Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dear Kudzu:

Today didn't go very well, and I should like to tell you about it. A lot of folks have been asking questions about why I haven't moved into my house yet. After all, it has been six months. And very few of them seem to understand that it's more complicated than just the accumulation of days.

They don't seem to understand what it will be like to live there and know that you will never be looking out the dining room window when I get home. You will never look out the french doors onto the backporch and chitter at the squirrels leaping through the trees. You will never be curled up on the other end of the newly covered couch (yes, Mommy finally got rid of the brown strips) while I watch TV and you stretch and roll and make little sleepy kitty noises. And even though I know all these nevers, there is still the ghost of you haunting my mind and casting a shadowy ephemeral version of you in all those places and making my heart hurt so bad it feels like it will never stop.

So you can imagine how I felt today when some well-meaning people were giving me grief over not relocating yet. And you can imagine that fine line, that sharpest point that pierced me and caused me to start crying -right there! - and make everyone uncomfortable with my tears. You can imagine how mortifying it was to struggle for composure and for it to continually slip through my tear-soddened fingers. And then to have to excuse myself and lock myself in the bathroom for a few moments and not only feel the pain but the embarrassing conjecture of what was being said in my absence. Returning to my place, I valiantly put on the face of normalcy but as soon as I was able, I was the first one to escape. And even when one of the guilty parties tracked me down and apologized, I could feel the tears rising again and sought shelter after a mumbled, "It'sfineI'mjusthavingahardtime."

And you're not here to make it better. There is no silky black fur or soft gray underbelly to comfort me. There are no intense green eyes. No small fuzzy paws. You are gone. And I know it. I know, but some days, the knowing just breaks me.

Today was one of those days. And I know you can't be here to make it better. But I just wanted you to know. I wanted you to know that I miss you and I still love you with all of my heart. And I hope that right now, you're curled up in the shape of a "C", breathing softly and dreaming of me.

Your Mom

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dear PenMen: Contemplations on Everyonceinawhile and Other Moments in Time

Seeing as how we might, at this point, be the only ones reading each other's blogs, I figured it was okay to directly address the two of you. Plus, I had this feeling of wanting to write, but what? And then I thought I could just write what I would tell Pen and M.

It's raining here right now, and while soothing, I find this greatly disappointing because I need to mow my lawn. I was all geared up for it, too: The First Mowing. But I know if I actually do that after the torrential rain (accompanied by copious thunder and lightning) that I will have wet grass stuck to my ankles and big clumps of grass clippings to dig out of the bag. That seems like not the experience to have for The First Mowing, and so I will think of my ever-growing lawn as a verdant carpet instead of an overgrown grass pouf to ease my conscience.

I finished reading this book last night that was so good - one of my indulgently trashy romance novels. And sometimes, they're just like reading candy - totally empty calories that go in and pass through with no real nutritional value. But everyonceinawhile, I find one that's more like...designer candy. Still no real nutritional value, but something extra luxurious about the indulgent experience. I think it could have to do with the fact that Mom and Dad went to see Anna, and I was blissfully alone and slept on the couch when I got home and then woke up and read and read and read - skipping dinner - until I finished. That's the kind of reading one needs to do everyonceinawhile to really fortify the soul.

Yesterday was a fantastical, magical day at work. Everyonceinawhile, a very great while in fact, the stars align in this way that you get exactly what you work so hard for the other 3oo-some-odd days of the year. To get a story in the ACRONYM Today is something of a Holy Grail of PR. And then, to find out later that the pitch you made to a certain other nationally renowned publication like FOUR-BES, actually got picked up, too? Well, it just doesn't get any better than that. Except that it happened to be my three-year anniversary with the company, and The Linguista and I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant and drank frozen margaritas at lunch.

The Exotic is getting so close to her due date, and it's starting to make me a bit sad. What will I do without her calming presence in the office? She does yoga so I don't have to, and she offers me zen-by-proxy when I need it. I think I will feel spectacularly off when she's on maternity leave.

I am, however, excited about the next couple of months, which are rife with the kind of adventures I never have. On Monday is David Gray/Ray LaMontagne, the dreamiest of dream concerts. I'm taking one of the Big City interns with me, and it will be delight. And then we will enter the string of weeks from September to October when I have something all the time rather than everyonceinawhile to keep me occupied. Like a trip to D.C.! Mountain Day! Dallas to see Joel McHale with my Texas Twin in our Texas office! Valle Crucis! Company retreat! Oh my! Plus there are two volunteer events on my calendar in September and one in October, plus dinners and drinks with friends (yes! friends!). At times like these, I feel like...maybe I'm doing a better job than I think of carpe diem and not letting the fact that I'm not exactly where I want to be on The Great Life Continuum keep me from doing things that make this place on it so much better.

Despite the rain, I think it's time to pack the Rav and take a load over to My House where I will clean the bathrooms and dress them nicely with the bathmats and matching towel sets I purchased last week. And then I will stand back and contemplate that I could actually be moving soon in a way that is good and comfortable. And then I might be able to think about new companions for my sad heart - still so hard to let go of Kudzu, but so clear to me that I need that comfort from the four-legged varietal.

Wishing you both everyonceinawhile days.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sorrow & Hope

To be remembered is our greatest hope when we die, whether that remembrance is due to our achievements or just because we are loved. The need to be remembered is never clearer than when strolling among the dead. Weaving in and out of cemetery stones, feet falling softly among the dearly departed, it is impossible not to remember them and wonder who they were. I love the idle peace of tracing script with fingertips and wondering how the dash between two numbers was spent.
I recently found myself among the dead in a number of cemeteries, photographing epitaphs and statuary, details of shells and flowers and leaves curving against monuments. When I looked at the pictures later, two faces emerged.


Head in hands, sorrow holds vigil over the graves of those gone too soon. Those who weren't ready to go, or placed there by those who weren't ready to let them leave. Over time, weather either shadows them, making them more stark and desperate. Or it erodes the tension and leaves a smoother, reluctantly accepting visage in its wake. Who could blame these anguished faces for their permanent mourning of what was lost? I looked into their faces and saw myself, the lines wearily etched into stone, marble - cold and unyielding. I saw their downcast eyes, knowing they had cried from heartbreak, from loneliness, from desperately wanting to change the unchangeable. I wanted to lean against them and give them my mourning, to let my agony over losing Kudzu fall into smooth white arms.


Serenely, they stand or kneel over the bodies of those gone before us, hands clasped in devoted prayer. Some of them bow reverently; others tip faces upward toward the light. Their faces are bathed in an ethereal glow, their eyes are knowing. These stone creatures have foregone their mourning and looked to the light, relinquished their woe and wreathed themselves in hope. Weather-smoothed faces look ever more placid or seem to be disappearing as though the predetermined time of protection is up and they, too, are melting into a vague half-state. Hope sometimes comes with angel wings, folded quietly behind or poised, ready to fly upward.