Monthly Archives: May 2013

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Never did I wish more for a photographic memory as when my car has been broken into. What in the world was in this car?

Never did I wis…

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A confession, sort of

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I wanted to save my husband and his suicide resonates as a huge failure. Stop. I know what you’re thinking.  It’s not my fault, only he could have saved himself. Doesn’t matter and this is not meant to be that kind of confession. It’s the truth that lives in my heart. I have been a dutiful co-alcoholic, co dependent and it was textbook. I wanted to lead him out of the murky waters of despair and have him turn his face to the sun. I knew he needed saving from the first moments I met him beneath the billowing Spanish moss. It was a beautifully  muggy Atlanta night in the summer of 1998. He was on the verge of beginning a two year anesthesia rotation at Emory University. I literally saw him across a crowded patio at a party. His face shone from the crowd. Later, as fate would have it, he was standing next to me and we began a conversation. I have always adored asking strangers what they are most passionate about. It’s freeing to share with someone you hardly know what lies in the confines of your heart. So I asked. I recall he bit his bottom lip, like a shy toddler, wondering where the safe boundaries had gone. He shared with me, and I was hooked. We left the party together and spent the remainder of the evening in that most ethereal of spaces, erupting romance.
There were signs very early on that I would stand on very uneven turf with C. But I was instantly in love with him.  Charming, talented, attractive, driven, funny and so very smart. Like a moth, I could not turn away from his flame. And even then, subconsciously, I wanted to save him.
I didn’t, save  him. I couldn’t.  It took a decade to realize I was drowning right along with him instead and my daughters were more often beginning to witness this. Even to his very last day I wanted to save him, or better yet I wanted to make it possible for him to save himself. I didn’t. I couldn’t.
The picture is from a coffee mug that I gave to C our first Christmas together. Money was tight in those days and gifts were challenged to be more about sentiment than price. I loved this gift. It was our picture. We both loved Klimt and had tagged this picture as ours very early on. I still love this picture, but over the years I’ve noticed something ironic. The tilt of the women’s head, the man’s grasp. They seem to be holding on to each other out of desperation and love. The couple appears at once in peace and torment. How fitting.
 I didn’t even realize I was drinking from it this morning. Like so many ordinary objects in my home it becomes a reminder of the life I once  had, the person I once was. I look forward to the day when I will look upon it and smile a bit. Remember how beautiful that first Christmas was with him. I know that the time will come. But it’s not here now. That’s ok. It’s not supposed to be.

Free hugs and a kitten

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ImageWell everything is back in full swing here at the Trowell/Pressley compound. Folks are irritated and I said “because I said so” for the first time in almost a week. And this conversation:

13 year old: Just one more hour to go. 

Me: Good.
13: what?!
Me ( a little louder): Good. 
13:(exasperated) I couldn’t hear you. 
Me: Yes I know, that’s why I repeated what I said. 
And any number of conversations like this. Each child has her own brand of selective hearing loss and equally quirky  and  irritated responses to not knowing what was said.  My middle daughter talks to my youngest daughter in the exact same tone of voice that I recall my grandmother talking to my nearly deaf great grandmother after years of repeating herself.  Think of the way you might talk to someone who doesn’t speak English. Louder. Slower,wildly gesturing, but there is still very little being communicated. My oldest daughter flatly refuses to repeat herself at all for the youngest. Honestly our car ride conversations are borderline psychotic. The car ride also involves a lot of grunting and sighing and seat slapping. I’ve shouted, “EVERYONE STOP YELLING!” I’ve created mandatory silent times. I’ve turned the music up to drown out the bickering. In the house I can send people outside, not so many options in the car.  
And troubling bedtimes are back. My room door becomes a revolving door at night. Head ache, water, anxiety, cat food, forgotten homework, tears, cats, neck ache, sore throat, kitten stories and more. Medicine, don’t forget to breathe, out cat, out kitten, find your happy place, find my happy place, firm and direct. 

 

There are of course the blessings, the little moments. Middle child sat down to have a conversation with me after dinner and started off by saying, ” I love you Mom, but you know that”. The youngest proclaimed this morning that she’s lucky because she has the two most annoying sisters but the very best Mom. I’m sure they are sucking up, but ill take it. It’s comforting and familiar. After dinner as i assigned after dinner chores the littlest asked “Well, whats your job mommy.  You’re  not doing anything.”  Sure I just made the entire meal, but I replied that I had my job too.  As we finished cleaning the kitchen the youngest says, ” I’m sorry for what I said earlier, I regretted it the moment my words came out of my mouth. ” Victory! 

 

So many times that’s what parenting is:  little stolen victories and hope for the future. 

 

Gotta close. Somebody needs a final hug for the night. 

 

Travel blog 005-headed Home

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imageI’m trying to remember that the journey home is part of the adventure. I’m so looking forward to the familiar faces and sights of southwest Virginia and feeling a bit sad at leaving our northwest temporary home. It helps that someone has been playing the saxophone for the last 12 hours outside our hotel window. Losing those 3 hours we kept in a savings account from our trip over will be pretty painful. Not too excited about a two hour layover in Philly.

 But what do I take with me, aside from the bulging suitcase of coffee, t-shirts, chocolate pasta and decorative mugs? Obviously I have four invaluable days of bonding with my 13 year-old daughter and a realization that we are pretty good travel companions.  I take an appreciation for the subtle although perceptible differences in southeast and northwest urban culture. Like muscle memory, I get smell memory from patchouli and curry, to ganja and rain and an increased consciousness of what I consider trash. I take a desire to return when possible.  From most of the people I talked to while here, I get the idea that they think Seattle is a nice place to visit and a dreary place to live. Not they they don’t love it, they just miss the sunshine. Finally, likeDorothy, I get the beautiful perspective that there is no place like home.

Keep your eyes open

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Things seen at the Folk arts Festival in Seattle, Washington. 

 
Drummers, jugglers, magicians, a mariachi band, two pirates, a green balloon fairy, a one man band with angel wings, an athlete riding a stationary bike for 14 hours straight in honor of the military men and women, hula hoops, ribbon, tarot card readings,  a person asking for pocket change, a man asking for pocket trash, a sign that said ” looking for a fat woman”, a sign that said “too ugly to prostitute”, several contortionists, a dog sleeping in a guitar case, numerous people smoking pot openly, cops issuing tickets for people smoking pot openly, kissing couples, a man with a hatchet through his head, a man with salad tongs through his head, stilts, the devil, angry corn, protestors, banjos, guitars, a didgeridoo, washboards, duos, trios, sextets and more playing every genre of music, on tambourines, boxes, slide whistles, violins, trumpets, cellos and bells and dogs of every shape and size.  Just to name a few. 

Travel blog 004

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There comes a space in every trip when its time to go home. I miss my two younger daughters, and my dog, and my bed. Although the people here are friendly, they are not my friends. I miss knowing where I am going without needing a map and finding food in my fridge.  Seeing a new place always makes me want to see more new places and I dream of the day when I can return, but right now, I am looking forward to being back home with my tribe.

We did walk through the folk festival yesterday. Unlike the first two days of our trip we have now had a couple of those adolescent daughter/mother moments. I haven’t seen an eye roll yet, but at the festival she walked about 5 paces ahead of me. Once she stopped to tie her shoes and when I stopped to wait for her she said ” you can go on”. She picked out some amazing artwork that I purchased and that bought me enough coolness that she walked beside me the rest of the trip back.
After a glorious Mediterranean meal and sleep, it seems I am back to being Seattle buddy again. I offered to set out on my own this morning. M said she wanted to go with me, but added we would be close enough for her to walk back if she needed to. It’s one of the many things we share, we love people, but we love our alone time too. So I get it. And about the walking, I don’t know how many miles we’ve walked, but it’s a lot. Things ache when I wake up. I should keep walking this much when we return. Probably wont, but it’s a good idea.
So we will wrap up our final full day today. The festival provides the perfect opportunity to people watch, and smell. Beautiful thing in a city, the smells. Body odor, and deep fried PB and J, patchouli and ganja, garlicky chicken and rain. Time to go breath in Seattle and the last bonding moments with my beautiful daughter.

Travel blog003/D

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A few things I’ve learned about Seattle since Wednesday at 10am.

 
1.  The sun NEVER sets in Seattle. You may have seen nighttime pictures of Seattle, they are photoshopped. It’s a conspiracy that people in Washington state have been obviously carrying out for centuries. I went to sleep at ten- the sun was up. I awoke at 5am- the sun was up. Obviously the sun never sets. 
 
2. There is no actual sun in Seattle, just less dark clouds. 
 
3. They LOVE coffee here. (See 1 and 2). I thought I loved coffee. In Seattle, coffee is art. 
 
4.  It takes much longer to throw away your trash in Seattle. Most “trash” bins are divided or there are 2-3 bins at every stop. I feel like an idiot every time I approach them. Is this trash/compost or recycling?  45 minutes later I leave smugly feeling like I’ve accomplished something. 
 
5.  There are no plastic bags in Seattle. They are banned and you have to pay for a paper bag!  Way to go Seattle. No one ever looks at you weird if you refuse a bag for your one item at the convenience store.
 
6. People are super friendly.  I have been in in-depth conversations with vendors all over the city while my 13 year old wanders away to indicate she’s done being in that store. A stranger that walked past us on the street asked if we needed anything, just because we were standing on a street corner in the rain wearing fleece jackets and looking lost. It’s beautiful. 
 
7.  I can’t wait to have the opportunity to come back. 
 
Tonight begins the folklife festival, which my daughter is obviously not into, but she keeps saying flatly “that’s an option”. We are going, we just might not stay very long. At any rate, at least we know we can walk home while the sun is still up. 

 

Travel blog003/D

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A few things I’ve learned about Seattle since Wednesday at 10am.

 
1.  The sun NEVER sets in Seattle. You may have seen nighttime pictures of Seattle, they are photoshopped. It’s a conspiracy that people in Washington state have been obviously carrying out for centuries. I went to sleep at ten- the sun was up. I awoke at 5am- the sun was up. Obviously the sun never sets. 
 
2. There is no actual sun in Seattle, just less dark clouds. 
 
3. They LOVE coffee here. (See 1 and 2). I thought I loved coffee. In Seattle, coffee is art. 
 
4.  It takes much longer to throw away your trash in Seattle. Most “trash” bins are divided or there are 2-3 bins at every stop. I feel like an idiot every time I approach them. Is this trash/compost or recycling?  45 minutes later I leave smugly feeling like I’ve accomplished something. 
 
5.  There are no plastic bags in Seattle. They are banned and you have to pay for a paper bag!  Way to go Seattle. No one ever looks at you weird if you refuse a bag for your one item at the convenience store.
 
6. People are super friendly.  I have been in in-depth conversations with vendors all over the city while my 13 year old wanders away to indicate she’s done being in that store. A stranger that walked past us on the street asked if we needed anything, just because we were standing on a street corner in the rain wearing fleece jackets and looking lost. It’s beautiful. 
 
7.  I can’t wait to have the opportunity to come back. 
 
Tonight begins the folklife festival, which my daughter is obviously not into, but she keeps saying flatly “that’s an option”. We are going, we just might not stay very long. At any rate, at least we know we can walk home while the sun is still up.