Saturday, January 04, 2003

So much depends on a red cardinal
sitting on a leaf bare branch
in M & Ks back yard.

I was going to write a long entry about the screaming battle we had here on Thursday. But I don’t have it in me. I’m spent. Exhausted. Suffice it to say that it began as a hang up the picture that fell down project and ended as a screaming door slamming fit. I spent the rest of that day and most of yesterday sequestered in my room with a book. Since they are used to having battles, they are fine. I’m still aching.
It’s just so hard. These aren’t simple relationships. I love my Mom in a way that you can only love someone who you have lived inside. I smell her in my own skin. I love it when she laughs. We talk in baby talk to each other. But, I know that she doesn’t get me in really deep and important ways. And our time has been absorbed in caring for Ken. And Ken, being who he is, doesn’t make that easy. And they, being who they are, are a third character. I think they call it triangulation.
Today I was making sausage and biscuits and I reached up to turn the light on in the hood above the stove and the whole hood fell down. If I could bring myself to write out the story of the picture hanging debacle it would be clear how this moment affected me. Mom called the handy men that work for the place where they live and, fortunately, they were here on a Saturday. They fixed it in about ten minutes.
I’m tired.
I read Mike earlier today. Riffing on some interesting stuff posted on Wood_s Lot. I even had enough time to really read some of it but not enough to feel like I can respond directly. I miss Wood_s Lot.When I get home I'm going to sit at my desk and spend days reading all I've missed there.
When people asked me how I was going to take care of myself while I was here I said, “Well, I’ll have my blog.” And when I first got here it was so hard to find the time to read and write on line. It’s a little easier now. But I felt like the blog and my blog roll and email from friends were the threads pulling me back to myself. And it seemed odd to me that it was so easy to lose track of myself.
There’s a line in a Joni Mitchell song, of course.
“I see something of myself in everyone.
At this moment in the world.”

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Mom likes frogs. They’re everywhere. Glass ones, cloth ones, ceramic ones, frog earrings, bracelets, a frog on her watch, her shirt. It’s not that she buys them. People give them to her. I gave her a frog calendar this year. She has it hanging on the kitchen cabinet and she’s already filled in things like doctors appointments. On January 6, the day after I leave, she has drawn a bunch of tears. Makes me want to cry just thinking about it.
I went to Zeebatronic today and read the sad news of her Grandfather’s passing. I jumped to Gary Turner’s blog from a link on Mike’s. Gary has just had a daughter and lost his father. He’s written beautifully about both.
I feel like a sponge, soaking up sorrow.
Ken is better. But still not walking well. And Mom is anxious for things to get back to a normal that may never come again. And here’s the deal. Having aging parents means living with the ticking clock of their fragility. In truth, every time you say goodbye to someone you may not see them again. But saying goodbye on Monday will be different. And today, I can’t stop crying.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

I remembered Rabbit Rabbit. Which is pretty good since I was woozy and nauseas from champagne and cheese at midnight. It was good. And dinner was great. I made a buerre blanc for the scallops. It’s such a classic sauce and so good.
I got to talk to Steve yesterday. A lovely long talk. We talked about his new disc, coming soon. It was just so good to talk to him
Right after our call I was in the office with Mom and she had lost a little thing for hanging a picture and she was pretty agitated while she was looking for it and she said, “Sometimes I think I don’t live right.” Kind of a drama queen. The idea that living right (whatever that means) might mean that you would never again loose a little bracket (which turned out to be stuck behind a piece of wood on the picture) is a little loopy.
The thing is … I’m the same way. I drop something and right away I think my day is going to shit. Steve and I were talking about how our Mom’s way of feeling in the world shaped some our own ways of feeling. When I’m watching Mom react with such extreme anxiety I think, “Chill out!” But I know I do the same thing.
So. More meditating.
I sat on the porch today and wrote in my other journal. It rained a lot last night and the world is shiny.
You know I always feel like, given the things that are going on in the world, being sad, mad, depressed, worried, anxious, is a sign that you’re paying attention. But people who can hold a sense of peace while being aware of all the problems seem to get more done. So I’m always trying to hold some inner thing, some place, some feeling of something like peace. Or acceptance. Or sumthin.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

I woke up early yesterday to finish reading The Piano Tuner. Mom had the great idea to mail the books I’d already read to SF so I wouldn’t need to carry them on the plane. We went to Hendersonville, passed Wolfe’s angel. Ken needed to get hearing aide batteries. This is something M & K have always done. They will drive miles to get a good price on something. When I was a teenager I remember sitting in the back seat of the car going from strip mall to strip mall because this store had a good price on honey dew and this store had a good price on ground beef. I used to think that the cost of the gas might off set the savings. So we went to Wallmart to get the batteries and then we were going to Fresh Market, a really great grocery store in Hendersonville. I made a wise crack about the dearth of book stores and Mom took the hint. She took me to a nice little book store that I didn’t hold much hope for when driving past but turned out to be quite nice. Mom bought me a copy of the new Annie Proulx, in hard cover no less, and John Henry Days in paper back. We’d parked in front of an antique store that boasted having a coffee shop inside and I went in and got a double cap. I enjoy shopping at Fresh Market and I was able to talk Mom into buying me some triple cream for tonight. So I was in a pretty great mood.
I have gotten better at reading while the TV blares but Mom was also in a good mood and was shouting at the Monday night football game and Ken was reading out loud from the Wall street Journal. Why? I dunno. I wanted to stay in the living room with K because M was going to take a shower but she was waiting for the half. The phrase just three more minutes means nothing in football.
I’m already loving this book. I almost called Kristina after reading the line – “So much depends on a red pickup filled with crackers.” – a line that hearkens to her Red Spider poem that I have here and, of course they both hearken to the WCW poem.
I end the year in a complex stew of emotions. It actually makes me sad that I’m so anxious to leave. As anxious as I am to go that’s how much M wishes I would stay. It’s kind of heart breaking. I am glad I’ve been here. I do all this stupid little stuff. Cut Ken’s fruit in the morning, get the paper, take the trash out, fill the humidifier. I’m worried that all that little stuff is what wears M out.
It was pretty clear within the first week that there isn’t much to nourish me here. And I’m feeling like a plant that needs water looks.
I wish I was better at feeling one thing at a time. You know. Like if I get pissed about something that K or M says I think about the stuff they’re going through. So I can’t just feel my feelings. I’m always seeing things in context. I used to think that was a good thing.
I’m not a resolution kinda grrrl. But I am given to doing critical reassessment on New Years eve and then again in June, on my birthday. Looking back at this year…well…it all seems to have gone by in a haze. I feel lucky that I’ve been able to do school and work on The Book. In six more months, baring floods, famine and pestilence, I’ll have my MFA and I’ll be fifty. It seems like it should be a pinnacle but it feels like a cliff. So I need to finish The Book and find a job and have a plan. I guess.
If there is something I want to try to do better it would be something like finding a way to be more mindful, in a spiritual sense. Maybe meditate more. Er…sumthin.
There is the problem of exactly how crazy the world is and may be.
I’m going to try to go back on line later to catch some blogs as time moves across the planet. I already read one New Years eve blog and Dru may do one.
For tonight I will cook scallops, roasted Yukon Golds and spinach with apricots and pine nuts. And at midnight I’ll enjoy my triple cream and champagne. Mom eats an onion sandwich and drinks buttermilk on New Years eve. I’m going to try to just relax into being with M & K. Feel the love.
Whatever you do tonight I wish you peace. Whatever goals you set for yourself I wish you luck, What ever desires you have I wish them fulfilled.

Monday, December 30, 2002

I made risotto with left over pork loin and asparagus. It was pretty great if I do say so myself. While we eat the we watch TV. It seems so odd to me. I look to meals with friends as a time to talk.
We watched You've Got Mail last night. Mom is a big Tom Hanks fan and I had never seen the movie. It seemed pretty insipid. A woman owns a small book store and is put out of business by a man who owns a big chain book store. But they are having an on line e-mail relationship without knowing that they are who they are. The man finds out that she is his e-mail buddy first and keeps it a secret, courts her friendship, and in the end, wins her heart. So…what’s that about? Is that about love wrecking your life but that’s OK? I mean the guy was lying to her, ruined her business, but that’s OK…she loved him. It was just weird. It was a commercial for AOL.
One more week.
I want my apartment.
I want my therapist.
I want my chiropractor.
I want my desk top and access to my site.
I want my friends.
I want my SIMS.
I still want a cigarette. But … I think I may shake that off once I see my books and my CD’s and desk top and my little world.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Until a few minutes ago my Mom & I were hunched over the 1500 piece puzzle. We were down to the last few pieces and we just couldn’t move until we got them all in. I want to burn the monster and put the ashes in the creek.
Yesterday Mom & I did something kinda cool. She has pictures of her family going back to my great, great grandfather We hung them up in the hall. It looks cool. I like old photos. My mother, grandmother and great grandmother look pretty round. My great, great grandmother’s picture is just of her head and shoulders, so I can’t say if she was round. They’re all very cute. And very white and very protestant. I know none of them drank until my Mom and she doesn’t really drink. Not regularly. We had brandy in eggnog and wine with a dinner, but nothing big. I’m the one who drank two glasses of wine. Well. Two and a half.
I keep looking at my ancestors and wondering how I can take the good parts of who they were and feel proud.
There is a stature of Lincoln that was always on the mantel at my Grandmother’s house. It’s on the mantle of the not real fireplace here. My family was Republican. The party of Lincoln. I keep trying to focus on the sentiment.
We’re a white collar working class family. It’s hard to talk to my Mother about White privilege when she sees herself as someone who worked for everything she got. And she did. When my parents were divorced she moved in with her parents and got a job. She did what was best for me. She just can’t wrap her mind around the idea that as hard, as it was for her, it would have been so much harder if she’d been a woman of color in 1953.
I’ll complain about my mother until the day I leave and then I’ll cry and cry.
Ken likes to listen to Wings. It’s one long commercial for the military. At first I liked some of the history. But they have this show about the Gulf War that must have aired six times yesterday. It implies that Vietnam was lost because the military wasn’t able to go for it and in the Gulf War they were. So it’s a commercial for the war machine. Ken falls asleep on and off al day so he may not realize that it’s playing over and over. But I do.
Today we’re watching football.
I don’t really hate football. I just wish that there was as much money spent on teachers and schools and museums as there is spent on stadiums and coaches and players. We were watching some college game the other evening. Well. OK. I don’t actually watch. I read while they watch. I’m getting better at concentrating on what I’m reading no matter what’s on. When I watch I marvel at how hard it must be on their bodies. So, why is there so much concern for the health of my fat body and no one seems worried about them? I knew an ex football player in college. He and I would talk about our achy knees together.
I got really depressed for a few days. Before I left people kept telling me to take care of myself. But it’s like trying to take of yourself in oncoming traffic.