Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How I wait

Another meeting, another coffee shop. This time with tea, camomile, which is nice with the rain and the cold outside and no runners opening the door inside.  There's the addicts out huddled in the rain for a smoke, but they are not sending cold gusts my way.

I drive. A lot. Outpatient therapy, groups, meetings, appointments... I'm getting better at sitting quietly waiting in coffee shops inbetween trips. I remember hearing 20years (?30years) ago that the next big hangout was going to be coffee shops, I think it was Drew Barrymore who said it, I thought that was nuts. Of course then I wasn't interested in being any place I couldn't get a drink. Ironic now.

It seems sitting here with my tea that I am still, and all the world swirls around me. I like that. There's a basketball game in the "Gymatorium", a Food Bank being set up ( I'm in a church coffee shop this time), a lively debate going on behind the fireplace, and the meeting, of course, up the stairs and behind the closed door. That's why I'm waiting this time. Tomorrow it will be the coffee shop by The Education Center, Thrusday and Friday back to Outpatient, and that's my life now.

It's not so bad, really.

oh, and the picture, this is what happens when I blog from my phone

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Dance

Last night Lizzie went to the Winter Dance at school, it was her second dance, but her first with a date.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bloody runners

Seriously, its COLD out there, wouldn't you rather be sitting at one of these tables sipping coffee instead of standing around them and constantly opening and closing the front door freezing the rest of us? In the words of my daughter Catherine who is trying to swear less, but still get her point arcross - "SHUT THE FRONT DOOR" , I'm sure you can translate. Or better yet, be home in bed, or up by a lovely fireplace? I don't get it. Of course this comes from someone who breaks boards over her head and spends 4 days a week in a grueling Hapkido school.
I woke up in a 57degree (13.5C) home, went out to a 17degree (-8C) car to drive my son in for his last (crosses fingers) detention. I love my quiet introvert time, but I would prefer to be warm and still puttering around in my pjs, coffee steaming from my newly purchased Dragon Mug. It's my year, Dragon that is, and I wanted my own commemorative (no spell check when you blog from your phone) mug.
Time to go back out in the cold and pick up my lad, the runners are gone, so I'm slightly warmer, and we can't have that. Soon I'll be in front of my own fire. That will be nice.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bedtime Buckets

An iPad is a marvelous thing.

It's portable, fun, functional, and if you are not ready to go to sleep and the book you're reading is too damn depressing, an iPad fits nicely on your lap in bed and lets you write blog posts from it. Normally I go on endlessly when I blog, but I'm tired and don't know how to add pictures yet, so this will be a brief and basic, bare bones blog about my Bucket list (sorry couldn't resist the illiteation).

I'm not sure where the term Bucket List came from, but I like the concept. Mine is small right now, in items, but it will evolve as I do; grow and shrink as I add to and accomplish from it.

So here it is, in no particular order, as of bed time, 5minutes before February 21st, 2012:

1. Do something to make the world more beautiful ( thank you Lupine Lady)
2. Spend time in: France, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia to start - see what is wonderful in every place.
3. Visit London again, stay longer, see more.
4. Live by the ocean, for as much of my remaining life as possible.
5. Swim with dolphins, more than once, and not in some cheesie tourist trap.
6. Become accomplished at horseback riding. Own my own horse.
7. Have a Gallery Show of my art.
8. Have my writing, and my poetry published.
9. Sky dive with Catherine.
10. Fall hopelessly in love.
11. Sing in front of an audience.
12. Paint on HUGE canvases in my own light filled studio.
13. See whales in the ocean, touch them.
14. Have National Geographic publish my photos in their magazine.
15. Meet David Whyte and thank him.
16. Meet Viggo Mortensen and thank him.

That's it, so far. Seems naked to post it without pictures, but I'm going to do it anyway (I'm in a brazen sort of mood).

Goodnight, Goodmorning, and Blessed Be.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

People Don't Behave, or Is There Another Adult in the House?

Runners are irritating.

Not in general, just specifically at 7am Saturday mornings at my downtown Starbucks, where a large group of them commune before heading out en mass for their morning mutual endorphin rush. They don't buy coffee, who needs it with utility belt loads of little Goo Gell bottles strapped around their Spandex bound bodies in a manner that would make Batman jealous? One by one their gang accrues, the front door constantly opening to admit yet another Spandex garbed member. My seat by the window gets a constant chilling breeze, which on it's own is not so bad, but my extra dry cappuccino in the lovely porcelain cup lightly sprinkled with chocolate is cooling at a faster rate than I would like.  This is suppose to be my morning getaway. When I have to drive my son in for his early Saturday morning detentions, something that is fast becoming a weekend tradition for us, I like to find something soothing for me to do while I wait to pick up my increasingly truant boy. Having long been on a first name basis with his guidance counselor and the school social worker, this year I am adding his Dean to my frequent call and email list.  So, when I arrive, at 7am to what is suppose to be a quiet escape in a coffee shop to mull over my overwhelming parenting responsibilities it would be nice to do so without a parade of Spandex covered backsides.

I am not, strictly speaking, a single parent, but I am the one that organizes, delivers and cares for most/all aspects of each of my three teenagers busy lives. I keep things running smoothly, but with an exponentially increasing load I have become exhausted with being the one in charge, the one who bears the brunt of their frustrations, and the one who has, bit by bit, given up chunks of my life to make sure my family is taken care of. I sound like an overwrought soccer mom. I'm not. My kid's extracurricular activities are a drop in the bucket, what is spreading me thin is the four nights a week of  three hour outpatient therapy with the 30 minute drive there and back that I take my son to, the 3 meetings a week he also goes to, the life coach and social worker appointments, the continuing dialogue with his teachers, counselors and Dean, and yes, I get him to Hapkido 2 or 3 times a week. And this does not include dealing with the defiant, difficult, manipulative and confusing behaviour at home that comes with living with a newly recovering addict. This is just one of my children. My worries for the other two would likely feature more prominently in my mind if I could manage it. As it is my oldest is becoming the stunt mom for my youngest, getting her to appointments and activities. My oldest, who is spending her first year of college at the local junior college and living at home; something I thought was a huge failure on my part, has become a lifesaver for me these last 6 very difficult months. So. Is it too much to ask, that when I find 2hours for myself, abet early on a Saturday morning when I really could use the sleep, for my sanctuary not to be overrun by endorphin junkies?  This is a place for caffeine junkies, a place where I can purchase a 500 calorie pumpkin scone and pick all the icing off while I scribble madly in my journal. The place for $200 running shoes, TMI Spandex and utility belts is the park around the corner, go there and do your pre-run cluster, and leave curmudgeonly me to my warm quite cafe.

Eventually they leave, nearly freezing me with the door held open for the mass of them to exit. They'll be back, red faced and, smug and steaming sweat from their moisture wicking active wear into my drama free coffee drinking refuge, where I have come to get away from all things annoying (read: people who do not behave the way I would like). I do not say anything as I look up sulkily from my coffee foam at the irritating  runners; they are a safer target for my frustrations. The thing that sends me running (ironic word choice) from my warm bed out into this cold morning so I could be anywhere but home, where I could be somewhere where I'm not the one who has to "mend lives", where I could have a moment before I am drawn back by their "pitiful cries" is sitting in a detention room at the school now, are at home in warm beds, is NOT here, except that I bring them with me. Like the Ghost of Christmas Present, they are the pitiful things clinging to my legs that I constantly carry. The runners have not had me out of my bed after midnight driving around in my pajamas searching, they have not dumped all their collective angst on me, they do toss thoughtless comments my way, that is why it is easier, right now, to spend my frustration on them. They are just as oblivious to the good I try to do, to how I work myself to stuporous exhaustion, that if I eat, I do it standing while accomplishing other tasks, to the fact that I am driving, always driving, just as oblivious to this as my family.

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

It was pointed out to me recently that "we carry our burdens alone, and if we are really lucky, maybe with a friend or family member". This idea has been bouncing around in my head and more and more, and I realize it is true. That I am alone in this, to wish for it to be different is to invite disappointment; expectations are just resentments waiting to happen after all. For all intents and purposes I have no extended family, and the friends I have here are busy with their own lives. This makes me sad but also relieved. If I am alone, I can stop putting on the "Happy Mask", can stop having the 30second "how are you coping conversations". I can put my head down and 'chop wood and carry water', or as it translates in my life, drive, feed, organize, counsel and "mend their lives". I hope I will be softer from this suffering, I hope this will not make me brittle with resentments from unrealistic expectations. One day this will change, everything does, and I will be changed as well. One day I will walk out on that road. One day I will be able to see the stars, to hear my own voice. One day, I hope.

 I hope. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

intolerable random ramblings of a vain wannabe

I would like to say I'm a wonderfully tolerant person, but I can't.

If that were the case I could write about intolerance from the lofty perch of one who could cast the first stone. This not being the case I will write about intolerance from my down in the gutter looking at the stars position. Naturally (ironically?) I am most intolerant of intolerance, but aren't we all? If the world would just see things my way it would be a much happier place, right? I think I am probably not the first to think this, also I think that world full of people who spend too much time on their hair, are severely directionally challenged and find anything to do with accounting horrifying would be a scary place indeed.

So let's leave my intolerance for intolerance behind, and get to what drove me to write this today. People who are able and allowed to indulge in unreasonable fears and behaviours. That sounds just a little bitchy, so let me 'splain. I have a friend who won't drive on an expressway. No big deal, except instead of taking alternate routes, this person has other people do all the driving for them. Another doesn't want to grow up, wants to stay home with their mom and never have adult responsibilities. Wouldn't that be nice? I know a few who didn't learn to drive, also fine if you live in the city and rely on public transportation. None of them do, they all expect to be driven by family and friends. Why does this make me nuts? I suspect it's because I have never been allowed to indulge in such behaviours. If I wanted to get somewhere I got myself there, I have been living completely on my own since I was 17years old, no summers at home, only brief holiday visits. I would have loved having someone take care of me, so perhaps I resent those who have managed to get others to take care of them?

Why do I want people to 'suck it up' and 'get over it', to 'grow up and wear their big girl panties'? Have the hardships in my life made me just a bit nastier? Maybe. Or maybe I was born with an innate dislike of complacency in ideas and in actions, of luxuries in thought. So am I more enlightened, or am I hopelessly locked in the cycle of Samsara, attached to my own ego and desires? More of the latter I think, my own jealousy and my infantile ego having a grand time with my psyche. My own angst rooted in my longing to have someone who wanted to take care of me. My mother had her own problems, having an unplanned child with a man who would turn out to be a less than ideal partner being one of them. Growing up with a mother who did not love her was another. In the end I think she loves as best she can, but she only knows the external appearances of love and not the agony and the ecstasy of the actual emotion. My marriage died in a large part because of my trying to mold my husband into someone he was not. He is not nurturing person, now that we have moved past most of the hurt and the resentment I can see the ways he tried to care for me, and I can also see how incapable I was at receiving it. It takes a while, but it is possible to teach a child that they are unlovable. It takes much longer to show someone that they deserve love. So I sit here today longing for someone to say "let me take care of you", and knowing that I would turn them down flat if they did.

I am jealous of wealth. I think partially because I have never known a time in my life where money wasn't a struggle, or a source of fear. I have lied to my children about why the water isn't working, or why there is no electricity. I humbled myself asking for more time to pay bills, turned down or been excluded from events with my wealthier friends. My real problem is, I think, is believing that having money immunizes you from the constant struggles of everyday living. My issue with complacency rears it's head again, I've struggled dammit, and so should you! In my head I know money does not bring happiness, and can bring the opposite. In my heart I'm still the little girl looking in at the happy family that she is not a part of.

I think I would be happy if only I had more money, if only I could get divorced, if only I had a cleaning lady (actually I think this particular 'if only' I would really enjoy...), if only I could get a divorce (why don't I? I need the health care benefits), if only I lived in my dream house by the ocean, if only I had a studio.... etc ad nauseam.  But the trick to being happy is not looking for outside things to make me happy, the way to be happy is to be happy with what I am doing, right now. Happiness, it's an inside job. The less I seek externally and the more I focus internally the happier I will become. My ego has a conniption fit at the very thought of this.

Back to my intolerance. Would I really be happy if one day the world actually aligned itself with my desires? If people actually behaved the way I wanted them to? Maybe for a week, and then I'm pretty sure I would invent new ways to be dissatisfied.   

Astrologically speaking, being a Leo and a Dragon doesn't help. I have come into this life with an innate desire to be indulged and adored. My life thus far has been a series of exercises in getting over these notions. Raising three teenagers can quickly get you over the notion that you are adored (oh how fondly I remember the days when they were little and I was perfect...). Living in a forever limbo relationship with my estranged, soon to be ex, separated (you pick) spouse and having a mother who can turn from pleasantly superficial to excruciating cruel in a heartbeat has kept me from wallowing in wanton daydreams of the good life.
I do indulge myself, and am mostly over the guilt, (yes I do dye my hair, my vanity does not include grey hair), but feel awkward and guilty when someone tries to indulge me, and sometimes I'm darn right nasty about it  ..... "thank you, I'll get it myself..." I can open my own damn doors, but secretly I want you to open them for me, poor guy can't win.
So where do I end up tolerance wise? Most days I'm pretty good; somedays I'm practically Zen like, and the occasional day I'm miserable and looking for something outside myself to blame. I generally get over that pretty quickly, so, I guess, I'm human. Just like everyone else.