Think I’ll Just Die Today

Beau hands me the phone, rousing me from an early-morning doze after a night of thunder, rain, hail, high winds and three hours without power so that we worried about the basement flooding because there’s no electricity to run the sump pumps.

“I don’t know who it is,” he says.

“Hello?”

The voice on the other end answers, “It’s me.”

I think, it’s Beau’s mom. That doesn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t he recognize her voice?

The voice continues, “Burly killed himself.”

“Inez?” Now I know who it is.

Fuckin’ Burly.

I’d been thinking of him yesterday, remembering a time in the passenger seat while we made our way in a four-wheel-drive out of their slippery snowy curvy long farm-driveway and I don’t remember what I said as he drove but he laughed and said “I like you.”
One time when I was staying at their place, he came home from working out of town for weeks or months and offered me his spot in his and Inez’s king-sized bed so that I would be more comfortable (than sleeping on the hide-a-bed). Of course I refused; as if I’m going to sleep with his wife while he sleeps on the couch!
And one night as I got ready to climb under the blankets on that foldout couch and he himself rose from watching TV to go up to bed, he walked over to the stairs and then turned and came back, kissed me lightly on the cheek, and went.

I’m walking around in a bit of a daze, processing this news, I guess, and trying to figure out how to be there for Inez. I will probably just literally be there; unless she specifically tells me not to go. She has a sister who lives close to her and the two of them are quite tight, so I imagine she’ll be looked after. And their three kids, though devastated, are with her, and they stayed at her son’s last night. Maybe I’ll be the one who stays with her when she has to sleep at their house again and figure out how she’ll move forward.

God damn it, Burly. We all knew you had a problem with alcohol but we thought liver disease would be what got you. Not this.

Here You Go, Pet

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In case your mail program is still not accepting certain items from me.

I’m just sitting down to work, thought I’d send that picture off to Sonnyboy, who’d appreciate it.

Tomorrow he receives his last monthly “spending money” cheque from me. He hasn’t been trying very hard to find a summer job, so I figure he can start dipping into his own savings account from now on. Maybe the thought of that balance dwindling will motivate him for the job hunt.

Well luvvies, life is good out here. I am reorganizing my walking program to be less of a pressure and more of a structured routine. It’s been a year since I began; I’ve paid myself almost $300, one at a time, as a reward for the daily walk. Now to decide what luxury to spend it on. A few months ago I was set on a roomba; in recent weeks my heart is leaning toward birdsavers for the Windows of Carnage.

I don’t plan to carry on with the reward system. Don’t think I need it any longer.

Bits ‘n’ Bites

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Thoughts over the weekend:

* There are so many beautiful things all around me. I am lucky.
* Whatever happens to one of us, happens to all of us.

So much for the profound revelations. Heh!

I was waking up during the night, finding myself stressed about work because not only is it demanding more of my time (my precious time!) but my colleague and I had been unable to get things operating as they need to in order for me to take over for her while she’s away on holidays for a month. Over the weekend I’d been searching online for help with the new computer program, and telling myself “All is well. Everything is resolving itself harmoniously.” And so it appears, as my colleague emailed me on Saturday with the message that she thinks she’s worked out the kinks. I’ll find out when I get onto the phone with her in an hour or so.

Sunday will mark seven years since Mom died. I didn’t get around to submitting a poem in memoriam to the local paper, as I’ve done each anniversary till now. Even after this much time, choosing a memoriam poem makes me cry. Still seems impossible that I’ve lived seven years beyond her. Unreal somehow; not right; something “off.”

Dad on the phone tells me he is lonely and missing his girlfriend; they are on speaking terms but are no longer a couple, as they found themselves irritated with each other far too often. He tries to explain what went wrong but can’t seem to put his finger on it. “She gets upset and won’t let anything go” and “She watches those shows like Survivor and American Idol.” I can almost hear him shaking his head, and his scorn of her (in his opinion) poor taste, and can well imagine why she gets upset with him sometimes. Who needs it? I see clearly where the pattern of feeling judged and scorned by the men in my life began.

One afternoon I walked to Beau’s parents’ place a mile down the road and stopped in for a quick visit. I sang happy birthday to his mom and, though I’ve noted the sameness of their build and their gait before, for the first time I saw a glimpse of Beau’s face in his dad’s, which I find quite unappealing. It gave me a chill: Will this be Beau someday? There are too many similarities between them, including some of their attitudes.

Tellin’ It Like It Is

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I’m thought of as headstrong.

People seem to say anything they want to me, assuming I can take it. Last week I met a work colleague for the first time, a man with whom I’ve corresponded professionally for six years. We ate a meal together and he said some things to me that were quite inappropriate for a man to say to a woman he doesn’t know very well; I took them in stride, though was a bit shocked that he’d be so foolish. I never let on that I was ruffled; I just accepted him as he was — expressive, emotional, and with little to no social filter — and, though I had been thinking of ways I could possibly give him more work of a slightly different nature than in the past, after that I realized he wouldn’t be diplomatic enough to do the job without compromising the public face of the company.

The other day I was talking to Dad on the phone when he said he doesn’t read my family blog every day because “All you do is talk about your dogs and your slough.” I laughed and replied, “That’s my life! What else am I going to write about?” and he agreed, remarking “Yeah, I guess if I had a blog it would be all about golf, and that wouldn’t interest everyone, either.” I acted like it was no big deal, like what he said was perfectly reasonable and even amusing — and it was — my laughter was genuine. But afterward I found myself thinking that was a bit of a prickish thing to say to me, even if it is the truth.

My life isn’t particularly exciting or dramatic most of the time, and I do wax poetic about the birds that come to my backyard slough, and my sweet little dog, and so on. It’s exactly the life I want, and I’m not likely to blog about politics or investment strategies or even world affairs, much as I hear about them on the radio.

Headstrong though I may be, his comment has thrown a clunker into the works because now I hesitate to post an entry. I know better: I know that I can only be who and what I am, and not anyone else, and that what I am is enough, thank you very much. No one is forced to read what I write; not everyone will; not everyone who does will be back; those who do appreciate a glimpse of my plain and contented life, they come back regularly.

But my own father thinks he can say something like that to me and it’s perfectly all right. He doesn’t mean to be rude or unkind or insensitive, yet he has been. I wonder whether he has always been this way, or if he’s becoming more this way as he ages, or if being “on the rocks” with his girlfriend lately has affected his general outlook. I have noticed in recent months that he is quick to take offence over small things that are not intended to damage; I wonder if he’s always been this way, or only now. As a matter of fact, I’ve responded, “You are getting old and crotchety, Dad!” Which goes to show, perhaps, that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to saying things that may upset others while thinking nothing of it, oneself.

One thing I learned from my father when I was a teenager was to speak the truth even if it creates conflict, because otherwise you are a coward, and some things need to be said and dealt with openly and honestly, and you have to force yourself to do it if you want to gain and maintain your self-respect.

Now in my fifties, I am learning that I don’t have to say everything just because I think it, and that there are some things that don’t need to be said at all, even if they are true. Sometimes there is no value in speaking them out loud. Sometimes other people’s feelings are more important than saying my piece.

Egg on My Face

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I read that if you have droopy upper eyelids, or wrinkles, egg whites applied to the skin tightens it up. So when I crack an egg some mornings, I dip my finger into the empty shell and smear a layer of egg white around my eyes. I always think I’ll wash it off after a while, but then I forget all about it.

At least once I’ve been in company and remembered the egg white on my face. No one’s mentioned it, so maybe it doesn’t show. But people are kind. They might see it and say nothing.

Not all people. I have one friend who would say anything critical (“All you ever talk about is your damn kids! Have you no life of your own?” she said to her co-worker one day) and thinks she has such a “way” of saying things that people are not offended. I beg to differ, and told her so: It’s just that they’re so shocked that they don’t know what to say, so they say nothing. I have reacted in exactly this way to her rudeness, many times over the years.

One day we sat side by side against the south wall of my house, having a smoke. The conversation got onto hands and I mentioned that Petra had recognized mine in a photo of a group of women with our hands on a kitchen counter; that she’d remarked she could tell they were mine because of the way I hold them.

In comparison to the hands of many women, mine are quite small. My smoking buddy had never noticed. I mentioned the Saturday Night Live character who has the tiny, tiny doll hands. My buddy looked at mine and said “Ew! You’re right!” It was the first time it ever occurred to me that my hands are so small they could look deformed.

I don’t think they do. I hope not. But if they were/are, and I asked Petra about it, I know what she would say: “No they’re not! They’re nice little hands! They’re just right!”

Not necessarily because they are nice and just right, but because she is either kind to the bone, or sees me with loving eyes no matter what, or maybe a combination of both. (And her hands are roughly the same size!)

And while I value friends who tell the truth as they see it, I value even more a friend who sees egg on my face and tells me it looks good on me. Gotta love that.

It’s the Little Things

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When Beau sets a cup of coffee on my bedside table in the morning to wake me up, I appreciate it. When he leans over the bed and kisses me goodbye, or even just calls out “Bye!” before going out the door, I feel cared for. When he phones home before leaving town to ask if there’s anything I need, I think he is the most considerate man in the world. When he calls to tell me he’s going to work another hour and be late for supper, I feel respected.

I wonder if he realizes how important these small gestures are to me?

I wonder if there are small gestures I make that matter to him, make him feel loved.

Then there are the words that fall out of someone’s mouth almost as an afterthought, but which stay with me, that I hang onto with some hope. For instance, I was at Petra’s home and we were talking about our faces aging. She was saying that she didn’t like the vertical lines that have appeared above her upper lip.

“You don’t have them,” she said, and I replied “I will; I’m only a year behind you.”

She said “I wouldn’t worry if I were you; you’re beautiful!”

I know we say such things out of kindness, and that she is my dearest friend and sees me with loving eyes, and that I’m not beautiful; as a matter of fact, when I hold up a hand mirror to look at my face from the side, reflected in the wall mirror, I have to chuckle a bit because my face reminds me of E.T.’s (remember him, the Extraterrestrial?) if E.T.’s face was flat. My chin seems to recede a bit now, too. It ain’t pretty.

Yet my friend thinks I’m not too frightening. So maybe … maybe … maybe I don’t look the same to others as I do to myself? One can only hope.

And Life Goes On

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An old friend from high school came out yesterday afternoon so I took a few hours off to visit with her, and worked in the evening instead. We sat at the table, drank a bottle of white wine, and nibbled on crackers and cheese. And yakked. Too bad I only see her a few times a year.

Beau has been so very normal and pleasant for several weeks now … it is such a relief when no one is snapping and growling in my vicinity. This is the way I want it to always be. I am perfectly content. Is it possible that my (admittedly imperfect) practice of the Law of Attraction is paying off?

Today — this moment, actually — I should be working, because I’m going to town this afternoon for a massage and won’t be logging hours as usual here at my desk. Afterwards I’ll pick up Sonnyboy and take him out for supper after we get groceries, his favourite pastime. He’s not coming out to the farm this weekend because his household is going to a dance tomorrow night. This is a good thing. But I’m doing the mother/son outing anyway because … just because.

I could live on fruit smoothies, I think. Except that when I get a migraine, Beau preaches: “There’s no protein in a smoothie.” How much protein does a girl need, I wonder, in a day. Wish I knew these things. Have been throwing a big handful of fresh spinach into the blender with each smoothie mix; that’s good, right?

Even when I think I’ve eaten plenty, Beau pronounces that I haven’t eaten enough and that this is surely the reason I get migraines. I point out that not everyone has his voracious appetite. And I’m not skin and bones, so obviously I do eat enough.

Right now I’m trying to fix on dates to go to Toronto for two days of training for work. He wants to come with me, but it’s going to cost him $1000 for his plane ticket, lose him $1000 worth of working days when he is so busy that it’s crazy to leave, and then the trip is still at a time when he should be here because calves are beginning to be born, field work is soon to start up, and water has begun coming into our two basements so sump pumps have to be checked regularly. And while I’m working, he will have to find ways to fill the two days alone, and there is no one and nothing in Toronto that he particularly wants to see.

If I were him, I’d stay home, work, save my money and go somewhere I really want to go, at a more convenient time. Frankly I suspect that since I am such a man magnet, the real reason he wants to come along is to guard his gal from marauders. Ha!

Strange Thing That Happens


Got home from my sister’s about 5:30 and thought I’d better go for a walk, since I haven’t for two days. Headed north to my usual turning point, then back past our driveway and south toward the corner, keeping up my usual good clip and enjoying the birds overhead (snowgeese flocks, blackbird flocks, the odd redwinged blackbird in a tree) and the sun when it came out from behind a cloud.

Then suddenly, before I reached the ravine, I ran out of steam, felt absolutely exhausted, like I could just sit at the side of the road and rest. This happens to me every once in a while and strikes me curious: am I too hot? Have I not drank enough? Eaten enough? What?

Tonight I turned back and slowly dragged my ass home, and ate and drank something immediately. Felt fine, but wonder what the hell is going on.

Another Anniversary

Today is one year since Grandma died. I barely remembered, and when I did it was too late to get a memoriam verse into the local paper this week. Sent one in time for next week’s issue:

Till roses lose their petals,
Till the heather has lost its dew,
Till the end of time, little Mother,
We will remember you.

Hard to believe it’s already been a year. They really do fly by as you get older, and not necessarily because you’re having fun.

Looking for something to post in my online journal about it, I started flipping through old handwritten journals for a letter from Grandma. Thought I could scan it for an entry. Didn’t find one (though there must be many), but did end up reading my own journal entries and letters for the months before Mom died and the time of her death. Now am feeling wrung out.

Must go somewhere, out in the sunshine, maybe go see my sister at her new house.

Moment of Weakness

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As you know, Beau usually brings a cup of coffee to me in the morning, which works better than any alarm clock.

He also makes his own breakfast, and this morning even asked me if I wanted an egg. I said no, of course, for who can look at food the minute they get out of bed? Not me; he wakes up ravenous.

Recently he bought half a pig, so has been frying up bacon at breakfasttime, and I’ve asked him to fry up a couple slices for me at the same time because it’s a treat and I won’t bother doing it myself later, when I have a smoothie.

After he’s eaten this morning I’m at the table having coffee and he says “There’s bacon for you.” We reach the stove at the same time and as I reach for a piece, he takes and gobbles down the other, last one!

I said, “What the …? You are selfish and a glutton.”

He’s insulted. He’s already eaten his fill, yet had to take the last piece practically out of my mouth, and thinks that’s normal.

“I’m selfish?” he gasps, disbelieving.

“And a glutton,” says I lightly, and then add “Dad.” His dad once sat at our supper table when there was one glass of milk left in the carton, and said to the smallest child, “You can have water” and poured the milk into his own glass. I wasn’t impressed and neither was Beau, who unfortunately manifests a number of his father’s least impressive characteristics in spite of himself.

And that was that. Beau left the house without another word and I thought he was gone for the day. I wasn’t worried about any of it and didn’t think he was either, until he came back in and wasn’t speaking to me. I guess his feelings were hurt. Or maybe he was just ashamed of himself.

I did realize, upon sober second thought, that he’s no more selfish or gluttonous than anyone else, myself included. He just had a moment of weakness, where the built-in human trait of selfish gluttony got the best of him.

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