Babies

What is it about holding a baby that makes you feel better when you’re coping with a loss?  Maybe it’s a circle of life type of thing.  Every person lost is someone’s loved one, and every baby born is someone’s little squish monster, love, cuddle bunny.

Ebb and flow.  Wax and wane.  Life and death.

Plus, aside from when they shit themselves, babies just kind of smell good.

Also, everything is new and wonderful in their eyes.  Your hair, your jewelry, you clothes, rocks, sticks, bugs.   They just want to grab hold of life and the world and shove it in their mouths and taste it, too.

There’s no fear in them.  They’re so new, and everything is new to them, and they haven’t the slightest clue how terrifying the world can be.  So they’re just little bundles of light and optimism.

It’s freaking magic and infectious, because when you’re holding them, you realize that they have a chance to not have all the fucked up shit you’ve had in your life in theirs.

Or maybe their drool is just a natural anti-depressant, heartbreak numbing supplement.

Either way, I think I need to do a lot of babysitting.

And please don’t misunderstand me.  I still don’t want my own.  I just want to borrow one that I can give back.

Jack Kerouac

I watch a ton of documentaries, and I just finished watching one about Kerouac.  I’ve watched several about the Beats in general and specifically.   I’ve read On The Road and Dharma Bums, and I’ve enjoyed them.    Watching this film, though, man am I jealous.

He wrote On The Road in twenty-one days.   I can’t even fathom that.  I have a novel or two half-written, laying around.  Every once in awhile I add five or ten pages to them, and then they sit around for another four or five months, forlornly.  There’s so little in this world that I can accomplish in twenty-one days.  It makes me tired just thinking about it.   It also makes me want to push a few buttons on Netflix and start another movie.  That’s so much easier than writing.  Not to mention my least favorite friend, rewriting.   Ugh.  Revision.

Though there have been times when words have flown out of my mind and through my fingers via pen or keyboard, but never have I been able to type out a scroll of a novel in a matter of days.  Forget how good it is.  Forget that he changed and influenced the world.   Just that fete alone.

Of course, the amount that I could get done if I just started using a bunch of speed and drinking 24/7 might impact what I could accomplish, however, I think it would probably be in the opposite direction.  I can only imagine, thankfully, how distractible I could be on speed.

He died at 47, though.  I’m closer every day to 47 than I ever will be to 27 ever again, and I haven’t even had a single story or poem published, yet.  Think of what he left unwritten.

So right now I’m feeling a little bit inspired, but I’m not sure it’s to write.  I may just want to read On The Road again.

Just sayin’.

Bad dreams

One of the things about grieving is that it does tend to bring up some pretty freaky dreams.  I’ve spend the last few nights being lead on some not-so-pleasant choice-less own adventures by my brain.  It sucks when even in my sleep, I can’t get away from all this crap on my mind.

Do you have the same dream over and over again?  I can’t really say that I’ve ever had that happen to me.  Of course, if I dream every night, most nights I have forgotten the dreams by the time I wake up.  For the longest time, I simply thought that I didn’t dream.

So I’ve obviously heard of people having recurring dreams.  My father once told me that he had a recurring dream, years after retiring from the Navy, of being on a ship, and not being able to find one piece of his uniform, and therefore not being able to leave the ship.  He looked everywhere, all over the ship.

But I’m not one to put too much into dreams, and their meanings.   I think it’s probably just the last few synapses firing when you fall into subconsciousness, a random refrigerator casserole of whatever was going on in your mind, what was going on in the back of your mind that you didn’t even realize, and some random memories.

But I think that my dad’s dream is stressed related.   In fact, I think most dreams are stressed related.  Even when you don’t think you are experiencing any stress. It’s your brain’s way of spazzing out and trying to shake it off.

While I’ve never had the same dream over and over again, I have had certain themes that have come up over the years.   I dream about messed up bathrooms.   Once, the toilet is too big for me to actually get on.  Another time, there was a series of stalls that don’t have the in-between walls, so that when I sat down and looked left and right, I could see all the other women on the other toilets.   Feel free to try to analyze that.  I’d love to hear your theories.

There are also, recurring locations.  I used to have dreams that all happened in the same house.  It wasn’t a house that I had ever been in, and there were things about it that didn’t make sense.  There was a secret room that had to be accessed through a serious of tiny spaces, and hidden doorways, and stairways in the front and back of the house, even though it wasn’t really that big.  I found myself in that house over and over again, but the other people with me were always different, as was the circumstance.   Again, I welcome your thoughts as to what that might be about.

And then, there’s the bridge of my nightmares.   I have had so many dreams about having to get across this bridge.   There’s always some weird thing going on that prevents it from being a simple drive across.  Even times when it’s  a straightforward crossing, this bridge is whack.   It’s so steep, that I wonder if my car can climb it; it climbs high up into the air, higher than a high-rise in New York; it’s narrow.

But normally I can’t just cross it.  There’s usually something wrong with it, and I have to go through some trials to get across.  The bridge is out, so I have to get on a barge, but it’s only accessible via a rickety old dock.  Or there’s only one lane open on this already tiny, narrow bridge.

Last night I had to cross it on a zipline strung over the road of the bridge, hand over hand, all the way up and down.   No wonder why I keep waking up totally exhausted.  I keep getting that kind of workout in the middle of the night.

I hate that bridge.  I probably have not seen the last of it.

Rules of Cooking by PeggyLu

  1. Play some music really loudly, preferably something you kind of like to dance to.  Cooking is hella boring, so you’ll want something to take your mind off of how dull you feel.
  2. There’s probably no such thing as too much garlic.
  3. Always use broth or stock.  It makes people think you know what the hell you’re doing.
  4. Using wine when you cook also makes people think you know what you’re doing.  Bonus, you get to drink the wine while you cook.  Julia Child taught me that.
  5. In every bag of potatoes, there’s always that one that is pretty messed up.  Don’t waste your time trying to cut off the bad parts of that one.  Just throw it away.
  6. Use every dish.
  7. Try not to cook meat or dairy.  There’s less chance that you’ll give everyone food poisoning that way.
  8. Things you just have to leave on the stove or oven for an extended period of time are the best dishes.  It gives you time to do something else while you wait, like straighten your hair or remember where you left your keys.
  9. When it comes to vegetables, don’t peel them.  Not only are all the nutrients and vitamins on the skin, but it saves you a lot of time.  Also, potato peelers are pretty much just knuckle skin shavers.
  10. Impersonating the Swedish Chef from The Muppets is required.
  11. Doing the running man in the kitchen is acceptable.
  12. No one is going to know or even care if you mash the potatoes by hand.  Use a mixer.  Trust me.
  13. In the case of potlucks, don’t be afraid to buy something and put it in a dish.  No one has to know that you didn’t cook it.
  14. Cut every corner you can.
  15. Have fun

I hope you found this helpful.  Good luck getting through the holidays.

Just sayin’.

Ferguson, Missouri and Oakland, California

I hate that this was so predictable.   Tonight the grand jury announced that they would not indict the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.

Meanwhile in Oakland, there’s protesting that seems to have turned into vandalism, broken windows, and bonfires.

As I type this, it seems that there’s a large group that is blocking the freeway.   I don’t really think that’s such a big deal, but it’s gotta be frustrating to anyone who might be stuck in traffic trying to get home.

Of course this is a big deal in Oakland because of the long history of police officer misconduct and brutality in Oakland.

And the precedent in Oakland is that a group gathers to peacefully make their point known, and at some point, it turns into this situation where damage and destruction begin.  It’s actually not this bad this time.   But every time this happens, most of the people who are arrested are not from Oakland.   I wish they would stay home and break their own stuff.

I believe in demonstrating.  I believe that people have a right to be upset, and it makes perfect sense.  This is not an isolated incident.

Breaking windows won’t solve it.  Setting fires won’t solve it.

 

Stay angry, but stay safe, Oakland.

And don’t break my shit.

Hiking.

As part of coming back from my broken leg in March, I have joined a hiking group.  I found them on Meetup, and I’ve been out with the group about four times so far.   Two of those hikes have been pretty significant in terms of length and ascent.  So I’ve been getting a good workout, and every time I go out, I feel a little stronger, which is great.   I feel like my endurance is building, and I’m getting back into shape.

And then the thing that shall not be mentioned happened.   As with any sort of extreme grief, I have become somewhat detached, and closed off from the world.  I’ve wanted to stay inside, stay quiet, stay indoors.  At a certain point, though, going outside is just the thing for a broken heart.

So, I was back at it yesterday, hiking more than 8 miles.   It was good to go out.  It was good to get warn out.  It was raining a little bit, and I got a bit wet and muddy.   And I laughed a little bit, and got to talk to someone about Star Wars and Star Trek.  It was a good day for me.

And today, I want my buffer from the world back.  I don’t want to leave the house, and I don’t want to see anyone.

So, just like with the leg and the hiking, I am slowly making progress.  There are good days.  There are bad days.  There are good moments.  There are bad moments.  There are moments when I think about her, and I just can’t stand how much it hurts to think that she was taken away, and there are moments when I think about her, and it makes me smile.   And sometimes even laugh.

There are moments on the trail when I feel like I can’t take another step, and breathing is hard.  There are moments where I am breathing deeply, and every step feels like I’m conquering something.   And there are moments on the trail when I am skipping with my arms outstretched, because I feel like I’m flying.

I just wish she could do it with me, is all.

 

Coping.

One of the hardest things about going through the grieving process, for me, is coping with other people’s reactions to my grief.   Everywhere I turn, it seems, there are people trying to hand me their own grief and issues.  Or just expecting me to get on with getting on.

I can’t carry that for you.   Not right now.   Probably not ever.

I can’t take on what you need right now.   I can’t be what you need me to be in this situation.  I’m struggling just to keep afloat myself.   Getting out of bed is herculean.   My legs feel as if they are 100 pounds each, and walking is a chore.   My brain keeps crashing, or rebooting without warning.   Answering questions is excruciating, in particular any questions about anything having to do with making a decision or planning anything.  I will do my best to be as invisible as possible, and to not speak up, and not volunteer.   And I’m lazy and avoiding the hell out of everything right now.  I’m struggling with trying to have patience.   Crowds are weird.   Corners are lovely.   Mostly, simple video games are addictive, soothing, and consuming.

And Catholic churches are the best place to cry.

The thing I learned this week, though, is that all those people who are trying to hand me their “stuff” and wanting me to carry it for them.  All those people that want to somehow make all of this about them, the people who seem to not understand that I need time, that I need space, that I need a little help; all that has nothing to do with me.  I can’t take it personally.   Anyone who has expectations of me that seem too high or who seems to be oblivious to what I’m going through and what it means, that’s just their “stuff”.   It’s not even any of my business.

I just have to do what I have to do to get through this, and people will get along without my help, if I can’t give it.  They’ll carry their own grief or fear of grief or whatever it is, and we’ll all get on in our own time.

I really do miss her, and I wish she were still here with us.  The world is less fun, less magic without her.


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