Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dear Diary

I had a diary when I was a young girl, a birthday gift from my mother. It was red leather hard bound with a gold lock on the front. My mother told me that it was My Diary and she explained to me that it was a good way for me to journal my life, keep track of my ideas, pen my secrets, and record my special events.

I wrote down a few of my secret desires, nothing to outrageous, somehow I knew better. I even wrote about some of my disappointments regarding my personal, social and academic life. I wrote about some of the adventures my friends were having, the ‘coming of age’ adventures my generation did. However, intrinsically, I knew not to write about my intimate feelings or any of my personal escapades. I remember for safekeeping that I hid it on the top shelf of my closet(symbolism in it's highest form) behind an old purse, completely out of sight.

Then, one day, out of the clear blue, my mother asked me about one of my friends and whether or not it was really true that they did this or that. I knew immediately that she had gone snooping in my room, found my well-hidden diary and read it. She would have had no other way of knowing this information. I could even envision her in my minds eye picking the little gold lock. I never really trusted her after that but I never really trusted her before either. She eventually admitted reading it probably only because she knew she was busted. Somehow, that particular behavior was so representative of her true character. Sneaky.

She went through my homework assignments in the same manner, searching for what ever I wrote. If I checked out a library book she would read it after I went to bed, before I could ever finish a book, she read it. She seemed competitive about it at times. Just once, it would have been nice to read a book first. It was as if she needed to know what I read and what I wrote. Her behaviors messed with my head. She took a lot of the joy out of reading and writing for me. She was not only invasive, she was constantly critical of my endeavors.

Regardless of the violations of childhood by my mother, over the years, I have enthusiastically started numerous journals; but before too many entries, I stop writing and file the journal away on some shelf in one of my remotest bookcases, never to be written in again. I have had some beautiful journals, my favorite one was gray suede and I wrote in it for six days. A few months ago, I sat down and read a few of the entries realizing all the entries sounded so fake and so insincere. They were completely censored and it was as if I shallowly wrote them expecting someone to find them read them. To my knowledge no one ever did.

After I finished reading each one of them, I felt the divine urge to SHRED them page by page. I guess it might have been more symbolic to do some sort of ritualistic burning thing, but shredding them was enough for me. It was a cleaning out, a clearing of the past. Never one moment since I tore out the pages, one by one, and watched them be shred into little quarter inch strips have I regretted destroying them.

Ironically, when I packed up my parent's home, I found a huge box full of all my mother’s hand written journals. Unlike my skimpily written in journals she had filled each and every page, front and back, beginning to end. She lived in the country, fairly isolated and she recorded a good portion of the thirty years she lived there. When I asked her, what she wanted me to do with them and she told me she wanted me to read them after she died. She didn't say it in a very nice tone either. She has been gone for 3 years now and I still have no desire to read one word from them. I feel like she wrote them for me; and if she did, I know the words would be the same passive aggressive guilt trippy crap she used to say to me before I set boundaries and stopped listening to her. I will not shred her diaries and maybe there will come a day that I will want to know what she wrote about her own life but right now I do not want anything to do with them.

I am not sure exactly why I wrote about this particular memory. I am sure it has something to do with my blogging now. I know how important of a lesson it was for me to learn that my own mother did not trust me or respect my privacy. Her constant actions showed her true colors. She once told me she couldn't help how she was(it's just like her never to take responsibility for her actions)and then confessed that she had done so many bad and sneaky things as a teenager that she was just making sure I didn't get in the same trouble that she did. Hey...couldn't she have tried talking to me or lovingly teaching me? She was not very good at staying calm during any conversation so I guess she did what she thought was best.

Maybe it's because of how untrusted I felt while growing up that I consciously made sure that I was always respectful of any and all things that belonged to either of my sons. I always knocked before entering their rooms. I never looked though their drawers, wallets, glove compartments, book bags or the likes. Maybe that is why both of my sons have given me keys to their homes. I never want to loose their trust. Thanks, Mom for teaching me that important lesson. I just wish it had been by your good example. Your methods totally sucked.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We're All Alone

I keep trying to get back to the blogging but real life has been exhausting lately. I had a two-day garage sale but this time it was not held at my house as I moved it to a friend’s house who has a better location less than a half a block from Wal-Mart’s. We did have a lot of traffic and sold a lot of the stuff but not everything. Ace, my youngest son, packed up all the good stuff that didn’t sell and as he is going to take it to his girlfriend’s house for one of their big yard sales.

I had pretty much decided that whatever stuff remained on Saturday afternoon I would donate and start fresh with more of my mother’s estate next time. Besides, I am always weeding though my stuff and getting rid of one thing or another. I had a full truck of donations on Saturday. I felt good not having to look at some of that stuff any longer. It was also sort of sad since I knew my mother collected a lot of it and it was just another way of letting go of the past.

I just got back from Costco, which is always a major production. If my dog wasn’t out of food I would have figured out a way to put the trip off. I finished putting the things away so now it is my time to relax before making dinner or helping Tess with something.

It is getting more difficult for me to watch Tess suffering. Listening to someone cry with physical pain is something I have not become accustomed and seriously doubt I ever will. It is the most helpless feeling I have ever experienced and with each passing day, I feel more and more discouraged. Tess tries so hard to do things on her own without needing my help and sometimes I get angry that she did something that was too difficult or too much for her. If she falls down I know our life as we know it will change and I am not ready for what all that may entail. I am not in any way ready to let go. One of her hips is necrotic; the hipbone is partially missing. With all the medical problems she has, they are not sure she would benefit from surgery in the end. Both hips and both knees are causing her problems; couple that with a collapsed lumbar spine and a degenerative cervical spine with osteoarthritis plus constant nausea….whew. (NOTE- if you are reading this please do not ask or comment with HAVE YOR TRIED this or assured we have and I am pretty sure we have tried things most have never heard or thought of) The betrayal of the body is the way I put it.

Tess was once an active person, but her decline over the past three years has been a slow but steady spiral downwards. When she was younger, she even danced professionally in summerstock musicals. To watch this person I love so much decline is almost more than I can do. I know she is tired and so am I. I feel like I am living my life for both of us. She only leaves the house to go to the doctor. She needs help with everything she does. The ironic thing is that I am not the caregiver type and she is not the kind that accepts being cared for easily and, if anything, she is still trying to take care of me. It is so weird to have been in this roll for so long now.

I need change the subject here. I don’t want to get all upset or depressed because I know that won’t help our situation at all. I sometimes escape by listening to songs on youtube. Here is one that Tess and I used to dance to and brings tears to my eyes now but in a good sort of way.

Sometimes when I hear this song I just want to go back in time and remain in that place where I had everything ahead of me. My Tess would hold me while I cried about how scared I was of letting go of my life as I knew it then. I was married to a great guy, I had two small children and I was in love with Tess. I had to stop pretending that I was straight. I had been pretending way too long already. Even though the fear of making life changing decisions scared the hell out of me there was a sense of total excitment about being all that I could be and living an honest life. I had to admit to myself I was a lesbian and I had to stop living a lie. In her arms I felt safe. I had new dreams and with Tess in my life I was well on my way to realizing them. That was in 1980 which seems like a lifetime ago in some ways and then sometimes it seems like just yesterday.

Once the stories told
It can’t help but grow old
Roses do
Lovers too
So cast your season’s to the wind
We’re All Alone…

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh Well

The weather has been perfect lately drawing me outside, luring me to do a little more than take care of the few flowers I grow. When I was cleaning out the storage shed, I looked at my bike and decided it was time to get my butt on it. I finished sorting through and cleaning the shed and rode to the pet store to get some cat food for Oh Well. I had a FREE coupon for a free 3.5 bag of cat food and I was sure I could use my old backpack to hold my water and cell phone. I thought the ride would do me good.

I had not been near my bike since last year and last year I only rode a few times. What I am trying to say is that I did not realize was that I almost needed training wheels last year but eventually after I lowered the seat and could touch the ground I mastered riding straight with little traffic buzzing by me. Mostly I stayed in the bike lanes. Last year I rode blocks out of the way to just to avoid the traffic on the main streets.

Three days ago I decided that I would brave it do whatever I could using my bike. I need the exercise. I live a few blocks from the ‘downtown’ district of my mega huge city and nearly everything is within riding distance. I even rode to the local social security office to drop of some forms for Tess. Anyway. Back to the pet store.

I loved the free feeling of the breeze blowing across my arms and face. I consciously though about how much cooler it was riding the bike than it was sitting at my computer. My mind drifted and at time I enjoyed myself and relaxed into the ride. I huffed and puffed and finally I arrived at the pet store in one piece. I held my breath several times but I made it to my destination totally unscathed.

I looked around for a secure place to lock my bike but there was none to be found so I asked if I could bring it inside and park it by those huge dog cages off to the side in the front. Of course, they let me and if they had not I would have walked it through the store back to the cat food isle. Could not find the right Indoor Cat Mature Senior Sensitive stomach blend that Oh Well devours in a 3.5 lb bag. Lucky day, the Science Diet representative was there and gave me a coupon for $3.00 off the 8.5 bag since they were out of Oh Well’s blend. The bag barely fit inside my big ol’ bright red backpack but I managed to get it safely zipped in. As I picked up that now 12 lb back pack every muscle in my neck and upper back screamed NO. What was I to do? I told myself it was a beginning and I could do it.

I knew that a friend of mine had recently bicycled on the islands off the coast of Washington state, with 25 lb. full backpack, for over 250 miles. She crated her bike and flew it to Seattle, built the bike and started riding to the ferry. When we were in high school we played sports together, we were highly competitive. I increaesd the self talk and told myself 'If she could do that I could do this.' Two kids later for both of us and she is stronger than she was 40 years ago. I am at the bottom of my game with all that. My friend said she could cross biking the Washington Islands off her bucket list. I want a bucket list and I want to cross things off it.

I made it home in one piece with the cat food safely on my back. I smiled as OH Well waited patiently for me to open the bag completely so he could sneak a couple of morsels out of the open bag. Immediatley upon arrival home I iced both my neck muscles and my lower back . I did it. I met my first challenge.

What’s the long and the short of this. I need a new more comfortable backpack if I am ever going to transport anything else ever. I probably won’t run out looking for one anytime too soon but I won’t quit riding the bike, I just won’t go grocery shopping or to Wal-mart. I mentioned I rode my bike to the social security office to drop of a form. I folded the one piece of paper I needed to turn in and put it in my pocket. Less than 1 oz.

I am changing my eating habits too. I have cut sugar and carbohydrates out of my diet almost completely. I know I get some carbs just because they are everywhere. I definitely have increased the calorie burning activity lately too. I don’t jump on the scale everyday but when I did weigh myself and saw I was down a pound I celebrated by drinking a bottle of water. Patting myself on the back.

Be good to yourself.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Once upon a time my life was in order. It really was. I had files for everything and all my belongings had an assigned place. For the last 7 years things have just gone to hell in a handbag. My little piece of the world is a total reflection of good ol’ disorganized me.

Everyday I look at the stuff I have hung onto and ask myself do I still want or need to keep it. I am better than others I know, at ridding and thinning but I still hang onto stuff even if I don’t have room for it. My mother wanted to have an antique store and collected a lot of unique things. My mother died a few years ago. She had some interesting items but she also had many things that were just old and just reminder her of when she was young. She bought a lot of small, worthless, cool to look at, STUFF. My father died four years before my mother’s death and he had his collections too. Should I mention now that I am an only child? Should I mention they lived on over 30 acres and kept everything they ever laid their hands on? Sorting through that stuff by myself just about killed me. I have sold some of my parent’s collectibles. I have had at least five small estate sales.

I used to own a small bookstore and accumulated quite a few boxes of books. Books are heavy and require some care or they devalue quickly. As part of my ‘getting it back in order’ I am going through the boxes of books and making sure I still want to keep them to sell. There’s an ongoing garage sale set up in my tiny garage and if I come across something (book or otherwise) I don’t want; I take it to the ever growing garage sale.

As I whittle down my earthy processions I have been inundated with the purpose of my purchase and the realization that it is time to change the purpose. Repurposing can be such a poplar concept. Since neither of my sons want my stuff and I don’t have a big place to display it I want others to enjoy it. I want those collectors of same stuff to take it off my hands. Buy it! Give me money. If I have two of something, the second one is gone. I have little collections that I probably won’t break up but I do not need to have the mindset of keeping something “just in case”, because it was mothers, or because it might be valuable. I have come to a place in my life that I simply don’t enjoy the same stuff I that I used to. That is an important point to become aware of for me. There is too much stuff weighting me down right now.


Friday, August 15, 2008

What's age got to do with it?

One of the hats I continue to wear is that of a CAREGIVER. I take care of my life partner. Her name is Tess and we have been together for 28 years. Her health has been deteriorating for many years and as of last week her doctor told her she should be in a wheel chair all the time although she still does her best to get around with a walker. I am afraid she will fall again and I know that if she falls and gets hurt our lives will change even more than they already have. Physically Tess has several things that are wrong with her and the doctor’s have stated that they don’t think she would benefit from any surgery at the present . She had surgery in ’91 and although the surgery was considered successful it did not elevate her pain. We are too young to be going through this but we are. I see the expressions on other people’s faces when they ask our ages. They can hardly believe she is so young and going through so much pain and suffering. Age is a relative sort of thing; after all, our spirit is timeless and ageless. (That is another topic.) Even though I write we are too young I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I don’t think we are young.

It seems like yesterday, Tess and I were in school and planning our careers. We talked countless hours sharing our hopes and dreams. One of the best parts of our relationship has always been the communication. I do not think either of us is particularly easy to live with but somehow we have loved each other and ourselves enough to survive some tough events. We know loss only too well. Those hopes and dreams we used to talk about are quickly becoming faded memories and thankfully I think we did some good along the way. We worked hard in our prime and reached many of our goals both collectively and individually. This thing called life, this adventure ‘we’ were on together no longer feels like ‘we’ as I am doing nearly everything for her, Johnny (our old black Labrador retriever), and Oh Well (our adopted cat).

My sons live nearby but they both have busy lives and although they are available to me via phone anytime I only see my eldest son once a week. My youngest son lives in the same neighborhood as I do so I see him more frequently. I do my best not to burden them with my concerns. They tell me they love Tess as a mother. She has been a part of their lives since they were young, just six and three. I know it breaks their hearts to see her suffering so and the helplessness we all feel is often the worst of it. My two wonderful sons have told me it is becoming increasingly more difficult to watch Tess attempt to do the simplest of tasks and grunt with pain. Just attempting to shift her position in a chair causes her to groan and cry out.

Here’s the thing, Tess is not considered terminal. Although, daily her pain increases and no matter how much pain medication she takes it is always present we are moving forward. It is hard to watch her suffer. All of my friends tell me they could not do what I do, I get what they are saying but I have to live with myself and I cannot imagine myself not taking care of her. Life as we had planned it is not our current reality but, to quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans" although Forrest Gump also makes a good point, "Shit Happens."


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beginning Again

What’s eating me?
If you are reading this, you get it. I am overweight because I overeat. It is simple so why am I doing it and why am I making it difficult? I know what to do but for some masochistic reason I am complicating the problem, burying myself deeper in the hole becoming more and more overweight. I am quite sure that I labeled obese in many circles via medical or otherwise. I have seen the charts. My son’s are concerned about me. I worry about me. It is time I figure out what is eating me and address it so I can break this vicious cycle. I started this blog several days ago but never posted. I wanted to be genuine; I want to make it real. I have a lot going on in my life and at the top of the list is my weight gain as I know it is a creation of all of the many things on my list. This is where I sort it out, face myself, and begin again.
I am going to do it different this time. A little while ago, when I wanted to eat I was thinking about my weight. I was vacuuming and hoping my back would not begin to hurt and I was fighting the urge to take a break. Usually that is the beginning of the cycle of my overeating. Physical pain is only aspect of the cycle. I know my back hurts more because I am overweight. I planned my break so I would not run to the fridge. I drank about 32 oz of water and sat down to write this. I feel accomplished here in the moment and I know I will probably have to post again soon but at the present, it is time to get back at some much needed housework as it as this is a big day. Nothing too special I just have more to do than usual.