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I haven’t made an entry into the Divorce Diaries for a while.  That’s because there’s been nothing really to say.  It is what it is.  It’s not awful.  Pat and I are getting along just fine.  Kelsea and I are getting along great.  Pat and Kelsea are getting along well.  She doesn’t try to push us together.  She has suggested things like taking a family vacation, and I’ve told her that the family profile is different now, and we won’t all three be going on any trips together.  She’s okay with that.  Pat has expressed an interest in taking her on a trip – I think he’s a little jealous of the good times she and I have had when we’ve gone away.  That would be very nice for both of them.

Yesterday would have been our 20th wedding anniversary.  I thought of it in passing after I dropped Kelsea off at school.  Several years ago, before I had finally had enough, I was planning a special trip for us for this anniversary – Italy, or Greece, or Turkey – just the two of us.  It was not to be.  But I’ll get to those places myself someday.  I had a momentary sadness, but truly, it was just a moment.  Then, I pulled up in front of my old house to pick up something for Kelsea, and completely forgot about it.  Pat didn’t give any indication that he remembered.  (We actually both had a hard time remembering the exact date; one of his brothers gave us an anniversary clock with the date engraved on it, and we always had to check the clock to be sure.)

So 8 months after the divorce, strange to say, it feels like a more comfortable relationship.  He still make comments that grate on me, but I don’t feel compelled to spit back, and I don’t take them to heart.  I know that I can just leave.  But for the most part, we chat, we confer on Kelsea issues, we do each other favors, we hand off our daughter, I pay child support, he’s not asking me for money, I don’t ask him about his projects/finances.  I guess it’s a friendship.  Maybe that’s what it was supposed to be all along.

It bothers me a little bit that I can only remember the most loving times vaguely.  Perhaps there’s too much water under the bridge.  Or perhaps it’s an internal mechanism to help the healing process.  I really don’t know.  I just know that we’re both moving on.  And that’s just fine.

I’ve been neglecting your history lessons, haven’t I?  Well, I’m feeling better enough to compile one for today, and it’s been a busy day in history, so prepare yourself…

Today is the 3rd International Day of Awesomeness!  A grassroots holiday to be sure, it is the day to celebrate your own awesomeness, because, yes, we are ALL awesome.  And while you’re at it, share the awesomeness — celebrate the awesomeness of your friends and co-workers!  Why?  Because YOU CAN!

It’s also “Learn What Your Name Means” Day.  Here’s the meaning of mine:

 

I think that’s rather nice.  In one of the weird and rare coincidences that happens in life, I was once walking on the weedy edge of a parking lot on Tybee Island, Georgia, talking to Kelsea on the cellphone, when I looked down and saw something dully shiny in the dry grass.  Being magpie-like, I picked it up.  It was a small brass plaque, with my name on it, and the words “…means beloved.”  Seriously, what are the odds? 

It’s the 124th anniversary of the first telephone call from Alexander Graham Bell to Mr. Watson.  He’d received his patent three days earlier.  I doubt he’d ever imagined what he started.  Below, I provide you with a brief photo history of the telephone. 

Young people today (god, I sound old) can’t imagine not having a cell phone.  In my childhood, we had one phone, in the kitchen.  It didn’t go anywhere.  You couldn’t have any privacy (my parents eventually put another line upstairs in their bedroom).  When we went out of town, we couldn’t be reached.  There was no voice mail, no answering machine, no 24-hour access.  If you wanted to make a phone call from the house at the beach, you walked to the phone booth by Mr. Godwin’s store.  How times have changed.  Do you think we’re missing some past serenity here?  How could it be that we and our work have all gotten so important that we can’t be off the grid for a day or two, much less a week or two?  I suspect it’s all an illusion.

It’s the anniversary of the Courrieres Mine Disaster in France, the worst mine disaster ever in Europe, killing 1099 people.  It was believed to have been caused by a coal dust explosion, contributed to by miners using open flame lamps.  The Davy Lamp, which provided a closed flame, was available, but was far too expensive for most miners, who were required to supply their own lamps, including candles from the company store at top price.  A group of 13 survivors were found within the 70 miles of impacted tunnels 20 days after the explosion – a singular miracle amid this tragedy.

Dog spectacles were patented in England today in 1975.  I can’t see that the English made much progress with this initiative – the Swiss were working towards this goal in 1939:

 

And now an American company called Doggles (www.doggles.com) seems to have cornered the market.  (The image below does not depict Doggles, just a really cute dog wearing goggles.)

On March 10, 1535, the Bishop of Panama, Tomas de Berlanga, his ship drifting and becalmed, accidentally discovered the Galapagos Islands.  Fresh water, which he and his crew desperately needed, was in scant supply on the island, and he reported back to the King of Spain that the islands were “worthless”.  This was, no doubt, the best thing that could have happened to the Galapagos.  In the centuries that have followed, the Galapagos have served many short-lived purposes: pirate hideout, operating base for whalers, botanists’ wonderland, sugar care plantation site, military installation, and finally, and most importantly, now a National Park of Ecuador.  Only 5 of the 18 islands are inhabited, and tourism, which is theoretically closely controlled, is the main source of revenue.  It’s a dream of mine to go, take a long sailing and diving tour, swim with the sea lions and admire the tortoises.

This was to have been the first graduation day for what is now New Mexico State University in 1893.  Unfortunately, the sole member of its graduating class, Sam Steel, was murdered the night before.   His murder was never solved.  The name of the I-10 Frontage Road in Las Cruces has been changed to Sam Steel Road in his honor.

Today, we say ” Halala ngosuku lokuzalwa” (which is “Happy Birthday” in Zulu) to:

Toshitsugu Takamatsu (1889-1972), recognized as the last practicing ninja. 

How cool is that?  Born to a family with samurai lineage, at the tender age of 13, he singlehandedly defended himself against an attack from a gang that numbered 60.  (He was unjustly arrested for it, too.)  When he was past 80, a Japanese karate teacher publicly called him “an old has-been”.  Takamatsu took this as a challange and called upon the instructor to retract his statement within three days or meet him to fight – a fight, Takamatsu said, in which he would, with his hands tied behind his back, kill the instructor.  The instructor retracted his statement.  Takamatsu went by many interesting nicknames in his long life, including Pure Water, Winged Lord, Cry-Baby, Little Goblin, Mongolian Tiger, Demon Horns, Running in the Sky Old Man, and Noodles. 

Chuck Norris.

What can you say about Chuck Norris that wouldn’t force him to kill you?  I don’t know, but I will provide you with this most entertaining link – www.chucknorrisfacts.com.

And I wish that Chuck and Takamatsu would make an appearance at the party for our next birthday boy…

Osama bin Laden.

Evil incarnate.  Enough said.

Lastly, today we acknowledge the loss of one formidable religious personage:

Agnes Blannbekin (died 1315), a mystic with some pretty strange “visions” (now, no one get offended here, I’m only the messenger).  Among her most “obscene” visions was her claim to have felt the foreskin of Jesus in her mouth.  Her visions seemed to be much more physical than most mystics experienced, and were often described as orgastic.  But she was a true believer, joining a convent at 16 and remaining in orders for her entire life, doing much good work with the urban poor of the time.  One original copy of her controversial revelations still exists in an Austrian convent.

 Thus endeth the history lesson.  Hope you feel slightly enlightened.

Not a new year, no, but another anniversary.  Three years ago, in the coming small hours of the morning, my Mother died.  I just read my blog from last year, dated a year ago tomorrow, talking about my feelings and actions around this day. 

I am not as emotional this year.  I had a mini-meltdown after a glass of wine on Tuesday, which made me want to drive my truck into the frozen lake that night on the way home from work.  I had a little teariness just now when talking to Mr. GF, who called just as I was reading last year’s post. 

I recall going to a grief seminar put on by Hospice about a year after my dad died.  As I was sitting there, among a roomful of people, listening, I had the most intense urge just to put my head down on the table and go to sleep.  It was remarkable.  I realized then that that feeling, that intense exhaustion, is one way that your core expresses grief.  It doesn’t know what else to do with such a powerful, painful feeling.

That incredible tiredness is what I am feeling today, have been feeling since I got home from dropping Kelsea off at school.  Now, I watch the clock, count ahead two hours for North Carolina time, and remember what I was doing three years ago at this hour.  She was very close to fading for the last time.  I had asked the Hospice chaplin to speak with her, to help her resolve something that was keeping her from letting go, and I think just around now, they were talking.  I was never privy to that conversation, but whatever Jodi said worked.

I could so have used my Mother’s support this past year.  It has been a year of loss, sorrow, confusion, self-doubt, with some moments of bliss and hope.  She would have been there for me every step of the way and talked me through some of my own muddlements.  I know people say “Oh, she’s still with you. She’s always with you.”  It’s true, she is, in a way, but she has moved on, as she was so excited about doing, and she knows I need to stand on my own without her.  So I can feel her watching, but not helping.  She trusts me to rely on my own strength, as she always did.  That strength was one of her finest legacies.  She had it.  She taught me to have it.

But tonight, I am as tired as she was this night three years ago.

After yesterday’s whine, I started out today making lists in a new notebook.  It’s really garish, so should be hard for me to lose, even among the evil clutter of the cottage.  It’s good for me to make lists.  Lists serve as a second brain.  I suspect they will continue to do so until I can instill some stillness and quietude into my mind. 

One of my friends says that meditation is a good tool for adding stillness – and would be good for me.   I tend to think this might be true, but where does the time come from?  I am already making time for exercise.  And now I must add something else to the mix that involves taking care of myself ?  Preposterous!!

I never used to like meditating.  I always returned from a session feeling a little bit “off”, as if the universe had shifted just a hairs-breadth while I was away.  It was disturbing.  It reminds me of the feeling you have when you’ve experienced a very small earthquake, like something stable has been ever-so-slightly disarranged.  I voiced this concern to my Mother, who had recommended meditation to me during my turbulent teens.  Given how it made me feel, she agreed that it was probably wrong for me.  I know now that part of what she was saying (or rather not saying), was that I wasn’t protecting myself properly.

The concept of psychic protection is an interesting one.  I am only recently re-learning to surround myself with the white light, the blue eggshell, to take refuge in the safe spaces of my soul when dipping my toes into other realms.  Mother gave me some guidance around the white light, as did a few weeks at Theosophy Camp during the my 15th summer.  More recently, I have received some instruction in this technique from my wonderful Shaman.  It’s not something that comes to me readily, but I have a strong sense that it’s something I need to cultivate, especially these days.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t think that meditation would require psychic protection.  But I guess in my case, it does.   Something related to that sensitivity or “shine”, no doubt, makes me more vulnerable to the strange swirlings of crossed-over worlds.

Anyway, I was reading a few things on meditation in my web travels last night.  The Zazen school insists you must take a class – can’t learn it from a book – and sit with a ramrod-stiff spine.  OK, I don’t buy that.  A couple of other sites were entirely too woo-woo.  “Just breathe and clear your mind – it’s that simple.”  Don’t buy that either.  I don’t want to contemplate my navel – it’s too hard to see past my boobs.   Thinking about the word “EON” makes my head hurt.  There’s got to be a technique out there that feels simpatico for me.  Maybe I just need to try it, instead of looking for the answer in the written word.  And as Yoda likes to say, “There is no try, there is only do.”  (He may have added “..or do not,”  but I don’t remember.  I’m not as up on my Yoda as I might be.)

I’ll keep you posted.

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I don’t want you to miss out on your history lessons for the day:

Today is Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln’s wedding anniversary.

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Lincoln wedding

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It’s also Walter Cronkite’s birthday.  He was my favorite anchorman of all time, the one I grew up with, and learned about the Vietnam War with.  He was slightly older than my father, and his daughter is about the same age as me, so I felt “close” to them.  His daughter must be having a difficult day today.  I know I am.  Today is my father’s birthday as well.  But I can tell her, as with everything after your father dies, the first one without him is the hardest.

WalterCronkite
It is the 109th Anniversary of the Tube in London.  I have never had the privilege of riding the Tube, but I have admired the signs.

Mind the Gap
And it is – in what strikes me as a remarkable coincidence – the 676th and the 43rd anniversary of the massive flooding of the River Arno, which nearly destroyed Florence, Italy on both occasions.  No pictures are available from 1333, but here’s one from 1966:

flood

Finally, it is Zero-Tasking Day, and I have already been remarkably busy.  Time to celebrate by doing nothing!

Today is the birthday of Lillian Gish, first lady of the silent screen, whose career in films spanned 75 years.

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Pretty little thing, isn’t she?

One of the many wonderful things about having parents who were somewhat older was that they were raised in such a different era, when movies didn’t always have sound, automobiles were a unique luxury, and corncobs and pages from the Sears catalog were sometimes used as toilet paper.  While I don’t recall our discussions about it (though I don’t doubt we had them), my parents were both aware that some of the things they had and had experienced growing up were things that we (their children) would never experience unless they made a conscious effort for us to do so.  Classic movies and legendary performers were some of those “things’, if you will.

While neither was raised in a particularly sophisticated environment, to say the least, they both had an appreciation for great talents.  That may be in part because it took so much more effort to see great performers and much more effort on a performer’s part to be seen.  No YouTube or e-books existed.  As a child, I can recall my parents taking us to airings of Charlie Chaplin films in the basement of the Physics Building at Duke.  We also saw Charlie Chan movies(which put me to sleep), several classic Japanese films – I mean the realclassics, not Godzilla, which was a different kind of classic – and many others in that white room with the uncomfortable chairs.  At the time, some bored me to whininess, but as an adult, I recall and appreciate the experience most fondly.  And more importantly, my parents passed on a piece of their history, their generational consciousness to us, through those films.  Lillian Gish was one of the actresses we saw in those series of journeys to the past.  (On a side note, we also saw live performances by Dave Brubeck, Marcel Marceau, Judith Jamison, the Clancey Brothers, and others too numerous to name – all treasures of artistic history.  And I can still remember my father waking me up and bringing me out into the living room to hear Marlene Dietrich sing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” live on the TV – it must have been the Ed Sullivan Show – because she was a legend and she was ancient and I would never have the opportunity again.  It made me cry at the wistfulness of it at the time and has haunted me ever since.) 

It is also the birthday of e. e. cummings, a poet famous for his unorthodox use of capitalization, line breaks and punctuation.  He was an accomplished painter as well.  Following is a poem in honor of his birthday (yes, today you get two Wednesday poems for the price of one!)

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me
(i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it
(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
    I fear no fate
(for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world
(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

 It’s Be Bald and Free Day, which cummings would have appreciated, considering his hairstyle:

cummings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father would have appreciated today as well.  He lost most of his hair in his 20s, and I recall him sitting in the Daddy Chair shaving his head with an electric razor at least one morning a week.  He walked to work daily, and went through a ‘Kojack’ period, when he would wear mirrored sunglasses and suck a lollipop to amuse the students on the shuttle buses between campuses.  In stark contrast to “Bald and Free”, one of Kelsea’s and my gifts to Pat last year was a “hair hat”  – a baseball cap that looks like a visor with fake hair, that so perfectly matches his own shade and texture that he likes to shock people at the poker table by taking at off, as they frequently mistake it for his own hair.  (Kelsea swears she saw a football coach wearing one on a nationally televised game last weekend, and I’m not sure she isn’t right.  It looked pretty suspicious.)

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Errol Flynn, who died at age 50 – a true Tasmanian devil if there ever was one, and one of my favorite actors in his heyday.

errolflynnerrol-flynn-pirate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 That charm, that smile, that swash, that buckle.  That laugh that Pat and Kelsea both love, particularly in “The Adventures of Robin Hood”.  Pat was suspended for reading Flynn’s autobiography, “My Wicked Wicked Ways,” when he was in junior high.  They confiscated the book and never gave it back, so I searched high and low and got him a copy of it for our first Christmas together.  He was very pleased.  Though I still don’t think he’s finished it.  If you aren’t familiar with Errol Flynn, do check out some of his films.  Off screen, he was a total scoundrel, who died in an Elvis-esque fashion – bloated, dissipated and addicted to drugs.  A sad, not-so-glamorous ending to an exceptionally vivid life.

And a very happy anniversary to the 6,000 couples, all members of the Unification church, who wed on this day in Korea in 1982.  Your wedding picture is below:

Moonie wedding

Today is Elephant Appreciation Day, National White Chocolate Day, and the International Day of Radiant Peace. 

It is also my 19th wedding anniversary.

Such a bittersweet day.   I am still married, so it still counts.  I doubt Pat remembers – he usually forgets.  Last year, he was in China (he’s back now from his trip – got back on Saturday.)  His not remembering is likely a small mercy.   In the last few years, we would take a little weekend anniversary trip, driving somewhere in Colorado – Leadville, Canon City, Pueblo (three years for the Chile Festival – the last year, we took Kelsea.)  But other than those trips, I don’t remember celebrating our anniversary often.

I was very proud of being married for so long.  In today’s society, it’s quite an achievement.  Two years ago, I was starting to plan a trip for us for our 20th anniversary – something really special, as the occasion was special.  Another dream gone…

I haven’t told any of my parents’ friends who still think of me about what’s going on.  One who has known me since birth, and who is a devout born-again Christian, sends us a religious card every year to mark our anniversary.  It came in the mail last week.  I feel compelled to tell my “Aunt” Florence about it – she would spread the word as appropriate to the others of their set.  I think she would understand.   As would my Uncle George (my real uncle).  I think one of his children has experienced similar problems, even if they didn’t result in divorce.

I also got a lovely little note today from Swinette, with whom I had a long talk on Sunday.  I thank her for her love and encouraging words, and for thinking of me.  Our talk made me realize again that we are all always every age.

This has been a month for anniversaries of various natures: 9/11, my Mother’s birthday, Kathy’s birthday, first day of fall, this anniversary – I am sure there are more I’m not mentioning.  I’m glad we essentially started the month in Montana – that was such a wonderful journey.  Kelsea’s and my annual mother/daughter Labor Day weekend trip is fast becoming a favorite tradition.

Yes, it’s an odd day.  I remember waking up 19 years ago, and not wanting to open my eyes because I was afraid the weather was going to be bad.  But it was a perfectly beautiful day, unlike today, when it is cold, with winter storm warnings in the mountains.  I remember my primal scream as Lynne drove me up the mountain, my perfect dress, the eagle flying overhead, the couple on the neighboring peak singing a cappella to us so beautifully, CJ palming the judge’s fee into his hand like it was a drug deal, the champagne and croissants that David had set up for us in the pine trees, Kenny’s photographs (he is dead now), climbing over the rocks to pee and trying to negotiate all those yards of chiffon without peeing on myself or falling down the mountain, how we both choked up, the old/new/borrowed/blue/sixpence (penny) in the shoe, how my family – who weren’t present – wore the boutonnieres I sent them, per instructions, at the same time we were having the ceremony (my grandmother loved that, and my E-Bro wore his while changing the oil in his car) – yellow roses and daisies. 

I remember how warm the sun and my future felt.

Maybe, someday, it will again.

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