Comfort in his arms
soft kisses nuzzling my neck
Our backs arch to dance.
Thunder booms, fierce wind
Don’t be scared, my son, my love.
I will comfort you.
It is gray, gloomy, my mood matches what I see, another storm approaching wet, wintry, cold ice, it pushes my hopeful thoughts of Spring and red tulips further back in my exhausted brain. I long to paint my toes pink, to wear flip-flops that go clickety-clack on the street, even imagining that sound in my head makes me grin. Foolishly, I’m dreaming about back yard barbeques, the smell of food grilling, earning its succulent stripes, that charcoal smell, chicken, corn, cheese burgers, hot dogs. We always have way too much food when we have friends and family over for a BBQ: potato salad, coleslaw, fresh, crispy bread, four different kinds of cheese, at room temperature, salsa and bread, mozzarella and tomato salad with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh, fragrant basil. Hummus and pita triangles and fresh vegetables and dip for our own vegetarians. Potato chips, pretzels to tide us over, pasta salad too with veggies chopped up so fine you can barely see them. We’re always too full for dessert but that passes quickly. The dessert table includes: chocolate mousse cake for the chocolate lovers, vanilla and coconut cake freshly baked brownies, my home-made banana bread with chocolate chips and raisins, fruit salad, a cherry and apple pie. Marshmallows are a given; I like mine burnt completely on the outside, charred, the inside still gooey, runny and soft. Ice cream is in the freezer just waiting to jump out and join us.
I am so happy and…oh wait, I forgot. It’s still February and ice is hitting the windows like little rocks of torture. Reality is difficult. The gusts of wind are my enemy. Let me keep dreaming, please but I know I can’t. I don’t want to leave the house in this cold weather with my bones and muscles stiff. The tender points all over my body from Fibromyalgia are raw with pain, even if I brush against someone’s sleeve. Shoulders lifted, up high, stuck in tension, held in place like soldiers in the military, standing in front of their Sergeant, First Class, saying ‘Yes, Sir, No Sir.” On demand, feeling unnaturally stiff, not able to make a move, praying they won’t have to sneeze or cough. There is no room for error.
I am staying up late tonight, I smile because it’s my favorite time, 11:11pm.; what a gift to see that on my clock. Somehow, 11:11 AM just doesn’t do it for me. I miss sleeping deeply, the way I was able to do, now I sleep lightly and it is not restful. I don’t know if it’s aging or a medication or a phase but I don’t like it. Maybe if I stay up really late, my sleep will be deeper, my dreams fanciful and memorable, in shades of purple and pink and yellow. Of course, yellow.
It’s been a long winter already, and it continues, I know it’s just February but it seems like it’s been February forever. The weeks seem to go by fairly quickly but the months drag as if they are ground in cement. They drag on like a tired tortoise in heavy, deep, wet sand, barely moving a centimeter every few hours. I know the lesson, I do, we have no choice but to accept it even if we feel angry or impatient, Mother Nature wins. I need to slow down, my impatience will not do me any good. I will try another approach, perhaps I will make lentil soup or pea, start to read another book, listen to music and be grateful I can stay inside today, in a warm house, cooking, cleaning and stroking my red dog’s fur.
Spring will surprise us when it’s ready, not when we are, that we know for sure.
so tired I think my eyes are asleep, they are certainly half closed while i am typing this so forgive the e.e. cummings style, a wonderful poet.i feel like there are pieces of chalk in my eyes, the ones i used to use when I was a kid, outside on the street; thick pieces of multi-colored chalk sticks, pink, yellow, blue, white. they always got on our hands and clothes but they were great for hopscotch games and messages to the world. hearts and balloons and your best friends names. when i was little we had a tight group of friends, 4 of us that played together every day; our moms were great friends too. we played in an alley and our moms sat together on a little wall, talking, smoking cigarettes back then. in the summertime, we would run like crazy when we heard frankie and the Good Humor truck coming around the corner, his familiar voice shouting “Hola Amigo.” our very first Spanish words.we were so proud.
out of the 4 of us, I am still friendly with all of them since we are all in our fifties and have known each other since we were born. our lives live in each others memories, moments that one of us remember, we fill in each others blank stairs; we’re all very different. one guy is not much of a communicator, he sends a joke or two on line once in a while and every ten years we see each other on his big birthdays in July which is fun. the next one will be 6o ,wow that sounds so ancient yet it’s a mere jump. skip and dive into those frozen waters for me. I can’t just yet roll it around my brain or head and certainly not my tongue.not yet.
i could never understand people reading the obituary pages, what’s the point? my 85 year old mother started reading them with one of her friends a few months ago and now she does it every day. i looked at it once and the one time I looked i found our realtor dead, at a young age. or the age they said. she used to tell me about all the cosmetic surgery she would always have; there was no cause of death listed. I was shocked and saddened to see her familiar face on the page.you just don’t expect to know anyone when u glance at the page. i stopped reading after that one.
that’s what tonight has been like, looking at old photographs, too tired to get out of bed to pee, too lazy to go down to the kitchen and snack because i don’t want to change my feeling of warmth and safety from this 60 degree bonus day. we deserved this day, after super-s0aker Sandy and the snowstorm that followed. this tiny neighborhood has outtages every single year, except for this one, we were so very grateful.
thanks for giving us a break this year. we sorely needed it and was much appreciated. i need to save this and then save draft. and then, right away before you say anything else, i will be dropping my head on my cool pillow and try to go to sleep. peaceful sleep. good night.
Hello Sun, Good-bye Snow and Wind
I HATE being cold. I don’t like either extreme but if I had to choose I would rather be hot, glistening under the summer sun, sipping pink lemonade than freeze, slipping madly during an ice or snow storm. No matter how many old, supposedly, warm jackets I have I am still cold in the winter. I have wrapped myself up in scarves, layers of soft cotton, mittens and a hat….nothing helps. As some of you know the old, brown down jacket will be coming out, once again, from the closet to torture me for another winter. I don’t think there is a jacket or coat that can make me feel truly warm. If there was one, I would invest in it. Short of covering my face with a thick, soft multi-colored scarf, I’m never happy. If I burrow my face in my neck and turn the collar of my jacket up…..my feet freeze. I have bought the warmest socks and liners, fuzzy ugly boots and still……I’m never warm. If my feet finally get comfortable, my hands and fingers are like long icicles.There is ALWAYS part of me that freezes in the winter, and it’s a very long winter.
If it was up to me I would move to a warmer climate in a minute. Given that our children will both be in college soon it’s something to think about for the future if we are ever able to retire. That, could be a very long time in coming.
Ice torturing us with fear
Winter, Bloody Winter
It’s freezing, my hands hurt, they are red and raw. Soothing hand lotion just disappears into my aching pores but I can’t feel any difference or relief. Each finger is an individual icicle, stuffed into useless lined gloves. I can’t feel my toes they seem to have become webbed together because of this unnatural cold spell. I have four layers of clothing on underneath an old brown, tired winter jacket. I would actually prefer an old-fashioned snowstorm to these chilling, painful, low temperatures and hollering winds. With snow, trees, bushes and houses take on a life of their own. Everything looks innocent and bright. Pointy roofs are layered with glistening snow. Dogs happily romp in the snow, they run like deer performing ballet. It’s beautiful to watch; there is no beauty now. I can almost hear the roar of an impromptu snowball fight and the sound of children laughing. When I first go outside the wind hits my face like an unexpected, violent slap. The days are short, gray and abysmal. I shiver constantly; I hate feeling cold; my aging body agrees. Having Fibromyalgia makes the cold even worse. It’s colder than cold, my joints are stiff and I ache everywhere. Every move is accompanied by extra pain; life feels dreary. My body misses much-needed heat and my soul is deprived of sunshine.
“The Waltons” television show was a show during the seventies that I watched religiously. I loved the interaction of three generations living in the same house in the old days, eating meals together, without heat, without electricity, without modern day appliances and without complaint. Not so for my family. Two weeks ago, the county that I live in came head to head with a blizzard whose strength was overwhelming. Nobody thought it would be that bad…little did we know. We got about 21 inches of snow, heavy, wet snow and it snowed for days. Sometime during that first evening our lights started to flicker. Uh oh. They flickered again. This time we were feeling uneasy and doubtful. Sure enough, two minutes later, the lights dimmed, the electricity halted, the tv turned itself off and we were in our little house, feeling the heat escape rapidly, minute by minute.
I must say we were all calm. We had put our flashlights and candles together at the first flicker, thinking that we probably wouldn’t need them. The snow kept coming and the trees were getting very heavy with new wet snow. Some heavy branches were already kneeling down in the snow from weight. When we started to hear trees and branches breaking and hitting the window, we were justifiably scared. It sounded like something you could only imagine in the movies; but it was very real and terrifying. Whip, Crash, Shudder, the branches sounded like breaking glass as they threw themselves at our house.
We managed to get through the four (really long) days and nights with firewood, food and an afternoon with my mom. My daughter had a sleep-over for one night, which she practically had to beg for, and my son and husband who volunteer for the ambulance corp, were able to spend time in their quarters too. Even family members of the ambulance corp were invited. Luckily we had cell phones that were able to be re-charged. Interestingly, the absence of noise, brightness, computer screens, X-box was almost fun. Almost. I did miss listening to music but I read by the fire in the daytime and at night we huddled under our covers, blankets, sleeping bags, down jackets and pajamas. When it was just my dog and I home one afternoon, we lay against each other on the light green, navy, red squares of the carpet in front of the fire and cuddled; a sweet memory I am not apt to forget.
Our neighbors moved into their sister’s house, five minutes away in another town. All 4 grabbed their sleeping bags and left for the entire 4 days. I envied them at first, immensely. There was no question of where they would go, it was a given. In the beginning we were annoyed that no-one had invited US into their homes for the night, not to mention the duration of the storm. When I complained to my sister and mother we heard things like “well you should know you are welcome” and that angered us more. I was brought up NOT to ask but to wait for an invitation, especially knowing my mother and sister’s love (NOT) of overnight guests.
Our family stayed together, we froze together, talked together. Not a lot of that happens when school is in session and when everyone is so busy. There was no X Box, no computers, no music, no television. We sat, in front of the fire and talked, hearing the twigs crackle, the orange flames enveloping the logs, the night silent and still with utter darkness. The only light we had was the brilliance of the full moon in the sky that shined on us late at night.
When we awoke we saw that a large tree had crashed down through our fence and it lay suspiciously close to where my daughter’s room was. Two other trees were down and hundreds upon hundreds of branches. We were lucky, noone got hurt. We may have been cold, and cranky, we complained about the cold constantly and couldn’t wait for the electricity to come back up. When it did, 4 days later we were ecstatic. The heat turned on, the refrigerator buzzed, random lights went on, the music from radios blared and the silence ended. Even though we were freezing cold and we had no options, I think we won, staying here together. My children may yell and beg to differ but for me but I have to say, in retrospect, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Good night, John Boy.
I want to eat fattening foods like chocolate cake and tons of frosting with a large glass of milk, egg rolls that are crisp and greasy and amazing. Thick vanilla milkshakes that I can barely sip through a straw. I want pupu platters served to me with a little bit of everything fried. Prawns and cocktail sauce, sweet and sour meatballs, pigs in blankets; it’s beginning to sound like I want my Bat Mitzvah at the age of 53… I also want potato pancakes crisp and brown, with applesauce that has a lot of added sugar in it. I want surf and turf, a dish of melted butter for the lobster, Béarnaise sauce for the steak, Hollandaise sauce for the asparagus and I will add my own additional salt, thank you. And, I want the thick, steak cut French Fries that I saw yesterday when I was eating my meager salad, drinking ice water with lemon. I want to sit down for a 6 course meal at a restaurant where I don’t have to get up and out of my chair every 5 minutes to get someone something they want from the refrigerator. A napkin, soft drink, pasta, tomato sauce, knife, fork, jelly (ok,that’s for me) ketchup, steak sauce, spritzy red salad dressing and food for the dog with gravy from the turkey we roasted two days ago.
I want to not even have heard of the words calorie, carbs, obesity, camps for overweight kids (in the NY Times Magazine section) and plus sizes. And, I want that new company Pajama Jeans to buck up and make these for people larger than a size 0-2 or 10-12, same thing. I don’t want to join a gym or power walk or use a treadmill, stair master, rowing machine, and do free weights. I want to obliterate the word weight and the doctors in this country that are so obsessed with it. Give me a very large internist and sign me up for my physical. Not the skinny cold bitch internist that I have now whose “if- I- can- go- the- gym -at -5am- and- have -Dr. hours -and- be- a- single- parent- than- you- can -do- it -too.” Shut up you condescending bitch, I hate you, with your petite figure and dyed hair and expensive ensembles and the bedside manner of a tray of over-frozen ice cubes with freezer burn.
I want to stop denying myself all the GOOD food and screw you Weight Watchers you know you can’t eat everything on your meal plan. You want vanilla, coconut cake? Sure, have a crumb of coconut, that’s all you are entitled to, that will be 537 points, but it’s okay, you can have it. Enjoy. Enjoy, my ass.
I also don’t want to worry about every little thing that comes into my brain, every which way. I want to go to the Asian Fusion restaurant in my neighborhood for lunch with my friend that will last 3 hours and share jasmine tea that costs a small fortune. After that, I want dessert, lots of different types of desserts that I can savor for as long as I want. Strong, Starbucks coffee with a lot of steamed milk and Sweet N Low. This is my fantasy and that’s how I want it.
I will not walk off my meals nor will I exercise. I will go home and take a 3 hour nap and then wake up and the two feet of snow that has come down in the last day will be over and I will not see it again until I want to. Which might be never because I am sick and tired of cold weather that makes my bones ache and my mind feel claustrophobic. I will burrow under a down blanket, worn with age, and two more blankets on top of it and not come up until Spring.