Anyone up yet? The New Year is almost over, so get moving.
Yesterday, I watched a good show about Boris Pasternak, the author of Dr. Zhivago.
It took him 20 years to write the book. The story is incrdible. Life in Russia during his lifetime, was precarious, at best, especially if you were a writer or artist. You wrote what please the party, or you padi the price. Russia, and so many other countries, have had many terrible leaders. Brutal. It still goes on. It has always been a question of mine, why so many leaders of countries, are crazy, and I mean horrifyingly, murdering maniacs.
Dr. Zhivago was quite a bit Pasternak’s life. The Lara character in the book was based on a real person. His lover, mistress and stoic love of his life.
To get at Pasternak, the party went after his lover, tortured her and put her in prison for 4 years. At the time she arrived and was interrogated with brutal tactics, his lover was pregnant. When she was 6 months pregnant, the party told her that she would get to meet with Pasternak.
It was a lie. They took her to a morgue where there were noxious fumes, and made her stay and stand for hours and hours. She believed the took her there because Pasternak was dead, in the morgue.
The day after that, at 6 months pregnant, she miscarried.
Word o the prgnancy had gotten to Pasternak.
But his lover was by then, doing hard labor. It wasn’t until a new upheaval in government forces took place, that Pasternak’s lover, was released from prison.
Pasternak thought that he would greet his loer and their child.
That was one of the points when Pasternak decided that in the novel he was working on, he would have to tell the story, the truth, about what went on in that country.
And through it all, Passternak loved his mother country. Earlier on, he could have emigrated to England, with his parents, but he had to stay … for the love of Mother Russia.
The road to publication for Dr. Zhivago, was treacherous. It is a testament to the strong will of many people, that it saw the light of day Government forces worked with all of hteir power, to stop it.
WEll, that is more than I intended to write.
But it might have to do with my mindset this moring when I woke up with a rap in my mind. Not Lin-Manuel Miranda, but it heped me get some juices going this morning, this first day of 2019.
So, don’t laugh. Or, do. That is good, too. But here it is.
Resolution, revolution, dissolution
Young folks dying, old folks crying
What’s the game? You know my name?
Guns a-blazing, life’s amazing
Where’s the hope? It’s dead from dope.
On the corner, another mourner
Flags have staff, That’s no laugh
Deep pockets rule, Man, I’m no fool
Yes, life a mass, y’all kiss my ass
Truth don’t matter, amongst the chatter
Words abused and missed
Used as arrows to kill the sparrows
Truth is dead, killed with lead
Taken from my head
I’m going to go to bed
To dream the dream I used to dream
Where life was fair and grass was green
Illusion, delusion, wishful thinking
Is the world really man’s for the making
Losers weepers finders keepers
Including countries fraught with war
Is this what we’re living for?
We are not enemies, we are not friends
Will this be where this story ends?
Depends, depends it’s time to choose
For there is so much for us to lose
We blame, we shame, we do all we can
My God, my God we diminish man
Can we change this? We can. We can.
A movement can start across this land
Just slow our tongues, thy will be done
To raise civility above liability
And share the love instead of hate
and span hope to the Golden Gate
Resolution, revolution, dissolution
I thought about making up a story about a Finnish Christmas, complete with reindeers and dancing snowflakes and all, but then I started picturing the Flying Monkeys from “The Wizard of Oz,” a movie that scars me to this day, and decided to talk about other things.
This mornng, about 4, soon after Winston came head first onto the bed for his morning moments ot laying with his head on my pillow, I decided to get up and make ssome hot lemon water. I am not doing tea. I am not juge on herbal tea and am staying away from caffeine. I tuened on the hot pot and went through the old bag of lemons … threw out a couple of moldy ones and kept the good ones, then decided to go into the guest room and lie down on the bed.
It is a very quiet room. There was a new blanket that my daughter bought when she was here. I put that over me and thought of her and the kids and grandkids and decided to go into a bit of a relaxation mode. Have good thoughts. Work on it. And enjoy serenity.
There have been so many things that have looked like a scattering of pick-up sticks. Thoughts here, thoughts there, thoughts that didn’t do me any good, which I still think were anesthesia induced, plus fear and unsettledness. Yes, gratitude, too, but that hadn’t been at the forefront.
I was feeling that I was becoming a victim of myself.
I don’t do victim well … or for long.
So, as I lay there, I weeded through the garden in my head. It has gorgeous flowers, spikey weeds and wild flowers that pop up when I least expect them to.
Yes, the reset button was in gear
I figured out what was not working for me in my life, in my thoughts and behavior and habits. And then opened my heart to what could and should take their place. For slots I emptied of residue that just wasn’t cutting it, I fthought of an action or something easy, doable, to replace it.
As I mentioned to my family, of late, I finally know what my breaking point is. In a certain way. The way I have dealt with stress and hard situations , has been to stand strong, get through it, be a warrior.
That is all well and good, but if can also take a toll, if you don’t know how to release it.
So … that is part of my awakening.
It felt good to acknowledge that. The earth didn’t quake. The sun still didn’t come out from the grey. No leopard jumped into our car.
I can’t explain how I will deal with this, but I going to figure it out.
There are some steps I plan to take that will get me where I want to go in terms of health, joy, laughter and engagement. I feel lighter just thinking about it.
This year, I have laid my life into many people’s hands. People have tried to help “fix” me. Through most of it, I didn’t feel broken. I didn’t feel breast cancer. I didn’t get “hurt” in the car wreck. I didn’t have a heart attack. But things were going wrong.
People were there for me. When I think back on how well each of these, plus Nick’s medical problem, went, with people taking our hands and leading us through the medicals system maze, it is very, very life affirming, as far as humands and technology go.
They did their jobs.
And now, it is time for my growth spurt as a human, to begin, again.
It has taken me a while to see that this is a anew beginning. Yes, I see each day as a new beginning, but this is a NEW BEGINING.
It is up to me to write the next chapter of my life … in a new year. Pretty cool, huh?
Here is one for you. I am so into silence. I love peace. I love, love. I love joy. I don’t have time for so much of what is out there and thrown in our faces. I shall choose, more carefully, what I see, hear and read.
I am eso excited about focusing on love, joy, laughter, kindness and good things, that there is nothing but wonder ahead of me.
Oh yes, the shitzu will no doubt fall and I will find myself having to make choices about how will I react. What happens might not be up to me, but my reaction is. And that is what I will work on.
Time, has to be only of this moment. It can’t be projected or controlled or sat upon. I have to keep that in mind.
And frankly, I am glad I don’t have an IV stuck in the back of my hands.
It will be fine. It will all be fine.
Confession … I watch four of the “Real Housewives of … “ shows. I have for years. It has been a guilty pleasure. I think it is funny how ostentatious the shows are, the jewelry, houses, vacations and sick and sour friendships these women have.
The shows have been good for many of the women’s bank accounts. The shows have become platforms for skinny brands, skin care, prepackaged dinners, toaster ovens, and a plethora of clothing lines.
Yes, I know it is edited, set up and who knows about scripting? Although I don’t think that a writer writes the dialogue, I think situations prod the women into combat.
Cutting to the chase … if any of my friends talked to me like these women talk to each other, there is no way in hot dog heaven, that I would be friends with them.
If my recollection serves me, they have called each other whores, bitches, liars,tramps, fakes, phonies, sluts, etc. Feel free to add to the list.
The biggest part of air-time is spent seeing if someone will apologize for a transgression that can be, 1) you didn’t make a casserole for me when I had a face-lift, 2) you didn’t tell me that you went out with a guy you both met at a bar while dancing without you underwear, 3) you were flirting with my son, 4) you left my sleepover and stayed at a hotel, 5) your dog plooped on my rug, 10 times.
And there are degrees of apologies. There is the unapologetic apology. “I am sorry if you felt like I played fiddle-fart with … (the man half of them have fart-fiddle around with. Or I don’t owe HER an apology, she owes ME one. Or the apology that is not SINCERE or not on camera.
And then the hug and promise to never stoppe to said behavior, again, only to repeat the transgressions repeatedly.
My lord of lingerie, who in their right minds would act like these women? And to think, many of them have daughters,who see this stuff.
Made for TV friendships, that is what they are. Cameras roll, checks written, catfights begin. It appears that in U.S. television lands, nice is boring.
Don’t these women know that friendships are precious, difficult to make and hatred to maintain over theme? They, just like a garden, need tending.
How many friends, real friends do you have? How long have you had these friends? Are you open to new friendships or content with the friendships you have? Have you ever let a friendship go? Why?
I have a few long term friends. I love my friends. We have laughed and cried through our tricky lives, marriages, divorces, deaths, children problems, and our own insanity. And when I say laugh, I mean that we crack ourselves up. We have similar sensibilities to laughter.
Though I moved away from them, I still count on talking to them and seeing them when I can.
I have some friends that have come in and out of my life, I might have met them at a workshop or event, and we “clicked”, but they aren’t a constant in my life.
There are friendships that I have where I doubt we will see each other, again. We write to each other. The words are meaningful and insightful. We care very much about how the other is doing.
I have some new friends, like new plants in my garden. They add color into my life and I enjoy spending time with them. Our roots aren’t as deep because we don’t have much time in our histories, but it is delightful to learn about them and share our new lives.
Many of my friends are my age, or near my age, but not all of them. I have some friends who could be my kids.
I would never talk to them like these “Housewives” talk to their supposed friends. Seriously.
I hear the word, “apologize” more that I ever wanted to while dealing with Samsung. I don’t want to deal with that word with my friends. We are all old enough to know what is proper and kind and what would hurt one another. Oh, yes, inadvertently, we step on feelings, but vary, vary rarely. The good and nice and kindness of our relationships absorb an occasional blip.
I have left some people behind … let them go. What I discovered is that appearances might have been friends, but it is easier to say you are friends, than be one. Friendships should make you feel better, not worse. I have been dumped by people that I thought i was friends with. Distance, timing, different roads traveled, and belief systems, sometimes just happen.
Women’s friendships seem to be different than men’s. I am not sure if they talk about the same thing as women friends talk about. I am not sure if they have penis talk or talk about whether they are getting forgetful or that they made a tasty casserole.
Oh, I have an orbit of friends that float around online. Are they friends? Not really. Not in the sense that they would show up at my door to help. But they are a community of people that make life more interesting and fun.
I think one of the hardest things in life is getting so old that most or all of your friends are gone. I have seen it happen.
But I also knew a woman who died nearing her 101st birthday and she had lots of friends. She was smart. She gathered friends 40-years her junior, and made herself loved by all ages. That was a talent and a gift.
The Real Housewives of Timbuktu might have money, fame and travel to exotic places, but are they real friends?
I don’t think so.
And that is where I come out ahead.
It is a mountain morning here in Clover. Cool, clear and chipper.
The backyard and outside are inviting. If I try, I can imagine that I am in Cades Cove, one of my special places. It would be nice to be there, but I am content with being here. Today, I don’t want to run away from myself.
The birds are skirmishing and I want to tell them to settle down, things will be all right. They might not be what you expect or desire, but they will be fine.
Yes, both feet are under me. The darkness of recent events with Nick have passed. Other situations are still in flux, but they will have to figure themselves out without me sorting them out. I have tried, trust me, but it is time to step back and return to my own life and things that I can control.
Good Grumpy Old Men, I can sound like I am picking lint out of navels.
Life involves a certain degree of naval lint plucking, doesn’t it? You feel washed by other people’s problems and forget things like boundaries and the fact that each person makes his or her own decisions.
Living other people’s lives is exhausting. Sometimes, I have to figure out the difference between support and enabling.
Winston was looking for his buddy, Tucker, when I took him out. Tucker’s mom stepped in and took care of The Boy, when Nick decided on joy-riding in an ambulance and partaking of hospital cuisine.
I have wonderful neighbors. Thought I felt alone last Friday, yes, a week ago, today, I found out that that we weren’t. Offers to help day or night, have been givenIt made me feel so much better. Several delicious dinners have been provided. And words of comfort have flowed.
The leaves on the trees have stilled and the birds are quiet. That makes my thoughts go in a different direction.
The Boy has come out to the porch with his tennis ball. Now he is staring at me.
We are just being.
I read Brad Pitt was having a heck of a time with Angelina Jolie and I read that Ben Affleck stopped at Jack in the Box on his way to rehab. Dennis Shield, Bethenny Frankel’s on again off again boyfriend died of a drug overdose a couple of weeks ago.
Messy lives. Money. No money. Fame. No fame. Money. No money. Hearts are broken at all levels. Bad decisions are made. People treat people they love or loved, like shit.
There really is no figuring life out, is there? As soon as we think aha, something happens and we, say, “What the hollandaise?”
OH, there is Mr. Woodpecker. He excites me. And there he goes. Skittish. Must have had an emergency on his branch.
It is a random thought, but I hope I don’t outlive my mind.
I am trying to decide whether to give people who brought us dinner and sent treats, my homemade sals or chili sauce. I know they will get a card with one of my paintings.
Back to my neighbors. As you can imagine, Nick and I miss a lot of parties and things because he doesn’t feel real chipper. I think people understand that. But even though we aren’t able to make a lot of things, they make us feel that our presence is missed, and I think that is lovely.
There are 3 goldfinches at the feeder. Nick just came out to sit. And he left.
You know what got me though the last few days?
The little things. My hot tea. Checking my propagation bins. Figuring out where to move which plant to get better light. Dead-heading some flowers. Talking to my neighbors and seeing their eyes full of concern. Knowing that the kids are back in their own lives. Having lunch with my daughter-in-law and laughing about stupid stuff.
Yesterday, I made myself laugh. I decided, after listening to a French song, that French people don’t poop. The ploop. I must go la ploop. And eat a baguette.
My toes have straightened themselves out. For the time being. Oh, ploop, the ugly birds arrived in a group.
But I clapped and they are gone.
A week ago, I thought that life as I knew it had ended.
I love it whenI am wrong.
It isn’t that we were actual friends. More like pleasant acquaintances. I know of her but hadn’t talked to her until she began following my writing. At that point, we had a few email conversations about some of the subjects that I had written about.
One of those subjects was Ireland. It made her think about her trips to Norway, where she visited relatives.
I love Ireland. She loved Norway.
The last time I saw my friendly acquaintance, was just prior to our moving south. I saw her in a local carryout. I was buying scratch off lottery tickets pats and she had just purchased cigarettes.
We chatted for a few minutes. I told her we were moving. She mentioned that she and her husband had moved into a little schoolhouse type building. She mentioned that her son had bought their big house on the lake.
It was a peasant chat. Friendly acquaintances. A pleasant sort of relationship.
One of my sons knew her husband. I think that they were friendly acquaintances, too. One day, maybe a year or so ago, I received an email from my son, saying the husband of my friendly acquaintance, had died.
I didn’t know him, but I felt badly for his wife.
Remember when Robin Williams died? That hit me. I didn’t know him, but I grieved. The same with Anthony Bourdain. I recall, crying, when Nick told me what had happened. Nick asked why I was crying, and all I could say was that I was just very sad. I was going to miss him.
Maybe it is my age, or how the world is or just the way my mind works, but when I hear about certain deaths, though I might now have known the person, feel like a bit of a punch in the gut. My equilibrium takes a hit, and I grieve.
I have a friend that I have had for probably 35 or 36 years. Long time. Good friend.
The other day I called her. We chatted and caught up on what her kids were doing and how my kids are. We talked politics and laughed and about my old neighbors and that the people who bought our old house, which is next to hers, are taking good care of my cottage garden.
She asked me if I knew a certain person. This person was my friendly acquaintance. I said, yes, I know her.
“She died last week.,” she said.
My gut immediately hurt. She was only 67.
I can make 67 sound young or old. It depends on how I am looking at it. For death, it is young.
My friend told me the circumstances for the woamn’s death, which unsettled me even more. Fire, burns … suspected to be caused by smoking.
My mind flashed back to our chat at the carryout. She and her husband had a lake house and were planning on spending more time there. Her obituary mentioned that she and her husband began dating at 16.
Now, 3 years later, they both are gone. Their 3 adult children have lost their parents and their children have lost their grandparents.
And though I didn’t know either, well, they are in my craw.
Futures. Plans. Pasts. Unexpected Losses.
I think I will sit and watch some birds for a fe minutes.