Archive for the Just me Category


Thursday, 07 July 2013

I’ve longed believed that things happen for a reason and not just by chance.


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things I do, or have to do.  Or the things I do even if it’s something that I don’t want to or because I’m uncomfortable.  I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve done for one reason or another that I would have preferred to not do.  I’ve been thinking that I just do it. I’m an adult and there are paradoxes.


I read this that someone shared on Facebook a few nights ago.



Good morning, dear ones. 

I went to bed last night — after a long visit with extended family this week — pondering this thought: The happiest people I have ever met seem to be the ones who are capable of holding two (or more) completely contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time. 


They are able to look at a loved one and see how he is both marvelous and impossible (neither one nor the other, but absolutely both). 


They are able to see their neighbors and friends as both generous and selfish, in equal measure. 


They are able to look at a difficult situation and see that it is both painful and transformative, both a disaster and a terrific chance for a breakthrough. 


They are able to regard their own lives as both noble and ridiculous. 


They are able to see the world as both astonishingly benevolent and incredibly unjust. 


The happiest people I know do not cling to one side of any duality, or draw firm lines in the sand.


They don’t render hard decisions about anything or anyone, and then try to cram reality into the small, unrealistic boxes they have built for it. 


They don’t invent storylines and then stick with that storyline, no matter what may shift or change.


The unhappy people, on the other hand, cannot seem to bend. While the happy ones are open to all sorts of messy contradictions and inconsistencies, the unhappy ones live in a grid of their own design — a black and white grid of insistent opinion that quickly becomes a prison. 


The happiest people of all seem able to embody a notion my guru once said during a speech, when she’d been assaulted all day by increasingly anxious questions from seekers demanding all sorts of certainties: “People, let’s be honest with each other. We are all adults here. It’s time to face the truth: THERE ARE PARADOXES.”


If you cannot make space in your mind and heart for all the wild paradoxes that surround you, then you will probably have trouble finding happiness in this messy, gorgeous world. 


I walked away from my family time this week with these words in my head, this reminder: MAKE ROOM. (And when in doubt, make EVEN MORE room.) 


How do we do it? 


How do you make space for the paradoxes?


Curious to hear your thoughts…


Peace out,


Liz (Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love)



I do things, I guess we all do things that we don’t want to or feel like doing sometimes.  But I find that very often I do things that I don’t like or am slightly uncomfortable with because it is for someone else and is not about me.  Make room.  I’m not a big fan of parties or crowds.


I find it interesting that there are people out there who just don’t make room.  Their comfort or choice regardless of whom it might hurt is the priority.  Is that brave?  Is it bold?  Is it hurtful?  Does it matter?  Make room.


There are some people that I would do anything for.  In other words, if it means enough for someone to include me or invite me to something for them I’m going to try very hard to over look the reasons why not to go when they specifically lie with me having an opposing opinion or feeling toward someone who will also be there. It’s not about me at that point.  Make room.


I probably come off to some as aloof or arrogant but that’s only because I am extremely uncomfortable around people that I don’t know.  I am uncomfortable in a small group, work, party any social gathering that involved people I don’t know.  I’d rather stand on a stage in an arena and talk to thousands of people than go to a small party or gathering.  Even if there are people there I know.


I’ve always worried that those there who know me will feel some obligation to make me feel comfortable or included.  So I avoid that scenario.


It’s not about me.  Most always, it’s not about me.  I’m very used to that and roll with that on a daily basis.


“People, let’s be honest with each other. We are all adults here. It’s time to face the truth: THERE ARE PARADOXES.”


Life doesn’t hand you everything in a nice package with a neat bow or even in any sort of a package actually.  Think how you come into this life that you’ve chosen.  Plop, wet, messy, sticky, moving from the quiet warmth of water to a harsh bright white place and all of a sudden someone is poking you, wiping you off and wrapping you up in something that I guess is suppose to resemble in some way the place you just came from.


Then depending on that choice, you have a million lessons to learn and to navigate through.  If you are lucky, early on you have a certain amount of enlightenment that you have a certain understanding that life is a lesson in transition.


Are we adults?  What does that mean?  Paradoxes.


Some of us are lost and can’t seem to find our way back.  Some of us feel that there is a certain obligation that is due us because of one thing or another.  Some of us are stuck.  Make room.


In my last Body Talk Session it came up that I needed to read Eckkart Tolle.  To browse his books in the store of my choice and pick one.  I’ve been told that I brought into this life from another the remnants of a vow of silence.  “Stillness Speaks” seemed appropriate.


Towards the end of the books is this;


“Much suffering, much unhappiness arises when you take each thought that comes into your head for the truth. Situations don’t make you unhappy. They may cause you physical pain, but they don’t make you unhappy. Your thoughts make you unhappy. Your interpretations, the stories you tell yourself make you unhappy. “The thoughts I am thinking right now are making me unhappy.” This realization breaks your unconscious identification with those thoughts.  Tolle, Eckhart (2009-03-25). Stillness Speaks (Kindle Locations 759-763).


Make room, it’s not about you…all the time


Protecting yourself at the risk of others when it’s a personality difference is cheap.  I couldn’t think of another way to put it.  I may change that later?  It’s cheap, shallow and childish.  I am an adult and I expect this kind of thing from the small people in my life, but not the adults.


“Your interpretations, the stories you tell yourself make you unhappy.”  I think I’ve said that at least twice in the last 6 months, but yet it doesn’t make sense yet?  In my opinion.


Why is it that some of us are more resilient than others?  Why can I plow through something and someone close going through the same thing falls apart?  Strength is power and weakness.  It gives us the room to move forward and the ability to tread lightly when necessary.  To carefully navigate those around us who need more help, more support, more room.


I’m not overly smart or overly enlightened so when I am around people who seem to be overrun with struggles, I question my ability to feel.  To suffer, to feel emotionally unable to handle what I have chosen to learn this lifetime.


I hear people say things like, how can I get them to understand?  How can I get them to accept me?  I get it.  I’ve thought that as well.  But the reality of it all is, it’s not my place to get someone to understand or to accept me.  It is my place to live my truth and be the example.  I am not here to change anyone for anything or any reason.  I am not here to get anyone to understand anything.  I am here to live my life and do no harm to another living being.


Brené Brown in her book The Gifts of Imperfection talks about the difference between happiness, joy and gratitude.  “Joy is not a constant.  It comes in moments-often ordinary moments.  Sometimes we miss out on the burst of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments.”   “I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.


Joy is not constant.  And like my brother likes to say, “when you least expect it, expect it.”  Another reason to make room.


Make room.  Be present and let go of your competing contradictions.

Might Be Dorothy, But It’s Not Oz

Friday, 04 April 2013


She wore bowling shoes and carried a basket like Dorothy.  It was hard to tell if the plaid pants she had on were long Capri’s or short because she carried a few extra pounds.  But she didn’t care because the colors where coordinated.  Red’s, blacks and white.  Bowling shoes were not her only pair of shoes, but one of her favorite.  She liked them mostly because she, from time to time would notice people looking at them.  They rarely said anything to her about the shoes.  But often smiled or even giggled.  She wrote that off as her contribution to happy for the day.  People were so unhappy.  If her shoes brought on a smile, maybe it was the first in a long while.


It’s hard to imagine the hundreds of people you see every week or even every day.  Who they are, where they come from, what makes them happy?  Are they happy?  Sometimes you see someone and you know … or do you?


She got on the bus and sat down with a smile on her face.  She seemed happy and carefree.  But maybe I was the first person to see her in days.  Maybe she walked through life believing that she was invisible.  Maybe she had been invisible for so long that see grew to appreciate it or understand it.  Or just accept it as the way life would be.  After all, did she really need more than she had?


Life had not handed her a bad story.  Just, in her opinion, one with not much flavor.  She was born, went to grammar school and high school.  She went off to college with everyone and didn’t quite fit in.  It seemed that those around her is where stuff happened.  At least she knew some people that exciting things happened to.  Actually she was fine with watching all of it.  She didn’t really like much being in a spotlight or attracting the attention that other did.  She felt it was too much responsibility to be there and she wasn’t sure she could adequately deliver a worthy product.  So she was find with sitting back.


As she road the bus that day to fill her basket; who cared about childhood or college?  The mundane needed to be completed.  She needed four apples, three maybe four bananas and a yogurt.


As the streets past and the numbers got smaller she wondered who she would see.  Feeling more or less invisible she didn’t often notice people around her either.  Well she might not have noticed them, but she was careful and always aware of their space.  It came as a second nature to move through the day like she was the only one there.  How often had someone stepped in front of her or blocked her view of something?  Like she wasn’t there?  She always thought it odd, but just moved over to another spot hoping for a clear view.


The basket was actually a bit bigger than that one that Dorothy carried and it didn’t have a cover on it.  But it was just right for what she could carry at any given time.  She didn’t originally get the basket for errands.  But on her way out one day she saw the basket out of the corner of her eye and was compelled to take it along.  That was 7 years ago.  She knew by now that if she was by chance seen somewhere along the way, she would be remembered for the basket if nothing else.


She knew that she was fine with this sort of life.  But what about those that she saw the she believed had that look about them, that invisible look.  She had all kinds of ways of spotting them.  She had been through it all.


Once she hadn’t combed her hair for two weeks.  At the time it was short, but it was all over her head with no direction or purpose.  And she didn’t think any one really notices.  So she went another two weeks.  The last two she decided not to wash it.  Still no one noticed.


She used to like to wear socks that matched her shirt.  But only once did anyone say anything about her matching of clothes.  And that was when she matched her shoes to her shirt.  She thought that kind of odd that being invisible someone would notice shoes and a shirt.  That would require some recognition.  Recognition that she didn’t think she possessed.  So from that point on she always matched at least two things she wore with color.  Shoes and pants, shoes and shirt or her actual favorite socks and shirts.


Over the last several years, most of her conversations where with people she didn’t know.  The woman at Safeway who checked her groceries, and asked if she wanted paper or plastic.  The bus driver who gave her a transfer and sometimes ask, “how are you today?”  She actually like the quiet of that.  It gave her more time to think and not have her head clutter with other’s business.  Which usually was a daunting story that drug her down for days.  Days of pondering and wondering how she could help.  Wondering how people get themselves in such a place and why bad things happen to good people.


After college, the first time, she had a friend who was wild.  Wild with a capital “W”!  Very often after a night out she would wonder if she would ever hear from that friend again.  She took more chances than anyone she knew.  But she also knew that she couldn’t tell her friend to not do the things that she did.  She had to navigate her life just like everyone else, on their own.


There wasn’t any particular incident in her life that warranted her choosing a life of solitude.  But that was where she was and she had learned to appreciate it for what it was.  Besides she had a novel to write and she couldn’t be distracted by anyone or anything!


But … how many times had she started?  How many pages had she written, sentences that didn’t connect?  How many starts that basically if she had continued would have landed in the same damn place?  What was it that she could not get past?  Was it a fear of success or commitment to pushing through the garbage.  What was it that stopped her?  What was it that she didn’t want to admit on paper?


Then she thought that’s crazy!  Fiction is fiction and that’s what I’m writing.  I can go anywhere I want and it doesn’t have to mean anything.  But it meant more to her than that.  Purpose was important to her.  Intent was important.  She didn’t want it to be frivolous.  If someone was going to pay her and then people pay their hard earned money to buy it.  It had to have purpose.


She appreciated the many books that many others pushed out about love and romance.  Or mystery.  That one really got her.  She never could imagine having enough imagination to be mysterious.  But where did all of that come from?  Agatha Christie wrote over 80 books.  Where did it come from?  What was it that feed her imagination to write that many story’s.  What where her parents like?  What kind of childhood did she have?  What kind of stories did she read as a child and who was read to hear?  Why did she write?


Writing seems like the best way to articulate your feelings when you are invisible.  After all she was for the most part invisible to those around her and she sensed the pain, the happiness even of those she didn’t know.  And she somehow wanted to get the word out that it would be okay.  Your pain can be eased and your happiness can be used to brighten the lives of others.  But she didn’t want it to be trite.


Even though occasionally she knew that the people around her thought, as their eye’s rolled, “WooWoo”.  She wasn’t really.  She was very serious and that was what she so desperately need to tell people.


Serious was in her DNA.  But she could cover it up with an acceptable amount of humor.  She was able to make people laugh.  In fact, that was what she missed in her isolation, that guttural laugh that she on numerous occasions produced with friends.


About her isolation, one has to wonder why.  To that moment when everything shifted.   Well maybe it didn’t “just” happen?  Sometimes things just evolve and are what they are.  They don’t have to have any great break trough or break down.  They just happen.


She knew that she liked being alone.  She was never lonely.  And she could go days and only interact with that grocery store clerk or the bus driver.  It was calming to not have to participate sometimes.  To not have to be present.  Because to not be present in a conversation or in a relationship, what is the point of either.  So she had always given 110% when it came to both.  Never regretting either or any.  But liking the ability to keep some for herself.  To store up if you will.


Maybe that’s where the story is or was.  Hidden or bubbling just below the surface.  Which makes her sound shallow.  Which she was never really accused of.  But it was a way to avoid it.


She kept herself so busy with others that she didn’t have to pay attention to herself.  She could give everything to those around her and then not have time or the energy to bother with anything else.  She didn’t mind that.  Kind of liked it.  But she knew she needed to do what she was meant to do.  She hoped that it was writing?


What if after all the thinking, contemplating and preparing to get herself perfectly aligned to write she had no real talent or ability to carry a story or an idea and she would forever just pound out words on the page.  Words that never went anywhere or meant anything that no one wanted and most certainly didn’t want to pay for!  What then?  Where was the idea that would stick?


That day on the bus was just another day.  The weather was good and without incident she bought her four apples, three bananas and a yogurt.  It was Wednesday after all.


Later that day while on the streetcar she noticed a nicely dressed young man.  Maybe thirty, not much more than that.  She noticed that he had a map of the streetcar out and unfolded.  He was looking at the map and then up at the map in the streetcar.  As she looked closer she realized that the map had been laminated.  She had never seen that map laminated before?  Had he gotten it that way?  Or did he do it himself.  She then noticed his brief case.  She thought that he must be either very successful or very important.  The briefcase was one of those very sturdy ones, aluminum maybe?  But it was a light color of brown.  Very nice, she thought.  She watched as he folded the map and opened his briefcase to put the map back.  As he opened the case she noticed that for the most part it was empty.  Except for 3 other laminated maps.


Her father had a briefcase when she was a child.  He was very important and she only saw him on Sundays, sometimes during the week, but rarely.  He was a gentle and quiet man, but very busy and very important.  She knew he was important because of the crease between his eyebrows.  He was very serious all the time.  He was also gone frequently, traveling on business.


She didn’t see much of her mother either.  She was busy planning party’s, at the club or traveling with her father.  So mostly she saw the maid, the cook and her nanny.  And while well cared for and watched over closely she was left to do just about what ever she wanted.  As long as she went to school and made good grades, which she did.


The house they lived in was big.  Not enormous, but big for the town that it was in.  It actually was most of the town.  Close to 800 acres.  There was a stable for the horses a green house, a church and houses for the people who worked the land and building for her father.  Many of the people who lived in the town worked for her father.


When her father was home on Sunday’s breakfast would be served on the sun porch.  They would walk to church then back to the house for reading, maybe a game of cards and supper.  Sometimes they would have company for supper.  None of her parent’s friends had children.  Well they had children but they were older so none of them really cared to play with her so she was once again left to her own imagination.


In the summertime she had lots of land to play on and explore.  But she spent most of her time by the small lake.


Today the lake is part of a large housing addition, but the flavor of the land is still there.  And most of the land is now a large lake build by the Core of Engineers.  There is at least one house still standing, or at least it was left standing when the water came in.  One early summer day by this lake she met her new friend Mowana-Winky.


Mowana-Winky lived in the jungle, with not a care in the world. Life was very simple. Nothing controlled Mowana-Winky. A day would begin with a stretch. Since no real duties go with the days events, hunger is the only guideline to action. Unless of course… it’s raining. The rain cleans and refreshes. Mowana-Winky liked rain. It was assurance that things were normal. And, time to laze away. The one aspect of Mowana-Winky’s life that was of the utmost importance was – the ocean. Being in the water calmed and put Mawana-Winky at ease. Water is a life force, a source of all potential. What was it about the water that drew Mowana-Winky? Something deep in the soul, in the unconscious. A mystery but a comfort.



She could be quoted later in life saying, “if it weren’t for my imaginary life I’d have no life at all.”  She always said it with a smile.  Because she did have a life, but she just wasn’t sure where she fit in the life that she was born into.   And she wanted to make sure that the people in her life didn’t feel discounted or that they meant any less to her than they felt.  Feeling a part of something was important to her so she knew it had to be important to others.


Mowana wasn’t that type of friend that they called “imaginary friend”.   Mowana wasn’t created because of a traumatic experience.  She was kind of bored one day by the lake and the name Mowana-Winky popped into her head.  She thought that Mowana should be like her.  Life seemed simple, she liked water and liked looking at pictures of the ocean.  She hoped to see the ocean for real one day.   Maybe she would get to go on one of her father’s trips and see the ocean then.  She had her father to take her on one of this trips and he always said, “not this time Fish.”  Yes he called her Fish.  Since she was a baby she love the water, loved being in the bathtub, floating and listening to the sound her ears made under the water.  Researchers say that imaginary friends are common and are not a red flag like some have thought.


You might be wondering now if those banana’s she was off to get that day were for Mowana.  That day she hadn’t thought about Mowana.  She thought  about almost everything else that day.


That day she couldn’t get that nice young man with the brief case out of her mind.  Why did he only have maps in his case?   She thought, maps can give you a sense of purpose because you can see where you are in two ways.  Once on the map and once as you are in that very place.  It has to feel comforting in a way to be so sure where you are.  To really know where you are.  Now if you could have a map that helped with who you were.  Parts of who you are aren’t hard.  You’re young or old, tall or short, skinny or not, male or female, but who are we?


Sometimes people will say, “I’m Ben Franklin”.  Well that’s your name, but who are you?


Okay, back to the bananas.  Wednesday was just another day.  Now before we get to much further it needs to be clear that she doesn’t live by any kind of regiment or schedule.  It is what happens to hit her at any given moment.  Except for bananas on Wednesday day.  So don’t make a big deal out of it alright?!


Okay, so she thought about the care and thought that must have gone behind the reasoning of laminating maps.  Sure it keeps them clean and they don’t rip at the folds.  But that’s what makes a map cool.  The wear and tear of the paper the diminishing lines that mark the streets and towns.  The disappearance of places just like in real life.  She worked with a woman once whose brother-in-law was a mapmaker.  She never asked but wondered if he worked from an airplane?  After all how could you really do a good job with out seeing the entire thing?  There had to be pictures at least.


Mowana-Winky popped in and out of her life from the day she met her.  Mowana was quiet like she was and didn’t need a lot of taking care of.  She for a young one was pretty self-sufficient she thought, even for an 8 year old.  But a close eye was always on her.  There was a lot of land and trees to wonder and get lost in.  Even thought she never went far, usually to the lake, someone was always near.


When she was ten she was allowed to use the small boat that was on the lake.  But she had to take lessons on how to be safe.  She thought that kind of odd since it was just a lake and not the ocean.  It didn’t have the big waves like the ocean and you could see the other side of the lake unlike the ocean.  At least the pictures she had seen of the ocean, she was never able to see the other side.  So she knew that it was big.  She thought it would be great to just row out and lay in the bottom of the boat and watch the clouds roll by.  And listen to the water slap the bottom and side of the boat.


Lessons were fun and easy.  Fun because her father actually was the one who taught her to use the boat and took her out three days in a row.  Now as she thinks back it his lessons where easy and not complicated at all.  And he spent more time just rowing around the lake than talking about how to be safe.  It was then that she knew her father liked the water as much as she did.  He started to tell her stories of ocean liner’s and big boats on the ocean.  He told her about the ocean liner he went on when he was a little boy.  When he was eight his mother’s father passed away and they left New York for England on the Queen Mary.


Their room was one of the bigger ones and had a door that went outside.  He told her that he stretched out as far as he could so that he could watch New York get smaller and smaller.  He hoped that he was able to see London as they came into port.  He told her stories about the people on the boat.  The fancy dinner’s the games played during the day and how people walked around and around on the deck.


But mostly while in the little boat they just floated and rowed around the lake.  She never asked why her father was home for three days in a row.  She just liked being in the boat with him and it didn’t matter.  It was cool, peaceful and relaxing.


One day after her lessons when she as allowed to go out on the boat by herself, she was laying in the bottom of the boat looking up at the blue sky.  It was the perfect summer day.  It was warm but the breeze was just right.  What she really wanted to do was be out on the lake at night to watch the stars.  She knew she would have to be older to get to do that.


She closed her eyes and thought about the water.  Wondered what it would be like to live under water.  Not inside of something under water but under water like a fish.  She thought that it had to be the most peaceful place on earth.  And because the water surrounded you like a blanket it had be feel safe and comforting.  But then she thought about the temperature of the water.  Did fish get cold?  She knew the water had to be cold in the winter because last winter it actually froze over a bit it got so cold.


What would Thursday bring?  She still had the image of those laminated maps in her head and wondered if she retraced her steps if maybe she would see him again. Maybe she would ask him where he got the maps.  She didn’t want to embarrass him by asking about the lamination; she thought just asking where he got them might reveal how they got that way.  But it would be totally out of character to ask or even approach him about it.  She would talk to others when they initiated the conversation, but she was never the one to start the conversation, especially with a stranger.


She didn’t think that she was interesting enough to engage other in conversation or banter.  So felt that if they were compelled to talk to her or ask her a question she was more than happy to oblige.  It made her a bit uncomfortable to put herself out there like that.


She was actually fine with just wondering and making up her own story of why or how the maps came to be.  Maybe he was allergic to paper and had to have it covered so that he could hold it.  Maybe he was one of those people who ate paper?  So lamination kept him from eating it.  Maybe he had a crazy aunt who gave him a laminating machine for his birthday and he hated not to use it so he did.    Maybe she would get a laminator.


When she was 15 her father asked her if she would like to go to school in Europe for a year.  She had never thought about going to school anywhere but where she was.  She didn’t even know you could do that.  Why would she do that, she asked.  Her father explained that it would be a great opportunity to explore, me people from other countries and cultures and cross the ocean.


He had all kinds of articles for her to read, books brochures and magazines.  As she read and flipped through looking at all the pictures she thought about all the places she would see.  She gave a passing glance to all the pictures of girls in uniforms sitting in classes, walking around sight-seeing and looking at painting in the Louve.  She was of course interested in the land, the water and the landscape.


She thought about it for a long time.  She thought it might be interesting, but yet she didn’t see herself there spending much time in school.  So she asked if maybe she couldn’t just go to Europe and travel.  That could be arranged her father said.


Oddly enough, she never went to Europe.  Oddly enough it didn’t interest her.  She thought she might like seeing the land and all the castles.  But you couldn’t stay at any place for very long so what was the point.  Think about it.  Wouldn’t it be great to spend weeks or even months in a castle, or days and nights in the Louve?  The images were fleeting just like the time she could spend at each place.


Like writing she realized that there was a place you had to get to go beyond the normal understanding of a concept.  That there was a place that you could break through and get to that place that had been hiding for year.  The truth, the reality of what was going on or going to happen.


How many stories had she started and then stopped?  Maybe she was destined to be a short story writer.  What would be so bad about that?  The same could be said about how many different places she would write.  This computer or that computer, this notebook or that notebook.  She couldn’t finish a paper journal either.  She would get several pages in and then stop.  Or find a newer journal that she liked better.  She didn’t want for a place to write.  She just lacked the ability to get past a certain point.  Sometimes a paragraph, sometimes more, but novel?


She could finish things.  She graduated from High School.  She did leave college once, but returned a few years later and finished with a degree in four years.  So she knew she could finish things.  Although she did lose a bit of steam her first year she finished and did okay.  Sometimes family just doesn’t know when to wait to have a melt down.  And her first year back at school it was a big one.


She once thought that if she had a way to record her thoughts that would give her an advantage.  Sometimes while driving or being in a place not conducive to writing so many great thoughts would run through her head.  She started carrying a mini tape recorder with her.  But that almost seemed to create some kind of shyness.  Like her brain knew that it was there and it wanted to hold those thoughts and not let them be noted for future use.


She tried her hand at a fairytale in college.  She did okay.  The comments from her teacher were good.  But her teacher also said that she was capable of much better writing.  She didn’t mind that comment.  But she wished that she had asked what she meant by that.  What was it that the teacher saw in her or heard from her that made her think that?  Was it a sentence or the idea?  Or was it just the teacher’s way of encouraging her to do more.  Again, her imagination only took her so far.  Where was the break, the mark that allowed her to go deeper than ever before?   Had she had enough life experience?  Her relationships had been short and in some cases lacked depth.


To be honest she didn’t really feel that she lacked depth in a relationship, but the reciprocation of that depth maybe was lacking.  But should that really matter?  Feelings are feelings.  And to commit a certain level of emotion to a relationship is a learning experience.  She didn’t think that she had held back.  But then there was that invisible thing.


She believed that a person should be judged by how much they love, not how much they were loved.  She was sure that the people in her life that were there for her to love were more than enough to insure the richness of her karma.  She also felt lucky that she hadn’t had people in her life that challenged her beyond her ability to be decent and honorable.  She never understood the need to or the idea of not liking someone.  She got that you won’t like everyone, but do you need to be mean.  Does one need to create turmoil and tension?  And no one should be discounted.


She didn’t necessarily think that this was why she spent more time alone than with people.  But she did realize that even though she had some stress in her life, it seemed pale in comparison to those around her.  What was it that happened to these people that made them so angry or tortured?  And what did they accomplish by taking it out on those around them?  Was it a feeling of getting even?


She might be naïve about it, but she is certain that to date there is only one person who doesn’t like her.  But in the grand scheme of things this is inconsequential and bears no meaning to her.  Sometimes people’s emotional age just don’t match their chronological age.  And she is pretty sure that this is no great loss and is keenly aware of other’s who might feel the same about this person.  It is sad though.


Looking back over her life there are gaps where loved ones have been distant.  Gaps that on some level in her thinking are as wide as the Grand Canyon and still haunt her for the time lost.  Time that can never be regained or gotten back, lost to unfortunate circumstances.  Circumstances that didn’t make sense at the time and still don’t today.  She does think about it.  Less and less these days, but still on occasion wonders what she could have done different, what could have been done to avoid such a loss.


For her it was at a time in her life when change was happening at lightening speed.  A time of evolution that she loved and wanted to share with those she loved.  But not all were present or available.  She was doing what she had wanted to do for years.  She was finally in a place to express herself and create.  That may have very well been the catalyst for the shift.  In other words, I’m going to change and you need to stay right where you are so that I don’t have to worry about seeing what I have neglected in myself in you.  I’m settling for something and for you to become more, evolve into who you were meant to be is to painful for me to be around.


What does it mean when we settle for or on something.  What do we give up?  And how often to we all settle for something.  She decided that she had never married or had a relationship long enough to consider marriage because she would have had to settle for something not quite to the level that she deserved or truly wanted.  She also believed that because of her curiosity of life, people and the things around her she was constantly evolving.  So how could she stop long enough to be with one person for an extended period of time?  What if they didn’t evolve?  What if they stayed right where they were?  Stuck like so many others around her.


She often thought about this but then felt like she didn’t have the right to judge someone else’s evolution to a new place or new being.  Who was she to judge another?  She just knew that she didn’t want anyone holding her back.  She did that enough herself, she didn’t need any help with that.


She sat on the beach years ago after visiting her family and pondered the word “thank you”.  She thought how people don’t take the word seriously and use it infrequently with meaning.


After dinner one night, cooked by her cousins’ step-father, her cousins then boyfriend said, “thank you for the great meal”.  It certainly wasn’t out of place or out of character for that matter.  But how often had she enjoyed a good meal, appreciated it and not said, “thank you”?  She was certain that her appreciation was shown in love for the person, but had she said, “thank you” enough?  And if those two words were used with more frequency and intention would we be a better place.


Saying “thank you” takes nothing.  It’s not even a second, it’s barely takes a breath.  Think about it.  When someone does something for you no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, say “thank you” and see how that evolves and how it affects your relationship with that person.


We’ve all heard it before or even said it before.  There is goodness in everyone.  But sometimes that goodness gets side tracked.  It is there if we took just a moment to acknowledge it and embrace it.  She was and could be just as guilty as the next thinking that someone was evil or mean.  But in her action she worked harder at not showing those feelings than almost anything in her life.  She had been hurt a few times or had in her mind disappointed others and that devastated her.  She hated how that felt and didn’t want anyone to ever feel that.  She realized that as small as her hurt was and as bad as it hurt there were many who had much darker and more devastating damage inflicted upon them.  She could not imagine it.


She didn’t really think she was unusual in hoping that everyone around her could be nice, decent or at least nice enough to not create tension.


She can’t honestly say that she has liked everyone she has known personally or professionally.  She worked very hard to behave in a manner that was a fair and as decent as anyone could be.  And after that time with family she said, thank you at every opportunity.


There is a reason behind the number of bananas she picks up.  Once while shopping she realized that there were lone bananas being left.  You know, you’ve done it.  The bunch is six or eight and you only want 2 or 3 so you split them up.  Occasionally, the best looking ones are four or five and you only want two or three.  So you pull what you want.  Leaving two or God forbid one.  So she started picking up the strays.  Giving them purpose and a home.  After all they were perfectly fine bananas, just too much for the last person who was there.


She was a bit of a worrier when it came to one off’s.  Several years ago she lived in the northwest part of town.  She lived on the third floor of a small complex.  Acoustically it was at the right height so that everything that happened on the sidewalk sounded like it happened right outside her window.


The northwest part of town is dense and people live on top of each other.  There is no parking so you if you own a car you circle and circle to find a place close to your house but usually end up blocks away.  People would put bumper stickers on their cars that would say “Visualize Parking”.   She didn’t have a car so it didn’t matter.  The neighborhood had all she needed so a car wasn’t necessary.  When someone did get a parking space sometimes a car would be in one place for days.


She wasn’t sure if it was people who didn’t have cars or people who just bought too many groceries.  But you would see shopping carts randomly parked around the neighborhood.  Sometimes they would be there for days.  There were two groceries with in five blocks she just made several trips a week and rarely shopped using a cart.  She never bought more than she could carry, what could fit in a basket.  A reddish orange truck would drive the neighborhood each day, collect the shopping carts and take them back to the store where they belonged.


Then one day she started really thinking about those carts.  She thought if she had a camera she would make a video about these abandon carts.  Think about it.  You are a brand new cart, you just came off of the assembly line were loaded on a truck to be taken to your grocery store.  Your wheels were straight, you cage was shiny there wasn’t a nick or scratch anywhere.  You are nestled inside another and one is nestled resting gently inside you.  You get to the store you are unloaded from the truck and carefully lined up just inside the door.  The lights go out and it’s dark.  All of the carts are there, waiting in anticipation of the next morning when the doors are unlocked and customers start coming in.


Then the unthinkable happens.  The new cart gets his chance.  He feels the warm hands on the handle.  His wheels are smooth and silent.  And as she pushes him he understands what his purpose is as the light shines on his shiny new frame.  Isle after isle more and more gets put into the cart.  He can feel the cold go to warm as they leave the produce section.  Then colder as they enter the frozen isle, that actually feels good.  He breezes through the isles and proudly carries fresh vegetables, fresh loaves of bread, toothpaste, soaps, it all fits perfectly.


At check out he wonders if the shopper even noticed that he was new or if the checker knows?  They have to, he is so shiny.  The shopper unloads the cart pushes it forward and the cart waits to be reloaded.  The checker is very neat, so the bags are fit in perfectly and sit snuggly next to each other.  Now his first trip outside to the parking lot!  Will they leave him in the cart bin outside or bring him back inside?  Oh it’s a nice day he hopes that they leave him outside, the sun feels good.  What kind of car does she have?  What color?  Where is it?


Then it happens.  She doesn’t go to the parking lot.  Ok, she is parked on the street.  Is it this car?  This car? This one?  She keeps walking.  Where is she going?  She is getting further and further away from the store.  Then she turned the corner!  He couldn’t see the store any more.  Where is she taking him?  He started to panic.  How would he do his job and be there for the next person if he is so far away?  He heard some rumbling the night before among some of the other carts but he didn’t pay any attention.  He figured it was an old cart.  How crazy to think that someone would take a cart to there house so far away from the store.  Then he remembered someone saying something about a reddish orange truck.  He had to keep an eye open for that truck.  Where was it?  Oh no!  Another corner and further away from the store, he had to be brave.  Things looked nice so it must be a nice place.  Where was he going?


Several blocks have gone by.  It’s getting dark.  There are a few people on the street, but it’s pretty quiet actually.  Then she slows down.  There is a street lamp and the light is shining down on him.  He feels it bouncing off his shiny new frame.  One by one she takes the bags out of the cart and into the building.  There is one last bag in the cart.  This should be it.  She will take the bag come back and push him back home so that he can continue to serve the customers.  She takes the last bag and walks inside.  He waits.  And waits.


He doesn’t really have a concept of time.  He is a shopping cart after all.  But he is thinking that she is taking longer than needed.   Even allowing for time to put frozen things in a freezer and other goods in the fridge, she should be out again.  And it’s getting darker and darker.  How could this have happened to him?  His first run and now he is stranded and has no idea how to get back?


Wait!  The reddish orange truck he heard them talking about last night!  It had to come soon.  Was he going to be visible to the driver?  How did he make sure that he was picked up in that truck and taken back to the store?  He looked all around as best he could.  But there was no traffic.  Now it was really late and very dark.  She had forgotten him.

It would be a very long night.  There was some foot traffic, but no trucks.  Two boys walked by and threw their empty coffee cups in the cart.  He wasn’t a trashcan, but now he had trash.  He hoped that was all that he had to take on until that reddish orange truck found him.  He didn’t mind just staying in one place.  That was part of his job.  You couldn’t be assured that you would be picked by anyone to help with their list.  But he was too far away and felt useless.


Now if she just had a camera she could take it to grocery and attach it to a cart, fill it up, push it home and leave it out front of her apartment.  She wondered if her neighbor downstairs would let her put a camera in their window to shoot over the night for time lapse?  But like many other things it was just a thought.  She would tell the story a few times to friends but never produced the video.  It seems a bit traumatic maybe.  But really it is comical.  It’s a shopping cart after all!


The reddish orange truck did make its way to that street and picked up the cart and took him back to the store.  The cart was a little wiser and a bit more prepared for the next time someone took him home instead of leaving him.  But he hoped not!


She often wondered, literally.   And wondered how her life would be if she had been born to different people.  Then she would think that she wouldn’t have taken the form of who she is because those two contributors would not have been the same.  Who carries the more dominant gene?   Ok, this thought is way to out in that science fiction space to continue here.  But she did wonder from time to time, if her father married another and visa versa, would any piece of her be anywhere?


But she did wonder.   Not aimlessly.  Because of her father’s success it did allow her or afford her a certain amount of freedom that not many had.  She could have done anything she wanted.  Go anywhere she wanted.  Want she wanted most of all was to just be.  She had jobs here and there.  Graduated from college and from there let the course of her life guide itself.  Or so she thought.


Coming of age in a time when “coming of age” was a big deal, it didn’t really interest her.   It was too much about to little in her opinion.  She didn’t need the attention or the fuss.  Who cared really?  Thankfully her family wasn’t much into the opulence of such events.  Others and friends just didn’t understand why she wouldn’t want to have the big party and all of the attention?  That was just it.  She didn’t want the attention.  She was used to not getting much attention.  She had enough to carry her, but no one really doted on her.  No one fawned over her.


She didn’t mind the time she spent  by herself.  It was how it was.  She wondered if she liked being alone because that’s all she ever knew?  To say that makes it sound like she raised herself and had no one around her.  That’s not true.  But she didn’t have or get the kind of attention that some did or might have had.  Her parents where busy and had their own lives to lead, business to take care of and matters of consequences to handle.  Matters of consequences, she always loved that line from the book, “The Little Prince”.


She liked high school, or more appropriately the idea of it.  She was board and not interested in much of anything than a few friends.   She wasn’t a good student.  The traditional education setting was not a good fit for her.  Something that would take her years to understand and realize.  She thought it was just the way things were.  She didn’t think she was dumb, just not traditionally smart.


Her school from kindergarten to high school was in the same building with the same students.  She had friends in high school, but she didn’t have a best friend.  She never really knew if it was because she was a bit shy or because her father owned the land that the school was on and most of he students were children of the farm employee’s.  Even though her family had a lot of money, they didn’t put on errs’ or use their money to an advantage beyond what any other person should have.  Her father was raised modestly and he wanted his children to be raised in the same way.


She often wondered if maybe she should change her name then she would know for sure if people liked her just because they liked her.  No one ever took advantage of her.  But she did wonder if she would have been treated differently if she weren’t rich.  Well she wasn’t, her father was.  She guessed that she would be one day.  But didn’t really give it much thought. Laying in the bottom of the boat, laminated maps and bananas on Wednesdays were her thoughts.


Black and White Bridges

Thursday, 04 April 2013

As we drove across the Fremont Bridge, Jana says, “see this is great, what did I tell you, lots of bridges for you to work with”.


I had never been to Portland, Oregon.  Not until that summer for a job interview it was 1996.   Three years earlier before she and Bill had left Kansas City for Portland, I had given her one of my prints for her birthday.  It was a night shot of a bridge in Kansas City crossing the Missouri river.  One of my many photo assignments second year at art school was night photography.  We were all usually up all night anyway and this didn’t take time out of the day away from other studio work.


I thought to myself as I remembered that assignment and how it was probably one of only a couple photographs of bridges I had ever taken.  Eddie was the one that was into bridges.   I met Eddie first year.


“It’s not art, it’s foundations”!  That’s what was penned on the ceiling of our foundations studio.  Foundations was four hours of class 4 days a week and at least 8 hours a day homework, on top of art history, literature and a part-time job.  Eddie was in another studio.  I remember the first time I saw him.  It was orientation.   He was tall, dark hair and green eyes.   How perfect was that?  He had this comfortable rumpled look about him.  I didn’t think much about him after that first day.  I didn’t see him much, just in passing here or there.  Second year was a different story.


I didn’t allow myself think about him very often.  Sometimes I never knew what would trigger the deep ache of missing him.  Today it was those bridges.  It almost always was bridges.  It was many things, but so often I would be alone in car crossing a bridge somewhere and a rush of him would come over me.


As we headed downtown to park for my first visit to Saturday Market memories of 1987 overwhelmed me. Almost ten years.  For some reason I couldn’t escape it that day.  Jana bringing up the bridge print, and the bridges period.   I rarely let myself even think about that year; it wasn’t easy, so much of life happened that year so quickly.


I think I thought that by giving her that picture it was somehow giving away another visual memory I had of that year.  Not that I had it out or that it was part of a portfolio I carried.  It just wouldn’t be there.  I guess I also thought that by moving to Portland, maybe that time in Kansas City finally would be put to rest and behind me.   Although, one of my favorite lines in a movie is, “just because you leave, doesn’t mean your not still in the same god damn place”.  I meet Jana and Bill after graduation.  They were great friends and completely outside of that circle in school.  There was no history, no reminders.  It was fresh and new.


As Jana and I walked through the market, seeing the other bridges, their structure, their grace and age, all I could see were the hundreds of prints and negatives of Eddie’s.  Bridge after bridge after bridge.


The market was a great mix of old and new.  Flee market finds, sitting next to new shiny steel sculptures.  We left the market full of color, craft, leather, steel, and wax.  And a menagerie of characters.  The smell of popcorn and Bento was fading, as walked toward the river to the large sidewalk, or boardwalk.  It was a great day people where everywhere.  We passed people going every direction on foot and all kinds of wheels.  Small ones under their feet, larger ones under their assess.  Today there was no escaping the bridges, no escaping who and what odd connection those structure held for me.


I stopped and walked to a bench near the underneath of the Steele Bridge.  As I looked out at the river I felt the water start to come from the bottom of my eyes, filling my lower lids.  It was warm and familiar, but not welcome.  At any moment, if I didn’t gain control, they were ready to empty.  I needed to let out more than tears.  Jana was a good friend; we had become friends long after Eddie.


Looking out at the water I said, “Eddie was the one who was into bridges”.  Jana says, “who, Eddie?”  “No”, I said, “Eddie Edward’s” At this point, my eyelids could no longer hold the water that was welling up.  As some of it escaped and I looked in Jana’s direction.  “OK, who is Eddie Edwards?” she says.  “The love of my life, he was the father of the child I lost strangely at almost the moment he died”, I said.  I new that for the first time, to anyone, except my therapist; I was going to tell this story.  One that I had kept to myself for almost ten years.  “All right, start at the beginning”, Jana said.


It was sophomore year in school. After several years of failing at traditional college and working jobs that I hated.  I went back to school, art school.   It was a new beginning for me; it was where I wanted to be.  Second year was a little like boot camp.  First year was definitely boot camp.  Second, a little more focused.   About 20 of you are all thrown together in studio class.  Hopefully you learn and fine-tune your talent.  At the time you just think you are making mistakes, crying, laughing, eating bad food, drinking too much, smoking too much and not sleeping.   You are defining yourself as an artist.  You explore emotions and concepts until the moment they surface are foreign to you.  And sometimes, buried deep, you uncover things you never imagined.


As the weeks past, from this group of 20 there were about 8 of us who clicked.  I mean really clicked.  We worked hard and played hard, ate meals together and spent many sleepless nights in one studio or another either behind the camera, in front of the camera, with our fingers in Dektol or shuffling tapes in the edit room.  They called us the “night pass gang”.  You had to have a pass to work in the building after it had been locked at night.  So there we were there every night.  Pushing our selves, pushing each other.  We would be in class everyday about 6 hours.  Most days we would spend another 10 in studio.  Sleep?  Nope, didn’t know what that was.  But it was ok.


Besides that giddy, slaphappy moment you get after a week or so of burning it at both ends, was great fun.  One night we were in the video studio.  I don’t even remember now what we were working on.  But we decided to set up the lights, the camera and three chairs.  Katie, Sara Jane and I took the chairs and dug in.  All I remember is that we were on a roll, and in a matter of a few minutes we had an audience and they were laughing harder than we were.  We went on for at least 20 minutes.  If she didn’t get rid of it, Katie still has that tape.


Anyway, I don’t really know how it happened, but as the semester went by, Eddie and I started spending time alone.  We didn’t plan it, it just happened.  One night in the darkroom it was just he and I.  We found ourselves talking instead of working.  He was rumpled and comfortable. I was really interested in who he was.  What was so damn appealing about him besides the dark hair and green eyes, I had captivated him.  Somehow?  We were glued to each other for hours.  He listened to every word and knew just when to ask for more.  No one had ever listened to me that way.  No one!


The attraction grew past being just friends; I wanted to be with him. And he felt the same.  A relationship was not what I was looking for at the time.  As my brother always says, “when you least expect it, expect it”.


Somehow amongst all the craziness, the long hours in studio, studying and many part-time jobs, no one in the group noticed that we had become more than friends.  As a group we were getting closer, helping each other out with all kinds of things.  Sleeping at each other’s houses, cooking, studying, and hanging out.  I lived in the dorm that year as an RA to save money.  It was fun, but I was 8 years older than most everyone, so I needed out occasionally.  We had all became very close, so it wasn’t unusual for of us to be affectionate with each other.  No one gave a second thought to a hug or even a gentle kiss.


These people were the friends that my Mom had told me about.  “Friends that you will have for the rest of your life”.  She was right about that.  The mystery to me still today is that as close as I was with these people, I have not told any of them this.  In that environment you were vulnerable and exposed.  As the semester moved along the comfort level increased, so did your confidence.  The work that you were doing traveled a little deeper.  As it deepened so did your conviction in what you were doing. But putting my feelings out there were really foreign to me.  Growing up I wasn’t given much of an opportunity to ever say what I was feeling or what I wanted.  That was reserved for my Mother.  So when I got older and tried to stand up for myself it was a disaster.  I didn’t know how to do it without major ramifications.


Art school was for me a cathartic experience.  I was writing and saying things that I had never said or expressed.  I was dealing with death in my family.  I was dealing with a devastating fight that had unfolded between my favorite Aunt, my Mom and me, and my response to that.   I started dealing with these things in my work.  I had nowhere else to sort them out.  Emotionally I was really lost.  The people who I thought supported me the most were battling about me, over me?  I’m not actually sure?


At least at school, such as it was I had an audience.  So I wrote, told stories and tried to define it all by myself.  As the group grew and critique came along the criticism became constructive and respectful, and helpful.  An odd sort of therapy.   It no longer cut to the quick when someone questioned your idea or delivery.  It wasn’t personal anymore.  It was a way of moving through all of it.  Sometimes that objective outside perspective from someone in class who really only knows your name is a godsend.


School was hard and we were so busy, the moments Eddie and I did have alone were the best part.  Christmas break rolled around and we had been together almost 2 months.  We were still a secret.   In school, you were an open book everyday in critique.  You put yourself out there and someone would usually test your resolve.  Test how strong you were getting in dealing with the rejection of your work by peers or the faculty.  So to have this thing, this little secret that no one could comment on was a great balance and exactly what each of us needed.


We never talked about the future. We lived in the moment.  It wasn’t reckless; we just took it as it came.  We didn’t have conditions on each other.  No expectations that we would see each other every day, or call everyday or be together a certain amount of time.


Eddie came back from Christmas break early and we spent 4 days together, just the two of us.  We brought in 1988 alone together in his apartment in bed.  It was the first time he said, “I love you”.   The stolen moments before break between classes and on the weekends just were, but this was different.  This felt right.  The relationship had certainly upgraded.  We had the discussion again.  Do we tell everyone that we are together, let them figure it out or continue to keep it our secret.  It wasn’t that we were obvious, but we also didn’t really hide it.  Maybe because of how it happened, it was just known.  It all seemed so natural.   I wasn’t ready to let go.  Personally, I thought how can they not know, but no one ever asked or questioned us.  I do think Darcy knew though.  He was a little more ready than I was, but we agreed to enjoy the secret a while longer.


Even in high school I wasn’t one to talk about whom I dated or whom I was with.  I had friends who wouldn’t shut up about it.  I just wasn’t that way.  I was never one for having much confidence in sustaining much of a relationship.  I wasn’t even really sure that I knew how to have a real relationship.  So I also wasn’t one to want to talk about it, especially after it ended.   The few that I had.


Growing up I always felt safe and protected, but I did feel like I was the one responsible for taking care of myself emotionally.  So for me even though it was a relationship, it was a solitary thing.


Second semester went fast and all of a sudden it was Spring Break.  I needed to work and make money.  Eddie was off to Arizona to see how much film he could expose.  He offered to take me with him and pay for it.  I needed the money from the work, more than I needed for him to pay my way to Arizona.  Something he could afford to do.


I was so busy over break working that I didn’t even have time to think that we didn’t talk the whole week.  Most of his trip he was camping.  Probably not near a phone.  I was working so much; the week went by pretty fast.  We didn’t talk everyday when we were in school but we hadn’t gone more than two days without at least talking on the phone.  As the week came to an end and I lay in my bed in the dorm I started to get that sinking feeling. You know that heavy feeling where your heart is. That maybe it was over and that maybe it was a good thing that we hadn’t told anyone.  There was that confidence thing again.  This way their wouldn’t be anyone taking sides defending the others feelings.  It was nice while it lasted, it would be all right, but I started to cry.  Then I heard my door open and in a second he was in bed with me…we were OK, better than O.K.  I just adored him. I was totally in love.


The end of the semester is always crazy.  Final exams, final crit and a half a semesters worth of work to get ready, and seven months of the best relationship I had ever had still a secret.   As the semester ended, we all ended up a Eddie’s apartment for a goodbye party.  Everyone was going home for the summer.  The party ended late or early as the case may be.


We wondered what next year be like?  Eddie decided that we needed to live together; we would spend the next week before he went home to Colorado looking for a place.  We would tell everyone at the first party of the year next fall, that we had gotten married and we wanted gifts.  I laughed and thought about what some of them would look like when they found out and then stopped laughing as Eddie got down on one knee.  “Marry me, marry me now”, he said.  I knew he was serious because he had tears in his eyes.  I said, “yes”, kissed him, we made love on the living room floor.


We spent the week sleeping, making love, sleeping and looking for a house or an apartment.  We decided that we wanted a house.  When we found the little house on Jefferson it was perfect.  It was small but it had three bedrooms.  I loved him like crazy but space was important.  His room, my room and our room.  It had a great little back yard with a patio and fence. Eddie signed the papers for the lease saying his parents would pay the rent until school started, we couldn’t lose the house by taking a chance waiting for it to still be available in August.  His plan for months had been to be in Colorado that summer working and traveling.  He needed to go back long enough to tell his parents and he would come back.


My parents had meet Eddie several times, but it was always with some or part of the group.  And at the time the level of communication between my Mom and I wasn’t the greatest.


He was leaving the next day and was going completely out of his way to make the evening special.  Wine, flowers, dinner.  “I’m leaving tomorrow”, he said, “but not unless you marry me before I leave.  We can go downtown, whatever we have to do…marry me tomorrow”.


I woke up the next morning feeling nauseous.  It must have been the wine.  We were married at 10:00 and he left for Colorado at 8:00.  As he drove away I felt content.  It didn’t seem odd that we had just gotten married and he was leaving, he would be back in a week or so to move things into the new house.  He hoped to bring his parents with him then but he wasn’t sure of his Dad’s schedule. Eddie’s Dad was the President and CEO of a very successful brokerage firm in Denver.  I went back to his apartment, cleaned up the dishes, and started to pack his things.  I looked through Eddie’s contact sheets that were out in his studio, hundreds of pages…of bridges, black and white bridges.  It was almost an obsession with him.


I woke up the next morning about 11, got up went to the bathroom and threw up?  That was odd, I thought?  It must be the flu.  I hadn’t allowed myself to be sick all year.  Now that I had the time, guess I could have the flu…great.  I was kind of surprised that Eddie hadn’t called, but with what he had told me about the Edwards household anything could be happening.  I had lots of stuff to do to get myself packed and out of the dorm and still work on getting Eddie’s stuff together.


The day passed, no call, no message.  I went back to Eddie’s house that night, it was after ten.  The house was dark it seemed really empty.  Now that I think about it, I felt awkward, out of place. It was early May so the heat or humidity hadn’t settled in yet.  It was warm but there was this great breeze blowing through the house.  I smelled like summer.  I packed a few more boxes, more bridges.  I stopped, turned on the TV, curled up on the bed and fell asleep.  I wasn’t sure how long I had really been asleep, but I woke to this unbelievable pain ripping through me.  This had to be food poison.  I had never felt such pain.  But if this was food poison, what was the blood about?  I went to the bathroom, cleaned up, put on clean clothes, and drove a few blocks to the emergency room.  It was about three or four when Doctor told me that I had a miscarriage.  It was very early in the pregnancy so I would be fine.  A day or two of rest would be a good idea.  Did I want them to call anyone?  “No. (Pregnant”?).    My heart ached, I wanted Eddie.  I drove back to his apartment.  Soaked the sheets and waited until about 8 and called his house in Colorado; it would be 7 not to early.  I don’t know who answered the phone, but when I asked to speak with Eddie she started crying.  My heart sank, this pain was higher than the last, but as it escalated it rivaled the other.  Someone else came onto the phone, “hello”.  “Hi, is Eddie there, this is Mickey a friend of his from school”.  There was a pause; the woman said, “Eddie was in an accident on his way home from school yesterday…he died early this morning.


All I could get out was o.k. I’m so sorry.  My world had collectively ended.  What I thought would be my future was gone, every little piece of it, gone.  How was I going to deal with this, would I deal with this?


I don’t think I moved or left his house for two or three days.  Then I realized; what did I have?  I had this incredible story, but no one I wanted to tell it to.  Nor did I really think I could tell it.  It was mine.  Selfish I know.  I had an internship and three jobs lined up over the summer.  That would keep me busy.  All of our friends were elsewhere and by now gone.  I would have the entire summer to recover, heal, and get ready for next year.




Archival Processing

Wednesday, 04 April 2013

Time is Pressing


“Time is pressing, pushing me again.  And even as propelled forward, future-bound, I am forced to wait within this strange oblique, infinite curve fighting forward while bearing backwards.” ~Jim Tibbs


How do I get them to understand?

That what I want to do is nothing.



A lot has happened in the last 3 years, less than some, more than others.  But more than what I had expected.  More than I wanted.  But it is my journey.


As a navigator of my own journey I think I do well.  Don’t we all?  I mean I’d hate to find out that I had totally screwed it up somewhere along the way.  Missed the perfect mate.  Missed the perfect job or friends.  This is my journey.


“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder.  Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.  It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” ~ Barbara Kinsolover



I’ve been trying for nearly.  Stop.  Try again.  I’ve been thinking for nearly 20 years that I would like to write.  I’ve had other tell me for longer that I should write.  A couple of teachers and my Mother.  But my attention span always got the better of me.  I have lots of paragraphs, sentences, starts ideas and even more titles.


Maybe I should get a job writing book titles?



Empathy for the Consumer

The Candidate

Letters to a Friend


Most Days

Just Don’t Set Me on Fire


There is a Park Bench

Are You Ready

Black and White Bridges

3,610 words

Dual Life

In a Perfect World

966 words

My Wound is Geography

1,232 words

Untitled (NanoWriMo.09)

7,723 words

The Amana Colony Madam

The Ghost of Katie Morosky

850 words

The Uncurious Adventures of Knod Knowingly

15,179 words

Thin Line

2,142 words

Two Nights Ago

3,374 words

Welcome Back

2,255 words

Where I Am

Conflicted Life

Soul Sick

Rosie O’day

The Curiously Reckless Adventures of Rosie O’day

The Curiously Haphazard Adventures of Rosie O’day

The Curiously Unapologetic Adventures of Rosie O’day

The Curiously Lonely Adventures of Rosie O’day

The Curiously Whimsical Adventures of Rosie O’day

Spousal Negotiations



Spousal Negotiations was going to be comedy.  I hoped?  I thought of it as I sat on a sofa while my friends Jana and Bill, who said we are just going to look, navigating the decision to buy a new sofa.  I don’t remember how long it took.  But they were worried because I was in tow and they were just going to look.  He sat on it, she sat on it, she called friends to go measure the space in the house where they thought it might go.  They said yes, they said no.  They looked at me, we’re sorry!  I was good.  I had nothing to do and would have been sitting on my couch at home watching TV.  This was much more entertaining.  They bought the sofa.  Chapter one, The Sofa.


Others would have followed.  The Car, The Deck, The Patio, The Dog…


The title and idea of that one just lived in my head until I wrote it up there.  ↑  The others I pulled from the folders on my computers.


Rosie O’day.  I don’t know who she is really.  My Aunt in a letter one day after I had written her said I had a way with words and I should write about the funny girl in the commercials we all used to laugh at, Rosie O’day.  To this day, I don’t know who Rosie O’day is or remember the commercial.


They say write what you know and Barbara Kingsolver said, “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.”  There in lies my dilemma.  I know what I want to say.


It’s not the, figuring out what people want to hear, but what I have to say.  I sometimes think I know or would like to know what people need to hear.  But also am very aware that I can’t judge or assume that they think that differently from me that I need to teach them a lesson or redirect their thinking.  It’s a struggle between my head, my heart and my gut.


I have a hundred things I want to say.  But do they connect enough to make one book?  I don’t need to write the next great American novel.  I’m not Hugo or Dickens.  I just think that I do have some interesting ways to think about things and an interesting perspective on life’s journey.



Where to start?  Just start, start where you are.



I didn’t know my cousin Jim well.  Well, not as well as I would have liked.  For family he was pretty private.  I think it was in his DNA and in his fear that he was private.


He encouraged me without knowing it I think?  He meant the world to me, but I worry that he didn’t know that?  He wasn’t yet sure where I was in this world or how I saw things or would be accepting of things.


I remember sitting next to his bed at the hospital.  Mostly in silence. I remember answering the phone in the kitchen at the Butler’s he was gone. I remember holding one of my baby cousins at his funeral and someone asking if I was ok.  I remember not knowing what to think or do.  Or if I was ok.  Or how to honor his life?


He was well known in the theatre community in Kansas City, especially children’s theatre.  So his obituary was top of the fold and graciously written by Robert Butler.  He was so loved.  I hope he knew that?



January 14, 2013 1:35pm(PST) – I posted, “Time is pressing, pushing me again.  And even as propelled forward, future-bound, I am forced to wait within this strange oblique, infinite curve fighting forward while bearing backwards.” ~Jim Tibbs


Born Hannah Elizabeth Gemmell Great-Neice of Jim January 14, 2013 9:50(CST).


I had used this sentence as the foundation of a video I did I school.  Repeating it, overlaying the words with images of Kansas.  I hadn’t thought about it for a very long time or even remembered it in one of the many documents in a folder on my laptop.


While sitting waiting for a friend I came across the words and posted them on Facebook, the afternoon that my cousin, Jim’s niece was in labor.


From the archives…


One night, several years after the actual production of the piece, I watched a video that I had done my junior year at art school.


It was a tumultuous time.  My Family was in pieces, my Aunt had not spoken to us for several years and wouldn’t for several more.  In my opinion she was in a self-imposed exile and putting the blame on my Mom, Dad, Brother and myself…we didn’t like her husband?  Enough said.


A year or so after I sent out letter to all of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins asking them to tell me stories about my Great-grandmother, we made a pilgrimage.  I got one response, on cassette tape, from my Dad’s cousin Norman. Norman was my Great-grandmother’s first Grandchild.  I’m sure that I have that tape somewhere?


When my Uncle and I finally talked about it he said that he was speechless and didn’t know how to respond.  My Uncle the actor who always has a response to everything.  I didn’t understand and still don’t today what he meant by that?


Several months after that, he decided it was time to come from New York to Kansas City and trace as much of the family history as he could.  Granted he had done his homework.  He knew when Kansas had become a state, where my Grandparents came from.  Along with other fairly important tid-bits of information and a few not so important.


He started with his parents.  There was conversation about how they meet, married and moved to Kansas City.  Then there was his sister and her husband.  He covered some of his own personal history, the house that he was born in, his grade school and high school.  My Grandfather’s brother, my parents and we were off to Neodesha, Kansas.  Where we would see, my three Great-aunts, Irene, Mildred and Marie.  We ended the trip with my Great-great Uncle, my Great-grandmother’s youngest brother, Pete Whiteside.


As the journey progressed, it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for or wanted to uncover, but then it wasn’t really my journey.  It was his.  His interest was on the dark side of the Pixley characteristic.


From that trip we had hours of video, about twelve that I edited down to two hours at his direction.  Then, in a moment of stupidity, relinquishment…release…at his suggestion I used the tape that we had recorded all the interviews on to make copies of the final two hours so that he could return to New York with copies.  I know, I know, you don’t need to say it…I’ve already been there, done that!  Again, it was his thing, not mine.


From that two hours, and several hours of old home movie footage that I had transferred on to video I produced a 7 minute video, with text by my cousin Jim, “Time is Pressing”.  “Time is pressing, pushing me again.  And even as propelled forward, future-bound, I am forced to wait within this strange oblique, infinite curve fighting forward while bearing backwards.”


As I re-watched this video, something struck me. The video starts with my cousin Miles starting the car, driving and talking about driving and singing to the radio.   The black and white images are nostalgic and haunting, but for the first time alarming and devastating.


Kansas is flat, you can see for miles but yet you see nothing.  As the fence posts and grass passed by, the twang of the music on the car radio had a certain familiarity to it.   Life passed by, life lost; life missed, history, maybe, possibly this time life would reveal itself.  The images take you into the small town of Neodesha, though the 4 or 5 block long downtown.  In the background my Great-grandfather who I never meet is calling a square dance.  And then to the house of my Great-grandmother.


As the car rounded the corner I was able to insert footage of the inside of the house.  Inside of the house that for me still holds the warmest memories of my childhood.  What of them I can remember.  The kitchen was always warm and smelled of bread and food that would carry you through the day.  There was a guarantee of complete certainty that when you entered that room or that house that you were totally and completely loved unconditionally.  You were welcome, wanted and adored in that house.


I believe that today I could, if in the right place, know the smell of that house, know the sounds and the feeling of being a small child there.  Not that I need much of it, but her attentiveness to you when you were around her, like there was no one more important than you.


I couldn’t have been much more than 5.  Russ was still a baby and he was on our Mom’s lap in the kitchen, were, as usual, a lot of cooking was going on.  Lot’s of activity and smiles.   I don’t know if I wanted to pick Russ up or if I too just wanted on her lap, but she pushed me away?


As I watched my small frame move away from her and sit myself next to her on the side of the small kitchen chair…I broke.  The camera caught, just for a second the look on a small child’s face that you just don’t want to see if you have any compassion at all.  A look that more than anything else in my life today I identified with.  I somehow understood, or didn’t understand?


A look of not being taken in.  Not being enough to really be apart of something more than just me.  Not being enough to have the complete feeling of being truly needed, wanted.   A void, a detachment, being pushed away, out of place.


Is this what I have been doing my entire life?  Pushing people away?  Pushing away the life I deserve, the life I thought I wanted.  Who have I unknowingly pushed away?  How do I break this cycle?


Many things could have been going on for her to do that, but how can you explain the face.  The rejection?


I find myself here today, almost 40 year old.  Working through this life by myself.  Sure I have good friends who are more support than some people deserve. That support isn’t what my heart wishes for.


A friend said to me one time that he thought that it was amazing what the two of us had been able to accomplish without the help and support of a spouse.  I don’t believe for a moment that I need that to go on or to continue on this journey of mine.  I understood what he meant.  And I hope I don’t have to explain it?  But is it really necessary to continue it alone like this?


Was there more rejection as a small child that impressed upon me that you have to fend for yourself in this life and that somehow now I have this huge wall around me that says…”it OK, thanks but I’ve got it”?


If it is a wall, what else do I know?  I share great things with really great people all the time, but the intimacy is missing.  That deep, to the core feeling that some is there heart and soul.  Someone to hold you and tell you it will all be all right, someone to hold you and tell you how happy they are to have you, someone to hold you and say what a great job you did, someone to hold you and say, I love you.  Someone to hold and say it will be all right…someone to hold and say, I love you.


I fear I’m not bold enough or brave enough to break the cycle to step out of what I know is comfortable as painful as it is.  Maybe I have missed opportunities and maybe I haven’t.  It does seem strange to me that I’m still alone?  It doesn’t seem natural and yet at the same time it does.  And of course there is that fear, I’ll admit it, that if I allow myself to love anyone that much that I’ll lose myself or that I’ll have to love everything and lose everything.


Have I been or was I truly taught how to love?  Or was I taught how to push away?  Taught how to fend for myself and that I have to take care of myself because no one else will do it, because no one really ever did.


I drive myself crazy relating to every sappy movie or love song on the radio.  “Do you know how much in love with you I am…I have fallen without even taking a step”.  “If I’m not in love with you, what is this I’m going through.”  “I don’t want to be unknown.  More than anything.  No one wants to be unknown.”  I could follow this path for pages…but I won’t.


More than anything…I don’t want to be alone.



My exploration to date has been a simple one, really.  In terms of what I know now and what I explore and take in.


I have for years gathered and taken in information.  Take it in carefully so it’s not garbage in garbage out.  Being respectful and honoring all aspects of who and what has come my way.


Tuesday, 04 April 2013

After yesterday’s post I grabbed the Kindle and picked up where I left off this weekend in, Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”.  The first thing that hit me was this;


“I think our first response to pain—ours or someone else’s—is to self-protect. We protect ourselves by looking for someone or something to blame. Or sometimes we shield ourselves by turning to judgment or by immediately going into fix-it mode.”


And I immediately felt guilty about what I had written yesterday.  Even shared the quote on Facebook and commented, “Guilty.”  I don’t know why I was worried really?  I think only one person knows this site is even up or has anything on it.  So me brave?  Not so much.


I have something to say, but I’m not willing yet to put it out there for fear that it will do more damage or hurt someone.


I had an Akashic reading last weekend.  She said that I have too much going on in my head and that as soon as I can quiet that I will know when and exactly what to say.  The more I unplug the more I will be able to hear clearly when it’s time to say something.  But I have to eliminate the existing program that keeps things pushed down.  I shut down.  I have this program of safety.  The threads are rooted into me.  A program that keeps me from seeing what I know already.  But a counterpoint of a beautiful voice, but don’t want to be heard.


As I read I was thinking to myself.  Never do just one thing, ya know.  I was thinking?  Did I turn to judgment that night in the Indian restaurant when I said, this has got to stop you are all out of control, paid the bill and walked out?


Then I read this.  “This research has taught me that if we really want to practice compassion, we have to start by setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior.”  I set a boundary.


Exactly, and guilty.


“It’s hard for us to understand that we can be compassionate and accepting while we hold people accountable for their behavior.


“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.  When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”


I wanted her to be accountable to herself and to her boys in terms of her behavior and acknowledge that she had been dealt more than the average can or should have to deal with and asking for help is ok.  Taking help is ok.  How can you be comfortable wound so tight every day?


But then, it’s not for me to make people accountable for their actions or behavior.  But I don’t have to be around actions or behavior that is toxic.


That voice in my head, “let it go”.