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Winter, particularly these two weeks, are very difficult for me. It seems especially hard this year. I am heavier than I have been. My depression is thick. My back hurts again. I am having a hard time remembering to be grateful for the wonderful things I have and that I’ve recently had an amazing trip to somewhere lovely and warm. And that in itself makes me sad.

When I trudged up the stairs from the bus station yesterday, as most I do most days, I came into Union Station (a story in itself). There are two remaining original benches in the new version of this place where I used to find such solace. On bad days, like yesterday, I try to lower my stress levels for a minute by sitting on one of these benches and just soaking in the spirits that still remain from thousands of travelers who passed through this building for over 100 years – including my own grandfather.

As I watched the light flooding through the high, round, window, a Cat Stevens song came on over the piped-in music. I think it was “Morning Has Broken”. I remember hearing that song when I was in the sunny front window of my first restaurant at 17. At that time, I knew where I wanted to go to college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew where I wanted to go. I was a little slip of a thing, a dancer. I was looking forward to my future, even though I couldn’t see what it was

There was a line in “Out of Africa”, one of my favorite movies, that says, “Perhaps God made the world round so we could not see too far down the road.”

I believe that.

I never thought I would be living in Denver, would have been here for over 30 years. That wasn’t in the plan when I stood in that sunny front window that afternoon. I wonder when I lost track of the plan? I wonder if I ever had a plan? MKL and I were talking about this the other day – how I have a hard time with creating a plan and sticking to it, especially when I have more than one thing to focus on. Together, he and I are building a plan, and that feels good. I never thought I’d be divorced, much less re-marrying. All of that makes me look forward to my future.

I watch my daughter planning her future – I think she’s better at it than I was, but then she’s more down-to-earth than I was. But I wonder, in twenty years, will she look back on being just 18, and having all these plans and dreams, and have achieved them? Or will she be like me, looking back and wondering, “What happened?”. If that’s the case, I hope she finds herself happy with where she is.

There’s that other saying that I love (credited to many) that “Life’s what happens when you’re making other plans.”

I believe that too.

So what’s the point of this ramble? I suppose it’s that when we are younger we cannot see our future, no matter how much we think we can or how optimistic we are. It’s great that we have that vision, but it’s a real challenge to make the vision a reality. I didn’t really understand that at 17. I do now. So that’s part of the point.

And the other part is that I am a gloomy otter and the eighth anniversary of my Mother’s death is next week.

I’ll find my light again. I promise.

DSCF3165

Little Cayman.

The Coming of Age

Creeping like those cats with
three-inch long legs,
It steals upon you
in a whisper.
One day
You are
As always.
The next,
Your reflection
Reflects that
Your time is
shortening
— and not the good kind of shortening —

You look into your own eyes,
observe the lines
that life has drawn,
and think,

“Well,

all right then.”

The Age of Silk

The 100 watt light on the bedside table
Shows me the truth in the fabric of my skin.

My hands.
I  look at my hands
and  I can see the crepe paper texture
of my skin
when I hold them
just so
in the glow.
And I remember my grandmother’s hands.

When did I get
my grandmother’s hands?

Age tells its tattles in little ways these days.
Most days,
I forget,
and think that I am 20,
just as I have always been.

But then I find the years
standing snickering at me behind a post in Market Street Station
as a young man asks what year I graduated
and I have to tell him that
it was
before he was born.

It is only in the nights,
the nights now when I am alone –

no shoulder for my head,
no lips to tell me in love that I look
20 –

the nights when sleep is elusive,

that I see the crushed silk of my own skin
unmasked by the eyes of time.

Today is my birthday.  I’m 48 years old.  I could think that’s old, but I don’t.  For one thing, I’ve been saying I was 48 for months now.  I just forgot, or got confused, or wanted the year to be over, or felt like I’d earned another year.  Or something like that.

It has been a nice morning.  I woke early, refreshed.  I wrote a little.  I read a little.  A friend called.  I dozed for another hour.  I got up and correctly [insert wild screaming cheers here] installed my Digital Transport Adaptor, which makes it sound like I should be able to teleport a la Star Trek, but really only enables me to watch my TV, now that the cable company has “improved” service.  I made soup.  I got a shout out from Swinemama on Facebook.

I’m lunching with my sister.  I have some work to do, and I have a friend coming over for dinner.  Tomorrow, Kelsea and I are off to Steamboat Springs for the hot air balloon festival.  If you haven’t seen them, you can check out my pictures from last year’s festival on Monkeyeye here.  I had a great time last year, and I think she’ll really enjoy it.

The vet called and my darling Dusty (the cat)’s blood work all came back normal – he’s been ill the last few days – it stared with a sort of weird gagging/choking sound, and now he’s hiding, and won’t eat, though I did get him to eat a little baby food yesterday.  Next step is an x-ray. 

Pat called to say “Happy Birthday”, which was nice of him, but we got into a bit of a tiff about taking the cat in for the x-ray – it was a money issue and a control issue.  He wants to watch the cat to see how he is – which makes no sense to me, as I watched the cat and determined that something was wrong.  Why does he need to do it too?  We also batted around whose financial responsiblity it was.  I say we should split it.  He says I should pay for it – on top of the $266 I paid yesterday.  And we snipped about bedtime rules for Kelsea – he’s of the mind that she’s 13 and should go to bed at 10:00.  And so they fight about it.  I think she can stay up later – she’ll learn that she needs to go to bed earlier if she screws up her next day.  He says she’s not old enough to make her own decisions and that I’m just acting like her best friend.  He says she needs to listen and learn.  My argument is that she needs to make her own mistakes and learn.  And I don’t think I’m just acting like her best friend.  So I guess this proves that even in a “pretty good divorce”, you’re still going to have issues and disputes, and they’ll be very similar to the ones you had when you were married.

Anyway, that was a mini-rant, wasn’t it?  A departure from the point of this post.  Back to the subject at hand. 

There hasn’t been a birthday that hasn’t had me in tears for longer than I can remember.  I think last year, that’s all I wanted – a whole day without crying.  I didn’t get it.  It’s just always been something (often with Pat) for years – a fight, or he’ll forget, or something else.  Maybe I put too much importance on my birthday, but I think if you’ve been with someone for 25 years, you should be able to remember their birthday.  Which made it really nice that he called with birthday wishes today.

This morning though, I realized that maybe I have placed too much importance on other people celebrating me.  It makes perfect sense for ME to be the one celebrating being born.  I’m (finally) happy to be here.  I’m happy to have the friends I do.  I’m happy to love as I do.  I’m buying myself a AAA membership and a book on old Route 66 for my birthday.

I’m viewing today as the start of a new year – a chance to set new goals and walk through new doors, see new places, keep working on that life list.  When the next birthday rolls around, I expect I’ll be even happier.  There will be bumps in the road, but you must take the roughs with the smooths – it helps you appreciate the smooths more.

So, happy birthday to me!  And just FYI, the buttercream frosting roses were always my favorite part of the cake.

August 2019
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