Seeking Paradise OR Grieving Does Not Have A Time Schedule

Vegetables in a grocery store, Paris, France.

Vegetables in a grocery store, Paris, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m lying in my bed, still in my pajamas, it’s almost three o’clock in the afternoon. My husband and I had planned to go out to dinner tonight but there is no way in hell I’m going. He thinks I will change my mind. He tries guilt “but I’ m going to be disappointed….” Apparently he doesn’t know me as well as he thinks he does. I do not like to go out when I  feel blue.  I will not step out of my house today unless there is a fire, even then, I would find a cozy corner for me and my red dog that seemed safe enough. I would protect her.

Sometimes I get delayed reactions to things, things that I THOUGHT I had handed well, or maybe this is just a blip in the radar. I used all the right buzz words, “when one door closes another opens” I was practically playing Mother Abbess role singing out loud to “Climb Every Mountain” from “The Sound of Music.” Not now. I’m stuck in mud, not the kind that you can joyfully wade through and play in but the one you feel where you feel trapped in cement and cannot move. Yes, it will change eventually, Patience is not one of my virtues.

This is too familiar we’ve gone through this before. My husband got laid off from his job, I know it’s not his fault, the state of the economy is horrific. His age, doesn’t help, I’m quite sure. He is probably competing with 22-year-old youngsters, bright and bushy-tailed. that will accept less money. It’s those of us who are in-between that suffer the most.

Call us “Baby Boomers,” call us “Empty Nesters” but pretty much, call us what we are: F—ed. We’re taking care of or worrying about our remaining living parents, we have children in college, and we have no idea what to do ourselves. Where should we live? Should we stay, move twice, do nothing? Stress! I live in a town whose school systems excel, one that my kids both graduated from. The taxes are high but the thought of moving twice makes my blood curdle at the thought. I like a town that is peaeful, not divisive, where we help each other, not fight.

The only good thing for my husband and me is that we ARE open to moving, anywhere. If my husband got a job offer in California we would definitely consider it.(Sorry, kids) But, what are the chances?  Right now not very high at all. Besides, no matter where we end up, our children will ALWAYS  have a home. That’s one thing they never, EVER, have to worry about.

The days now are dreary, cold and grey. Wind is chilly and goes right through my winter jacket. I despise going out when the sun sets around four pm, even the grocery store is dull with its flat vegetables and fruit. I miss plums and peaches, cherries and magnificently bright-colored fruit that made summer so cheery. The ripe taste, juice dribbling down your chin, laughing. I’m stuck, we’re stuck and there really is nothing we can do about it.

I know, I’m procrastinating on writing my book. True. That is one thing I SHOULD do. It’s one thing I COULD do and have in my control. That, and what I eat. Food you can also control. I don’t have an eating disorder but it feels good to be able to control something. Yes, things will change, I need to be patient but it is okay to be sad. Dwelling on it, that’s a whole other story, I don’t want to go there. Tonight, I dearly miss my children, I can’t wait to see them in a few weeks, even when they make fun of me, especially when they make fun of me. At least, I will laugh.

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I’m Cranky, No, I’m Sad, Whatever…..

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets (Photo credit: Bill Gracey)

I want to slap people, well, not really.  I’m disappointed in people: in general and specifically and now there is nobody I want to be around except my auburn colored dog, Lexi.  It’s not as if anyone has done something horrendous but it seems a lot of people (okay, women my age) are going through a lot of “something-something” (as my friend Barbara would say) at the same time. Kind of a later mid-life crisis for women, different from when we turned 30 or even 40. This is worse, this is mid-life crisis on steroids or acid, maybe both.

Yup, I said it. First I just felt cranky and after a bit, I felt lonely. All along I thought those words were antonyms when in fact, they feel like synonyms today, they are definitely connected. I could blame these moods on a lot of things, certainly the beastly weather. This unbearable heat and humidity for the last week has everybody miserable but I think I would be doing myself a disservice. I’m not sure that answer would be entirely honest. It definitely has an impact on how I feel physically, Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups, IBS, not sleeping well, feeling out of sorts, all are true, but there’s definitely an emotional component as well.

I want to crawl and hide someplace where no one can find me. I want to be on a path, in the woods where I can find my peace, in Nature where nobody will hurt me, I trust animals, I don’t trust people; not anyone. Everyone’s history has its secrets, its shame, hurt, heartbreak. In nature there is innocence, love, and peacefulness. I want to move to a little red cottage in the woods somewhere where nobody can hurt me. Again.

Today is July 4th and here is one time where I want to be social and go to a barbecue. The one family who intimated they wanted us to come over apparently forgot, changed their minds or life got in their way. We’re not invited to anyone’s barbecue basically because every year my husband and I host the barbecue ( Thanksgiving,  parties etc). I’m tired of being taken advantage of and being the one that hosts the numerous meals for friends and my family. I’m right here, I’m not invisible, look at me. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it could be a pizza on paper plates, it’s the effort and the manners and the feeling of being wanted. I’m both cranky and and lonely, it’s a tough combination.

I told everyone at the last big gathering that “I’m now on strike.” So while I am fantasizing about a Hebrew National hot dog, sizzling on the grill, plumped to perfection and lying in a soft bun covered with mustard, I will be here trying to forget other people’s broken promises and talking myself down from being way too sensitive. Everything is alright, I have to make it alright, I have no choice.

There is only one thing that is a guaranteed fix. Works every time. (No, NOT drugs or alcohol ) The one movie I love more than life itself: The Sound Of Music. It fixes me, I can’t resist singing every song (knowing every word to every song) and relaxing while watching it. So, today while you are eating S’mores and drinking beer, sweating in the horrendous heat and humidity, I’ll be here, on my bed, in air-conditioned splendor singing along with Maria and the Von Trapp Family Singers with my dog Lexi, on my lap.

My Favorite Old Movie

“The Hills Are Alive..”

The Sound of Music is my favorite old movie, I think it came out in the early sixties. Though I have to admit I feel terribly old to think that this would be considered an “oldie but goodie.” Wasn’t it just yesterday that I watched this in the movie theater with my dad holding my hand and handing me buttery popcorn?

The Sound of Music to me is a feel-good movie. There are elements of love, friendship, betrayal, romance, war and fighting for the right to be free. When I feel down I watch this movie and I have to admit, it makes me feel better. I  know every word verbatim. As for the songs? I could give a concert! My dream? To go to a Sing-Along-Sound-of-Music showing; I would be so happy just to be able to sing every song out loud.

The Sound of Music

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The Tree Of Life – Movie (Pop Cop)

"Tree of Life"

Image by Will-travel via Flickr

What does Jurassic Park, LSD and The Discovery Channel have in common?  They’re pretty much all in the movie called The Tree Of Life. I know, some people are oohing and ahhing over this film like it’s the second coming of The Sound of Music but frankly, it is not. It’s one weird ass long film and even though the effete intellectual snobs are calling it magnificent, I must disagree. A little. I have to say that part of it is magnificent in a visceral way.

Yes, the images and photography are fabulous but there are so many of them one after another, you get lost. And after about an hour I was looking at my watch which is NEVER a good sign. The movie opens with chanting in the background or angels singing or music you might hear in church. Don’t get me wrong, it’s melodic and beautiful and with it come quick images of molecules and lava, sperm and egg, church windows and creation of life images. They are amazing to look at and even though the movie is really long, part of me wanted to watch it in slow motion to savor each image but that would have taken the entire day and night.

Images of brothers, butterflies, baseball and bubble baths abound. The story takes place in the 1950’s in the Midwest where Brad Pitt stars as the stern, mean father. Jessica Chastain  is the nurturing mother and of all characters, I would have liked to see her character developed. I never did see Jessica Chastain before this movie but I’m impressed. Where has she been all our lives? With her beautiful red hair and her ivory skin she is amazing. I think now that this movie is out she has catapulted into stardom. One might say that there is no more character development for a mom in the 50’s but you want to know more about her other than that she is the fun parent, dancing, whirling and nurturing her children. She will go far, if she hasn’t gone far already.

Was I supposed to know that the big dinosaur beating down on the little dinosaur was supposed to portray the father beating down emotionally (physically too?) on his son(s). Was I to infer that the people on the beach (or wherever they were) in the end was meaningful and significant in a clear-cut kind of way? Heck no.Where exactly were they? The beach, heaven, Honolulu? It’s one (pretty) question mark after the other with very little dialogue and not much character development.

Yes, it’s pretty. It’s beautiful to watch ( for the most part.) Not always easy to understand. Pretty does not a magnificent film make. I’ve heard stories of people leaving the movie theaters during the movie and demanding their money back and I’ve heard of people who think this is the best movie ever made, that it was brilliant in every way. I would put it right in the middle.

In my audience, an artsy theater with plush red seats, no one said anything. When the lights were back on people looked at each other with question marks on their faces. The last person out of the theater was a middle-aged couple;  the woman turned to her husband and asked “what did you think?” He said “good!” She turned back to him, laughed, and said “You really didn’t understand a thing, did you?” He guffawed and admitted he did not; luckily she did not either.

That sums up the film in so many ways. It’s beautiful, confusing, long, magnificent, boring and asks but does not answer questions about the creation of life or death. It creates questions that are never answered. Too many things about the family are left out. A line from the movie was: “the way of nature, the way of grace, you have to choose.”If you understand that, great. If you don’t, join the club.

Cheer-Me-Up Music (Don’t Bring Me Down)

Bruce Springsteen

It really depends on what I am feeling down about. First choice,  Bruce Springsteen gets me singing and rocking, rocking and rolling. You can count on him to elevate your mood; he’s better than Prozac. His music can get you out of your misery by the sheer joy of singing to his music. I even saw him in concert once, the best performer ever (Thanks, Claudine.)

When I need comforting and want to reminisce about the past and easier times it’s John Denver who comforts me. I think about high school and my friend Paula and our mini John Denver fan club. We were young, life was good, we just didn’t know it back then. Now we look back and remember the easiest time of our lives and probably the happiest. We lived, and breathed his songs, we argued endlessly about his lyrics, we had a crush on him. Hey, it was the 70’s, don’t judge! John Denver represented young people, happiness, nature and good times. When he died prematurely, we were crushed.

Also, old stand-byes like Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and of course, The Sound of Music are guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.

More recent cheerful music includes: “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, “hey tonight’s gonna be a good, good night, woo-hoo,” Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine.” I really could go on and on but instead, I think I will put on iTunes and listen to some music, right now.

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