Monday, February 23, 2015

and so it is Hemingway's last stand

There are a hundred things I'm not going to say, but could. What I will do is offer half of an explanation. Over the weekend I discovered this space is no longer mine.  

I have always been aware that the thoughts I publish become echos of themselves, like rocks falling down a canyon wall. Once I have written them I no longer have any say in how they are read or used. What I do have say in is whether or not I continue.    

Before I joined all the other "blogging moms" I wrote for myself.  And I will let you in on a secret- after I joined the world of bloggers I still only wrote for me.  I adored the format of words and pictures together.  I enjoyed the way the random pieces merge creating a larger story.
It doesn't matter to me if what I write is ever seen by another person. In fact, there have been many times while publishing pieces that I have discovered how much I prefer to write for an audience of one.  I'm a selfish (dyslexic) jerk when it comes to writing. I am careless in my rereads, my grammar, my spelling...because what I write is honest, especially my fiction.

Having said that I hope one would understand that I can't stay here in this space writing under the dimness of another woman's shadow. I refuse to edit myself (lol!) and I will never fight a dirty fight when I have the power to simply walk away. But if I may offer her one tiny sandstone peddle of advice: you really should look deep inside yourself and find your own words.   

And so this is me signing off from this blog.  

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. 
~ Ernest Hemingway ~

Saturday, February 21, 2015

the best gift

I was knelling on the floor helping Beach carefully box up 3 medals made of glass. 

Beach was far more fascinated by the boxes than the awards she had won. As soon as they announced boxes were available she rushed to get hers. 

She showed me the silky interior, the indented circle for the medal face, and announced the color was the "best" blue. 

"Aren't these boxes just beautiful?" She asked me holding them up.  
I was kneeling at her feet looking up into her smiling face thinking how lucky I was to have this kid in my life when I heard a mom from the sea of people squeezing by us say, "No, you leave those on I want people to see them when I am walking with you." 

As the woman twisted to grab the shoulders of her child our eyes met.   

Practically standing over me she looked down on me and at the stack of boxes in my hand, and then to Beach. 
Smiling Beach. Smiling, struggling Beach. The kid fighting a 10 second pause on beam before her series- the series she fell on. The kid asking from the backseat of the car through tears, "When is my dad coming back?" Wonderful, funny, honest, sweet Beach.

The look on the woman's face gave me the feeling we were the last pair of people she would have wanted to have heard her say that.

Her daughter looked at Beach, passing a weak smile of recognition; they had been on the podium together. Then awkwardly under the weight of her mother she was taken away.

At first Beach and I just stared at each, both us feeling almost guilty for them witnessing us being us, and us seeing them being them. 

In the wake of them I didn't know what to say to my own child but she knew what needed to be said. 

"That was really sad, mom. I feel bad for that girl- and her mom. That must really suck."

I stood up and Beach asked, "Can I see one of the boxes, they are so cool!"  

Thursday, February 19, 2015


In all honestly I have no idea how I'm going to make through the day. And then the next. And the next. And the next... I can tell I've been running my heart and mind through half thought-out circles for weeks now trying to stay afloat. 

Last night after midnight I finally wore myself out to the point of now. Sitting here in the grey morning light looking at the day stretching out before me wondering how to somehow magically make this day happen like all the days behind it.

I didn't sleep much last nigh. When I did my dreams were a twisted rehash of one of the only 2 adults conversations I got to have yesterday.

Of course I know what to do. From time to time we all have to do this.  The right things: drink coffee, run, take a long hot shower. Vacuum straight lines in the carpet around a sleeping dog. Read an extra chapter to Beach when she asks me to.  Put on a smile and clean pair of pants.  One foot in front of the other, fake it until you make, lol. 

I just feel like this time I have run out of things to say.  And somewhere at that the bottom of my second cup I start laughing because I sort of know that not having anything to say doesn't really matter because no one is listening anyway.

Rumor is there will be snow here by Saturday.    

Monday, February 16, 2015

calling up from the valley of strangeness

It rests in the valley of strangeness. I am tossing brightly colored bell peppers stuffed in a thin plastic bag into the cart and he asks, "Is that for your house or mine?" I pause caught off guard.
It's not only our new reality bursting through that throws me, it's also the oddity of us shopping together at all. If I can help it I don't shop. When it became clear that BC's job was happening I had 3 worries, #2 "shit! who's going to do the shopping?!".

I would dare say the grocery store is the one place I show the most lasting of the damage. The last place I think to take back control of my life. I can't cover the emotions and/or impulses that arise as the last of the ceiling of my old life breaks off exposing blue sky above me.
Like the day I suddenly realized I could buy jello if I wanted to and there was nothing he do about it anymore. It was later at home placing 15 boxes of lime jello in my cupboard that I thought to ask the most obvious of questions, do I even like jello?

I understand it is not normal for a grown woman to walk into a store and have to remind herself she can buy whatever she wants as long as she can afford it. At first the thought makes me smile, then I see the stupidity in it and the guilt and embarrassment creep in.

If I can recover form that we have food, if not I turn around and leave the store empty handed. So for years BC has been our shopper. He doesn't ask why and he doesn't question my sporadic contributions to the household or the way I cling to buying food from alternative sources like the co-op and the farmer's markets.    

But BC asked if I would come along shopping and knowing he was leaving again I agreed. In fact I agreed twice. But I should never be allowed in Costco. I am completely useless among the giant isles. There is just too much there to make any sense of any one thing. I follow him and stand looking lost as he asks me questions: do you need bread? cheese? chicken?

I don't know, do I?

It's the same muteness produced by the damn of words lodging in my mind when I am asked a question I can't answer.

BC asks me to get laundry detergent. I stand in front of the row of boxes looking for something I recognize. Then I watch the other customers picking theirs and I look in their carts and wonder about their life based on packages of pre cooked chicken and frozen ready make potatoes. BC circles back for me, picks out the detergent he asked me to get, and we more on.

I watch him watching me. I know he wants to say something to me about all this but he doesn't know what. Honestly neither do I.

When we are done he lets me surf on the back of the charts while he runs dragging it full sprint through the parking lots. People younger than us stop to give us dirty looks.

And after I had spent most of the morning in bed with a horrible headache, and I shopped with him twice, he took me up the canyon. We hiked in the shadows. Across ice. Over mud. Up through the scrub oaks until we broke out onto the ridge. There we could see straight into the twisted valley below us. He stood. I sat. And separately together, listened to the calls of the search and rescue teams combing the mountain for the lost man they were sent to search for.

me? I believe I know exactly where they should be looking...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

running on the ground

I’m stumped on what I can say about reuniting with BC in Moab,  About how it felt to see his new life with my own eyes.  Walking through it as if I was wearing a visitors' badge trying not to tread too heavily where I don't belong.
Between pushing hard to leave the farm in good enough condition for the in-laws to watch, all  the money stress, travel details, big and little kids, and the drive, I pulled into Moab sicker than I had been in days. My condition seemed to unnerve BC but he appeared to be a little unsure about how to behave either.

Did we really unravel 12 years in a few months apart? 

Well, no, not completely...
It took a couple of hours to get Beach to stop looking at me as if I was the interrupter of her dad's new life. By then she had already scribbled her name in the dirt all over the job site and jumped on every bed in the camper trailer where he is staying.
 To me it felt somewhere between a custody hand off and a first date.  But slowly in the landscape of Arches we began to find common ground again.  Which is sort of funny because the common ground we share is the appreciation for just how opposite we are from one-another. 
 There in the vastness of Arches I watched my child fall back in love with her father. 
 And I watched BC and I meet again as the people we are today.
 As the distance faded I could feel myself watching the horizon, wondering if this was our new life together-apart.  He really loves Moab and there is a ton of work there but not enough skilled contractors to do it all....
 Her gym, her world is in SLC and that is not changing.
The way it stands now his job is on track to wrap up in June. 
 But I suspect when the time comes it will be more of a new beginning than an ending to this way of life for us. 
Once I told BC I would follow him anywhere. At the time I meant Alaska. I had no idea that "anywhere" would include living separately-together. He never has been one for predictability or convention.  And although I have always claimed my perfect relationship would include being on the receiving end of a phone call home from camp 2 on Everest we all know I wouldn't hear the phone ring...
But from here I see my life very differently than I did before.  
In fact I think I have the best view of it I have ever had. 
 A lot of things that haven't been making sense I now understand.  We stayed the night in Moab in his trailer on the job site. We hiked through Arches, swam at the local pool, and ate Mexican food in town. Then I took us to stay in a 5 star resort in Colorado Springs.  Where we sat out on the balcony drinking PBR and laughing about the contrast. 
 For the first time in my life I think I truly see who I am, what I want, and where I am going.
Somewhere in the space and time of the drive home with Beach sound asleep as the miles rolled by, I reminded myself to tell BC to make sure whatever new car he was buying to replace little red has to have a full size spare and jack because where I am planning on going it requires the comfort of knowing you have a good spare tire just in case.
 It feels really good to finally be standing on my own two feet on solid ground.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

honestly, you can't make this shit up...

I really should have know better than to feel like I couldn't handle one more thing going wrong. Especially on day 4 of stalking the mysterious and elusive bank draw that is over due. 

It is a dangerous temptation just begging the Universe to step in and fuck things up even more. 

So I'm cleaning the house, doing the farm shit, & I walk into the mudroom [oh-no don't go in there!]. And there is water gushing out of the top of the washer. 

It is a front loader this should not be happening.

Beach opens the door from the kitchen to ask which one of the identical blue blankets she should pack for the upcoming weekend drive to Colorado to find me standing in front the washer trying to mop up the half inch of water that is on the floor while also attempting to see exactly why the little slot you put the soap in has become a waterfall and she says, "um... Steve." (It's a gym joke).

Well, the mudroom floor is clean.

The Universe? She's not so funny, but the sure kid is!

Nowhere and the Great Beyond

Yesterday right before I left hiking the phone rang. It was my mother-in-law reminding me the second half of our property tax was due. I think I felt the edges of my soul wilt. I thanked her for the reminder, got off the phone, and walked away. 
If you were wondering my computer is still MIA. And there is no way to get everything done that needs doing before we leave for Beach's next meet, 10 hrs away in Colorado. Obviously I'm not even trying. I have accepted that I can't win and I can't keep up. My only option is to keep going and hope it is enough.
But yesterday's mountain only worked yesterday.  
In those stolen moments walking paths carpeted with mud and caked with snow.  Above you is the sky filled with clouds waiting to clear the cradling peaks of the Wasatch in winter. They line up like overburdened ships entering a rough harbor.  
Deep in the back, up a deer trail where the scrub oaks arch and touch overhead, one step was sheer ice, the next ankle deep mud, and the next snow so slippery you could fall just standing on it.  It took every last ounce of concentration to stay on my feet... 
When I woke up this morning I realized life in the valley is no different.  Nowhere feels safe to step.  I think I see stable ground and then I find it's not.
On top the mountain opens views of more mountains and of hidden other valleys with frozen ponds.  Sights I had forgotten the feeling of.  I thought I saw movement through the trees but I couldn't be sure what it was, or if it was at all.  
It is the same with the words written late at night.  I think I see something slowing creeping in but I can't be sure what I am seeing. And when I wake up in the morning I laugh at myself for ever wondering at all that there could possibly be someone else out on the ledge with me...

 This trail is the closest far-ness I can manage these days.  It is not truly wild or dangerous. The city breaks into the background quite a bit. But it is steep and muddy and it has a pretty decent view into the Great Beyond...