Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"vacation" or the problem with making ones life so small

First of all it was cold, winter coat cold in Florida. By the time it warmed up two days later, I was in pain. Sometimes acute pain, more of the time, mild pain, but constant pain. A stomache, I mean a stomach ache, oh is that one word afterall, stomachache. Anyway, and either way, it was not fun. Waves of nausea, stomach cramping, thinking a mass exodus was about to happen one way or the other, but nothing ever did, which in retrospect having been me for awhile now, I should have known (I don't do those things). I finally realized I was not sick, or about to get sick, this was just me on vacation. A pack of crackers were good for a nice stabbing pain. It was a great time, I was afraid of food. I didn't eat much, and the pain settled into a milder small blunt toothpick kind of jabbing. My husband made fun of me, said he couldn't take me anywhere, that I'm not a traveler, "you just can't handle it" "I'll never be able to take you out of the states". Yeah, that's right, don't just let me be here in pain, with whatever peace I can muster, go on about how you'll never take me anywhere, that will make me feel better, nice, real nice. The other women, by the end of the trip, also had troubles. My Mom came down with a cold, and my sister in law, did indeed have stomach problems one day which included running trips to the bathroom. So my only possible come back to my husband was well I just feel sick, these other women actually are sick.

I try to go on trips prepared. I had with me, my bottled water. I don't drink bottled water at home, but I have to whenever we go on a trip that involves multiple states or I definitely get sick. (mabye this time my body missed our contaminated well water?). I had my fuji apples. Puffin bars. I had my chlorox wipes. I had my flushable wipes. I had my tissues with aloe and lotion, and I had my charmin with lotion too. For sleeping I have my vanilla chapstick and vics, my tissues and bottled water, and a book, all by my side (I feel like the allergy guy from Sleepless in Seatle). I had my pillow, and I had my sheets, and my slippers so my feet wouldn't touch the floor at night when I was all clean. So of course my husband who uses none of this stuff, sleeps right on the bed, uses the place's pillow, walks directly on the floor, who laughs when I rub down all the fixtures, etc., with the wipes, had a good time about this, "you take all these precautions and don't do well, I take none and am fine". I shrugged my shoulders and said, "you know it is silly to do all this other stuff and still use their towels, I've been thinking, maybe I will pack towels next time". He shook his head. Well at any rate, I should bring a small fan, or white noise machine, the sicker and more tired I was, the meaner I got to those who snore. Some nights I was too miserable to get up and gently nudge people (Husband and Son were on other bed, because they didn't want to be near mean sick Tiffany, and because they just weren't washed and clean enough to touch my sheets. For fun my son would poke my bed with his finger, and then laugh when I carried on), so I took to moaning/growling, which worked at first, but then they got used to it, and just slept solidly through it, finally I just gave way to,"WHO IS SNORING!! STOP THAT! TURN OVER! RIGHT NOW!" which did work quite well, but you know, makes one feel a bit like a bitch. At home I still have the fan up, right by my bed, and I reach out and turn it on when my husband snores, or breathes heavy (I can't stand that either, makes me feel like I am about to have a panic attack), it has been a very good solution. We both get to sleep. Not so much the case on this last trip though.

My son announced that I should just pack all my food next time, or pick stuff up in the local grocery store, and my husband agreed. I don't get sick every year when we go to the shore, we shop there and mostly eat in. So that is our theory, I wasn't sick, hadn't eaten anything bad, but I sure felt sick, but it was merely because I was eating stuff I wasn't used to, and was off my normal eating schedule. Incredibly pathetic, I hadn't realized I had made my world so small, but apparently I do eat the same things week after week, and I eat at the same times everyday, we go out to eat maybe twice a month and when we do we eat at the same places over and over again. (my life- home, son's school, Wegmans, Target, Barnes&Nobel, watching TV, reading books. Yearly-a week in O.C.N.J, I go to a used book sale, I see a movie in a movie theatre. On occasion-Red Robins,carrabas. Rarely but looked forward to-baja fresh, Trader Joes, rented movies. Spring and summer- go to gardening centers, work in garden. Yeah that's it. And the thing of it is, I like it that way. I would like to add on some travel, there are plenty of places I would like to see, but I wonder if I would just feel sick the whole time anyway, which brings us back to... )

I also think I was dehydrated, based on the killer headache, pulsing, and throbbing, I had on the way down in the car, which makes sense, I mean, 18 plus hours of driving in the car, I was plenty thirsty, but the water bottle was not my friend, not when I had no idea of when we would stop at cracker barrel again (their bathrooms are pretty good). The best part of the drive this trip was the Harry Potter and the half blood prince, audio book CD I took out of the library.

Even if I hadn't had the stomach pain, I have to admit I am not a fun person. My favorite day was the last full day, when I ditched everyone at the magic kingdom and took a boat ride over to the polynesian, sat on the lounge chair, listened to the birds, and the kids play, and watched the boats. I like the sea turtles, and the jellyfish (the living seas aquarium), I like the birds ( bird walk- the animal kingdom, aviary), I like the flowers, plants, bees (landscaping-everywhere), I like taking a slow boat ride, and I like sitting somewhere outside reading a book, a like listening to birds, and kids if it is soft happy sounds, not loud sharp screaming inches from me, huge groups in mass. I do enjoy the 3D shows, and I like fireworks, and the light parade, but other than that, I am just not an amuesment park sort of person (I don't like rides, and I certainly don't like standing in line to go on a ride, I don't wish to go on, and I don't care for shows), and the things that I do like to do, I don't like to feel hurried while doing, I want to stay for a long time and watch the birds, and the fruit bats/flying foxes are neat too, I don't want to rush through and on to the next thing (the next thing that I don't wish to see), I feel this is why I am here, not for the rides. I finally sent everyone on ahead when I was in Japan at epcot, I felt so pressured, I knew they were all done, and I wasn't. I found this really sweet blue bowl with white bunnies on it, it impressed me as Mikiyoshi's childhood bowl. It was the first time I had felt the story close around me again, and I was silent listening, it felt weird to go on and join the others (the bowl had made me really sad, it represented to me, what was lost, in the story, an inoccence, his, and the loss of his childhood, and though the family wanted to know what I had bought, I didn't wish to show it to them, I felt on the verge of tears, and wasn't in the mood to try and explain crazy). I like going about the parks alone, doing just what I feel like, and leaving when things are too crowded and noisy. My husband agreed that I should just have a one day hopper pass next time we go. What I would really like would be to spend most of the time reading sitting outside near water. I would also really like to pick a day or two and go to any local aquariums, aviaries, and botanical gardens, but I doubt that will ever happen.

Truly I prefer a beach vacation. The sun, the sand, the ocean, sitting on a beach chair reading, walking along the waters edge, looking for shells, and marine life, riding a wave or two till I smash hard against the sandy shelled bottom and decide "well, that's enough of that" and only get wet up to my ankles for the rest of the week. Riding one of those beach cruiser bikes down the boardwalk in the morning, and all around during the day. Walking the boards at night, listening to all the sounds (arcade, amuesment rides, seagulls, people, the sounds of bikes, feet, strollers on the boards), and the way the air is scented with sea, and frenchfries, suntan lotion, and wet wood. reading a book on a boardwalk bench while my husband and son ride the rides, staring up at the moon, listening to the waves in the darkness as we walk back to our place, falling asleep in bed while reading and daydreaming. Even though each year is different, we have stayed at different places here over the years, and with different people (my grandparents who used to bring me, have died, and now my brother has a different tradition with his family), my life has changed (I bring my own child now) and over the years some stores and shops have changed, but each year is added on to this strand of continuity, I am the same, deep inside I feel the same, and it feels the same to be here, it feels like home (O.C.N.J). I would love to go to other beaches, other places, despite the fact that I don't travel well, I do love to travel, and see new things, and explore, but in addition to, not instead of, my traditional beach vacation. So I like a beach vacation, and I like this beach vacation best.

Having done both my summer beach vacation this year, and this last trip to Florida with other people, I have observed-
My husband and son are used to me, and therefore I don't notice how unsocial I am, unless/until other people are thrown into the mix. Some people actually talk quite a bit while sitting on the beach. And they play cards at night. And they go out to eat in restaurants (we go to Mack and Manco, and get take out from Pucinni, and will go to a fish taco place to see if it is any good) but mostly we eat in, and I prefer it that way. It is a little bit concerning, I like other people, but, I do not like making these adjustments, I don't get to read, I don't get to sit and think, I don't get to listen, in a general way to everything, and to nothing in particular. Doing what other people consider to be fun, takes all the fun out of my vacation for me. My mom seemes inspired to try and make me do things, well what about this, what about that, when all I really want is to be left alone. Having people around whom I care about but not having to be around these people a lot, that is appealing to me, but you just can't come out and say that, though with my husband and son, I am afraid I get closer to it then I should ("I do love you, but can't you be quiet now?" " Please, please, please shut-up" "don't tell me anymore about it, I don't understand it, and I don't want to"). I think it is odd for a 37 year old woman to not really have friends (a few hold overs from earlier times, who I talk to several times a year and that is it), but of course when I think it through, why don't I have friends, the answer is quite clear, and another question comes to mind in its place, how on earth did I manage to get anyone to marry me, and I actually have a kid, hmm, quite amazing. Hard bargain, I believe, I have over-analyzed it enough to know why one like me would get married, but I don't know why he would marry someone like me (?). I am grateful for my son (though afraid to have another one, because I am the way I am, and anti-social), but having him let me know that there isn't a limit to the emotions that I can feel (not in range, not in depth). I might not function in the same way that those around me seem to do, but I am not broken, just different.

I don't know how I got here (to this topic) from there. I guess it all falls under, the small way I live my life, and what I like about that, and what are the drawbacks, or my concerns. And I am trying to figure out how to do extended family vacations in the future (as people seem to want to do this, and it is good for my son), and also how not to feel sick when traveling (because I want to travel). And on the one hand I am thinking that I am just too high maintenance, and on the other, isn't wanting to be left alone, an easy thing. And I guess I get confused because my idea of fun does not mesh with other peoples (at least not the ones around me). (but I don't want to change, I just want to not feel bad or guilty about being how I am. And I don't want them to mind either.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Harry Potter

I am nervous about the 7th book. I am so excited to know I will be reading it in July, will be the last one, when I turn the last page, there will be no more story about it to be told. ( I will hardly be alone in my saddness) It will be over. Also what if something horrible happens, as it surely will. I am still not over Dumbledor (sp?). I thought I would have re-read the 6th book by now, but I am not anxious to re-make that journey, knowing all to well where it is going. I will have to read it again before July. Before the 6th book came out, I re-read all the others, I started in about February and I am not a quick reader so I was going crazy trying to get them all done before the 6th one came out in July, I think it was the 16th. I am glad we know this one will come out 24th, or so, so we wont take our vacation that week. The 6th came out day of vacation, we were up at 1am driving around till we found a copy, we were so tired when we left to drive to shore, my Mom let us pick up her copy for her and take it with us, we had three books, one for each of us, and that whole trip was a blur, my Husband was done first, and he was such a pain almost telling me stuff, and saying this and that "oh but it doesn't effect the plotline". (shut up) I want to find out myself. We spent much of our trip reading the book, talking about what might happen, what did happen, what probably will happen, what we hope doesn't happen. This time around I want to separate the shore and Harry.

My 14 yr old cousin who died in December really liked the Harry Potter series. My Mom, (her aunt), got us all started on it. (not traditionally an avid reader I am unsure of how she happened to be reading it. But once hooked she went after the rest of us full force and wouldn't stop till we were all as hooked on it as she was/is) So it is my Mom, my aunt, grandmother, my aunt's two youngest (I think her older two too), and me, my husband and my son, we all read them. When I think about the book coming out, I think about how my cousin wont be reading it with us, how we wont get to talk about it with her. I wonder if there is such a place as heaven, and if when you are there if you want to know something, a story perhaps, if you can still read it, or know it? I suppose some would say if there is such a place as heaven, then when you are there, you wouldn't care about how a story ends, or the next chapter, but I don't know I really think that I still would. I will still want to hear stories, and know what comes next, of both the real characters from my life, and the ones from the books I read, and maybe even the shows that I have watched. I will praise God, and be grateful, I will sit under the tree, I will sing to the flowers, then they will sing to me, then someone will please tell me what has happened on Grey's Anatomy. (maybe if you can't watch it, or just know it, maybe then that is a way to meet new souls in heaven, there would be groups, sort of like in the bloggosphere, and the newly arrived from earth who watched the show, would give an update, and then join the group, and then the next week newbies would arrive and tell about that episode. Okay, so that is totally ridiculous, but now at least I am amused by silliness rather than being sad over loss)

The sun has been shining lately thank goodness, it really does make a difference, seeing the light reflected off of everything.

Romantic movies and cell phones

In spirit of upcoming Valentines Day, I'm wondering how cell phones effect romantic movie plotlines. You know, the big dramatic scene, the race to the bus,train station, airport, to reach them, to tell him/her before he or she gets on that transportation the equivalent of being lost to us, gone forever. All the misunderstandings, and tense moments, possibly solved by ring ring, calling them wherever they are and saying, I'm sorry and I love you, blah blah blah.. I guess you still could do those scenes though, my cell phone is always running out of batteries just when I need it (and thus I have been known to carry it around in my purse, but to only turn it on, when I want to make a phone call. This has been known to irritate people trying to call me), and if you are really mad/upset with someone and devastated by something they have done, I suppose you wouldn't answer your phone when they called you. That still does leave the option for them to text message their butts off though, the lead would have to be stubborn enough, and strong willed enough not to read it, or maybe would read it but just not believe them, but then why would they believe them in person either? Those run to catch them at the altar before they get married scenes could still work, no one tucks (well I hope not anyway) a cell phone into her wedding gown. And hospitals, and once you are on the plane, there are cell phone restrictions.
Most of my favorite plotlines concern misunderstandings (not those running scenes), or mis-reading the other person, certainly modern technologies allow for plenty of those still.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

a cool thing about writing, real, or wannabe like me

is the extra layer added to things. If I see something from one of my stories out in the world I get so excited. It can be someone in similar circumstances, that responds in a way much like my character, and then I know it is true, real, valid, the way the story goes. It can even just be stuff. The bowl of oranges, from Fresh Oranges. Finally finding fine wooden boxes, out in the real world, like the ones used in Echo. I get a thrill, a leap in my chest, everytime I see a group of birds taking flight. I see the white birds flying in the Medium (TV show) ad, something inside me goes "that's it, that's it!!" it reminds me of a scene in Echo. And it is a little nutty how happy that makes me. So it is cool, this dailogue with the universe (real or imagined), seeing things differently then yesterday, as the symbolism of my inner life develops and finds an echo in the outer world.

There was this idea that came to me for Fresh Oranges, food, recipes wanted to be involved in the story. I know there are books like this, books about Italy and France,or the south, etc, books with a certain wonderful sumptous tone. My story however is not at all like that, and that inner editor, kept saying no way, trash it, no good, you can't have it, it wont work, doesn't make sense. "Why would a book about this subject have that in it?". But, I kept on feeling drawn to the idea, even while I was bashing it, and about a year later, while doing research for Echo in library, I stumbled across a factual book about food, and recipes, and the topic involved in my story (all together), and I was excited (though the topic is somber), it was true, it was valid not some weird notion I had taken to and was trying to impose on the story. I then felt free to give it full expression, it had a proper place and meaning in the story, once I found something that said it was ok, made sense, I felt it fully and what it really meant, and what it added, and how it needed to be there, and "how could I have ever doubted it?". It wasn't silly, and frivolous, it was beautiful and meaningful (or would be if I could write it right).

I have a tendency to doubt the ideas that just float in and seem to want to be (I don't always understand them at first), but lately I am finding that since down the road, they turn out to be true and important, and add so much to the stories, that I am trying to be less critical of these ideas when they first come, so that I can stop wasting my time fighting them, and spend more time developing them.

My new thing is looking for items in the outside world to put in my house that remind me of the stories. Both as visual cues to remind me of what I want to be working toward, and also as an echo of my inner stories/life, just to surround myself with them. I really like it. Oh I'm not spending much (mostly because I can't afford it, anyway), hard to find things just right, just sort of bringing in some ideas, and being open to seeing, and finding things. Two pink peonies that are in a story and represent a character. Cherry blossom wreaths for the front door (so beautiful, delicate, so quickly gone life). I am on the look out for white rabbits, and lucky cats. I started doing this, this fall, when I l found boxes to decorate (can't afford the kind in book), to try and create the ones in Echo. My Husband was upset about this, said I was procrastinating doing the actual writing, I can't really deny that, but I love having them, I have two. I went through my old magazines in storage in basement to find pictures (mostly Victoria magazine), I found one with two statues, looking greenish blue, and put them on the little box. Two weeks later while working on the bigger box, I found this statue again bigger, and with notation, and was happy to discover that it was characters from The Secret Garden. Which made it perfect, exactly right that it should be on the little box, as the story without initial intention to do so, pays a certain homage to The Secret Garden. I like that, the serendipity of writing. Coincidences collide, hope resides. In this I find gifts. I find them regardless of whether the writing is ultimately any good, the gift is in the process, in the moment. Finding things that have extra meaning to me. The dialogue real or imagined between my inner world and the universe (world around me). a Connectedness.

Friday, February 2, 2007

a comma in the sky

My Family (Mom, Grandmother, Husband) are always telling me, that my son should see me as smart, that I shouldn't let him think otherwise, (because he makes fun of me). I don't know how in the world I could ever pull that off? One day while I was making dinner, he decided to ask me dates concerning Christopher Columbus. I said I don't know, something about rhyming with blue. I always say things to him like," hey lets look it up in the dictionary, google it, wikipedia it!". I used to keep a dictionary in the car for just such occasions. He loved to ask me questions while I drove him to school in the morning, questions about lead and steel, and iron, and what is made out of what and what is harder. Asking about protons and electrons, and different kinds of rays. I don't know!! Saddly, now his thoughts are so full of video games, he no longer torments me with questions I don't know the answers to, now he just lists all the different types of this and that there are (pinatas, pokeman, versions of sonic) , and how many different ways you can get to all the different levels, and how you do this, and how you do that, and this evolves into that, and this costs that much. It is really rather sad, he would have done so well with smart parents.

About two years back he came home from school and was quizing me about parallelagrams (sp? I have no idea), and would define them and then ask me to say the name.( ???) He would give me clues, with his help I did manage to get some of them ( he thought it was all so funny) finally he is doing the last one, and he is doing charades to help me, sounds like- running in place, then he is a plane to another country (Run- Rome)- then he is on a bus, so I scream out "Busrom!" Peels of laughter ensued "Rombus! Mom, rombus". I don't think I ever heard of it (seriously he could make stuff up and I wouldn't know the difference). This child, I couldn't possibly convince this child I was smart, this child who hearing my frustration that when I type buddism it keeps getting underlined for being spelled wrong, says "mom you need an h in there, it isn't flowers".

I tried to explain something to him in math ( I usally don't because I usually can't, but this I actually knew) and he burst into tears, saying "I have never been so insulted never in all my life, that you, you would think that you could actually help me, you must really think I am an idiot. You're calling me an idiot". (no, I thought, you are calling me an idiot. And I would have liked to retaliate, but he was just bawling so much, what could I say but, "no, dear I'm not").

I can at times be helpful in reading and english. Why just last night I was going over something he had written, and I found an error with the word youre. I said to him, "it is you are, it is missing something, you know one of those things, you know...., a comma in the sky". Laughter met me again "An apostrophe, Mom, do you mean an apostrophe? Ha ha ha, Mom, you really can't remember what anything is called can you?". No, not so much.

It has become a bit of a joke that I can't remember things. How could I keep him from knowing I can't remember things? He knows allright, all I can do is make light of it, and then he makes sport of it. Which brings us to brain hamsters. Several years back, I found it necessary to explain to my son, that I am not dumb, no, and all that information, is most likely still in my head, somewhere, it is just that I don't have access to it. My brian, I said is like a great big warehouse, with lots of filing cabinets, and the whole thing is run by hamsters. The information is all in there but it is hard to retrieve it, the hamsters just aren't that reliabe. Say, I want to know what something is called, the request goes up, and echoes through that expansive warehouse, and then the hamsters respond, one of the hamsters is very sleepy, and usually sleeps right through the request "what? ooh, zzz", another one is very lazy and grumpy and doesn't see why this bit of information is necessary "who cares, whatever, you don't need to know" "why can't one of the other two go get it, why is it always me?", the third hamster's name is Tippy, Tippy is hyper, and nervous, and not so bright, Tippy "I'll get it, I'll get it. Is it up here? Under here? (lifts up own foot to look under it) Is that my tail, or your tale? Do you hear music?". Tippy spends a lot of time running around in circles, gets easily distracted "what is this? what is that? where am I going? Did you say it was Tuesday?" and Tippy chews on the files, and bits of information is lost, crumpled, full of holes. Tippy puts things in the wrong drawers, and I often get a bit of this mixed up with that. So now when I can't think of something, I don't wait for what Tippy is going to bring me, after a seconds thought with nothing if it is a word I can't remember I just describe it (a comma in the sky) (I use the word thingy a lot), and if it is other information I just say I have no idea. Eventually, usually the next day while I am doing something entirely different, the word will come to me, either the lazy hamster finally got up and ever so slowly walked back to look for the information, or he poked the sleepy hamster with a stick till sleepy got up and found it (but sometimes sleepy carries the info back in her cheek pouches and falling half-asleep on the way back forgets what is in there, and why, and just eats it (bringing me nothing back but an innocent clueless smile). Dates, numbers, all kinds of stuff, are in deep storage, it must be dark back there, and they must be afraid of the dark (does it smell like cats?), because they pretty much never go there. So, I am not dumb, it is just you know, I have to work with these hamsters. How would you like it if you asked yourself a question, something you know you covered in school and once knew, and all that came back to you were three little smiling hamster faces, and blank blank blank on the information?
I admit it used to depress me, frustrate me, I used to get upset, I used to try and learn it, only to forget it again the next day, or several days later, now I am just like well this is the way it is, having a nervous breakdown over it, wont help. I don't help my son with his math anymore, the husband does that. And I weigh new information carefully before trying to learn it, wondering what old information will be dumped out of storage or moved to deep storage to make room for something knew.