September 14, 2017

Under water

Haha I can't wait til matt goes to bed tonight and, for the first few seconds, can't figure out what's different.

We've been sleeping on this waterbed since 1990. I love it, most of the time; sometimes, too much! There is nothing like snuggling down into a heated waterbed, covered by a fluffy down duvet when it's freezing outside.

But the water in ours has gradually evaporating, and the air bubbles increasing. So it's not full enough, but it's got these big puffs of air. At the worst times, I hit bottom. It's noisy. Buster's comings and goings thru the night cause small tsunamis throughout the bed.
All we had to do is remove all the bedding, and, by removing the plug and carefully smoothing the top, get rid of the extra air. Then, secure a garden hose to the outside faucet, and unwind it carefully upstairs and hook it up to the bed. Turn on the water and voila, nice smooth, quiet bed.

However, our lives are nuts. Some days, it's all I can do to go to work, make dinner and spend the rest of the evening in a semi-vegetative state. Other days, almost every minute is pre-determined, usually by someone or something else. Don't get me wrong, we also have a hell of a lot of fun-mostly because we need it. But there's not a lot of time for household stuff, although I do manage most of the everyday things. So the waterbed's been a problem for awhile. We both realized it was bothering the other a few weeks ago. I'd mention maybe we should fix it a few times; we didn't. But today I was determined to deal with it. I tore off the sheets, bled out the air, hosed in the water. Everything took about 30 minutes, not including cleaning up (ew, if you don't vacuum the liner once in awhile, ew). 

I actually like doing little projects around the house. Hanging a screen door, organizing a's relaxing and therapeutic, plus it's productive. I've been trying to make more time for things like this. I miss the days when I wasn't working when I had wide swaths of time with Willa in school and Matt at work. I had art projects, my handmade bags. I had volunteer jobs. Sometimes I'd meet friends for lunch or coffee. I worked out-a lot. But I don't know if I was actually happier then or not, when I think about it. I remember feeling grateful for the life we had, that I had. Given the choice, it's hard to say if I'd want to work at the practice; I can't imagine trusting anyone else to completely manage it. 

But it's definitely time to start planning for a post-practice life, maybe a post-WV life, who knows?

September 3, 2017

People are Strange

I've been 'accused" of being aloof, snobby, shy. This is the curse of the introvert, the introvert that cannot hide her feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, whatever you want to call it, when confronted with too much people. When this happens, I tend to answer shortly when spoken to, I hide with my phone, I go outside. Or I just go home. I am also absurdly incapable of hiding my feelings.

So what to do when I'm told someone has been asking if I'm "mad" at them? First I wonder, did I say something, do something to make this person feel that way? I spend significant time sifting through conversations, looking at old messages, etc. Then I wonder why don't they ask me? For awhile, I'll monitor the way I act, what I say. I can't very well say, "Hey so and so told me that you think I'm mad at you." At least I can't.

 If this happens again, and even, again, I get annoyed. First of all, it means that maybe I am a bitch, if all my being careful to be extra nice isn't working. It also means that someone is spending way too much time analyzing me instead of simply asking, hey Bibi what's up? It also means that they are talking behind my back, WHICH I HATE. This means, yes, I'm now re-considering why I'm friends with this person that can't talk directly to me. For one thing, unless you talk to me, you will arrive at the wrong conclusion, I guarantee it. 

My favorite was finding out that the insulting conclusion someone came to was THAT I AM JEALOUS OF THEM. Oh my god.  I got over jealousy when my husband was in a band. If I didn't turn that shit off, I wouldn't be married to him right now. It also means that this person is so self-centered that in their mind, they must be the reason for whatever behavior they're freaking about. 

So look. If you have a friend who occasionally doesn't call you, or doesn't want to hang out, is a bit more quiet than usual, ask them if they're ok, what's up, etc. Don't ask their sister, their husband. their mom. Don't talk behind their back. Don't come up with ridiculous presumptions based on some after school tv show you saw back in the 80's. Because as much as we introverts don't really like being the center of attention, we really don't like it when it's behind our back. 

August 23, 2017

Paulownia Nesting

I really would love a tree house. I imagine I want one with a ladder and then a swing to get in. Like an acrobat house, one from my nightmares.... A recurring theme in nightmares of my past involved my life depending on climbing an impossible ladder that kept moving around, or turning into a twisting snake. Both times when I was pregnant with my daughters, I dreamt that she was in a precariously steep situation, crawling towards the edge of a cliff, or hanging at the top of one of my nightmare ladders by a tiny baby fingernail. Every single one of these dreams startled me awake in a cold sweat as my soul returned with a jolt to my body.

My tree house would be a  celebration of green, a place to commune with the dryads. I imagine a semi-circle of Paulownia  trees, hugging the little house reaching up to them on its stilts.
photo Jan Alonzo on Flickr

Paulownia trees are special to me. We have one in our backyard, planted by our house's former owners, Sandy and Michael. She has big purple blossoms in the spring, and then mammoth  fan-shaped leaves grace her branches until Fall, when they blanket the lawn. One winter was especially bad for her, back when she was much smaller. I had to tie a strong rope around her, and bind it to a bigger tree nearby so she wouldn't topple over, so damaging was the snow and wind that year. She still has a tilt, but healthy all the same.

photo from wikimedia
And  then there is the big grove of Paulownias that I pass on my way to Spoutwood from Shrewsbury when I'm there for the Fairie Festival. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to be there when they're just blooming. This grove of trees is all very tall, and the blossoms are high up in the branches. From my vantage point below, it's like looking at a little piece (peace) of Heaven.

The tree house would not be a burden to the lovely ladies surrounding it. it would dwell in harmony with the blossoms, the dryads, the birds and squirrels, on a platform that could be reached by a ladder, or perhaps some other more whimsical contraption - a zip line, perhaps, or some kind of pulley. And then, maybe a sliding board or a fireman's pole to come down. Anyway, once you got up there, you would find a snug little place decorated with art from friends, my grandmother's china, some comfy chairs, a dais so you could sit or lie down, lots of pillows, things to draw with and on, solar panels so I can make tea and coffee, cookies, music perfect for the mood and in tune with the biophony surrounding us.

This fantasy is in part inspired by a home I visited in Yelapa Mexico. I was there at my daughter Phoebe's yoga retreat, and had gone horseback riding with the group. We were all struck pretty much speechless when we saw where she lives. This house was perched on a cliff, open to the elements with no visible concern over hurricanes or roaming animals. A year after my visit, Yelapa was nearly hit by a historically bad storm, and I worried over the beach dogs, the people in their little cliff-hanging houses, the iguanas, the boats. Thankfully it was spared.  

 It would be comfortable enough for weekend guests, in fact, they would come just so they could live there for the weekend. Adding a hammock would make it a sweet little escape from phones, computers, bad news. I imagine the sound the raindrops would make on the (tin?) roof, the flash of lightning through the window. I'm pretty sure I would't go up there in the winter... being the cold weather baby that i am. But I could spend some time daydreaming of what to do with my little dryad nest when the weather gets better.

August 13, 2017

Drive-by memories

Going back to Indiana PA, where I spent most of my growing-up years is usually both surreal and emotional for me. After attending my high school reunion today,

dad in front of our house, 1972??
I drove past my old house, lingering long enough to snap some pictures. Gone is the dogwood tree my dad transplanted from the woods.... the beautiful old cast-iron fence that used to kind of scare me with its sword-like pinnacles.... in place of the old side porch is a nifty little glassed- in alcove... the rhododendron bush that burst out of our frigid winters with cheerful pink blossoms each spring now majestically monopolizes the front of the house.... and the pink shingles have long ago been taken off to reveal beautiful tongue and groove siding finished in a sedate gray. The door my dad whimsically painted is now a slate-blue. Glancing at the beautiful old floor-to- ceiling windows that grace the front of the house I see they have kept the charming old shutters. somewhere I have a picture of my sisters and me with a "Give Peace a Chance" banner hung on the porch, a paean to  the anti-Vietnam War movement. (When I find it again, I will post it here!)
the house today, 8/12/2017

I drove around the house's corner lot, observing some more insertions and deletions (Oh! the pear tree is gone! That huge old tree had lived in the same corner of the lot as my room and I used to dream it crashed into my room. It got the most beautiful white blossoms....turning into squishy bee bait in the summer as ripe pears rotted underneath. I can still remember the smell, pear cider.) Every summer evening after dinner, dad would walk around the yard with his cup of tea, admiring his "fla'ars."I carry on his love of all growing things that smell beautiful and wild; leave the veggies to the farmers.

Then, I was driving slowly past my neighbor Bev's house, remembering  Saturday night sleepovers in her camper, eating potato chips with Lipton Onion dip and drinking massive amounts of Coke. We'd watch zombie movies on the Chilly Billy show and plan our bicycle trip to Mexico (we never went. but it sure was an adventure just talking about it). Once in awhile her big brother Richard would make weird noises outside to scare us.

Next I crossed the train tracks where, back in the late 70's, my ex-husband was an aide at a day facility for mentally retarded adults. He loved it there. Sometimes, I wonder if he'd continued working there, where he felt so rewarded and appreciated instead of choosing the high-stress, impersonal job of a computer programmer, he would've dealt with his PTSD better. The facility is no longer there.

Turning right onto 13th street, I turn my head around towards Philadelphia Street to see if Dick's Sweet Shoppe is still there. It is not. My sisters and I loved to walk there in the early evening in the summer after it cooled off a bit to buy penny candy, or maybe a popsicle. Later, as a teenager, my sister and I hung out with some very cute hoodlums at their house nearby on Philadelphia Street. "Strings" was a low-level drug dealer. His very cute brother, whose name I can't recall, used to delight in roaming the streets at night, stealing plants from people's porches. He did take very good care of them; his living room was a jungle. He just really loved plants.

Indiana Free Library, thanks to OZinOH on Flicker
...On down Philadelphia Street, towards downtown.... Past the now closed arcade where my boyfriend could play pinball forever. Ahead loomed the First Commonwealth Bank's golden copula, a glowing homage to all things monetary. It used to be the courthouse, but now that's here on the left, next to the Library and Jimmy Stewart Museum. There are the steps up to Vinegar Hill, where Jimmy Stewart used to live. I note that the movie theater is now a church. Some of the old businesses are still around, the expanded and cleaned-up Coney Island bar, Luxemburg's Jewelry, the One-Hour Downtown Cleaners, are still there.
Old Courthouse thanks to Joseph A on Flickr
But, no Molly Ann's, Widdowson's Jewelry, Troutman's, or Brody's, all locally owned shops. G.C. Murphy, where we would occasionally shoplift for cheap thrills, had closed before we all left. Now there are smoke shops, coffee shops, a deli, a really nice coffee shop/art gallery (the Artist's Hand), even an Insomnia Cookies, among others. When you press the "Walk" button at an intersection, Jimmy Stewart's voice informs you to "Wait." Then when the light changes, you hear him counting down how many seconds you have to get across. They really love their Jimmy.

I headed out of town, more memories tumbling around in my head as I passed one familiar-but-not- familiar scene after another, like the one about the summer night my sister and I snuck out of the house, just to wander around town while everyone was sleeping. We ended up near dawn on someone's roof, waiting for the sun. Then, as I peered down the street where, as a grade-schooler, I walked from school to my piano teacher every week, I could almost feel how my ankle socks would sink into my shoes sometimes as I walked there. This, in turn, reminded me of cold rainy days when my two sisters and I would don our rain hats and coats, grab umbrellas along with lunch boxes and school books for the 15 minute walk to school. There was never even a thought that someone would drive us. The same went for the walk to junior high school which was just over a mile. Unless we got the rare offer from my friend's sister to drive us, Bev and I walked through town, down 5th street to the junior high. I would arrive, my hair all stringy, shoes wet and uncomfortable. Of course, I was too vain to wear my "rubbers" or wear a stupid rain hat! All that walking around free without the supervision of a hovering mother would never go down these days. Children aren't allowed to be free range any longer. I remember rumors of grownups doing bad things to kids, but we were still allowed to disappear for hours, on our bikes, or play hide and seek all over the neighborhood. The only rule was we had to be home at an assigned time. And everyone was fine, even before cell phones. Nowadays, Heaven forbid a kid has to walk half a block from the bus; no, the bus has to stop two times within a town block to let the poor helpless kids off the bus, to hobble into the waiting parent's car. No wonder we have an obesity crisis, no wonder kids have no idea how to function in a normal world.

 As I drove further from town and closer to home, my memories flew fast, but with no familiar landmark passing by to anchor them, they floated around on their own. Things that seemed dramatic back then are commonplace now: I remember the first time I heard that a friends' parents were divorcing; we were not allowed to discuss it. Most of the time things were good, but now and then a bad thing would happen. A classmate of my little sister's got killed in a car accident. A friend's brother died in Vietnam... life went on.

Now I'm driving through thick fog as I find myself on the steep, curvy incline of route 56. I love this road, because driving up here makes me feel like I'm up high, but because of all the trees, I don't have to see below me. I took 56 purposely because Route 99 scares the crap out of me. All I can imagine is a big wind sweeping me off the edge of the earth that my little car is clinging to. But the fog is a bit intense. I'm now consumed in a real fog, not just foggy memories!

July 13, 2017

Perfectly magical night

6/17/14 12:30 am
Listening to: Telesma O(h)m Eating: 80% dark chocolate with chiles Drinking: A spot of absinthe (this was written before I quit drinking....)

What a perfectly magical night. The sky was alive with different kinds of light. The heat lightning was strobing; the lightning bugs were flashing secret code from the tops of the trees to the dark lawn; the stars were winking out from the clouds. And in the east, the glow of a waxing moon against those same clouds, like a gauze gown flung casually across a glowing goddess you couldn’t quite see. And lots of other things out there, too, that you couldn’t quite see. In the spasms of lightning, wispy bugs flew in and out of peripheral vision, becoming something else. For sure I saw a being at the edge of the woods, gliding along the tree-line, and unlike myself on that same walk, seemed to avoid easily all the prickly undergrowth. And the biophony of the night was quite unlike most. What drew me outside while letting the cat in was actually this sound, this thrumming sound, almost like a bullfrog but more regular and subtle. I thought maybe it was frogs, frightened by the lightning. The thrumming formed the low end of the percussion section of this orchestra. On top were the regular amphibian-type sounds, in several octaves. A nearby cricket joined in, slightly off beat from the cricket chorus further away. Now and then the barking of a lonely dog interrupted, but not in a distracting, alarming kind of way. I was distracted, however, by trying to identify a sound in the woods, like a small thing going through the trees. Nattie the cat didn’t seem concerned, but I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the mystic quality of the night.

I love when a perfectly mundane day ends in such an enchanted way. 

First there is a mountain then there is no mountain

Images of Mountaintop Removal Mining | Earthjustice

June 27, 2017


Is this a test, she asked suspiciously
Will you say the wrong thing
Try to play at the wrong time
Laugh when you shouldn’t?

Please spare me

Is this my life, she thought uneasily
Should I have gone the other way
Faced the storm come what may
Turn the other cheek?

I’m out of here

I’ve got the power, she realized suddenly
Nobody’s got my back today?
That just keeps them out of my way
Want to try that again?

I doubt it