Thursday, May 28, 2015

Getting the Hang of Alone

Alone.  After twenty-five years of living with my husband twenty-four-seven, alone partnered with depressed, when he died. Twenty-two months later, I’m not depressed all the time. I’m beginning to engage in life again. It feels good. The issue is that I need to understand and accept alone.
Alone needs to be stronger than us. In we I have a backup, someone, who is as committed to outcome as I am. A collaborator, a consensus builder, such as, myself, thrives in we. I need to learn to thrive in me.
In 1988, when Kirt had the accident that caused his disability, I became the more active, more dominant; I remember the pangs of growing into that role. I love that man with my whole heart and soul; it became my honor to lead our family.
I thought it made me strong; no, I always thought I was strong from the day I stepped out of childhood and refused to be a victim. I didn’t realize I was just a scared little girl putting on a brave mask.
We made it easy for me. Kirt was the best guy for me. His love wrapped around me like a hug. I panicked when he died. No one there to love, to love me like that, made me feel like I’d wither and die with the withering being the worse part.
Alone requires core strength. Alone requires knowing who the me, once part of we, is. I struggled for twenty months with that one, until I recognized the same old girl I always knew and loved her, too. Yes, alone requires self-love.
True self-love has nothing to do with the self-gratification of a me—me, I-I, narcissist. Refusing to be taken advantage of or to be the butt of someone’s joke, to stand your place in line without overreacting to slights would be my best example of self-love; that and an occasional spa treatment. Smile.
Alone, I’m getting the hang of it.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Time Marches, Change Happens

Working through the problems of the day may have opened my life to new possibilities. When the problem of the day is that somebody beat your dog in the middle of the night, probably on your property, that problem needs careful scrutiny.  

Sister of my heart, Adrienne has asked me to move in with her and her husband. My friends tell me I should go.
Jazz radio and the dogs to hang around with has become comfortable. I’m usually self-motivating, but since Kirt died my get up and go is a shadow on the horizon. My focus, lost to the lazy, hazy days of mourning, only spurts very other something or other.

My free ranging critters will need regular runs along the beach, if they are to live in small space. Playing with the dogs, that’s something I no longer do much. Play is good for the soul. I shall play again.

Darling Dominic, the new boy in my life, the brilliant Border Collie, took the position at my side. The other dogs and even the cat accepted him there. Training this love sponge will be fun. He’s rather willful, so lessons in manners are ongoing.
San Juan holds many options for entertainment. Live jazz in old San Juan on a sultry summer’s night, sitting down wind of a spouting fountain, those are the little things I could enjoy.
If I don’t strive for what I want, it will never happen. Here I’m not striving; I’m treading time.
Leaving the last home I shared with Kirt is unsettling. I don’t know if I can do it. For now, I’m going to look at it, as a change of scene short term. This is my home. I’ve never given up my home easily; not sure if that’s good or bad.
Chicken shit here is going to put her toes on the beach and in the world. God will take me, when it’s my time; meanwhile, I need to put on some big girl panties.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Life's Just Great; Thanks For Asking!

I haven’t cried in months, sad, but felt the healing. Kirt was cremated, but it’s like I’m the one in the coffin. I can’t get out.  
Bad things happened when Kirt was alive, but we shared our troubles, talked about them before deciding a course of action. He held me in his arms, when things overwhelmed me. It’s all on me and I don’t know what to do.  
The usual problems that plague us all seemed impossible to deal with after he died. I’m getting back to my old form of problem solving. I could handle it, when I had a flat tire on the way to the mechanic to replace the shocks and springs in my rear end. The auto parts store didn’t put the new tires on the front like I wanted. That upset me, but I handled it in a positive manner. I was ready to simply return to the store and speak to the manager without rancor, but my car still needed to go to the mechanic. Three days and more than a thousand dollars later, I picked up my car.
The next morning I enjoyed a ride to Ponce to attend a meeting of animal welfare advocates. The sun came up over the mountains as I cruised to my destination.
As the sun dropped, so did I, for I never found my destination. On the trip home my thoughts were positive. It just wasn’t meant to be. A lovely drive made time for thinking.
When I left at six a.m., the dogs all wanted back in the house. Usually I wouldn’t leave them all in for a long day, but they scurried past me and found napping spots so quickly; they won me over. As I said goodbye, I noticed that Blondie had a cut under one eye, a little swollen and a cut on the opposite rear leg. These dogs hunt, so injuries are common, but it looked like she ran into a pipe or something metal. On our little farm in Illinois I’d seen many types of injuries. I wondered about Blondie’s injury during the day.
About six o’clock, when I got home, Dominic, Lucky, Chi-Ping, Robert Redford, and Smoki streaked out the door. Where was Blondie?
“Blondie, come on good girl; let’s go outside!”
In my bedroom curled at the foot Blondie lay without looking up. Her cheek, swollen to the size of a soft ball, exposed the white of her eye; or has a muscular attachment been severed?

I can only wonder. On Sunday veterinarians, rightfully, charge more money. The worst part is that on Monday I still won’t have the money to pay a vet to look at her. The auto parts store and the mechanic have all my money.
Somebody beat the shit out of Blondie in the middle of the night. She’s lived here without an incident like this most of her nine years, so either it’s one of the new neighbors or a night walker.
From the time we moved to the island, we’d occasionally see a lone man walking down the road in the middle of the night. Things go missing. We felt safe because the dogs protect our long, steep driveway.

     You want to know something funny, ironic, funny?
Since Kirt died, I’ve been sleeping with the doors open. I wanted to die, but didn’t want suicide on my soul, so if someone killed me in the night, it was God’s will. Last night I closed and locked the doors with all of the dogs in the house.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sexism, Company Policy, or Lone Jerk

How do you handle it, when you buy new tires, you tell the counterman to put the news ones on the front and move the front tires to the rear, and they put your new tires on the rear?
I went back in the store. Mistakes happen, it would take no more than twenty minutes to rotate the tires. I told the counterman the tires should have been put on the front as per the work order in my hand.
Instead of an apology or we’ll take care of it for you, guess what he said. No, not you’ll have to come back tomorrow. I could have lived with that answer. This disrespectful old son looked me in the eye and said,
“It is company policy at Name Brand Auto Parts to put new tires on the rear.”
I point to the work order instructing them to put the front tires on the rear and the new tires on the front.
“I want my new tires on the front.”
He says, “Company policy.”
He walked away, dismissing me.
End of subject, you got the tires on the rear and that’s it; like it or not.
In the forty plus years I've shopped tires for my husband, a truck driver with four million accident free miles to his credit, I've never heard such crap. If you say put these tires I’m buying on the front; they go on the front.
The counterman even tried to justify putting the ones on the rear because the front wears them out more.
I looked at him incredulously; that’s why you want your new tires on the front. That he would attempt to promote this mistake by suggesting putting the new ones on the back would save them, made my jaw drop.
Hello, I buy better grade tires for my safety. My husband taught me to ALWAYS put the new rubber in the front. This isn't my first pit stop.
What could Name Brand Auto, what would they be thinking to have such a policy?
This is so ridiculous; I knew he was lying as it belched out of his mouth. How much closer can a vendor come to saying, FUCK YOU?
And, I didn't get my tires where they need to be. So into my busy day is another visit to the auto parts store, to get what I paid for.
I am annoyed, inconvenienced, insulted beyond measure; and I wonder, if this is one jerk or a corporate culture of not respecting their women customers.
What do you think? I’ll let you know after I meet the manager.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Say Goodbye Slowly

Four scrambled eggs, tomato and kale were two more eggs than she’d eat, but the other two were for the dogs. She bounced through the kitchen grabbing pan and olive oil for a good start to the day.
May fourteenth, twenty-two months to the day since her husband died became the day she crawled through the open window into her own world, where her animals spoke; and people, for the most part, only made sounds of aye, aye, I, I, me, me, you with no comprehension.

Did she go insane? She’d been through the dark night of the soul. No longer could she focus on words spoken, when wind whistled. All of her adult life she had known who she was, but this wasn’t that.
The dogs lined up in a sit with tails wagging and smiling faces hanging open. Treat would come with tasty grub for hard working, hard playing satos. She pulled the ticks off when they came home from forays into the countryside hunting or patrolling. They revered her kindness.

By the dogs’ body language she knew what they wanted. Only the Border Collie puppy, Dominic, questioned what she said. Treat knew how to handle puppies.
After a filling breakfast of omelet and kibble contented curs curled up around the house. She listened to the birds singing. This island home her husband loved had become hers. Peace, clarity were here.

Everything else, now, that was what felt strange, like when they speed up the action in a movie. How drained she felt after an afternoon in the people place! Being dogless bothered her, even if only for a couple of hours.
Over the last cup of morning coffee she thought about how much she missed her guy, but didn’t cry. All cried out? Or more to come? Who knows?
What’s the difference between bitter and resigned?
Pissed off.
At twenty-two months she grappled with acceptance.
Letting go had never been her forte.

Monday, May 11, 2015



Opens on an island in the Lesser Antilles. High white clouds hang overhead. The wind comes and goes. Dogs bark. Birds chirp.

A comfortable, but modest three bedroom, two bath concrete home on the side of a hill overlooking a lake cries for attention, like the lady inside.
Lethargy, the stalwart companion of don’t give a shit, prevents her from getting up and giving the house a good scrub.
She rallies regularly, only to succumb life’s little aggravations coming in healthy portions.
DO NOTHING SATURDAY is a gift she gave herself. Learning to be good to herself without becoming self-obsessed, to live a balanced life; this is her goal.  
Tuesdays dedicated to helping the street dogs, bringing her plan into focus.
Seclusion Sundays with writing and house work co-mingled.

A regular regimen at the gym, occasional movies and visits to the beach; you’d think she’d be happy. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Widow Twenty-Two Months

Twenty-two months ago on a Sunday, my husband died.
Missing him is my biggest pastime; doing things to attend the here and now is my second biggest pastime.
Bitter, mean old ladies, all of whom widows, I now understand you. 
When you've lost the best in your life, self-pity toxicity burdens your behavior. God, I don’t want to be one of those.
Thanks to all my friends and acquaintances, who told me how lucky I was in my hour of loss. I never before realized how deprived and miserable you were. Yes, I've been blessed.
Now, that that’s over, picking up the facets left in my life, I've taken inventory of what remains. Just don’t give a shit is clear winner. On the positive is my love for animals, especially dogs. My days are blessed with nature’s beauty. God did good work in this valley.
Other than sorely missing my man and being bored, lonely; I have no complaints. Not giving a shit makes it easier, but that’s so out of character for me. It feels uncomfortable. Sometimes I scare myself.
The people who were closest to me in this life: Kirt, Darlene, and Aunt Margaret left me here. Alone. 
Tell me what the lesson is! I hate this guessing.

This is it, Act III, so how does it go? Anybody out there know?