Monday, June 29, 2009

Hurray for Ambiguity

Dear Lucy,
I just sat down after putting a load of clothes in the wash to read my latest issue of Tricycle magazine (a Buddhist mag).
A question was submitted: What does being Buddhist mean to you regarding the economic meltdown?
One man answered:
"I lost my job to this crisis, and with that job I lost a large part of what had
been my identity for 15 years. It took a global crisis for me to realize
that I lack the answer to that most basic of questions: who am I? By
deepening my Buddhist practice amidst the meltdown, I'm appreciating the
unlimited ambiguity of my life and the possibilities that melting down--in every
sense--can bring."

A large part of my own identity for the past 16 years was tied into my marriage to Anne and now I am left lacking the answer to that basic question of who I am.
The hardest part though, is accepting (let alone appreciating) the "unlimited ambiguity" of my own life right now or that there are possibilities that my own personal melt-down can bring about.
I don't like ambiguity. I like to have SOME kind of plan, some sense of being grounded and having a direction to go in.
I often get angry with myself when I realize that I have one foot on the dock and one in the boat. But right now I feel like although I am in the boat, and I have shoved off from the dock, I am paddling in circles on the lake!
And the worst part is that the folks I left on the dock are still on the dock watching me paddle and asking, "So, where are you gonna go next?"
I am left having to come to an acceptance of the complete ambiguity of my life. That it's OK not to know where I am going next. That this is part of the process. That, sooner or later, I will paddle to shore and have my feet on tera firma again.


Sunday, June 28, 2009


Dear Lucy,

One of the places that Donna took me while in Florida was a store that I can't remember the name of, but was like a Pier 1 Imports.

Knowing that I was leaving the next day, I went directly to the food section of the store and began browsing for goodies to take on the train.

Who'dathunk that while scanning the shelves I would come across a display of Bronco Bob's Raspberry Chipotle sauce?

Many years ago a friend of ours brought a bottle of this sauce to a gathering Anne and I were having. He poured it over a slab of cream cheese, and having that on a cracker was delicious.

Well, we were hooked. Especially Anne. She went on line and found the manufacturer and ordered a case of the stuff and we ate Bronco Bob's for months.

So there I am in Florida where I think there is no way that anything would remind me of Anne!



Friday, June 26, 2009

My Feelings for Florida

Dear Lucy,
Everyone warned me before I headed out for my adventure, that this was a bad time to go to Florida because it was the hottest time of year.
They were right.
It was cool for Florida while I was there; I don't think it got up to 100 degrees at all, and though it was humid, I was told that it wasn't the worst it could get.
I have to say that it is beautiful there; very green and lush with beautiful beaches and lots of interesting history.
But when I considered the many critters just waiting to bite, sting, or eat me, it dampened my enthusiasm immensely. I found myself as I rode in an air-conditioned car thinking that lots of the places we passed would be interesting to hike or go camping in. But, then when I thought of the fact that I wouldn't even walk in the grass at the house for fear of snakes or fire ants, it made the idea of hiking or camping out of the question.
There was also the fact that in the small town that I was in, I stuck out like a sore thumb. While walking through the Target store parking lot with Donna and her daughter, some man drove by and screamed, "hey dyke" at me with such venom in his voice that it felt like a gunshot.
I was thankful at that moment for two things: One was that it wasn't a gunshot, and two that he didn't stop to wait for my reaction.
Had he stopped for my reaction, with my temper these days, I am sure I would have confronted him in some smart-ass manner that would have certainly ended up bad.
After that incident, I felt pretty intimidated whenever I was away from the house.
I would have to say that, maybe had I been in Miami instead of a little town, my attire and tattoos would not have been so unusual. And maybe folks would be too busy with their lives to care about a dyke walking in a parking lot minding her own business.


Last Day in Florida

Dear Lucy,
So, having made my train reservations to leave on Saturday, Donna and I went to run errands on Thursday. I was still bumbed that I hadn't seen an alligator yet even though she drove me down a street they call "Alligator Alley".
On the way home she made one final stop at a local park figuring that we would surely see an alligator there.
We walked along a sort of boardwalk over a marshy pond and hard as we looked, we only saw turtles swimming around in the murky water. We walked the entire length of the boardwalk and saw nothing.
Then, as we were walking back, an alligator just appeared and I saw him out of the corner of my eye. I hollered OOH! and nearly sent Donna jumping up a tree. She had been looking for all the other unfriendlies (snakes).
Seems the alligator had been under the water and just floated to the surface. He was really cool looking. We figured maybe about 5 feet long.
I tried to take his picture but no matter how loud I asked him to say cheese, he just wouldn't oblige. Actually, I got a couple of shots of him, but with my funky camera, the water being the same color as the alligator, and the sunshine, the pics didn't turn out.
He hung out a couple of minutes just floating there, and then submerged like a submarine. It was so weird. He didn't swim back under the water, he just sank.
This gave me a whole new respect for the creature; I had thought they swam on the surface and that one could spot them coming. But knowing now that they swim under water and just surface, well, I wouldn't go swimming in a Florida pond!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Honey, I'm Home!

Dear Lucy,

I didn't want to tell anyone I was coming home as I wanted to surprise Suzie and Dad, and, well, you!

I left Florida on Saturday and got home yesterday at about 3:30 in the afternoon.

Everyone was surprised and glad to see me (always a good sign), and it was good to stop moving for awhile and sleep lying down!

I will catch up on the adventures later, but right now I have a dog to walk and some resting up to do.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gold Fever

Sarah sat on Mud Creek’s little pier with her best friend Alice, their fishing poles dangling lazily from their hands as they watched the Bluebirds pick wild berries from the bushes nearby.
Mud Hole, the nearest creek to Sarah’s house got its name for obvious reasons. Water coming off the Missouri River filled the sandy hole, leaving it, well, muddy looking. It was a great place to fish though, boasting of the best catfish in the state. Of course, everybody said that about their own little creek, and of course everybody in the town believed it.
“I can’t see why you are so excited about going out west, my daddy says there’s Indians out there that’d just as soon kill ya as talk to ya,” Alice said critically as she reeled in her line to check the worm.
“Oh, they all say that Alice,” Sarah replied wistfully, “but there’s Indians here too and we don’t all go moving do we? Besides, it will be a real adventure. And anything’s got to be better than here fishing in this same old creek every day.”
“Well, I hear your mother isn’t all too pleased with the prospect of leaving her home to go a gallivanting all over the territory.”

“Yeah, but she’s just worried about my pop getting a head of steam about gold and then being disappointed. She’ll change her mind though when he comes home with a sack of nuggets that’ll keep us the rest of our lives.”
“Oh, you and your daddy are just cut from the same cloth. Always dreaming and wandering.”
“That’s not true,” Sarah replied indignantly, “my pa’s a good man and a hard worker.”
“And a dreamer, just like you. Don’t you go thinking that we all don’t know that you know the town better than most of the boys around here,” Alice said, casting her line back into the brackish water, “why word’s out that you and that scallywag James are meeting somewhere and getting the intimates with one another.”
“Oh,” Sarah huffed, “Alice May Macintyre, you take that back this instant! You know I can’t stand that stinky old James Adams, and that he really has a pounding heart for you!”
“He does not, and you are the biggest liar in all of St Louis you are!”
“Am not. You can just see him a getting all googly-eyed over you.” With that, Sarah let out peels of laughter and began hurrying to reel her line in before Alice started hitting her. Much quicker than Alice, Sarah had gathered her pole and basket and was running off down the road.

“I am so mad at you Sarah,” Alice shouted over her shoulder as she gathered her things up, “go on to California then, I don’t care!”
“You will if an Indian gets me!”
“I won’t care if a whole tribe takes you and scalps you!”
The two would be arch enemies for several minutes and then be walking down the dirt path toward home with their arms around each other, not remembering a word of their quarrel. That’s the effect Sarah had on people.

A Trip to St Augustine

Dear Lucy,

Yesterday Donna and her mom took me to see St Augustine. It was a real treat.

St Augustin is the oldest continuously occupied European established city and the oldest port in the United States.

We walked along the old streets and looked at the buildings (which of course are now shops) and took a gander at the fort pictured here.

The fort is made of a stone called coquina which means "little shells", the shells having bonded together over the years to form stone. It was really fascinating.

We all bought something at one of the shops, though we were drawn in to most of them to get out of the stifling heat!

I finally got a picture of Donna after I agreed to let her get one of me too. She is so camera shy!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Hairbrained Idea

Dear Lucy,
So, after mulling and pondering, I have come to the conclusion that I would wait on the motorcycle ride from Florida home.
First of all, it would cost nearly $200.00 to ship my bicycle home. Then I would lose the rest of the Amtrak rail-pass I already bought.
Then, even though I had figured I would ride early in the mornings to avoid the heat, it is still far hotter than I am used to even after being away from Washington for over a month, and it's getting hotter as the days go by.
So, staying hydrated on a motorcycle would be a huge problem right now, unless of course its pouring rain which is what it does here. It doesn't rain. It doesn't even really pour. It's a waterfall. With thunder and lightening and wind. And Hurricane season is coming.
So, the bike to Washington is out. And I am bummed. But, them's the breaks.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gold Fever

Jacob sat at his kitchen table with his newspaper in front of him and rubbed his bewhiskered chin absently. The headlines in the paper today read, “Gold Discovered in California”, and the article boasted of gold so abundant you could cut it out of the dirt with a pocket knife.
“What are you thinking so hard about,” his wife Mary asked as she filled his cup with strong, black coffee.
“Gold, Mary. In California. Seems it grows so thick there you can just carve a chunk out with your pocket knife.”
“Sounds a little exaggerated to me, Jacob. Where ever in this world can you just go pick up gold like it was just so many rocks?”
“Well, that’s what it says in the newspaper. Men are getting rich there by the dozens, and the gold is just ripe for picking.”
“So’s the wheat in the field Jacob, so you better get out there and get busy.” Mary said this with a wink and a smile that always threw Jacob off guard. He smiled back at her, got up from his seat and kissed her, and headed out to his field.
“Is father going to go to California and pick gold mother?” Sarah asked as she sat down at the table with her bowl of steaming oatmeal.
“No, I think you father is just doing some dreaming. Sometimes this little farm is just too small for him. Men are like that. Which is why,” Mary went on taking her now empty bowl to the sink, “women will never be out of a job keeping men’s feet on the ground.”

“Three thousand dollars,” Uncle Vernon said disbelievingly.
“Yes, three thousand dollars. I think that’s what we will need to get to California.”
“Listen Jacob,” Uncle Vernon said as he watched Jacob’s look of determination grow, “you can’t just go uprooting your wife and daughter and dragging them all over tarnation, so you can hunt for gold. It just isn’t sane.”
“But Uncle Vernon,” Jacob said sitting up closer to him in his Uncle’s parlor, “neither is finding chunks of gold with just the pick of your knife. As hard as I have to work in my fields just to keep food on the table, it seems that I could make enough money to keep us all comfortable for the rest of our lives. And I won’t have to depend on this damnable weather every year.”
“Your heart’s really in this then?” Vernon said tamping tobacco in his well used pipe.
“Absolutely. And I will pay you back with interest.”
“Ok, you can have the money. Against my better judgment. But you have to do whatever is necessary to prevent Mary from killing me when she finds out I loaned it to you.”
“You don’t have to worry about her Uncle, she will be excited about it.”

“Oh, I am sure she will be.”

A Hair-brained Idea

Dear Lucy,
So, I got a wild idea a few days ago, that it would be a real adventure to buy a motorcycle here in Florida and ride it home to Washington.
I found this bike, a Yamaha VStar 250, at a dealership in Daytona.
I would have the time to do the ride. I would have the money to do the ride.
The questions I keep rolling over in my head (besides the obvious: "Have I lost my mind??") are,
Should I save the money because I may need it later?
Am I being reckless?
Am I being selfish?
Am I having a mid-life crisis?
If I don't do it right now while I have the time, money, health, etc, will I regret it later?
Am I hesitating out of fear or good sense?
Still pondering...

Friday, June 12, 2009

What I am Reading

Dear Lucy,
Shortly after arriving at Donna's house she urged me to read this book, "The Long Walk Home" by Will North.

It is an amazing story of a man who is compelled by his dying ex-wife to whom he is still in love, to scatter her ashes atop Cadair Idris, a Welsh mountain the couple had climbed years previously.

Amazingly, the man is taking this trip with these ashes in his backpack and while making the trek is thinking back to their marriage, divorce, and the deep, abiding love they had held for each other years after their split.
Here is a passage from the book:
"He thought of it as a pilgrimage, this walking; each day was like a prayer,each step a kind of incantation. It was as if the
horizon toward which he walked, and which kept advancing ahead of him, was an ideal he strove for but could never attain. He was not entirely sure what ideal the horizon represented, but he thought it had something to do with love, with duty, with keeping faith. Maybe he was doing penance."
As the story goes on, he falls in love with a woman in Wales who is in her own turmoil, but his musings, and thoughts about his deceased ex-wife; the guilt, the "what if's" the "shoulda, coulda, woulda's", is incredible to read.

I don't know how this book will end, or if anyone else would be as moved by it as I am, but it is a story worth checking out.


Gold Fever

Chapter One

13 May, 1850.
I am in fear for my life as I lie under a blanket, in this musty old wagon, in the middle of a prairie, surrounded by paint-faced Indians bent for Jesus on killing us all. And I am only 13, too young to die, and too small to fight. If I live through this, I promise you diary that I will keep account of every blessed thing that happens to me from now on…

Elsie looked up from reading the first passage of the diary she had just discovered in the attic of her grandmother‘s San Francisco home. She realized she had found a treasure long overdue after having spent the last 8 months cleaning out the overly cluttered fire-hazard of a house on top of Portrero Hill.

It was the summer of 1966, the Vietnam war was in full bloom as were the protesters demonstrating in Haight-Ashbury, their clothes reeking of patchouli oil and marijuana, their eyes glazed over from LSD, and their radios playing the songs of their hero’s and gurus. And in the midst of all of this San Francisco madness, was Elsie, who, at the tender age of 15, was earning money for a trip to England next summer.

The deal had started out with her grandmother wanting Elsie to go find her old wedding album so that she could show Elsie her wedding dress. Grandmother believed that one day Elsie herself would marry a nice man and this would be a wonderful style of dress for her. Elsie complied and dutifully trod up to the attic to begin her own mining expedition.

Two hours later, Grandma showed up, looking for her wayward granddaughter only to find she hadn’t even made a dent into the massive piles of memorabilia; as Grandpa had called it; before he passed.

Then it was a done deal. Elsie would dig, sort, clean, sell or otherwise get rid of the mess in the attic and Grandma would pay her handsomely. She would have fully half of the money she needed for the trip.

It was now, into her eighth month of weekend cleaning that she had first found out that there was a light fixture above where she had been working. She had pulled out, sorted, and cleaned up enough merchandise for two huge yard sales, and with the help of her brother and the grace of the City’s refuse service to have one pick up of any large appliances and furniture, that she got rid of much more.

Now with the old rust-stained toilets, folded mattresses, ratty sofas and useless refrigerators out of the way, she could get down to the boxes. A myriad of boxes stacked from floor to ceiling and every way outward. Some were old Coke boxes made out of wood, and others were plain old cardboard boxes retrieved from the grocer’s produce man. All had something in them Grandpa considered treasures: Old Reader’s Digests, Life Magazines, ashtrays and pill bottles. He had even saved all of his old pill bottles.

Elsie, now covered in dust, the smell of mildew tickling her nose, gathered up the old diaries with their stained, parched, pages, and headed home. She would have to do more digging tomorrow.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gold Fever

Dear Lucy,

As part of my rehabilitation (LOL) I brought along a half-finished rough draft of a manuscript I had started just before Anne got sick. My aim was to work on it while away from the daily stresses of earning a living.

In order to get back into the novel though, I have to re-read what I have so that I keep the thread of the story straight.

I hate re-reading.

So to help keep myself motivated, I am going to post as I go on the blog.

My request to those of you following this blog is that if you decide to follow the novel, please limit your comments to constructive criticism and especially comments like, "hey, get to work you haven't put anything on in a while".

Since there is no book jacket to tell you what the story is about, I shall give you a short synopsis.

Elsie is a very quiet, shy, 15 year old girl growing up in San Francisco in the 1960's amid the turbulence of the Vietnam war and Civil Rights.

While cleaning out her grandmother's basement she comes across a set of diaries written by her great, great,(haven't figured out how many greats yet) grandmother Sarah when she was a girl of 13 moving to California with her mother and father early in the Gold Rush of 1849.

Sarah and her mother are left in San Francisco with a family they met on the trip to California, while Sarah's father goes off looking for gold.

When the father never shows up Sarah and her mother are left to come up with a way to support themselves forcing Sarah to leave the acceptable role of a woman in her day and start a business.

Elsie, growing up in the 60's is also facing the challenge of being raised by a mother who wants her to be a nice, quiet girl who will one day be a wife and mother.

As Elsie reads of Sarah's life during the wild San Francisco Gold Rush days, she is motivated to break out of her shell and find herself and her voice. She starts as a Vietnam war protester.
The story will travel back and forth from Sarah to Elsie, though Sarah's story will be the main focus.

So, remember it is a rough draft, bare bones, story, and though I have plotted the story from start to finish, I got waylaid right in the middle.

Enjoy, or ignore. It is up to you, but when you see the picture I will use, you will know that the post is more of the story.


Time in DC

Dear Lucy,

Moving on from my brief visit in Chicago, I left that night for my next stop in Washington DC. I had remembered to recharge the battery for my camera, unfortunately I recharged the wrong one.

You see, I have the battery that came with the camera and it is on its last leg. I can fully charge it and still only get a couple pics from it. I brought it as a back-up.

That's where I went wrong. I confused my new battery with the half-dead one, so when I checked my bags in (at 4.00 per hour!), and headed out to see the sights, well, I didn't get but two pictures.

Of course the first one I took had beer in it in some form or fashion, (consider the photographer), then the camera died, and I spent the next three hours walking around seeing the sights and not getting a darned pic of them.

I finished walking my feet off and headed back to the train station which is the biggest I have seen so far. It is like a shopping mall with a movie theater and everything.

We no sooner got going out of the station when the train came to a screeching halt. It hit a pedestrian, some young woman taking pictures. We were held up for 4 hours while they scraped her off the train, got a new engineer because ours was so shaken up he couldn't go on, and of course to probably fill out tons of paperwork.

Last I heard from the conductor the woman was in critical condition. The conductor, having worked for Amtrak for many years didn't think the woman would live. It is one of the conductor's jobs to go find the body parts after an accident (there's something to put on your resume), so I figured she knew what she was talking about.

She also said that they have lots of people jumping in front of trains to kill themselves, especially now that times are so tough. She said it's pretty darn certain you will succeed by doing that.

Pretty gruesom.

So, the train managed to catch up by an hour, but I was still 3 hours late getting in to Florida. Didn't matter though, I was so worn out, I just slept.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Drinking on a Florida Beach

Dear Lucy,
Yesterday I had the chance to not only drink large quantities of beer at a beach pub in Florida, but I got to do it with a friend I haven't seen in over a year.
Regi moved to Georgia (where she was born and raised) after living in Washington for several years and worming her way into my heart as a very good friend.
We had only had phone contact after Anne died and so our meeting was a time to share our feelings about Anne, to talk about good times, and for me to meet her new partner, Lynn.
Regi and I drank the beer (because, well, someone had to do it), and Lynn, bless her heart, drank "sweet tea". No really, she spent several hours with me having just met me, and stayed sober. Talk about a strong woman!
After we had filled ourselves with suds, Regi wanted to take a walk on the beach. So she and I staggered down the beach, and Lynn made sure we didn't fall into the ocean and get carried off by the waves.
It was a good time, a chance to rekindle an old friendship and an opportunity to make a new friend in Lynn...


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Dear Lucy,

Saw my first Water Moccasin snake today. WOW.

Donna gave me ample warning about what they look like, and she had spread a bunch of moth-balls around the front door as she thought they kept the snakes away.

This one she ran across as she was walking from the house to her mother's house across the yard. Donna's eyes were as big as saucers as she came running into the house to tell me she had spotted another snake.

So I, being a silly tourist had to grab my camera and get a picture of the thing.

It's not the heat, or the humidity or even the mosquitoes that I am having trouble adjusting to, it's the creepy-crawlies that can kill me that are a bit freaky.

Here's the picture of him...ain't he cute?


In Chicago

Dear Lucy,

I arrived in Chicago at about 3pm on Thursday and had about a 3 hour wait for my next train. So, I put my gear in a storage locker and headed out into the Big City to take a walk.

The Sears Tower is just a block away but it looked to me like most any other building so I didn't give it a second glance.

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day so I just headed toward the park at Lake Superior to see the lake that my Dad had spoken so much about. He grew up in Duluth Minnesota and after high school worked on an iron-ore ship that plied the waters of Lake Superior.

He never said much about his experiences on the ship except that he worked in the kitchen and one day the cook told him to throw some left-over pancake batter over the side of the ship. Dad was young and didn't know that wind direction was a huge factor in what side of the ship to jettison pancake batter from.

He had a 50/50 chance of being right. But he wasn't. And so the story goes that some of the deck hands spent a bit of time cleaning pancake batter off the side of the ship and he learned to test wind direction.

So I gave Lake Superior a cheery wave, sat on the board-walk for awhile watching the various dingys, yachts, speed boats and tourist contraptions sail around the lake.

On my way back to the train station I ran across a vegetarian restaurant and had the best vegie meal in a long time.

For those of you who aren't vegetarians you may find this unappealing, but I had a great bowl of thick savory lentil soup, a Greek spinach and feta pie (with the crispy philo dough) and a glass of freshly made fruit/vegetable drink.

What a treat.

I had worn my jeans that day thinking it might be cold by a lake and so wore socks and my Vans skull shoes. You all know those shoes. But I guess my feet aren't used to wearing socks these days and were getting sore so I removed the socks and hung them from my back pocket like a tail.

No one bothered me. Can't imagine why. I mean, they were clean socks...


Monday, June 8, 2009

Heading to Chicago

Dear Lucy,
Now that I have had a full night's sleep, a night's sleep actually lying prostrate in a bed after 4 nights sleeping on the train, I feel much better.
The ride from Los Angeles was really fun and I saw lots of different scenery. We went through Arizona, though it was the first night and I slept through it all, and then New Mexico before we started heading north.
New Mexico is a really pretty state with lots of red mesas and Buttes, clear skies, and open space.
There was a time when Anne and I had considered moving to New Mexico before we ended up in Washington. I think we would have liked it there.
I met a man named RJ who said he was the grandson of RJ Reynolds. He had lots of stories (or bullshit whichever you want to call it), spent lots of one hundred dollar bills on booze, (of course I let him buy me drinks. I do let myself rely on the kindness of strangers where that goes), asked me if I wanted to get naked with him in his room (boy, was he barking up the wrong tree)and claimed that he was on his way to Chicago to get his private plane and fly to Florida.
A rich man on a train? Hmmm.
There was also an old fellow in the seat in front of me with a little-screen DVD player and about a hundred DVDs...of trains! He could tell ya every thing ya ever wanted to know about every train ever made. But, who wants to know?
He was friendly and talkative, and had the rapt attention of an entire Amish family gathered around him watching the trains. Imagine what this family would do with "Guitar Hero"!

All in all, for having spent 48 hours straight on that leg of the trip, it was lots of fun, really pretty, and went very fast.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

I finally made it to Florida

Dear Lucy,
I finally made it in to Florida today and got the first shower since Wednesday. Boy is it nice to be clean again and to stop moving!
Donna picked me up at the train station and helped me get settled in. We just ate and now I am starting to get tired.
So, I will catch up on the trip tomorrow, but suffice to say it was good, I met lots of crazy folks, and made it through safe and sound!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Hear that Train a comin'...

Dear Lucy,

So this is my last post until I get to Florida, so I had better make it good (oh the pressure!)

I set out to run some errands last night and decided to go eat at a fast-food place called El Pollo Loco.

I got hooked on this place back when I still lived in California and couldn't find it in the San Francisco Bay area or in Washington. So it was always a treat to eat there while visiting Southern California.

I couldn't quite come to grips with why I hadn't gone sooner in this trip but felt compelled to go last night as it was my last chance.

As I sat eating my meal, it hit me: This was Anne's favorite place as well. It was like a pilgrimage for us and I had been avoiding it this trip because it was a trigger (not the horse).

I ate my meal reminiscing about Anne and how she would take forever savoring every bite while I wolfed mine down and ended up watching her.

By the time I finished my meal last night it was all I could do to make it to the car before the tears came. And did they come. In buckets.

So, it was another hurdle, and I survived, and the next time I visit So Cal I won't spend the whole trip avoiding the place.

One step at a time.

So, off I go to Florida that has no memories of Anne, no buttons to push, and maybe has a bit of a vacation from the grief.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Strange Thought

Dear Lucy,
As I am preparing for my journey to Florida, I continue to do my "grief work" as books call it.
I came across this passage:

"If I can't bring my loved one back, maybe I should
join my love.
It's crazy even to say
such a thing.
Am I losing my mind?"

On the ride home from LA with Ken he brought up my former post where I share my guilt of having not done enough for Anne and asked if I thought that was something I really needed to carry.
It isn't, but it is difficult to explain why I can still feel this way and yet rationally know that I went above and beyond the call of duty.

The feelings associated with my grief are guilt and a sense that there is no future anymore. Then the inevitable question of going to join Anne comes up and I do wonder if I am losing it.
I am at a place where I can't really imagine going on and yet I can't imagine ending it either.

Sometimes, in the morning when I am in that comfortable place between sleep and consciousness, and then the depression settles on me like an elephant on my chest, it is all I can do to get up and face another day.

And other times, feeling like a huge part of me has died is strangely liberating. I feel liberated from worrying about Anne, liberated from feeling tied to Bellingham Washington because that's where Anne lived, liberated from having to accomplish the dreams and goals we had together, liberated from having to give a damn about so much that I have no control over anyway.

So, who knows what I will do? Where I will live? What job I will get next? Whether I will get married again?
I do know, rationally I know even if I don't feel it, I will go on.

As Edna St. Vincent Millay said, "Life goes on...I forget just why."


Plans, plans, plans...

Dear Lucy,

I have been spending some time here on-line trying to get some ideas on what to do with my lay-over time in Chicago and DC. Both lay-overs land me in the respective cities in the early afternoon and are about 6 hours each.

After the long trip from Los Angeles to Chicago, I will be willing to do anything that doesn't involve sitting, so I may just take a walk around and see what is interesting. I have printed a map showing the train station and places nearby so I won't get hopelessly lost.

In DC I won't have time to see something as grand as the Smithsonian so I will have to take a couple of days on my way home to stop and see it proper-like. The train station is located right near many museums including the closest which is the Postal Museum. Hmmm, I can't imagine that being outrageously interesting to anyone but Cliff Claven from the sitcom "Cheers"!

So I have made copies of maps and locations to take with me and will see what happens. If nothing else, well, the Postal Museum is better than sitting at the train station!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Lunch with the Brother and Nephew

Dear Lucy,

Finally after years of not seeing my nephew Scott, Ken and I went to Los Angeles to have lunch with him. It was great fun.

The last time I saw him was many years ago when he and his partner Bruce got hitched, and now that I think about it, that was great fun too!

Scott works for the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles as a Social Worker and today started a new position within the agency. Hurray for you Scott; remember your family when you strike it rich in social work!

Scott loves to laugh, and I love to make people laugh so by the time we had finished our lunch, (at some restaurant that had cloth napkins not the kind that has a paper place mat with a "happy meal" picture on it) he and Ken and I all had sore cheeks--from laughing people, get your minds out of the gutter!

Thanks for taking time out on your first day of your new position to come visit with me. I will remember you in my Will. There's not a damn thing in it, but I will remember you!