Friday, January 22, 2016

Placing a stone



Once upon a time blogging was the thing. THE THING.

We spent hours writing and reading and commenting and even having weekly gatherings online.

And in those days there were circles of bloggers that overlapped and intersected and they made up a big, scattered, interconnected, crazy quilt of an online world. Connections were made that changed lives forever. Friendships were formed. Marriages and partnerships got their start in the comment sections of blogs.

I once tried to make a Venn Diagram of the connections. I gave up because it was too much. I was too lazy. And damn it, I had a blog post to write.

Social media usurped the blog in most of those circles. Sad, but true. Many of our blog friends removed their masks, tossed aside their avatars and became Facebook friends. It wasn't the same, but we were willing to settle because the only thing that was constant online was change.

Our online world(s) were made up of all kinds of characters.

One of those characters called herself Dusty Taylor.

I learned today from one of Dusty's friends (Diane Gee) that Dusty was murdered by her son last spring. I'm saddened at the death of our outspoken and raucous friend and stunned by the tragic way she was killed.

I know that some of you were friends with Dusty. I wanted you to know so that you might honor her memory, say a little prayer or just think of her, her intelligence, her passion for liberal causes and her unforgettable foul mouth.

RIP, Diane Hugo aka Dusty Taylor who blogged at Left Wing Nutjob and It's My Right to be Left of Center.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

On appropriate attire

What is it about this month?

Death.

A childhood friend's mother. David Bowie. Alan Rickman. And now Glenn Frey.

Recently my parents and I had a conversation about death and how people my age are handling the deaths of their parents and how social media seems to be creating a place for grief that didn't exist before.

That conversation was in the abstract. I've watched my friends and cousins losing their parents from the safe distance of knowing that I can scoot down the road and visit my parents who are comfortably and relatively healthily watching TV at home or out on the town.

But I also know my time is coming. Their time is coming. They're pretty clear about expectations.

We're old.
We're going to die.
We're not happy about it, but there it is.
You're going to have to deal with our deaths.

Less abstract, my mother has instructed my father that if she dies in her sleep, he is to change her out of the ratty old t shirt she sleeps in and put her into something decent before calling the EMTs.

Priorities.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Daily Journal #6 - Not so daily after all



January 11, 2016

Recently I listened to the novel Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. I selected it because it was on one of those lists of books you should read before you see the movie. Not that I'll actually ever see the movie unless I stumble across it on Netflix a couple of years from now, but I thought I'd give the novel a try. It's a small break from the cozy mystery vortex I've recently inhabited.

I wasn't crazy about the book at first. It wasn't awful. The dialog (usually a deal breaker for me) was fine. The characters were well-sketched. It wasn't full of action, rather a telling of a life. A part of a life. I think it's what people might call a quiet story.

Told from the perspective of Eilis, the main character, the writing was straightforward and almost mundane. Was it lacking detail? I couldn't put my finger on it. Eilis seemed a little hard to get to know. She only told you the bare minimum about herself and there seemed to be a paucity in the sharing of her emotions. Sometimes I wanted to cheer her for her ability to hold it together and other times I wanted to throttle her for her naivete. True to most of my own life, she was a little late to understand things. By the time she had a full grasp, the consequences had already engulfed her.

As you have probably figured out, Eilis maybe bothered me most because I was seeing myself. I suppose that's a common reaction to many stories, but this one, in particular, struck me as Eilis went back to Ireland after having established a life in Brooklyn. When she returned to her home, she experienced the same feelings I have every time I visited my parents' home after I left for college. That feeling of being a guest in your own home. It's also the feeling I get now when I visit the kids in Georgia and stay with MathMan and Sophie.

I starting writing this from the spare bedroom of my former home. I was there visiting. We celebrated Sophie's birthday on the 7th. It was wonderful and loud and crazy and fun and sad to spend time with Nathan, Sophie, Nathan's girlfriend Kade and Doug. I couldn't help wishing that Chloe had been there, too.

But visiting there is hard. I AM a guest in my old home.  A new dynamic fills the house as it is just Doug and Sophie's home now. Three of us - Chloe, Nathan and I can only be guests there. When I am not there, I don't have to think about that reality. I prefer not thinking about it.

It takes me a day or two to adjust to the feelings of weirdness. I have to check myself. I can no longer act like a human bulldozer, cleaning and commanding while everyone rolls their eyes behind my back. I'm the person who gets to have things done for them as if by magic. I'm not entirely comfortable in this role even if it is kind of nice to get what you wish for once in a while.

By the time I've adjusted, I'm contradicting myself by feeling an itch to head home and be in my own space. Domestic Queen of my domain. I tell myself each visit that the next time I come, I will get a hotel room or insist that Sophie visit me in Indiana instead. It's not that the visits are unpleasant. It's just - - - - it forces me to take a good look at what I left behind and how our family has changed. While necessary to own the situation since I was very much the engineer of those changes, I think it's unhealthy to revisit my old life every couple of months. I never get beyond the guilt and regret before the reset happens.

But back to the novel. The thing I am most struck by now is how Toibin unravels the story in a way that's natural. Most of us aren't information dumps of self-knowledge. Hell, most of us struggle with self-awareness. Eilis doesn't spend large amounts of time puzzling over her own behavior. She's more interested in observing the actions of others and only occasionally assigning intent. It's only in short bursts of enlightenment that Eilis identifies some profound trait or value held by herself or another character that gives her some clue as to what may be not morally right or wrong, but right for her or the other character.

After a while, Eilis began to feel at home again in Ireland and began to question her life in Brooklyn. From Ireland, the time she'd spent in Brooklyn seemed like a dream. The life she'd had - school, work in a shop, her rooming house, the man she'd fallen in love with - it didn't seem real anymore.

And I can see how this happens, too. Having straddled two lives since 2013, I recognize the opposing tugs of the familiar and the unknown, sometimes being unable to know the difference between the two.












Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Daily Journal #5 - It's all I can manage

Party girl turns 17 tomorrow. 17.


January 6, 2016

Cheeseburgers, So I Married An Axe Murderer, Pride and Prejudice, chocolate, clementines, extra busy during work hours prepping for a couple of days off and packing for a trip.

Tomorrow I drive to Georgia for Sophie's birthday celebration.

- End -

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Daily Journal #4 - The View



January 5, 2016

I moved my home office today and now I have a new perspective. Or at least a new view. I'm positioned so I can see out the window if I look to my left and I can see the TV when I look to the right. In front of me is a framed print of a cresting wave.

Because the room doubles as The Electrician's son's bedroom on the weekends, it also has a Spiderman Fathead affixed to one wall and another gigantic wall sticker of a monster truck. Behind me is a blueprint of the Millennium Falcon.

Between the mutant who can swing between skyscrapers, the monster truck and the spaceship, I'm feeling a touch inadequate as I puzzle over Excel formulas and update the organization's website. 

- End - 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Daily Journal #3 - Stream of Semi-Consciousness

From Weirdo Retro

January 4, 2016

Today was the first day back to work after the holiday break-ish. Was it just me or did it really feel like a Monday after a vacation with a vengeance?

The Electrician is on rotation which means he's home for a week or two until work picks up again. I don't know which is worse - the old days when I had to go to work while my ex-husband, a teacher, stayed home for long winter, spring and summer breaks. Or working from home while someone else lolls about playing on their phone, watching TV, sleeping in, and mentioning with a degree of regularity how hard it's going to be to live without Mountain Dew.

At 5pm sharp I escaped the house for a trip to the Kroger. Note to self: Monday evening is not the night to go Krogering if you want to find most of what you're seeking on the shelves.

Because no one sane wants to cook after a trip to the grocery store,  especially a trip in which one finds only a third of the things they were shopping for, I spent a little time in two different drive thru lines partially because I couldn't make up my mind and partially because the line at McDonalds was ridiculously slow. Listen, if you can't shove the sodium and fat out that window fast enough, I've got better things to do.

And now home again with the groceries put away, the cold cheeseburger consumed and my bra blessedly removed, I'm trolling websites extolling the benefits of chia seed pudding and coconut water.

I don't know what I expect to find on those websites, but life's about the journey after all, right?

- End -


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Daily Journal #2 - Sunday Sunday Sunday


January 3, 2016

Sundays have their rhythm here. At least during football season.

The Electrician mans the living room from the time Fantasy Football pregame stuff comes on until he goes to bed. I create a nest in the bedroom. Laptop, Kindle, remotes for the TV, cable and Roku. Snacks within reach. Two pair of reading glasses. Books. Pillows. Fuzzy socks.

Before The Electrician, I had no idea of how the vagaries of the Fantasy Sports world could cast a glow or a pall over a home. Today I am laying low. Offering snacks and soothing words.

For my part, I've rediscovered the variety of offerings on Hulu Plus. True to my nature, instead of watching something new, I've been watching Cranford.  Everytime a  commercial comes on advertising all the options on Hulu, I think I should watch some of those other shows. I don't get beyond considering.

Cranford though. I blogged about it back in 2008, back when blogging was youngish and freshish and definitely red hot.


Sigh. I so love Imelda Staunton in that role.

Eventually, my time in 19th century England came to a halt. Sophie wanted to use the Hulu account. Like the good martyr mother I am, I relinquished. I needed a shower anyway.

When we weren't talking football, The Electrician and I discussed the merits of drinking water. Tomorrow begins The Electrician's weaning from the Nectar of the Gods. Hold me.

While I think I'm making headway on convincing him that water isn't poison, I think I've lost the battle to engage him in the glories of Downton Abbey. Tonight the first episode of the final season premieres in the U.S. and I'm more than a little excited about it. I want to share the love of all things Downton.

But it is not to be. Football. Duh.

It's a shame really. I had big plans. A pot of tea with all the trimmings. A gown for me and a tuxedo for him. Alas no. He couldn't even be lured with promise of a smoking jacket and ascot. Pity. He'd rock that look.

Oh well. More teacakes for me.

- End -