Category Archives: me

my dad

I.

He calls just to hear himself talk.  At least that’s what it seems like.  It seems like he just wants someone to say, “Uh-huh, yes, wow” at all the appropriate places.  He has a deep need to talk and talk and talk.  And talk.  I feel like I know all his stories and can predict which one he’ll tell right before he does.  Sometimes he asks me the same question more than once.  It seems he doesn’t really listen to the answer.  He ends every call with “Lots of love!”—his way of saying he loves me.

II.

Sometimes I imagine him as the little boy he was, the little boy who had to cook his own dinner because his mother wouldn’t get out of bed.

 III.

He has a high tolerance for clutter, a high tolerance for messes.  He reads at least two newspapers a day and piles of them tend to grow around the places he sits.  He doesn’t take his own dish to the sink after eating.  He holds onto things—tools, bits and pieces he might need someday, and papers.  Filing cabinets full of papers.  I sat with him once when he was going through some old files.  He didn’t throw anything out, he just went through them—tax forms from the ’60’s, my sister’s papers from school, documents from work, old bills.  Every page had sentimental value.

IV.

He grew up poor.  I have the impression that they didn’t always have enough food.  He told my mother when they first got married that he would never complain about a high grocery bill, that she should keep plenty of food in the house.  She does.  There is always plenty of food in their house and she is the one who shops for groceries, yet he will still arbitrarily buy ketchup, or crackers, or cans of beans.

 V.

Sometimes when I’m with him, and he’s talking, running over my words with his own, I think, “He doesn’t even see me.”

 VI.

He gets to know store clerks and mechanics and waitresses.  He talks to everybody.  When I was younger, it would embarrass me that he would do this.  Now I feel differently about it.

 VII.

A dear friend I grew up with was killed in a car accident when I was nineteen.  He whispered to me, “I’m so glad it wasn’t you.”

 VIII.

I haven’t seen him angry often, but somehow we all tiptoe around him at times, as if trying to avoid his irritation.  He generally gets his way.

 IX.

I will never forget the trip I took with him when I was fifteen.  We drove seven hours to his aunt’s funeral and the car broke down on the way back.  We waited by a field of cows for the tow truck as the sun went down and we stayed overnight in a small town I had never heard of before.  I sat in the mechanic’s office all day with the wife, while he went with the old man on a three hour round trip to the nearest city to buy the part for the car.  Everyone who came through told me that the old man would talk his ear off.  He could hold his own, I said.

 X.

He planted apricot trees one year and the hungry deer almost killed those baby trees.  They never grew very big and they never bore fruit, but he watered those trees for years, hoping.

fourteen, fifteen, and a warning

First, the warning.  Actually, it’s more of a “head’s up.”  I’ve been working on accepting certain people in my life as they are—i.e. the good and the bad, not just as I would want them to be.  There is an upcoming post (like, tomorrow) that deals with some of this.  Just letting you know so when you see a non-sequitur pop up, you’ll know what it’s all about.

Now back the previously scheduled blogging frivolity.

Day 14 – How do you typically dress to run errands? Do you think bloggers dress better or worse than “regular people”?

I really can’t speak to the second question…I’m not sure that “blogger” is a deep part of my identity…but I’m pretty sure I’m not “regular people” either. 🙂

I tend to not get too dressed up to run errands…I usually just go in whatever I’m wearing.  This means that if I go after work, I look decent, and if I go on a weekend morning, I go in whatever shlumpy clothes I wore to walk Miss Famous.

Day 15– What was your college experience like? Were you involved in any clubs, groups, etc? If you did not go to college what was your experience like after high school?

I was not very involved in campus stuff at college.  I definitely had a good time and had good friends, but it was more “unauthorized” fun than anything officially sanctioned. 🙂

I went on a 5-week exchange trip to Mexico the summer after my freshman year (I was a Spanish major).  I then got the language bug big time and knew I had to go back for a longer time if I would ever become fluent.  I entered college with a lot of credits from high school, so I was about a year ahead of schedule by the end of my sophomore year.  I then went back to Mexico (to a different, more urban city) for my junior year.  The first semester I did a program for foreign students, lived with a host family, and tried hard to not speak English with my classmates.  The second semester, another one of the students who lived with the same host family (she was from Peru) and I moved into an apartment and I switched to another school where I could take “regular” classes (i.e. not for foreign students).  This was a good move and I didn’t speak much English at all that second semester.

Getting to live in another country for a year was an amazing experience and I learned at least as much in that one year as I did in the other three years I was at college.

slacker (days 11, 12, 13)

So in this whole camp thing, I think I am the one who blows off all the activities to go smoke and make out with her boyfriend in the woods.

Which is kind of cool because I’ve never actually been that person in real life.

Day 11 – How are you different from your parents? How are you the same? Do your parents and/or family know that you write on-line?

I am very different from my parents in most ways, but that doesn’t stop my mom’s voice from coming out of my mouth (especially when I’m talking to kids).  I deliberately chose a different path than theirs when I converted to Judaism, and they will probably never understand that.  I am pretty much a communist compared to their political leanings (which seem to lean further and further to the right as time passes).  They know that I had a blog in the past (and that Mr. X found it) but they don’t know I still blog.  They are not so technically savvy, so even if I blogged under my First Middle and Last name with Date of Birth included for kicks, they probably would never find it.  Still, I’d rather keep this whole thing secret and anonymous, especially as I talk about them sometimes.  Blogging is therapy, don’t you know?

Day 12 – Tell us about the first time you got drunk or tipsy (as far as you can remember…) Do you ever stop yourself from telling too much when you write on-line or do you think you tell too much?

I am not sure about the first time I got drunk.  I don’t drink very much, but the times I have been tipsy have all been with friends, mostly with girlfriends.  I can remember a couple of times I got good and smashed when I was with Mr. X, but that wasn’t as much fun. 🙂 I tend to get pretty silly when I’m drunk.

As for the second question, this is why I blog anonymously.  I tend to let it all hang out—or let it mostly hang out, but it feels fairly safe as most of you don’t know my first middle last name.

Day 13– Tell us about the best job you ever had, and the worst. Do you ever blog or read blogs while at work? Do you ever quote or reference blogs while at work?

The best jobs I ever had were internships.  Alas.  Rather the best bosses I ever had were at internships.  I haven’t really had a good boss since graduating (lo all those many years ago).  I have blogged at work, though not as much as at my former job, when I was fighting infertility and my marriage was falling apart.  Now I tend to read blogs at work, but just sometimes.  I quote/reference blogs in conversation, but I usually say, “Someone I know…” or “I read online…”

It’s really time I get back to smoking in the woods now, don’t you think?  My boyfriend is getting antsy without me.

back at camp: high school me

Apparently I am only a part-time camper.  Since I last posted, old friend came to visit for a couple of nights, then it was off to visit the fam for the fourth.

Yesterday, I just took the day off (from everything, it seems).  I did leave the house, but that was just to take La Famosa on a walk.

I liked the question from way back on day two, so I’m going back to answer that one:  What were you like in high school? What extracurricular activities, if any, did you take part in during high school? Did you consider yourself a writer?

In high school, I found my place, the place where I felt most at home, with my youth group at church.  Things at home were often unpleasant, but I knew how to “do” church, and youth group.  I found my closest friends there, and ended up with a really close group of three good friends and the four of us had a lot of fun together throughout all of my high school years.

Most of my extra-curricular life was through church, though I was in the marching band my freshman year and I did a few low-key clubs (honor society, etc.).

I journaled a lot in high school.  When I read through those old journals I want to just hold that young girl close and tell her not to be so hard on herself and that everything will be ok.  I don’t think I considered myself  a writer.  Writing was more an outlet for me, a pressure valve.  (I might have considered myself a poet, which I suppose is also a writer.)

I see now that even back then I had doubts about what I believed, but the belief system of my church didn’t really allow much room for exploring doubts or questioning.  The response was always, “Pray, and you’ll come to the right (i.e. our) answer.”  I knew enough about fitting in to try to shove any doubts down as far as I could and hope they wouldn’t see the light of day.  I think that part of the reason my doubts were so scary to me was that had I given them free rein, I would have no longer fit into the place where I felt most at home.

It’s kind of interesting, now, to be in touch (via that big social media behemoth) with a lot of people I knew back then.  A number of people I know have become more religious (Christian, of course) and I often have this strange sense that I’ve traded places with some of them, as they post about what happened at church or some Bible verse that inspired them.  Sometimes I think, “Been there, done that, got a drawer full of t-shirts.”  Sometimes I’m jealous that they fit in to a place that I never will again.  I’d never trade places back, however.  Too many mental gymnastics that I can’t do anymore.

late arrival

I saw Baby Smiling‘s post about Calliope‘s summer camp idea a couple of days ago.  I was in the middle of an out-of-state trip (more on that later), but really wanted to sign up.  I saw that it was to start July 1 (yesterday) and I thought, no problem, I’ll sign up and post after I get home.

Well, that didn’t happen, thanks to an unexpected dinner date with my dad (mom is out of town and I think he’s a bit bored).  So I’m arriving late to camp.

Today’s (yesterday’s, rather) prompt:  Day 1– Provide a photo or sketch or dramatic rendering of the space where you normally blog

This is an old photo, from when I first moved in.  The art on the wall isn’t mine, nor is the white table at the end of the bed and neither is in the room anymore, but the chair is still here, and it’s my favorite place to hang out.

I also sit on the bed and blog sometimes:

My bedroom is my favorite place in the house.  The rest of the house is furnished with my roomate/landlady’s stuff.  If you don’t know (or don’t remember), I live in my friend “Nanette’s” house.  She is currently (and usually) working in another state as a production manager for a big entertainment company.  She gets a house-sitter, I get a nice place to live, and I usually have no roommate (which is a plus for me).  Anyway, my room is the only part of the house that has my stuff in it, and it seems to be where I usually hang out, even when it’s just Miss Famous and me.

Speaking of, for those of you who are jonesing for more of her Famousness, here she is yesterday, after I picked her up from her doggy hotel:If you can’t tell, they really wore her out.

I’m hoping, hoping, hoping to post again soon.  Until then– Read more: 31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1Qxv7goKx

life of the small intimate gathering

I went to the last session of my divorce recovery class last night (technically, it’s a relationship-ending recovery class—not everyone who takes it was married to their partner).  It was an amazing end to a powerful experience.  I’ll talk more about that another time.

I realized something about myself last night.  Only about 1/2 of the class time was structured.  We had a lot of time to eat and talk—it felt like a party.  After class, it seemed like people stuck around more, as well.  What I realized as I was driving home was this:  I do not like socializing in big groups of people.  Even, it seems, in groups where I like and feel comfortable with everyone present, as was the case last night.  I’ve known for a while that I prefer socializing in smaller groups, but this piece, that I really don’t like big groups was somewhat of a revelation to me.  I think I feel a bit lost and overwhelmed in them.  I end up mostly flitting from conversation to conversation, maybe contributing, but rarely getting deeply involved.  And if there’s one thing I love, it’s deeply involved conversation, just, apparently, not in the midst of a large group.  There have been a few times that I’ve been able to have a great conversation in the midst of a big group, but during those times I’ve been able to get one-on-one with someone, and kind of forget the rest of the people there.  This is not the usual experience, granted.

Now, I’m not going to start turning down all invitations to big events or big get-togethers, but I think this is a good thing to know about myself.  First of all, I can stop feeling like a failure when I don’t have the time of my life at a big party.  I’ve been looking back over past “big group” experiences (including sitting at a big table at a restaurant—I seem to always end up between two conversations and just go back and forth between them) and letting myself off the hook for feeling so out of place.  I have finally come to a point in my life that I know I don’t have to like big groups to be an okay person.  And I do okay in them, I really do.  It’s not like it’s torture; I just have a hard time finding my place in them—it’s so different from how I am in a gathering of two or three other people (a setting in which, frankly, I rock).  So now, the next time I’m in a situation like that, instead of making my discomfort worse and internally berating myself for not being the life of the party (because I don’t have to be), hopefully I’ll remember that this is just a part of who I am, and hopefully, I’ll give myself permission to flit from conversation to conversation without settling down.

Or even permission to just go home early. 🙂

learning gentleness

The lesson of the day month lifetime is how to be gentle with myself.  How to cut myself some slack.  How to soothe myself and be tender with myself and not turn every thought or hope or disappointment into a stick with which I beat myself senseless.

I do not come by this naturally.  What I come by naturally is the iron fist for myself, while I save the tender hand for those around me.

Learning.  Learning.  Learning.

The way of life.