Dear Dear Diary
Shall we dance?
I am on the back porch with all of the lights out. My eyes are closed and the rain is pelting down, the wind riffling through my hair like my mother used to tousel my brother's hair, back when I had a brother. My skirts billow. My blouse is soaked. I feel thin, damp, everything.
I am on a balcony and there is an orchestra playing in the distance. Vivaldi's Spring, perhaps, or maybe Pacobel's Canon in D. I must dance. I feel strong arms envelope me, a slightly sandpapered cheek pressed to mine, my hand is gently held close to a nicely muscular shoulder. I feel the velvet of your lapel, smell your soap and shampoo, and your warmth fills me. I can feel the gentle splash of fountains nearby and I will not let them sublimate my urgent need to pee. I am safe, I am warm, I am dancing, I am loved. I angle my face up for your kiss.
Frank bangs the screen door. "What the hell are you doing?" he shouts and pulls me inside. Angrily, he strips off my wet clothes, wraps blankets and towels around me, and nukes some hot chocolate. Letting my teeth chatter and the mug perch on my cold fingers, I let the knowledge warm me first. I am loved.
Today is the kind of windy day that we can only have when the weather doesn't know what season it wants to be. It's the kind of day where the winds of change are blowing and anything is possible but nothing rarely happens.
It plays havoc with the garbage cans on our suburban streets, and driving through the labrythine maze is taking your life in your hands with the cans blowing every which way. Today I drove for the joy of driving, and stopped for cans. I put them upright on the lawns they were closest to, just to keep them from blowing every where.
Naturally this bit of kindness is never noticed as a kindness. The third can I grabbed and set upright, the woman came to the door. "Hey!" she yelled at me as I walked away from the can planted on her lawn, "That's not our can! It goes two houses up and across the street!"
"That's not my problem!" I yelled back, and grabbed another can.
He's back from the first vet trip. It was confirmed that he indeed had a broken back right leg paw at one time, that didn't heal properly probably. That'll cause some arthritis, and will likely give him some trouble later. All of his tests came back negative- for FeLV/leukemia, mites, fleas, worms, etc. He had his first FeLV vaccination shot too. His ears are healed as much as they are going to, and he can hear fine.
His eye was my main concern. The good news is that he may not be permanently blind in the left eye. He does have conjuntivitis (inflamation of the eyelids) but that's secondary to the main problem. You may not realize this, but the eye has two chambers - the large one behind the lens and iris and the front one. The vitreous humors in the eyes are made in the back of the eye and move to the front chamber where they eventually drain out. Somehow,his ducts have gotten blocked and the front part of the eye is huge. His pupil is closed and pushed way back into the eye. So we will need to give him drops to open the pupil and open the ducts, (as well as amoxicillin for the infection of the eyelid), and he'll go back for a recheck to see if that helps.
Giving a cat eye drops is never fun. Considering how much blood I got to shed in the doc's office trying to hold him for the vet, he's not going to like the procedure at all. It will inevitably involve a towel or a blanket, and both of us. He has drops 3 times a day, and the amox twice. He will not be a happy cat. But hopefully, at the end of that time, he'll be able to see with both eyes.
And here's the newest of the brood:This is Tom.
He's blind in his left eye, and the tips of both of his ears are gone. But he's a love, and he's getting on... so far... with the others. We'll see how it goes. I'm thrilled to give him a new home.
They had not travelled far, when a donkey cart almost ran them off the road. The cart was pulled by not one or two, but four donkeys, all running as fast as their driver could make them go. She didn't have time to look at the cart. She pushed Tayir off the road and stumbled after, protecting the basket's contents as best she could. She had started to pick up the spilled dates when she noticed something had fallen off the back of the cart. Tayir was exclaiming words he wasn't supposed to know, directed at the driver, so she knew he was okay.
Anna put the basket down and approached the bundle of clothes. She realized they were clothes, and there was a flash of pale skin... and hair. Masses of bright hair, the color of her best copper pot after a vinegar rinse. She wasn't moving either. Anna bent down to take her pulse. "Tayir! Give me your shirt now!" She ordered the boy.
Tayir kicked the basket, but not hard enough to move it. "Why? That's not decent."
"She's bleeding." Anna had found the wound in her scalp and a slow steady pulse. "I need to bind the wound and cover her hair.
Tayir stared. He had never seen such hair. It was no wonder, as Anna had never seen hair that color either.
He tugged off his shirt and handed it over. He watched his sister cover the hair completely and pad the wound. He picked his nose.
"Go and do something useful. Go and fetch Varazadt, or at least fetch the donkey. We need to get her back to the house." Anna continued to tend to her, and gently moved her to the side of the road, as Tayir finally ran back they way they had come.
"I'm not going to market today," she said to the mystery woman. "The temple will have to wait for me a little longer."
Dead Bird Day is my least favorite holiday. I like eating birds. I like eating good food. Pumpkin pie is my favorite pie. But I hate this holiday with a passion, because I cannot simply ignore it the way an athiest can ignore Easter. I have no children but those with four legs and whiskers. Therefore I am Expected to travel. I must visit my parents. I must visit the sweetie's parents. Really, none of these people are an anathema to me- I can get along with his family and I adore my family. But I have to travel with dog and sweetie, and the sweetie becomes even more of a grumpy butt than I am, so we grumble along like bears the entire trip. Bears, in case you do not know your wildlife, do not associate very well together unless they are children or trying to have sex. My sweetie and I are doing neither on this trip. We try not to fight- neither of us is truly mad or blaming each other for this obligation, but both of us resent it, and the resentment can fill the car and just crush me with the tension of it.
I am glad to sit in my mother's kitchen and talk, even though she rarely lets me actually help. I am 36 and she does not believe I am capable of cooking. That's okay, I don't think she's very good at it either, so we're even. But it's still a comfort to discuss anything that comes to mind, and I forget to call her as often as I should. Kitchens are a source of comfort to me. I can tell you everything about my grandmothers' kitchens, as well as every kitchen I've ever owned. I like sitting down with my father and discussing things with him. But I see him now as often as I did as a child, and sometimes I don't think I know him very well at all. Neither of them are old yet, but I see the changes in them now that time brings. I don't know how much longer I will have them, and I know already the shape of the hole they will leave behind. My brother may make the effort to be there when I am- if he does, the noise of his children often drives me out sooner. My dog does not agree with children.
And then his family. While I can get along, I feel so fake pasting on a smile and trying very hard to be friendly. I don't know these strangers and they don't really know me. I watch the small slights happen and try to moderate them, if possible, but mostly it's not my place to say anything. The food is good. It's very good. I think this year, I'll try to remember to bring my own tupperware, since she always wants to send us home with pie.
It's probably awful to resent having to go on This Day and no other. But I have to be honest enough to admit, if there was no holiday, I would keep putting it off. I keep thinking, I'll see them soon, but I get busy and I let other things fill my days, and I put it off and I forget. I *like* visiting them. I just don't do it often enough.
Today I stopped in Wegmans, like I often do before heading off to my Sunday night meeting, for a bottle of something nice and non-alcoholic to drink there. I picked up some green tea with lemon to try and some granola bars. The young man at the checkout kindly asked if I wanted to leave the bottle of coffee milk out, or if I wanted it in the same bag. I said he could bag it, and thanks for asking. He commented on the divergence of this must-be-awful-for-you, lots-of-sugar-and-caffeine milk compared to the delicate and moderately erudite tea and granola. I responded that I did not expect my friends that I was on the way to meet would let me borrow a mug and the microwave and some nice water to make my own tea.
He conjured up a picture of, "But this tea is something that ought to be shared in mugs, feet tucked under on the couch, sharing bits of philosophy and comfort."
I smiled at him. I remember being such an idealist, surrounding myself with friends who all held hand-thrown cups delicately with their fingers, Birkenstocks abandoned on the floor by the sofa, feet tucked under handwoven wools. I felt old and knowing, because those evenings are no longer a luxury I often enjoy any more. Too many of those I know my age are too intent running after little ones, or stressing over their jobs to make time to just sit and discuss philosophy.
I shook my head. "No tea tonight," I informed him. "We're making beer."
I gathered my things and walked off, while he laughed. My friends may not gather much for tea and sympathy, but we get by. We get by.
I have a theory that I don't know how to prove, but I may well do research into it. I know there are people who have done research into "archetypeal" stories and folk lore, so I probably can just read what others have thought on the subject.
But if ever there was a place that was long ago and far away, where marrying the princess could get you the half the kingdom, it was in the land of Armenia, which does sound foreign to our modern Western ears. I like to think that the French who travelled through this exotic land, heavily influenced by their Persian, Mongolian, and Byzantine neighbors and yet a Christian kingdom, took these tales home with them and started Fairy Tales as we would recognize. Armenian folklore is very much a cross between the Brothers Grimm and Arabian Nights.
Modern Armenia is overshadowed by the horrors inflicted by Turkey. I would be remiss if I did not mention that. Most of Armenians by religion and culture are now spread to the four winds, yet they still have some of their homeland preserved. I wish them well, but I admit, it is their deeper history that fascinates me, from 300ish to 1500 AD. Around 405, they invented their own alphabet, and taught everyone in the land to read and write the language- even the poor, even the women. And the women could inherit and hold property in their own name, that early on. The Armenians are wonderful people.
Stories mutate over time. We tell them again and again, from a fresh perspective, or with a new moral, or with a new twist, such as including a love story or different ideas of magic/science. There are still new stories to be told- but the old stories we have read time and time again still cling to us, and we still want happy endings.
Two days ago I had a very distrubing dream. I dream most often in stories. I can be the main character, I can be watching the camera angle of the story involving other people, I can be a side character to the main action, and even more confusing, the viewpoints can shift. In this dream, I did not know Jazz. My affections were centered on someone I barely remember knowing, Jeshua, brother of an ex of mine. He was the hero of the story-dream. He had been asked in his duties as an Air Force Ranger (which last I heard he went for training for in 1992 or so) to infiltrate a group of rebels somewhere. I'm not sure where the hazel eyed, honey-brown colored, well-tanned gent would fit in "as a rebel" but he was in an alley. I stood at the mouth of the street, having just watched him greet a bunch of his "new friends" when a head hancho of some type accused them all of being spies. He took out a gun and shot Jeshua in front of me. And I could feel the null space of someone who died in front of me.
The only reason this dream truly bothers me is because I have started to worry about if he really is dead or not. Yeah it was weird in the dream of being attracted to him, because he certainly wasn't all that and a bag of chips when I met him, but I've had weirder dreams than that. I just don't remember watching anyone die. I wake up first, or twist to a different story. There was such a void when he died, and for what I felt was a stupid reason. The void was probably the most disturbing.
And I think about Iraq and Afghanistan and how many voids are being left there. Maybe that's why I needed the reminder. It's so hard to put a human face on the number 2055. But that's 2055 Jeshuas, when losing one is too damn many. :(
Somewhere behind her, a child was running, bare feet on packed dry red earth. She could hear his hard breathing as he neared, but she did not slow down or turn to face him.
"Anna! Anna!" he gasped, and he grabbed for her hand.
She held his, but still did not look down. Her other arm carried the heavy basket and she would have preferred to continue to carry it using both arms, but perhaps he was more important.
"Anna, you cannot go without a man! You know..."
"I wear the black veil. They will not question me. You know the law as well as me- I may go until you are of age. Then and only then must you or another escort me." Her face was patient. "If Varazadt finds you gone, you'll only have more chores to do."
"I don't care." He held on more tightly and matched his pace to hers, catching his breath. "I'd rather come with you anyway."
She looked down, finally, to see his impish grin. The corner of her mouth twitched, but she remained impassive. "You only use the law to your advantage, Tayir. Some day, that will bite you when you don't expect it."
"The city proper is always more interesting than watering the date trees or tending the wheat field."
Anna stopped cold. "If you truly believe that, I should make you turn right now and go right back to your lessons, which you apparently have not learned." She looked at him from under the veil that covered her hair completely and shaded her face. "Listen to me now and do not ever forget these words- without those trees or those fields there would not be a city. We would not have any money or food, and it would be far easier on all of us if I went to the city without a thread of fabric about my person. Without the fields and grove, you and I would be naked in the wolves. They are your future, and they will ensure a future for your children and your children's children, and beyond. Our father died for them. Some day, you may need to too." Satisfied that the boy had been shocked into silence for the moment, she adjusted the basket on her hip, and walked on.
The essence of the plot of the books I tend to like- hero/heroine/MC is at the bottom. Oh poor abused, mistreated, misunderstood MC. Gosh. I am forced to have empathy for MC, because I can see poor miserable feeling sorry for myself me in the MC. Then something bad happens. Enter Adversity, stage right. Enter Hope, stage left - Hope is true love, betterment, a chance at better things, a different life or circumstances. Proceed to a boatload of pain spiced nicely with laughter and imparting healthy dollups of truth/wisdom/philosophy so I can smarmily believe that I have learned something by reading. Adversity is triumphed, and Hope leads the MC into a brave new possibility.
Very few books or movies do not follow this formula. Animated cartoons embrace it. Romance novels are light on the pain, heavy on the humor, but if you don't have at least one good cry, you won't want to touch them again. Balance is vital- for without pain, we cannot know joy. Without struggle, we cannot appreciate what we grasp. Without hatred, we cannot know love. Without death, we will not see life. Yin and Yang. And hopefully, we can take away a seed of wisdom, a turn of phrase, to comfort and hold dear, to offer us, the dear reader, a fragile bit of hope left after the pandora's box of a cover was opened and the contents all known.
But I do not want to write with the formula. I want to do other things, because perhaps it's harder. Because it is simply not done any more, or very often.
I can tell I have lost inches. I put my underwear on this morning by putting both legs through one leg hole and was able to pull it all the way up to my waist.
This year I resolved to get into better shape. There were three things bothering me. I could look down when standing straight and still see my belly under my boobs. And I'm not one of the flatter variety of fems. When I went clothes shopping, I had to shop on the other side of the store for nice things, because I could not fit into them. That means I went over a size 18, and broke into tears in the dressing rooms. The bathroom scale told me I was over 200 pounds. And I resolved that something had to change.
This April, I joined Curves. Just the exercise everyday would be enough to keep me from growing, but could I possibly lose anything? Well, I've lost 10 inches, so far. But the scale at the gym hasn't changed much. However, if I weigh myself at my lightest (after that time of the month just ends, after a shower, before breakfast, after the morning potty run) I now weigh 196, which is gratifying.
Two weeks ago, I started the Curves diet. Let's see if that helps. And Curves is having a promotion for the month of December. They are having 4-people teams try to lose as much as possible or maintain as much possible for the month. I did get into a team, which includes the manager. I'd think she has to recuse herself, but apparently not. Perhaps that will be encouraging. We shall see.