Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thanks for the memories

It is a gorgeous Saturday morning, and I am sitting at the computer, having finished my coffee and my hint-at-breakfast, and listening to the sound of contented ducks ( small squeaky grunts) and watching the sky get brighter and brighter -- and I'm sad.

And I am going to write about it, because I want to, even though I know it is my own doing and all, so it can't be fixed and I can't blame anyone, but I just feel like writing about it, and so I am.

This was all brought on by my finding people on Facebook (who weren't there the last time I looked -- more than a year ago) who had been, in the past, before my horrible marriage, my very dear friends. They were a family who attended the church that I briefly attended when I first moved to Portland -- I met them there, and then they hosted the "Small Group" in their home in Northeast Portland. They were a young couple with a small boy, when I met them. Both of them became my dear friends, but especially Him. He was (also!) a Monty Python fan, and almost every visit would devolve into a quote-fest, or have one (or both) of us singing "Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam..." to the point that even his kind-hearted, sweet-natured wife would protest. "Oh, don't get started on Monty Python!" she would beg, and even leave the room. We would look at each other guiltily, but sooner or later, something would happen and one of us would whisper, "Help, help! I'm being oppressed!"

I went to their house once a month for dinner, and babysat for them whenever they went out together -- which wasn't very often, they being a devoted family. And we had many long discussions about god and life and the future. They both knew that I was ambivalent about Christianity (at that time -- or at least I was comfortable claiming ambivalence, instead of outright repudiation) and we talked that over, too. I was so perfectly comfortable with them. And when their second child was born, they asked me to be there with their little son to keep him calm, so he could witness the birth. That was the first birth I ever saw -- little Micah, although his name at that point was Keegan. And She had at least two other pregnancies while we were still close -- one which was twins and resulted in miscarriage, and one which resulted in Rebekah.

When I met my ex-husband-to-be, I took him there for a visit, first thing, and then several weeks later again, with Joey this time. Wow, it's hard to imagine that I felt so good about Michael (having not the faintest idea who he was) that I freely took him to Their house! Even when I took him to visit my parents, only a few weeks later, I was anxious. But no anxiety at Their house!

Anyway, when I had fled Michael, and the Marriage, and was safely at my parent's house, I tried to find Them, even though they had moved to Idaho, and I didn't have any contact info for Them. There was no such thing as Facebook in those days, either! But it was important to me -- they were friends who had avoided the whole marriage debacle, since they had moved to Idaho almost immediately after I married, and I counted on them for understanding and support and love. I was eager to love them, as well.

So when I found their number and called, I was close to tears before She even picked up. But I recognized her voice at once. I was SO HAPPY to hear it. She was polite and gracious, but not excited, or even pleased to hear from me. She said, in a very few sentences, that since I had left the church, she didn't think they would need to be seeing me again. Have a nice life, good-bye.

Which, at the time, a very bad, bad time in my life, absolutely crushed me. I wasn't just devastated at the loss of my son, and horrified at the thought of my ex-husband, and completely freaked out, and all, but I was also swimming in guilt, because of all the lying that I had done, at Michael's orders, to back him up, or to keep people from knowing what went on in our family. Some of my friends have forgiven me joyfully, and some have forgiven me with a little haughtiness and some, like this family of dear friends, have not forgiven me at all. Or at least that's how it seemed to me at the time. It could have been merely that they had become more rigid in their faith, after all those years of isolation from the rest of us. That certainly happens. Could have had nothing to do with my marriage at all.

So I've been keeping them out of my head for the past five or six years, only occasionally bringing them up in conversation, telling some humorous story about Him or the little ones.

Until today! When I stumbled across his so familiar face, on Facebook. His two oldest sons are married now. Little Micah! Whose first seconds of breathing life I saw. Married. And they have a fourth child, a daughter named Hannah. I hope they are as happy as they look to be. I truly do.

Thanks for all the happy, loving memories!

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's just funny

It is remarkable to hear the difference in tone of voice when I let the person on the phone know that I am not merely the phone-answering girl. The woman I just spoke with was a perfect example. She asked for Nameless Agent. I offered her, instead, his cell-phone number. She accepted it, but asked in a bored, impatient voice, for our "relocation specialist". I said we did not have one and asked if I could help her. She said (so impatiently!) that she was So-and-So, with Such-and Such, and they needed a contact person in our office, because we weren't even on their LIST and she needed to send over some Blah-Blah packages, if Nameless Agent and they were going to be able to do business. Was it POSSIBLE that I might know who that contact person should be? I replied that said contact person would be me, that I was the office manager, and would be glad to accept her Blah-Blah package. Her voice rose several notes. "Oh!" she said. "Oh, really! Well, do you have an e-mail address?"

Now, I know this is nothing to do with me and my geniosity. There is no way they can know anything about our office, and I have certainly suffered through idiotic and untruthful and petty-minded phone-answerers in my time. It's just funny.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where is Patrick O'Brian when I need him?

Beautiful, beautiful day! Sky a vivid blue, clouds brilliantly white, lots of pale golden light filling the air -- cold and brisk, but still gorgeously sunny! And another year slowly creaks up and over the top, and is about to begin on the slow-at-first-but-then-moving-faster-and-faster roller coaster ride of the year!

Three goslings had hatched this morning as I left for work -- I'll bet there will be more when I get home. The parents are extremely crazed with trying to scare me away from looking at their babies -- when they were still in the egg, the mother merely hissed at me if I leaned over the rail, but now! Both of them lift their wings and lower their heads threateningly and HISS!

Otherwise, I am just sort of marking time for the day to be over and for me to find myself in my comfy chair, in my comfy apartment with my steaming hot cup of tea and plate of crsipy toast! And something to read...gotta find something that is as interesting and seductive as a Dick Francis -- so maybe I'll pull down a Patrick O'Brian. The Surgeon's Mate is my favorite -- or no, The Ionian Mission -- or perhaps The HMS Surprise -- no, no, The Nutmeg of Consolation -- well. One of them. Since those were my favorite books of all time since 1996, I can fall back on them when I need to be weaned! So -- tick, tock, tick, tock...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Angles of light

Saturday morning -- hair up in a towel, steaming cup of coffee, the sound of the dishwasher doing its thing -- I can also hear the ticking of the living room clock. Otherwise the day is still. There were ducks squawking earlier -- as I sat up in bed I heard them through the bedroom window, but now they are quiet and still, swimming silently around in neat little angles on the surface of the water. The branches, which have been nearly invisible all winter, grey and spidery against a grey surface, are now very visible and lovely: light green, yellowy-green in tiny balls or spots or fluffs against the pale green, grey-green water. And it makes me wonder. It cannot actually be that the water is a different color in the spring, it must be that the quality of light is different -- more light, since it is later in the year. But I don't quite believe that, either, since I have stood looking out the window at all times during the day, in the winter, when it was easily as light out as it is now, and never saw the water this color, which is true-greeny-grey. I would like to have a dress made of material that color...

Perhaps it is the angle of the light. That would make a difference, wouldn't it? Different angle reflecting different bits of color differently onto my eyes? Someone? Anyone?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday! Friday! Friday!

And I'm not even a party-girl or anything like that, I won't be drinking or dancing or staying out late (although I am staying UP late; it's after eleven) but just knowing that I have two empty days in front of me. Empty, empty. I will merely sit around and read and drink tea. Ahhhhh.....


Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Fourteen

Today is April 14, and the first day since March 1, that I have not had a Dick Francis book to read. An unread one, I mean, since I have about twenty DFs hanging around the house, but they have all been read by me. In fact, I think there are only two left for me to read. Whimper...

These books are some kind of good, too, whether they are mysteries or revenge stories -- really, the only two kinds he writes -- they are good and very magnetic. Very. On March 16 I wrote a note to my mother saying something like "As I begin reading my eleventh Dick Francis novel..."

Today is also April 14, the day after my son Joe's birthday, since he turned nineteen years old yesterday. Wahoo! And he is trying to make a new start, with his schooling, and his housing and his uncle and his money and his drug use. So I should be glad about that. And glad that he apparently doesn't want to lie to me for any length of time, since he certainly will lie to me. Can't tell you how awful that makes me feel, sort of a sucking away feeling of all that is good between us, since if he will lie to me, then we have no relationship. But then on the other hand, (brave smile) all teenagers lie to their parents, especially about drug use, and he did tell me about it, just not until a month later. Whimper...

Today is also April 14, three days after Doug's father died. Yup. Poor man. He was trying to get the obituaries put in the newspapers today, AND get his father's belongings packed up and moved out of his condo, AND meet his uncle who was flying in for the funeral. AND it was raining. AND Nameless Agent was there with his baby daughter, milling around and taking up time.

Today is also April 14, my cousin Rhys's birthday. He would have been 45 today, if he had not died a week ago. The same age as I am. My silly brown-haired cousin with the sideways smile, and the endless stream of ridiculous sounds and made-up words and annoying noises. What was the one? "Eeeee - shneebert!"

Today is April 14. And I feel that I deserve a cup of tea.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crash Boom Wallop

I was sitting in my big comfy chair, in my clean quiet office, watching a show on Hulu, and reading a book at the same time. It was evening, and I had just turned the little frog lamp on, next to the computer screen. Still pretty light outside, but dim within. When suddenly, from the direction of the front of the house, there came a loud, crashing, thumping, reverberating metallic blow kind of sound. I sat up -- got up -- turned on every light in the house as I walked quickly around looking for whoever/whatever had just bashed something very hard IN MY HOUSE. It was a three-part sound -- semi-familiar, so I knew I would recognize whatever had made it as soon as I saw it. But nothing. Nothing fallen over, nothing on the ground that should have been hanging on the wall, no broken pieces of anything anywhere. I got a little shivery as I walked around, since this sound had been very loud and definitely IN THE HOUSE.

But no evidence of anything. The kitchen counters still had un-put-away food from the food box on the counters, and there was some of that on the floor in the dining room, but nothing that I hadn't put there.

I went back to my chair, and sat down and thought about it as I read and watched with the front of my mind. It couldn't be anything I needed to worry about, right? Cuz there was no sign of anything or anybody. I had finally decided lazily to forget about it, when ka-BOOM-thump-crash-rinnnnggg! There it was again. This time I leaped up and ran out into the hallway and turned on all the lights, and huried around the rooms. But NOTHING! NOTHING AT ALL.

This time, however, I did not go back to the office. I started putting away food in the kitchen, sorting out the "keeps" from the "give-aways" and this time putting the "keeps" away on shelves in the pantry or the fridge. In the course of doing this, I had to run some water -- perhaps I was making tea to help me with my task -- and noticed that sort of underneath the dishes in the sink -- several pots and a cookie sheet -- were two burst-open tubes of biscuit dough.

I stared at them for a moment before I realized what they were. I had taken them out of the food box, and stood them on the counter next to the sink. And they were so close to bursting already, that a half an hour later they had burst open, flinging themselves into the sink, clattering against the cookie sheet and the pots and the bottom of the sink, making that dreadful sound, and neatly covering themselves with the toppled-over sheet! First one and then the other. The metallic wobble of the cookie sheet was the familiar part of that noise. Still seems amazing and humorous when I think about it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring, ting-a-ling! Ting-a-ling, Spring!

Today is The Day! Today is the day that I got up and went to the kitchen to make my coffee, and while the kettle sputtered and shook and rattled on its way to boiling, I stood and looked out the window at tiny green tips on the ends of the branches. Spring is HERE! Soon the view from the window will be obscured by a multi-level panorama of leaves, hiding the parking lot and the apartment building, and leaving only the surface of about half the pond. It will be lovely and very private, just me and the ducks, and I will LOVE it! 'Course, I do anyway, as you may have noticed. But I have been looking forward to this for weeks now, so I'm very happy to see it.

Yes, very happy. Which is good, since a very sad thing happened recently. Or at least, something that would have been sad under other circumstances. Which, in it's turn, made me sad, to think of them. But I'm getting sort of backwards here, so let me just say that my cousin Rhys, my first cousin, who was only half a year younger than I, and who lived with my family for about a year when he was fourteen, has just died. It was not unexpected -- he has been an over-the-top alcoholic for about twenty years, and has completely destroyed his interior organs -- but it also was unexpected, because he is the same age as me. And was my friend when we were children. And my half-and-half, friend/enemy, just like any sibling would be, when we were older and lived together. And I haven't seen him for years -- only once when he was a grown man -- so in my imagination, he is still a fourteen-year-old boy. A silly, annoying fourteen-year-old boy, who made ridiculous noises and laughed immoderately at them, and if we betrayed our annoyance, did it again and again. He did love it when I read aloud, and would sit and listen to anything going. Loved Watership Down, and would ask questions about rabbits after. What did I think rabbits thought about? Do rabbits, in fact, think?

And now he is completely gone from the earth. His son lives, so some of his DNA survives, but that is not Rhys. None of his memories of childhood remain. Remember flying those wind-up planes on the sunny corner of the street, Rhysy? Remember? Running along underneath them, with our faces turned up to the sky?

So. John Rhys Murray, April 14, 1966 to April 5, 2011. Rest in Peace, cousin.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Out of the mists of time!

Wow -- this might be the first time in -- well, in years, don't know how many, and can't even begin to think back to the last time -- so, years, that I have had a classic attack of fibromialgia. It's my right arm, pretty much all of it, but mostly from the elbow down. The top half is only gently tinged with an outline of pain, in that familiar way, but the lower half is nearly visibly aflame! And yet, if I keep the arm constantly moving, (like now, typing rapidly) I can almost keep the pain sub rosa, almost keep it so unidentfiable that I could almost deny having it. That is, if I hadn't just noticed it while my arm was still. It centers in my wrist and my elbow. The palm of my hand feels stiff and swollen, and my fingers don't enjoy flexing. My forearm also feels stiff and hot, and I cannot quite locate the pain with my other hand (that almost made me laugh, it was so very familiar). Can't clench my fist. Elbow, also, faintly throbbing with heat, and aching where it touches the desktop. Shoulder, also, though more mildly. Now, why? I have not had any sort of emotional issue today. Been quite calmly and happily answering the phone and entering my data, and reading my book. And while I know it didn't always come as a result of emotions, it did so frequently, that it hardly seems fair to come without them.