samedi, août 13, 2011

Breaking News -- not all Lancastrians are Christian!

I really enjoyed talking to this well-educated, eclectic, and warm woman -- she broadened my point of view on paganism.

I don't have to agree with someone to find them fascinating -- but a some of my readers don't feel this way.

Looking forward to the letters and emails -- some will accuse me of being a false Christian, and others will praise.

Sensing that equal-opportunity offense wave coming -- it's my job. It's my pleasure.

vendredi, août 12, 2011

The (scary) music of the night

Last night was the first one in which I had slept alone in our house.

Right now it's a series of open rooms, bounded only by beams and two by fours. Eventually the wood will be covered with drywall. Wires will be run. Pipes will tunnel up the wall to the second story.

Light will keep out the night.

But for now, it's just a few lamps that a visitor sees as he or she drives up, the radiance peeping through the brown frame.

Inside, to be candid, it's a little eerie. The two lamps illuminate for a distance, then they give in to the shadows, and the moonlight. Above me, the loft is empty -- a large space for me and two felines.

I had a friend over last night. After they left, I got ready for bed, brushed my teeth and read for a while. Then I turned off the lights. After all, the cats would protect me, wouldn't they?

A heck of a lot of help they were at 4:30 in the morning, when a loud noise woke me up.

At first I thought it WAS one of my furred companions. When they started walking through the empty rooms, I figured out that it wasn't.

Hard to describe the sound. The closest I can come is that of a cough -- it went on for five or ten or maybe 15 minutes.

I live in the exurbs. I should be used to these noises -- but this wasn't one I had heard a lot before.

And, oh, why did I watch "Jane Eyre" a few nights ago? Fortunately, there wasn't much room in the attic for a madwoman. And if she was up there, I would have seen her.

I confess that I sat there shaking, imagining large animals outside -- trying to get inside. It took a while before the cats calmed themselves.

Eventually, I pulled out a book, and read until light began to steal through the trees in the backyard -- thank goodness for dawn.

Pulling a sweater over my head, I went for a walk, through meadows glimmering with dew, and alive with birds and rabbits. How tame the neighborhood looked in the warming light --how familiar.

I just hope I remember that sense of familiarity in the darkness -- night is, as we know, a strange country.

It does have its pleasures -- but they are for those complicit in the magic of the night. And they do not include playing in the backyard under the light of the moon -- unless one does it in company.

mercredi, août 10, 2011

Ms. "Unappealing" reclaims herself - and moves on

We haven't met yet.

Not until September will he be in the area. And, in fact, when he contacted me via instant message on a dating site, I almost deleted the message.

My ability to attract guys online seems to be in inverse proportion to the time I have to devote to a relationship right now.

I'm glad I didn't ignore his invitation to chat.

He's handsome, he's smart, he's practical -- and he likes me. We've had some fun telephone conversations.

"You are verrry cute" he messaged me. He loves my "sexy" voice.

So why do these thoughts flash through my mind? "After a while, you won't find me appealing. After a while, you won't find me physically attractive. After a while, you'll make it clear that my potential role in your life is that of a pal without an ounce of sex appeal."

You weren't sure. But you've made your decision (thumbs down) and that is your considered judgement.

That's the baggage I carry from the last eight months -- months in which I finally, after years of caution, dared to offer part of my heart to someone, and got it handed back to me on a platter.

My problem? I tend to privilege other people's opinions above my own. I figure that I am biased, and I bring my own prejudices to the table. Maybe, as Jackson Browne sang, what I was seeing wasn't happening at all. This isn't true solely in matters of the heart -- I figure, rationally enough, that others see facts from a different perspective than I do.

But over the past few weeks, I've made some significant progress, both with working on issues relating to my daughter, and on this past relationship.

Respectfully, and without rancor, I must demur from his judgment. I don't see the past the way he sees (saw) it. I will not deny my intuition, my interpretation of the evidence, and my sense of reason. That is (at least) one bridge too far.

That said, and acknowledging that there is still residual pain and lack of perspective on the "good times," (I can't let myself recall those yet) I'm moving on.

Ironically, demands on my time seem to have a direct relationship with male interest. And here, I have to be a little more ruthless. We meet, we decide to meet again, or we amicably say "goodbye."

It's going to be a month or so before I can get together with the fascinating guy one state over. But I'm looking forward to it -- meanwhile, the phone and texting will have to suffice.

"Darn, you are hot" (well, that's the edited version) he emailed me a few days ago.

I could have cautioned him (as I have in the past) we might not have chemistry when we meet.

Instead, I wrote back, simply: "And by the way, so are you."

dimanche, août 07, 2011

Acts of love, profane and sacred

"Mr. C" is off for another week of camp, so I wanted some 'hang-out' time with him.

A walk around the track near the house. Some pizza at Carmine's. A little ice cream.

And a few moments with Ray William Johnson.

Perhaps you don't know who he is. All I knew was that my kids were often viewing his videos and then quoting them. A quick search online told me that Johnson, who had studied at Columbia to be a lawyer, (no dummy he), had the most popular channel on YouTube, and that the videos he reviews often have a surge in popularity.

Frankly, that's all I cared to know -- until last night. Wrapped up in my sober perusal of articles about Standard & Poor's, I had little interest in a comedian my teens found funny.

As little interest as they have in Jon Stewart.

But my son kept asking me to check him out, and so I watched one of his videos.

Because my laptop doesn't have a lot of power, the I could only see about 30 seconds before it went into the buffer zone. In a critique freely laced with frequent f-bombs and what may or may not be stream of consciousness Johnson reviews other people's viral videos, managing to insult them and get off a few quips at the same time. He's also got a "common question of the day."

If you are extremely lucky, you can be among those chosen to answer that "common question " in his next video, my son told me -- and you get your five seconds of fame by having your name featured!

The humor is...well, kind of juvie.

But this morning I realized something -- that my son, who will be fourteen in less than two weeks, was letting me into his life. I'd be very stupid not to take the chance to learn a little more about what grabs his attention.

This morning, we went to church, which was crowded as usual -- fitting, because we were late, as usual. It was the first time that his father had been to church in a few months -- the chemotherapy has been really tough. Within moments my son had vanished from the area where I was sitting in the back. It wasn't until I stood up that I saw him on the other side of the sanctuary.

He'd found his dad, and slipped into the pew with him.

Youth group and church -- that's a part of his life, also. When we took our walk yesterday, he told me how excited he was about going to the Christian camp -- four years, and he's got friends, and traditions, and a genuine love for that place.

As the years go by, he's going to have to find his own balance -- the sacred and the secular, material matters and places in the heart.

Waiting on line to register at the camp this afternoon, he teased me mercilessly about not being like other people's "hipster" parents. Nothing I can do about that, or about being an older parent, or about all the other challenges that face him as a teen who wants to be cool.

But I can be part of his life, where and when he invite me in. More than that -- I'm still going to be "uncool" whenever and whenever I feel the call.

Sensitive to the potential embarrassment of goodbyes in front of pals, I whisked him away from the entrance to the tent.

Then I threw my arms around him. You never know, in the week ahead, when he'll need that hug.