Saturday, December 05, 2020

Stockings Next

This is my allegory... empty paint tubes, and what's actually left inside. I grabbed these empty tubes from the waste bin in our watercolor class, last year. I remarked that they were still useful, but not everyone wanted to hassle with the last bits. We were filling our large palettes, with big blobs of luscious, wet paint. I held on to the empty tubes for later.

In the last few days, I feel like those empty tubes, like I can't be much use, I can't find my way. Rudderless... but that's sort of another metaphor. Between the collision settlement and bureaucracy not concluding before the crashaversary, as promised, and eagerly anticipated, and the necessity of stronger lockdown measures looming over us in California, I have lost both relief from trauma, and hopes for more movie nights, and other socially distant gatherings. I set so much store in both... being done with all outside demands and expectations related to drunkladydriver, and having modified, stratgetized and organized holiday amusements. I thought for sure to be done with the former by now. And I thought only rain could ruin our holiday parade. I was wrong. And now I feel squeezed, tired, sad, and tired... did I say "tired?" and empty. It's not about lacking perpsective, or having no sense of appreciation for the good things in life. I just... I really needed wanted relief, to see and feel tangible progress, completion. And... our little gatherings, like the Cafe Diem, and Drive Way Movies, sitting under stars by firelight, those have been my lifeline, my recharge, healing. In the beginning they felt like such a concession, like we were giving up so much freedom, but now they have become dear, and not having time to share and engage, at least once a week is a blow.

So. I feel out of ideas, out of energy, like an empty paint tube. And. And I am hoping, or probably just wondering, could I squeeze out one last dab, a tiny blob of color? I feel better than I did Thursday, and a bit better than I felt yesterday, but that's not saying much.

Janece gave me a really clever brush washer, with paint storage. The little compartments only need small dabs of paint, about the amount found in empty tubes. I had all I needed to get the new organizer loaded and ready to go. Janece's gift is such a happy surprise, and sweet gift. I think it will be nice to travel with, or to take out for plein aire painting. The nice thing with good watercolor paints is how concentrated they are, so even small amounts can go a long way.
Saki has the right idea! Retreat! Find fluffy clouds of warmth and comfort. Nap. Repeat. I'm in search of ideas. I had good plans for Solstice, for watching the Geminids meteor shower, for observing Saturn and Jupiter in a Great Conjunction! I had plans for another Cafe Diem, baking, then sitting across from friends, in the driveway, and making believe we all happen to be at the same open air cafe. More movies, more chats. But... The Regional Stay Home Order prohibits private gatherings of any size.

We survived the string of broken lights, the cat gnawing on the fake tree, the literal garbage and cigarrette butts the roofers dumped into our attic (all over the Christmas decorations... ungh). We got through another Santa Ana wind storm, without fires, thankfully. And. Some day, soon, we will recall surviving the pandemic, God willing, and 45, too. Soon, right? Heck, I might even get ahead of the laundry.
Our first ever delivered tree is a big success. We felt twinges of regret that we weren't trekking out to pick our tree from the lumberyard parking lot, but this may the biggest, fullest, freshest tree we have ever had. It's tops, in all ways. So, we supported the boys lacross team, and we got the best Christmas tree, ever. That's winning. Max helped me get lights up. We mixed two kinds, since the other string is broken. The cats are enthralled, and so far, respectful. In low moments I imagined cancelling everything and moving into a hole, dug by hand, under the deck, but this is better. A reminder popped up on my screen: Hang Stockings. Something I created to keep the happy holiday momentum going, and I guess it's a good thing I did that.

Also on the calendar, for Maria... prepare a meal with ramen. All of her classes are going well, by the way. In fact, she's getting sad that there are only five weeks left of this semester, and it will be the end of Japanese. That went fast! Alex and I jumped in to help fill wonton skins, and Maria stir-fried mixed vegetables to serve with the ramen. It was a yummy dinner.

And this morning, the tree was still there! I don't know how or what we will do to pass the time, to make things special. Arguably, "making things special" is not necessary, not essential, but if that's your stand... phooey! I want and need, and long for special, for merry and bright, for healing, and company, and to feel comfort and joy. Idealism is a virtue, hope is a gift, and I want to squeeze out whatever I can, somehow.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Tower 11 & Swami's South East

Geoff brought his bicycle, I brought my phone, and we came to the beach at low tide, before sunset. I loved it. I loved the quiet, the sound of water lapping the exposed rocks, and pools, the voices of children, an occasional dog bark. I loved how cold the water was, how soft the sand felt, and moving mindfully, watching, observing, breathing. I loved being there, and getting out of my head, away from worries, from words, from plans, from speculation. I loved taking pictures. I have a few to share.
Happy Friday, friends. Stay safe, and stay connected.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Watching Cats Play Is a Very Healing Pastime

As anticipated, Maria's happy birthday is being celebrated all week, which is really just good policy. Don't you agree? I have dabbled in this concept for many years, but henceforth, I declare: All celebrations of birth shall be enjoyed over the course of seven days, commencing from any date before, or on the birthdate, and continuing through seven consecutive days. Celebrations to include: a dinner of choice, dessert(s) of choice, control of the remote, receiving of gifts, cards, affection, and kindnesses, small indulgences, including foot massages, manicures, tea service, and a guarantee of a good spot on the couch. Sakamoto approves.
Bambi at work. She's either adding to her comic series, doing homework, or doing something for her internship. There will be another university graduate, soon. And more celebrating.
If I wanted to, I could study refraction, then Google blue lights from iPhone night photos, or something like that. But what I am more inclined to do is think of titles and outlines for a series of fairy tales, set in worlds with improbable orbits and other flights of fancy. Not everything needs to be explained.

Last night I went to bed lamenting that I had wasted the day, that worry and sadness had taken its toll, and nothing useful had been accomplished. I cannot stop thinking about, and fretting over accident/insurance related issues... and I am pretty sure I conflate that anxiety with every other difficulty and setback, so that I get so bogged down in doubt, grief, frustration, and feeling crummy, that I do less and less and less, and feel worse and worse. Writing this all down makes me see what a mean and pointless cycle this is, but in the midst of it, I truly am confounded as to how to pull out. The collision was two years ago, this Sunday, and the latest hurdle has been in front of me since January! Since January, writing letters, taking calls, making calls, gathering paperwork, going into the city, waiting, receiving bad checks, anticipating another hearing, starting the process over, and still waiting. It's hard. It's hard not to imagine... I am about to get screwed. When I was hit, I never had a chance to react. She turned a corner into my lane, and went straight into my van; it was as if she came from nowhere. But the last two years, have felt like that moment of collision, of fear, of shock, and grief, are happening in slowest motion, and I am trapped, waiting for the moment of impact. I can't get out.

Yesterday something occurred to me... if I could go back and start over, I would tell people Stop. Actually, it would feel cathartic to say, calmly, resolutely: Shut up. Beginning with the nurse in the ER, who asked me What happened? And when I stammered, My car was hit, and I... my words were hanging in the air when she said, "Well. You're lucky to be alive. I was in an accident, and and and and... She described her trauma, the hassles, her pain, the slow recovery, her mangled vehicle. To every clerk, receptionist, doctor, nurse, assistant, paralegal, and secretary that had to ask me what happened? then barely let me finish, and without solicitation or encouragement, launched into an anecdote about a neighbor, nephew, grandmother, that died, was injured, had it worse: Kindly, shut up. With a black tongue, concussion, contusions all over my body, I found myself dimly and reluctantly pulled into other people's drama, strangers, and even compelled to sympathize, console, then buck up, because I had it better. It's my own fault, but most people don't know how bad it was, what happened to me. I was (am) uncomfortable with attention, I was in shock, I was terribly preoccuppied with not alarming my children, with not being a burden, and I was scared of my own fear and pain... it was too much to believe, to confront.

I wish there were a chapter on healing in my book of life, but healing, it seems is something that happens in brief paragraphs, insightful sentences, through an enlightening bit of prose, and these are intermittantly interposed in the narrative, in no particular order, sometimes timely, often too late. I could have done things differently, if I had known, and I think that this may be its own stage of healing and/or grief. Denial lasted a long time. Now I am juggling anger, bargaining, and depression... anger being the ball I drop, because denial. And the bargaining? I may be setting myself up for something bad, because I cling to the hope that I will feel so much better when this is done. Truly. Way too much store in this belief. Almost to the point where I have tied my self-worth with the settlement, and closure of the case.

So, yes... I went to bed lamenting, and feeling very low, but what I wanted to note, to mention, is that this morning I was reminded through pictures, that I did do one or two good things. It helps to see that, to remind myself. I trimmed long stems from our oregano, there's so much of it. And I found ribbons, even pieces of an old garland made of paper, bells, wire, and floral stems... What is the word? Millnery? No, that's hat making. I am thinking of the little stems and leaves, and seed sprays, the silk flowers... all the decorative bits. Isn't there a word for those? Using what I had on hand (which is a lot, I admit), I made tiny wreaths. I thought it was sweet how much Feynman was attracted to the oregano. Then a friend, pointed out that oregano and catnip are related. Anyway, I did that. And shared some. They look a little less fresh today, but maybe they will dry and make a seasonal and culinary decoration. Or maybe we can just let the cats have their way with them. Watching cats playing is a very healing pastime. So is screaming.