Saturday, July 28, 2007

In Which I Find Some Unexpected Alone Time

I had planned that Friday we would have a lovely dinner of steaks with potatoes and some mixed veggies (stir fry) and maybe a little salad on the side. The kind of dinner with which I would normally enjoy a glass of wine but not now.

Anyway . . . Rob and his friend Chris decided to go out to see the new Simpson’s movie. Actually, I am partially to blame because I asked Rob if he and Chris were going to go and when Rob said “I don’t know; I haven’t heard from Chris” I text messaged Chris and said, “Rob would like to see the movie and since I can’t go you should take him instead.”

This threw me into a slight change of plans. Rob would have grilled the steaks so I had to figure out what Marc and I would have for dinner since Marc would not be working late. I decided to do a simple pasta dish with a little grilled chicken and some basil from our garden. In other words, I was making it up as I went along.

I started dinner and Marc walked in the door while I was tossing the pasta into the boiling water and adding some lemon juice to the chicken. (I should say that I am notorious for experimenting while I cook and although I can and will follow recipes, when left to myself I can come up with some pretty good surprises.) As I am standing there over the stove, talking on the phone, Marc walks in and says, “Okay, I’m off to Joe’s.”

What? But I’m cooking dinner for the two of us. I mocked him, pretended that I was offended and hurt. The truth is, I didn’t really mind. I spent too much time on the phone, however, so I didn’t really get to enjoy the solitude. I did, however, enjoy my dinner which was very yummy with a little parmesan cheese sprinkled on it.

My son Marc tells me that in Japan it is “the thing to do” this taking a picture of what you are eating. I am not sure why this should be but I don’t mind taking pictures of food because I like food and lately my food has been delicious. Speaking of which, Blue Bell Ice Cream has a new flavor ice cream. Per the website:

Anniversary Cake combines flavorful almond ice cream with delicious white cake pieces and a swirl of rich amaretto cream cheese icing.

I had Marc buy some for Rob and I had a taste of it last night. All I can say is that this is just about the bestest ice cream I have tasted in a while and I hate that I am being careful with how I eat because it would be worth gaining a few pounds to fully indulge in this magnificent concoction. But no . . . I am being oh-so-disciplined. Grrrrr.

Friday, July 27, 2007

In Which I Write About Fruitfulness

Every few days I have gone out and looked at my tomatoes in hopes of finding one fruit. There were none. In the meantime, the fig tree that is directly across the herb garden was not only bearing fruit but dropping them all over the place. I picked some figs from the lower branches the other day.

Each morning I would go out and say, arms raised to the sky, “Oh glorious tomato plant, look at the mighty fig tree and how it bears much fruit. Do thou likewise!” I would then turn to the fig tree and say, arms still raised, “Oh mighty fig tree, we thank thee for the bounty of fruit you offer. We follow your example in bearing much fruit!”

Rob laughed at me when I do this. Rei rolled her eyes in disgust and went back inside. Romanov just looked at me because he is a dog of few words and doesn’t eat figs or tomatoes so doesn’t care.

Apparently, in spite of the mocking and irreverence of my loved ones, I have succeeded in drawing inspiration from the mighty fig tree towards the glorious tomato plant and we now have several round green fruits presenting themselves to the world, ready to be ripened and then consumed.

O Ye of Little Faith!

And last night I made a lovely dinner of baked chicken breast with sage freshly picked from our garden, a baked potato with sour cream and chives, and some spinach. And, of course, a bit of freshly picked parsley on the side!

For dessert we had baked figs ala mode. Needless to say, the figs were picked from the mighty fig tree! I didn't take a picture of the dessert because there wasn't enough time. As soon as it was dished out it was consumed. And very very yummy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

In Which I Come to My Own Conclusions

My mother is struggling with forgiveness. She feels she needs to be more forgiving. I don't see my mother as someone who carries grudges or holds onto her hurt or anger. So I find it surprising, even possibly remarkable, that she feels this need to work so hard on forgiveness. I gave her a cd on forgiveness because I had an extra copy given to me and obviously did not need the second one. Knowing how often she mentions the work she herself is doing on forgiveness I knew she would appreciate the cd even if she learned nothing from it. Yesterday she thanked me for the cd, says she keeps it in her car and listens to it over and over again. Yesterday my mother went to visit my Aunt Frances and the subject of forgiveness came up (probably because my mother was listening to the cd on her way into Manhattan). Frances encouraged my mother to write about the people in her life she most needed to forgive. My mother said she couldn't do that. Why not? I don't know. I know she gets very angry whenever she reads Janice's memoir and/or interviews in which she discusses how Larry once choked Janice. My mother comes immediately to Larry's defense. Understandable. Her loyalties lie with her husband, after all. But I wonder if that isn't a part of the "why not?" because she is afraid that she might hurt and anger someone with her words. But isn't she assuming everyone would respond in the same way as she? And isn't she assuming that the person would read what she wrote? I suggested that in order for someone to hurt you deeply enough that they would need to be forgiven, they had to first get close enough to hurt you. If that is the case, surely there are good stories as well as painful ones. Start with the humorous stories. They can be ones that hold some of the bitterness and anger but they can also be funny. We talked about this being how we, she and I, deal with painful subjects. I gave her an example of a time when she said she planned on living to be 120.

Me: You once said you were going to live to be 120. She: I must have been much younger. Me: I immediately asked myself, "How old am I going to be before I ever see my inheritance?" She: (laughing) Mother outlives daughter. Me: And grandchildren.

My mother and I laugh about a lot of things. Especially those things that scare us or have the potential to hurt us.

She: I was walking down the hall and I caught my reflection in the mirror and realized that I was walking like you. Me: Well, I guess one of us has to be able to walk like me since I obviously can't!

She is resisting the idea of using writing as a means to work towards forgiveness but I think Frances is right. Still, I understand my mother's fear. No . . . not fear. Compassion. She doesn't want to hurt anyone with her truth. I was thinking I could send her a permission slip:

I, Satia Renee, being of somewhat sound mind and somewhat unsound body, do hereby give my mother, Sylvia Jean, permission to write out all of the dreadful things I have done to her, all of the hurtful things I have said to her, in order that she come to a point of forgiveness. However, I offer the following proviso: That she write at least two—preferably three—loving, wonderful, compassionate, fabulous things I have done as well.

The thing is, I am not someone she needs to forgive, as far as I know. She has worked through so much as it regards our relationship. As have I. We have forgiven one another. But maybe, just maybe, she still needs to forgive herself. And that's really the point, isn't it? She needs to forgive herself. How? My immediate response to any and all dilemmas is to find a book. I did a quick search online and most of the books I found that I thought were potentially good didn't have any customer reviews. There is no way for me to tell whether the book would meet my needs based on a "yes you want to buy me" blurb. And a Christian book is definitely out of the question because she would not want to read something that is strictly religious in its foundation. These two books are examples of what I was leaning towards: A Path to Forgiveness: A Journal Guide for Growing Adults by Inez Tuck The Well Being Journal: Drawing upon Your Inner Power to Heal Yourself by Lucia Capacchione I also thought about Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making by John Fox. I have this book and love it. It helped me to begin working through a lot of the issues in my marriage and lay a foundation for my eventually writing poetry. I lent my copy to my friend John otherwise I would grab my copy and flip through it to see if it is all that I remember it to be. You know, now that I think of it, there was more to our conversation than I had remembered above.

Me: When you finish writing the good memories, perhaps you could write out a shorter version of the painful experience. Or even a poem. She: I could write a limerick. Me: Oh God! She: Or even a haiku. Me: It doesn't get much shorter than that.
I think maybe I found my answer through writing this. Hopefully, she will find her answer through writing as well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In Which I Write About My Body Today marks eight months of my being dizzy. I got up in the morning to go to the bathroom as I usually do and did something highly unusual. I fell into the wall. I would, as the days passed, wait for some doctor to make a diagnosis that would lead to my being freed from the grips of vertigo . . . and continue to fall into things. I knocked over lamps. Fell literally on my ass one time as I twisted not to hit my face (nose) into a wall. Scrapes. Bruises. I probably looked rather abused for a while there. I was being abused by the vertigo. It is now eight months of this and there has been no diagnosis. I called my neurologist’s office yesterday and I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say, I am angry to the point of fury and fully intend on getting another doctor once this latest test he has requested is behind me. The acupuncture is not working yet. I know that it takes a while. Acupuncture is not like surgery. Your body doesn’t just respond or not respond overnight. You don’t come out from under the needles with an instantaneous feeling of being back to wellness. More’s the pity. Because this morning I woke up and immediately knew that today would be a bad vertigo day. I posted the following to an online journaling group to which I have belonged for a long time. But think about it like this . . . think about a time when you lost your balance, started to fall down some stairs or something. Now,recall how the muscles in your body respond by tensing up, bracing yourself for the fall to come. And imagine how it feels when you trip and once again all of your muscles and adrenaline start pumping, trying to stop yourself from crashing. Add to that what happens to your body when you are sitting down and someone with a lousy sense of humor pulls a chair out from beneath you and youmanage to catch yourself before you fall. Now imagine that you feel like you are falling down stairs when youare lying down and rolling over in bed. Imagine you feel like you are tripping every time you take a step. Imagine that every time you are sitting you constantly feel the chair beneath you being pulled out from under you. Try to imagine, if it is at all possible, the amount of energy my body is using to keep me from reacting to every mental signal it is getting and the amount of mental energy it takes to process every piece of information, trying to decide if this one is true or if this one is vertigo. Imagine living like that 24 hours every day for 8 months becausetoday marks the eighth month of my having woken up and falling into a wall. Now tell me . . . wouldn't your body be exhausted from all that effort? I'm tired even writing it out because I forget how much I do just sitting or lying down let alone trying to exercise every morning with Rob and cook dinner and such. Aries Horoscope for week of July 26, 2007 Writing in Poetry Flash, critic Rusty Morrison speculates that "the sublime can only be glimpsed by pressing through fear's boundary, beyond one's previous conceptions of the beautiful." That's a good theme for you to experiment with right now, Aries. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you're very close to making contact with splendor you'll remember all your life. (And I don't use that fancy word "splendor" lightly.) You'll need a lot of playful courage to make the boundary-crossing. But I know you can do it if you keep heading in the direction of what's scarily meaningful.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In Which I Have a Good Start to a Bad Day

I woke up this morning and Rob and I exercised. However, I had to stop doing the lunges because my knee is hurting. Not surprising. I usually have knee problems when I reach “a certain weight” and since I am already past that “certain weight” I am bound to have knee problems. So I had to stop doing lunges and tried to do some squats. Still not possible. Needless to say, I am not happy.

However, we did our crunches as usual and I managed to get through all of them. I also added one leg move which should strengthen the muscles around my knees which will make future pain less likely. After we did our abdominal series of exercises I was lying there trying to control the sensation of vertigo I was experiencing. I waited for the sensations to pass before trying to stand. But I can feel it still and I know that today is going to be a bad vertigo day as a result.

I then did my Qi Gong. I haven’t written much about this traditional Chinese (Taoist) form of healing. It works with the qi much as Reiki works with the ki and Pranayama Yoga works with the prana—the energy of the body. I wanted to try Qi Gong because it is something else I can do to perhaps help with my vertigo. I purchased (at a great discount!) a qi gong course which has a 100 day series. It is very well organized, introducing exercises slowly. Unfortunately, because my knee is hurting, I was unable to maintain the stance for the entire time and had to stop before I finished the entire series for today so I stopped, with the intention of picking up where I had left off later in the afternoon.

My vertigo was so aggressive that I had to lie down afterwards. I fell asleep and napped for thirty minutes. I woke up mostly because the vertigo entered my dreams and I was experiencing all of the discomfort and free-falling that implies. I woke up cold, unable to get warm, wanting to just throw up.

So it looks like today is going to be spent in bed, trying not to throw up, trying to let my body rest and stabilize. It’s going to be a long day, oddly enough. And the truth is, I am beginning to resent the acupuncture because I end up losing two days every week whenever I go.

Monday, July 23, 2007

In Which I Celebrate All Things Rob

Friday was the big Harry Potter party and Rob was gracious enough to bring me to the bookstore to wait to get my copy of the seventh book. The thing is, this is not Rob’s thing. He is not a crowds person. He can handle them in a club, obviously. And at a party, Rob is just as likely to be in the midst of the group as he is to find a corner where he can have a discussion with a few friends. So going to a bookstore over-run with children was not his ideal. However, he suffered through this for me because he knew that he is responsible for having gotten me hooked on Harry and it was the least he could do for me.

It was exhausting. Frankly, it was physically too much for me. At 11:30, I was fighting to hold on, I felt so dizzy. When we got on line, there was a guy behind us who was standing too close. So much so that the book he was reading in line occasionally bumped into me or Rob. Not once but frequently. Very annoying.

Still, I managed to get my copy of the new book and read the first chapter by the time we got home. As soon as we walked through the door, I grabbed a drink and settled down with the book in the great room and Rob headed off to bed. I stayed up reading until around 4:30 at which point my vertigo was making reading uncomfortable. I slept until 8am and immediately went to the great room to start reading again.

The thing is, Rob was excited about the fact that we had the house to ourselves for the entire weekend. Rei had moved out on Friday and Marc had left for a convention in Baltimore on Thursday. He wanted to have a romantic night, just the two of us. Me . . . I wanted to read Harry Potter. He actually expected me to stop reading the book on Saturday if I did not finish it before he came home ready for our romantic evening together.

Uh oh. Houston, we have a problem.

This only made me more resolved to read the book as quickly as possible. With that said, I did stop reading to eat some eggs for breakfast. I made myself a bowl of cereal for lunch. I obviously stopped reading whenever I had to go to the bathroom. Most amazing of all, I took another afternoon nap when, once again, my vertigo made reading difficult. And still, I managed to be on chapter 30 when Rob came home. Yaaaay! There are only 36 chapters in the book and an epilogue. Rob was gracious enough to let me finish. He vacuumed. He cleaned up in the kitchen. He even lit all of the candles, some incense, to create a romantic mood.

And he ordered pizza . . . yummmmm!

I won’t go into too many details. Suffice it to say, Rob and I did not go to sleep until 10am on Sunday. Yay indeed! He had even gone out to buy us breakfast from Waffle House which, by the time he had brought it home, I was too exhausted to eat. I did, however, eat it later when Elaine called and Rob was asleep.

Elaine wanted to know if Snape is good or not. I didn’t tell her. Muahahaha!

So Rob was/is wonderful. He was good enough to face the horrors of a Harry Potter party. He bought yummy food for us to enjoy. He created a romantic atmosphere for the two of us. And we got very little sleep but had a wonderful time together.

Also, while we were waiting in the bookstore, he found a book on the Rosary. Knowing about my Catholic studies, about my desire to learn how to do the Rosary in the traditional manner as best I can, he thought this book might help me. I bought it . . . because Rob is just so sweet and considerate and he made my weekend wonderful. Very wonderful. And here is a pic of Rob that I took while we were waiting to get the book. He looks thrilled, don’t you think? (Yeah . . . not really. I was being sarcastic.)

This week July 23 through July 29

The Sun moves into Leo and into your love and romance zone on Monday, which will brighten up this area. You may become conscious of a few key issues. Use the knowledge you gain from your state of heightened awareness to resolve these matters and rediscover your inner joy. The presence of Saturn in this zone has certainly made you a lot more cautious in terms of committing yourself to new love. Perhaps now you'll understand why. Don't take on any new financial commitments on Tuesday, as you may not be seeing the whole picture.