Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I saw it on Facebook. A mutual friend from high school posted it, and I followed the links, and there it was. Pictures that rattled me and a story that I didn't know, about this adult with a full-on (hipster? Duck Dynasty?) beard who was a widely liked, and even well-loved person. According to all of the comments on various sites: warm, caring, gentle, kind, innovative, funny.
I am reading these things, and I don't know what I feel. I can't find a word that is right.
Warm. Funny. Caring. Kind. Gentle.
I haven't spoken to him since the night I very dramatically broke up with him (how else can you when you are almost 19?), and only saw him briefly from a distance twice since then. I didn't know him after that. From time to time, I hoped he was miserable and alone. I hoped that he had learned to deal with his depression and anxiety, and was happier. I was sure that he lied to himself about the reasons we broke up. I wondered if he got really, really fat and still lived with his parents. I wondered if he was dead. I wondered if I would ever find out any of these things.
I joined the marching band color guard when I was a senior in high school. He joined as an "equipment manager" so he could come with me on band trips and to shows and whatnot. It took up a lot of our time in football season. This one time, he held me down and suffocated me with his hands till I passed out, and made us late for the bus going to a band competition. He didn't want to go. He wanted to spend more time together, just us. This is a small sample of the problems in our relationship. I also was on the hockey team, and we were in the Drama Club together. Those things took up time and diverted my attention from him, too. Occasionally, I would go without a bra. Once in a while, I would wear shorts, obviously trying to get someone else's attention. Problems with similar violent results.
(It's true: awkward, geeky kids who are not even that good looking have these kind of problems, too.)
Why even comment? It's not my story, now.
Except that I am confused. And full of rage. And I have a voice now for the things that I could not find a way to talk about then.
I expected that I might always feel a bit pissed that I never got to really tell him off, with the benefit of adult perspective and all the glory of my success in life. And I am, now that I am sure it will never, ever happen. Doesn't everyone want that chance? Petty.
My 19 year-old self is RAGING that he just walked away from all of the damage he did in my life...and had a nice life, where he helped people and built things with people and people liked him. I didn't want to know all of that. It took a lot of years to school myself to only feel pity and mild disgust when I thought about us. To stop feeling rage and shame and self-loathing. I'm not 19 any more, and so many things have happened since then that matter so much more. A long time ago, I learned to feel nothing about years 16, 17, and 18.
I was at peace with the fact that sometimes, there is no accountability for people who are wrong.
But I am caught off-guard. Blind-sided, in fact, with a steaming sack of NOT NOTHING.
I did not expect to be so sad. Have regret. Feel Rage.
Do people change? Does it matter?
Here's the thing: I believe all of that stuff they are saying about him. I knew that side, too.
This one time, he carried a kitten in his inside denim-jacket pocket to keep it warm, all the way from his neighborhood where he found him, to my apartment. We found the kitten a good home. And I believe that people are not just one thing, forever and ever. I find, in the sack, alongside the Rage, a disturbing, traitorous grief for the person with a kitten in his pocket, who held my hand at my Grandma's funeral and worried about his mom and gave me his favorite Flyers t shirt to sleep in.
He died, apparently, from complications of a heart condition that he has had since birth. A comment on a memorial page says, "so ironic that it was his heart, because he had the biggest heart of anyone I know." Died of a heart condition that I didn't believe he had, because I couldn't tell anymore when he was telling me lies.
I guess that one was true. And he was very funny.
Its been 14 years since I saw him. My life has made me different from the person I was at 19; I suppose his could have too.
This one time, this really damaged, paranoid, self-involved, awkward teenager really hurt someone who loved him, over and over, until she was damaged, too. Then he grew up and led a decent life and made good friends and was a productive, interesting, and worthwhile person. The second part doesn't make up for the first part, for her. Maybe it did for him, but it doesn't matter, because he died young anyway.
Its not a good story. Its not a story at all. We make things into stories so they make sense.
I can't put a word to how I feel. I don't want to even the score on the reckoning of his life. Or maybe I do-but it doesn't matter, because it's done. There is no reckoning. I fixed that damage myself, and will keep on fixing it.
I don't want to talk about it. There is no one to talk to.
This, right here, is the best I can do to put it outside of myself and try to let it go.
Monday, November 18, 2013
"What about aspens?" you say, and that is because you probably have never been to the part of Colorado that is not the mountains. Aspens are in Aspen, where rich people ski. We lived in the burbs in the flat part of Colorado. I have never been skiing in my life.
Fall time on the flat part is a time of transition, from the sun-crisped lawns of dry Summer to the cold-crisped lawns of dry Winter. This was magical to me when I was a kid, mostly because I was a big dork and really loved going back to school.
Autumn just didn't have much else to offer. The Colorado plains is not a natural habitat for trees that properly turn orange and red and then shed beautiful piles of Fall time wonderland. Mostly, in Colorado neighborhoods, there are small decorative landscape plants and pine trees. (All evergreens are still "pine trees" to me. They all look the same.) A lot of people there don't even own a rake.
Sometimes, when I was a kid, I did try to scrape pine needles into piles over the crispy brown grass, to emulate proper fall time fun. It wasn't the same as the leaf pile of my dreams...but it did have its charm.
I was pretty sure that I was missing out. We usually grabbed a few cozy weekends of woodsmoke-filled weekends at our favorite campgrounds just as it started to get cooler, and this was nice. But I knew that in other places, kids waded joyfully through piles of leaves wherever they went in the Fall. They shuffled through this golden month or two, pausing to sit on giant pumpkins and drink cider in leaf piles, knowing that the ax of winter would not drop any time soon.
Fall time in Colorado means it is colder and browner, but not really nicer in any way. And then it randomly snows in October and you go trick-or-treating anyway, which, I do have to admit, is pretty cool.
I live in PA now, with the correct kind of trees. I raked the maple leaves into a pile in our yard the other day. With a real rake.
Its a different part of the country, and a different kind of life. There are heritage parades in small towns here instead of piles of flaming illegal fireworks in the street. We have deer and old German farmers in the field behind our house instead of howling coyotes. There are moist gardens and soft grass instead of bristling carpets of pine needles. On the other hand, if it snows here on Halloween, everyone stays home. Sometimes I wonder if I am giving my kids a childhood that is too soft.
Then I watch them fling themselves into the pile of leafy joy, crack their heads together and gleefully poke each other with sharp sticks, and I know that I am a complete idiot to think idiot thoughts like that.
Friday, August 23, 2013
I am pretty up front with Wendy. I tell her most of the stuff she wants to know. Babies grow in the uterus. Why ice is bigger than water. You know. Stuff.
But she's also a bit of a worrier, so I have to know when to put on the brakes. For example, after watching The Wizard of OZ when she was four, she became concerned about tornadoes. Concerned in a way that prompted a few questions:
1. Do we get twisters?
2. Does grandma get twisters?
3. How about Aunt Mimi and Eddie?
4. Are you sure we don't get twisters?
5. Is it windy enough right now?
6. How about now?
7. Does that cloud look a little twisty to you?
8. Shouldn't we get inside and get in our bathtub with pillows over our heads?
9. Why don't you care about twister safety?
So I have learned when not to tell her the explicit absolute truth. Mostly for my own sanity.
Tonight, through the open window, we heard the distant popping-booming sound that is either people shooting at an outdoor range a couple of miles away OR detonations at a quarry also a couple miles away-I have never figured out which. We hear this often enough, and, rather than suffer a barrage of kid angst re: local people with guns and bombs, I have always told Wendy that it is a moose kicking a log.
This is how you have to dish the BS. Simple. Elegant. Difficult to disprove using the research skills of a four year old.
Well. Now shes six. I hand this moose-and-log line to Liam tonight, and I get this:
Wendy: Its definitely not a moose.
Me: how do you know?
Wendy: Moose don't kick logs.
Me: Sure they do. I know moose. They kick logs.
Wendy: How many?
Me: How many?
Wendy: How many do you know?
Me: Oh. Uh, six. Or seven. Yeah, seven.
Wendy: Well I know twenty. And none of them kick logs.
Me: Twenty? I didn't know there were so many around here.
Wendy: There are hundreds. I just know twenty. And if any of them kicked a log, it wouldn't sound like that anyway.
Me: Maybe they kick logs when you're not around.
Wendy: I asked my one moose friend to kick a log, and you could barely hear it. Plus, he really hurt himself doing it. I had to take him to the moose vet. So I know that moose wouldn't kick a log even if they wanted to.
Me: Maybe your moose friend has really wimpy hooves.
Wendy: No way. He runs moose races. He is like, a champion, first place moose runner. Except not now, probably, after the log thing. I feel really bad about asking him to do that, you know?
So, now that I've been officially OWNED in the category of moose-related BS...I see that I am going to have to up my game.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
he can usually be found annihilating various items around the house.
While Duke chewed a vast array of inexplicable things like The Drywall and Potatoes, Tucker's preferences run a bit more refined. For example, when he utterly destroys paper products, he enjoys a nice National Geographic between the teeth.
He does relish a good global human interest story. He was mesmerized by James Cameron's submarine dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Mesmerized to tiny, unreadable bits.
In the absence of thick glossy magazine paper, he goes for the lofty fluff of Cottonelle or the comforting touch of Kleenex.
He sometimes takes a break from paper to utterly demolish a nice hank of wool roving. I have to admit his good taste here, because out of all of the new hanks of wool roving to choose from, Tucker shredded and soaked with dog spit only my favorite colors, Dill and Amethyst.
Maybe we can't have nice things because our dog is concerned for our souls.
This can only be the reason that this feather boa had to die. Because we all know what feather boas lead to.
The calculated precision with which he made certain that no one would ever use this cord to charge a phone in the car again? Kind of chilling. Perhaps this speaks to deep-seated malice for technology? Or resentment toward the attention payed to electronics and not to him?
Yeah, OK. That is cute, the way he piles up all of his things on his favorite spot du jour. Notice my shoe under his butt. My shoe is obviously now considered his thing, and clearly, is living on borrowed time.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
When Carl moved in to this house in 2004, there was still a lot of stuff left in the house from the
It is now 2013, and the time has finally come. We have finally, FINALLY decided to clean the attic out.
We are talking classic old attic treasure trove of horrors here. This is the kind of attic where you open large trunks and suitcases gingerly, because there could be a petrified red-headed stepchild in there. YOU JUST DONT KNOW.
Here is one side, mostly cleared out of the boxes of stuff. Just imagine it stuffed to the gills with moldering cardboard and randomness. Yes, that is a barrel in the background. I am pretty sure that it never held booze.
The creepiest stuff is the kids stuff.
This is what that girl is wearing:
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Friday, March 08, 2013
It doesn't matter if you have been cohabiting in lustful sin for years and years, spawning shameful illegitimate degenerates (hi kids!) and inciting wanton behavior in all who observe...
When you become a legit wife, the Kitchen Aid fairies know that it's time to leave a motorized dough hook under your pillow. Perhaps the Kitchen Aid fairy is an old fashioned prudish twit and thinks that only legitimate families deserve wholesome homemade food.
Monday, February 11, 2013
We will be like "Tra la! It is sleeting, but who cares, because we were smart this year! Let us make sleet angels and then skip inside and make hot chocolate and be happy! This day is not miserable and treacherous like the foggy-gray queasy anxiety crawling up our throats. No, it is a perfect day for snuggling inside with each other, and we can! You don't have to venture out into terrible conditions to do terrible jobs far beneath your skills, because this year we looked ahead, and our bills are paid! Our bills are paid, our bills are paid, tra la tra lee, our bills are paid!"
Someday we will actually be working for ourselves, and not just working to survive the week. We will be looking for somewhere fun to go on a Saturday instead of looking for stuff to sell on ebay. We will have a plan, and not a desperate scramble to make sure the mortgage isn't late (it hasn't been yet-talk to me in a few days).
We will spend more time loving our house, instead of resenting it. We will spend these money dry spells having fun with our kids instead of bouncing off the walls and staring at the worry lines growing deeper on each others faces, wondering how we got here AGAIN. Like we do EVERY year. We are both intelligent adults, each with a good work ethic. We can do this. Go team!
Saturday, February 09, 2013
Steph and Ryans 8th anual Faschnaghtapallooza took place today, and it was indeed grand!
For those of you folks not from PA or of pasty pale central European ancestry, a faschnaght is a kind of donut type thing, made with potato flour and fried in lard, then rolled in sugar. Its the way the Pennsylvania Dutch celebrate before Lent.
Thats right. Some people show their boobies and throw beads around, some people confess allof thier sins and celebrate thier Shriven souls with mass sugared lard consumption. To each his own, that's what I say.
Especially because Ryan shoves oreos and peanut butter cups in his faschnaghts, and I get to eat them. I haven't gone for the past two years, so I was kind of determined to go this year.
I even pried Carl out of the house and to the -pallooza. At some point (before he ate too many, while he was still in his fried dough happy place), he turned to me with gleaming eyes, and asked, "why don't WE do this???"
Friday, February 01, 2013
The first bit includes this:
The current cultural mania for DIY domesticity—backyard chickens, urban knitting circles, the rise of homeschooling, the sudden ubiquity of homemade jam—shows no sign of abating. Across the country, progressives are embracing home and hearth with new vigor under the guise of environmental sustainability, anti-consumerism, and better health.
The movement has made for some very odd attitudes, especially when it comes to gender. The terms "liberal" and "conservative" barely seem to apply. The new progressive morality about food sometimes feels as retro and conservative as anything dreamed up during the 1950s. In many well-educated, well-heeled quarters, what you cook determines your worth as a mother (Is it organic? Local? BPA-free?), laziness in the kitchen is understood to doom your children to lives of obesity and menial labor, and the very idea of convenience is slatternly and shameful. In this culture, we have Berkeley heroes like Michael Pollan writing scoldingly about how feminism killed home cooking. Michelle Obama, every Democrat's favorite organic gardener, has been criticized for saying she doesn't like to cook.
This is a great article. It has me written all over it, and kind of articulates something that I have been puzzling over, in an abstract kind of way. I generally think its funny watch people try to categorize other people like this, scratching their heads in confusion when they can't, except that I totally do it too. I go to these events -OMG, I am AT the farmers markets of which they speak-and meet all these other women doing the same attatched parenting organic jam jarring quinoa eating home business things that I do. I will have these lovely conversations with these people that I know are JUST LIKE ME! Yay! Maybe we can be friends and start a co-op together! We can grow organic broccoli and raise organic chickens and then I am completely FLOORED when they drop stuff into conversation like "the lord will show me the way through this Obamacare nightmare" and "I wish the gays wouldn't drag their issues into important politics, gah," and "well, you know-the lamestream media..."
My head kind of does that record scratching scrriiiiiiiiiizzt thing. I am pretty sure that it shows on my face too. My face that is suddenly all open mouth, twitching lip, and one crossed eye.
Absolute certainty that I am an open-minded and keep my prejudices well examined/in check=over.
I am a SAHM with an education, a stalled professional career and an Etsy business. I was in the Vagina Monologues twice, AND I am in love with my Kitchen Aid. Its okay. I don't need to scramble my brain trying to justify this. I live in an era where I can be many things.
I feel a lot better about life when I stop worrying about what "kind" of woman I am "supposed" to be, and just worry about what is best for me as a person and for my kids. I think that most of these women that the article describes are just trying to make good choices for themselves and their families-regardless of the lables that they profess or are given.
When I manage to put my face back in order and reassemble my world view, I realize that I like how the lines are blurred. I can be friends with them, even if their political ideas are totally wrong.
Let us hold hands, eat some granola, and sing about it.