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I’m very depressed today – meh.  It happens.  So what does the average girl do when she’s depressed?  C’mon, you know….that’s right!  She goes SHOPPING! 

Won’t you join me on a little spree?

Satan Butter Handmade Soap – what can one say?
www.hogmalion.com

Enema Bag pin or earrings – but you can only get the butt as a pin.
www.lunaparc.com

Bungee Jumper Man Bird Feeder – would I feel bad as he was consumed?
www.iwantoneofthose.com

Gentleman’s Nose Hair Trimmer – could be for ladies as well, I suppose.

The Gravitational Force of Breasts in Physics – or something like that – hey, don’t blame me, I was taught physics by a fiddle-playing ex-nun.
wwww.thatsbizarre.co.uk

The Wine Rack – enhances your figure AND allows you to smuggle alcohol into sporting events or concerts!

Christopher the Scab with his Bandage Friend – they’re practically inseparable.
www.baronbob.com

I don’t like shoes, and I’m not Jewish, but I couldn’t resist.
www.stupid.com

Cane Toad Leather Shoulder Bag – this would probably deter purse snatchers.
www.roopooco.com

Black Playing Cards – for those morbid Solitaire-playing days.

Hand soap – literally.  Pretty creepy, huh?
www.freshtrend.com

Fallen Angel – handmade, and she’s actually NOT a doll.
www.etsy.com

Squishable stress egg – bounces back every time.
www.amazon.com

Well, that should clean out the coffers for tonight.   Thanks for coming along.

Today’s guest poet – Pablo Neruda

Sonnet XIV

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

One of my favorite spontaneous questions to ask is, “You can pick anything, from anywhere in the world – what would your last meal be?”  It takes people aback and it makes them think about the best taste or the best emotion that they have attached to food.  I’ve found that people truly are divided into two camps – the ones who focus on tastes that struck them as orgasmic, and the ones who focus on sentimental foods that their mother made.  Perhaps that’s partly dependent on how good a cook one’s mother was.

(bottom image courtesy of www.jgfreedman.com)

Now, for me, if I were on death row and they had to get me whatever I wanted, they’d need some notice, as they’d have to fly some dishes in.  And I tell you, I’d be an absolute glutton.

My last meal would consist of (as a start):

Fresh Mango

Seared Ahi Tuna appetizer from the Blue Crab Lounge in Chicago

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich from the Crab Pot in Surf City, NC

Seafood Pasta from Foxy’s on Jost van Dyke

Fried Clam Strips from the Breezeway, Topsail Beach, NC

Guacamole and Chips from Zamas in Tulum

My very own Better Than Sex Soup  (they’d have to give me access to a kitchen)

My Mother’s Country Style Steak (though she’d have to be resurrected to make it, since neither I nor E-Bro have quite gotten it to turn out like hers)

Biscuits and Gravy from Dot’s Diner in Boulder

Shrimp and Grits from the Pink House in Savannah

Kentucky Fried Chicken (original recipe)

(Extra) Pepperoni Pizza from Pizza Colore in Boulder

Key Lime Pie from Rhymer’s in Cane Garden Bay, Tortola

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes from a now-defunct Chicago restaurant whose name escapes me

A Butternut candy bar

Coconut water straight from the coconut

Veuve Clicquot (Orange Label) Champagne

Special Label Mojitos (it’s okay if I get drunk for my last meal, you know)

Apparently, it’s also okay if I go to the chair weighing 300 pounds.  They’ll just need to be sure that Old Sparky is extra-sturdy.

I’m sorry not to have a curry on the list, but I haven’t yet found one worthy.

A few notable last meals received (which, in reality, are not always what was requested):

Dobie Gillis Williams (Louisiana): Twelve candy bars and some ice cream.

James Edward Smith (Texas): requested a lump of dirt (request denied).

Odell Barnes (Texas): Justice, Equality, World Peace (request denied).

Philip Workman (Tennessee): He asked that a large vegetarian pizza be delivered to a homeless person in Nashville, but the prison denied his request.  However, many in the Nashville area fulfilled it.

Ricky Ray Rector (Arkansas): Steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and a pecan pie — which he did not eat, because he said he was saving it for later.

Victor Feguer (Iowa): requested a single olive with the pit still in.

If you’re interested in the actual last meals of death row inmates, you can find them here: http://deadmaneating.blogspot.com/.  Morbid, but fascinating.

And for lighter fare, check out My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals by Melanie Dunea and Last Suppers: If The World Ended Tomorrow, What Would Be Your Last Meal? by James Dickerson, both available at www.amazon.com.

But in reality, very few of us get to cherry-pick our last meals.

My paternal grandmother died at age 90.  The last few months of her life, she ate almost nothing.  Except she still loved chocolate.  My parents tried to get her to eat something healthy, but at some point they asked themselves “Why?” and gave up the fight.  She was 90 years old, for heaven’s sake, let her eat what she wants.  And so she did.

I cared for my Mother in her last 10 days or so, and could get her to eat very little, as much as I tried to tempt her.  But during her last few days, it was so difficult for her to swallow, she wanted nothing but Dibs – those little chocolate-covered ice cream nuggets that she could melt in her mouth, and then, finally, on the last two days, nothing but orange sherbet.  She loved it.  When she couldn’t really find the right words, she would just waggle her tongue at me to feed her a spoonful, and then sigh with pleasure.  It’s a nice memory.

I hope my last meal doesn’t come too soon.  There’s a lot of world to eat out there.  But next time you feel the dinner party/first date conversation flagging, try the question – it’ll make everybody think.

Don’t worry, I’ll get back to seashells tomorrow – it takes more research than you’d think!  I love doing research for that kind of stuff.  Come to think of it, I’ve always liked doing research for term papers and such.  It’s like hide-and-seek or detective work – which are rather similar, aren’t they?

I watched Deadliest Catch this afternoon while working out.  The Captain used to like it, but I had never seen it.  The skipper of the Wizard, Keith Colburn, looks and talks a lot like the Captain, so it’s kind of nice to watch.  But in the episodes I caught today, Captain Phil thought he had a punctured lung and spent considerable time contemplating his own mortality.  I found that interesting, ironic and foreshadow-y, considering his death from a stroke this past February.  I wonder if the two were related?  At any rate, he seemed like a really good dude, someone I would have liked, and his passing, which I took note of in February even though I’d never watched the show, saddens me.

I woke up so incredibly depressed this morning. I feel better now, after the workout and getting out a bit, but I swear I could have just sat on the couch zoning out in front of the TV forever.  I attribute this to several things.

1.  Getting so sick right when I was gearing up to start my new business was a very bad thing.  I lost a lot of momentum.  And I am having a very difficult time getting it back.  Hey, didn’t I whine about this just last week?

2.  It’s hard for me to work at home.  Since I’m not good at keeping in touch with friends, I find myself very isolated.  I don’t miss going to work everyday, but I do miss interacting with people.  Perhaps a part-time job at Starbucks is not a bad idea.  Isn’t barista a transferable skill?At least I will be sure to go write at coffeehouses this week, just to get me out of my own house.

3.  The lack of income makes me feel unsafe.  Yes, I have enough to live on for a while.  But just as I was tired of working so much and taking care of everybody, I find that even taking care of just me is a real drain on my soul.  I have always been so independent that this feeling is truly alien for me, but catch myself tearing up, lamenting my lost childhood, where someone else was taking care of me and I was always safe.  Not that I want to find a man to take care of me, but … but … oh, I don’t know.  It doesn’t matter.  It is what it is.

I have no plane ticket in hand.  I HATE it when that happens.  Kelsea and I are planning to drive to Topsail this year, which should be an experience and a half.  But I was toying with the idea of a month in Paris.  Why not now?  If not now, when?  OK, how about a week in Sanibel Island?  But this is where the lack of income becomes a huge boil on my spirit.

Duke is in the Elite 8.  I don’t watch basketball, but my parents loved it before they died (and perhaps still – who can be sure about the afterlife?), and they were hardcore Dukies.  So I pay attention to March Madness in their honor.  They’d have been so pleased and excited.  And my Dad, with his West Virginia roots, would have been happy about that team as well.

Why is it so often cold on weekends but warm during the week?  And why, since I am not working (how weird is that?) should it matter to me, as a weekday is the same as a weekend?  Old habits die hard.

Once again, I have missed the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington. This year was the perfect opportunity, as E-Bro had so generously offered to fly Kelsea and me out for Spring Break.  But I couldn’t justify the other expenses just now, so I sadly declined.  Her Spring Break hasn’t worked out the way either of us thought, but at least she hasn’t had to go to school.  A promise: Cherry Blossom Festival next year for sure.  Life’s too short.

That’s just it in a nutshell, isn’t it?  Life’s too short.

There are two kinds of people in the world: people who love seashells and people who could not possibly care less about them.  I am (as you might imagine) the former, and I simply cannot comprehend how anyone could be the latter.  Countless times, as I have wandered beaches looking at and through piles of shells, I have seen people walk over those same piles with an absolute unconsciousness.  Don’t they know that they are trodding on treasures, crushing gems from nature beneath their calloused soles?

Many a day, I returned from a morning beach walk with a sunburned and aching back and a bag full of shells – if I’d had the foresight to take a bag with me.  Otherwise, it was handfuls, with more  stuck in the entryways of whatever swimsuit I had on.  When I was little, my mother and grandmother were the ones with the sore backs – guess I was closer to the ground and more flexible in those days.

When I was little, we took the train to Florida to see my grandparents.  As I think about it, I know that we saw the sea there, but it doesn’t strike me as my first memory of seeing the sea.  I think it’s because we were on a gulf beach and there were no waves.  I do remember that we spent the day on a beach that sort of jutted out in a little peninsula, and my mother told me that on one side of the peninsula, where we were, the water was gentle and calm, but on the other side, the water was colder and had a current that could pull me away from the shore.  I didn’t go in the water much at all, but E-Bro did, with my mother.

We gathered up so many shells – my brother found a hammerhead shark washed up on the beach, and we found several huge horseshoe crab shells.  We packed up a lot of shells in our suitcases and carted them back to North Carolina.  But once we got them home, the stench was overwhelming.  Clearly, we had brought home a few that still had some animals living inside – and they hadn’t enjoyed the train ride.

I must have been very small on that trip, because we hadn’t been to Topsail yet, and we went to Topsail when I was 7 (I think).  But after that trip, I was hooked on shells.  Mother would take me to the library at Duke, to one particular set of stacks that housed more biological science books.  I can remember the room, but I can’t remember what building it was in.  These stacks held shelves and shelves of books about seashells.  On very rare occasions, I was allowed to check one out to look at the pictures. (The good thing about being a librarian’s daughter is that your parents never had to worry about you not being careful with books.)  My favorite was a large book written by a man who had travelled the world, spending months on remote deserted islands, gathering shells.  One page would have a large picture of a rare and beautiful shell against a black background, and the facing page would be his account of where he found the shell and what he knew about it.  That was what I decided I wanted to do – be him.  Or rather, travel the world to remote desert islands collecting shells.  I was  slightly disillusioned when my mother told me that he had to collect the shells with the animals still inside and remove (a.k.a. kill) the animals – I felt bad for the animals.  But that was probably my first career goal – to be a beachcomber.

When we started going to Topsail and to Hatteras, I collected so many shells it was unbelievable.  I was completely indiscriminate, and my Mother literally did not get rid of the boxes and boxes of shells in the basement until she sold the house almost 35 years later.  Neither of us could bear to part with them.  Though she tried.  And eventually, we did.

Shell collecting at Hatteras was different from shell collecting at Topsail. 

Surprisingly, even though the distance between the two points on the North Carolina coast is only about 150 miles, the beaches offer a diversity of shells.  Hatteras, likely due to its rough waters and extended location into the Atlantic, is (or used to be) a repository for conch and scotch bonnet shells, amazingly intact and rarely found farther south. 

Topsail, on the other hand, held shark’s teeth, scallops, drills and other tiny shells that my Mother so loved.

While the north end of Topsail Island is now fully (over) developed, in the early 70s, it was barren and windswept, with only the remnants of some naval activity visible in old bunkers and metal hulls.  I remember the first time we walked out on the beach, so different from the beach just a few miles up the road, I looked down and found one of the rarest shells I have ever found.  The next trip, my grandmother found a Lion’s Paw – I was so jealous.

When I moved North for college, one of my first “important” boyfriends gave me a shell that he had found on a beach in Israel, and strung it on a gold chain for me.  I wore that even after we broke up, until I went back home for the summer, and found myself next to the ocean.  It was as if I needed to have a little piece of the sea with me at all times. 

And one of the most special gifts Pat ever gave me was a gold cast of a seashell from Topsail that I wore on a chain – it was his own idea, which made it even more special.

On a trip to South Padre Island, in theory to visit my father-in-law before he died, I recall making one of my first and favorite “executive decisions” to buy a small shell-framed heart-shaped mirror for our house.  I think I’ll bring it with me to my house.  Ex-Pat will never miss it.

When Kelsea was born, she went to Topsail when she was 9 months old.  She’s gone every year since.  Up until her time in Wales and Ireland, it was her “happy place”.  Much to ex-Pat’s chagrin, she is as enamored of seashells as I am, though I have helped her temper for collecting tendencies so that they are much more manageable.  And I have also reached a point where I am quite discriminating in the shells that I gather at Topsail.

But once I started travelling to the Caribbean, the urge to beachcomb returned with a vengeance, as there were new and unusual shells on the beaches of the BVIs and Anguilla.  With the exception of the conch that I found and smuggled home, most of them were mercifully small, and colors I’d never seen before – orange, purple, green.  They now live in small, special bowls in various niches in my cottage.

But even on my last trip to Anegada, I wandered the shores with my hands full, not having the foresight to bring something to carry my treasures in (other than an empty beverage cup).  Though I outsmarted myself by finding flotsam that could be used as a container.  I was so proud of my little self!

I still have dreams (actual nighttime dreams) of wandering shell-rich beaches, collecting treasures beyond belief.  And I’d be lying if I said that shelling is not a factor in considering which beaches around the world to visit.  Eventually, I’ll make it to Sanibel Island, my childhood fantasy.

Enough for today, but tomorrow, I will treat you to a treatise on the many roles the shell has played in many cultures.

And I will leave you with the mental image of the return of the catamaran on which I took my first snorkel trip; they had a tradition of allowing each of us to blow a conch shell to announce our arrival into the harbor.  My honk was kind of feeble, but with the sun setting on the hills of Tortola, the essence of the experience was primitive and magical.

Today’s guest poet – Walt Whitman

A Clear Midnight

This is thy hour, O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou
Lovest best.
Night, sleep, and the stars.

Today is the 21st anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in Alaska. 10.9 million gallons poured into the pristine waters around Bligh Reef just after midnight. The vessel was on autopilot in the inbound shipping lane to avoid icebergs.  Autopilot and iceberg are two words that should never be paired together in a sentence or a thought. 

This unsullied, isolated area suffered immediate, massive losses of wildlife – hundreds of thousands of animals, including sea birds, sea otters, harbor seals, bald eagles and orcas, to name a few.  These deaths have continued to mount due to contamination issues in the food chain.  Devastating long-term environmental impact persists – you can’t massively screw up an ecosystem that took nature hundreds of thousands of years to create and expect it to return to its original state in 21 years.  Or maybe, say, ever. All these years later, I still remember the images of the volunteers tenderly cleaning the oil from afflicted birds.

It’s the birthday (and the death day) of John Harrison, who solved the problem of longitude.  He died at age 83 in 1776 – I wonder how I’d feel about dying on my birthday?  Not that I suppose I would have much say in the matter.

Now, you may wonder why longitude (which according to Wikipedia, is pronouncedˈlɒndʒɨtjuːd/ or /ˈlɒŋɡɨtjuːd/ – excuse me??),[ was a problem?  Well, it was much more simple to determine latitude – the sun rises and sets on the horizon, and so, mariners and others who needed directions could make determinations of position based on those two visuals.  But with longitude, there was no fixed frame of reference (like the horizon) to make such calculations logical.  So Harrison, a clockmaker, deduced that if you made a clock that was fixed to a time in a set location (for example, London, picked by Harrison due to his own location), you could make calculations based on the position of various celestial bodies. 

OK, it’s complicated – it took hundreds of years for smart scientists to figure it out, so don’t expect me to be able to explain it in two sentences.  Instead, I refer you to a most excellent and surprisingly entertaining book: Longitude: The True Story of A Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel (available at www.amazon.com).

Harrison, most unfortunately, received no credit for his discovery until three years before his death.  At that time, he petitioned King George III to intervene on his behalf with the Board of Longitude, a collection of scientists challenged to solve the longitudinal riddle.  The King did so successfully, and Harrison was finally compensated and recognized for his achievement.  He made five increasingly accurate longitudinal watches, all of which survive today. 

Presto-changeo, it’s Harry Houdini’s birthday!  The son of a Rabbi from Appleton, Wisconsin, this escapeologist extraordinaire, over the course of his career, freed himself from such devices as a milk can full of beer, the belly of beached whale (eww), and the infamous Chinese Water Torture Cell.  

The Chinese Water Torture Cell required that Houdini be shackled and suspended upside-down in a glass and steel tank filled to the brim with water; the magician had to hold his breath for three minutes to effect his escape. 

He flirted briefly with an acting career and with aviation, but other than “magic”, his passion was exposing fraudulent spiritualists.  After the death of his mother, whom he adored, he attempted to contact her via seances with numerous mediums and after too many failures, began to debunk these shysters out of frustration and a sense of justice. 

Even though Houdini was portrayed as having died during a performance of the Chinese Water Torture Cell trick in several films, he actually died of peritonitis caused by a ruptured appendix.  Granted the ruptured appendix was contributed to by a McGill University student by the name of J. Gordon Whitehead, who tested the magician’s claim that he could withstand any blow to the body above the waist without injury – Houdini didn’t have time to tighten his abdomen before Whitehead struck him.  He passed out during a performance some nights later and following his revival and the conclusion of his performance, was taken to a hospital where he died several days later on Halloween night.

Sparked by his final words and his interest in spiritualism, Houdini’s wife Bess kept a candle burning by his photo and held a séance every Halloween night for 10 years following his death.  While Bess finally determined that “ten years is long enough to wait for any man”, seances for Houdini continue to be held around the world on Halloween.  I suppose if he were to pay a visit on that night, he’d be as busy as Santa.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, founder of San Francisco’s famous beat bookshop City Lights Bookstore, celebrates his birthday today.  The only San Francisco business (as opposed to building) to be designated an official city landmark, it’s a wonderful place for experiencing the alternative and creative culture that makes the city so uncommonly rich.

It’s the anniversary of the death of Jules Verne – visionary and father of science fiction.  He wrote about air, space and underwater travel and exploration well before there were vehicles for such things, and his incidental predictions were remarkably accurate.  Here’s another book recommendation:  Around The World in 80 Days.  Better than any of the movie versions! 

It’s the 405th anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth I.  The cornerstone of the Virgin Queen’s legacy lay in her diplomatic skills that made England a force to be reckoned with in the political and military world.  Some little known facts about this powerful monarch:

She owned more than 3000 dresses and wore new shoes each week.

She was terrified of mice (must be a soulmate of mine).She ate sweets constantly, thinking they would make her breath sweet.  Given the poor dental hygiene of the times, this actually worked against her – her teeth were black and some of them were missing.  In fact, she stuffed rags in her mouth to keep her cheeks from appearing hollow.  Due to the rags and the missing teeth, it was difficult at times to understand her.

She consulted astrologers frequently, was not a morning person, and her favorite flower was the pansy.

It’s National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day.  Raisinets were my favorite childhood movie candy.  Remember the jingle?  “Goobers and Raisinets – the chocolate covered candies – that pour!”  Yum.  Too bad they’re not on the Atkins Diet.

And finally, it’s Kick Butts Day.

If you smoke, stop.  It will kill you.  You can do it.  It won’t be easy, but you can do anything you put your mind to.

Thus endeth the history lesson (and the Mom-lecture).  Hope you feel slightly enlightened.

Over the course of the last year, I have read several blogs written by women who were the “Other Woman”.  If you’ve followed me for the last year or so, you’ll know that I was one.  I’ve wanted to write, wanted to respond, but I know that some of my ex-MM’s relations still read my blog, and don’t want anything I say to be misinterpreted by them.  I hestitated to post this, but I feel I must speak my mind.

I spoke with my ex-MM the other day.  It was a nice conversation.  He’s doing well.  He’s in a relationship – he and his wife actually did get divorced.

When you are the OW, you are consumed and enflamed by your own feelings.   As I read what these other women are thinking and feeling, I can feel the pain that they are going through.  I remember conversations with my ex-MM that sound exactly like the ones they are having with theirs, after their affair was discovered.  I remember thinking, in the heat and darkness of my broken heart, “How could he have turned on me like this?  How could he have said those things and then gone back to her?  Was it all just lies?”  After the affair, every OW thinks that it was all just lies, all those sweet words he said to her, all those promises never to hurt her, never to leave her.  Maybe those words are lies for some MMs.  But not for all.

The words OWs use to describe their affairs are similar in every account.  The actions are similar.  Texting dozens of times a day.   Calls when alone and in transit.  Stolen moments meeting in various places.  Soul-level conversations that go on for hours.  The things the two of you feel together are magical.  You are soulmates.  You’ve never felt so intimate with someone on every possible level.  The sex is spectacular, magnificent, breathtaking, otherworldly.  You both feel that way.  You practically read each other’s thoughts – sometimes, you actually do.

Truly, you are both feeling these feelings.  But when the shit hits the fan, women can sometimes prove to be stronger than men.  I think, when it comes down to making that choice – which, let’s face it, for most men means losing everything – EVERYTHING – they have worked for, and their comfortable lifestyle – they panic and become paralyzed at the same time.  Their heart wants one thing, but their brain wants another.  Men are so much more used to acting on a rational than an emotional level that they are, unbelievably, able to put the emotional part aside.  They are able to lock those feelings of being truly alive with someone back up into a box in their souls and put away the key, and try to make their semi-dead life tolerable again, so no one in their immediate surroundings is making them uncomfortable and they are not faced with the daunting prospect of trying to rebuild their lives at a stage of life where they should be thinking of retiring in ten or fifteen years.

Women seem to be able to fight through it and come out the other side – often alone, sometimes with their MM, but rarely remaining in a stale, convenient marriage for the sake of keeping the peace.  We cannot acquiesce to a living death.  It seems some men can.

I never thought my ex-MM was horrible (well, maybe once or twice in the throes of the endings.)  I always saw the conflict within him, the agony and guilt he was feeling on so many levels.  It would have been easy to just focus on my own pain, but I couldn’t do that – I knew how real his pain was. I knew that ending it was just as painful for him as it was for me.  Just because we weren’t talking doesn’t mean I didn’t feel his pain.

In my case, our affair was a jumping-off point.  I discovered that I needed his support to take the leap away from my own bad marriage.  I came out of it alone, but it worked.  Perhaps he needed something similar, as he got divorced as well. 

While I struggle with visions of my future, which right now is particularly bleak due to money stuff, I would not go back to my old life.  My marriage was literally killing me slowly.  I am happier now.  My daughter is happier now.  And my ex-husband and I are actually getting along better than we have in years.

I regret the pain that all of us experienced due to our affair.  It certainly wasn’t planned, though it feels as if it was perhaps destiny.   I loved my guy madly, truly, deeply.  I will NEVER be the OW again.  The whole experience has taught me (again) that sometimes the only way out is through.  That doesn’t mean that it’s easy – it just is what it is.

I’m finally almost well, except for a kind of constant sinus headache.  That’s good.  Now, I find I don’t know what to do with myself. 

I’ve always worked, and it feels strange and wrong not to be.  I had no idea how much of my identity was wrapped up in my work.  I feel guilty about not working like I always do.  And what’s more, I need to be working harder, since I’m trying to work for myself, and that’s where the stuck feeling comes in.  I need to fall back on my own advice to overwhelmed people: make a list.   Just like when I was in the office, have an appointment book with appointments, even if they are only with myself.

Discipline: my ever-devil.  I knew this would be a problem.  More later today.

Today’s guest poet —  Mary Biddinger

Shipwreck

His name wasn’t even a word.
You could never ask him to make the tea.
Glass broke in his hands, and storms

kicked out their best hail when he stood
beneath a willow. I’d exhale his name
instead of counting down the days.

The last time I pressed my body
against the length of his screen door
I hoped the sunset would burn through.

He was always running a fever.
The doctors said he turned cold instead
of hot. That’s not what his mouth

told me. There were hundreds of bats
in the attic, but none of them listened.
I felt we were never alone. He said:

what is this sliver of wood for, if not
the hull of a miniature ship, shattered
on the rocks, some woman who lured it

there, and a sailor who would spend
the rest of his life trying to carve her
out of Ivory soap. His wife walking in

on him, the thing in his hand, a knife,
a word the woman could never say
but couldn’t stop saying. His wife

adjusting the shower curtain, asking
how he had cut his knee. The woman
on a bus five minutes down the road.

He knew exactly which alley they’d
exit to, which of his hands would move
up her back first, the direction her skirt

would fall. The frozen lake that did not
regard any of this with much interest.
The temperament of the sky above.

March 2010
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