Archive for ‘love’

Things That Make Me Happy

October 15th, 2013

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Today when I was waiting for the results of my mammogram and it seemed to take a long time for the nurse to get back with the results, my mind jumped to the worst possible conclusion. When the news was good, the world looked as if it had been photoshopped with extra brightness and contrast added in. On the drive home, I started thinking about all the things I don’t appreciate on a regular basis and it turns out they’re all pretty ordinary and small.

– a new container for my paintbrushes that cheers me up every time I look at it.

– my prayer flags when the wind lifts them and the blessings get scattered around

– a BLT at the restaurant around the corner from my house

– knowing I have 22 miles still left when my gas light comes on.

– leaving my front door open in the fall

– my washer and dryer…I will never take them for granted!

– ordering a new book about writing

– the aluminum can lights by Jeff Kopish on my porch. I love turning them on when I go out and being welcomed by them when I come home after dark.

I’m not an Oprah acolyte and doubt I’ll start a gratitude journal. I’m way too lazy. But maybe I’ll be able to hold onto the way the world lit up for me as if I were coming home for the first time all over again this afternoon.

The Eternal Return

October 19th, 2010

Even though I know my old love is truly dead, I have a hard time accepting it in the back of my brain. Every morning when I open my email, I halfway expect a message from him, even though we never emailed, only wrote stacks of love letters on paper. It’s absurd, I know. Still–I think I’m secretly looking for signs that he’s here somewhere nearby. As if there’s an internet cafe in the afterlife where he could tap out a quick hello/I still love you. (Surely they’ve upgraded from Ouija boards by now.) In Starbucks last weekend, I was sitting on the window sill, patiently waiting for my coffee, watching couples snog in line and reminding myself that, “I’ll never walk down a street in a strange city and run into him, I’ll never have a chance to say I’m sorry, I’ll never know for sure if he ever thought of us.” Trying to grind down hope and spread the ashes. When I walked up to get my latte, there was a display of cups I’d never seen before, all imprinted with the word, REINCARNATE.  The rational, enlightened part of me knows it was just a clever way to market cups made of recycled material, but the part of me that wants to believe in magic and miracles hopes it’s a sign that we are all recycled material and we’ll mix and mingle again another day, in another time and place, in a most unexpected way.

Goodbye Old Friend

September 29th, 2010

I searched for him on Google for years, trying to find out where he was, how he was, what he was doing. I couldn’t find him through the university where he taught, his last known address, the book he’d written. His  name never came up — amazing in an age when the computer knows everything about us. If I typed my name in Google, it would probably tell me what brand of panties I wear and where I buy them. But on him, nothing. Sometimes I dreamed about him, and they were mostly good dreams. We were back together, he loved me, I loved him. Wholeheartedly, unlike our relationship, which was hedged about with reservations, conditions, mysteries, guilt, passion, anger and despair. I thought about him often — how things could have been different if the baby we had together had lived, if he hadn’t had another life with someone else, if I had been less cautious and guarded, if he had been more honest. He was a seven-year ache in my life, and when it was over, I was devastated and relieved and unresolved. So I kept searching for him on the internet. And today I found him, his death a brief mention in his wife’s obituary, but even then, no matter how hard I looked, he was gone without a trace. No date of death, no photo, no clues to where he’s been, what he was doing all these years, where his body lies. Vanished, with just questions left behind. Was our love real or a just a selfish drama or both? Did he ever think of me afterwards? Will we be forgiven for taking what didn’t belong to us and hurting others in the process? What possessed us to become so possessed by each other? After all these years, there are still times when I want to discuss something I’ve read with him, when I suddenly envision the way he held a pen when he was writing, or when I remember the first night we spent together with stomach-wrenching joy. I wonder how someone I loved so ferociously could slip off the planet and not cause a little shiver of acknowledgement down my spine. Deep down, I always thought I’d see him again someday, and now I have to let the forever-unanswered questions go, let them float off this lonely planet along with the ghost of what might have been. To let them rest in peace.

Crossed Wires

September 29th, 2010

Every time I mention something that’s gone wrong in my work or personal life, the person I’m talking to invariably nods sagely and says knowingly, “Mercury Retrograde.” It happens so often that I’m convinced our planet has veered too far into Mercury Retrograde and can’t get out. I’m afraid we’re permanently stuck in an orbit of dead end signs, pissed-off voters, midlife crises, rebellious kids, pay cuts, paper cuts, bad tattoos, computer viruses, perfume strips, telemarketing calls, thong panties, dystopian novels, receding hairlines, bedbugs, bandaids that won’t stick, adult-proof caps on prescription bottles, insomnia and Farmville games. I wish the planet would pull itself together and give me some love instead of mean looks and missed connections. I’d like to be able to complain about too many men in my life, and have someone nod sagely and say knowingly, “Venus Prograde.” I could live with that.

Begin with Red

September 4th, 2010

The cushy lining of the uterus. The angry cry at being pulled loose. My favorite story of Little Red Riding Hood and the shivery feeling I get when the wolf steps into her path. Hell fire where I will probably end up unless I’m saved, which I am a dozen times at the altar of my youth by a trumpet-playing preacher. Twelve  years old and yearning to be swept off my feet by Jesus. Until I meet David when I’m 13 and wearing a red dress and red shoes the first day of high school and he is leaning, lanky and broad-shouldered,  against the wall checking out the new girls in the freshman class. “Hi, Red,” he says. And that’s how it begins.

Bird Brains

July 27th, 2010

I’ve been watching the gang of hummingbirds that gather on my daughter’s porch in Yosemite, dining on nectar all day long, getting a sugar high on life. They’re smarter than I am. Lately I’ve let work and worry turn me sour, and I’m trying to remember all the sweet things about my life and what I used to like about myself. For instance, I used to be a funny girl, able to laugh at myself and make others laugh, too. I miss that person, so I’m trying to remember to apply the 5-year perspective to situations that I blow out of all proportion: Is [insert crazy-making scenario] really, really likely to make a difference in my life 5 years from now? Usually the answer is an unequivocal “no,” which frees me to deal with it in an entirely more relaxed way and to separate what is worth going to bat for vs what can walk on by. Sweet!

Bridge to the Weekend

January 8th, 2010

Oh darling Friday! I love the relief you give me of work well done for the last five days, your red wine and chocolate, your promise of pajamas and fuzzy socks, your 2-hour special on Elvis so lost and broken, your twinkle lights turned on outside, your command to stop thinking about exercise missed or opportunities lost, your promise of a completely unelevating novel waiting on the bedside table, your tantalizing come-hither murmur of all the work I can get done on Saturday or Sunday but not tonight, your time out from duty and must-dos. Sweet Friday, if only there were two of you a week.

My Heart Still Looks Like This

November 21st, 2009

On my way to have drinks tonight with a friend whose significant other left her flat, I wondered why our hearts just keep splitting open like green wood even though we’re supposedly dry tinder now. For my own part, even though I have recently had a bone density test, EKG, shingles vaccine, pneumonia shot, flu shot, colonoscopy and long-term care insurance discussions, I am still the same 16 year old girl who lay awake every night with my heart pounding over the possibility of love standing underneath my bedroom window wearing a khaki windbreaker and a scar on the side of his face. And I hope I always will be.

Things I Love

August 25th, 2009

* Sunglasses because when I wear them I feel invisible. It’s not movie-star hiding-in-plain-sight. It’s “If they can’t see my eyes, I’m a camera.” And red because it’s the antidote to my standard black.

* Uncap Hendricks Gin, and there’s a hint of herbs, sun-braised fields, cucumbers and what I think it might smell like to ride through the Polish countryside on a farm cart at dusk in the summer of 1935. In fact, “Encounter” by Czelaw Milosz is a poem in a glass…sad, nostalgic, full of longing for a lost beauty.

* Virgin of Guadalupe candles. I would love to believe, but I just don’t. But the wanting keeps me lighting her candles just in case.

* Hula glasses. I never wanted to go to Hawaii. Thought it was touristy, gimmicky, Don Ho-ish. And it is. But it’s also the smell of flowers that floor you when you get off the plane from the shrink-wrapped mainland. It’s hiking through bamboo forests. It’s the vistas of the Pacific that make your soul sough in and out with the waves. I can’t wait to return someday.


August 17th, 2009

* CRUSH: Marlon Brando wearing Levi’s in The Wild Bunch (MasterCard using his image to shill for them, not).
* TASTE: Roasted caramelized cauliflower
* LUSH: the shower after hot yoga
* ESCAPE: Peaks Island, Maine
* EYE CANDY: Lighted globes
* LISTEN: “Wild is the Wind,” by Cat Power (sad and succulent) and “The Eternal Seduction of Eve,” by The Real Tuesday Weld. (sensual and succulent)
* MUSE: Jack Kerouac’s Rules of Spontaneous Prose, cut out of Utne Magazine (I think) years ago and carried about with me every time I’ve moved. Still hanging on my mood board. Online list found via Secret Notebooks, Wild Pages. Print it out, hang it up where your eye will catch it daily.