Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Existential Autumn

My sleep is definitely disturbed - although sometimes I suspect that my entire sleep pattern has changed now that I'm over fifty.  Despite AARPs marketing claim that Fifty is the New Thirty, once you cross over to this side of Fifty, you're in the old poop zone.  The only reason it's the New Thirty is that our life spans have increased and we'll all be working for another 25 or 30 years.

The leaves were changing up in Connecticut this weekend.  They'll probably be falling off the trees when I pass through the Catskills in a couple of weeks to go visit Velvet.  Family and Alumni Weekend up at Tree Hugger is in mid-October.  It's occurred to me that we're fully into the woods these days, Velvet and I.  Last year, he and I were both entering new phases of our lives:  He was going off to college and I was on my own for the very first time.  The Sondheim musical, Into the Woods, still serves as a good model and metaphor for our life situation, but this year, neither one of us is searching for a path.  We've each found a path that has taken us farther on the journey.

Although I like the idea that The Journey is The Destination, I still think there is a destination.  That destination is probably just another path for another journey - but still, you're heading somewhere, even if you don't know exactly where you're going. Yet.

Velvet is apparently doing well on his current path.  We're still waiting to see the grades from the latest round of assignments and tests, but he felt comfortable.  He's still in the springtime of his life, though, while I'm in the Autumn of mine.  My summer was taken up with parenting, therapy and healing - not necessarily in that order. Autumn will probably be more of the same except without the therapy.  I love Buzz Kill, and am grateful for our time together, but once I stopped going to therapy, it was clear that I had turned to my therapist for a parenting partner.  Buzz Kill and I cannot ever be partners, but we've developed a decent working relationship.

The trees here in New York City are mostly still green, but there's a chill in the air.  Listening to the wind in the leaves outside my window, I'm satisfied with the way things have turned out.  I can't deny, however, that even though Buzz Kill was my husband, and we will always be connected because he's the father of my child, something has always been missing from that relationship.  Relationships have life spans just like people. Buzz Kill and I had a good run, mostly, but once something has lived its life, it's over.  I have to wonder, though, if Buzz Kill and I wouldn't have one of those life long relationships if something fundamental were not missing.

Since I have a circle of life long friends, which includes a couple of life long lovers, I can conclude that I'm capable of that sort of thing.  From a safe distance, anyway.  One thing you can't escape in Autumn is thinking of Winter, and like Gillian Welch says, Time's a Relevator. 

Over time, we have revelations about Life, about ourselves and our relationships.  We become more and less relevant to those around us.

Back when Buzz Kill and I got married, I still thought that people could complete each other.  Be the missing piece that filled your soul.  Lots of people believe that, but you live and you learn that you're complete in and of yourself.  You bring your complete self into a relationship - or at least you should bring your complete self.  We often try to hide the more unattractive aspects, not only from our others but also from our own selves, out of fear.  That's just human. We're sad, pathetic creatures, after all, surrounded by beauty that we often forget to see and touch.  Now that I've taken responsibility for my own inner peace, and released that frantic clinging to patterns and people, I'm much more content and complete - but I'm yearning for The Other.

I can't tell if I'm longing to be relevant to someone in a generalized way, or if this Other I'm missing is a real person.  Naturally, there is a real person involved.  I'm just not sure if my longing for him is reality based or if it's Existential.  Fairy Tales provide a framework to look at human needs and questions.  When you're dealing with something concrete, physical needs like food and shelter, for example, the path is well traveled and clear.  You just have to make sure you don't trade your cow for magic beans.

This longing must be explained in another story.  I don't know which story I'm living right now, but it's got something to do with Surrender.  I'm pretty sure the man in question is feeling the longing too, or else he wouldn't be talking to me at all.  We've needed to be separate, and we accomplished that by fighting. We both know about fighting, but I don't think he knows about surrender.  I, on the other hand, may know too much.  The tantalizing thing about The Other is the promise of balance.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday is Magpie Day

I'm over a Black Magpie Theory today with Idealism, Pragmatism and the Midterms
Actually, I'm in Connecticut with Very Miss Mary getting ready for a tag sale tomorrow.  So far, we haven't managed to get fully dressed, but we have been out in the lounge chairs and breathing, listening to the wind rustle the changing leaves.  Nice sunbeam out there today.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Family Real Estate Drama = Another Sleepless Night

I was up in the night again.
There was no worry about Velvet, so it must have been the moon, the equinox or something else entirely.

I'm supposed to be working on a project for my parents that revolves around balancing the Karma with their former real estate agent who is a greedy liar and accomplished fraud whom I will call Lucy.

UPDATE:  Success!  I got the documents online HERE

My parents and Lucy have known each other for years because she sold them a house in Houston back in the mid 1970's.  Mother used to flip properties back then, and Lucy handled those transactions.  I don't remember her at all from when I was in high school, but I'm told she came over for coffee regularly.  Anyway, when my parents moved back to Houston, they looked her up, and she sold them the house they are living in now.

Once they got settled in, it turned out that the former owner of this house was some sort of lying jackass and Mother successfully sued him.  During the process, Lucy started dropping by for coffee again since she lives nearby.  Looking back, she may have been worried that her own bad behavior would come to light during that lawsuit, but at the time it simply seemed like she had developed some sort of affectionate nostalgia for our family.

She began inviting my parents to join her and her husband for dinner and stuff.  One Christmas when my brother, my sister and I were all in Houston, Lucy and her husband came over to my parents' for cocktails.  We were stunned by the resemblance between Lucy's loudmouthed, cigar smoking biggot of a husband and Rush Limbaugh.  She agreed with his pronouncements with such consistent ignorance that we have been calling them The Limbaughs behind their backs ever since.

About six months ago Mrs Limbaugh was over for coffee one morning when I was in Houston.  She stood in my mother's kitchen and declared that the Jews first broadcast inter-racial kissing on TV because they want to exterminate white people. I was so stunned that I could only say that I thought Jews were White People. After a brief discussion, I wound up loosing my temper and hollering at her for being completely stupid.  Later that afternoon, I went out in the front yard of my mother's house and yanked that bitch's For Sale sign right out of the ground.

No one in the family could understand why my mother gave That Woman the listing on her house when she decided to sell it over a year ago. My mother had her reasons. I can only conclude that Mother and Mrs. Limbaugh are somehow involved in a Sacred Contract, as described in the book by Carolyn Myss. Myss says that we enter into relationships with some people in our lives in order to learn specific lessons. I'm not sure what my mother is learning from this rabid cunt, but I've learned to go with the flow.

Mother has a new real estate agent now - even though it's pretty clear that nobody is buying her house any time soon. She found this new real estate agent through some local web forum and chose her because her comments suggested she was a Progressive Democrat. New Lady is thorough and detail oriented, and when she was trying to understand how it happened that my mother seemed to have overpaid for her current house, she uncovered evidence that Mrs. Limbaugh committed fraud.

Before Mother had this information, she had always known that the real estate agents in the neighborhood avoid working with Mrs L.  The thinking seems to be that Lucy is the kind of money grubbing manipulator that tarnishes the heritage in Texas of everyone selling properties.

Mother had always suspected that something had been fishy when she first bought this house, but she'd never been able to connect all the dots. After New Lady said it looked like Mrs. Limbaugh had enlisted the aid of a crooked appraiser to sell the house for substantially more per square foot than the comparable properties in the 'hood, Mother did some investigating. She finally went out for margaritas with a neighbor who had remained best friends with the woman who lived in the house mother was originally supposed to buy. The family has since moved to Arkansas. They were fixing to close on Arkansas' house when Mrs. Limbaugh threw a turd in the punch bowl. The moving van was already at my parents' home in Dallas when Mrs. L called my mother and said to put her stuff in storage because Arkansas could not move out, my parents could not take possession of the new home as arranged. Over margaritas, mother learned that when Mrs L made that fateful phone call, Arkansas had already moved. Mrs L told Arkansas that my mother had changed her mind about buying their home because her daughter didn't like the windows.

Lies, Lies, Lies.

A couple of days later, Mrs. L just happened to pick up a new listing on a more expensive house down the street. When she sold it to Mother, she was both the buying and the selling agent (Dual Agent) ergo: she could keep the whole 6% for herself instead of splitting it with another agency. My dad was sick of all this moving shit by that time and convinced my mother to buy it even though Mother always thought it was too expensive. As it happens, this disciple of Rush Limbaugh had jacked up the price and brought in a crooked real estate appraising crony of hers to seal the deal.

I'm not saying all Republicans are Crooks, but I am saying these Crooks are Republicans. Tea Bagging Republicans. The kind of shit heads who can look at the tax charts under Reagan that clearly show the tax rates were HIGHER under Reagan and continue to bitch loud and long about having a Nigger for President.

The worst part of it is that my mother knew The Limbaughs through and through before she ever gave Mrs. L the listing on her house over a year ago. But Mother felt sorry for Mrs L because her son had committed suicide. Mother believed that Mrs. L was crazy on account of her astounding grief. I continue to believe that Mrs. L is fucking toxic, but then, Mother is nicer than I am. Sometimes.

The punch line of this story is that my parents filed a complaint with the Texas Real Estate Commission about Mrs L and were told that since the apparent fraud was perpetrated over four years ago, they weren't doing a damn thing about it. The Complaint remains part of the public record, but because of the way life is in Texas, no one who is trying to find out if a real estate agent is a crook or not can access the information because the license number isn't recorded and Mrs. Limbaugh's license number is under her maiden name - or some shit like that. I'm not exactly sure what the deal is, but the result is that Mrs L is free to fuck over the public at will.

My mission, since I have agreed to accept it, is to post the documents on the internet so that the public can find the public record. It wouldn't have been any big deal if I could have just uploaded the PDF file to a Blogger Blog that I created for Mother called On My Broom, but for some reason, that isn't working. Maybe the file is too big. I don't know. So I bought a domain name from Godaddy in order to upload them straight on to a web site (conveniently named after this real estate agent. Mrs. Limbaugh already owns her name dot com. I bought her name dot org because I'm evil that way).

So I have to make this web site and I don't have a clue how to go about it. I have Websites for Dummies, so I should be able to work it out, but I feel bad because I haven't done it this week like I promised my mother I would.

I think that may be what's keeping me awake.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Holding Velvet in the Light

I was awake in the middle of the night because I'm worried about Velvet.
Not terribly worried, but he's at the moment in the semester where - based on his first two semesters - he got all fucked up. And not in a good way. If he does reasonably well on his biology test this afternoon, he will have cleared a hurdle and changed his pattern.

He's totally set up for success, but he is very anxious because so far in college, Math and Science have been a disaster. It's too bad, too, because in high school he was quite the budding scientist. I call that a teaching gap - but that's the way it is in college.

This time last year, he was apparently doing mushrooms and running around a golf course with his buddies from the dorm. This year, he is reportedly studying in the library with his big brother from the fraternity who also happens to be repeating Biology. They are both on Academic Probation and are supporting each other in their goal to improve their GPAs.

I got a call yesterday evening from his Executive Functioning Coach. She is in Syracuse this year to finish up her PhD in Inclusion Ed. She's been commuting to Big Beautiful Private for some years, and now that her own kids are situated, she's doing her own work. She's a reading specialist with 25 years as a classroom teacher for third graders (I think).

The good news is that she's determined his primary learning style is visual and that his organizational issues revolve around an inability to break big tasks into small, manageable tasks. She helped him develop a weekly planning chart that is basically an annotated To Do list, but it keeps him on task.

Velvet has never been able to understand that there can be many steps involved in accomplishing anything. For example, when he wanted to go to visit his brothers at Hookah House this summer, you'd have thought that Scotty was fixing to beam him to straight to the Hookah Living Room and he'd appear with an Xbox controller in his hand. He doesn't even think about looking at the bus schedule on the internet.

This tendency of Velvet's can certainly be partially blamed on me and Buzz Kill because we typically arranged all those details for Velvet. But part of the issue is Velvet's Executive Functioning. It would be easy to dismiss the whole thing as Teen Age Syndrome - but it's more than that. He honestly doesn't see sequences or gets fully overwhelmed by details, forgets stuff and is then embarrassed because he looks like such a dumb shit. Once that happens, the anxiety kicks in and he gets a brain freeze.

Last year, he was relying on friends to help him figure out where to get his books and supplies. That was a problem because the friends were just as discombobulated as he was. They were all on Academic Probation together by December. They were also all smoking weed and carrying on together too. This year he has his Coach and his Brothers at Hookah House.

Hopefully, the Brain Freeze will be prevented because if he chokes on this test, there's a good chance the anxiety spiral will kick in and he'll be doomed. If he gets a C, however, I predict that the success will propel him on to further success and the cocky little bastard we all know and love will be dancing up a storm at parties all over town over the weekend.

His coach called me yesterday evening to talk about all this stuff since Velvet has been under the weather lately and she was concerned his saggy health was anxiety based. It is such a blessing to have a Mom with a PhD (almost) in Inclusion Ed tuned in to your child when he's away at college and living on Bush's Baked Beans because he hasn't been able to get to the dining hall to take advantage of his damn $2800 meal plan. He went to the health center and the first thing they told him was to improve his diet PRONTO.

I'm fairly confident that he'll do absolutely fine on his test, but I still asked The Goddess to help him out. I'm not much for praying, actually. It's more like Holding Velvet in the Light - which is what the Quakers call it when they are all focusing on someone.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I am honored and delighted that somebody has finally published something I wrote. Actually, I wrote an article specially for them. It's called Math Girl and The Mermaid: Masturbation in Early Childhood and American Politics.

I'm not exactly sure what Black Magpie Theory is, or means, or if there's a point. Fairlane calls it an experiment. For the moment, I don't particularly care what it is because I'm so excited to be there. It must be like an on-line magazine because several writers contribute to the publication and there is a daily cover story. Two stories per day sometimes. Lisa from That's Why first menitioned it to me, or maybe I asked her a question about it. I can't remember exactly, but Lisa was the catalyst. Then I met Distributor Cap for cocktails. He's brilliant and handsome and told me to relax.

I feel like I finally got to sit at the table with the cool kids in the cafeteria.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Menopausal Stoners Musical Influences: Ian Dury

I was thinking about Hippies today because of a post by Phil Polizatto on World Wide Hippies. World Wide Hippies is a growing organization I learned about through Social Media. Phil Polizatto wrote a book called Hunga Dunga: The Confessions of an Unapologetic Hippie . His article on World Wide Hippies sort of said, "Hippies of the World Unite" (Come Out! Come Out! Where ever you are).

Demographically speaking, Menopausal Stoners are a teensy bit younger than Original Hippies. The draft lottery was over a few years before the boys in our class would have had to register for the Draft. We were scared shitless, but we got out of Vietnam.

We didn't die in a nuclear war, either. I was absolutely convinced that we would all die in a nuclear war especially after Ronald Regan became president. We didn't, though. We played at Existential Nihilism and listened to Punks like Ian Dury.

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, From New Boots and Panties, 1977:

Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Is all my brain and body need
Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Are very good indeed

Keep your silly ways or throw them out the window
The wisdom of your ways, I've been there and I know
Lots of other ways, what a jolly bad show
If all you ever do is business you don't like

Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Is very good indeed

Every bit of clothing ought to make you pretty
You can cut the clothing, grey is such a pity
I should wear the clothing of Mr. Walter Mitty
See my tailor, he's called Simon, I know it's going to fit

Here's a little piece of advice
You're quite welcome it is free
Don't do nothing that is cut price
You know what that'll make you be
They will try their tricky device
Trap you with the ordinary
Get your teeth into a small slice
The cake of liberty

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not in Our Name

I've been avoiding the news lately because it's been filled with colossal bullshit over 9-11. I'm sick of people and politicians around the country acting like a gigantic hole in the ground should be an eternal shrine when all the physical remains of the dead that can be recovered have been recovered. Everything else was vaporized, and even if there is some stuff left behind from somebody who is dead - the Port Authority has been working on the subway station for years and years. While I can understand that this reality is painful to anyone who lost a loved one that day - Ground Zero is now a fucking tourist attraction. I think you can even buy zippo lighters of the towers at the card tables surrounding the periphery.

Velvet could make a few bucks selling gas mask bongs to all those midwesterners flocking downtown.

I also understand that when you live in New York City, the local news sometimes takes on a national significance. Global, even, because there are a ton of people here who are citizens of other countries. Certainly, those guys who flew the planes into the towers were attacking America in general, not New Yorkers specifically - but imagine if you lived in Kansas City and a group of extremists blew up the Walmart. Or an busy highway interchange at rush hour. You could even look at Oklahoma City and that federal building. If Timothy McVeigh had been more efficient and better funded - he could have killed a shit load of people that day. Would the federal building in Oklahoma City become a pilgrimage for tourists from around the globe?

I have complete confidence that Dick Cheney and them would have found a way to occupy Afghanistan using Oklahoma City or any Walmart in the land since Dick has to get his mitts on that lithium in order to corner the market on energy sources for batteries. Iraq was nothing but bullshit from start to "finish," but we managed to occupy that country too. Apparently, Iran is a bit more of a stretch or we'd have attacked there already.

I wish everybody were making such a fuss over another city. Watching Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich circling the city for their own political gain is some shit. Add Rupert Murdoch or Rush Limbaugh and it's practically the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Clearly, Islamaphobia is necessary to secure funding for Endless War. And it looks like 9-11 is has become more a more popular battle-cry than, "Remember the Alamo." But the fact is that a congregation of Muslims wants to build a basket ball court and smoothie bar in an abandoned Burlington Coat Factory a couple of blocks away from that damn hole in the ground. In the article, War Over Ground Zero, Newsweek interviewed a mother who lost her fire fighter son on 9-11. She has a shrine to him in her home because his body was vaporized. I hope to never experience that kind of pain. She's bent out of shape about "the mosque," but she'd be bent out of shape about a Starbucks.

As Jon Stewart pointed out in Extremist Makeover, even Fox News was in favor of the project back when it was approved by the community board months ago. The feelings of the grieving were expressed and considered at that time. Stewart also pointed out that although nobody wants a terrorist cell meeting on Wall Street, nobody particularly wants one Uptown either. As I recall, the 9-11 pilots hung out in tittie bars in Florida not on Wall Street. Sarah Palin should be hanging out at a mosque in South Beach.

No matter who was behind the attacks - The Bushes and the Bin Ladens, Mossad and the Zionists, or Al Qaeda - thousands have died and billions have been spent in Endless War. Back in 2001, a group formed called Not In Our Name.

A stirring pledge, but they shut their doors in March, 2008, saying:
While some may look to the upcoming elections as an answer, many of us see no meaningful change possible as a result of the outcome. The Democrats took control of the Congress in 2006, largely based on the perception that they would end the war in Iraq. Since then, we have seen an escalation in the murderous occupation in Iraq, accompanied now with talk of a “surge” in Afghanistan and the very real threat of an attack on Iran. The Presidential candidates promise more of the same.

I thought that Not in Our Name merged with United for Peace & Justice, but I could be wrong about that. UFPJ is still active and will be joining One Nation Working Together to demand the change we voted for in Washington DC on October 2.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's Friday, Bitches

I've been pondering significant subjects lately. I always do in the fall. After I moved to New York, I learned about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but I suspect that somewhere in my Celtic soul, I already knew it was New Year. The crops may not be quite ready to harvest, but we're all turning inward as we prepare to move inside.

Yom Kippur is all about forgiveness and atoning. The Rebbe Mohammed McCrory always points out that atoning is about becoming At One. At One with G*d, if you insist on honoring that Grandpa in the Sky, but it's all about Life. Music of the Spheres stuff.

I've taken as many steps toward enlightenment as I feel like taking right now. When you're dealing with other people, you're only going to get so far before they have to start making their own choices and taking their own steps. That reality must have been what I was pondering when I remembered these guys:

At the end of the day, maybe Mike O'Connell and Dr. Ken were on to something when they made this video. Socrates may have been dead on when he said, "The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living," but a person needs to get out there and Live, and it's Friday after all.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Waiting on the Other Side

It's easy to mishear song lyrics. A well known example is Creedence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising which many of us understood to say,"There's a bathroom on the right." I misheard a Red Hot Chili Peppers song this weekend and thought they were singing Waiting on the Other Side instead of Take It on the Other Side.

The song is still stuck in my head, but I prefer my misheard version. Fortunately, the Official Video from Warner Brothers shows a fellow fighting a dragon, then fighting his shadow - so it loosely fits with what I was thinking about when I believed the song said "Waiting on the other side."

I feel like I've crossed over to a new perspective and an old friend is stuck in a rut. A couple of years ago, I pointed out to him that he was stuck. He may have moved a bit further down the rut, but he's still stuck in that same old perspective. It's a drag.

When I was reading The Power of Now, I found myself reminded of this fellow frequently because he provides a clear illustration of the kind of person who lives in either the past or the future. He can't really experience The Now. It's no criticism because that's how most people are. If you listen to someone like Marianne Williamson, who wrote A Return to Love, the fear-based orientation toward life that has dominated our culture for thousands of years is in the process of passing away. Humanity is evolving toward a more enlightened way of being as we begin to look for solutions based in love instead of fear.

I totally dig this idea, and if the only people I ever saw were my friends in real life and in blogland, then it would be easy to believe. Actually, I do believe it - it's just that I think it's going to take another millennium or two. That's when I remember that until Copernicus pointed it out, everyone believed that Earth was at the center of the universe, and that for the longest time, cave men didn't associate sex with child birth. It takes humans a while to figure out basic shit.

Marianne Williamson often mentions God. Some people have issues with the idea of an energetic source in the universe that we humans don't understand. I myself cringe occasionally at the very sound of that word, God. But really, God is just more shit we don't understand. I can't see how it damages anyone to think there's more to Life, The Universe and Everything than even the most educated humans can understand. It's zealous people who do the damage, and those very same Zealots would burn Marianne as a Witch. I guess they'd burn all of us along with the Qur'an on September 11th if they could get away with it.

I'm not worried about those assholes today. I'm thinking about my old friend who is stuck in his fear-based, angry rut. Eckhart Tolle says that way of thinking keeps people separate from each other which in turn proves that they are distinct, unique individuals. Sort of like: I hurt, therefore I am. Their ego protects them and convinces them they are real. Almost everyone is like that, but some people take steps to get outside of their own heads.

I've been working on getting outside of my own head. Raising my vibration, as the new-agers say. It's the quickest way to get to that Garden Joni Mitchell was singing about at Woodstock. And as it happens, the Beatles were saying the same thing:

In the end, it really is a simple matter of choosing between Love and Fear. Love brings us together; Fear keeps us apart. The staggering number of Haters in this world shows, however, that making a simple choice is not simple at all.

My old friend is not a teabagger or anything, but he's stuck inside a protective shell so thick it might as well be made of neutrons. There was a time when I had a protective shell, too - when the only way I could manage to stay connected with people was through anger since love was way too scary. Love makes a person open and vulnerable. I first started to understand about using anger to stay connected years ago, during therapy, when I finally saw that I experienced intimacy through anger so I set up situations with Buzz Kill that inevitably led to fights. I did it with my mother too.

When you feel basically unlovable, the whole idea of love is very threatening. You have to withdraw. If you reach out and accept the love, and let down your guard for just an instant - there's no telling what some people will do. You'll be hurt, for sure. Devastated. Annihilated. So we live well-defended lives inside our protective shells. The worst part is that nothing out of the ordinary has to happen to a person so that s/he feels unlovable. A plain old alcoholic can devastate a family without ever getting particularly violent.

Even though choosing Love is not easy, and you have to work hard sometimes get over your own ego driven bullshit, once you've made the choice, you don't go back to being fear-based for long. We all have occasional outbursts, but you're on the other side. And that's where I am right now with my friend. He's on one side, and I'm waiting on the other.

I'm not pining away or anything. Using Joni Mitchell's metaphor again, when you can be playing in the garden there's no reason to spend a lot of time trying to convince somebody to come out of the house. That's a waste of precious light. I check on him from time to time. Hoping.

Even though it turned out to have nothing to do with anything, I still like the song.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Seize the Weekend

The song Fill Your Heart (Rose/Williams) presents a guiding principal for life. This particular version by Tiny Tim may be the most culturally significant when you consider that Tiny Tim appeared regularly on The Smothers Brothers and the Smothers Brothers were among the most subversive voices of the 60s.

Once I started to absorb The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Fill Your Heart became part of my permanent play list for a spiritual workout.

Continuing the Neo-Hippie trajectory, I'm off to spend a weekend hanging out in a garden with the Rebbe Mohammed McCrory.

It may be the one of those gardens Joni was singing about.

We are stardust; We are golden

Friday, September 3, 2010

Of Tiki Men and Tiaras

The real estate broker came to the apartment yesterday. This place doesn't feel a bit like Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters when Buzz Kill is here discussing business, or when I'm packing away my treasures. The painters will be here soon, and there's minor destruction involved, so I'm keeping The Treasures safe until they're packed even more safely for the movers and carefully unwrapped in my new home. That's when this place feels like my home of seventeen years. I've only been thinking about this place as HQ for a little while. Before that, it was the marital residence.

It will be somebody else's residence soon enough - but not before Christmas. I'm glad that we'll have Christmas here. And if the place doesn't sell before Thanksgiving, we're not even going to have it on the market again until February which means I'll be here until school's out. That's actually my preference, because of Velvet and because if I finish out the school year, my health insurance is paid through the end of August. Those are practical considerations, however. In my head, I'm already in Austin.

Packing away my treasures has triggered a few bouts of tears. No prolonged crying jags. Just intense moments when I've given into the sadness of the end of our marriage and of the family as we knew it. I imagine Buzz Kill had similar feelings back when he collected his belongings and vacated the premises. It would have been different for him, though, because he felt enraged and betrayed. So did I.

It's some shit when a marriage falls apart. Now the family is in the final stages of separating, but it doesn't feel like we're breaking apart. It feels like we're exactly where we need to be.

Velvet is now a permanent resident of Syracuse. He's nowhere near "on his own," but he's learning how to make his own home. I set up his environment for him, with his collection of tiki men, his artifacts from the family trip to India and Nepal when he was ten, his XBox 360 and all his games and DVDs. He left the Monty Python collection, but he took the whole dang set of original Star Treks. And of course, his Rancor Monster. It's on the shelves behind a Tiki Tumbler that Buzz Kill got for him in Vegas just above the shelf where his hookah is stored in a handy black carrying case with yellow straps.

And yes, that is a Shiner Beer box filled with Frisbees and fireworks next to the heater. I left the radiator out of the picture because I didn't want to upset my mother, and I'll remind Velvet that it's probably a good idea to move the sparklers before the heat comes on. But somehow, it just made me feel better to leave a Shiner beer box filled with fireworks next to the radiator. If I were still in therapy, my shrink would spend twenty minutes on that foolishness. Now I know it's just my way of keeping life exciting, and besides, the place is insured - and it's all Just Stuff anyway.

Granny the Ho's Ashes and my tiara aren't Just Stuff, though, and neither are the Tiki Men and the Rancor Monster. Or favorite Christmas ornaments and books from childhood. If all your treasures disappeared in an instant, in a hurricane like Katrina, for example, the experiences attached to that Stuff would endure. Stuff is merely a physical reminder, but it's comforting and grounds you in a place.

In The Quiet Man, Maureen O'Hara was insistent about getting her dowry because she wanted her things around her when she made a home as a married woman. John Wayne didn't get it, since he was rich in The Quiet Man and could buy her all new things. And if there has been a disaster, like Katrina, and you've lost all your things - you'll live and build a new home (assuming you weren't poor and left to drown).

I'll make a new home, too. When I left Texas to make a life in New York, I held on to some relationships. Sometimes the hold was tight, sometimes loose, but the grasp was always strong and secure. Over twenty years later, those relationships are as solid as ever. They have evolved, of course, but my friends and I have maintained the connections despite geography and life changes. I'll be able to do that with some friends in New York, too, but separating is still hard.

I never meant to separate from Buzz Kill, that's a fact. I've saved a few things from our wedding in a wicker sewing basket for years and years - a photograph of him in his tux looking at the ring before the ceremony, the white kid ballet flats I only wore as a bride, and a few other trinkets. As I put that basket into the storage box, I remembered the time when I believed Buzz Kill and I would be together forever and ever. I've got no regrets, except that once we'd been together a few years, I didn't have enough faith in the marriage to have another child. That was a good choice because I'd be tied to New York and Buzz Kill even longer if we had another child - and the time for all that has passed.

Buzz Kill and I are in a good place, though. A couple of days ago, on the day the staff reported back to school, the office asked us to fill out a form with current contact information. I put Buzz Kill down as my emergency contact. For a while, just after the divorce, my two best girl friends were my emergency numbers because, truly, Buzz Kill would have been glad to shove me in front of a bus. Neither one of those friends live in New York City full time anymore, so I had to come up with a new emergency contact. Now that the feelings of rage and betrayal have passed and we've both come to an understanding of sorts, he's the best choice. He and I are not significant players in each others daily lives, but we can rely on each other when times are tough.

I suppose my mother will be my emergency number when I get to Texas, but I have to confess that I'm feeling a strong pull towards my lawyer, the Man from San Antone. The connection between us remains strong. It's not Romantic, exactly, but it's something.