Life and Stuff

This week is the first time I’ve had time off from work in six months. I needed a road trip – badly.  Getting out of town in the dead of winter on limited funds left me with few options.  So what did I do?  I spent the weekend with good friends in Ottawa, a journey of almost 8 hours in single digit temperatures.  But I was rewarded with the most amazing gift – the gift of self-awareness.  It wasn’t something I was expecting or prepared to find – it just happened.

Actually, what kick-started this epiphany was, of all things, watching a documentary called, “Hungry From Change”.  It’s about the food industry and how humans are being poisoned by unhealthy food.  The difference between this and most documentaries is that this movie wasn’t somber or negative.  Rather, it was upbeat, affirming, and sympathetic towards the viewers who were struggling with the issues that were associated with food. The film maker was At one point in the movie the issue of stress was brought up.  I jokingly turned to my friend Sonja and said, “I’m not stressed.  Do you think that I’m stressed?” “yeah, I do”, she said, “and I think you’ve got some stuff going on that you haven’t dealt with.”


This is a woman who I met through her blog, but had not met in peson. I considered both she and her partner Stefan as friends, although we’d never spoken face-to-face until this past weekend. Her candor and frank response took me by surprise and left me speechless.

When the movie ended, Stefan excuse himself from the room to make dinner, leaving Sonja and myself to discuss the movie.  I enjoyed it very much; it was an eye-opening experience and a catalyst for change in my life. But there was the matter of her comments – what did she mean?  How could she know enough about me to comment on my life?  Sonja said that picked up on some clues from my Facebook page, especially from the comments I’ve made to, and about, my girlfriend.  Sonja told me that she wasn’t the woman for me, that she was temporary and she didn’t want the same things I wanted.  All of that is true – my girlfriend is temporary.  She can be a bit brash, somewhat unrefined, and the effect of her divorce from an alcoholic husband have made it difficult for her to express herself in a loving or sexual way.  And that’s not the type of woman I want. Sonja also told me that there’s stuff in my past that is keeping me from living Life the way I want to live.

All of these revelations were difficult to handle and I began to cry.  It was a good, cathartic cry that I’ve been hoping would surface for some time now. I gave myself permission to cry because that’s what I sometimes should to do.  Just like I have to allow myself to let my past go – my divorce and My Love, among many.  Just like I have to give myself permission to be happy, which I have now done. Up until now I have been putting up with stuff I don’t want in my life – books I won’t read, bad food, people who don’t challenge me to be a better person – all things that make me feel content to have around, but they don’t necessarily make me happy.  I deserve to be happy and surround myself with people and experiences that make me happy.

Especially the people – Life is too short to be with anyone who is oblivious about you. We too often attract or seek out people who are not suited to being with us. That one became the “ah-ha” moment of the visit. It’s not easy to finding someone who wants to be with us, who is excited about reconnecting after being apart from you, a person who wants to drink every last bit of your essence and you want to do the same for them – those are the people whom you want to share Life and love.  Be happy and live Life the way you want to live it. Someone will come along that wants the same things from Life as you.

In the meanwhile, discover new things.  Bring those long-lost pleasures back into your life. Play the music that makes you happy and dance,dance, dance.  Bring friends back into your life.  Have the courage to weed out the things in life that are holding you back.  They’re just things. It’s just stuff. If you have stuff in your life that’s there to give the impression you have a life, get rid of the stuff and really live life as you want.

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Thoughts From Under A Down Comforter

It’s nice to be here, nice to be back. I’ve missed putting my thoughts out there for you to read.  Let’s hope that the stay isn’t fleeting.

* * * * * *

It’s a rainy Saturday morning and a perfect day to remain tucked under a down comforter. Cold, damp, and dreary outside but soft and warm inside.  The window above my bed is open a crack, allowing me to gaze upon the droplets clinging to the screen.  I’ve got a West Coast radio station streaming on my laptop and a cup of tea steaming on the nightstand.  My God, it feels good to have words flowing from my fingers again.

My middle-aged head has been void of ideas to expound upon.  Or perhaps my mind’s eye has seen much but has lacked the desire to truly see and share here. This place has always been safe, allowing me to release my desires and fears, my frustrations and wonderful discoveries of self, and bearing my soul to the knowing or ambivalent eyes.

* * * * * *

“Love and hope and sex and dreams/still surviving on the streets/Look at me – I’ve been shattered”  Mick and Keith at their best. True story.

* * * * * *

 Arriving home from work on Thursday after enjoying the walk home on a warm October afternoon, I discovered that my car booted.  It didn’t bother me too much; all it took to relieve my frustration was a quick “Oh, Fuck!!” and I was good to go. Eventually I realized  it meant that I had to pay those nasty back parking tickets before my car could be emancipated.  Good thing it was a pay week and I had some overtime. There’s nothing like a brisk walk downtown to city hall to hand over $120 to the treasurer, to free my car from that ugly boot. It made my day complete.

* * * * * *

I’m seeing someone.  She’s nice, fun, great sense of humour, great kisser, but…..( there’s always a BUT ) but she’s temporary.  She’s not The One.  No walking off into the sunset walking hand-in-hand, no planning for the future.  I’m not looking for an out, waiting for an opportunity to run or seeing someone on the side.  I guess the reason why I’m staying is comfort – I don’t want to be alone. Is it horrible to think like this? Does it make me a bad person to consider the relationship as temporary?  I must admit I’ve had fleeting thoughts of a brown-haired cutie, but she lives in MN.  So, that’s not happening.

Posted in Discovery, Life, Ramblings, Random Thoughts, Thoughts | 3 Comments

Thoughts While Sitting In Front of a Fan

Summer has finally arrived.  The definition of summer has nothing to do with a place on a calendar or the position of the sun in the sky.  It has to do with the temperature.  Yesterday, the temperature hit 92 degrees.  92 DEGREES!  It’s great if you like the heat. I don’t like the heat.  I dislike it even more when I have to work in the heat.  Yesterday, I helped my daughter move into her new apartment  I was a day of schlepping boxes up and down stairs, angling furniture around and through the tight corners of stairwells, and seeing the minutae of her life.  Some of these things I wished I hadn’t seen, like the foreplay card game.  That easily could’ve sent me running from the room with my eyes covered.  That could’ve gone into a covered box.

I’ve started watching reruns of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” after dinner.  I enjoy any program that has good writing.  This show had great writing and was a groundbreaking show.  A young woman moves to the big city and learns to balance career with her personal life.  Only one question:  if you are single and making a life for yourself, how in hell did you afford all those clothes?  It is television, after all.

I’ve been haunting the local used book shops for summer reading treasures.  I am accumulating books for future reading. I feel like a squirrel sometimes, hoarding books instead of nuts. My foraging has turned up some good reading – “Naked” by David Sederis (the boy is on acid, I swear); “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen; “Following Through – Herbert Warren Wind on Golf”;  “The Road to Somewhere” by James Dodson, and a couple Bill Bryson books “In A Sunburnt Country” and “Neither Here Nor There”.  Next week is a vacation week for me, so I hope to put a dent in this stack of books.  They are next to my bed, screaming out for me to pick them up and begin turning pages.

I have not been in a writing mode for so long thagt it will take me awhile to get back into the groove of writing on a (semi-) regular basis.  For those who may be interested, I’m doing okay.  Really.  Like the rest of the country, I’m economically challenged at the moment and that pre-occupies my thinking at times. I still rise for work at way-too-early in the morning. I am still single, unattached by choice and in no hurry to change that.

Posted in Books, Browsing, Connected, Family, Friends, Herbert Warren Wind, Life, Me, My Daughter, Ramblings, summertime, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | 3 Comments

Too-rah loo-rah loo-rah

A week ago Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day, I observed an odd but interesting sight.  As I trudged to my car, not fully awake and tempted to crawl back into bed,  I saw a Christmas tree standing next to the trash bins.  I didn’t fully comprehend this until I returned home that afternoon.  The trash pick-up dates are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; which meant the tree, complete with a broken stand and a full complement of needles, was still there. Was it an artificial tree?  Hardly.

I pondered the tree for a moment.  All the Christmas trees that have graced my living room began shedding needles BEFORE Christmas.  What made this tree so unusual?  Then I began to contemplate its existence.   Christmas is in December and St. Patrick’s Day is in mid-March – three months apart!  Why is it here right now?

Here are the possible reasons why this tree didn’t appear until well after Yuletide:

  • The owner of the tree was a sentimental sod and wanted to prolong the Christmas season well past January.  They didn’t have the heart to pitch it out the door and left it up in the corner, stripped of its ornaments and lights.  Besides, the pine-fresh scent of the needles gave the room a rustic air.
  • The owner of the tree was a lazy bastard and didn’t want to be bothered with hauling it to the curb.  Instead, he rationalized that he would vacuum the dead needles as they collected at the base of the tree.  Once the tree was reduced to brittle and bare branches, and the weather was warmer, they could quickly removed the tree.
  • The owner of the tree stuffed down the basement stairs, where it was converted into a scratching post for the cat.  Along with the dead needles was a pile of wood shavings, which meant more work for clean-up

My vote is for #2.  Any way you look at it, the presence of the tree on a Irish holiday, was a cultural curiosity-a pagan symbol appropriated for a Christian holiday, found on the day that celebrated an Irish monk, who converted the pagan Irish to Christianity.

At least it was too cold for snakes, but not for a pint of Guinness.  Slainte!

Posted in Christmas, Holidays, Life, Reflections, Saint Patrick's Day, Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm, Thoughts | 3 Comments

New Toy

One of the best things in life is filing and receiving your tax return early.  The filing – not so much.  It’s always a huge hastle that, if you file your own taxes, leaves you wondering if you missed something.  I am cheap.  I would prefer to do my own taxes by using a IRS-recommended free site, because if there is a problem, there is an option to speak with a live body.  I don’t itemize because I don’t have assets that require me to itemize.  It’s an odd upside to divorce that makes filing income taxes simpler.

I like filing my taxes early.  I like it because I get the refund early and it’s direct-deposited into my checking account.  I got my refund on Friday.  I get a boost of energy and inner joy having that money available.  I now have options and the ability to conspicuously consume.  It made me feel normal, almost human.  When money’s tight, you have to prioritize, so it’s liberating to have expendable income.  Yes, I do intend to spend it on non-essential items.  

First,  renew my passport. I now have the ability to pick up and travel anywhere at a moment’s notice.  I feel that the options available to me have now multiplied, that if all the resoucres are in place, I can pursue my passions.  I paid a visit to the post office this morning, filed the appropriate paperwork (complete with updated photos), and  I can expect delivery in 6-8 weeks.

The second item on the list was to purchase a netbook.  I wanted something that allowed me to journal my thoughts and update my blog, and would be mobile so I wouldn’t be dependant on the library for internet.  I bought the netbook yesterday – a  Toshiba NB505 that was on sale for $279.  I did the research on my lunchhour at work, and discovered favorable reviews from users and techies alike.  The downfall to the machine is that it has only 1GB of memory (which means it’s a bit slow ), and that the keyboard is small.  Or at least smaller than my hands are used to with a regular keyboard.  The heel of my hand rests dangerously close to certain command keys, causing strange things to happen.  I love the fact that I can write when the mood strikes and that I don’t have to wait until the library opens.  ( ironically, I am writing this piece at the library.  Fortunately, I don’t have the hour time limit, so I can write for as long as the library is open. )  I can make notes, file them, and copy them into the blog when I am ready. I really look forward to using this netbook.

There isn’t a third item on the list.  Or a fourth or fifth item.  I stopped at two items because those were the only items I really wanted.  I could buy more CD’s (a very good option for the money), eat out a few times (off the Cracker Barrel after I finish), perhaps take in a movie ( I haven’t seen most of the Oscar winners.).  Who knows what I’ll do, but I do know that it won’t be for anything practical.

Posted in CD's, Choices, Life, Living, Me, Money, Movies, Passport, Possibilities, Ramblings, Reflections, Tax refund, Travel, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Hello, Dear Friend

There are people who stay with you all through your life.  They have given your life meaning and purpose.  They have been at your side and in your heart.  They are here and now,  they have been every so often, or once in a blue moon.  They have been birth-to-death, with you no matter what, and you can’t imagine life without them.  Whether they are a spouse or friend, we all have one.  I have K.

I spent the first 5 years of my life in  small Connecticut towns.  My mother is from a small Connecticut town; my dad is from a similar town in Massachusetts five miles away.  As I gained a brother and two sisters, we could have to move to a larger apartment or house.  When I was 3 years old, I lived in West Suffield, across the street from a girl with whom I’d have a life-long connection.

K and I have been close friends for most of our lives.  She mostly hung out with my sister and I was “allowed” to tag along.  She would be a constant in the summers my family would spend with my grandparents – my mother’s family.  We could be found in swimming holes, running through cow pastures, and riding in the back of my grandfather’s puke-green Chevy pick-up truck, singing “Angel of the Morning”.  She told me those were the most memorable times of her life.

A few weeks back, my mom had called me on a Saturday, asking me if it was okay if she coould give K’s mom my email address.  My mom and K’s mom graduated high school in the same class, and had stayed in contact through the years.  They would have lunch whenever my mother was in town, which the latest was a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure why she needed my permission, but I told mom to pass the address along.  A few days later, I received the first of many emails from K.

She’s had a tough life.  Once a promising artist/designer, she’s battled her share of demons; bad choices in men and the fallout of those relationships.  She teeters between confident career woman and insecure girl.  She carries the burden of single mother and sole provider, and she lost her best friend to a heart attack last fall.  Needless to say, she was in need of a friend when we reconnected.

The last time I saw K was at my wedding reception in 1987.  She still had the fresh, youthful face that has since been replaced by one affected by her hard life.  I dug out my wedding video ( I have it because my late grandparents are in the video ) to refresh my memory.  She was cute – just this side of hot – and it made me wonder why our relationship didn’t turn romantic.  I recall visiting her on a summer break from college.  We took a six-pack of beer out to the airport and sat at the end of one runway, watching the planes fly over.  I had tried to kiss her but that resulted in a most humiliating result – she laughed.  It was until last week that I learned that she had harbored a huge crush on me.

After numerous phone calls and emails, we arranged to meet.  She would come to Maine and buy me dinner if I’d show her the art museum and Winslow Homer’s studio in nearby Scarborough.  It was a no-brainer.  She stayed with me and we talked, drank, laughed and dug into the deepest parts of our being to talk about fears.  For her it was the fear of growing old and being alone;  for me it was the fear of getting sick and not having someone to care for me.  We agreed that if we were still alone by age 60, we would get together.  It was a wonderful time.

We all have the same shit.  Some of us get it all at once; others get it bit by bit.  It’s more tolerable if we have someone to share it with.  It always seems less shitty.

Posted in Big 5-Oh, Connected, Connecticut, Experiences, Feelings, Friends, Life, Love, Me, Musings, My Friend, Past, Ramblings, Reflections, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cupid, Pull Back Your Bow

I will not be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year.  I refuse to be sucked into the vortex of sappy cards, overpriced chocolates, and outrageously priced floral arrangements.  Not gonna do it!

I liked Valentine’s Day when I was in elementary school.  We would bring an empty shoebox from home and decorate it with hearts, doilies and little Cupid silhouettes.  Before the actual holiday, I remember walking to Woolworth’s to buy paper Valentine cards, to put in the decorated box of each of my classmates – even the ones I didn’t like.  These were delivered before the start of school, although most of the kids waited until a couple days before – or even the day of the Valentine party.

I remember some of the mothers coming into the classroom to help out with the party.  Cupcakes, cookies, and punch were the standard fare, with those candy hearts or other Valentine candy. It all came together in the last hour of the school day, when we would rip off the tops of the boxes.

Now that I am an adult, I appreciate those innocent times.

Posted in Browsing, Children, Holidays, Life, Love, Me, Musings, Ramblings, Reflections, Thoughts, Valentine's Day | Leave a comment