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Archive for June, 2010

One thing that really got to me the first months after Ferdinand died was that I continue to be a consumer. — Even if I don’t feel like eating because I was consumed by grief.

I still need to go out and buy toilet paper and dish detergent and bread and other edible stuff. And also, the girls did not stop growing and with the changing of the seasons, need clothes and more clothes and shoes too. And so I would drag all of us out to the stores and buy… stuff.

I am starting to hate this never-ending cycle of buying. Maybe hate is too strong of a word, but it really is starting to irk me. Of course, I see that it is because they are growing and that -ing part is always lovely when it comes to children. But for myself it has started to become a chore.

Which brings me to my brilliant business idea. Listen, don’t you have a favorite shirt/pants/skirt/jeans/sweater/shoes that you just love to death and will not part with? Because it looks great on you. So, why don’t these stores make the same thing every single freaking season? Last summer I found these simple V-neck T-shirts that were just superb and even made nursing easy. But this summer they decided to come out with different types of V-necks and the fit has changed too. Last year size M was fine. This year it is a tad tight and the L makes me look like I am trying to hide a pooch (which I am, but I don’t want you to know that).

Why? Why do they do things like that? If it ain’t broken, why change it? If people are buying, why make it different?

I understand the trends thing, so my business idea is to have you send me your favorite whatever-that-is and I will reproduce it in the exact same fit, stretch, length, width and whatsoevers by the dozens, and you can wear it till you die. Like I said, I understand the trends issue, so if tie-dye is the rage, I will tie-dye your skirt to shreds for you. If ruffles are hot (and boy, are they hot! I love ruffles!) then I will ruffle your tops all over and under. Do you see? Why can’t they just keep the shape and form and just add on the details but instead attempt to re-invent the wheel every season? Shopping around is tiring, I am starting to feel I will expend half of my life seeking out the pair of jeans that fit, the T-shirt that looks good, and the shoes that will not bite. Can’t I just do it once and be done with? So I can use all those time when I am gagging in fitting rooms to truly live, and do so many other more meaningful and perhaps useful things? Or just sleep, or read blogs, or devour pralines??

While I was deep in my fantasy of my business idea, smug that I was so brilliant and all, it dawned on me that of course we change. Our bodies change. True, your aunt Getrude had worn a size 2 for all seven decades but those are the rare specimens. Our bodies will change- in form, shape and size. And the physical attributes too- wrinkles, sagging, liver spots, all those fun things that comes with the honor of aging. And what’s more, emotionally we are enriched, which affects how we carry our bodies.

Change is not an option. It is a must. I cannot be the same, even if sometimes that idea is very attractive.

So, I am strapping on my rocking sandals to find new T-shirts to replace those old fav’s that are starting to sag.

July is coming upon us, more rapidly than I thought it ever will. I think I will contact that hospital coordinator and ask if she will take more cranes if I string some more. (I wonder what happened to those put up last year.) And I am thinking to take a trip up to Mount Lemmon to find the star that was named after Ferdinand. In fact I am thinking every July we should do something star-related, and every summer we should sleep in something different (this June it was a yurt, next times it could be a prison cell, underwater, in a lighthouse, etc). I feel I must be getting old because I want to start traditions. Something that repeats every year as (inevitable) changes occur all around.

I would love to hear your take on all these- change, traditions, anniversaries, ways to remember… …

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I am not on Twitter or Facebook. Despite a silent nagging fear that I would be left behind in this rapidly throttling forward technology age, and be the Jungle Jane of the 21st century, I have resisted.

I am still not on Facebook or Twitter. Even when friends talk about it and shoot me a kind of look that seems to say You really ought to get on. Even if every so often I get an email telling me “So-and-so is following you on Twitter!” (Even though I have no idea who that so-and-so is- lots of creepy strangers out there!!)

OK, back up. I closed my account on Facebook, but I let the Twitter one idle.

Because you know- laziness.

And I don’t know what to do with Twitter. I don’t want you to know I just ate an entire bar of chocolate all by myself, or what pizza I adore. I may have a few household tips but I don’t care to share them. If I see an Elvis Presley look-alike in my local Fresh & Easy I won’t twitter you either. If I bought a gallon of ice-cream I will also not share that with you.

It’s not just laziness though. I think I just don’t want to be out there. I don’t feel I belong anywhere at all. Some time ago I was talking with a bereaved dad about how it is hard to feel integrated into a group, because just as you are behaving like any other normal person in the park and just as the other person is chatting away, suddenly you have a voice in your head screaming:

You don’t get it! No! You don’t understand! I am missing my baby right now! I have a dead baby and I am not sure if I will tell you and if then when will be a good time and I am not sure if you will be cool about it! Stop talking! Can’t you hear how loud my missing is? Are you not hearing how screeching loud my aching is?!!”

I don’t know why but I am forever having a backlog of emails so I don’t see how I can even do the Twitter thing.

Go ahead. Go and add a shovel of technological dust on me and walk away shaking your head and sighing. I don’t care.

Except.

This morning Lyra decided she will pick up the half-empty (or half full, depending on whether you are the half-full type or the half-empty type) jar of mango chutney (I like it on my goat’s cheese, just in case you are curious) and then drop it onto the floor. It’s a glass jar. It fell straight down to the floor, I dare say perpendicularly. It shattered. Glass bits flew. But most of the chutney mess was contained in one heap-like puddle, with just a couple splodges a small distance away. I was really so grateful, I got on my knees– to clean up the mess. The girls took Lyra away from the kitchen and entertained her with a stuffed leopard. I thought to myself Thank goodness they are around to help otherwise I would have to trap Lyra someplace safe while I deal with chutney and glass bits.

And I also thought, “If I am on Twitter I would so post this. Yeah I would. Everyone should know not to leave a half-empty glass jar of mango chutney on the table. You should either be eating right out of it or it goes right into the fridge. The lesson of the day is not to leave a glass jar of mango chutney, half full of otherwise, on the kitchen table.”

Then I retorted myself: pppppfffff. Who cares?

If it is of no monumental consequence, I don’t want to say it. I don’t know why or how I got that way. And I suspect it is because for the past few years I have vomited my guts out here. And I still do it. And I kind of feel like stopping.

Maybe because I am getting old and I feel wise old women should not yabber so much. I have this image of being a wrinkled old woman doubled over in the corner of the room always, but when I straighten up and cough and stretch my lips open to speak, the Universe will stop (stop, not pause) to listen– because what I say (when I say it)  is supposed to be very wise, and important. Or supremely funny.

So much for being quiet for a long time.

What I do realize is whether I say it or not, write them or not, it will never change what had happened, the truth, the missing, the ache. I am sure I will not forever be bitter but I also am not sure I need to make a saga of the morphing. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

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54 things

  1. I am back. The bears did not find us.
  2. I have funky tan lines.
  3. Lost 3 pounds even though I was hungry all the time. I had to hold on to my jeans while we were hiking.
  4. I think Colorado agrees with me.
  5. Canyon de Chelly is truly lovely, lovely, lovely. She has an elegance to it.
  6. Just found two strands of silvery white hair. On my head.
  7. I’m actually in quite a foul mood right now.
  8. A close friend is having a rough year, because her mom, who is her dearest friend, has been really sick.
  9. A fellow bereaved received bad news about her pregnancy.
  10. It made me think of me telling my girls often, “There is no such thing as not fair.”
  11. I am not so sure now.
  12. The cabin is not sold yet.
  13. I don’t know what happens beyond July.
  14. But I know the heaviness of the month is already sitting on my heart.
  15. I met a new mom today who asked me, “So three girls is all you have?”
  16. And I looked at her, head cocked, trying to decide my answer.
  17. “No, I also have a son who was stillborn.”
  18. Or, “Yes, three girls, woo-hoo!”
  19. Guess which I chose.
  20. Sigh.
  21. CRAP.
  22. Later as I was scrapping dried up poop off Lyra’s diaper, I thought to myself:
  23. “Every moment is death.”
  24. True, every moment is new; every moment is a beginning; every moment is birth.
  25. But every moment something/someone is dying too.
  26. I can’t remember the last time I read the news. It makes me feel evil when that happens.
  27. How can I not have time to care what is going on around the world?
  28. Yet, sometimes I think, “What’s new?”
  29. Nothing. Birth. Death. Shit. Crap.
  30. During dessert we talked about pets and death.
  31. Val remembered our pitbull who ran away and wondered if she is alive or dead.
  32. “What if she is dead?!”
  33. “Then she is dead.”
  34. R said once he had to devise a humane solution for his sister’s pet hamster who had cancer.
  35. Solution: put it in a box and into the freezer.
  36. They hibernate when cold, so it would go to sleep when it started to feel cold, and it would sleep… … forever.
  37. Then they buried it in the garden.
  38. It is like that, he told the girls, if you live with animals, you help them birth, and you bury them.
  39. Isn’t it the same with human beings as well?
  40. Except it made me crappy and cranky.
  41. Ten years earlier I would be simply moved.
  42. Now I am moved, and cranky.
  43. I am not sure if one can be moved and cranky at the same time.
  44. Well, I guess I could be.
  45. I should be in bed, because tomorrow I begin my “De-clutter with a Vengence” project.
  46. I saw in someone’s signature line her goal to declutter 2010 things.
  47. And she has decluttered some 700.
  48. I won’t want to keep count.
  49. But I would like this house half empty.
  50. I love throwing away stuff.
  51. I do not feel I have much to say anymore.
  52. It’s the same old same old.
  53. So I guess I will be quiet for very long.
  54. If in case it is because a bear had eaten me, I guess you will read it in the news.

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Armed with a stack of maps from AAA I sat down to plot a trip for us. — A camping trip, that will take us from home to Canyon de Chelly to cliff dwellings and hot springs in Colorado.

It had been quite a while since we’ve been on a trip that involves my poring over maps. We used to do this, then we stopped.

The last was the year we went to Mexico, when pregnant with Ferdinand. The year after we flew back to Asia, to my home, so we can be with family, find some comfort and solace. And then we decided to stay put to keep the following pregnancy safe, and then we decided to just stay put again because we did not know what to do.

And this year, the feet begin to itch again, the eyes seeking. S put down on her list of 10 things to do for 2010 “Camp for two nights”. So, off we go again. Dig out the camping gear, spread out the map, hit the road.

Planning is crazy, at least for us it has always been. Even prior kids, our trip-planning had always alternated between calm discussions and hysterical screaming. Yes, things like how many sets of underwear to pack can escalate into a philosophical debate that reveals a deep chasm of differences between us. The drama of marriage, aye.

We will be camping the entire trip, save for two nights in a yurt. I hope my back survive. R had always been the back country camping type, delighting often in recounting his encounter with the bear who climbed up the tree and took off with his backpack (with his passport in it) and him running after the bear, who eventually abandoned his bag. He told the girls the story he heard about the bear who climbed atop a car and then opened the top with its claws like opening a tin can, to get to the food within. I hope we don’t meet those bears this time. I’ve been more the backpacking-international hostel type, clutching on to my travel journal, scribbling in cafes, saying goodbyes to fellow travelers everyday.

In total we’ll drive about 1500 miles. It is not a whole lot, the area we cover in a week, on the map. I can cover the area with my head if I lay it on the map.

But it feels we’ve all the time been wandering, lost, trudging over lands unknown. This time we found a place to point our compass to, and it feels good. Since we will be away from big cities and at high altitudes, cold nights gazing at the ocean of stars above await us. Every night we will look for our own little Ferdinand star.

::

I zoomed into the journal. The cover design was taken from a British 19th-century greeting card. “Map of a Woman’s Heart”, it said, and I was intrigued. There is an ocean of love, and the plain of ill temper, the river of revenge and the desire to rule. There is the sea of hate and the strait of jealousy, the peninsula of procrastination, and the bay of scorn, and many other islands with names like curiosity, self will, fickleness, and love of flattery. Not exactly a shining portrayal, and I thought, I can make my own map! This will be a fun thing to do with a group of people! Maybe I can even start a meme!

I drew a heart. And the first thing that came to mind was to make a hole, because there is always this hole, the one whistling with sorrow and joy. But I could not make it look right. I know there is this hole, but I am not sure of its shape, nor its location, and even its size is hard to determine. Sometimes it feels like a tiny hole, other times gaping, and at one point I told myself I cannot even draw that hole because it is even larger than my heart, all-consuming.

So I abandoned my project.

If you make your heart map, do show me.

(And here’s another version of a 19th century map of a woman’s heart.)

::

At the crack of dawn we set off tomorrow, me and my heart and the family (and the car loaded to the brim), off on our road/camping trip. I am not sure if I will lose myself or find myself. Maybe both. Cradling a tiny star in my heart, seeking the skies for direction. Away we go. Wish me luck.

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