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Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category

Smokers Anonymous

The past helped me to improve my future.  I am the historian of the zodiac, Capricorn, gripped by where I’ve come from, preoccupied with everything that I can remember, and I can remember almost everything, and then, captivated by the events of the world that occurred when I was no more than an electrical pulse flashing about the atmospheric heat of Earth looking for a home.  I am more intensely persuaded by the past than I am impelled by the future.  I seem always to be looking behind me, studying, feeling, learning, in my effort to rightly understand who I am today and what this world is today.  This becomes the Capricornian paradox, since the Goat is the sure-footed climber and MUST look forward at the same time to achieve the success that will inevitably be his.

In October of 2008 I was listening to NPR when I heard a Studs Terkel piece from 1974, re-broadcast on This American Life.  Studs was interviewing folks who had survived the Great Depression.  My vitality and my intellect are stirred by all stories of mankind that have suffered under injustice and endured.  These are the people who understand the meaning of life.  I often struggle to experience the essence of existence in this cushy world of consumerism, where I am never in need, never in fear of hunger, cold, danger.  “Okay,” you say, “well, isn’t that a good thing?”  And I say, “Yes, but when I look around me I feel like I am surrounded by the walking stupid; human beings whose brains cannot consider anything that does not exist in that very moment and within their own arm’s reach.”  And to me, that is not life, because, remember?  I keenly bear all the transgressions of history in my heart-lode.  These zombies never palpate with the rooting sensation of true hunger.

And this is how Studs Terkel and the Great Depression helped me to improve my future.  I was so seduced by the words of the subjects he interviewed that I declared I would live a mere 31 days in as close a Depression state as I could think to do in this modern world.  31 days is lousy compared to the near decade of the actual Depression.  But I know myself so well, I made my declaration in an attempt to quit smoking and I knew that I could rise to the challenge and that I only needed one month.

I proclaimed the first month of 2009 “Depression Era January”; a month without all non-essentials.  No fancy groceries, no wine, no dining out, no movies, no cigarettes.  No cigarettes.  The one item that had me in its clutches – the cigarette had begun to romance me long before I was old enough to smoke and when I cam of age I fully kissed that square between my lips in a loyal response to its allure.  I did smoke my cigarettes for 16 years then; longer than any other relationship I’ve ever been in.  No amount of will power, nicotine gum and patches, no drug or logical rationalization concerning my health could loosen the bind I had with tobacco until I determined to respect the wisdom achieved unwittingly by those that lived through the perversity of destitution.  Let me become nothing so that I can become something.  Release myself from all of the modern concepts that repulse me.  I cried and moaned as I rebuked myself for weakness; here is the addict breaking herself.  I looked with hope towards February 1st, when I knew I could choose to smoke again, if I wanted to, which I knew I wouldn’t.  A self-inflicted mind trick only works when you know who you are dealing with.

I would like to thank Studs Terkel, This American Life and the survivors of the Great Depression for helping me to “Dip down, God dammit, dip down“, because that is where the meat of the matter always is.

 

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Desultory Blues

Today in my head:

–  I consider bad luck, like passing my freeway exit or traveling an hour and a half for an event only to realize I missed the date by a week, karmic retribution for something I did wrong.  Then I rack my brain for what I did and who I might have hurt.

–  I slept in by 1/2 an hour today because yesterday was long and I was already dreading today’s “boot camp on the home front” run and work-out.

–  Figured I could take my time getting started, as I had the whole day ahead of me.  Made coffee & checked out my favorite web sites.

–  Reluctantly dressed to exercise.  Did yoga, stretched & did push-ups, sit-ups, leg-lifts, etc., indoors, all the while considering not running today.  Debated over & over again between cutting myself some slack & the knowledge that there is no slack in boot camp & I would feel guilty the rest of the day if I cheated.

–  My neighbors were outside talking & I got it in my head that I did not want to go outside & start my run in front of them.  I wished they would hurry up & go in before I lost my nerve.

–  Come on!  Go home (neighbors!) so I can run!  Get in your houses!  I don’t know why I would care – just a silly excuse not to run, I guess.  My neighbors are in their ’70’s & are from Italy.  I listened to them speaking in Italian out there on the sidewalk for nearly an hour while I agonized over my run.  They would think running for exercise is a symbol of a frivolous existence.  If I did ‘real’ work for a living, like till the soil, farm the land, chop wood, make bread from scratch, sew clothes, hand-wash laundry, etc., I wouldn’t have time to exercise nor would I need to.

–  I mill about the house.  I wander into the bathroom.  Now I hear my other neighbor & her 6 year-old daughter in their backyard.  Oh, God, please don’t make me have to start a run in front of them.  She is a successful single mother with a big house & a red BMW in her garage.  She is taller than me & regularly hops onto her bike, fully suited up, like Lance Armstrong, & probably cycles to Ohio & back.  And when she’s not on her bike, she is jogging with her 3-wheeled stroller out in front of her – probably for 6 mile runs on weekdays and 13 miles on Saturdays.  Other times I see her pull out of her garage with her one-man kayak on the roof-rack & she’s off to row the rivers.  Please don’t let me have to leave the house to run a mile and a half in front of her!

–  Finally the neighbors, all of them, disappear & I throw myself out the front door onto the pavement and I cannot look back.  Just do it.  Ha.

–  I meditate, concentrate while I run.  I think of Mycol, I think of strength.  I try to focus my mind on what I will accomplish today.  I am interested in daily progress.  Will I write?  Will I paint?  Will I garden?  Will I do it all?  What are my priorities?  What will satisfy me most of all?

–  Three quarters of the way and I am so over it.  I think I may stop running & start walking.  I envision Jim on his run this morning out at his place.  I envision Mycol running this morning under the watchful eye of his company commander.  I envision my company from 20 years ago, running in formation an all sides of me.  I challenge myself to make it to the stop sign ahead, then I can walk.

–  I run to the stop sign & past it.  I run the entire way & don’t stop until the end, at which point I am proud of myself for pushing &  I cool down with a walk around the block.

–  In the shower I contemplate what zodiac sign has the most competitive nature.  I am a Capricorn.  While I am on the zodiac, I also consider that jealousy is a fatal toxin for a relationship & that Scorpios are such jealous creatures.  (Not you, Mom.)

–  Even though I pushed through a work-out & it is a beautiful day outside, I feel sad & disinterested in any of the day’s possibilities.  Solitude has become depressing whereas I used to relish it.  I miss my son.  Jim calls & I start to cry when he says, “Don’t worry, you’ll hear from him soon.”

–  I decide a power nap could lift my spirits.

–  My bedroom is on the first floor of my house.  It is western-facing, with a window on the west wall.  I love to take a midday nap anywhere from 30 to 70 minutes long, depending on how I feel, and any time between 1 and 4 pm.  So often in the summertime, on a sunny day, I lie down to nap, & before I drift to sleep I am transported to another familiar place.  Something about the quiet against the background sounds of car wheels on pavement, birdsong amongst the trees or transmitting from a telephone wire perch, the occasional door opening or closing & sometimes a lawn mower, takes me to the second story of my grandparents’ house.  Something about the air, soft & comfortable as a linen sheet, & the sunlight diffused to shade, that sets me to recalling moments spent, perhaps napping as a child, in the big, floral bedroom of Nonna & Tata’s house.  I have a clear memory of the view from the bathroom window, a strong recollection of the smell of the bedrooms; the small one, the floral one, & Nonna’s dark and holy bedroom.  I experienced the nostalgia once & considered it coincidence, but now it is nearly regular, all things being equal, & it seems an atmospheric footprint, fossilized in my memory.  I can practically recall every fine detail; one of my favorites being the red-topped water sprinkling bottle on Nonna’s ironing board, forever ready for use, it it’s open position, between the dresser & her bed.  Anyway….

–  I have a new phone, but since I didn’t take the tutorial on how to use it, it rings when I had thought I’d set it to ‘alarm only’ & my nap is interrupted.

–  I think a smart phone would do what I verbally tell it to do.  This phone is not as smart as I want it to be.

–  There is nothing in the mailbox yet.

–  Tomorrow is another day.

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I’ve always had an acute sense of loss and sorrow and this summer has provided a heap of fodder for my analytic brain and thin-skinned heart.  I was going to say that this all began in late spring of this year, but that’s not accurate.  Then I was going to say that this all began 20 years ago, but realized that’s not quite right either.  This all began at least 40 years ago and really, much further back than even that.  Believe me, I think about it . . . a lot.  But a blog isn’t the place for those kinds of tales.  Those kinds of tales play themselves out between the hard covers of a bound treatise.  Or on the 30 foot screen.  So I will stick to discussing my feelings of late, for the sake of the blog . . . FOR THE SAKE OF THE BLOG, I SAY!

Twenty years ago, when I was nineteen, I found out I was pregnant with my son.  I was only one year into my tour with the U.S. Navy.  On May 1st of this year my son turned nineteen, and by the end of that month I’d realized, yet again, that my teenage boy was floundering and I needed to guide him.  The problem was that I was close to the end of my rope.  I mean, how many times and in how many different ways can you try to teach a young man before you just want to quit, because hello? is anybody really listening?  So I suggested he consider the Navy.  He was adamantly against it.  For about a day.  Then he started listening.  This was at a moment in time when he was faced with moving forward with registration for fall classes at community college and applying to four-year universities for next year.  Suddenly, he did an about-face and headed to a recruiter’s office.  What he knew and I didn’t was that he’d screwed up his semester grades royally.  When I found that out, I gave him an ultimatum: by August 1st either move into your own apartment or have a ship date for Navy boot camp.  For one thing, I wasn’t going to continue to provide him with all the luxuries of a free ride if, instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to study enough for straight A’s, he was going to treat me like his proletariat housekeeper while he engaged in some grotesquely modern version of teenage bourgeoisie, complete with social texting hours, social gaming hours, and secret drinking parties made legendary by the cell-phone pics uploaded to the cyber-salon called Facebook.  And so, today is August 18th and this morning I am up early because my body wouldn’t let me sleep in on my baby’s first day as a seaman apprentice in the barracks at Great Lakes Recruit Training Command, i.e., Navy boot camp.  I know from personal experience that he’s been up for two hours already.

When my son turned 19 years old in the spring I became prone to musing about my 19-year-old self.  I remembered how fresh and wide-eyed I was then and how I thought the world was my oyster.  Sure, I’d made mistakes, especially concerning college, but then I found the right path.  I was in the Navy, stationed in beautiful San Diego, California and paying my own way.  I was nervous and unsure about my original plans to follow through into an officer’s program.  Was I good enough?  Did I like the Navy enough to want to serve after they sent me to college?  I thought maybe I should just give my four years and use the G.I. Bill to go to college on my own when I got out.  I wasn’t sure of anything, but I felt good about the possibilities.  The beauty of the situation was that it was exactly what I’d been screaming about for the previous 5 years; “I know what to do for myself!  You can’t tell me what to do anymore, I can figure it out!”  I was the master of my own destiny no matter what that may be.  There were so many, many possible paths to take, it seemed like the world was spinning quickly around my head so that it was a complete blur.  If I could just reach out a finger and stop it from spinning, but when?  Where?  In the meantime there was a boy who was directing his attention towards me and despite my uncertainty about everything else in the world, I knew I wanted a boyfriend.

When I started this post by pointing out that this all began more than 40 years ago, what I was thinking of is how my mentality, my perspective on life, my desires are directly rooted in the existences of my ancestors, up through to the family members that raised me.  (And those that didn’t.  Voids can be just as influential.)  Them and television, actually.  And my being has a direct affect on the existence of my son and will affect my grandchildren and so on.  None of us lives in a vacuum.  That is why I was always offended when my elders expressed utter disappointment and disgust in the things I did “wrong”.  I mean, my behavioral patterns were based on something, right?  What I am getting at here is that, in a nutshell, I knew from the time I was 3 years old that I wanted to be a wife and a mother but by the time I was old enough to consider those roles in reality, I hadn’t attained the knowledge of what is required to be a successful wife and mother in a successful relationship.  I’d grown up in a single-parent household.  Our extended family was small and I was the eldest grandchild, so there were no examples to follow.  In fact, it never even occurred to me that anything more than the desire for these things was necessary, I mean, it looked so easy (and joyful) on tv shows.  So when I found myself pregnant, though I was surprised, I never wavered from what had to be done.  My son’s conception is what stopped my world from spinning.  His existence was like a heavy anchor, dropped to the bottom and keeping me grounded.  In a sense I have considered that he was just what I needed to keep me from making any more mistakes.  On the other hand I have often wondered what I could be, where I could be, who I could be if I hadn’t changed the course of my life to raise him.  These wonders were made more poignant by the fact that when his father and I divorced, his father chose a distant role.  3,000 miles distant.  His father put himself before his child, and was free to do as he pleased.  My dreams and expectations of life changed the instant I understood that I was a mother because I was filled with love and commitment beyond my self.  I found sacrifice challenging and natural at the same time.  I had anticipated sharing the duty with a like-minded husband, but it was not to be.  The resignation of my personal choices and prospects was something that continued to exist in my mind, and possibly my soul, like an old chair in the basement, badly in need of a thorough cleaning and new upholstery, acquired for a song from some wealthy old neighbor years ago, which has the potential to look as if you couldn’t have afforded it, but there is simply never enough time or energy to devote to the project of restoring it; after all, it would please no one but me.  When my son made the decision to join the Navy this summer, I was given all the more reason to mull over the last 20 years in anticipation of living alone in this house where I raised him and wondering what to do next.

Specifically, I felt the first thing on the agenda would be to breathe a sigh of relief.  I was still stinging from curse of my son’s teen-age years.  He’d been a complete joy before 14 but starting in the middle of his freshman year he became a regular pain in the ass.  His defiance, his mistakes, his disrespect, his dishonesty, made me question my strength, my abilities.  Had me asking why?  Where is the joy in this?  What is the reward?  So, bitter-sweetly, it seemed the reward would be the relief that would follow his departure. But that is not how it was supposed to happen!  The folks on Facebook praise their children up and down, posting daily affirmations of their undying love for their perfect children, “thank god for my perfect little sally (or johnny) – everything I ever wanted in a child”, and so on.  I am left thinking the worst about my situation.  I feel like I never had any business having a child and bringing him into this disadvantaged existence; no father, an ill-equipped mother (obviously, otherwise he’d have been perfect like everyone else’s children).  I feel like karmic retribution has occurred, for he reminds me exactly of myself and I see-saw between believing that he will be okay and cringing at the realization that I have sent him off into the world without a mature inkling of how to succeed; the flip-side of believing that despite how awful I was to my elders as a teen, I turned out okay and then calling “bullshit” on myself because if I think this is success, then I have another think coming!  I have to be reminded by caring and logically thinking friends that those parents on Facebook don’t share their trials online; that they are all “keeping up with the Jones'” in a neighborhood where nobody even knows where the “Jones'” really live.

I don’t know if you are still reading this, but it is now August 22 and this evening concludes my son’s 5th day at boot camp, away from home.  The first few days after he left I felt pride and happiness mixed with fleeting moments of shock, together under a veil of surrealism.  Any and all ill feelings have evaporated into thin air.  Before he left I decided that I would do “boot camp on the home front” as a challenge to myself and as a symbol of solidarity with my son.  I left for Navy boot camp myself on August 21, 1989, and I love to test my mettle.

I am much older now and out of shape, but yesterday, after meditating and 5 yogic sun-salutations, in the swelter of afternoon heat I ran my “beginner’s mile” and did 20 push-ups and 50 sit-ups.  As I ran I recalled my days at boot camp in Orlando, Florida, running in formation on the macadam.  I wished for my son to find strength when he needs it during this demanding time in his life.  Then I got home from my run and I cried because I miss him so dearly, that kid.  I love him more than anything and that is why it is easy to say that he has been the perfect child, for me.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Last Saturday Lord Mycol and I went to lunch at La Feria.  It was his birthday, it was our third choice restaurant, and we were short on time.  Sausalido doesn’t serve lunch on Saturdays, the line at Primanti’s in the Strip was out the door, Oakland was packed with graduation traffic and we knew we’d get a good meal at La Feria with little to no wait at all.  And we did!  The only problem:  I forgot to tip our server.  At La Feria you take your bill to the cashier at the counter as opposed to waiting for the server to pick it up at the table.  I was so caught up in the moment; admiring the Peruvian wares they have for sale and on display on every available surface other than the actual dining tables, getting our leftovers boxed, getting home in time for lemon cloud tart I made for Lord Mycol, and paying the bill at the cashier’s counter, that I utterly forgot to leave a tip on the table.  I didn’t think twice about it until 8 pm that evening.  All of the sudden I was seized by the memory of having walked out without leaving a tip, therefore causing the waitress to wonder what she’d done wrong, or worse, what kind of bitter person I might be.  Neither of which, of course, is true.  Since then I have been trying to find the time to get over to Walnut Street and leave the tip for that waitress at La Feria.  Every day since Saturday it was lingering on my mind.  I was certain I would do it just as soon as possible.  Then the universe stepped in and saved me a trip.

On Thursday night Yim and I went to CJ’s in the Strip to get our dose of jazz.  Roger Humphries and RH Factor are there every Thursday and we love it.  On that particular Thursday Howie Alexander was sitting in on keyboard.  Yim and I love the scene at CJ’s.  The tables are dressed with burgundy tablecloths and set with numbers that remind me of a club from the 1950’s.  As the band struck up “Take Five” I noticed a familiar face walk in.  “Hey, that’s my waitress from La Feria,” I told Yim, who knew the details of the forgotten tip.  I thought to myself that if there were any doubt in my mind that I would take the initiative to get that tip to La Feria that here was fate stepping in to nudge me.  I could choose whether the tip was important, after all.  I mean, the waitress didn’t know me.  I go to La Feria maybe once or twice a year, chances are she’d never recognize me again.  And even if she did, would it matter?  Was this really a karmic opportunity or not?  Well, as soon as I recognized her I knew that I was going to go and give her the tip.  It feels good to do the right thing.  When I approached her she was puzzled at first and then truly happy.  She gave me a hug and exclaimed, “I love people like you!”  See how good that felt?  Now go out and see if you can work some good karma into the world today!

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Relationships

Yim and I ran into an old acquaintance of mine while roaming the aisles of Home Depot.  Years ago, this guy, we’ll call him Adam, used to date a good friend of mine, we’ll call her Alice, who, by the way, I have lost touch with.

When Alice and I were friends, we spoke nearly every day.  She lived a few blocks away from me, and Adam lived a few blocks away from her.  When their relationship was at it’s height, perhaps a year into it, my 10 year relationship with my ex was at its mid-point.  With increasing frequency, I would call Alice to see if she’d like to make plans – walk our dogs together or window shop on Walnut Street, for instance, and she would turn me down in lieu of plans with Adam.  Or, even better, I would get no answer when I called her and then I would spot her walking hand-in-hand down my street with Adam.  Alice and Adam cooked great meals together, took walks together, went to see foreign films, and took bike rides together.  I was so envious of their relationship.  Alice seemed to have everything with Adam that I wanted in a relationship.  It’s hard to just be happy for your friends without the tarnishing thoughts of questioning why you don’t have what they have.

After 5 years together my boyfriend and I were just that: a boyfriend and girlfriend.  We had failed to progress beyond an exclusive dating stage.  Forget about engagement; we were still living 40 minutes apart and working our schedules around spending recreational time together.  I was vocal about what I wanted and needed from him, but there were always reasons why it was not possible.  Specifically, the problems were: a) he wanted to feel more financially secure before taking on the responsibility of a family, b) he wanted to live in the suburbs while I remained dedicated to city life with a country home, c) he had to work long hours and had difficulty managing his time efficiently enough to fit in activities with me.  These were the reasons why he couldn’t make it over in time to cook dinner together and then walk, hand-in-hand, to the independent theater to catch a foreign film!  So I did a lot of figuring on how to stay happy in that relationship.  You know, because I loved him!

A few days ago I read something on Mighty Girl that reminded me of what it was like to be strained in a relationship like that:

-”…People often start negotiating from what they think they can get, not what they really want–so even if the other person says yes, they are still disappointed. …People should start by being honest about 100% of what they want. My partner and I use this all the time, for things big and small. ‘My 100% would be having dinner before we see the movie.’ ‘My 100% would be to move to a bigger house in two years.’
…One thing that is surprising is how often you can have your 100%–and then you feel really lucky and happy and loved. And you also have the satisfaction of knowing that you gave your partner what they _really_ wanted. On the other hand, if the 100% isn’t possible and you have to negotiate down from there you at least know that what you wanted was heard.” –Not that Girl

In my relationship with my ex, I got tired of hearing ‘no’ all of the time.  Eventually, I unwittingly gave up earnestly asking for what I wanted and then objectively considering the results and, instead, quietly submitted to dumbing down my negotiations in an effort to get something.  I began to mistake complacency on my part for satisfaction, all the while feeling a constant, subtle uneasiness.  *Gasp*  I’d learned to live with it!  So while I yearned for couple-ship, I spent a lot of time hoping and waiting for that ship to reach shore with him, and before it did, it sank.

Sound ridiculous?  Especially from a confident, aggressive, proud gal like me?  I know. But when your heart is in it, you somehow find a way to put weight in those empty promises made in the name of eternal love.

As for Alice and Adam, their ship sank, as well.  I watched as Alice experienced horrible heartache and I was there for her to lean on me.  In the end, everybody in this trilogy moved on.  Alice actually moved out of state and lost touch with many of her old cronies.  Adam bought a house in the same neighborhood and is now engaged to be married.  And Yim came along to pick me up out of the rubble that was my break up.  And this is the point:

When Yim and I ran into Adam the other day, I remembered all of these things.  As I relayed the tale of the past to Yim, I was stricken by the shedding of all feelings of envy I have experienced.  I thought about how I have personally matured, i.e., I will never again accept anything less than exactly what I want, and I want what I have now.  Of course, with maturity comes the wisdom to know just how much of a compromise can be made before that line is crossed, and in a good relationship, that line never even nears.  As the excerpt above suggests, I voice my 100%, whether it is a want or a need.  The thing about Yim and I is that we seem to always want the same things.  We maintain our individual perspectives, but our goals are so very alike.  This relationship is easy.  Right now I can hear the advice proffered me from my elders over the years on the subject of love.  Sometimes I regret that I did not slow down and try to heed some of that advice.  On the other hand, to each his own, and everything really does happen for a reason.

In love, what is allowed to be taken has a higher price than what is given. — Petit-Senn

And remember:

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned. — Congreve

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Buon Compleanno, Zia!

To honor Zia on this day of her birth, I would like to say a few things about her character.

Ask anyone who knows our family, “Who has the biggest heart?” and they will tell you it is Zia.  She never had children of her own to share her love with, but she has dispensed her unconditional love on me, Rock, and Lord Mycol.

She plays better with children than anyone I’ve ever seen before – she enters the world of make-believe and connects with the spirit of the child.  No wonder she was always my favorite aunt.

She loves to dance and has light rhythm in her petite feet.  She used to have the most marvelous variety of high-heeled shoes and I can only imagine her dancing away the night in them.

She was born in an American camp for Italian refugees in the deep south of Italy.  Born into struggle, she has the strongest character and never suffers the pitfalls of a low self-esteem.  Because of her strength, she has no need to utter biting words towards others.  She is always kind and giving.

She is the caregiver of the family.  She dedicated much of her life to taking care of her parents, me and my son.  She gladly cooks and cleans for you – her maternal instincts – it is one way she shows her affection and she knows it is appreciated.

She embraces her heritage, loves the opera and tango music.  She can laugh with all her heart at your jokes and she has a quick wit for humor herself.

She doesn’t pronounce ‘H’ at the beginning of a word.  For instance, ‘Howard’ becomes ‘Oward’ or ‘hang’ becomes ‘ang’.  But she puts an ‘H’ in front of words where it doesn’t belong.  ‘Apple’  becomes ‘happle’.  And so . . . “Do you ave any happles?”  leads to gales of laughter and iperhactivity.  She says ‘her’ ‘are’, and ‘worm’ ‘warm’.  She doesn’t like it if you spend too much time ‘ting-a-ring’ around.  But hall you ave to do is talk to are in are hown language, hand she will laugh hout loud.

She knows all the old movie stars and could have been in pictures herself.  She could’ve been a spy, the way she can talk to anyone comfortably.

She was the style maven of the family, with closets full of fun clothes and jewelry boxes filled to the brim.

She is an example of loyalty, honesty, strength and love that is much needed in any family.  I am blessed that she is a part of mine.

And on top of all of that, she is beautiful and sexy, too.

Happy Birthday, Zia!  You are always Number One in my heart.

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Roller Coaster

It is Wednesday and I think I need a day of R&R.  I do not mean Rock ‘n Roll.

This past Saturday, Yim and I attended our friends’ wedding reception.  Great time had by all!  We celebrated with old friends we’d not seen in a while, friends we see everyday, and new friends, too.  The reception was held in Jay Verno Studios, which is wild; the place looks like a movie set.  In the back they had a photo booth and a table full of props.  In the reception area, the photo booth images were projected onto the wall in real-time.  Everyone had so much fun.  The photos were printed in duplicate; one for the guest book, and one to take home.

The party took its toll on me, though, and by Sunday morning when I awoke I was not feeling my best.  My throat hurt and my glands felt swollen.  I hung in there, keeping positive and drinking miso soup.  Monday morning I was still fighting.  It helped that I was looking forward to some home improvement plans, evening guests, and jazz at Ava LoungeYim and I had scheduled the day for changing ceiling fixtures.  It’s too long a tale to tell under the circumstances, which are that I am not in the mood to reiterate, but this leg of the roller coaster story ends badly and we can just skip forward to that part.

So, despite feeling slightly under the weather, I was still high from the weekend’s festivities and the prospect of spending the day with Yimmy doing our thing.  He moved the coffee table, he moved Lord Mycol’s bed.  He put up the ladder in each room necessary and prepared for a plumber to come and take care of the gas lines in the ceilings before we hang our fixtures.  But as the day wore on, it started to look like the plumber wasn’t showing up.  I have a tendency to put so much hope and excitement into a thing that if it doesn’t pan out, I come crashing down to utter despair and pessimism.  Pessimism is not good for your health.  And actually, I am still pissed at that plumber.  He was a no call, no-show.  By the time I realized that, I no longer had any interest in participating in the rest of the evening – which was to include friends stopping by for a drink before heading out to Ava Lounge for jazz.  But people were depending on me and that is always when I come through despite how I feel.  So instead of breaking something in anger, I went to the store with Yimmy and got some mint and soda water for mojitos.  Don’t mojitos make everything better?  Before you answer that, read on.

Alison, her boyfriend Chris, and Anna showed up around 8.  We made our small talk, poured some drinks and moved into the living room to get comfortable.  Anna mentioned my post, When Chafed, Buy a Chafing Dish.  Thus, the conversation turned to collecting vintage kitchen ware.  We were unanimous in our appreciation for the stuff, but Chris said that fear of breaking his vintage finds would keep him from using them.  That’s when I piped in, trying to explain that the majority of my finds are durable and not so rare that I wouldn’t use them; this in an effort to convince my audience to be more active in their acquisition of retro kitchen ware that would remind them of their childhoods and a time past.  I was feeling less dejected by now from the plumber’s failure to show up, thereby putting off the mounting of my new ceiling fixtures, so I boldly went to the dining room to fetch the perfect example of a lovely vintage find that is not so rare that I won’t use it every chance I get, without fear of breaking it!

I marched back into the living room with my yellow and gold Hall’s covered casserole and promptly threw it down on the floor, breaking one of the gold handles from the side.  (I didn’t actually throw it down, it slipped from my hands!)  I COULD NOT BELIEVE what just happened.  As if I was getting too big for my britches, the universe stepped in and smote me down, just like so.  Do not be a braggart!  That is what I thought to myself as everyone in the room expressed true sympathy for me and the complete irony of the situation.  And if that weren’t enough, while searching the floor for the missing piece of handle, I realized my finger had been cut in the chaos.  I eased myself back into conversation, but once my guests left, I couldn’t help but mull over what had happened, how and why, over and over again until there was nothing left to mull.

I ended up reneging on plans to go out and listen to jazz and, as always, Yim was caring.

Tuesday wound up being the high point of the coaster, restoring joy and order to my world.  A day designed perfectly to my sensibilities, it was perfect from beginning to end.  I will post about it tomorrow.  Until then, as I said, today is Wednesday and I am in need of some R&R.

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