Thursday, June 30, 2022

NY, NY

I've met someone!

Not to worry, it is not a rival for my affections. Boy Scout is just fine.

I've had a couple of "dates" with a gal I met recently and this little introvert's heart, that has been so lonely for friendship since moving to Portland, is beginning to fill again. 

I've never needed a lot of friends. To be honest, the idea of fostering many good friendships is exhausting to me. I keep most people at a secondary or even third circle away. People I like a lot and will chat with, not necessarily avoid when I see them at a store, and enjoy the interaction thoroughly. Still, there is something that tells me that they don't belong on the inner circle. Few do. I put a lot of effort into those people and am glad to do it. That effort drains my energy but I come away so glad I did. It's quite like a good bit of exercise: you know it's good for you, you feel great afterwards but it doesn't mean you aren't physically drained in the process.

This gal seems to be a kindred spirit and I am excited to see where it goes.

Meanwhile, my son is here visiting. He just quit his lab job, packed up his apartment in the Bay Area and on Monday I will take him to PDX to send him off to his next big adventure. New York here he comes. He has a studio in Manhattan that he will share with his partner and their cat Holly-go-lightly. His partner is finishing her last year in graduate school. Her final project is nearly finished. She has written a biography of Liv Ullmann, whom she adores, and will attempt to get it published upon completion. My boy will begin his masters program in micro cellular biology. No idea what he'll be up to :) Truthfully, it's way above my pay grade.

I shall miss him but am so pleased for this incredible adventure.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Checking In

While visiting California, something inside urged me to stop by my former brother-in-law at his place of business. Craig is tall and lanky, and when I look at him I can still see that young man who ran track in high school and desired a big family.

I thought he might be retired but there he was, sitting at the same spot that he has sat at for the last 35 years, working away. I knocked on the door and went in. He did not expect me, did not recognize me for a few seconds, and then the look of surprise. He’s a serious guy, not outwardly expressive, so the lack of enthusiasm didn’t put me off. 

We caught up. He did not know the Boy Scout and I had moved to Portland. I did not know he has a girlfriend who has grandchildren that call him grandpa. That made me smile. It was light hearted.  

I switch gears, expressing my hope that he was well. He smiled with a look of regret and said,  “Well, I knew my life was over when they took her away in handcuffs”.  “Her” is Dana, my ex-husbands sister. She had always been an extremely difficult person even as a young child. I suspect undiagnosed mental illness but I’m no expert. Perhaps she’s just narcissistically selfish. Nothing was ever easy with her. Nothing! I never knew what he saw in her but they were together for 40 years before he had to call the police when she attacked him with a knife. 

I could relate. Brother and sister both had their lives bottom out in their golden years, both had a very public run-in with law enforcement, and the people that loved them were left to figure out how to move forward. Of Craig and I, I was the lucky one. My ex was more self destructive than viciously attacking others. I also have 4 wonderful kids and we walked through much of the heartbreak together. Not Craig, he was very alone. My ex is now sober and kind of managing. Not Dana. She’s still a horribly ugly person, the victim of everyone she encounters, attacking the people that go near her. I try to remember that hurt people hurt but it is hard with her. She was pampered as a child and my ex was the one that bore the brunt of her wrath.

I let Craig know that I’m so very glad he moved on and is happy. I wished him well. He got up and hugged me. And held on. And held on. It was a sweet moment and I am extremely glad we stopped.

Our younger days. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Change Of Heart

Back from out trip. It was amazing and amazingly fast. Not nearly enough time to do all that we needed or wanted to do but we did what we could.

It was a comfort to know that as we headed back to Oregon, we both felt that we were headed "home". This last year and three months have been tumultuous and heartbreaking but there have been many good things that have emanated from the chaos. Boy Scout and I have taken our relationship to a level that I, with my damaged heart and severed trust, never thought would happen. We are stronger and more solid than we have ever been before. I chock some of that up to a renewed and flourishing relationship with myself. Loving myself is a far better foundation than building on another person. I can love him, and others, much more freely as I develop a genuine like for the person I am, not despite all my flaws, but because of them. I am perfectly imperfect.

We decided to put a ring on it. Nope, we didn't get married but we did have a little ceremony expressing our hopes and dreams as we walk each other home.

He got a traditional gold band, strong and solid, and when I think of it, it makes me smile. I, on the other hand, went a little less traditional. I don't care for diamond rings much because they just don't suit me. Instead, me and my girl went hunting. We found a little shop in Ventura and got a bit of sea glass set in silver. My girl bought my ring and she joined us as we exchanged our promises. Having her there added so much to my joy. How perfect. That little town by the sea brought us together and even though we no longer live there, a little piece of the town will stay on my finger, reminding me of love. Love for my Boy Scout, for my kids that were raised there, for the community the I left behind but miss so much, and for the promise of renewal. Like the ocean, life is ever changing.

I've had a great lesson on embracing the change.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Home


As I sit in my morning spot, contemplating my trip back to California, back to my girl and my family and friends, I am in awe that I know I love it here in Oregon. It feels good to be able to, despite what is missing, call it home.

Boy Scout is busy, following his passion into landscaping, meeting interesting people along the way. I am envious of his journey but so very happy to watch him become a man that he is truly proud of. 

I have hope. Hope that my community will come, that I will develop the relationships my heart desires. Hope that I keep growing and finding what I am grateful for, keeping  that as my focus rather than what is missing. Hope that despite the distances, I will continue to figure out how to remain connected and close to my children. Hope for this country will eventually heal from the hate, ugliness and fear that is so prevalent and baffling. 

Leaving home tomorrow to go back to the community I left behind. It will be good to visit.


Sunday, June 5, 2022

Do You Ever Disappear?

The other night the Boy Scout invited me to an event at a local business, Milwaukie Floral, that has a monthly “Curators Market”. It brings together small businesses, without store fronts, to a place to sell their wares and make themselves known in the community, as well as the opportunity to mingle and create. Each month the owners pick a drink and about 15 people can sign up to learn how to create it. Clearly, it’s less about the drink and more about sitting around the table and having a good time. Each place setting is set up with treats from the participating vendors like nuts, honey, sugars and baked goods. It’s a great little event. Boy Scout has been invited to host the next one, which will be strawberry mojitos, so he wanted to check this one out. 

While I’ve been coming out of my social shell over the last few years, these kind of events can still be awkward for me. But he wanted me to tag along, so I did. When we arrived, I quickly spotted that there was not a setting for me. There were a few empty chairs but they weren’t set up. My name didn’t get on the list. Not that big of a deal but they couldn’t set an additional place so I set at an empty one next to the Boy Scout. 

I struggled to hear the drink host. She had a soft voice. The two gals sitting next to me were friendly enough but I had trouble hearing them too, with all the laughter and babble. The Boy Scout got involved in a conversation with the man next to him. So engrossed was he that he turned his chair in such a way so that all I could see was his back. 

So there I sat. Unable to participate in a meaningful way, trying to be a part just by listening in, trying to enjoy the moment. But truthfully I felt alone and invisible. At one point Boy Scout turned to me to let me know that he had homework to do when we got home and then turned back. Once the drinks were done, everyone was laughing and chatting but I had had enough. Why, I asked myself, do I continue to sit here, feeling more alone than if I was sitting alone at home with the dog? Isn’t it odd how groups can do that? I gave my regards to Lisa and Diane, the two ladies sitting next to me and made my way to the car. As I waited, I realized that it had felt very like the times when I was a child and my father had stopped somewhere telling us he would be out in just a minute and he would come out an hour or two later, having left us sitting in the car, having acted as if we were insignificant, unimportant, INVISIBLE. 

We made our way home, not talking. I dropped him off and went to see a movie, hoping to process the complex feelings I was having. I didn’t do a good job. When I got home, we had a fight. I wish we hadn’t but we did. I felt let down, invisible to the one person that I count on to see me. I could have handle this a lot better. Live and learn. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Camping With Ted Williams

This morning I am feeling the ache of wanting to be with family, to connect. When I studied these feelings for a minute I realize it is the weather. This morning is chilly, with a very light cloud cover, but even with the clouds it promises to be the 2nd warm day we’ve had in months, yesterday being the 1st.

Something about the sky, the chill, the clouds, the wafting smell of bacon, takes me back to childhood, camping at Lake McClure. I remember waking inside the tent, the chill in the air, needing to pee, hating to go to the bathrooms alone, desperately searching out my flip flops, as one didn’t enter those bathrooms without foot protection, trying hard to be quiet…don’t wake everyone. Once the morning chill wore off, watch out! Each day was a scorcher. Shoes were now necessary to prevent 3rd degree burns on the bottom of our feet. The only relief was the water and that’s where we stayed. Whether swimming or out in the beautiful speckled colored boats, water was heaven.

I’m not sure why we went to that particular lake. It wasn’t the closest, the biggest, the most beautiful. Conjure the barren red rock from Utah, low lying shrubs, and you wouldn’t be too far off. We met extended family and friends there. Wonderful people that brought with them feelings of belonging. Betty and Harold, two of the nicest people to grace this planet, aunts and uncles, cousins. There were always others. Memories of my handsome father pumping the stove and the lanterns to get them to light are vivid. God, my mother must have worked so hard, camping with 6 kids.


I don’t remember if all 8 of us slept in one tent or if mom and dad had they’re own but I do remember it being a bit one like this (tan colored, I think).

We lost all that when dad left. Gone were the power boats, the motorcycles, the family summer vacations. They wouldn’t come back again until one of my older sisters had her own family and bought a boat. She recreated that for her family and sometimes took us along. 

The love of camping has not stayed with me. I have no desire to pitch a tent, no aspirations of “roughing it” in the wild, but wanting the connection, in the way we connected then, still lingers, still tugs at my heart.

Did you camp? Do you still?

Friday, May 20, 2022

Osmosis

Nearly every morning, my man wakes with a smile and an attitude as if he has won the lottery. Despite the constant pain, despite the fact that he is doing a young man’s job and working a young man’s hours, he greets the new day as if it were a gift.

If I could bottle it, my fortune would rival that of the Amazon man.

Yep, sometimes I just want to smack him but most of time I want to get close enough in the hope that a little of it rubs off.