, family relationships …

Part of letting go and bidding farewell to the burdens of my past has been to transfer to the other side of not belonging. I am becoming more and more an outsider looking in. I realized this yesterday on the train. I looked out the window at the scenery rushing by and thought to myself, "Has life just become more lonely?" After all, when I am busy feeling painfully excluded and hurt by all those wrongs against me, I am deluded into feeling as if I am, in fact, involved with people, and not alone. As an outsider looking in, I am at once stripped of illusions and faced with being alone. Just me. Looking in. Observing. Detached. De-personalized. Un-involved. And, yes, it does seem a tad lonely. Even a bit scary. But then, I think that is how it is. Being an adult, I mean. Becoming mature. Being able to choose how I feel. And not being dependent on other people’s actions for or against me.

I started to talk about it and then stopped myself abruptly. It just felt too personal, private, deep … at that moment. I laughed to myself as I said out loud, "I think I’ll write about it on my blog …"

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Blogging about books

The little engine that … should?

Well, I should be writing. And I should be preparing all the syllabi for my classes. I should be shopping, doing the laundry, feeding the birds, playing with Ada.

But I would just rather write in my blog.

I should be on the treadmill, lifting weights, stretching and breathing into the yoga routine.

But I would just rather write in my blog.

My eyes sag and droop, burn and tear up with all the should’s racing around my brain. It is like a thousand voices yelling within and without. Should, should, should

I should have been a better mother. I should lose weight. I should pay for my transgressions … pay, pay, pay.

I would just rather sit here in this darkened, gray morning, listening to the calls and cries, pips, squeaks and twitters of blue jays, cardinals, nut hatches, chickadees, sparrows, warblers, wrens, titmice, chipmunks as they exclaim and announce that food is in the feeder. I would rather sit here and write in my blog, gather peace from it and let the words flow from my fingers and onto the screen.

Yesterday, late in the afternoon, when I was done being alone and "shoulding" my way through the day, I went to see Becoming Jane … alone. I couldn’t help but marvel how she wrote whenever and wherever she could scratching the words on paper by candlelight with ink all over her fingers. Her "should’s" were ever so much more formidable than mine. She was so much more courageous in her time, than I am in mine …

I should be more of an activist. I should make more of a stand, contribution …

But I would just rather write in my blog …

Quote of the day

Promise yourself: no self-criticism today. If a negative thought crops up, tell your inner nag, "Not now." Life can be hard enough without your adding more stress. Oprah

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: I can’t wait …

Have I said it all?

Expressed out.

There is, of course, always more to say.

And yet.

I could probably sum it up as: be kind

And then again more will come to me.

Just not today.

Or is it that I have too much to say?

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Welcome

Happy Days are here again …


… to …



A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Happy, happy day!

A summer question

How I love Facebook. Let me count the ways. I love receiving flowers for my garden and fish for the aquarium. I enjoy dancing with Frank and poking Madame Levy. I adore meeting new friends like Tree, or old friends like Mike.

And I surely get a kick out of answers to my questions.

Recently I asked my Facebook friends: Why must summer end?

Here are their replies.

Mary Godwin:
Summer must end so that we can get to Christmas!! …and presents!!

Liz Ditz:
So we can get snow and go skiing!
James Roberts:
it never ends you just need to go south

Frank Paynter:
Summer must end so we can have bushels of crisp McIntosh apples, walnuts, cider, pumpkins, corn shocks, the glorious palette of autumn colors, busy squirrels, skeins of geese etching the sky, morning frost, acorn squash, children on their way to school..

It gives me something to think about. It really does.

What kind of pizza???

I don’t know what came over me, but I just felt like doing this quiz this morning after visiting Kay’s site! And just look what it said!

Amazing … what you can tell abou a person from eating pizza …

What Your Pizza Reveals
You eat like a European. A little bit of everything, but too much. You stay svelt through portion control.

You consider pizza to be bread… very good bread. You fit in best in the Midwest part of the US.

Your taste is rather complex and sophisticated. You consider yourself a gourmet – and a bit of a snob.

You are generous, outgoing, and considerate with your choices.

You are cultured and intellectual. You should consider traveling to Vienna.

The stereotype that best fits you is hippie. You knew it was coming.

And in the morning …

It all becomes clear. Confusions or angers. Pain or joys from the day before. Frustrations or worries. Wonderings and tribulations. Somehow, in the morning, as I lie awake in the half dark dawn, just before the light creeps across the sky above the old oak tree, it all becomes clear. Feelings understood, decisions that must be made, actions that will be taken.

Quote of the day:

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. Desiderata

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Wisdom of all ages