Saturday, December 19, 2009

Horse and Buggy, sort of

The Kid is a creative whirlwind many times.

She love, loves, LOVES dinosaurs.

Here is tonight's creation.

Using scraps of cardboard, ribbon, paint and a glue gun she has turned the fearsome T-Rex into the equivalent of Mr. Ed.

She is just too cute.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Trip to the See-lon

Living in Western Massachusetts and the Bay Area of California, even staying in Westchester County NY, I have gone to places to get my hair cut, styled even on occasion. These shops could honestly and rightly be called "salons", "hair places", even a "spa" or two. However yesterday I had a whole different experience. You know the place in "the neighborhood" where your grandmother spent the better part of Saturday morning, like thirty years ago? Well I'm here to say those places still exist.

Sure there are salons out here where BC lives but I am on a budget. There is a nice looking one just about two blocks away - convenient I agree but a tad pricey. For BC this place is too "frou-frou", she tried and felt all the extra attention was wasted on her. She likes to get in, get out. Given all that I decided to go where she gets her lovely salt and pepper, er, can't say locks - she wears it quite short, um hair cut. I had plenty of warning from BC about this establishment. "It's where all the blue-hairs go." "I might be the youngest client they have." Um, okay.

Upon arrival I was enthusiastically greeted and welcomed by Nancy who apparently runs the place. Her hair was teased about 3 to 4 inches high and colored, well I'm not quite sure how to described other than distinctly unnaturally blond. On the counter was a small menorah with bright silver candles. As she moved there were delicate sounds her jewelry clanking together while she warned me that she was trouble, with a wink. The gentleman who would cut my hair was finishing up with a client, who if I based his talent on her I would have ran out screaming. Her hair was a large mousy brown bubble of rolled, teased, and sprayed within an inch of it's life of something that might have once been hair.

Another woman graciously showed me where coats where hung and even took it from me to place my red with black woven ribbon in vaguely tribal designs coat to spend time with the muted tones of the "blue hairs'" respectable, understated winter apparel. I was offered coffee, which imagining extremely weak Maxw*ll House that had been sitting far too long, I politely declined.

Soon I was in his chair with wet hair that had been shampooed with enough soap to wash Cousin Itt. As we were discussing what I wanted, the client who had just left his chair waved to him saying, "I feel like a whole new woman!". Under his breath but loud enough for me to hear he said "Ugly hair style" and I could swear he shuddered. Politely I responded with "Well it is perhaps a bit dated, but it seems to make her happy." Charbel, (yes that's his name) is fifty if he's a day and he's probably closer to sixty, wore slacks and a tailored shirt which had the first two buttons under allowing just a few wisps of his chest hair to make themselves known. On on arm he wore two serious gold bracelets. He spoke with an accent that was hard to discern but given everything I am thinking possible middle-eastern Jewish background.

As I was readying to leave he came over to take another look at my hair (which seems to be a promising cut by the way) and noticed I had some hairs on my face. As he brought the towel to me to gently brush away the trimmings I simply closed my eyes. "Ah, good you trust me," he said, and with that gave me a peck on my cheek, wishing me happy holidays. At the counter I was delighted that this good cut and amusing experience on cost $31 plus tip! Truly a bargain.

I giggled all the way to my car.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's starting to look like family life

The weekend of Thankgiving, the Christmas decorations went up and despite warning that included I have "lots of stuff" and my seeing a lot of boxes for the seasons in the basement, it turns out that there really isn't that much. Plus I like them. Double plus, the dining room has all my menorahs on display. As BC would say, "Balance."

Last Sunday we took The Kid to her riding lesson. While she rode we drank of coffee behind the plexiglass watching her talking about everything and occasionally one of us commenting on her form. After that we went off to procure chocolate making supplies, reviving an old tradition of BC's. I went off to the library to search for a few books on Chanukah to read to The Kid. As I was skimming book after book, a young girl, maybe 10-12 years old came up to me, handed me a book saying it was a favorite of hers. It was one of three I came home with and it was the first one I read to her, all of cuddled up in her bed.

Monday The Kid was sick, staying home from school, poor thing. In the evening she felt a bit better so we did some chocolate making in the kitchen. Molded chocolates, chocolate covered raisins, pretzels, and peanuts as well as a handful of dipped apricots. Once again we piled into her bed and read another Chanukah tale. Tuesday she stayed home from school as well but we still had company for dinner, an old friend of BC's who is very sweet and is passionate about her art. Nice. That night she was too sick to do any reading, poor baby. Wednesday she went to her other mother's house for the next five days.

By Friday it seemed like BC might have succumbed to whatever it was that The Kid had, but it was shorted lived, thank goodness. It was the first night of Chanukah and based on BC's response to one of the stories, we moved the largest menorah into the dining room window so it could be seen from the street and lit it for the first time together.

Saturday morning we left fairly early to drive to Middlefield because BC's niece, who is in fifth grade, was playing her first basketball game. Ever! So sweet. Middlefield is a large Amish community, which became clear as we passed a number of horse and buggies that day. I had no idea I would have fun at the game but I did. As some of you may know I am not a big sports person but there I was shouting (okay not really loud, especially compared to BC who could have easily been mistaken as a coach with all her directions to the players, but loud for me) and cheering. It was a bit of nail bitter as they were tied for awhile but ultimately our team won 16-14.

On the way back I noticed a sign talking about alpacas, but I didn't catch where the place was or even what exactly it was. We were about to make a turn when BC caught a sign saying "Alpacas and Gifts 1 mile". Sweetheart that she is we made a little detour and discovered a sweet shop with four very cute, friendly alpacas out front.
If only could remember how to get photos off my phone! The four females were in back and much shier but one was this incredible chestnut brown color with the longest lashes ever. Fields of Grace Alpacas is a sweet little shop and the owner Patti Zebrowski was friendly and informative. Those guys were so cute. We bought yarn for someone on my LBGT knit list who just found out she needs to start chemo next week. Plus I bought some of Lincoln's fleece that had been processed and will make something for BC using it. Really cool to have an image of him while I knit with his material.

Last night with a tiny bit of assistance from me BC started baking her holiday cookies. The kitchen smelled delightful with pistachio and orange biscotti wafting through. We invited our friend Deb over for a veggie dinner I whipped up, we hung for a long time talking, nibbling on the broken biscotti, drinking coffee on a chilly early winter night. Tonight she made almond/orange scented pizzelle as well as chocolate ones. We have a long list of people to give/ship cookies and chocolates to so these kitchen activities will continue over the next week and a half.

As I review all this, time with The Kid, taking turns cooking dinner, going to the middle of nowhere to watch a niece do sports, baking for the holidays, planning for a Chanukah gathering on Tuesday I keep looking on from outside myself thinking, "Wow, this looks like a family." Or "Huh, how did I get here (music cue here) where I never thought I'd be." But more often I think "I could get used to all of this."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dreams Remind Us

Dreams reminds us of things we have forgotten, often good things about ourselves, they remind us of our fears, they remind us of our freedoms.

A few weeks ago I dreamt I was back in Dayton, packing up things I had left behind. There were other pieces of the dream that were interesting but not relevant and involve others, so they won't be mentioned here. Among the things I was gathering were my tools but to my surprise I found that I had more than I thought. My ex had left me her tools. In my waking state I realized that this meant I had gathered more tools for my next steps, that I had learned something that would help sustain me in the future.

On Sunday night I had another similar dream. This was in the midst of a challenging time, as my faithful readers might recall, I had been having a hard time and though I was not specific in my posts, yes it involved my ex. There was a box, about 3 feet high, narrow, made of wood or a related substance and it was dirty (boxes again!). I decided to clean it of it's layers of grime and became curious as to what was inside. There was a tool box which when I investigated a bit more had a second layer with still more tools. Also in the box were two sewing machines, one much older and one a bit more modern, both appeared to be in working order. I was excited by these discoveries.

Tools, sewing machines - the ability to fix, create, remodel, redesign all in this box, that I was cleaning, returning it's sheen. All in me.

Another dream that same sleep was outwardly less reassuring. My ex was saying things to me, like a disembodied voice. (Perhaps this device was from rereading the fourth Harry Potter.) I no longer remember all the things she said but it was not positive. The statement I still recall was something about how didn't I wish I had found my voice earlier. Well of course I do but I am grateful that I have found it, that I found my strength to leave, to discover the bigger truths about her, about us, about me. What I know is I left when I was able, that in some way we do things at the right time for us, for our development, to satisfy some larger plans of fate and goddesses. This dream reminded me not to regret the months I debated, that I tried to save us, that I pondered and feared the "what-ifs".

My dreams are helpful, even when they make me sad, when they scare, or maybe especially when they do those things. The happy dreams are perhaps what gives us rest, the comforts us to give us sustenance of another sort for the nights our subconscious work us all night long.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Caught in the wave

It's happened again, feeling knocked out by grief, a sense of wanting to state the truth and have it really heard. The tide of sadness is just coming in and in and in, my own tears mixing with the salty waters of hurt; I feel I could just float away in it.

I know it will pass, the tide will change, I will feel joy; maybe even later today. But I also know that it will come back again, and again. That is the way of hurts, they get smaller, less intense but they never go completely away. They also form the texture of who we are, how we live. If we examine the scars, feel the bumps, the smoothness, the ache below when we press into it just so, if we pay attention to all of that we can learn from those things that hurts us, we can learn to treat people better, and maybe if we are very lucky, very attentive we can learn to be kinder to ourselves as well.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The mind is a playground

for healing.

First I want to thank the people who have reached out to me after yesterday's post. It means the world to me.

I had very interesting dreams that I think connect to where I was and where I want to be. They are fuzzy but I want to at least touch on some the images and themes.
  • At Sunny and Lindsay's house. There were appliance mishaps. Ones that were supposed fixed but had not been fixed properly. There was leaking water (emotions, tears, etc) and some other random messes I think. The appliances involved were mostly the washer (cleaning, renewing) and the refrigerator (food, nurturance).
  • Something about moving. There were boxes needing to be moved, emptied. A number of boxes turned out to be empty. Trying to decide if they needed to be kept, who needed them, etc. A corner shaped piece of furniture I was looking for was put in the basement by the others. At first I was a little dismayed because it's not where I would have put it. Reminded them that the shape did not mean it had to going exactly into a corner necessarily,one could be more creative. Decided it was okay there, at least for now, it could always be moved later.
  • Upstairs, maybe in the same house in the living room. A lot of free space, airy. I put on music, Nenah Cherry. Sunny came in and I was telling her how great this tune and artist were, I keep turning it up. We both started dancing. Music blended into another artist/tune that was equally good. A guy came in, or maybe it was just that he spoke to me through a door or window - he noticed my dancing was just a bit off, asking how my ankle was. It was only then that I realized that yes indeed I did have this small thing affecting my movement. Rather than stop however I found new ways to move, doing more things on the floor. Somewhere in this sequence Hrana, someone I knew in high school and have reconnected with over the years through Dance New England - growing closer especially the last few months, was also in that bright, spacious living room dancing with Sunny and I.
I woke remembering these bits and pieces, feeling like my subconscious had done a lot of work, that I was trying to allow myself some grace in my pain and my ability to move forward. Empty boxes being the shell of things I had already worked on, the frames I had been using to contain things. Interestingly shaped furniture and my sense that there is more than one way to fit things into our lives. Allowing that some things need to stay buried (in the basement) longer, or maybe it's okay to let them just sit. Dancing, one of my great loves for the freedom, the creativity, the sensuality and the joy it gives me, it feeds those aspects, in a space that is uncluttered, well lit, with other aspects of myself, representations of family and friends. I also woke feeling a little more at ease, more settled inside. So though I was still tired, another part of me was well rested.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Just when you though it was safe go back in the water, or to relax, or to believe for a moment that you could not be triggered. Again. I realize this sort of thing happens but seriously I thought some of this was over. But once again I got reminded how long things, people who have hurt you take to process and get over.

It was one of those moments where you think all is well and one crack in the surface and it's like falling into a bottomless pit of emotion. You sit there with
feelings that hard to name, hard to experience; tears are forming but not falling; dinner that tasted lovely now makes you feel queasy.

"What will you do differently" she asks out of the blue. "Do? About what?"
"About not getting in that situation again." My first thought about how to avoid the problems of the last relationship and at least one other is, I will stay with you because you are safe, honest and love me well. But I do not say that because that is not about me changing; what got me into some binds is my nature - to be nice, to give second, third and fourth chances, to want to believe that people are good, that love does not lead one down a blind alley with no escape. So my answer is "I don't know", because I have no idea how to act outside of my nature even when I have enough examples that show I should be more cautious, more hidden, less open. Even though I thought perhaps I would actually cry when in the car as we drove home in the dark, I did not. Instead I did what I often do, I shut it down and out. Moved away from the gaping maw of hurt that threatened to turn me inside out, exposing every wounded part of me to the open air. If I had given in, all those wounds, some decades old would engulf me. That is always the fear and it is an old protection, one I should probably find a way to give up. I keep trying to do that, but in the end the cover comes out and the feelings, the release gets tapped down.

Maybe later, in the dark dark night it will come out. Or not.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I {heart} eBa*

In prepping for my departure from Dayton I decluttered, parted ways with a lot of my belongings which I no longer needed the material to remember the spirit of my adventures. Apparently the universe decided I needed more of a lesson of release when the box of my bound Cook's Illustration fell apart and my collection was disappeared. If anyone has obsessively read my blog for the last four years knows that this is my bible. I love love love this magazine; I would occasionally grab one of the bound years and reread it, finding again all the charm again, reminded of tips and recipes I could use.

Since that time I have looked on eBay from time to time and sighed over my lost loves, frowning over prices. The other day I hit an amazing offering nine volumes (994-2002) plus the five year index with an opening price of $40 - unheard of I tell you! I kept checking back, watching it creep up slowly. Then on Sunday I randomly checked again, there was 44 minutes left and it was up to $66. Oh hells bells, I thought, just go for it. So I did. In the end I got the lot for $92 including shipping. I am beside myself with joy. They will be here in less than 10 days.

Of course now I see a lot of 15! The opening bid is $99. Yes I am watching it because if it goes for a good price I could recoup my original winning bid and something towards this set. Yes I am crazy. Crazy but happy.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Discovering more things to love

Today I combine walking with errands again and did 5 miles; I feel it, really I do. One of the benefits of doing this combination plan is I learn more about the neighborhood, how things places connect - I am fairly visual and this is helping.

I have been charmed by neighborhoods and street names that bring to mind other places I have lived: Brooklyn, Oakwood, Cedar, Meadowbrook, South Park, Brooklyn Heights, Berkeley, Oakland, and probably others I cannot recall right now.

It amazes me how Jewish this area is - a grocery store, synagogues galore, education centers, restaurants. Given how non-religious I am it surprises me how happy this makes me. I don't think I could count how many such places I passed on my walk today. It could be that it has been eons since I lived somewhere where there was such a neighborhood or area. There is something about not feeling so alone in my tribal identity I suppose. A way I stand out less, fit in a bit more maybe.

The Shaker Lakes paths are lovely and one passes all sorts of folks walking, running, pushing strollers, walking dogs.

I want to explore the West Side Market some more. BC and I went on one of my other visits and it is amazing as well as a tad overwhelming!

We will hopefully make it to the museum soon as they have a Gauguin exhibit currently that I would love to see.

Among the other things I love more and more - BC's beautiful salt and pepper hair; The Kid's singing voice; sitting in the kitchen in the mornings reading; stretching in the "tread room" (it's where the tread machine lives); effortlessly cleaning up the kitchen together; waking up and snuggling; lots of things. It's feeling more and more like it could be home.