Friday, January 16, 2009

Addendum... to Venice

One of the great things about aging is that stories are new to us, over and over. Well, at least to me. Just who was Rosebud? Did that Cinderella chick ever live happily ever after?

My memory was refreshed last night when talking to my VSO (Very Significant Other) and he noted that I didn't include anything on my Venice blog regarding one of our first dates, when his car, Leia, drowned. More water...How quickly we forget.

Aside: He has this ... some would say 'unnatural' fixation with Star Wars~ particularly Leia in the gold bikini. See photo that follows. (He has a rich fantasy life, as well.)

It is fitting that that particular vignette is included since that was a defining moment in our newly developing revealings to each other. (No. I'm not going there.) And it takes place on an evening in the River Bottoms; when to say it was a 'torrential downpour' would be just about right. For those of you who are familiar with this part of the city, this is not a place to be in the light of day, much less in the early morning hours, leaving a honky tonk (great band, by the way), driving a Mercedes down unfamiliar streets where you can 'score' pretty much anything. With waters rising... rapidly.

Thus, this connection to 'Venice.'

My VSO had met my spawn for the first time that evening and had assured them he would get me home safely. Wanting to make a good impression and conscious of the time, he thought it best to not wait (like the other schleps) for the train that was making limited progress, at best, across our avenue north toward home. My thought was, "Hey. Opportunity here to make out," but I wasn't yet willing to assert my desires openly. Yet.

So, we traveled East seeking a road North which led us, literally, into (much) deeper waters. We made it down a few blocks with waters rising ever closer to the headlights... the tires... the doors. At which point, we had no other option. We were stopped, stalled, kaput. (Probably, now was not the time to mention that 'make out' idea...) We were being passed by semis (What were they doing out on that road at that hour?!), and the currents they created were pushing us deeper into still rising (tidal!) waters.

As awareness of the seriousness of our situation was settling in (by the water now entering his beloved Leia), my VSO (still) was seeking 'clarity' and contacting AAA. At the moment he was calling for help, a tow truck passed us, turned around... and, longer story a little bit less long, got us home safely. The universe was conspiring in our favor, as a dear friend of mine reminded me.

My role in all this? Well, V thinks I was cool as a cucumber and references my ability to remain calm, to reassure him and to even add levity, but personally I think it was the Captain and Diets I'd consumed prior that allowed me to remain 'the rock' in this circumstance. Perspectives.

Simply, I was with a man I trusted (and was growing 'kinda fond of'), in rising waters and yet we could support each other, laugh, and just reach out to the help awaiting us. (I love that I'm 'getting' these life lessons more quickly now!)

Unfortunately, Leia didn't make it, but it seems a realtively small sacrifice (to me, naturally; Hey! He had insurance! I'm not heartless. ) to be provided with that glimpse of the bigger picture, to gain that insight into one another and to count one's blessings, even in a situation like this~ especially in a situation like this. A Blessid Union of Souls? We're getting there...

Next time, though, he'd better stop to kiss me...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Sinking of Venice?

The buildings of Venice are constructed on closely spaced wood piles, which were imported from the mainland. (Under water, in the absence of oxygen, wood does not decay. It is petrified as a result of the constant flow of mineral-rich water around and through it, so that it becomes a stone-like structure.) The piles penetrate a softer layer of sand and mud until they reach the much harder layer of compressed clay. Wood for piles was cut in the most western part of today's Slovenia, resulting in the barren land in a region today called Kras, and in two regions of Croatia, Lika and Gorski kotar (resulting in the barren slopes of Velebit). Most of these piles are still intact after centuries of submersion. The foundations rest on the piles, and buildings of brick or stone sit above these footings. The buildings are often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic between autumn and early spring... (wikipedia)

As I was relaying a condensed version of the recent happenings in my life to my insightful, ironic brother, I noticed a common theme... H20... good old water. For it was water that was pouring (literally) out of the front of the house (the bank now owns) when I stopped by, warping the hardwood floors, saturating carpeting, the furniture yet unclaimed and even spraying from vents and ceiling fans~ on one of the coldest days, naturally, when I had still failed to find mittens of any warmth (forgoing fashion or even a relative matching), and had tried seeking heat in a car that doesn't kick in the lukewarm air until you reach about 70 mph. A little hard to pull off in a driveway.

And when said car 'died' last Friday evening , smoking and grinding (the car, not me,) while transporting the kids North to their father (and forcing a necessary tow back 40 miles from Cameron~ with a driver who was clearly ready to be out 'partying',) the diagnosis came back as a cracked water something??!, and every time the shop turned the ignition over, my sun-loving convertible started shooting water out from under the hood... to the tune of a $301 repair. In addition to the bumper replacement deductible of $500 (Don't ask.)

What always causes me to reflect on situations like this (when I've had my meds and a glass/bottle/case of red wine) is the yin/yang of any given we encounter.

I adore water. I'd be a fish if I could work out the whole cute hair under water thing and a stationary bosom. I'm already anticipating days on the lake, how to be done teaching summer school by 'pool time' and just today was perusing pictures taken last February on a trip to Cabo with my sisters. But I'm not naive to the horror stories of those honeymooners who pose for a picture among the waves, and are swept out to sea... until death do them part. (When I commit again, I'm putting at least a minimum statute in there. You should be allowed to be together long enough to at least develop the photos.)

There is a Chinese symbol referenced in a book by Carrie Fischer, Delusions of Grandma, which has opposing meanings depending on your perspective. I was sharing about this (contemplating matching tattoos- sorry Mom!) and thinking about how analogous this is to life. We all have stuff happen. Do I forbid any contact with water (unlikely and rather limited in scope) just because water was the common element in two recent 'inconveniences?' Does Venice lose some of it's beauty (and tourists) because of those currents that are erasing the edges of that city? Or does it become even more sacred and the desire to see it even more urgent because of those encroaching waves? Will it keep you from travel or will it increase your sense of urgency. Do you avoid it shielding yourself, or do you invite it knowing the risks?

In the Billy Crystal movie, City Slickers, there is a scene on the trail when a character is asked about the best day and and the worst day of his life. What is revealed after the telling is that both events occured on the same day~ all encompassed.
If you've ever had the chance to see Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind (Jim Carrey), as viewers, we are asked to contemplate that same examination of life and choice, following a relationship no longer reciprocated between the leads. Memories of that person are able to be deleted from one's memory, making it easier to forget the pain and the loss. And because the pain had been so overwhelming, Jim Carrey decided to have this contoversial procedure done in a process that essentially rewound each memory and created flashbacks during the deletion process, creating an epiphany for him... in giving up the hurt, he was also giving up all the good.

So, I will continue to plan for that gondola ride and the colorful architecture of all that is Venice. And, until then, I think I'll just go with the tide and continue to ride out these waves (maybe even look at surf boards,) finding that I don't always have to swim against the current.
Rain, rain, go away...

Thursday, January 8, 2009


That cyclical nature (making the world go round,) has brought us full circle to a time when when it's expected that we contemplate our journey of the previous year, assess our shortcomings and feel compelled to publicly avow 'be better' in the months to come.

And, for the most part, I'm really okay with this reflection period, knowing that if there wasn't a mass focus on it, I'd probably put it off until a later date... such as, um... mid-January or so... Since I have never been one to see things in finite terms or to march with the crowd... at this age not without questioning first; and, when younger, because I wasn't sure which crowd to march with, I've tended to shy away from resolutions, which I view as reminders of where I've let the ball drop the previous year.

However, a tangible catalyst has recently forced me to open the one remaining Pandora's box of self-loathing and pity I thought I'd buried with things that were better left behind from a past that is no more. And the surge of insecurity and sadness that enveloped me caught me off guard, and shook what I thought was an ever evolving foundation.

You'd think by this point in my life, I'd be over letting others' echoes define self-worth or self-vision. Most days, although I still see those faces, I don't hear those messages that were tossed, and hurled on occasion~ (or at least on significant, and now clearly more memorable occasions) without a thought of the implications. But just when you get over confident (cocky?) about something, the universe has a way of humbling you.
I hear you! I still have work to do! I'm not finished. Truly, I get it...

So, here's some stuff I'd like to play around with this year and see what transpires...
(True to form, w/o committment or acknowledged pressure. Sure.)

  • The romantic, wandering Sagittarian (sounds like I've summonded the stars; nope, just Cosmo) in me needs to get out and explore, as I tire easily of routine, so I want to travel to a place I've never been ~outside of the country? No? Well, how about the Midwest? I see... Teacher salary, single parent... Um.Out of my zipcode??? ~ Okay then~ but not within throwing distance from a Walmart.
  • I want to feel healthy. 2008 was a year for maintenance, checking under the hood and some minor adjustments- not cosmetic, but I'm certainly NOT against that (she said from this side of 40.) I know how good focus and effort can feel. (Plus, it's way more fun at the at the lake to wear a cute suit that can actually cover what is supposed to be covered ... okay, wait...back up. 'Fun' is too strong a word. How about less devastating? Yes, that's exactly the term I was seeking.)

  • I want/need/aspire to write more, to share that writing more, and to become a stronger writer via various forums~ but don't expect a letter from me just yet.
  • I have a fresh appreciation and outlook on what a partnered relationship can be, and I want to keep that focus and not assume anything.
  • I want to keep all avenues of communication open, and consistent.
  • I need to spend some quality time, individually, with my spawn before they realize their tenure (residence-wise) with me is temporary.
  • I'd like to develop some management skills with finances vs. the guess-and-check game I've played during marital divisions. Not knowing is worse. I know this. I have the certificate to prove it...
  • I'd like to think about the future, assume that I'll retire someday, and make some plans toward that end (not toward my imminent demise, but for the pleasure and means for play time.)

  • I want to remember to acknowledge the growth I've been afforded (I submit my paid bill of remittance!), and just how well I've handled challenges that might deter or break others. And I've done it taking the high road. (That counts, right? That's kind of a big deal. Grin.) It helps to have a support system that you can call... even if you never do. (Refer to 5th bullet point.)
  • I want to touch the ocean...

That's enough fodder for me to stew about, for at least today. (Plus, the new season of American Idol is going to start soon.) No pressures, no definitives... and no way am I going to achieve all that I've penned. (This idealist can be a realist when it suits her!)

But at least I've thought about it, and that is a start. And, really, what's one more little box to empty? Perhaps I'll even call curbside collection...