mercredi, octobre 26, 2011

"Simple Love" like yours?

This afternoon, as I was going out the door to exercise, the genome at Pandora sent the Alison Krauss song "Simple Love" via the cloud to my HTC -- and I took off like a bat out of hell.

Oh no, I thought. Not what I need to hear.

Two children born A beautiful wife Four walls and livin's all he needed in life Always giving, never asking back I wish I had a simple love like that I want a simple love like that Always giving, never askin' back For when I'm in my final hour lookin' back I hope I had a simple love like that

It's a lovely song, for sure. And if I don't think about whether it makes any sense, it's cool.

It hangs around my head.

But then I start to wonder. Who do you know who is "always giving, never askin' back"?

And you religious types aren't allowed to answer "Him."

I guess it's the concept of "simple love" that gets under my skin.

Love is complex -- even the love of a parent for a child.

Layers of history, of closeness, of distance, forgiveness, is an unsearchable mystery, a dark star which also glows bright as a campfire on a chilled night in wintertime.

Love can embrace ambivalence, coldness, even times of anger and perhaps jealousy (although I tend to think of jealousy as a sign of co-dependency).

Why then do we try to boil it down to -- well, simplicities?

And sentimental simplicities at that.

Over and over again, I see online profiles (and have met offline guys) who seem to want to recreate themselves in new relationships. I don't know this for sure, but I'd guess that the new ones look, in many ways, remarkably like the old ones.

But we bring the same old twisted selves with us to each new relationship. And we aren't simple.

To be in a "simple" relationship, we may have to simplify ourselves -- bury parts of ourselves that we either don't want the other person to see, or that we leave behind so that we can feel safe, and loved.

One has to ask, then -- what kind of love is this?

I've begun to realize that I'm looking for someone who isn't practiced at love.

He may be awkward about it. He may be as inexperienced as me, as gawky, as hesitant.

He doesn't fall easy, and he don't fall fast.

But he does know how -- because he's dug deeply with friends, with family, with his ideals and perhaps with his God.

Does such a guy exist? I dunno.

Take a listen to this song, by the talented but much less famous singer-songwriter Adrienne Young.

"I'll love you in the winter when the roots go is about winter as well as springtime -- and a love that doesn't embrace those opposites, doesn't see in them twin sides of the same whole, may not be a love that can go the distance.

I want...a complex love like that.

Over the edge

I so appreciate the quiet -- the hour I may have before I have to pick up this invisible burden and start again.

Wrong on that. My ex is ringing from the hospital, with a list of things that he needs for me to take up to Paoli - stat.

Thank goodness it's Paoli, and not the University of Pennsylvania, I think -- because right now I'm not sure I can contemplate that drive without hysterics.

Downstairs in his home, the floor is littered with paper and plastic the medic left behind when he showed up this morning around 4:30 a.m. Two nice young policemen -- one of whom introduced the team as: "We're the youngest officers on the force....and this is the oldest medic."

When I told my son, after he woke up later this morning, he sat silently on the bed. When I asked if he was o.k., he shook his head "no."

I rubbed his back for a while. What could I tell him?

That it would all be o.k.? Who knows what will occur next?

A few weeks ago, Mr. C. broke out in hives. This week, he thought they had returned -- a few nights ago, I woke up and found that his light was on. He'd been freaked out, he told me. Crawling up beside him on the bed, I held him,, like the toddler he'd once been, until he slept again.

This Saturday, he's going to an anti-torture conference -- which may distress him more. But he wants to go, to act like an adult, to find ways to help.

In that respect, I suppose, he's like his ancestors.

How can I help my children when I have so little left to give?

It seems that all I do is crash into deadlines and manage crises. I can't remember the last time I laughed, punned, or flirted. All of which I need to do regularly.

Today I found out that my house won't be done for another two months -- it's hard to know what or who to blame, but the reality overwhelmed me. What to do? Where to go?

How to keep my children, particularly the sensitive, more altruistic one, from losing it?

How to stay sane myself.

I have no answers.

But I better come up with

Meanwhile, back to the hospital with the things that my ex needs...focused on only the road ahead .

mardi, octobre 25, 2011

A walk on the (sort of) wild side

I was frustrated last night.

As I wrote a friend, I wish I knew more single guys with intestinal fortitude (a polite way of saying what I mean).

That really means courage. I wish that more men didn't fold like a paper fan when someone challenged them. I wish that they could take a position that might entail setting healthy boundaries.

I wish that there weren't so many Samson's seeking their Delilah.

And yeah, I know there are lots of things that men can say about women. Generalizations are me, I could write the copy.

And have written it.

All this to explain why I was in a crazy mood when I checked out my "viewed" page on a dating site.

Well, well, there was Diderot.

OK, so I wasn't being viewed by an ancient French writer. But this fellow, who was pretty good-looking, had taken the name of a renowned French skeptic from a few centuries before.

How could I not view his profile?

He's a writer -- even better. I have a soft spot for journalists, God knows why.

So what he lived in D.C.? We could have passionate meetings at a hotel near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. We could stroll around the shops, go to the Aquarium, take in an Orioles game (well, perhaps not).

I shot him an admiring note -- but as I was signing off, I noticed that under orientation he had chosen "bisexual."

Oh dear. Too late.

When I got back on, he'd written me back. He loved my third photo, he said -- and didn't I look like a dominatrix?

Actually, this isn't the first time I've heard men say this - believe me when I say that in my pictures there are no whips or high-heeled boots in evidence.

He also said that he didn't share my faith, but did respect it.

I hate to say it, but many of the most intellectual guys I know are atheists.

That was cool, I wrote, but I couldn't wrap my mind around the bisexuality part.

He preferred women 90/10, said Monsieur Diderot. And he didn't cheat.

He thanked me for being so nonjudgmental. Then I confessed my clergy association.

Are you offended that I find that oddly sexy? he wrote back.

No, I wrote back -- I told him about my favorite hedonist, and how he had owned up to similar feelings. I guess it's the transgressive piece.

Send me a picture he wrote.

As you can imagine, I had reservations about that -- but I was also enjoying the back and forth. It made me feel a little wild -- without having to act on it.

But I did speculate...I have, as I have said to friends before, a mind that is a sometimes more than G-rated version of "All Things Considered."

Could I? Probably not. And was he being totally upfront with me? Who knows?

I signed off to prepare dinner for the children, and when I got back on again, his profile was gone -- as if it had never been.

I have to admit, that weirded me out a bit. It may indicate that he's not sure whether he belongs on a dating site for those with more vanilla taste.

Maybe he'll show up again -- and we can continue, at least, our conversation.

lundi, octobre 24, 2011

My Paoli hospital vacation

Some folks go to Hawaii.

But I chose Paoli Medical Center.

Sunday morning I took a routine blood pressure check. We have a family history of hypertension, so I try to stay on top of it.

It was high -- on the border between call the doctor tomorrow and worrisome. I took it again -- it was higher.

I'm going to the hospital, I told Mr. C. He told me he was coming with me -- which turned out to be expensive. Boys who have little to do but sit around emergency rooms need to be distracted with frequent feedings, just like bears in a zoo.

When the doctor came in, I told him about my regimen -- functional single mother, running two households, working journalist, and part-time caregiver to my children's father. Who was coming home from four weeks of cancer treatment yesterday. The man with whom I hadn't shared bed and board for more than six years.

Dr. Shrestha listened sympathetically. He thought that my blood pressure would go down when my stress level went down, he commented.

Was I sleeping? Was I anxious?

I thought of the weekend -- a wedding rehearsal on Friday. Wedding rehearsals are always stressful -- a bunch of strangers, women hysterical from too much planning, and the mechanics of moving crowds of people through a space most of them aren't familiar with.

Then a brief interlude with a friend at a noisy bar -- "we may act younger, but we're too old for this" I said to him as we escaped into the chilly evening, heads ringing from the overmiked singer.

Baseball game and lawn mowing on Saturday (my yoga class has been temporarily sacrificed). Wedding itself on Saturday afternoon. Dinner with kids and study for midterm that I should have taken a few days ago.

Collapse on Sunday -- I guess, after weeks of this, it was predictable that I would break at some point.

I snuck around to glance at the blood pressure monitor.

Guess what? My pressure was going down -- because, I guess, I was in a place where I felt someone was caring for me. The doctor assured me that it was going to be all right.

Lesson? I'm going to work in time to take care of myself -- the massage here and there, dinner with a friend, a pedicure, meditation.

My yoga class. And perhaps, who knows, some walks with friends in more appealing environments.

I can't do all of this on my own. Sometimes, when you are used to being lone ranger, you have to get your butt kicked to realize that it's o.k. to lean a little.

As long as you don't topple.