Lourdes Mint's Mid-Life Miracle

Real-time memoir of the coming year (5/20/14 – 15) and the achievement of a life-long dream

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

Day 11: Not THAT Lourdes, not THAT Mint, not THAT Miracle

Hello! I am still working on Part 2 of my response to May 27th’s Daily Prompt. It took QUITE a turn — oh my goodness, yes it did. And then there was also this other thing going on (read: sink hole, huge snake, asteroid, etc. — or visit/revisit my Day 5 post, a response to the Daily Prompt).

But for now, I’d just like to clear something up. A friend tried to find my blog and days later she texted me: “I don’t get it. Is this the direction you’re going in?”

I was a little hurt and responded defensively, something like: “What??? It’s not like we haven’t been talking about this — writing — forever. It’s fine if you don’t like what you’re reading, but how can it be that …?”

You can find these online by searching for Lourdes + Mint + Miracle. I might have to try them.

You can find these online by searching for Lourdes + Mint + Miracle. I might have to try them.

 

“Just send me the URL,” she texted. And then very soon after that: “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.”

Later in an email, subject line: “To Lourdes,” she explained: “so funny, because in our text thread … i was telling you my google search for lourdes miracles led to something VERY different.” For example:  http://www.is-there-a-god.info/life/lourdes.shtml

She went on to comment on my stories, my drawings, my other writings, etc. And I felt happy and encouraged.

I have no idea why I chose the name Lourdes (Lourdes Mint, no less!) … and there’s the issue of THAT name in the context of the rest of blog title, with its “Miracle.” I am not Catholic (nor have I ever been — it has to be said, I think), so I guess I am just a little mystified by the whole thing…. but just a little.

So for now, I remain: Lourdes Mint, author of a blog about my mid-life “Miracle.” Again, though, just to be clear, it is not about that Lourdes, nor these mints, nor that miracle. And I really hope you’re not disappointed to hear that…

 

 

 

Day 9A: Finders, Keepers (Daily Prompt): “No one ever believes my stories” (Part 1)

Trying the Daily Prompt again today (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/finders-keepers/), but it will have to be quick with all I have to do. The only reason I’m allowing myself to respond at all is that I have this wonderful, practically ready-made response, a story actually, that I’ve always wanted to write up and today’s prompt is just screaming, “Today’s the day!”

Just a peek for now: The story comes from a girl I roomed with during my 19th summer, when we were both working at a breakfast and lunch place right on the boardwalk. She was out walking on the beach very early one morning, normal for her, and found a wad of cash (more than $600) in a nice heavy clip and a stunning women’s ring (platinum, she thought, with a remarkably clear emerald), along with some other items in a crumpled, greasy paper bag half-buried in the sand.  She told me all about it a few days later: what she did with it, what happened next, how it all ended — kind of unbelievable, but well worth sharing. (That’s Part 2, so PLEASE come back.)

But first, here is my own personal response to the prompt.

Back then, to be fair (so I’m not ultimately comparing apples to oranges), if I’d found that bag of goodies, I might have taken it to the first person I spotted who appeared to be in any position of authority. Boardwalk security guy on a bike? Perfect. Lifeguard? Yes, probably. Bouncer? Possibly so (depending on whether I knew him). I think I would have been afraid to go to the police — given the neurotically guilty conscience I was plagued with then.

Now, I’m not so sure what I’d do. My guess is I’d either leave the loot where it lie or take it to the police, suspecting that either way, there’d be little difference in outcome — little chance that the lost-lings would be returned to their rightful owner(s). And this is not a dig against police, but more the sense I have that whomever lost the treasures had either stolen them him(or her)self or figured they were gone for good and returned home without them, but with a beefy story to share.

(I can imagine the man with the money clip: “We were lying on our backs until about noon, when Nancy took out some money for lunch. We ate right there on our towels. And then at about 2 pm, as we were turning onto our stomachs — to keep things even, you know — Seth comes out of the water, says he wants a coke. That’s when we realized … . So, what I’m saying is it happened while we were there, right there, but with our eyes closed. Sickens me, Nancy too. And it’s not the things, the money, the ring, the rest of it: they can be replaced. It’s the fact that the place has changed THAT much. Poor Seth, all our kids: they’ll never know the carefree, good times we enjoyed there when we were …” [Nancy, red, almost spitting, as she interrupts: “Actually, that ring cannot be replaced. It belonged to my Aunt Penny. Thank you.“]  Money clip man: “Okay, well. But you — you all — you get my point.”)

Back to what I would do: I’m sure I wouldn’t pocket the stuff — then, now, ever. And I can say with 100% certainty that I wouldn’t have done what Stacy did, not because it was so horrible or wrong or anything like that; it was just so … strange. What she did, the thoughts behind her actions, they simply never would have occurred to me, not in a million years. When she told me the story, she made it clear she was sharing it with me and no one else, not because she didn’t want anyone to know, she said, but because she thought I might believe her. And then she said, I remember like it was yesterday, “No one ever believes my stories.”

Did I believe? Do I now? I don’t know. Every time I ask myself that question, my mind answers with a complete non sequitur. Just now, for example, as I asked myself again, my mind shoots me this memory:

I am sitting with a nice boy on the beach. He likes me but nothing will come of it. He hands me a conch shell, which I’m thinking he must have planted there. (Even then, all the really good shells were gone. And this one seemed to have a weirdly glossy finish.) “Try this: it’s really neat,” he says, as he holds it up to my ear. “What do you hear?” “Ummmmmm, the ocean,” I say, already knowing the answer, which everyone learns early on (right?). “That is neat,” I say. He smiles, so very obviously delighted. But all I heard, all I think anyone hears, from inside a shell is something like, “sssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” or “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” (right?). That day, though, I do hear the ocean (but with my other ear), as the waves are crashing less than 30 feet away from us. I remember suddenly feeling so sorry for the boy, still smiling. “That is neat,” I say again. “Really neat.”Conchboy

So what kind of answer is that? A yes or a no? Did I, do I, believe Stacy’s story or not? Maybe I can’t answer because I don’t have to answer, because it doesn’t matter. Just the telling of a story makes it a thing of the world, something that exists, something to be reckoned with if you’re so inclined — to be passed along (maybe forgotten) or kept like a secret — as I have this story for so long, turning it over and over again with the fingers of mind, my own sparkling emerald. All the while thinking, also, I should write it up. I should, I should, I should — for years — and now here (or rather in Part B), finally, I am! Or, I will, after I get some real work done.

*          *          *

Ugh. Where did the morning go and most of the afternoon? I have to say, so far, this project is wreaking havoc — HAVOC, I say — on my life. I love it. 🙂 But havoc is havoc and I (and mine) can only stand so much. But I do think things will come out okay once I/we get through this transition (using that word WAY too much lately), that they will get better and better and finally be right: I will be writing regularly, finishing pieces I’ve started (the good ones) and starting new ones, and become a writer (that is, for me, a writer people read!) — all with a relatively manageable, liveable life still intact. That’s what I tell Roberto, my husband, and I think he believes me.

I do wish that the process could be more straight forward, more balanced and comfortable, more methodical (oh, hope against hope!), and that I felt just a little more like I know what I’m doing. BUT when you’ve pulled the number(s) I’ve pulled on my creative yearnings for as long as I have (20+ years), I know not to expect or wait for that feeling. So if I will go with it for now, allow that thing (the would-be writer in me) to have her way with me for a time, I  can see a much more workable, peaceable arrangement evolving — and, at some point, success.

But we’re not there yet. Oh, no, we are not. On a day like this, we stare at each other, a great distance between us (nothing much below), and finally fly at each other to meet in mid-air … and do what, exactly? For now, something like this.

Please come back (anyway …) for Part 2! Time to pick up Elliot.

 

Day 6: The Art of Reappearing

Until last fall, I’d almost accepted the idea that although I’d like to be a writer, I must be missing something essential that could make it/allow it to happen. I’d also almost come to believe what my mother, another aspiring writer, had often said over the years — something like: “Real writers MUST write. If a person is not writing, is able to resist or postpone, that person is not a real writer.” Thankfully, I don’t think she believes that anymore herself. (She’s been blogging away for years, and very well at that.) But my point is, I was pretty much resigned to giving up the dream.

francesca-woodman1

Photo excerpt from “Untitled,” by Francesca Woodman (1976)

Last spring and summer, though, my imagination turned up the volume on its usual constant murmuring. WAY UP! My long-imagined, would-be characters started coming around again, dragging their sketchy, unfinished plot lines behind them. I’d see them hanging around, first maybe in the parking lot of the grocery store where we shop. Then they started camping out in the woods behind our house. But now, more and more frequently, one finds his/her way inside — maybe just taps me on my shoulder as I edit. “Anything going on these days, you know, with my story?,” the last one asked. And I just start rattling off excuses, my special area of expertise. Usually that’s enough to make them disappear, at least for a while. (They are totally grossed out by excuses. Lies practically kill them.) This last one, though, she lingered a bit, started asking questions about what I was working on, how much I was getting paid, etc. Awkward!

But now, it’s not just them. I’ve begun feeling increasingly dogged by feelings of failure and frustration, guilt even. More and more, I’ve come to believe that if I don’t get serious about writing, soon, NOW, and work steadily until I complete a piece, I will … not be well. And I need to be well.

I have this really sweet family, whom I love dearly, and I want them, more than pretty much anything, to see me succeed as a fiction writer, as a whole person. (Our young son, “Elliot,” has a wonderful imagination and has said he wants to become the world’s best comic book writer [among other things]) — how I’d love to set a good example for him to follow in making his own dreams come true, if not in comic book writing than in whatever he chooses.)

Deep down, I know I have not provided much of an example in terms of how to make dreams come true or even set/achieve goals. Deep down, I know I have not been “all here” for a while, maybe forever, and I KNOW that not writing is a big part of the reason why.

So………….. This might be a good time to introduce my gravatar (shown here larger, above right). When I chose it, I thought it was from a photo series called “The Art of Disappearing” (which turned out to be the title of the piece in which I found it), but it’s actually from an untitled series, as I’ve just discovered. Wither way, knowing what little I do of Francesca Woodman’s story, I’m not sure what to make or say of my choice of this image as my gravatar. Although her photos are among my favorite things in the world, and although one could certainly argue that she was the consummate artist — creating for herself, living according to her own rules, making no compromises, etc. — things did not end well for her. Or maybe they ended as she wanted them to.

In any case, check her out here with all these forks. (Maybe I should have posted this on my About page. ;)) Check her out!

6a00df351e888f88340147e2830437970b-800wi-1

“On Being an Angel,” by Francesca Woodman (1977)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……. Okay. It’s okay. I’m okay with my gravatar. Somehow, and I truly don’t know how or on what basis, I trust my choice.

Day 5: Game of Groans (Daily Prompt): Please Meet My Dear Friend, Chronic Lateness — She Should Be Here Any Minute Now

Today too, I thought I’d give the daily prompt a try. As an additional challenge to myself, I will try to do it by 4:30. My response to yesterday’s prompt completely derailed me — in a way I’m really used too, unfortunately. But I must do some real work (or I’ll say “other work”) today, too, plus run to the grocery store. No more cat food for the dog! (I just read that it’s not good for them; I knew the opposite was true, cats eating dog food, but… .) Yuck. I’m not sure I like the way this little intro is turning out to be just the perfect fit with what comes next.

(Note [later]: Aughhh!!! It’s 4:54. And if I don’t post this soon, NOW, I won’t make it to the grocery store in time to meet friends in time to… . And it won’t get posted today. Doing quick read-through, but please pardon any silly mistakes.)

Today’s Daily Prompt: Think about an object, an activity, or a cultural phenomenon you really don’t like. Now write a post (tongue in cheek or not — your call!) about why it’s the best thing ever. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/game-of-groans/

ChronicLateness

Please Meet My Dear Friend, Chronic Lateness — She Should Be Here Any Minute Now

I can’t wait for you to meet my dear friend, Chronic Lateness — she should be here any minute now. She’s amazing, wait till you see.I know you’ll just love her.

Oh, she just texted, something about a huge snake, but maybe we shouldn’t mention it, actually. She sounded really frazzled.

Yeah, things like this are always happening to her, it’s true. And then she’s always late — sometimes really, really late — because of it. Late to work? Oh, that goes without saying. Please!? I’m talking: weddings, surgeries (her own, one time), baby showers, traffic court, you name it — basically anything and everything. BIG things. And why wouldn’t this be the case, at least sometimes? When you think of it, nothing is so important that it can prevent, you know, something like the bed and breakfast you’re staying in from falling into a sink hole. Well, THAT HAPPENED to this gal, the night before her best friend’s wedding . Oh man, the other bridesmaids were so pissed , SO pissed. That was the day I stopped being annoyed at her and started feeling sorry for her. I mean, ever heard of an “Act of God,” people? Hello? How is one person, albeit a maid of honor, supposed to stop a sink hole?

And then there was this big cover-up, apparently, because there was nothing about it in the news, anywhere, at all. It was as though the Sleepy Good Times B&B had never existed and the sink hole never happened at all! The bridesmaids stayed pissed a long time — even after the wedding, the honeymoon, and the divorce. At some point, though, Chronic Lateness heard through her professional connections (she’s a freelance editor, focusing mostly environmental geology-related policy and litigation or something like that — super smart) …. where was I? Oh, right, apparently, so right before the wedding, this team of geologists had warned the powers that be, the local government in the town where the wedding was I guess, that the sink hole was going to happen. They even called the B&B (under hypnosis, Chronic Lateness was able to recall overhearing the B&B keeper’s half of the actual conversation, verbatim — eerie). But nobody did a thing about it. In the end, she wasn’t able to tell us much about it because it was all top secret, classified. I’m pretty sure she’s got like the highest security clearance possible.

Anyway, my theory is that she kind of “blocked out” that call she overheard about the sink hole because the wedding meant so much to her — she cared so much, she couldn’t bear for anything to get in the way of being there for her best’s friend’s (well, then best friend’s) big day. The facts is she’s lucky she got out of the sink hole alive, but she will not talk about it, nope! Has a touch of PTSD still, I think. (Who wouldn’t?) As it turned out, she almost missed the whole wedding, only showed up for the reception and in the wrong dress and everything. Everyone was staring at her, judging her, acting like bitches, etc., etc. It’s no wonder what happened later … how she started singing with the band and all. She really wasn’t bad. The dance might have been a bit much … and that thing … with the groom’s dad (who I’m sure loved every minute of it, dirt bag). But anyway, if anyone deserved a little fun and some serious stress relief that night, SHE did. I mean, geeze! Where’s your compassion, people? Anyway, that was the day I stopped feeling sorry for her and started to admire her for her strength and loyalty, as well as for the depth of her caring.

I’m sure very few people would even consider trying to make it to a wedding after escaping a sink hole.

Hold up! She just texted again. Oh my gosh. So, apparently there’s a truck with its hazards on blocking the entrance to the parking lot. She wants to know if we want her to try to drive under the truck because she will (and she means that) — she’s willing to risk it to make the movie in time. Oh here: she says it looks like a tight squeeze but she’s pretty sure she can clear it. What a trooper, you know? But, come on! Is she kidding? (No, she’s not.)  I’ll tell her no … . I mean, just the fact that she’d offer is unbelievable, but no thanks: please don’t risk your life for a movie. Right? I’m texting her: “stop being a ding dong and get here when you can … be safe!” We can always catch the next show, right? That’ll give you time to get to know her better, and you’ll see what I mean, how kind of “larger than life” she is, how amazing. So unique.

Anyway, drinks first is actually better than our original plan, when you think of it, because you can’t really get to know someone sitting next to them in a movie theater, can you? Right. It’s totally true. Hmmmmm. Oh, gosh. That actually brings to mind a whole other story, from just a few weeks ago. I wasn’t going to mention it…

I was out with a bunch of gals and we were having a drink, chatting, waiting for Chronic Lateness to show up before ordering dinner. Then we had another round, but when all the nachos were gone, people started getting antsy. I was just about to suggest a third round (which I admit is a bit much), when suddenly someone, I’ll call her Hilda — heh, heh — totally freaks. She gets all red and huffy, says, “I’m ordering. This is ridiculous. Chronic Lateness is always f_cking everything up. No more!” (She was one of the bridesmaids from the sink hole wedding, by the way. And I do think that’s relevant here.)

I was just about to say, “What’s the big deal? We’re having fun, reminiscing, etc.” (You know how once the food gets there, all the really good talk stops?) Well just then, I get a text from Chronic Lateness. “Hold up! Hold up!” I say.  “She just texted.” But Hilda doesn’t want to hear it.

“I’ll have the mushroom ravioli with cream sauce,” I hear her telling the waitress. A few of the others (also from the sink hole wedding) follow suit as I read the most totally freaky and terrifying texts from Chronic Lateness ever.

“OH. MY. GOSH.” I say, holding up my hand. “Wait till you…”

And just then Chronic Lateness sort of stumbles through the door, and all of us froze, even the waitress. Her hair was all crazy-looking, her shirt was torn, and she had on two different shoes — the same shoe, actually, but one was black and the other was brown. (That part didn’t totally make sense to me.) Anyway, it turned out she had just chased down a purse snatcher and had put him in a head lock — BY HERSELF, as other people just stood there gawking — until the police arrived. And then she had to fill out some kind of stupid form and answer all these questions that made her feel like she had done something wrong … “like I was some kind of scoff-law,” she said. And she’d gone through all of this while we were stuffing our faces with nachos, squabbling over when to order, etc.

She was trembling as she told the story, obviously still very shaken up. Who wouldn’t be? Most people would have gone home and taken a hot bath after such an ordeal. Hilda and company were still acting pissed, though, even after they heard the story. Can you believe it?  Meanwhile, a few others and I were thinking and quietly discussing how brave Chronic Lateness was to risk her life just to get that poor old woman’s purse back.

The mood did lighten after the food was served — people are just not at their best when they’re hungry (I know, I waited tables all during school) — and even Chronic Lateness began to relax and have a bit of fun.

After dinner, though, during dessert, was when it all came tumbling down for real and — ever since — there’s been kind of like two camps when it comes to Chronic Lateness. What happened was the bill came and Chronic Lateness could not seem to locate her wallet. And now that she thought of it, she remembered seeing this other shady fellow — in her “peripheral vision,” she said, which is like abnormally acute. He had been hanging around near the purse snatcher, she was sure. Could they have been working as a team? A bunch of us got goose bumps. Oh the irony! Was she robbed herself by this second guy while she restrained the first one?

“That’s exactly what happened,” I remember saying, slapping my hands against the table.

Chronic Lateness pushed her dessert plate away.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Well, I can’t pay for this… .” She started to cry a little. “Obviously, I can’t pay.”

“Pay?” I said. “You’ll do nothing of  the sort. We weren’t going to let you pay anyway, were we?” (I heard a few encouraging mumblings.)

“Well. That’s my cue,” said Hilda. “I’m outta here. This sh_t is crazy.” She threw her money down, and the others in her camp did the same.

“What don’t you get about this? I almost shouted. “She’s a f_cking hero!”

“No,” said Hilda, “she’s just someone with a big f_cking problem — always late, always missing something, always a big story. Well, I’m sick of it.” And then she bent down: “I wish you well, I do,” she almost whispered to Chronic Lateness, “but I’m done.”  And they all walked out.

We talked a while about what bitches they all were, cheap bitches at that, but Chronically Late didn’t join in. She was uncharacteristically quiet in fact for the rest of the night. The PTSD, I’m guessing.

“Don’t worry,” I said, but really, at the time, I wasn’t sure what I meant, exactly. I just never saw a person look so lonely, I don’t think, in all my life. And the fact that she had on her signature “clown pants,” as we call them — that symbol of her specialness, her freak flag flying high. The fact that she had her special pants on, along with the brown and black version of the same shoe, it was just so … sad. All of it. Weird, too, maybe a little confusing. But mostly sad. (Long sigh.)

I don’t know. I’m no genius.

Anyway, things are a lot better now. She’s doing great! Still late, as you can see — heh, heh — but as amazing as ever, as you’re about to find out.

That’s the thing about people like her, great but in such a unique way that they are often misunderstood. People get intimidated, I think, or even jealous. Is she sort of a mess? Yes. But I think it’s because she bypasses the more mundane concerns to what’s really important. And I think somewhere in all that chaos, she can make out, like, this higher level of order — that the rest of us can’t see. I mean, here, we are, all worried about our weddings and our mushroom ravioli and our jury duty and our movie times, while she’s…. she’s  …. Hold up. Just got a text.

 

 

Day 4: Mind Reader (Daily Prompt): The Wavee

TheWaveeFor today, instead of reporting the usual (of which there was plenty), I thought I’d try a bit of writing (and a bit of drawing, only because I couldn’t find anything that fit). Here’s my response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Who’s the last person you saw before reading this prompt? Whether it’s a family member, a coworker, or a total stranger, write a post about what that person is thinking right now.

Mind Reader (Daily Prompt): The Wavee

There’s your nod. Fine. Good day, Ms. But why must you … Why must she, that woman in the silver car, wave at us like that every time she passes? Why so eagerly?

I can clearly see that she’s smiling too, every time, her large white teeth gleaming through the windshield. She even toots her little horn on occasion. Not today, but she has before, more than just a few times. What could she possibly see in my customary nod (all she’ll ever get from me) that she finds so apparently delightful, so encouraging? I cannot imagine. Now, I don’t mind a neighborly wave. It’s the eagerness here that I question, and the occasional tooting. Why? What’s it about? Who is it for, really?

I am not an unsociable person, am I, little friend? Why, no — exactly. I am not. We had a rough start, you and I, and because of that, I’d say you know better than anyone now that I am incapable even of true unpleasantness.

The thing is that we — the waver and I — don’t even know each other. We have never spoken — except that one time, years ago. And that was all about Furbies (Furbys?). The dogs’ leashes became entangled when we passed on the sidewalk, and as our two companions slipped into easy “conversation,” I could not think of a thing to say — except “Furby,” in response to the waver’s asking my dog’s name. Not that my reticence mattered one bit, the way the waver went on and on and on after that.

She could not stop talking, do you remember, Furby? A plane could have come in for a landing on the street right next to us, and she wouldn’t have missed a beat. I’m sure of that.

Oh, she had a Furby once!  (This is a plush interactive toy, I have since learned.) And now, she was saying, so did all of her children and — big mistake (what was she thinking?) — because …. “Did you ever actually spend time with a Furby?” (Had I ever actually … what?) She was looking me right in the eye then, Furby, and I admit I looked away, down at you dogs, actually, still happily sniffing away at each other.

Before I could answer, the waver went on: “Don’t,” she said emphatically, almost gravely, “if there’s any way at all to avoid Furbies, the toys I mean, do it! Consider yourself warned… .” And then she laughed, so sudden and shrill the sound, it startled us. You might not remember this, friend, but you growled a little growl, which says a lot coming from you. But then you got back to the business of fun, smart boy, because the waver kept on going. Indeed, she did.

“You buy them — and mind you, they’re not cheap — thinking they’re going to keep your kids entertained for hours, but one Furby is even more demanding than three kids put together. I think they’ve done studies. So, my point is: three kids plus three Furbies?! Forget it!She laughed again, same laugh, but we were prepared this time. Then, though, do you remember this? She held up her hand and waved it almost violently, as if to wave away any plans I might have to run out and purchase three Furbies — of which I still had no real understanding. I think it was I who almost growled this time, Furby — huh, huh.

But … I also remember, just now, how small, delicate, and gentle-looking the hand was. She’d been waving to us already for years, but I’d never been close enough to notice. I felt my face flush and looked toward the dogs, bounding about in their natural spring-time joy, and then toward home, just a few blocks away. We will be there soon, I remember thinking, and the waver took a breath, maybe her first since she started talking. She did continue, once again, but her voice was softer now, her words slower. “”Yeah, forget that,” she repeated. “Just stick with one Furby, your Furby there, and you’ll be fine.” I watched as she repositioned her other hand on the handle of the leash, and smiled down at our dogs.

I almost smiled, Furby, but then she said, almost hysterically: “Especially because some of them turn mean. I know, I know!” — more laughing then — “Sounds crazy, but I’m totally serious. A mean toy!? Kinda defeats the whole purpose, don’t you think? Mostly, though, it’s just the nonstop chatter — gotta be the most annoying toy on earth.” She then proposed that perhaps someone like me would find Furbies even more annoying than she, didn’t she? Someone like me.

Suddenly quiet, she stooped to untangle the leashes and I thought I heard her say something like: “I bet you were some kind of professor. Philosophy? No, economics! History?” I didn’t have a chance to answer before she was on her way again. “Okay, then,” she chirped, “only one Furby for you! Promise me!” I believe I nodded, Furby, which she wouldn’t have seen, so no matter.

As I reached the edge of our yard, mine and Furby’s, I remember turning to see the waver waving — at another silver car, incidentally, containing another waving woman. (Toot!) You might have heard me laugh out loud, Furby.

We’ve had some fun, haven’t we, despite our rough start? My wife, Ellen, she would have loved you straightaway, but I could not. I have always said, and believe still, pets are not appropriate as gifts — especially perhaps from an ex-daughter-in-law, especially perhaps so soon after she became an ex … and under those particular circumstances, especially perhaps within days of Ellen’s last day in this world. Not appropriate! And I would say the same even if you hadn’t come in need of shots, neutering, and all that house-breaking and even if you hadn’t come pre-named by my then 5-year-old grandson, whose own Furby is surely long gone by now. I hope, anyway — huh, huh. 

Oh, well, we’ve been through all of this before. And look, here comes the waver again. (Nod.) That was fast — perhaps she forgot something? More batteries for more Furbies? Huh, huh. (Toot!) Errrrrrrgh. (Long, pained sigh.)

But what a day it is, Furby! Spring again, finally, after all we’ve been through and that long winter, too. No more silly sweaters for you, not for a while, anyway. So yes, breathe in that beautiful air. It’s from those big pink blooms there, friend, which come back every year, you may have noticed, and which Ellen planted long ago — long before the waver, long before you, my darling boy … and all the rest of it. That’s what they are about. They are for us.

 

Day 2: Tidy my waffles

 

From A Town Called Panic ("Panique au village," original title), 2009, by Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar

From A Town Called Panic (“Panique au village,” original title), 2009, by Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar

Terrible things happen all the time in A Town Called Panic, a great “kids'” movie. The characters make disastrous mistakes on a routine basis, so that the Belgian equivalent of “uh oh” is uttered by one or another of them approximately every 6 to 8 minutes. And yet Horse, Indian, Cowboy, and all the rest remain gleefully open to good times and the possibility/probability that all will turn out well after all.

Anyway, this day was riddled with frenzied comings and goings, minor mis-haps, major miscalculations — all in all, a pretty typical day. Oh, and I did no real writing (outside of this), so I feel pretty much like usual myself at the moment, have not been instantly edified or magically transformed by blogging, and am not gleefully open to much. But it’s only Day 2.

Must definitely try harder to “tidy [my] waffles” (quote from the movie) and keep on keeping on.

 

Day 1: A pretty good example of why I am here

Today we overslept… Elliot missed the bus. And we were late getting to school, too. I had such plans, this being the first official day of the project (my year-long blog, etc.), but was too fuzzy all day to get much done. (There’s more to that story, which I’ll save for later.) At one point, I went to the store, only to find that I didn’t have my wallet. Later, right around when dinner should have been happening, I decided it was time to begin a major overhaul of our wildly overgrown garden. At one point, I was trying to pull a tree-like weed out of the ground with my bare hands after hacking away at its roots with a small (kid’s?) shovel (wasn’t there a saw or hatchet, even a regular-sized shovel, around here, once?), as my family scavenged for food.

There was more to Day 1, more of the same (and little more writing than what you see here), making it a pretty good example of why I am here. But I have to give myself a bit of credit. Here I am. I promised myself — and my partner in this adventure (more on her later, too) — that I would start the blog today. And so I have.

 

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