Dereliction

Hello, my name is Debbie, and I’m a derelict blogger. Some of you may vaguely remember me. I think this blog has been around for 6 years or so, but this last year has marked the greatest disuse this blog has ever seen. Just in case you need a memory jolt I used to write on things like seaside adventures, education, feminism, nature, women, but mostly just random stuff that came to mind. And sometimes I would rant. Ranting was rather fun, and cathartic, but maybe not so useful unless you were me, but then that all changed when I admitted to the fact that my marriage was crap, had been for ages, and that I was in a place where failure was the buzzword with a capital F.

You may also remember, or not, because it’s been so freakin’ long since I put my fingers on a keyboard, that I sort of vowed not to fill this blog with all my despair and woe and bitching and hatred about my life. I will always read your blogs, and empathize with your despair and woe and bitching and hatred, but I was loath to put you through all that when it centered on me personally. I know you all would be supportive, and kind, and perhaps even offer up some words of wisdom, but it just felt wrong to unload on you, especially when so many other things in the world were mounting toward their own long dark road into despair and woe.

For old times sake, a small rant…

I am referring specifically to the farce that is are political system and to the outcome of that thing we are forced to call an election, and to the ass backward road we are headed down and to the fact that this country will continue to be mired in racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, xenophobia, hatred and killing, stupidity and uncertainty for much longer than the next 4 years. With all that crap going on, and now all the crap we must endure going forward, no one…none of you that I consider my blogging inner circle…needed to read about my anger and tears and hatred and inability to simply live life for myself and be the person I know that I am.

End of rant…

I had to remember who that woman was, and how strong she used to be, and how much I liked her. I had to come to terms with the racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia and hatred and stupidity and uncertainty that mired my own marriage and that I chose to overlook for so long. That dual reality is the only thing that I will acknowledge as being beneficial surrounding the political system, election process and our soon to be new President. I had to accept that those things were never going to change, that responsibility will always be a word my spouse cannot define or embrace. I had to turn over, again and again in my mind, in the darkness of a spare bedroom that I made my own, just how wrong I had been. I was naive, but I also enabled. I married an image, mostly created in my own mind. I chose to believe the shallow and hollow words and never forced anything more. I sat back and played a role and I lost myself in the process.

That was Thursday’s writing. We are now at Sunday. Alright I know, slipping up already, but come on, you just don’t drop derelict status and jump back into blogging everyday…

You know that I don’t do a lot of pictures on this blog to break up the words and distract you so that you keep reading, so I am going to keep this short, finish it today, post it, and give myself a reason to write the next post in a few days, or weeks, or months…

Bottom line, I am moving forward with divorce. There is nothing here that even remotely brings me hope and I finally have the courage to take a stand and stop this farce. I will not live another 10, 20, maybe even 40 years, being miserable. I have no idea what I will face in the future. I have no idea what life will be like, but I have to believe that even with uncertainty and likely rough going, I will be a million times happier. More than that even, I will be proud to have restored my ability to like myself. It’s been way too long since I could say that I was proud of myself as a woman and a fighter. I am not wasting any more time…

 

 

Love

With so much wrong right now, both personally as well as with our country, I am so thankful that I have these two girls in my life.

Say hello to Dorothy and her very own Cowardly Lion

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This and That…and discussions

After two full days spent in pajamas, eyes dripping, blowing copious amounts of mucous from my nasal passages, and coughing, I finally felt well enough to get up and get out of the house. I haven’t had a cold hit me this hard in a long time, plus I had three days in a row with Miss G and Miss C, who literally wore me out. Anyone know where I could get my hands on a hazmat suit for the next time those girls want to share their germs?

Alison and I met up and we went for a walk near her apartment. She lives up the hill from the bay and there is nicely paved walking path that goes for miles along the water. We actually ended up at a new development that sits on what was once a smelter. This place is ultra-ritzy, comes with overpriced condos, shops and restaurants, and it is all built on contaminated ground from the smelter…did I mention that? There is no way that I would ever consider living on that land. I don’t care how many assurances the EPA wants to declare regarding full removal of toxic soils and water and a now safe environment. You can’t ever scrape enough lead and arsenic contaminated soil away to make me believe that it’s okay to pay money to live there, or even live there for free. A huge condo sits on the hill overlooking this project. That development replaced a school that once housed the program I used to teach for. The first time I entered that building I was told emphatically that I should NEVER drink any water from the taps in that building. I often wondered how many years the children attending that school drank from the taps. Today I wondered what the folks who bought those units are drinking…

Anyway, it was pleasant to be outside in the sun, but high-priced, possibly deadly reality overshadowed most of our conversation. And, we’re still unclear as to the purpose of the large areas of cleared, mounded ground, covered in ultra-heavy black tarps with that venting type system you often see winding over the landscape at a landfill. I can’t say as either of us have ever seen a construction site quite like that…

I visited with the cat, who clearly does not miss me at all. She did sit in my lap for a bit though, and was happy to eat a few cat treats near me, but then went back to sleep in the corner.

We talked of Oklahoma, and the recent earthquake and the likelihood that fracking was the cause, and the subsequent shut-down of wells since the occurrence. There was a short period of time, when she was newly graduated and desperately searching for employment, that Alison actually considered applying for positions associated with this process. Passing thoughts really, as she knew that she could never live with herself working as a geologist for an oil company.

We talked over end-of-life issues. That isn’t a topic we often spend time on, but I recently made a document stating my wishes and directions. My oldest daughter is the primary agent. Alison and her brother are the alternates. Alison is my supremely logical child so I thought it a perfect time to reiterate some of the things we’ve discussed before. Stuff like organ donation, my desire for simplicity above all else, tossing me off a mountain top because in life I am terrified of heights…things like that.

She mentioned hearing some loud noises the night before, then noticing police activity just a few blocks down from her apartment. Ironically, there is a police station exactly where she assumed the action to be. I had an email from her when I got home with a link to a news story. A 41-year-old man had been shot, found on the lawn, transported to the hospital and died two hours later. No suspects, no one in custody. So there’s that to contend with. Gangs – likely. Drugs – just as likely. She happens to live in what has long been known as one of the worst areas of that city. It’s hit and miss, with pockets of neighbors who are trying, and then those who won’t, can’t, or simply don’t have the means. Safe isn’t a word I can use to describe much of the area that surrounds her, although I’m not sure how safe any place really is. We both agreed, as we were driving back to her apartment that the ultimate change agent for that area seems likely to be gentrification, but then all the amazing diversity and cultural enclaves that occupy the neighborhoods now will probably disappear. The families and lives that built this area and were once vibrant and crucial to their neighborhoods will be overtaken by money and people with homogeneous skin color. There’s a lot wrong with that picture.

I love the conversations that I have with Alison. I love that we can share opinions, even when we don’t necessarily agree. But most of the time we do agree, or are at least open to the others point of view.

I’m even okay that the cat really doesn’t care if I come to visit or not. She’s happy and seems content and has found the place she wants to be.

It was a good day.

 

Self-doubt

This hasn’t been a good week. I’m trying to remind myself, borrowing from the wisdom of a strong woman (A, her name is Alice) who has had, and is dealing with, her own setbacks and steps forward, that I have to stay on the path that makes the most sense to, and for, me.

It isn’t easy. Life refuses to stand still to accommodate my plans. Nagging doubt, worry, and even guilt get in the way. I question myself as I imagine others must be questioning me. Why should I give any credence to what ‘they’ might think, or believe, or be told about me. I do care though, but how incongruous that seems when I have no clue if their thinking and opinions and questions are really happening, or simply being fabricated by my own weary brain.

I seem to be investing my entire self into a battle that the other half of this equation simply shrugs off. I know that this behavior, by nature, speaks to the way I handle most things in life. I’m an all-or-nothing person. I don’t have the capacity to come at something half-assed. I don’t have the ability to trust that things will get done, or be handled. Nothing is simple in my world, yet I wonder time and again if I am the one making life this way. Is control the ultimate goal, and at what price happiness…

Curiosity caused me to spend some time with Google last night, searching out the answer to a question about anxiety and stress. I’ve witnessed a specific behavior over the years, witnessed it again yesterday, and I was pretty sure that I already knew the answer. I was correct. Anxiety and stress can manifest in numerous signs and symptoms for different people. This very specific sign, and the surrounding drive to withdraw from stressful situations, is a coping mechanism in and of itself. In other words, I’m being hit in the face yet again with a clear message: rather than be present in this world; rather than work to solve or move ahead; rather than take responsibility, the choice is to shut down – retreat – ignore, and when you pretend that you are helpless long enough your life gets very easy. You can go about your days letting others handle things for you. You can be indecisive, feign ignorance, and go on living a lie, presenting yourself to 98% of the outside world as an adjusted, rational, normal person.

Some days, like today and like day after day this past week, I would so like to be that person. I would relish the freedom to let the world lead me and do for me, knowing that the only effort I would have to expend would be a handful of hours here and there, keeping up the pretense for those few who are relatively insignificant in my life while avoiding the ones who should matter most.

Some days, like today, I am so very glad that I am not that person. I am so very glad that something (stronger?) within myself allowed me to choose a different path. It’s not a perfect choice, and my own actions will never be perfect, but every time that I am witness to the consequences of inaction I am renewed in my focus. I have to remind myself that I don’t have control over what others will see, or think, or believe. I have to remind myself that, while at this moment I may appear selfish or unkind or disinterested to others, the opposite has been true for decades.

Some days though, I am just so tired. Some days it would be so much simpler to be the person I was 30 years ago. If I do that, if I make that choice, then I will continue to live a lie. I think I owe myself more than that.

Bragging Rights

I just cannot resist posting these pictures. I haven’t given in to my grandmotherly urges as much with GD (granddaughter) #2 – Cece Mae, but with just two months to go until this precocious little girl turns 1 year old, I thought I would share.

She stands and walks along the furniture – any furniture, even it if won’t hold her – but crawling is still her main mode of locomotion. She still has no teeth and she refuses to learn how to drink from a cup. “Baba” will likely be with her for some time. She loves to dance to the ABC song, waves bye-bye, signs for more, shakes her head no, makes a mad face, but can melt your heart in an instant with her smile. She says mama, coco (the dog) oh-oh, and ga-ga (her sister Gisella). I still haven’t heard her say dada.

She is a joy, just like her sister. I believe they will both take over the world one day.

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Conviviality

I met the nicest man this morning.

I had scheduled a service appointment for my car at the dealership very early. Little did I know that they are doing Major renovations there, like they literally have no showroom at the moment and are working from construction trailers. I only needed an oil change and tire rotation, but when I saw plywood and tarps and lots of hardhats I began to wonder if I should have simply gone elsewhere and paid out of pocket.

It became even more interesting when I told them that I planned to wait while the service was performed, yet I noticed the usual entrance to the waiting area was boarded over. The manager saw my glance, chuckled and said, “I’ll walk you to our waiting area.”

We left the building, walked all the way around the front, all the way down the side of their old showroom along temporary chain link fencing towards some of their back lots. I spotted a trailer and assumed that was the new ‘waiting area’ but no, we walked beyond that, and there tucked into a corner of the very back lot was a large tent lined with tables of coffee and water, and snacks, as well as the old black leather chairs from reception. A portable white picket fence enclosed some picnic tables and chairs. It was really rather ingenious. I wish I would have taken a picture to post, but I didn’t.

I sat down to read and the early morning sun shining on my neck was already warm. We are expecting 90+ degree weather for the next few days so my choice of an early appointment was genius. I think it would have been unbearable under that plastic tent by noon.

So, on to the gentleman. I noticed him as I made myself comfortable in a chair. He looked to be in his 70’s and was wandering the lot, looking at cars. A few other customers came into the area to wait, but you know how it is in waiting rooms of any kind. You always try to pick a chair well away from others if you can. It must be that whole personal space thing I guess. So when I saw the older man enter I assumed he was going to sit in one of the readily open spots.

Nope. He very purposefully strode toward my row of chairs. I was on the end, saw him and probably gave a courteous half smile while quickly realizing that he was quite clearly headed directly to the open chair right next to me. Even before he sat down he had started talking.

“Well, have you noticed that the Forester and the Outback are really about the same size now? When I was looking for my last car I compared the two and the Forester was just too small. I couldn’t get my wife’s wheelchair into it and the Outback seemed bigger. Now either one has gotten smaller or the other has gotten bigger I can’t tell which…”

I wrote the above with clear sentence structure and punctuation, but the reality is that all those words came out of him in one sentence. And then he kept going…off to another subject.

I think my mouth may have been hanging open a bit. I also believe I was in a little bit of shock. I’ve had people; men, sit down next to me and say a few words or make a small comment, or even strike up a short conversation, but I’ve never encountered anyone who came prepared to have a purposeful non-stop conversation like this man.

He wasn’t odd, or creepy, or pushy, or anything negative. He wasn’t an old fart who had the gold-chain lecher qualities either. He was clean, dressed casually but nicely, well-groomed and polite.

Within those first few seconds, as I took this scene in, I realized that he was a man much like a few dear old patients that used to routinely come into the office: older, intelligent, and lonely. It was clear that this was a man who was gregarious and someone who enjoyed conversation. It quickly became clear that he was very much alone and lonely. As he asked questions and we chatted a comment came out about his wife. In fact, he actually had to stop for a moment, almost to collect himself, before he noted that she was now “in a home.” I really was taken back to a few very special patients that we often suspected would come into the office with phantom tooth issues simply because they needed someone to talk with.

We spoke for perhaps 5 minutes, and then my phone rang with the technician telling me that my car was done. I gathered up my things, all the time he was still talking, and as I rose from the chair I gently touched his forearm, looked him in the eye, thanked him and told him that it had been a pleasure passing time with him while we both waited.

I meant those words very sincerely. He was an absolutely charming bright spot in my morning.