Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The treadmill

I often think about the treadmill. It shows up in my dreams, there's one at my gym that helped me figure out much I'm actually walking at the dog park (.23 miles per lap), we talk about "getting back on the treadmill" when we need to get back to our routine.
I feel like I've fallen off of the treadmill of exercise as I've embraced the treadmill of laundry,; lost the groove of running into my old pals when I've been running meetings, left the routine of garden behind when I spend more time considering different types of dementia.
It's a challenge to find out which treadmill is attractive and attainable. And all of them are better than being a rat on a spinning wheel - - -another visual image of mine!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Tonight I called a neighbor to see if he wanted to go for a walk. I was building up my courage to tell him that I didn't want to be friends. Friendly, sure. But friends, ah no. This neighbor happens to be an old boyfriend who moved about six blocks from my house. After we broke up.

Now I can't tell anyone where to live and I won't. In fact, I'm the chair for the neighborhood association and it is my job to be welcoming. But I'm not welcoming an old boyfriend into my world to the extent that he asks me to do shopping for him when I'm in New York.

Oh, about tonight. I call him and he says that he's busy and can't go out for a walk. Okay, I say. But as I'm walking along I have a feeling that he may be thinking that I'm seeking out his company for friendly reasons. So now I'll have to wait until I run into him to lay out what I'm thinking. It makes me think of the 'elevator' speech: I need to be on my toes and make my point in 30 seconds. What a weird topic.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I will always be there for you

I can't remember who said it or what the circumstance was but in the last day or so I heard someone say, "I will always be there for you." As I'm listening to stories on the radio late at night to lull me into sleep and hanging out in the library or the employment division, there are a number of possibilities as to where it came from.
But that phrase: I will always be there for you. Doesn't it sound like a vow? Like a promise to be made with witnesses? It was so great. So great that hearing the words is what stuck in my mind. I am positive that it was not being said to me but I can imagine more than one person who might say it to me. Lucky me.
Who would you be there for? I think that my mom is the first one who comes to mind for me. My siblings, the next generation of nieces and nephews . . . it all depends on the specific relationship that I have with them.
Isn't it easier to think about who you would be there for as oppossed to who you think might be there for you?
The real test of confidence.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Today I filled out a form that asked my occupation. Without a pause, I put down “homemaker” as that is my role during this period of unemployment. I am also care taking my 82 year old mother. If I was living with a roommate that I wasn’t responsible for, I probably would not identify myself as a homemaker. But I am in charge of the running of our house.
Through the years I have wished that I could be a homemaker. Usually this would be with the idea that I had a family of spouse and/or children but my life hadn’t gone in that direction and I put the thought away as I entered middle age. Now I am identifying much more closely with my friends that stay at home with their young children. I long for the conversation that is academic, if only marginally. Listening to NPR when I awaken is the most intellectually complex part of the day.
Travel? Tell me where you’re going, where you’ve just come from. I will take it all in and be happy for you. I dream about the day when I go on a walking trip across Spain. I know I won’t go for the 5 week trip when my mom is alive so I think about it in the far future.
The home front has it’s charms but I have come to rely on an e-mail from the Splendid Table to inspire me beyond the repetitive dinner menus I tend to prepare. Yes, I look forward to spam. And I look forward to my niece Rita coming over as she very happily takes dinner duty. Including the dishwashing. Thank God!
I’ve come to realize that I don’t really want to be a homemaker. I want to be a home manager that would include having someone fix dinner every few nights, someone pull weeds in the garden, someone do the laundry. I want to have it done but not necessarily by me. So it goes.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Woke up this morning

This morning I woke up before dog and mom. Lying in bed, I had some confusion. Am I really turning 50 this summer? Me? It was dreamlike: maybe I was dreaming about angst or maybe I really have some. Hard to tell.

I'm stealing a little time just now while my brother has taken our 82 year old, dementia inflicted, wobbly on her feet, mom to breakfast. My big hope for today was to be able to read a novel. Just after awakening this a.m., I realized there was something funky on the book I've been reading. It didn't smell like shit but it looked like it. My 5 month old girl puppy was just spayed and is sleeping on my bed because she is wearing one of those conical collars to keep her from licking her wound. Rather, she is sleeping on my bed this week because she can't fit into her kennel with that ridiculous collar. I presumed that she had the humiliating experience of shitting where she slept until I was putting the blankets in the washer and realized that she'd merely thrown up. Great. Truly great. Now I can scrape the weird stuff of the back of the book I'd thrown in the trash and not worry about it being anything too toxic.

Okay, back to 50. I'm kind of a young person and sort of had the attitude that I would just live to be a hundred so the first half of life with immature behavior, heartache, etc. will just be a warm-up for the second part that would be calm travel including museums and lots of time to sit in a shady corner at the Alhambra drawing the stone buildings with no worry about time. The actuality is a little rougher with a puppy on a leash and my hand guiding my mom around.

I think that the thing that will get me past this truly mid-life stall is a project. Perferably one I can work on from home, has nothing to do with my family and is creative.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Control your life by playing sudoku

Last summer, when things were falling apart between David and I, we went to the beach. It had the makings of a good week-end despite our tenuous relationship: we both wanted to get out of the heat of Portland, we brought books, we were going to familiar spot near Lincoln City (an easy drive).
However, we knew things weren't right between us. And we didn't want to have a fight about it. In an attempt to distract myself, I tried reading, going for walks, even shopped at mall outlets. It wasn't working so I got a book of Sudoku and totally lost myself in the logic puzzle.

Some time later, I now realize that what was going on was that I could control, to some extent, my success at these puzzles. I certainly couldn't control whether David would love me or what kind of relationship we would have.

Fast forward to this week, nine months later. I'm hard at Sudoku this week. Saving the daily paper for the evening when I'm alone. Sitting at the table, taking it to bed, carrying it over to the bar. I. . .must. . .do. . .Suduko.

The one big deal in my life just now is that my lovely mother, Aimee, has come to live with me. My idea, sorta, but something she wanted. And now I find that nothing is simple although everything I do is familiar and okay. I just need to conquer something. Something small. Something with 81 squares and an increasing challenge over a week. I can do it. Most of the time. I hope I can say the same about taking care of Mom. I can do it. I hope I'll do it well most of the time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mixed media

I've been working on art to use as an example for an after school class I'm teaching. The name of the class is SCRAPpy Arts as we're using the mission of SCRAP as our basis: reuse materials that are randomly about for creative purposes. I've been particularly focused on the concept of representational vs. abstract pieces. Thus, I will have to beg the reader's forgiveness if I start getting abstract in this posting.

Yesterday was a great day for our country. My heart was full and hopeful as Barack Obama was sworn in as our new president. At the same time, I was feeling quite sad about the news that Sam Adams, our new mayor in Portland, did in fact have a sexual relationship with a young man that he had previously mentored. My pleasure about the new president was widely held. My disappointment with Sam seems to be my own. Most of the (few) fellow Portlanders I've discussed this with were of a mind that it was to be expected: young, ambitous, gay mayor would have an inclination towards dishonesty to get where he wanted he is. However, it's Sam Adams insecurity that bothers me most. It was his insecurity and his ambition that led him to believe that he would have to keep the truth (bad judgement about a relationship) underwraps. I truly hope that he can ride this out and that it will be a lesson that will serve him well during his political career.