Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Except for the few pre-DIA years that I lived in Denver, I've always lived an hour from the airport. In California I had to confront the LA freeways, which, really, was no fun at all at any time of day, but especially trying early in the morning. Due to traffic, I often had to leave four hours early so that I could spend at least two of them sitting at a standstill at the junction of the 101 and 405 freeways. Fortunately, I haven't lived there since 1999, so I never had to add the time for TSA security checks. I imagine these days one would have to leave Ventura at midnight for a 10:00 am flight.
Anyway, Nettl is now in Bordeaux, drinking wine and eating strawberries the size of tangerines whilst I'm doing exactly what I knew I'd be doing: helping the cat adjust and trying to find some shred of a schedule for myself. The days could so easily drift into nights and back again without my noticing. Not at all bad, mind you, but I go to seed so easily, and we've had so much rain lately that I could do so in record time.
Labels: My Little Town
Friday, April 22, 2011
The good news is that Nettl leaves on Monday morning for Bordeaux, where Lauren is ending a year at university. The trip was a surprise gift from Lauren. A friend asked me if I was jealous and I said no. How could I be? Besides not being the jealous type over things like this, Nettl really deserves something fun to happen. She works hard and doesn't complain. Besides, I know she and Lauren will have a smashing time. All I want out of it is that they really enjoy this time together.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Because I make friends easily and love people, I'm always distressed when someone I've come to care about just up and disappears. Like someone I'll just call "G".
G wrote me a very sweet private message in Facebook, having seen me around both the Stevie Riks page and the Groovy Reflections page. He asked if we could become friends and I said sure. We wrote privately, mostly about music and friendship, and he friended Nettl. He was always upbeat and fun to talk to. He had a band and enjoyed sharing videos. We had similar musical tastes. In fact, we had a whole slew of things in common; every day held another surprise. The last comment I saw from him was earlier in the week when we discussed Shepherd's Pie (he's from Scotland). Today, having not heard from him in a day or two, I decided to go to his page and drop him a private message. He was nowhere to be found. He'd deactivated his account.
I'm so sad! I hope nothing's wrong, and that if he comes here and reads this he'll email me. Although we hadn't been friends for very long, I had a feeling this friendship was the real thing. I'm seriously hoping that this is a screw-up on Facebook's part and that he'll reactivate account. Whatever your reason for leaving, G, know that I'm still your friend and am here if you need me.
Friday, April 15, 2011
If you go into this book wanting to get the “scoop” on Clapton’s life, including what it was like to be upstaged in 1966 by then unknown Jimi Hendrix or how he “stole” Pattie Boyd from George Harrison, then you’ll probably be disappointed. He does discuss these things, but not as a biographer would. Instead, Clapton makes a point to lay both the praise and the blame for his deeds and misdeeds squarely at his own feet, not an easy thing for a recovering addict or a major celebrity to do.
This book is more a purging of Clapton’s personal demons than it is an expose like Boyd’s Wonderful Tonight, and for that I’m glad. It is no small feat to confess your sins before the world without coming off as either pathetic or self-flagellating. Clapton tells his story honestly, revealing a great deal of grace—even humility—which couldn’t have been easy considering his stature and personality.
Clapton dedicates most of his book to portraying himself as a self-absorbed, over-indulgent misogynist. He redeems himself, however, in the final chapters. He is able to put the tragic death of his son into perspective. He overcomes addiction to drugs and alcohol. He takes personal accountability seriously. He finds the love of a good woman. He begins a new family. He discovers fly fishing. He founds the Crossroads Center in Antigua, which assists families dealing with substance addiction. He admits that he has a long way to go.
Not only did I learn all I need to know (and from the master himself), I came to respect Eric Clapton for more than the great guitarist he is; I closed his book filled with deep respect and great compassion for him as a human being.
The book is well and candidly written. Clapton faces himself and all of his inner demons with courage as he pins himself and his life under that penetrating gaze of his. Throughout the book he is a gentleman; while he treats himself and his past actions with his relatively newfound, unflinching standards, he handles the people in his past with dignity and forgiveness. I sense that he has forgiven himself as well.
What impressed me about this book is that Clapton finally “got it” at all. He’s been clean for over twenty years—he made it through and is alive to tell about it. This alone makes it more valuable a read than just another rock star expose.
Available at Amazon.com
Like the birth and death of anything, the leading up to these crisis points is always harder than the actual passing through. I have a deep need for security, something I've really never known since getting out on my own, and I had to finally realize that security, like control, is only an illusion. It's something we set up for ourselves, but in the end what is it really? We take nothing with us when we leave here.
The past ten years have been arduous, financially. I've been living in white-knuckled fear all this time: where is the next meal coming from? Will the utilities be turned off? (Here, because all the utilities are provided by the City, if one gets shut off, they all get shut off. Don't you love monopolies?) The one security we have is our home, but even then, we rent, not own, and the landlord could decide to sell the house, or take his pastor's sermon to heart one Sunday and decide he doesn't want to rent to a couple of "perverts". Such is life in the Bible Belt. There's no reason to believe this will ever happen, though, because during our last phone conversation he said, "You two are outstanding", meaning, we always pay the rent on time. We might not have anything left over for food, but we have a roof, and that's more important than anything, in my opinion.
I finally hit bottom on Wednesday. There was nothing in the kitchen. Lynette went to work without breakfast and she came home at noon and had nothing for lunch. Dinner was going to be even more nothing. I hadn't eaten in two days, outside of three stale crackers. I found a bag of rice in the pantry—there was about 1/3 of a cup of rice in it—but when I opened it I saw that pantry moths had nested in there. I didn't care. I was hungry. I rinsed it really well thinking, "Well, maybe if the rinsing and boiling doesn't take care of the eggs, I'll at least be getting some protein." I was serious. As I ate it, I read a post in Facebook in which a very deserving friend said she'd really enjoyed having Chinese food for lunch, and there I was eating mothy rice.
I hit bottom. I just began sobbing, and I'm not a crier. I cried for my family, I cried for myself, for my lost dreams, for seeing nothing before me but a poverty-stricken old age, possibly homelessness. I cried for my son and what will happen to him when I'm gone. I cried about feeling abandoned by my parents who hadn't planned for their deaths. I cried about Nettl's family, who have millions, but who don't help because they disapprove of us. I cried about the world's current economic crisis. I just cried and cried. I wrote in my journal:
"Everything is dry. Dry as dirt. We're in a drought, so our neighborhood which is usually green in April is brown. The sky is dry, the ground is dry, the windy air is dry, the bank is dry... my life is dry, dry. I need a deluge."Later in the afternoon one of Nettl's old college friends dropped by and, as I sat trying to feel up to entertaining and doing my best to be a good host with nothing to offer but some iced tea, we talked. I didn't know why she'd driven all the way up from the Oklahoma City; Nettl wouldn't be home for an hour. At last, she haltingly told me that she'd gone through her kitchen and had packed one-half of all she had and that it was out in her car; could I help her to carry it in?
The dear woman had not only brought bread, milk, eggs, meat, nuts, and produce, she'd also packed a cooler with a 24-pack of beer and also had two small boxes of wine. "Ya gotta have beer and wine," she said. Not fifteen minutes later Ville walked in the kitchen door and asked if she could talk to me. Some of our friends had pooled together to give us what we needed to buy some groceries. Again, the tears came, this time for an entirely different reason. I made burritos for dinner and we all went to bed with full, happy tummies and hearts.
We have the most wonderful friends in the world, and I mean that quite literally. We've always had a policy that we help each other when we can, that what goes around comes around. We don't count sheets, as the saying goes; we don't keep score. We are a family, a tribe, and the the needs of the many never outweigh the needs of the one. We know we're only as strong as a unit as we are as individuals. When we are in a position that we can help others in our circle, we will. I am so very blessed. And today it is raining, as if a shift of some kind has taken place. I feel it.
In searching the web for the benefits of hitting bottom, I found a list at Powered By Intuition (a blog that I intend to visit again) and trimmed it down to suit my situation and what I've either learned or am learning from it:
- You get to start over – the sky is the limit.
- You can walk away from the things you never really liked doing in the first place.
- It may entail reducing possessions, which makes you feel so much freer anyway.
- You get to downsize your life – and your overhead.
- The money you do make will go much farther.
- Life feels a bit simpler.
- You will see the beauty in "less is more".
- After the fall, you will really value the people who supported you through tough times. The fair weather friends will be long gone.
- You can make a very real distinction, based on having been to hell and back, about what’s truly important in life after all.
- It gives you time to write that book.
- The more distance you put between yourself and your old life the clearer your mind becomes.
- The time may be ripe to start your own business.
- Without the constant yoke of the rat race you’re finally able to hear the voice of your intuition.
- You wake up excited about the possibilities before you.
- Your life feels like a blank canvas.
- You get to build more confidence in yourself as you take new steps in new ventures.
- You stretch and grow in ways you never thought you would.
- You find out you like change, and you love challenge too.
- You realize your old life was weighing you down and reigning in your talents.
- You can be a totally new person – the one you only dreamed of becoming.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
My Hashimoto's disease has forced me to learn not to get overly excited about anything. Adrenaline, whether created from positive or negative stimuli, really messes me up. Some things are worth throwing common sense to the wind over, however, and some aren't. Parties, for instance, are. When I throw one, I know in advance that the excitement alone (never mind the wine) will put me on my ass for a couple of days. That's okay. I refuse to go through life avoiding the highs simply because I dread the lows. Sod that. What threw me into tailspin was that on Friday morning, the last of my Levoxthyroxine ran out. For some reason there was a lapse (I receive the scrip through the mail) and I went the week without my meds. And anyone with Hashimoto's knows that not having the meds is like a diabetic not having insulin. It's even fatal; coma and death will happen in time.
But they came yesterday and this morning I woke up not feeling like a vicious hell beast had eaten my brain. I've learned how to flow with things though, at least better than I used to do. I stayed calm and allowed myself to rest. I watched a lot of Netflix. I looked out the window and watched the weather shift. I allowed myself to be nurtured by the cat. I didn't worry about laundry, cooking, or vacuuming after the party. Nettl used Reiki on me. I laid low and allowed my body to do what it needed to do. This was a big step for me, I who have always been kinetic and over-achieving. It was good. The world didn't fall apart without me.
But now that's all over and I have things to do. I missed writing the most and I have plans of spending the weekend catching up.
Hope your weekend is good!
Thursday, April 7, 2011
70° 21' N., 31° 02' E
Vardø is the easternmost town in Norway. The port of Vardø, on the Barents Sea, remains ice-free year round due to the effect of the warm North Atlantic drift. Vardø is usually referred to as Norway's only mainland town in the Arctic climate zone, although this is not strictly correct since the town is in fact located on an island about 1 mile off the northeastern coast of the Varanger Peninsula. In July, the average temperature is 48 °F, while the January average is a modest 23 °F.
John Norum, from the Metal group, Dokken.
Farewell Vardø, and thanks for letting me drop in!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Spontaneous get-togethers are best, don't you think? There's no time for false expectations and, often, people's moods attune to each other much quicker than if they have time to get in the spirit. Our party came complete with silly songs, laughter, jokes, people spending the night sleeping on the couch and under the table, and spending the next day hanging out, napping, and eating leftover party fare.
With that wild hair sufficiently pulled, I can now get back to Book Two and finish the first draft. Thanks to my Bohemites for making the party a genuine schnozzwangler to remember.