Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tell The World...

The die is cast. It is official. We are moving to Baltimore in the fall.

As with all things this year, we are a little sketchy on the details. It may be August 1. It may be September 1. It will certainly be before school starts, at least for Sicily; she has been accepted to Baltimore City College, and I think that starts the week before Labor Day.

Stay tuned for hilarious reports of what it is like to get a 9th grader up at the crack of 6:00 a.m. for school, an experience she has not had except for softball tournaments for four years. Should be fun.

We have no idea where we will be living. In the city. We may have some lag time between moving and actually having a place to sleep, so Baltimore peeps, heads up. We (the kid, two dogs, the cat, and me) may show up on your doorstep, hat in hand. I hope you have a big couch.

I. Can’t. Wait.

This is years overdue. There are people we love here, but the south is not my home and never has been. Sucks that two people I love died here, but at least the one is portable. And he loved Baltimore. So there’s that.

The tiny house is in search of a home, but we have a line on a couple parking spots.

The horse is staying here; the cold is too much for her old bones. That was the hardest line to write in this whole blog.

I would leave tomorrow if I could. We have loose ends to wrap up, though, and some more softball to play.

I’m coming home.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Apathy Parade

(Image by Michael via Flickr)

If you were anywhere near me in my early 20s, you will recognize what I am about to write about.

There is a large part of me that just couldn't give a rat's ass. About anything. It's not disdain for anything; it's just an utter lack of caring, one way or the other. It's my emo side, I guess. It's not depression. We have broken bread, depression and I, and this is a different kind of supper.

This part has been dormant for a long time, mostly because A) when you have a kid you aren't allowed to not give a rat's ass, and B) Dane was a handful. Now that Dane is gone and my child curses like a sailor, I can feel the sap rising. This is not necessarily a good thing.

This is the type of sap that causes me to drink more than is prudent and make friends with strangers. This sap is fun for awhile, but there usually has to be a sort of a ground up reconstruction at the end of it.

FUN that is irresponsible. Roadtrips. Rolling Rock and Johnny Walker Black (before I switched to bourbon). Loud music. Late, late nights filled with conversation and, well, let's be honest, other stuff.

I get so sick of being mature and responsible. I get so close to the edge of flight. Taking off. Anyone want to join me on the ledge?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

No One Here Gets Out Alive

(Image by Tim Parkinson via Flickr)

I woke up this morning thinking about suicide. Physician-assisted suicide, to be precise. I read this week that Maryland is close to passing a physician-assisted suicide law, which I am all for.

I know it is weird to write about, especially after this whole week of rah-rah, you can do it, self help-y blogs, but here in the House of Pain, things move pretty quickly. Grief is bi-polar.

I was with my father when he died. He looked like he was in pain in his last moments, struggling, literally holding on, clutching his fists by his chin, and then he let go and was utterly gone. Like his body was a shell. It was a simultaneous thing; last breath, empty shell.

I wonder a lot about death. Always have. I’d like to say I have some kind of belief system about it, but I don’t. Best case scenario, your loved one is hovering around you, and every now and then they come in dreams and talk to you, which is sweet but also filled with sorrow for me. Dane does that, and he apparently pops up in other people’s dreams, too. I don’t believe in heaven because I don’t subscribe to any organized religious belief, and the practical side of me knows that dead people are still out there in the form of energy, which I also happen to like very much. Just as we are drinking dinosaur pee, we are inhaling the energy of dead people, or feeling their warmth on our face.

Nobody talks about death much. Best to be practical in most cases. I think a lot about dying alone, and don’t we all die alone, even surrounded by loved ones, but I think about it in terms of being alone, with no one. Dane was supposed to be holding my hand. I don’t want to leave my shell empty in an empty room. Is that selfish? If that happens, I’d rather do it like a cat does it, creep off into the woods when I feel unwell and just disappear. That tends to prompt investigations and search parties and worry, though.

So there we have it. Musings on a Friday morning. Waking up, thinking about death. Looking over at Dane’s ashes as the puppy nuzzles his warm nose under my hand. Birds chirping outside. The world is filled with strange juxtaposition.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Right On Time

I swear, it’s like one of my yoga teachers creeps into my head and heart and finds exactly what I need.

I can be a moody person, sure, but in the space of an hour during class on Wednesday, I was laughing and crying, super quiet and wide awake. Starting with the beginning of class when we were sitting and breathing, focusing and getting ready for class, and she said, “The answers to your prayers are already unfolding.”

I don’t pray. But I fervently wish and hope. I think a lot, too much, probably. So when she says prayers, I think of my deepest wishes that I share only in silence with the universe. Sometimes wishes I had  a long time ago and just gave up on, either by accident or on purpose. Wishes that are really the core of who I am. For some reason, I really needed to hear that. I needed to hear that things were progressing and unfolding already.

I needed to hear that life is what is happening RIGHT NOW. We are not preparing for it or waiting for it or cleaning up for it or studying for it or otherwise looking forward to it.

Life is right now.

In the dinner you make, the floor you sweep, and the job you go to. This is it. Maybe there are events to look forward to, but as Buddha says, “The trouble is, you think you have time.”

So life is RIGHT NOW. And it’s right on time.
(Image by Nick via Flickr)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

On Wealth

When you post stuff on the interwebs, you open yourself up to morons. On Facebook in a post that showed how Sicily had finished building her house (a share of someone else's post), aforementioned moron called Sicily and the whole project "classist."

I could work myself into a lather if that wasn't so ridiculous.

Best not to feed the trolls, but I responded. Told her we are closer to the bottom of the ladder than the top, by many, many rungs. Told her that Sicily, at 13, has two jobs that she worked to earn money to put into the house. Mentioned the many donations of supplies and time, the salvaged materials, the repurposed goods, the fundraiser that she designed and ran to get the project off the ground. Told her to pick a kid, any kid, and with determination to do so, I could teach them to finish their own house in under a year (and I can. Try me. If you are serious, feel free to contact me. First we'll talk geography, then we'll plan. But I digress).


The troll was right.

We are classist. We are rich beyond measure. We have friends and family and a community of humans online who don't know us IRL that support what we do. Sicily has a mother and softball coaches and other older adults who have taught her and shown her in many different ways the value of persistence. She has people in her life who say "yes," and "I can," or ask for help when they truly can't.

That is wealth. Not the number of zeroes in your paycheck or how much recognition you get.

I believe on a cellular level that money doesn't matter. Having it is good, not having to worry about it is better, but it is not the business. What kind of person you are, what kind of people you have around you: this is the measure of wealth.

How wealthy are you?

(Image by Richard Elzey via Flickr)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Coming Home

Yoga today was like coming home.

So weird.

Yesterday's class was yin yoga. It's hard, don't get me wrong, but it's more passive, and a perfect way to re-enter a practice after taking time off.

Today's class was intermediate yoga. I would call myself a beginner. Not a rank beginner, but a beginner nonetheless. So I was nervous.


Full contact, competitive yoga, me against myself. I WON.

I am a BADASS.


I felt strong. I felt flexible. I felt trust.

It was like realizing the comfort of a place that you didn't know was comfortable, only this time I carry it around with me, wrapped around my bones, tangled up in DNA. There are very few times I feel totally relaxed in my physical self; usually I am faking it, or I am readjusting myself when no one is looking.

Today on the mat I felt power. I did push ups. Correctly. Lots and lots of them (only in yoga they are called Chaturanga Dandasana which is Hindi for "You've got to be fucking kidding me.").

I twisted myself around in this, and I almost looked exactly like this.

I lost track of time. And that never happens.

Glad to be back home.

(Image by dynamosquito via Flickr)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Let It Go. LET IT GO.

With the push to finish the tiny house and the sheer exhaustion that came after finishing the tiny house, I had not been to yoga for two weeks until yesterday's class. The focus of that class was the concept of letting go.

This has suddenly popped up everywhere. Every now and then La and I will get that song stuck in our head and sing it all day. The lunar eclipse has something to do with letting go. My Tumblr feed is filled with references to acceptance and letting things go.

I get it, Universe.

Usually when a message is coming this hard from all directions it's important to listen. I am not sure what I am letting go of. Maybe it's impatience or anger. Most likely. I am still quick to anger with myself and with La. As much as I try to accept others, that is not often extended to myself.

Sounds so self-helpy. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

It's the truth. So maybe the truth makes me vomit when it is applied to me. "Truth hurts." And other side effects include nausea and dizziness.

Letting go. Being okay with the unsteadiness and losing the edge.

(maybe not losing the edge. I don't want to be soft. The edge makes me feel alive. But maybe allowing myself a little leeway sometimes.)

Letting go. Trying. But as Terry Pratchett says, too: "There are times in life when people must know when to not let go, too. Balloons are designed to teach small children this."

(image by Les Chatfield via Flickr)

On the other hand, this wisdom from Fridtjof Nansen: "I demolish my bridges behind me...then there is no choice but to move forward."