Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

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As I ready myself to invite 2012 into my life, somethings about the past year stand out starkly.

Two of my books were finally done, and put out into the world. I started two blogs. This came about, I kid you not, solely because I was furious. Never before have I used anger constructively. The results of being as angry before have been dreadful headaches and vaguely proved memory loss.

I met a questionable holy man, who despite my doubts, imparted significant knowledge and had me lose a miraculous 8 pounds in 2 weeks. Even though he had his eyes on a voluptuous neighbor as I asked him questions about the future and deeper philosophies, I'm still grateful. See? They were right about having an open mind. There are certainly diamonds to be found in the muck. Just have to shut your eyes, and plug your nose for good measure.

After eleven long years of thinking that it didn't really matter, going through career changes and staying home too, I discovered that I just cannot be a housewife. Just...NO. Not for me. So I've had little projects, while ensuring basic involvement with my household and of course, ensuring that Mini-Him has his Mini life properly running.

The biggest surprise of 2011 for me has been my pregnancy. Delightful and unexpected. And much hoped for. Nearly ten years ago, when Mini-Him was born, I believe that I was saturated with patience and tolerance, and an unreasonable belief in supposedly endless time. Life has been stripped down to the basics now. There's no time for indulgence, false ambition and hypocrisy. It feels surprisingly weightless.

And speaking of weightless -  or the opposite - that's one thing that has traveled with me, unchanged over the years. I hope when I write in 2012, I can say, "So we're still here in 2013 (clarify you cryptic Mayans!), and I left my weight behind. The Great Bulk is now a thing of the past!"

I'm grateful to each of you for taking the time to visit, read and comment on my blog. I've enjoyed being myself here and enjoy reading your blogs in turn.

Wish you all a very Happy, healthy, prosperous, love-filled 2012!


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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tranquilo

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For the first time, in a long time, I've felt at peace. Likely, I'll jinx myself by saying this. But if I can talk about confusion and unhappiness with ease, this should be as natural.

I think Mini-Him's reaction to news of a sibling's arrival had something to do with it. He said, "It's true?!"
Him and I smiled and nodded.
"No! It's not true...," he insisted, and asked in a small voice, "is it?"
We laughed, because his eyes haven't stayed open that wide in some years, around the time he was four and he knelt by the fireplace, looking up the chimney for Santa's boots on Christmas Eve.
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"Oh...oh I'm so glad Mom!!! I'm so proud of you!!" he said, grabbing me in a dance, suddenly stopping, and he said, "Oh, and Baby, I don't care if you're a boy or a girl, I'm just glad you're here!"

I was a quivering mass of sentiment by the time he was done and had to escape, in a hurry, to the bathroom to cry, and to take care of that other urgent thing that hits expectant moms without notice. By the time I had returned, he had a notebook open, with Boy on one page, and Girl, on the other. He'd put down a few names and urged us to put our choices down. I really didn't know what to say. Just uttered a deep prayer for Mini-Him's well being and offered many thanks to the one above.

Him didn't know what to say either, and was his manly self, except when he'd hug Mini-Him and kiss him like he used to when Mini-Him was a baby (smacking kisses on both cheeks and one on the forehead for good measure).

After that revelation, something settled down inside.

I'd also mentioned needing to let go of past memories in a previous post. I've used lots of ink and paper. And something startling I found, was that most hurtful memories had something to do with not being heard or understood. And most positive memories had something to do with being able to express my thoughts and feelings. It rarely, if ever, had anything to do with concrete slights. I seemed to have brushed those off easily. Also, the memories of Mini-Him's awful emergencies seem to have burrowed deep. I think those point to some concrete fear. But otherwise, it's my own view of other's thought processes about me. Or actions toward me. None of which I have any control over! So now, there is new understanding of "that's not really my problem."

Not in a dismissive, uncaring fashion. But truly, as an aspect of relationships that I could never have controlled or changed. In fact, it's none of my business what goes on in another human's head. So there. If they appeared not to have heard me or didn't care, there was a missing element. A wordy bridge to understanding doesn't untangle the issue; i.e; a lack of interest in exchange that leaveseveryone feeling fulfilled.

An inordinate number of fears have escaped a regular weeding process. It's freeing to sort through this. Hopefully I'll get somewhere.

Then, there are childhood memories. So real that it becomes easy to overlap time lines. It's easy to confuse frames. I've found myself looking into my father's camera lens as my six year old self posed in front of a sunset, wearing my favorite skirt. Suddenly, my baby brother is stumbling alongside Mom, as we walk him back from his first day at school. I've been as I was, when I saw Him for the first time, honey colored skin warming further in the sunlight. Without notice, I'm with a friend looking at Mini-Him days after he is born. The warmth of dusky desert evenings to crisp Californian winters to balmy Panamanian Christmases. These are difficult to let go. I don't want to.

But the undercurrent of longing has to go.

It's pointless to want something you've already had, right?

For now, it's gratitude, plain and simple, for all that was and for all the hope that we still nurture.

I presented an abridged finding of my 'paper and ink' research to Him. He listened, loving his shredded wheat with dry fruit cereal more than my monologue. But he listened.

"So what do you think?" I asked Him, looking for a further analysis.

Him solves a great deal with a simple word.

He said, "Tranquilo....just... tranquilo."

And he smiled, patted my back and left.

When I looked up the word to confirm the meaning I suspected, I found, among other meanings, (http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=tranquilo)

Tranquilo, Spanish - 'sin turbulencias' , 'sin preocupacion'

For the time being, yes, it is without turbulence.

As for tomorrow, I'll shore up paper and ink.

Happy Saturday!


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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Love to death

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The shock of cold water seemed to seal the heat within. Leia's body had run into the ocean's forbidding chill, on instinct. There had been no mental prep or conditioning. It was to save herself.

He had walked around the Dodge and waved, in the general direction of the group. He would find her, she thought, and she would be speechless again. Hazel eyes and smiling innocence, knowing her fluttering heart and yet, seeking friendship, that she did not want to extend. Sort of like offering a match stick as kindling for a raging fire.

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Rachel walked, swaying toward him, in time with his body swaying toward hers. The unconscious comfort of lovers, the signal that confirms suspicions to the world before anything is verbalized. Leia's breath caught as she turned away and tried to wade in, as waves pushed her toward the shore. Desperation stretched out ahead, as far and as deep as the ocean. It would be wonderful to drown in it. To let it roll and break far above her head, while she lay, silent and still at the bottom.

"Hey Leia!," Rachel shouted. Her best friend. Her sister for all seasons. The one who had envied her her grades, her body and career. She was more than compensated, Leia thought, when she met Kevin. Kevin, whom Leia had wanted at first sight. Kevin, who saw and understood the shock in her eyes. Kevin, who had gently drawn her attention away from himself, to the man she had married that day. Her husband, who was wonderful and not Kevin.

"Hi Rachel," Leia said, water mixing with her tears, making them even saltier. "Thought you were busy today!"

"We thought we'd be. But then, I hardly see you these days. If I didn't know better, Leia Wills, I'd swear you're ignoring me. But you love me don't you? I told Kevin that I'd rather see you. So he called and cancelled our lunch plans and here we are!"

Leia frowned, heart hammering as she watched Kevin approach them. Rachel had waded into the water too. "You look good. Hi, Kevin!"

Kevin smiled softly, eyes holding hers, " Leia, you look well."

She laughed, shaking her head, fighting bitterness. She looked well? She felt like she was eighty. Weary and too aware. The awareness of hopelessness much too strong. "Thanks, you too."

Rachel looked on frowning at their strange greeting.

Mike jogged toward them, back slapped Kevin and hugged Rachel. "Does my wife forget to invite people home these days?! Where have you guys been? Haven't seen you in months!"

As the three of them talked, Leia had waded further back. They hadn't noticed her moving. Rachel's back toward her, with Kevin's fingers on her skin. Mike engaged them, his volleyball player's physique executing little leaps, and tosses as he enacted a move.

If she could get away. In the truest sense. Not have to go back to that sand and sit watching their happiness and her own pain. She realized how far out she was when the floor no longer met her feet. Leia was a tall woman. The three figures were speck-like, with waving arms. Mike's booming voice reached her, now a mild echo, "Leia, what the hell are you doing?! Get back here!!"

"Never," she whispered to herself. "Not to you. Not to anyone." The waves lapped at her tears now. She continued to swim backwards, and downwards. For moments that stretched eternally. Her strong body wouldn't let her drown. She floated, eyes closed, willing oblivion to creep over.

Something held on, something that was deeper than desperation. Leia opened her eyes, and looked toward the shore. It wasn't visible. Righting herself, taking breaths before the next push of a wave filled her mouth with water, she saw.

Too much water and too much distance.

She sobbed, seeing herself apart and alone for the first time. No Mike, or Kevin or Rachel or family. No one but her in the moment that she decided to let go. Why did Kevin matter so? Who was there now?

A giant wave pushed her down. She sank for a few feet, as she had wanted, at the beginning of this journey of no return. The ocean was a liquid canvas of gray. It matched her hold on life at the moment. A tenuous hold, ready to break. There was no panic. Just questions about why she needed Kevin more than she needed Mike or Rachel. And why she needed to take her life, and not live it. Because of one man in more than six billion people on planet earth.

Her airways protested the water forcing itself through. Her muscles deprived of oxygen, from fighting it; fighting to live or die? It seemed unimportant now, as her mind ventured on journeys of its own.

A motor whirred in the distance, approaching faster. Leia was nearly asleep now, the waves rocking her, the ocean's roar a dim lullaby. As her lungs filled with water, blackness began to creep in. Going from gray to black now. Middle ground couldn't last long at a time like this, she thought dimly, her body twitching in a final fight. Her heart saw no point.

She didn't hear the rescue boat stop above her, nor Kevin's hoarse cry. Mike had jumped in the water and refused to get aboard, until rescuers began to threaten him. It was getting dangerous. The boat passed over the spot she floated in, many feet below.

Many days later, after the memorial service, Rachel and Kevin sat by the ocean where they had last seen her. Rachel sobbed into the now azure sea. "Why Kevin? Why did she do it? I wasn't there for her, was I? Just too wrapped up. She was a sister, I can't understand it."

Kevin rubbed her back. He looked out into the ocean. He'd known of course, that she had wanted him since the first time that she'd seen him. Or really, the first time that she had realized that he was around. Because he'd been around her a long time. He just hadn't expected to see her get married to Mike. He had waited, believing that she would somehow know, magically, that he was the one for her. And she knew magically too, on her wedding day.  All through school and high school, she couldn't have known that he had watched her from the sidelines, during games and dances. He had watched her choose her boyfriends, her classes, and schools. He had bought tickets to her graduation. He had watched her as she went from a pig tailed brat to a gorgeous young woman. And she couldn't have known that he had wanted her and loved her through the years. Sweet Rachel, a lovely light by herself, still reminded him of her, and he needed that much at least. He had sought out Rachel, to have a bit of Leia for himself. He loved Rachel, in a steady way. The inferno that whipped inside him at the sight and touch of Leia couldn't have belonged in the realm of the sane.

It was better that she went, he thought. As much as he hadn't been man enough to tell her that he lived for her, since he had first seen her, he couldn't have been man enough to love her from a distance forever. He had hated Mike with a passion, until he had seen him devastated and shocked.

Yes, it was better that she did this.

This way, he thought, no one would get hurt.

Except, that the inferno was a burning ember now, and the pain would become a part of him, more desperation than he had lived with. But nothing he couldn't bear. At least, he had Rachel.

He turned around and kissed Rachel, held her hand, embraced her sorrow and his, and asked, "Will you marry me?"


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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Past forward, and the dream update :-)

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pic credit - Evgeni Dinev; freedigitalphotos.net
There are times when I wish memories from the past would leave me alone. Even the happy memories. It seems to me that I haven't yet been able to make peace with the present. Or the fact that the good, happy memories are meant to fuel my aspirations for the future. Instead, I'm obsessed with holding on to the memory of every sight, sound, person and wayward leaf.

I've been trying to move forward. I do...sometimes, it's a mad stop in the present and a mad dash toward a future that I can't wait to meet. Very often though, I feel lost in a wilderness that I'm in no hurry to leave. Either the perfection of the present or the perfection of the past, even with it's troubles, holds me captive. And of course, there are endless ways in which to use hindsight.

But there is something compelling about an ocean of memories. Our lives are huge lessons. For me at least, the people and moments in my life shaped me definitively. And their absence continues to shape me.

I long for the warmth of home, and yet, I long for the moments when I believed that I would be on my own someday. Those moments held promise and power. I long for the safety of sheltering, understanding arms. And at once, I'm glad to be here, now, by myself.

Maybe opening my heart to new things is part of it, and somehow, there's something vital that I've missed about the life I've lived so far. Perhaps "doing" more than "thinking" might bring home the point.

It also seems, that letting go would entail some level of disconnect. There would be things, good and bad, that will become neutral or stop mattering. I think that, from all other reasons, holds me back.

But it remains to be dealt with.

I'm trying somethings for it and can hopefully talk about it, if I have some progress.

After all, it doesn't seem like there is very much time to live a future, as much as there is time to live in past memories. Life does move inexorably forward, and when it slows down after a few decades, I'm pretty sure I'll snap back into the 'old times' to take me through the last few days of the future.

Also, "the weird dream" update -
Turns out that Mini-him will, hopefully, have a Mini-sibling soon (June, and if Mini-Him's set precedent is anything to go by, much earlier!) Who knew? Snakes and green fruit and what not? It's been wonderful; the morning sickness, the sleepiness and everything is still miraculous to me:-)

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Light and dark

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Swirling silk kissed
her calves as she walked
Tap, tap, tap each step seemed
a beckoning toward
his future.

A future with loving eyes
of brandy warmth, drugging kisses that drew out longing
from lips that threw sharp words against darkness
when it's provocation stirred
a passionate heart.

Hands steady, arms held out
a breath stopped, waiting
her future waiting to be embraced
certain and unafraid,
of perceived light.

A future with loving eyes
that saw more than just brandy warmth.
drugging kisses that shied not from darkness
lips framing retorts when a mind stirred against wrong
yet tempered as the heart stayed steady.

A promise of eternity
for one, eternity was light existing alone
for the other, eternal light
existed with darkness that sought
to diminish itself.


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Friday, October 21, 2011

...falling...in and out...of LOVE...

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It just occurred to me today, that we talk about "falling in love". It's rarely the tacky sounding, "feeling the love", or the wordy "experiencing love" or a simple "I love him/her/you".

First, why do we fall into it? Is it an abyss that pulls us downward? Or a mythical ocean of bliss?
Then follows my second point, if someone is out of love, that must mean that they climbed out of the abyss, or stopped swimming in an ocean of bliss.

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Where do we go when we "fall in love"? Where are we when we're "in love"? We make some very permanent choices/changes when we're in these special zones. People seem to fall out of these zones easily and the choices remain.

Then there is the celebrity sounding, "We fell in love all over again!" So we fall into the abyss/are swimming in the mythical ocean/are back in our special place again? Having left once, we're ready to run back in, to feel all there is to feel, ready to make some more choices. (And then there's Alicia Keys song about "I keep on falling in and out...of love...with you!" Gosh that must be tiring!)

And about those choices. I wonder if that's why we fall in love. Perhaps it moves us toward doing definitive things that alter our landscape completely. Things that need the extra energy/heat/charge to happen. That extra unifying energy that propels us toward some soul mission, without which, our existence could truly be about our next latte/pedicure appointment/bake sale. Nothing wrong with all that. Even that needs a fueling spark.

From the many scientific/deeper philosophical/esoteric explanations, there are centers activated from feeling that ocean tide of emotion. I wonder if that makes us braver, more certain and enables us to live with more faith.Where does that initial spark come from? The thing that makes us fall/swim in love?

Could it be that we fall into our purpose? Something about the person we behold, that makes us believe that they'll lead us to where we need to go? Is it our purpose sort of resonating with the other person's purpose? Corny, I know. But still. So both identify a way to fulfill some deep mission, and perhaps that awareness is the first step toward "falling in love."

So when we're out of love, as per my hare-brained, sleepless at midnight theory, we've lost our purpose? When the purpose for remaining in that ocean of bliss/abyss is gone? And so we extricate ourselves, trying to find another person/self ignite that spark? But then what about those many choices and little lives? What do they do once our purpose has ceased to exist? What happens to their mini-purposes that trustingly took shape in proximity to us?

So when people say, I love you but am not in love with you, they don't want to be in that blissful ocean/abyss together anymore. They want another swim buddy. With their not so special partners, they want to merely hang about on the shore, like they would with the rest of their "loved ones."

I am writing another book, and of course, people fall in love. And that made me stop and think about what on earth must happen to us all at some point or the other. We throw caution to the wind and grow into ourselves, I suppose.

It also makes me wonder, how such a wild emotion can be curbed within the confines of relationships decreed as legal/proper/binding by civilized society? And if it stays curbed, how strong was it to begin with?

It's certainly worth every moment, at least to me. I can't imagine that the prospect of having to swim to shore/climb out of an abyss should keep any of us from reaching our invisible purposes with a loved one. Kind of like not eating because you're going to be hungry anyway, tomorrow. Or giving up on life because we're all going to die anyway.

So from that it must follow, that falling out of love must be expected, and our time on the shore, that will be loving, must be a break before another glorious swim. And our time on the shore is fortified by the memory of bliss.

I could finally be losing my marbles. But at least I get to say this!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Unreal Beauty

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Beautiful world has a hold on me
pic credit - Mindy McGregor; freedigitalphotos.net
Sleepy journey into bliss sets me free
Struggle to hold on, hold on to peace
People, sights and sounds tantalize, tease.

Do I wear red, blue, yellow, another hue?
My best friend, a diamond, they sell it true
Wouldn't want a friend so cold and hard
Blood spilled to fuel their spark, spirit charred.

Art, spiritual expression, oft a mockery
Admire the intention, the product trickery
Wars, fights for justice, easily flipped reason
Any where you turn, every argument a treason.

Enjoyment artificial, a wreath
on free spirited creativity, stifled breath
Yet hope is seductive, beckons,
Beautiful life captivates, even for just seconds.

Memory of fleeting truth and beauty
Strong persuader, call to duty
Duty to love, trust and believe
Remain unspoiled, and somewhat naive.

So I come back, charmed and jaded world,
still more mysterious than peace unfurled
Grabs me at once, unloving, handcuffs in gold
Want to run, again, now, to escape it's hold.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

My dream-life

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pic credit - Kenneth Cratty; freedigitalphotos.net
There are these dreams that I have where the colors are so vivid, and I seem to be part of the dream in every way, that reality becomes the story. I've had difficulty reorienting myself after waking up.

There was the dream of a friend eating a really ripe, green fruit. She wore green too. The strangest part of the dream was watching these bunch of girls, all in green, eating that really ripe fruit.There was fruit juice all over the place. I couldn't fathom why it was so vivid. And really, why on earth I couldn't stop talking about it. Him had an evil glint in his eye when I told him. His eyebrows danced and he said, "Out with it. What did you really dream about?"

It escaped me, for a moment, what he meant. Then I realized that it was some ribald thought and ignored him.

Still I brought it up again, and he looked wearily on and said, "Okay, so these girls ate a really ripe fruit. Maybe you saw an avocado ad. Maybe you read about breadfruit."

"I did not read about breadfruit, and I don't believe that it can get ripe and drippy. And no, those fruits didn't look like avocados either."

But I wonder if these are the figment of an overactive imagination, the product of an over active mind or something more.

Then there are my constant dreamland companions. Snakes. Only these were very fashion forward. Slithering all over my living room, in black and orange, black and green, and black and blue stripes. They seemed at ease, moving along gracefully, hundreds of them in my living room, while I was frozen in fear. Mini-Him, in my dream, seemed at ease, pulling out fangs from a black and orange snake. I ran to my...mother?! Screaming about snakes and Mini-Him's callous ease.

She turned about, smiling benignly, and handed me a snake.

I remember sitting bolt upright, panting for breath.

It's all that's occupied my thoughts for days. There was also the dream about flying, in blue skies, so alive that I could feel the wind and moisture in my face.

Him is now shaking his head, hopelessly, saying, "Babe, let it go! People have all kinds of dreams. It's all stuff from your own mind. There's no big meaning mumbo-jumbo to it."

Mini-Him, drawing a picture of a mutant wolf-snake being preyed on by a mutant man-eagle said, "Yeah. It's just your imagination. It's no big deal. There's no message in there, Mom!!"

I'm stubbornly convinced, that there's something to this whole dream thing. All the websites with dream interpretation make me feel a little silly when I go through them. But there's something to the intensity of what ever is going on in my unseen universe, that has my antennae all abuzz.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

The green eyed monster and lemon yellow

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pic credit - Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net
I finally decided to open a door that I'd shut away, probably during my fugly teen years. The promise, to never look in and never allow the monster inside to glimpse daylight has been tested many times. But it happened most severely with this one person. A perfectly lovely being who goes about her life in her unique fashion. But there is not a whole lot of logic to the jealousy that I feel.

It's terrible admitting it. Even more awful feeling it. And yes, since I promised that my blog would be about humanness too, here it is.

Over yesterday and today, I allowed myself to think about her. A good friend. Who I see very rarely, because we moved and all that. But there is a freedom about this person that is difficult to ignore. She is nothing if not, happily, confidently, care-free. No, she doesn't live a charmed life. I've been privy to some of the sudden endings and shaky beginnings in her particular journey. But never once, did she lose her sense of...well...style. I think that's what it is. It's a sense of style. A choice. A choice to live her best life no matter what the world throws at her.

All of these stellar qualities are enviably packaged. She is gorgeous and refuses to let it matter. And she refuses to get all wadded up about nothing. And she is never afraid to stand out. And she has fun. I mean, she goes out there, determined to have fun. And she speaks her mind.

No, if there are men reading this, I cannot give you her number. She's been off limits for a long time. And she's my friend. But gosh, I'm so terribly jealous!

Him wonders aloud, "Is it her looks? She is...something. Really, quite graceful." Right. Him's attempts to soothe my angst was like pouring acid on nettle stings.

I respond with a grouchy, "I know you think so. I know everyone thinks so. In fact, I know that you'd prefer her to me. Any time."

Him then looks at me, frowning, and says, "No. Stop it. I don't."

And I insist, "Lies. All lies. You like her because she's more fun, more forward and so gorgeous."

Him, does his very Him-like thing and says, "Well, right now, I'd prefer her company. And what's wrong with her being gorgeous? Why don't you go do things like she does, if you're so jealous?"

I studiously ignore the part about Him preferring her company for the moment. It would take us nowhere. Which is where this particular conversation is headed anyway. Instead, I'm trying to convince him of things that he insists are not true. "So you don't really like the things I do. Or the way I do things. You should've said so. I always knew that you had a soft corner for her."

Him rolls his eyes and doesn't open them. He's sitting with his eyes closed, trying to blot me out in my illogical state. Him can't handle drama very well. "Look. You said you wished you were more like her. Or she could do the things that you do. Or that you weren't so chicken about things. I was just encouraging you. Do what you like. It doesn't bother me at all."

"So you don't care? About how I'm feeling. About me?" I shoot back, unreasonably.

"I'm making myself not care that you're being silly. Really. I will not care about my wife's weekend silliness. You're fine the way you are. And her husband obviously loves her the way she is. Nothing else should matter." Him tried putting things into perspective for a person who's world was a spinning kaleidoscope of shades of green.

"So you don't really love the way I am?" I force him to acknowledge it, ignoring everything else.

"This isn't about me. It's about you. You're jealous and don't know what to do with yourself."

I acknowledge that it's true. But still stay quiet. Him gives up and gets us breakfast. Not a bad Saturday morning. Mini-Him is still asleep. It's just the spectacle of perfection that she presents. So charming, lissome, carefree and yet, enigmatic. Of course, these adjectives are mine. I have not a clue how she perceives herself. From what I know of her, she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her.

I still remember the day that Him stared too, slack jawed, when she arrived, dressed in a daring shade, absolutely at ease with herself. I remember rushing over, glad to see her and hugged her. Stepping away, the silence of the rest of the party struck me. Everyone was staring. Perhaps she noticed. Perhaps not. But she was busy introducing herself, contributing to the room's illumination with her hundred watt smile. Her husband stood proud. The man didn't really have to say anything. Everything about them was evident. Their little girl hurried to play with the other kids, and she sat down and joined the kids. It took a while for the room to return to normal.

It is more about that remarkable self-possession, I think. The fact that I have always perceived her as unflappable. Not given to silliness. And completely accepting of herself.

And beyond the obvious beauty, daring fashion choices, and being the center of a party, it is a lot about her utter belief in herself.

There. I said it. I wish I had it. I wish I could be as unflappable and confident. As certain and as carefree, inspite of sorrows. I wish, that I could care less about public opinion. And not be overwhelmed or dazed.

Yes. I wish I could wear lemon yellow with great aplomb too.

Now, to sort this out. I really can't be walking about with all of this holding me back. Now that I've put it down, it's not the worst thing, is it?

No. But I wish I could brave shorts without a care in the world.

This must be, really, about getting to a point, where I am comfortable in my own skin.

And it would be great to look my best at all times of day, infuse fun into a place just by being there, and not really give a damn if I'm my 60% best today.

It really would be great.

Now, I'm going to do something about this uneasy place that I haven't had the courage to look into in so long.

Have a good weekend!

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A woman's place

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"I have to pick up Ian." Janice sighed, as she collected her bag. "His teacher called. Apparently, he's running a temperature."

Geoff watched her walk away, back held strong, waving at co-workers on her way out. In the three years that as her boss, he had watched her often. With a rising desperation each time.

He had alternately loved and hated Janice. He had fallen hard for her, on their first encounter in the elevator that took them up to their twenty-third floor office. She had laughed and joked with everyone there, making sullen Monday morning faces bloom. She had smiled at him easily, drawing him into her warm radiance and holding him captive.

He had hated her the day that she had made an effective presentation, the following month, proving that the sales strategy she had proposed was a better choice. Over his. Of course, none of it was intended that way. When she was divorced a year later, unexpectedly, the light in her had dimmed, and he had rejoiced. He barely admitted it to himself, but he needed her to fail. He wondered if his high pressure tactics on the team contributed to the collapse of her marriage. He had pressured her often into handling more than she needed to.

"She's a woman. Women always look for the easy way out, you know the story. Kids, in-laws, husbands. That's why my Sandy never worked. I put my foot down and ended that whole career aspiration thing with her. How far could she have gone anyway? Janice has to prove herself."

"But Geoff," began another manager, "she's done that. Many times over. She talks about her family, like all of us. But she's never expected a lighter load or easy routes. Even worked overtime on weekends because she took time off when Ian was a baby, and would fall sick."
Geoff had glared, challengingly. No one had said anything after that. But the other managers, all of whom happened to be male, were terribly uncomfortable.

Finally, today, she had left in the middle of the day. She always had a system in place to ensure that her little Ian was never put through discomfort, and that her job did not suffer. Geoff loved her more than he loved Sandy. Sandy who was a submissive wife. Sandy, who never contradicted him. Sandy, who could never imagine that he thought of Janice in their intimate moments.

He wanted to possess Janice and break her all at once.

His hands shook as he thought of the events of the morning. 'No', he told himself, 'no one will ever find out. She must never find out. And she must leave. I'll be there to pick up the pieces after. But she has to go.'

Janice took Ian to his pediatrician. "Ear infection," the doctor announced, frowning into the otoscope.

Janice sighed, in relief and mild worry. "How long does he need to stay home, doctor?"

"I'd say about a day. Start his antibiotics today. He'll be good to go the day after tomorrow."

After they were home, Ian sucking on his lime lollipop, Janice checked her work emails. She would have to let Geoff know that she wouldn't be able to make it tomorrow. Only the second time in two years that she'd taken time off.

She fought off the familiar sadness that threatened to take over. Ever since Michael had walked out, this happened to her at unexpected times. Thank goodness for her boss and colleagues. They were accepting and understanding of her emotional state. She'd never given them cause to doubt her commitment, and she saw Geoff watching her, with a sad look on his face. He must sense, she thought, her anguish at her broken family. He was a family man after all. So very supportive of Sandy. Who looked like she needed it, too.

Janice recalled meeting Sandy at a company get together. She was nervous, fidgety and could barely focus when people spoke. She seemed bird brained until you looked into her eyes. They looked strange. Sort of like a frantic animal, Janice thought.

She sent off an email to colleagues and shut her laptop. After administering Ian's meds, she took him into the master bedroom and tucked him in. She hated being by herself now. Ian's small, snoring body brought peace and warmth.

It was nearly seven am when Janice woke, the next day.

Now, at her laptop, she took a healthy bite of a sandwich and scrolled past the emails. Frowning, she clicked on one.

"You need to come in to the office today. It is a mandatory meeting."

Geoff had sent it. Surely he had seen her email of yesterday?! She wrote back, refusing attendance and sent the email. There was a response in barely a minute.

"Get here. That's all I have to say."

Janice decided to take a very cranky Ian to the meeting. Leaving him with her secretary, she went looking for Geoff. Walking into his office angrily, she saw an odd assortment of people. The managers from her division, including Geoff, a plainclothes officer, and a police man.

She was greeted with silence.

"Janice Evans?" the policeman asked, approaching her.

"Yes," she said, confused.

"You're under arrest for harassment and intimidation."

"What?!" she asked, stunned.

"The emails that you've sent out have upended many lives. We have a lot of disturbed people this morning," he paused, for dramatic effect. "We believe that we have enough evidence to charge you."

"What are you talking about? I've never threatened anyone!" she said, voice rising, looking to Geoff for help.

He shook his head, and looked out the window. Janice panicked. What was this about? Something so serious out of the blue?! Why had no one ever mentioned that something was so terribly wrong. Not even when she checked her email this morning!

Before they could react, she sped out of the office, rapidly scanning the cubicles for friendly co-workers. A couple of them looked back at her, curious, yet somehow guarded. She gestured to them, requesting that she meet her in front of their work space. One or two shook their heads and went back to work. However, Max, her teammate and good friend, walked rapidly toward her.

Gesturing to the police men who came to take her away, he said, "Wait. Something's not right. I haven't been able to work all morning thinking of this. She has a young son and would never jeopardize him, right Geoff?" Geoff had stopped behind the officers. His eyes were wide. "I don't know Max." he said, never looking at Janice. "The evidence came from her computer. There was so much stuff that we couldn't ignore."

Janice took a deep breath and asked, "Back up now. I was here until noon yesterday. No one said anything about it then, or before. What happened between yesterday afternoon and this morning? How did emails suddenly get sent out? Did you check the date on the emails?"

The plainclothes officer approached her, "Apparently, they've been sent from your computer since a month now. "

"Who? Who have these emails gone to?" Janice asked.

Something of her disbelief and despair must have reached everyone. No one was working anymore. Lara, another coworker stepped forward.

"I had some. With details I haven't shared with anyone but you!" she said, hurt, but still hoping that it hadn't been Janice.

"I received some too," Max said. "You talked about some work related issues that only our team mates could have known."

Janice turned to Lara. "Which details are you talking about?"

Lara said, "About...about the case."

Janice said, "Lara, we never actually talked about that. You emailed it to me. Yesterday! We were supposed to catch up and talk this weekend!"

Lara looked taken aback. "That's true. But...what about the others? The ones that have been sent for over a month?"

Janice looked at the police officers. "Who received them? You can't arrest me without hearing what I need to say, or even questioning me about this! I deserve to know this much. Please show me the people who've received these dreadful emails."

"It doesn't matter, does it?" Geoff asked angrily, "You've done something terrible. I'll have to talk to management about firing you. No severance."

Janice shot back at him, appalled, "You go ahead and talk to anyone you want, Geoff. But I'm going to get to the bottom of this, without you!"

Geoff stood watching her for a few seconds, then approached her, dragging her by the elbow to a corner. "Janice," he began, his voice soft, "just let it go. It's been proven beyond doubt. I can't have you in the team or even at work anymore. But, but I promise I'll be there for Ian and you after. Just...trust me. I won't let you go through this alone." His voice began shaking from being so near to her. Her sadness nearly overwhelmed him but he fought for composure. She had to go. There was no other way for him to stay at the top. He would make it up to her, later.

"No." Janice said. "I don't need anyone. But I'll make sure the guilty one pays dearly."

She resolutely turned away. The plainclothes officer decided to go further with Janice. Sitting down, he pulled a folder. He motioned for Janice to join him and said, "I'm going to read out names, and you need to tell me if you know them."

"Okay," Janice said.

"Lara Tomkin?" he asked.

"My coworker, the one who was just talking to me." she answered.

"Micheal Dunlap?"

"My ex-husband! Did he receive these too?!"

"Yes." the officer said. "He was livid, but couldn't quite believe it."

"Dolores Blanco?" he asked, writing something down against the names.

"Who's that?" Janice asked.

"Someone who was affected by the malicious emails. Okay, Redmond Sanders?" he continued.

"I don't know anyone by that name!"

He called out a few more, and Janice denied knowing every one of them.

The plainclothes officer considered her for a long time. "Sandy Wilson?" he asked, finally.

"Geoff's wife. I've met her a few times."

"She was the angriest of the lot of them. In fact, she wanted you behind bars anyway. She said that you were trying to wreck her home." The officer watched her face. He could only see utter confusion.

"Look, officer," Janice began earnestly, "I don't believe any of this. Sandy and I never had a formal relationship. No emails, no nothing. She was there at company get togethers, and even then, we talked only a little."

The plainclothes officer said, "Stay here," and went to further discuss the issue.
"I never thought that this was as cut and dried as it seemed. It was all too perfect. Recipients lined up, the timing and just the two coworkers who happen to be on the same team as her, more people whom she doesn't know, that received emails. She doesn't look like the type. Okay...okay..." he said, raising his hands up, "I know one shouldn't go by appearances, but my gut instinct tells me that it isn't her."

"Then who do you think it is?" the policeman asked.

"That's what we're about to find out. Why did all of this come out yesterday and today, when she wasn't at work? Why not in the terrible month past?" he paused, then asked, "Why did the boss's wife get it? What's in that email? Could you get me the files on the content?"

As they pored through the content, something caught the officer's eye. "So the boss's wife is having an affair, according to this email. That could explain why she was so viciously mad. Only, Janice claims she doesn't know too much about the boss' wife. Another thing. The address that Janice sends her private emails from is different from her office email. All the emails were sent through her private address. Just a minute."

He ran to Lara, who immediately began to search for what he asked. "I sent my email to her company address."

"Why did you do that? "the officer asked.

"Well, I needed her to know about my custody battle's progress. And the private email server kept crashing. So I sent it through the office email. Not saying too much. Just enough. That's why we were to catch up and discuss it later!"

Max said something similar. "I sent it to her work address. Of course, we all talk everyday. So everyone knew of my troubles. I just couldn't quite believe her opinion of my troubles and me. I always had a soft corner for her, you know. I guess I acted like a fool about it. But nothing to warrant such an opinion. If that was indeed, her opinion."

Taking Janice along, they made a stop at Sandy Wilson's house. A tear stained, bedraggled Sandy answered the door, and upon seeing Janice, nearly toppled the policeman as she rushed outside, fists bunched.

"You ruined my life! There's not a soul who knows how miserable I am, but you ruined my life. Just because you could! You know nothing about me! What have I ever done to you?!" she screamed, as the two men held her back.

"Sandy, Sandy, listen," Janice sat down too, as Sandy's knees gave out. "I never said anything. I had no idea that you were having an affair. I didn't send those emails out. I really didn't. Whoever did, had something against me, not you!"

Sniffling, Sandy asked, "Why? And why should I believe you?"

"I don't know Sandy. Except that I don't have a thing against you. I don't even know you that well. Nothing about you at all for me to say anything terrible. I don't even know what the email says. They won't tell me!"

Sandy said, "You don't?! Well I'll tell you. It called me terrible names and names the man I'm having an affair with. I want to marry this guy. Geoff kills my spirit. I can't live with him anymore. The email says that you'd make a better wife for Geoff. That...I'm just a weakling. Who...who can't contribute anything to my family. When...when I take care of everything! Without help! I've never had help from anyone. Geoff wouldn't let me. He always said that since I didn't make the money, I shouldn't spend it either! So there's nothing that I don't do for my family. Including forgetting myself!"

Janice stared. "Wait. The email said that I'd be better for Geoff?!"

"Yes! I can't believe you when you say that you didn't write it. Who else would say this?"

Janice thought back to her conversation with Geoff that day. He had said to let it go. And that he would be there for her and Ian. Gosh! Could he have meant...? Janice shook her head. It was impossible. Geoff was a good friend. Her boss. Sure they butted heads now and again. But it was always a positive outcome in the end. They sold more than anyone else and had their pick of products.

"Also, it...it said, that Geoff was going to leave me. Soon. That, he wanted a woman with a mind of her own. Funny thing is, I thought I was like that. With a mind of my own. Then I met my husband and never left."

"I didn't leave mine, Sandy. He left me!" Janice said.

Sandy blinked. "Wasn't it because you had a terrible workload, and he cheated on you, because you couldn't spend time with him?"

Janice looked confused. "How did you reach that conclusion?"

"Geoff told me!" Sandy said.

"No. That's not why. He didn't want to be married and have a baby. He's still single. Doing his thing. Just changed his mind. Like that. It had nothing to do with my workload!"

The plainclothes officer sat down by the two women. "So Lara's email says that she wasn't a good mother. That the custody battle was going against her. And that the system she's working on, to quicken client's payment times, was full of crap."

Janice said, "But...but...she stopped working on that. Yesterday. I took over and was supposed to work from home on it. We were going to present our report on Monday."

The officer suddenly sat up. "Wait. Who knew about Lara's role in this?"

"Me. Geoff and the team." Janice said.

"No one else?"

"No."

"How does this person know that her report was full of crap? Do you discuss your progress everyday?" the officer asked.

"No. We meet once a week. We each have parts to put together. We don't really have the time to go over stuff when we're busy with clients. We show it to Geoff as and when needed."

Lara confirmed over the phone, that she had shown Geoff her work the previous morning.

Sandy suddenly spoke up. "Did you ever talk to Geoff about your marriage?"

"No!" Janice said.

"So did you have a huge workload when your husband left?" Sandy asked.

"I wasn't in town when he left. He left Ian with my mother, along with divorce papers. He was gone when I got back. I was promoting stuff in LA. Also, all those other people you asked me about, officer, are there more connections?"

The officer showed Sandy some names and she pointed to neighbors homes.

The officer took Sandy indoors and said, "Stay in. I don't think that Janice had anything to do with this."

Sandy stared at him, and stayed quiet as they left. The officer went ahead to meet some of the people on the list, and upon his return to the car, refused to tell Janice anything. They drove on in silence.

Back at the office, Geoff was hurriedly dismantling his own computer, when the officer walked in. He had dropped Janice and Ian home, and had spoken to a few of the managers.

"So, was it you or Sandy?" the officer asked.

"What are you talking about?" Geoff asked.

"The emails. Either one or both of you did this."

"That's nonsense! Why would we do such a thing?"

"To let Sandy go, as she's wanted to, and pull Janice down, so she takes her place. Of course, using Lara and Max was a bad idea." The officer couldn't be sure. But it was worth a try.

"What about the others?" Geoff asked, surprising the officer, and giving him further confirmation of his suspicions.

"The others were Sandy's handiwork. You both got into Janice's computer. Sandy started it off as emails to those guys. The guys Janice doesn't even know. I found that you have trouble with all of those people. They've complained about your lack of participation in the housing society. Which given Sandy's workload at home, and your obsession with work, is not surprising. Sandy, being Sandy, began targeting them, after retrieving the admin passwords from you. You sent her the email, didn't you? Based on your suspicions?"

Geoff sat quietly at first. Then, he said, "I wanted her to leave. Actually, I've wanted to leave her forever now. Then one of those bozos told me that the residents were concerned about a strange pick-up truck that arrived everyday, half an hour after I left. I found out about the other guy soon enough. And saw a way out for all of us. After Sandy sent those emails, I told her that Janice usually left her computer on. And so she just got up and left."

"Why did you pick on Janice?"

"Because she's going to soar one day! Leave me behind in the dust! I've never seen a woman do that. It would be so wonderful if she stayed in her place. As a woman. At home. But...that's the wonderful thing about her. She's so captivating. I can't stand it. I was going to offer her my help after. And take care of her son as my own. But she wouldn't let go. Like always!"

The officer waited.

Geoff continued, "Sandy doesn't know that I sent the other emails out. The last one was to her. She didn't know that I knew about her affair. So she really believed that it was Janice who had found out."

Later that evening, Janice was beside herself when she heard the whole story. The managers breached protocol, when all of them, with their spouses showed up in her little home. She stood in her pink track pants, as they let her know that she was absolved of all charges and that she would lead the team from now on.

Geoff and Sandy were imprisoned and upon release, sought a mutual divorce. While Sandy's man waited for her eagerly, Geoff had nowhere to be in particular. He was last seen by the bay bridge, a week after his divorce.

Janice rocked as the manager for her team, and Ian began to look forward to Max's visits to their home. It gave him the male influence that he so desperately needed.

Lara and Janice patched up, and Janice was present for Lara's daughter's fifth birthday.

"Girls rule!" said the pink banner outside Lara's house. Thank goodness Ian didn't know how to read yet, Janice thought, smiling.

Friday, September 16, 2011

About the ALS Walk

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I have another blog, where I post information about incurable diseases, personal accounts of dealing with the diseases, and various fund raisers that enable research for cures and help survivors and families.

So far, I've had a few posts about ALS. My friend Linda has talked about her twin sister's battle with ALS.
ALS chapters around the country hold walks/runs to raise funds, get together and stay strong. The many links provided in the posts are a way to reach out to these organizations for help/donations. ALS, like any irreversible illness, takes a great toll on families. They're only just narrowing down causes, and a cure is as yet unknown.

There is an ALS walk on the 17th of September in Salem, Oregon. Do join them if you're in the vicinity. Donations of any amount would make a difference to families.

Here's a link to the blog, where there are other links to take you directly to the ALS website. No donations are handled through my blog. It is a platform to share information and life stories.

http://reachforacure.blogspot.com/

If any one has other fundraisers for incurable diseases that they would like to talk about, with personal accounts and some information, I will gladly put it all down for you.

Leave me a message in the comment section here or in the other blog.

Have a good weekend!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

memories in the dusk

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pic credit - graur codrin; freedigitalphotos.net
"Was she beautiful?"  rosebud mouth framed lisping words.
"How much did you love her?" strident words echoed instantly
"Tell us, tell us about you," an ear for a story, eager eyes met his.

His gnarled hands reached, fingertips resting, on his cheek
mornings of light, her tapering fingers, caressing him so,
a call to life, the one he met, grateful and unflinching for fifty odd years.

"Grandpa?" a lisp sounded,
His eyes were locked, in space, filled by a vision
Her back, flowing like dunes, soft curve inward,
drops of moisture, like gems, static then tracking a path down,
as she undressed, after gardening, cooking, the day,
while he waited, for a sight of grace.

"Did you hear us?" strident voice sounded,
His ears rang with her laughter,
"Darling, would you please...?" she began, so often,
He would pretend not to hear, so she would call him again,
Mellifluous notes, songs of desire, she loved to sing,
it was difficult to hear, anything else.

"Was she beautiful grandpa?" a soft voice cajoled,
Graceful hands waved, a loving benediction every morning,
deep eyes, held his, never needing to speak,
her belly, his children's first home, pressed against his,
as she rested on his chest, ear to his heart,
where she was burned forever.

"Grandpa, are you going to say anything?"
"Huh?" he was shocked to find, three faces, with her in them.
"We've been waiting forever. Did you hear us?"
"What? Oh...yes. She was beautiful."
"How beautiful grandpa?" the soft voice, heavy with tears asked,
"So beautiful," he said, smiling, heart rending, "that she had enough
to share with the three of you, after your parents."

"You loved her grandpa?" the strident voice, softened now.
"Yes. Yes, I did," he said, too quietly.
"How much?" the lisping voice challenged,
"So much..." he halted, "so much, that I can't bear to see a
bit of her in you."
"So much," he added, "that while it hurts me, I still love you."

pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=982

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Leslie Mills and Yanni


She changes the music so completely! Beautiful, rich voice.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

F for... fly fishing, I hope...guess not!

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Mini-Him's vocabulary is on the rise, these days. When everything else is on the downswing, when Him and I plan relentlessly for possible emergencies/contingencies/financial upendings etc, this aspect of our lives has a high interest yield. In fact, there's little chance that it'll ever see a downside, Mini-Him being himself.

He's learning to curse. So animatedly. And boy, the permutations and combinations are mind boggling. I had NO IDEA that kids had such depth. We have a daily, front seat view. Next to the Sony speakers with sub-woofers.

pic credit - digitalart; freedigitalphotos.net
The first time he tossed a gem into the air, he was eight. He had just started using the school bus, that veritable home of Ph.d's in multi-hued linguistics. He said Mother F (word rhyming with "Tucker"), with such carelessness, that Him and I forgot to breathe.

"What did you just say?" I finally got out.

"What? Oh! L taught me that. I say it when I'm really frustrated. Like now! This Lego's stuck!" Mini-Him went on, little fingers and short nails, not aiding the said process.

Him never takes these things seriously. His big shoulders shook, and his movie star smile was now a Bacardi rum ad's laugh. I walked out in a huff, as Him choked out, "You....you...can't say it. That's ...hahahaha....that's a terrible word!!!"

"So why are you laughing so hard?" Mini-Him asked, laughing too.

Him ran out, before revealing himself for the bundle of contradictions that he truly is.

"He's my son alright!" he said, like it was ever in doubt.

I fled, crying, to the bathroom. Why, heaven, why could it not have been the F word alone?!

After that, the middle schoolers (the savants in these matters...the Ph.d's remember?) in the bus enlightened him on female anatomy. The words being pornographically precise.

"Mom?" Mini-Him asked, "What's a C (word rhyming with grunt)?"

My bagel got lost somewhere between my esophagus and trachea.

"L's friend B said that to a girl. When she started crying, I threatened to tell on him. He said that he would punch me in the..."

I called his teacher for an appointment that very day.

Apparently, there is a system to follow when reporting these matters. A chain of command, if you will. It took two days and three more unnecessary introductions (b**bs, used(?!) tampon, do**** bag) before Mini-Him was seated upfront. Which he didn't like, because he now sat with first grade girls.

It was good-word bliss at home for about four weeks.

Then the kids of two buses went home together for a week.

"Mom, what're T (rhyming with bits)?" he asked, between bites of apple and peanut butter snacks.

"What?! Again?! Who taught you that?!" It was that time of month, a very painful time of month. Nobody mention female anatomy to me in those days. No one.

"L's other friend D called someone Ba*l S (rhyming with mucker) and called me Sugar T(rhymes with bits)."

What the hell was Sugar T(rhyming with bits)?!!

What was that? Do any of you know what that is? I don't. I don't WANT to know.

Him choked on his coffee that day, when I told him. He guffawed and rolled. He wiped his tears (of joy? his son after all!!) and laughed some more.

I told my father this. I had to tell someone who would be as outraged as I was.

He guffawed too.

It reminded him, he said, of his mother. What? My grandmother? My wonderful, pure, "determined to do and believe only in good", grandmother?

"She wanted to learn English, at the ripe age of 70. So she thought reading a magazine was as good a way as any, to start. She knew the alphabet, and putting words together etc. She would read out some words, some sentences. We were all amused and proud, and humored her. Until the day when she suddenly said, "Bloody Sh**!"

I listened, jaw dropping.

"The four of us rushed to her side when she said that, trying to snatch the evil magazine away from our mother, when she asked, 'What does that mean?' We realized, that she didn't know, and was merely putting words together, as she had always done. We said it was a bad word. She never picked up magazines again. Only newspapers."

I guess there is no age-limit when it comes to these things. I do know that Mini-Him would've picked up these gems at some point in his life anyway. It's just obscene, watching his baby face handle the laden words with ease.

Actually, it's just me, the prude.

Still, he's up front with the first grade girls again. Luckily, there are two other boys from his own grade, who sit in the same vicinity. All of them occasionally look wide-eyed and excited when I see them at the bus-stop. That usually means that censor-worthy words filtered past the back seats.

I then ready my self for a sense-assaulting buffet, that will surely turn my mind off food for a week.

I think I have Mini-Him's growing pains.


pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cool ventures

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Mini-Him has interests. Many interests. His last foray was into music.

"Mom?" he began, and I knew.
"You know...I saw this girl play the violin in school, and she looked so cool! Can I learn to play it?"

photo credit - Salvatore Vuono; freedigitalpics.net
This was new. Violin? Something that requires dedication and practice? He's not there yet. I mean, I love my son. But he's just not that determined, yet. But I couldn't throw cold water on his child-like ambition could I? No, even if my antennae nearly knocked themselves out, sensing where this was headed, I would only be supportive.

"Ah. So, you...you want to play the violin, because, because a girl looked really cool playing it?"

"Yep."

"You know that it requires a lot of practice, don't you?"

"Oh yeah. That's what she said. I think I could master it." Mini-Him isn't a Leo star sign for nothing. His supreme self confidence is trumped only by his cat-in-the sun languor. A languor that will resist any attempt at urgency or effort.

"uh..okay. Well. I'll umm...discuss it with Dad, and we'll figure out the next steps." I said, followed by fake enthusiasm, "Okay?"

"Mom." he said, and I knew again. "I know you think that I'll give up. But I won't. I mean, she just looked so cool!" His reason for wanting to learn such a complicated instrument was disturbing.

Him and I argued later that night, when Mini-Him was peacefully asleep, still clutching his leaf patterned Blankie (Blankie always gets capitalized. Mini-Him has decreed that it will be passed on to his child).

Him refused the lessons point blank. "If he thought the girl looked cool, he should ask her out on a date! Not take violin lessons we both know he'll never use!"

"But he's showing an interest. When has he ever asked to do something on his own?" I asked, passionately in defense of my flaky little man. "This might just be the turning point! He could learn what it takes to accomplish something. And think! One of us might actually play music, instead of just raving about it."

"I'm okay with raving about music," Him returned, "it costs less. And you can stop listening if you lose interest."

"This is why he can't learn about seeing tasks through till the end. Because we, as parents, shortchange him based on past actions," I said, body language abrupt, voice cold.

"I'd say anyone's past actions are a pretty good guesstimate of their future course," Him was now amused, because I was furious.

"By that 'guesstimate', I should've known, eleven years ago, that you'd never change, and that we would be fighting fluff, because you just LOVE saying NO!"

Him was confused now. "Umm, you did not make sense. Okay, fine! Five lessons. And if he so much as monkeys around even once, it's over!"

I told Mini-Him the good news the next morning over fruit loops. He smiled, green and pink rings disappearing between bites.

We found a place, a teacher and a time. And we began.

The first class was wonderful. Even Him admitted that he might have misjudged the little fellow.

The second class, the teacher nearly lost her modesty. Mini-Him, driven to distraction by the repetition of "goody goody stop stop", stretched his arm out to relax it, and lifted his teacher's skirt along with the bow that he meant to place back on his violin, trying to resume practice.

"I've never been so embarrassed in all my life," Him declared, before his foot found the threshold to the house.

Later, Mini-Him said, "It was getting boring. And my arm hurt. And my neck. And it was so cold."

Thinking of them as legitimate reasons, I had him exercise his arm, and his neck, and resolved to dress him in layers the next time. And made a tiny cushion to place over his collar bone.

Third class, and the teacher said, "I don't really know if he likes it."

Fourth class and Mini-Him said, "I'll practice for five minutes. But I can't take any more."

Fifth class was wonderful! He did great! She even taught him Goody Goody Stop Stop with different strings.

Sixth class, he confided to me, "Mom, you know, I don't know why I can't tell dad this. But, I'm beginning to have maybe 2% less interest in violin."

"Just 2% isn't bad. We all go through that as we're learning something new. So it's normal. Don't worry about it."

A week later, after the seventh class, when he spent one out of two hours (extra lesson that day), telling his teacher not to get upset about her broken violin, he got home and said, "Mom. I'm just not feeling it anymore."

Him and I looked at each other. Like we'd done through abandoned art classes, piano lessons, karate and soccer. "I just don't feel the instrument. It's just not my thing, I guess. I mean, I'm not meant to do it."

"And what are you meant to do?" Him asked, a world of weariness in his voice.

"I'm meant to create stuff. Like you know, legos and things. Build stuff."

"But lego sets are expensive! We can't keep buying them just because...well...no. I can't buy you lego sets. What's so good about lego anyway?"

"Oh! They look so COOL!"

I went on to set lunch on the table and put the violin away.

He hasn't asked about it since.

I don't think he ever will.

At least, until, someone cool enough comes along to tell him that accomplishing something is the only truly cool thing!

pic credit - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659





Wednesday, August 17, 2011

About another blog...

All content copyrighted.

I would like to take a moment to introduce http://reachforacure.blogspot.com/


Reach for life is a blog dedicated to giving voice, in one platform, to the many organizations that enable research and care of those affected by diseases without a definite cure. The thought came from a friend, Linda H.Batty, who lost her twin sister, Laurie, to ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. While Linda is deeply involved with constantly researching information and helping other families stricken by ALS, she struck a chord when she said that there are many organizations that are trying to do just this type of thing. I wondered if having them all in one place, with easy to access links, families' account of events and a run up of basic necessities will allow for greater participation in individual causes.  


My first few posts are about ALS, Linda and Laurie and the ALS Support group. They have a walk coming up on 17 September, 2011. A walk in support of many of those who lose that function, and are unable to reverse the damage caused. Many join this walk, to carry on in support of those who are no longer with them and to contribute toward research and basic necessities for survivors and the future.


While the blog discusses goals, costs, altered lives and hope, there is no money that goes through the blog. There are links provided in every page, that will take you to the website of the respective organizations. Contributions, no matter how small, make a difference toward the total that needs to be collected each year.


Please do visit, spread the word, contribute if you're up to it, follow and share your own struggles and triumphs.
If you know of any organization that could use one more public platform, please feel free to have them email me through the links provided. I will coordinate with members and structure an interview with relevant questions.


Please visit - http://reachforacure.blogspot.com/


Any comments, thoughts, insight, facts, and research news are very welcome.
If you have any equipment, and need to donate it, please contact the ALS Support page found in the blog.


Many thanks and look forward to hearing about it!


Anne

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An excerpt from "With you in my heart"

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I have an excerpt here from my book. This is from the life of Aditi, one of the main characters in the story.


-----She went to Dehradun. It was all her worried family would allow. The trip was about an hour away from Saharanpur. The college year was coming to a close and she had just six more months to go.  She insisted on traveling alone, and Mr. Krishna decided to make her as comfortable as he could. She stayed in a women’s hostel for the three weeks that she was away. She had left her books behind. Her desolation and hurt accompanied her wherever she went. The Sahastradhara springs, graceful and diminutive, were in full flow from the rains. She stood for hours under them, oblivious to the touristy stares and male curiosity. The sulfurous water washed away a lot. Her sense of shame, for one. Her need to conform diminished as she sat, listlessly, waiting for the oft discussed magical healing to take place. She went back to her basic hostel room, everyday for three days, wet and cold. One of her roommates threatened her. “I am going to let the supervisor know. You must be mad! Are you determined to get sick? Why come all the way here to do that? We don’t want to catch what you’ve got!”
Aditi spoke, willing her teeth not to chatter. “No…no more of this. I’m going to Chakrata and Deoban over the next few days. Really, I’m done with this purifying water stuff!”

She left with a backpack the next day. Pink t-shirt teaming with her fever to give her face a flush. Determined to sweat it off with whatever else ailed her, she walked throughout the Chakrata trails. The slopes undulating into meadows with conifers like sentinels. Her mind was blank while nature subconsciously eased her regret. No decisions, she reminded herself as she spied a helicopter. Rotaries beating a foreign rhythm. Memories had to be fought back just then. The time when a helicopter ride took her to yet another demeaning gathering where she was a sideshow.
Now, resting on a deodar tree, she watched the sun emerge from behind heavy grey clouds. A gauzy golden light feathering the conifer tops. Nothing mattered then. She had wanted to sort herself out. But here? Here there was no room for imperfection. She couldn’t see herself as flawed as she had believed for so long. “Om Shantih Shantih Shantih,” she whispered to herself. Perfect peace. She observed the outside for once and found nothing discordant. It was meant to be harmonious, was it not? The whole exercise was to live and breathe in harmony. What kept Jas from reacting in the most obvious way? She sighed. He was never too far from her thoughts.
She sat by the Ganges under rarefied air skies. Utterly blue. Utterly beautiful. Utterly lonely. A merry-go-round in her mind just missing the answer every time. Her response to Jas irked her. He was difficult. But, she herself was outright foolish.
Why had she let him define her whole existence? She thought back to days when she had sat in her father’s lap, loved and wanted. Nothing in her short life had prepared her for being the object of indifference. She had always been relevant. And her sense of it came from the way the people around her had treated her. Jas had taken over and acted like she was an acquisition to be held and maintained. Except once. The flames leaped to life in her belly inspite of herself. ----------

The e-book is available on Smashwords.

Michelle, from the bookworm family (her website), is hosting a giveaway on her blog. Only four more days left! Enter to win a free copy! 

Thanks to everyone who has shown interest, been supportive and offered encouraging words! It helps me believe!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review and Giveaway

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Michelle, from the Bookwormfamily, reviewed "With you in my heart" on her blog. I am so happy to read her review of the book. The Bookworm family reviews books of most genres.

There is a contest to win a free copy ( the title on this post should take you to the page and the Bookwormfamily link should work too). Five free copies are being given away - so hurry up and get yours!

Do visit her blog to read about what she thinks of the book and also to enter the giveaway!

Here's the link - http://bookwormfamily.com/2011/08/09/with-you-in-my-heart-by-anne-maven-giveaway/

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just twenty steps away

pic credit - sundayhill; freedigitalphotos.net
All content copyrighted.

So close it seemed,
Just twenty steps away.
Every color filled dream,
No more gray.

Time tires of the wait,
Play at ten, laughter at thirty,
Dreams beckon, shaping fate,
Unsure now, still flirty.

"What dreams are yours?" asked a child,
Hopeful innocence, trusting eyes,
Words at sixty sound hollow, while grief goes wild,
Utter colorful words, more lies.

For the dreams lay unclaimed,
Like a child, unloved and untended,
Flirty fun rationed to possibilities, but now ashamed,
Self - present, projected, upended.

Unreal present, all I had dreamed,
Let go in fear, hollow now, gone astray.
So close it seemed,
Just twenty steps away.


pic credit - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2111

Monday, July 25, 2011

Inner Piece?

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I just signed off a conversation with my brother. 

pic credit - Idea go; freedigitalphotos.net
Po, the Kung-Fu Panda, went on a noble quest to find inner peace (I keep re-writing it as inner piece...a piece that will have all other pieces make sense...rambling...rambling...). Little brother and I ended our stop/start type conversation of three hours with, "gotta find inner piece...". 
I added an automatic, "That's funny."
Little bro didn't think so. "Not really," he said, "it's painful." He hung up, not leaving time for me to delve further into his take on matters. 

"No, it's funny. Really." I said to the skype screen. 

What really is painfully funny, tragic, sad and terribly expected, I believe, is our response to the many stimuli in our environment. We're pre-programmed creatures. Not so different from the robots we invented. Some degree of latitude is present. But for the most part, I doubt that we stray very far from the instruction manual.

As dumb as it sounds, I often picture a higher being, throwing unfortunate/fortunate/just because incidents at us, saying to another being, "Oh! look! They actually DO that! Imagine...the manufacturer said that they would. Somehow I didn't expect them to!" 

Most things are classified for our own benefit. We mercilessly categorize people, feelings and expected reactions. All of that, while making the world an orderly and sane place (less frequently these days), also serves to limit our perceptions about ourselves.

And that brings me to the crux of human angst – “who are we?”

I wonder if perhaps we are something beyond those who scream when scorched, run for cover in the cold, respond to agony, cry in sadness/joy, laugh in humor/scorn, eat when hungry and drink when thirsty. There are other aspects that need no mention here J

Everything we do caters to the feelings within us. Every single action elicits a response within us that makes us repeat it, or run for cover, warning everyone else. We pray because of the peace/happiness/equanimity that prayer makes us feel. We adopt cures for the feeling of relief from unpleasant symptoms, we write (I write) for the feeling of clarity and relief from the clogging of thoughts (which are many).

Is that what we are? Beings that are chock full of feelings. Beings who act to nurture/avoid/protect those feelings. Beings that follow an age old script in reacting to everything in their environment?

I wonder if we’re missing the moment of time, the vacuum  of space and a barely felt effort of will, that might make us conscious of a world beyond our five senses. While I am always grateful for the miraculous defenses of the human body, I wonder if I’ll forever be anchored by the experience of being human.

Being determined to overcome sensory limitations somehow anchors me even further. Like the very act of needing to forget, stresses the inescapable fact of humanness.

Nothing wrong with being human. Still, could one perhaps have another identity that exists, and one that we have not acknowledged yet? Is there another dimension that I could experience while still being human, being absolutely drug-free and sane? Can it be that human limitations are actually mental limitations?

I’d like to think so. That there is such a place. Where the reaction inducing happenings of this world cannot reach us; where we’re still alive, functioning, and using the senses that show us what lies beyond the immediate.

Honestly, I don’t see the need to ponder over an ice-cream sundae. Or a happy stroll. It’s not all doom and dust. But there must be a way to divorce ourselves from feeling even more about what we’ve felt all our lives. Reacting to words, slights, disappointment, expectation, shame, fear and obsessions? These emotions make us human. A cold blooded killer might lack these very emotions. But then, he has a need. And he would be incapable of enjoyment.

Perhaps some distance could do the opposite of what we think. Since nothing matters to the point that it can disturb our mental balance, or that pertinent 'inner piece/peace', perhaps we can reach out more. Since divisions and the potential for hurt are not a concern. Perhaps we’ll be freer beings with enough resources to do good.


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