Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Back to the notion of a feudal lord....

I approached the Talent exit with some foreboding, some expectation of unwelcome emotion sneaking up on me. I am so glad to have moved that I experience a certain sense of guilt over my lack of regret. (I'll always find the dark side of happiness.) I loved that house, that kitchen I designed by and for myself with not-quite-white tile countertops, open cupboards and twig drawer pulls. I expected to feel like I was returning home, rather than visiting my property, and that the sense of abandonment would be overwhelming. Tracy had warned me that the photinia hedge was thirty feet high, but as I pulled into the driveway, it wasn't. It was high, but manageable, and the guy who lives there fully capable and willing to take care of it. It is part of the contract. They live there, my tenants. They live there like I did, with mountains of stuff. They are there to stay, for at least a couple more years. They aren't just camping out, waiting for the garbage bags to pile up so high that they have to move. I've done that before. Replaced by trash. Forced out.

So be it. It was my first house. But not my only house. When I left, I was going home.


I am posting this here, hoping those who don't email might read and know how much I appreciate them:

I received an email from my sister in law that inspired me to acknowledge my women friends at this time of year. Thanks Julie, this will not do your letter justice, but here I go....

As my life has changed so dramatically over these past couple of years and I am three hundred miles away from everything and everyone I have ever known (except my husband, who, it seems, I have always known) I have missed little and regretted nothing. I miss my son most of all, but lingering in the corners of my busy busy mind, among the cobwebs and misplaced ideas and unwritten books, are my friends. The women. The sisters, buddies, in-laws, nieces, cousins, coworkers and path-mates.

Julie spoke of the impossibility of naming, at this time in life, (halfway already, can you believe it?) a "best" friend. You are all the best. I am blessed to count so many among those who have been willing to put up with me over the years.... and, having lived in one place for so long, I have the great advantage of having people who know me, who I have allowed to know me, for a long, long time. Not everyone has that. You have seen me through this life, drunk and sober, rich and poor, single and married and all that lies between. You have watched my foot-stomping resistance to change--always for the better... eventually. Many times, you had to believe for me, to push me, to see my little sanctuary in Talent as a beautiful prison, empty without someone to share it with. But that sanctuary had to be built -- and torn down in its own time. Creating it allowed me that time that so many women are denied, to come to know who I am, alone. But Lorretta said it best (as she so often does) "...its like learning to play an instrument from a book. You can't hear the notes. Eventually you gotta get out there."

I wish all of you just some of the happiness and depth of experience I have known. I wish the next year would open your heart like ripe fruit, that you will take the time to see who you are, at you most essential. I have spent a great deal of time and money to know what Dorothy knew at the end of the journey: that it was always right here. And the shopping was fun along the way, but my life today, my sweet and simple life, needs little decoration. It is whole.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

merry christmas

Bably blue topaz ring with diamonds, empty book, spa day at Dosha, Curious George Jack in the box. That's my haul so far. Nice.

I'd like to make this a serious end-of-the-year implosion, but I'm not there yet. I'm happy. I have so much, and so many. I'm making an apple pie, waiting to put the turkey in. I'll include a recipe for something eventually. We did the thing: got up and opened gifts. We leave tomorrow for parts south to see my son and check on my property down there. The hot water heater blew up last week, so need to see what's going on with the tenants. The tenants. Makes me feel like a feudal lord. Fitting for christmas.

Happy Birthday Jesus. An unpopular diety in my world. May you not get lost in the ribbon and paper.

Monday, December 13, 2004


I have these moments. I record them here, in the relative safety of obscurity, friends and strangers reading my mind, or what's on it. And I think I end up looking like a sentimental moron, a bleeding heart, which I may be, but not today. I called my son, once the love of my life, and he didn't give me enough attention, so now I'm mad. Mad about Christmas and all the memories I carry alone. Alone. He tells me he is golfing. "We don't golf," I tell him. "People like us don't golf." It's funny. It's like when my friend Madonna told me I should buy a house. I said, "I'm a renter" as though it was a social category. I thought there were two kinds of people: people who own property and people who rent from them. I didn't know you could move from one social strata to another. And, I maintain, golf is reserved for the upper crust, of whom, I maintain, we are not. The Big Book described them when they said, "...that impeccable coat of tan one sees upon the well-to-do." I don't know what page that's on. The leisure time, plaid pants crowd, the flat chested women and short haired men, the days at the club. My son, MY SON, knows how much an annual membership is at the Rogue Valley Country Club. Well, he is white, and could, I suppose, get in. But once they knew his name, his father's name, I guess my fear is that they'd reject him. Now that's codependency at its finest. Kurt Vonnegut said it in Cat's Cradle: there are two kinds of people in the world. People you know and people you don't know. We'll, the people I know don't golf.

So he plays golf now, my little boy who hid in the cracks of some junkies attic while bullets blazed downstairs. Does this mean he's overcome the tragedy of his upbringing? I put too much emphasis on the past. I know. I know. But I was there. And sometimes, I want him to look backward in horror like I do instead of blythely skipping through his good life, drunk as a dog.

I said, "Isn't golf kind of an expensive sport?"
"I make quite a bit of money, Mom." he said.

Pay me.

So, he's doing okay, golfing the winter away, and I'm in a puddle up here in happily married land, missing my baby. He's not a baby anymore. He's golfing. He's a golfer. I guess there are worse things. He could be in therapy and tell the stories of his life. Maybe, just maybe, there will be a God who lets the stories die with me, and he can not know what happened to us for so long, and he will have a happy life.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

shiny things

We got the tree today. A noble fir, 7 feet tall, for money. We thought about taking the girls up in the woods to murder a tree, but decided not to. Haley was horrified. "you were going to make us cut down a tree?" she said, as though it were hunting. Killing. Perhaps there is hope in the young. I didn't point out that the one we will purchase was killed. But the argument against sneaking up on trees is so hard, and its Christmas, and I'm lazy. So, we bagged a 7 footer down on Powell and 42nd, from the boyscouts, and drug it home to decorate. It is pretty. It was interesting, the blending of the ornaments.... I don't know if I've felt quite that married yet. His and mine. Ours and ours, and then I found Marky's football. And the little wooden horse he hung when he was two and I have a picture of it, standing in the light of the little christmas tree in that house on 4th and Oak in Jacksonville, that house of so many tragedies, so many troubles. And I shed a tear for all that is now behind me. I miss my son, but what I miss is gone. I miss that little boy who hid under the covers with me, silent and hoping, trying to disappear. I miss the 7 year old who hadn't lost the magic yet, who questioned me, saying, "Tyler doesn't believe in Santa Claus, Mom. Isn't that stupid?" and I had to say yes, but he was on the cusp of knowing. And the 15 year old-- I said I'd never miss him, but I do-- that christmas morning when he had actually bought me a gift, the first time he thought to get me something on his own since he was a child. It was the first CD by Joan Osborne and he played the cut "what if God was one of us?"
really loud, and I pulled his new snowboard out from under the sofa, the used white sofa, in the last house I ever rented. And now I am here, in this house that is my home, with this man who is my husband, these girls who move around me curiously, watching, waiting for me to go and leave things the way they were. K put up lights outside. He thinks its hokie, but I think they are beautiful. So far, we are the only lights on the block. I think he is secretly proud.

The tree is beautiful.