Sky Was All Purple

purple sky

I’m on a longer than normal break from parenting, as the kid will have an extended stay with his Dad to stretch into spring break next week, and then I’ll pick him up mid-week. So I’m making plans, seeing friends, working on self-care, taking care of me and my shit and my life. That’s what I do when I’m not with the kid, which I feel makes me a better, more prepared and more focused Mom when I do eventually see him again.

Been spring cleaning, purging, throwing shit out and getting some newer, better shit at my apartment. Despite tomorrow’s return to freezing temperatures, yesterday it was 45 and today 54 so running outside has returned, mostly. And the birds and my sinuses both seem to know it is spring, so winter can only have a temporary hold on us going forward. My ankle is still not 100% better, but it continues to improve and I’m hoping to run the first race I usually run each year, which is a primarily trail running course the first weekend in June. I’ll be driving back from a long road trip vacation through the day before the race, so I’m not sure if I’m going to make it or not, so I won’t pre-register in case I’m too beat. I don’t expect any sort of impressive time. I think the days of 5Ks just under 30 minutes are gone, and that’s ok. I just feel lucky I can still run at all.

I had to take a break from yoga and lifting to try to heal up my shoulder, which was causing all kinds of problems. But I think I got it before it got really bad, and am working on building up strength again. It’s amazing how quickly strength you build up at this age disappears as soon as you quit strength training or yoga or whatever. But I persevere as it’s important. I want to be able to reach overhead or touch my toes for many decades to come, and life has shown I can’t count on anyone else to be there to help me, so I have to keep myself in shape.

Concert tickets have been secured for a couple of concerts to attend with friends this summer. I’ve locked down lodging for a vacation with the kid at the end of May. I got a hotel room for my THIRTY year class reunion this summer. In the immediate, exciting social engagements are in the cards this week, and I am looking ever forward.

Sometimes it is sad to move forward. Sometimes it’s exciting. Sometimes it’s a mix of both, or vacillates between the two, even hourly. But the goal is to keep moving, keep living, keep feeling, keep loving, and keep people around me who want to be there, and I with them. I’m working on all of that.

There isn’t much I can do about the paranoid sociopath in the White House, or his not-so-merry band of uber-rich racists and bigots. I am still writing my letters, signing petitions, and occasionally making calls. But I need to work on what’s in MY sphere. Me, my kid, my life, who is in it and who isn’t, and what’s happening to make progress.

The blurry purple sky in today’s post was shot after a night out at a local dive bar a couple weeks ago when we had a full moon. It was a kind of weird night and this seemed the perfect end. It didn’t really look like that outside, but I loved what the phone did to the atmosphere and the picture, as my heart is often purple.

I have many friends struggling and hurting right now. Sending my purple energy out to them, and my love. My home is always open to anyone who needs to escape, laugh, create, sing, make music or dance or just drink some wine and bitch about how difficult the road can be sometimes. Keep moving.

 

Heart Full Of Soul

chucks

So much is happening in my life these days, it’s hard to keep up with the blog. I feel like I could blog twice a day and it wouldn’t encompass everything.

Writing has slowed considerably over the last week in general. I wanted to catch up on some movies I’ve been wanting to see, Oscar-nominated stuff that’s finally rolling in from the library, and then of course there’s last week’s hospital visit, which knocked out a good 36 hours from my life. Short version: bad tickers in my family and confluence of many bad/weird symptoms made me think I might be having a heart attack. But I wasn’t, and that’s good. I am seeing a sports medicine guy for the very bad shoulder/neck/arm thing, which was one of the key factors in said visit, and am grateful I still have health care, as this is likely to have been a HORRIBLY expensive visit. My job is not the best, but we do have good health care, and, on days like today, a snow day for my kid, I can work from home and plop my son in front of books and TV and muddle through what I have to get done from the comfort of my easy chair instead of the confines of my workstation, and that is nice.

I hit several writing goals the first week of March and am now going to start pursuing some other leads I’ve saved but not chased, as well as work on tackling one of my bigger, longer-term writing things that I hope to have done by official beginning of summer. As my ankle is doing much, much better (though still not 100%), I am trying to get back into running, and had my first outdoor winter run of the season the other day. Honestly, it was freezing, and then it felt great. It’s actually a really good way for me to deal with winter. I just had to invest in the proper gear for it, which I did last year, and from the looks of things outside, I’ll have plenty of chances to get to use it all before winter goes away.

I’ve also settled most of the details for a road trip me and the kid are going to take this May. I promised him I would take him to the ocean, and finally, am going to drive us there, though it will take a very long time to get there (and probably feel like twice as long coming back). It’s a long haul and very expensive to manage alone, but I promised the kid and I’m going to do it. I’m looking forward to it as well, as long as the car holds up. I’ll have to get new tires before we go, and may have to replace my entire headlight assembly, which is failing, but this is what I’m doing this year instead of throwing him an expensive birthday party which is mostly populated by my ex’s family, and I’d much rather do this than that. So off we will go. The fucking ocean, finally. He’s been asking since he could talk. I hope we don’t get eaten by sharks. Ha.

After the hospital/heart scare, I spoiled the kid Sunday. We had a visit at Grandma’s and then I took him to see Kong: Skull Island. He was the only little kid there and I don’t even care. He loved it, and whispered “awesome” at least five times, so I call that a win. Hell, I was more scared than he was.

I have less time to work on me during the weeks that he is here, and that’s ok. Last night I tried to do yoga but he needed help with several homework assignments so I just bagged the yoga and we worked on all his shit that didn’t get done last week at his Dad’s, and now he’s much more caught up.

In addition to the snow day today, school is closed Friday for “in-service,” which I’m convinced is an alternate language phrase for “teachers need a day off.” It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and we are part Irish, so I will take him to work with me and hopefully we can take a long break and watch part of the parade. I’m taking him to a fish fry Friday night and then Saturday we’ll have our corned beef.

It would be nice if I had an adult companion for these things. St. Patrick’s Day, movies with the kid, road trips. I love the kid’s company, but miss adult companionship.

I bought a little shamrock plant for good luck. I feel like it’s starting to work. At least I know my heart is good, literally and figuratively.

 

I’m Happy When Life’s Good and When It’s Bad I Cry

A guy mansplained to me so hard today my hands were shaking. I sometimes like to think that because I’m tough and sometimes mean-looking, that I won’t be the victim of mansplaining, but it keeps happening. A couple of weeks ago, it was the sales guy at the Audi dealership who LIED when he said they don’t do test drives, because he thought I didn’t look like I have enough money to buy an Audi, I’m guessing. Today it was after arguing about the price of yet another car repair, when presented with the bill for my repair estimate.

When the guy gave me my estimate this morning, he printed it out and brought it to the counter. It’s two pages, each a triplicate carbon paper. On page one, he circled the price and said that’s how much the estimate costs ($52) then flipped to the second page, made three quick X’s  – initial here, initial there, then sign. So when I came to pick it up and it was $61, I was mad. In the print to the left of my signature, which wasn’t anything the guy had indicated, it did indeed say $61. So why circle the $52? My Dad would have told you this is called bait and switch and I didn’t like it one bit. So the manager came out and I tried to explain that it’s deceptive to circle and say one price to the customer, get them to sign when they’re actually paying more than that, then surprise them with the real price at checkout.He tried to claim HE circled the price when he called me and I pointed out how it was done above the carbon copy we were looking at. I mean, LYING TO MY FACE. I said, I’m just done bringing my car here, I’ve been a customer here for close to 15 years and you don’t seem to give a shit about my business and he said that’s fine, and he left. I give the guy ringing my up my AAA card, as you get 10% off, and my credit card, and he mumbles something about how the AAA is already in there. He runs the card, gives me the slip to sign and I’m like, let me see the detailed printout. He gives it to me, THERE IS NO 10% OFF. I’m like COME THE FUCK ON. THIS IS JUST GETTING INSULTING. He had to get the manager to come back so he could void the transaction and then re-run it with the 10% off. I was so angry I was ready to put my foot through the door when I left. This is after crying at my desk when they called me to tell me how much the repair would cost, and I told them no, I decline, and I’ll just come get it. Like a terminal patient.

I took the car some place else for a second opinion and they confirmed that yes, this is yet another ridiculously expensive repair and my car is a fucking piece of shit and confirmed for me again how I’m sorry I ever bought it. This whole last year was supposed to be me “enjoying” having it paid off, and I spent $2400 in repairs, and now they want another $400 because the fucking headlight assembly has a short in it. I’m just about done. Really. I want to drive it into the lake and be done with it.

I researched prices of buying a new car tonight, and unless there’s a market for middle-aged MILF strippers with a lot of stretch marks and surgical scars, a new car isn’t in the cards either.

Instead, I had some whiskey and a sandwich, prepped my lunches for the rest of the week and cleaned up the kitchen. Then I decided to meditate. I’d like to do some yoga tonight but I’ve managed to torque my shoulder with too much yoga last week, so I have to take a few days off from it. I am really too sore to even walk, after my 2-hour workout yesterday, which included a four-mile run and hitting all the leg machines pretty hard, along with 100 squats and 100 reverse lunges. So, meditation. During which, my mind immediately focused instead of just wandering. I began, for whatever reason, composing a long letter in my head that would be read at my funeral. I was thanking different people in my life for different little “gifts” they’ve given me. Not material gifts, but things they imparted or communicated or gave me the power to see or feel or understand. I imagined all those people from very different walks of life and vastly different periods in my past all being together to hear these things being read and smiling and crying at the same time. I don’t know why I thought these things. I have no intention of hastening my demise, but I wondered when I came out of it if this is something I should actually start and do. I got up and out of the moment, and put the radio on to clear my head.

“Tomorrow Never Knows” by the Beatles came on, right at the beginning of the song. It caught me by surprise and I just stood and listened for a few minutes. It’s one of my favorite Beatles songs, since it’s so different than any of their other work.

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying

Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining

Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being

Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing…

… that ignorance and hates may mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing

But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not living, it is not living

So play the game “Existence” to the end…
… Of the beginning, of the beginning

I don’t know what’s ending and what’s beginning. But it was followed up by The Who’s, “The Seeker,” so I will take that and move on forward.

 

Cross The Highways Of Fantasy

 

future-dreams

I’ve been on an upswing lately and I’m enjoying the ride upwards. The past week or so, life has been pretty good and I feel lucky almost every day, no matter how bad things might get at work or with finances or politics. I know I’m lucky to be alive, to not be in pain every day, to be able-bodied and of sound mind. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, many friends who love me, and 2017 is being pretty decent to me, so far.

I achieved some important writing goals last week, and that felt great. I went out several times with different friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in a long while. It feels so good to laugh and share secrets, eat, drink, be merry and even meet new people while out on the town. I’m lucky to live in a city that’s so accessible and comfortable for me. Like Goldilocks, Cleveland for me generally is not too big, not too small, but just right. I lived hard, worked hard and played hard over the past week. I’m getting back in to yoga, as a companion piece to trying to ramp back up to running, while the long-term rehabilitation of my ankle continues. I can do more on it all the time, and the swelling is finally starting to go down in between workouts, so there is progress. I’m getting stronger and my body composition is slowly changing. I also got my taxes done, so that’s off the books, and what a relief.

There is a lot of unused space in my bedroom. I decided to start moving things around and making some changes to fill up the unused space and free up some other space. I filled up the armoire with stuff that had been on a storage shelf in the corner, and am going to sell the shelving unit the stuff was on previously. I’m going to get a newer and bigger bed as well. I might get rid of enough clothes this spring to lose one of the small dressers in there too. There is no need to keep things around that I don’t truly need and want.

Yesterday, I decided to bag spending the day doing errands and chores like I usually do. Once we got some grocery shopping out of the way, I took the kid out to the Auto Show. He’s never been. He was skeptical as to whether or not it would be fun from my description, but I couldn’t describe it properly. He had to see it. I knew he’d love it. Hell, I used to love it and went every year for many years. It was fun to get in and out of so many wonderful, shiny and new vehicles, fantasize about what I might get if I had buckets of money, and come away with a swag bag of wish books and t-shirts. Now it was my son’s turn.

He was overwhelmed, in the best possible way. He literally SPRINTED in between cars. He happened to be sitting in one with the sunroof open when Cavs player Richard Jefferson arrived, and he stood up on the seat and got to see a pro basketball player live and in person for the first time, ever. We ate ice cream, sat in a thousand cars, and I agreed to ride with him on some crazy Jeep course where a pro driver powers an SUV over staircases, turns you almost completely sideways and drives you slowly down a 30-degree incline. It was pretty hairy for me because I hate rides of any kind, even ones that are supposedly super safe. The kid was nonplussed and said how fun it was, and we went to the Ram display and did that ride as well, which was less harrowing, but more an impressive show of strength, with the truck being hooked up to a 2.5-ton brick wall, which it then pulls slowly up to vertical.

He asked if we can come every year, and I said hell yes.

I Can Only Receive

audi

My son has gotten to the age where he’s really interested in cool-looking cars. Every week, he brings two books home from the school library. One is about a sports team, and one is about a type of car. I guess this is just the deal now.

Over the past year, they built a shiny new Audi dealership at the end of our street. Now that it’s finally open, gleaming and red and black, he’s been asking if we could go there and look at the shiny cars. I told him yes, though there’s no fucking way we’re buying an Audi as they are really, really expensive. But that we might take one out for a test drive, so he could see how nicely they handle.

We finally went up there on Saturday morning. Rich people really do live a life different than you and me. The sales guy told me they don’t do test drives, because they don’t have any demo cars and driving puts miles on the car that are undesirable to buyers. Which he knew I wasn’t, as I told him we were really only there because my son loves cars. But D got in all the cars he could (the $185K sports car was locked, understandably) and sat in the front and back seats and made a lot of kid-like observations about how cool different things were, so I guess I’m going back to the auto show this spring, where I haven’t been in years. Still though, I can’t believe the cars are in such demand and the buyers so reliable that they basically just come in and pick which model they want, without even ever driving it. The kid ended up liking an SUV more than any of the other cars. Because it was blue and had a big back seat.

I used to be into the auto show, and was pretty interested in cars “for a girl.” I dated a few gear heads – where I grew up, if you dated much, the chances that someone was either a gear head or a farmer were pretty high – and I followed open wheel/IndyCar racing for many years, having grown up watching it on TV with my Dad. Dad was a driver and also the sometimes photographer for the local paper out at the local speedway. I used to like to go to the auto show and see all the new, fancy cars coming out and dream about what might be. At some point, teasing myself with things that are out of reach became unappealing and more like torture, and I quit going. But I’ll take the kid. I bet he will love it.

My kid has somehow become obsessed with money. I suppose because it’s the reason I give for us not doing so many of the things he wants to do, from traveling the globe to going to indoor play centers every weekend, to going out to eat whenever he wants, to buying a house with a yard. All of which make me feel pretty much like a failure, since his doodles are all about dollar bills and being rich. Maybe I’m raising Alex P. Keaton and he’ll become a day trader and make a lot of money. As a hippie trying to raise a sensitive boy who is interested in doing what’s right and not just what’s profitable, it’s kind of horrifying. But he is who he is and I will nurture whatever he loves. Maybe he can take care of my ass once I get too old to work anymore, since nobody else is going to.

Mother Nature is giving us a full week of spring preview. It’s a real tease, but I can’t help but love it. I was outside as much as I could be this past weekend, and will get outside as much as I can while this continues. The birds and bees are so confused, already out and flying around and getting busy, when I know we’re going back into the snowy deep freeze soon, not to emerge for another month or two.

But for now, man I missed nature and sunlight. Sinuses are a wreck, but soul feels fulfilled.

Back From A Fantasy

cookies

I am not letting go of what’s important, nor am I turning my focus away from it. This includes my grand and sweeping personal agenda items (and smaller, but no less important personal resolutions), as well as the much more “woke “agenda that now seems to include regular protest, political action that includes daily phone calls to people in government, emails, signing petitions, writing postcards, and any other things I feel may help make a difference as we slide down Shit Mountain into the pit of Hell.

But this weekend, a real mixture of action. My best friend came into town from Florida for my pre-birthday celebration (my birthday this year falls both on Super Bowl weekend and custody weekend, so if I wanted to get people together, it had to be before the actual date). The weekend was a blur of singing, drinking, eating, yoga, snow, cake, and playing pool, but there were so many moments, snapshots of joy and brilliance, which were much needed in these gray, cloudy, dark days (literally and figuratively). It’s always interesting who shows up for a party and who doesn’t. My theater people really are my family. They come through for me again and again when so many other people make a lot of promises to see me more or get together more often but it never seems to happen. Almost everyone who attended was someone I know through theater. Many of my theater peeps are in shows, of course, and could not make it, and many of the parents I know were otherwise involved with kid stuff, which I obviously get. But the crew who showed was diverse and wonderful and lovely and I had such a good time. It was so, so downscale and low-key, it was just what I needed.

Then I got the kid yesterday, and we had a low-key day. I took him to the rec center to play basketball and it was SWAMPED because it’s so cold out and nothing for kids to do. He got hit in the head with a ball, pretty hard, too, and cried and cried and let me hold him like when he was a lot littler, which is rare these days. In the end he was fine and played some more after it quit hurting. He’s reading a book on the Atlanta Falcons right now, which he got from the library with another book on some kind of fast car. What happened to my little tiny dude? It’s going so fast. We watched an Indiana Jones movie last night and it was just nice to chill and not run around doing a bunch of errands. I got a lot of editing done last night on a script I’m working on, but there is so much to do and now a timetable, as it has to be submitted at the end of February. So the pressure is on, and no time to waste. I will get it done. Because that’s what I do, especially this year.

The kid’s school was cancelled today because of snow. He’s now able to go to my job with me and be relatively well-behaved, reading or playing games on the iPad. We came home mid-afternoon so I can finish out the work day from here, and we’re both having some cookies from the Italian bakery where I got my birthday cake, and I’m having some strong coffee because snow and cold and a weekend of partying takes much more of a toll on you at 48 than it used to.

I Ain’t Gonna Stop

It’s only the 25th of January, but my personal theme for this year has already emerged: STRONG.

This is informing everything I do, everything I am, everything I want to be. I wasn’t looking for it, but I recognize a theme when I see one, and so I’m embracing it and will weave it into my thoughts and actions and heart.

I am strong. I am getting stronger with more working out, weight lifting. I am not thin. My goal is not to be thin. It’s to be stronger, and I am consciously working on that. I will transform accordingly physically however I will transform. Slowly, so as to avoid injury. This is a journey, not a race.

I am strong. I am working on improving my writing, getting it closer to right the first time, and actively and passionately pursuing as many writing leads as possible so I can be published more frequently in 2017. That’s working so far – I have queried and been accepted twice already this year; one piece is going up within the next week or so. The other I have yet to write, but I will do that soon – the query was accepted by a nationally well-known site (to me, at least).

I am strong. I am accepting more invitations, changing my life up to accommodate unexpected visits, trips, happy hours, literary receptions, birthday parties, playdates, whatever. Life is too short to always say no, so I am working on yes, on showing up more and seeing people more. I am a social creature and I crave social interaction. I am entertaining more as well. Play date or wine night or whatever, it’s happening.

I am strong. Emotionally and mentally, I’m not letting life drag me down. I can’t have everything I want, and many things don’t go the way I would like, but I have many OTHER things, and am extremely fortunate. I recognize that and accept it. I am not interested in negative people, I won’t spend time with people who don’t respect me. I seek friendship and acceptance and love, and there is plenty of it in my world, and there are always avenues yet to explore. I am lucky.

I am strong. I have stepped up my political and social activism, which is sorely needed in this dark time in America. I will not shut up. I will not back down. I will not acquiesce my liberties. If you want to lie down and get fucked, go ahead. I will fight.

[photo credit: Thomas Ondrey, The Plain Dealer]