Suns and Moons and Weekends

I needed this weekend. I needed the sunshine, although 90 degrees looms tomorrow. Eh, I’ll be at work, and the first 90-degree day of the year is not that bad anyway. I needed a warm, moonlit night, sipping rose. The end of last week was harried and not what I wanted it to be. I like to end the week on an up note, doesn’t everyone?

Now that I’m a regular employee, having given up my free-wheeling temp days, I’m starting to pile on the stress. Makes me miss wandering from one office to the next as a contract worker. I’m telling myself, “Keep the temp mindset.” Do a good job, but realize nothing is forever. That’s what the Buddhists say. The weekend spent living my other, non-work life helped a lot.

The other thing that has been weighing on my mind, and heart, is the way-too-early passing of Chris Cornell. I’ve written before about the role music has played in my life, as long as I can remember. I am a true music fan, through and through. I can hear a song and instantly be swept back to another place, another time, immersing myself in nostalgia for three to five minutes. A soundtrack to each stage of my life. So, when I woke up at four in the morning last Thursday, from an uncomfortable slumber, and read the news, I felt like the door had finally closed on my twenties. Nothing but memories now.

I will always cherish that Soundgarden concert in December 1996. Unintentionally getting stuck in the mosh pit. (People were still moshing in 1996?) Finding the perfect spot off to the side of stage, listening and watching Chris Cornell sing, wail, and be all-powerful throughout the night. OK, it wasn’t the perfect show. This was near the end of Soundgarden’s 90s ride, a few months before they broke up. However, my memories are perfect. I was wearing that vintage, pea green men’s shirt, which I found at Magpie. The one I wore everywhere, with everything – jeans, pants, skirts, shorts – in 1996-97. (The one I gave to him when he left for Germany, because he thought it was cool. Big mistake. I want it back!)

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can never truly know what is in a person’s heart and mind, what he or she is going through in the depths of his or her soul. Ironically, our ability to feel completely alone is what binds us together. Life is fragile. I suppose this is another lesson, teaching me to live in the moment, focus on what I can do today. Again, the Buddhists know a thing or two about life.

So, I cherished this weekend. Yesterday, I sat in the warmth of the late-afternoon sun, and enjoyed a dish of Passion-Guava-Orange-Limoncello frozen yogurt. I haven’t had soft-serve frozen yogurt out of a machine in a while. A nice, simple, calm moment with my thoughts and tropical frozen treat.

I’ve listened to a lot of Chris Cornell and Soundgarden over the past few days. The beauty of being a creative type is you leave behind a piece of yourself. Just as I became a Jimi Hendrix fan after he died, I’m sure generations down the line will become Chris Cornell fans. Something beautiful in that. Speaking of Jimi, his music is the perfect soundtrack for summer-like, lazy days. I think I need to listen to Castles Made of Sand.

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And Spring Returns

We made it. We survived the long, dark, cold, seemingly endless winter. Although, this weekend has been rather late-wintery seeming. The infamous Pacific Northwest low, dark clouds and rain. Cold rain. I wore a scarf yesterday. In the middle of May. I was not pleased. The sun is peeking through today. We still have to get through our annual June gloom. Ah, but July 5th is less than two months away! (Tradition has it, after the 4th of July holiday, the idyllic weather starts.)

In any case, it is spring, and everything is green and vibrant, yet again. Even with the rain. The rhododendrons are extra fluffy and colorful this year, I’m guessing due to all that fall and winter rain. They are one of my favorite plants, native to the Northwest. In the forest, near Mt. Hood, you can see them all around.

The armies of ants have returned to their posts, the cracks in the sidewalk and the path alongside my house. We are engaging in our yearly battle. The flies zoom around like confused fighter pilots. They have an entire world out there to buzz around. Why do they choose my little, tiny bungalow?

Many blogs ago, I wrote several odes to the tall, old tree, which watches over my backyard. I thought those entries were some of my best pieces, almost poetic, a rarity for me. Alas, I had to delete that blog for ridiculous reasons. Yesterday, I glanced up at the sky from my window, and noticed the tree is becoming lush and green again, as it does year after year. The Spring Tree. So, why not start a new series of odes to the seasonal transformations of that beautiful, old tree. A pillar of certainty in an uncertain world. My steady friend, watching over me, listening to me, providing a shady spot on hot, summer afternoons. They’ll be here before we know it. Nice to see you again.IMAG0937_2

 

 

Don’t Look Back… Well, Maybe A Peek

I’ve been barreling head on into the future. At work, my contract position turned into a permanent one. I’m once again hyperfocused on work, for better or worse. Just means less time to write, or perhaps I need to make the time. The rainiest rainy season in forever is hopefully coming to a close. Tomorrow is supposed to be 80 degrees and sunny. Hm. Funny because this evening is very autumnal. Drippy rain, dark, and an autumn chill in the air, even though it’s May. In any case, I’m pretty sure we’re nearing the end. Long, warm, star-filled nights await.

After the past four years of ups and downs – nah, let’s make that eight – I’m feeling like a true survivor. I was hurt like I never imagined I would be. My heart was shattered into a million shards. I glued and taped the shards back together, on my own, with much work. However, my heart doesn’t feel as whole as it did. Life scars. Yet, I’m moving on. And I still have my sense of humor. No one will ever take that away from me.

I’m trying my best not to look back. The other day, I thought to myself, he’s part of my past and that’s it. Our pasts are made up of bits and pieces, and he’s just another bit or piece. As someone who can complicate anything, looking at something that occupied so much of my life in such simple terms, well, it’s calming.

I enjoy being in “I Will Survive” mode. I feel empowered, confident, ready to keep powering in to the future. Then I tell myself, “Why not just take a peek.” See what he’s up to. Social media grabs me by the hand and leads me there. Pictures of him being happy with someone else, which I already knew about. He would have never posted pictures with me. All his privacy yadda, yadda. No. It was just me.

As I examine the pictures, it dawns on me that I can look at them somewhat devoid of emotion now, as an innocent bystander. For a few minutes at least. I wonder if he pulls the same stuff with her as he did with me. Can she just handle it better, or is he a completely different human in her presence? What difference does it make? Does he think about me? Oh, of course he does. He just blocked me from one of his accounts, even though we haven’t communicated in months. I’m in his head, he hasn’t forgotten about me. Is it sad that I see this as a small victory? I mean, we all know he’s thinking about me in a negative light if he took the time to block me.

At a certain point, I find myself getting bored with the questions and wondering. None of it matters. He is a bit and piece of my past. Perhaps there is some benefit in taking a peek at the past. I don’t necessarily want to forget it. How could I? What I really want is to be bored with the painful memories. He knows what happened, I know what happened. I’m learning to take satisfaction in knowing he knows what happened. He knows.

I think I’ll get some superglue to repair those broken shards of my heart. Cracked, but staying together in one piece. This afternoon, I noticed Funtastic trailers and port-a-potties in Waterfront Park. Cinco de Mayo is the first downtown fun festival of the season. Summer is on the way.

Subconscious Mind, Meet Conscious Mind

I’m partial to the school of thought which purports that the subconscious mind is where it’s at. Buried deep beneath the layers of rationality lies the truth. This truth often reveals itself in our dreams. Pretty basic Psych 101 stuff. However, my subconscious mind could learn a thing or two from my conscious mind, things about leaving people in the past and moving on.

Last night, more like in the wee hours of this morning, I had a dream so intense, so real, it made me wonder if I had spent an hour or two traveling through a parallel universe. The central characters were a person I knew well and me, myself, and I. My intense, middle-of-the-night dreams tend to be surrealistic masterpieces. Dali would be proud. Last night’s dream, however, wasn’t whimsical and bizarre. It was straight out of what could have happened.

Doesn’t seem all that bad so far. Well, the entire situation with this person is one from which I am moving on in my conscious life. Our relationship is irreparable, at least in his eyes. I’ll likely never see or speak to him again. Twenty years of everything you can imagine, someone I thought would be there ’til the end. You get the picture. Ah, but I have overcome my struggle and made significant progress in terms of moving forward. I’m at the point that, while I will always wonder about him, I can accept not having him in my life. He is the past. My conscious mind has done a find job of convincing me it’s time to let go.

And then my subconscious mind took over. All-powerful, not-so-fast-with-the-moving-on. I’m almost afraid to go to sleep. I don’t want to continue watching the series, as touching as the first episode was. Not to go into every last detail of the dream, but it was sweet. The backdrop was rainy, steel gray, almost Blade Runner-like. Sweet, really. We were in a familiar place, near the Burnside Bridge, on the east side. At some point, we ended up in my apartment. That part wasn’t real, since I’ve lived in a house for almost 15 years. My dream apartment had the same dark gray urban grittiness.

The moment in this nighttime excursion into the depths of my being which has stuck with me, all day, is the moment he hugged me and told me everything was going to be alright. It felt so real. I can’t shake the feeling. I want to shake the feeling. The feeling is interfering with my conscious life. I want to take my subconscious mind aside and introduce it to my conscious mind.

There are other details about the dream, much too personal to share. Just know they added to the realism of the whole shebang. No frolicking with unicorns through green hills in this dream. Just raw emotion.

A part of me is grateful for the dream. Maybe I can hold onto it, remember the good moments we shared. Yet, I don’t know if I want to. Seems like that would only keep me clinging to the past.

It’s a little past midnight. Time to turn off the screen light. Time to wander into dreamland, again. I hope my subconscious mind explores magical, fanciful, unreal things tonight. I don’t want another visit from him in my dreams. I don’t want to return to that parallel universe. Perhaps on some level I do, but I can’t. I need to be fully present in this universe, this reality, moving forward. Without him.

 

The Last Of The Sugar Holidays

Easter, or the last of the sugar holidays, as I like to call it. Well, for the next six months at least. The cycle begins again in October with my beloved Halloween. The summer holidays don’t really involve candy. Memorial Day Reese’s? I don’t think so. The summer holidays are more about pies (yes, which include sugar) and mayo-based salads.

I know some people would be aghast at my description of Easter as a sugar holiday. What can I say? I’m a secularist. However, I do appreciate having a faith so strong that you have no interest in chomping the ears off a chocolate bunny. Sometimes I envy that kind of faith. It must provide boatloads of comfort in this crazy world. I’m caught somewhere between the secular and the spiritual. I dabble, incorporating aspects from many of the world’s great religions. Buddhism suits me the best, a loose version of it. I’m also fascinated by Paganism and the importance of being connected to the Earth. And Christianity has some wonderful aspects. To be a formal member of one specific church, however, so not me.

Using religion as a tool of oppression or to justify bad deeds, that’s where I have a problem, which is stating the obvious. Seems too easy to go down that road. I don’t know… Just be a good person and realize no one is perfect. Pretty simple. Do you need ritual and books to teach you that?

Now that you are fully informed on my feelings about organized religion, back to the sugar holiday. Nostalgia took over and I made myself an Easter basket. Whoppers, Cadbury Chocolate Eggs, Jelly Beans, big Almond Joy Eggs, the aforementioned Chocolate Bunny. The only thing I’m missing is the $5 bill I used to find in my basket as a wee one. Wouldn’t be the same if I gave myself a $5 bill. Oh, and Peeps. I ate one first thing this morning. I know why I prefer to use them for decorative purposes. One will induce a serious sugar coma.

Mini-danishes for breakfast, along with a hard-boiled egg sans decorated shell. I was thinking of going the natural dye route this year, using beet juice and such. Seemed like too much work. As for the mini-danishes, they’re not so mini when you eat five. Egg salad is on the menu for lunch, followed by a bottle of rose, and that pretty much wraps up this holiday. No family dinner this year. We had a delicious St. Patrick’s Day family dinner. We’re not Irish.

Watching parts of the Pope’s Easter mass is what prompted my thoughts on organized religion. Almost three hours is a bit much for me. A couple of years ago, I started watching Christmas Eve and Easter masses. I’m fascinated by the pomp and circumstance, and I like Pope Francis. He’s genuine. I respect that, even if I don’t agree with all of the Catholic Church’s teachings. His emphasis on helping the poor and suffering is pretty much what I think organized religion should be all about. As a student of art history, I’m also intrigued by the architecture in St. Peter’s Square. All that ornate design. Such a contrast to the Lutheran church I used to occasionally attend on Christmas Eve with my grandparents. And the flowers… So colorful and welcoming. It’s raining in Rome, so everyone is holding up bright yellow and white umbrellas.

Man this is long. I might have to see if I can find “Easter Parade” on YouTube. I tried to find “It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown” earlier this morning. I could only find the scene of Snoopy skipping along against a peachy-pink sky, delivering Easter eggs, to a happy tune. An adorable scene, but I wanted more than two minutes of the Peanuts, for free of course. Told ya I was a secularist.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Easter Monday was a holiday in the States? We’re so stingy with the holiday weekends in this country. So, Easter afternoon becomes just another Sunday. Loads of laundry and prepping for the work week ahead.

I was going to plant something today, thinking the sky would be filled with the glorious sunshine they predicted. Ah, but that was yesterday. I went coatless for the first time in months. We are having a breezy morning in these parts. My new wind chimes are chiming up a storm. The branches of the flowering trees are swaying to the beat. Aside from the sugar, I love the springtime beauty of Easter. Everything is alive again. Hm. Sounds like another story.

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Magical Fuss

What was all the fuss about? Reaching this stage is magical. OK… Maybe not magical. (It’s National Unicorn Day. I have magical on the brain.) Let’s go with satisfying. Being able to look back at a way-too-dramatic event and ask, “What was all the fuss about?” Well, it’s very satisfying.

As much as I’m a proponent of packing up your knapsack and moving on, I know the process isn’t that easy. I’ve dealt with the moving on process a time or two, or seven, in my life. Recognizing the stages, however, is important. That’s how you know you are making true progress. Give yourself time, but be proactive.

I’ve been working through a certain situation for a couple of years now. After many stops and starts, I’m pretty sure I’ve reached the what was all the fuss about stage. Was that person, and the situation, worth so much of my time? No. The situation brought me some joy; it also brought me a lot of grief and heartache. The person brought me some joy; he also brought me a lot of grief and heartache. I have some fond memories and nostalgia to curl up with on a rainy night. However, I’m also getting bored with my walks down Memory Lane, at least in this circumstance.

I’m ready for something new, or nothing at all. I’m also a believer in karma. Some days I think I should have been letting Ms. Karma just do her work all along. I’ve experienced karma on my end, and so will he. At least I hope so. I’m never 100 percent confident when it comes to matters of faith. I’ve had to come to terms with the ramifications of my behavior. Like it not, he will have to do the same. By doing so, we can both move beyond the fuss. I can at least, and that’s all that matters to me.

The fuss doesn’t even have to make sense. The most important thing is that it no longer matters. This isn’t to say I’m completely over the pain. No way. However, the pain is now becoming more distant, harder to recall. That is a pretty satisfying feeling.

Drifting Away On A Tune

Sitting here in just the right spot on the couch, on a pile of disheveled, yet very soft, blankets. Just enough pillows to prop me up. Windows and screen doors open, a gentle, early spring breeze cleaning out the winter dust. Listening to my “Starry Summer Nights and Lazy Summer Days” playlist. I like to get creative with playlist titles. Not quite summer morning temperatures… I’m still wearing a swacket (sweater jacket). I don’t know if it’s too early to plant those lavender seeds. My coffee is getting a little muddy. I made it three hours ago. Nonetheless, I am definitely enjoying this moment of reprieve. Decompression, only to be compressed again on Monday. Such is the weekly cycle.

Back to that playlist. “Desafinado” is song four. The magical Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto version from 1963. Timeless. I’m drifting back in time, twenty years or so, to a warm, more likely hot, July night. I was enchanted by the Getz/Gilberto bossa nova album. I remember what I was wearing… Some silly 90s wannabe riot grrrl outfit, involving shortalls and Dr. Martens. Ah, but everything was perfect, at least while listening to the swaying sounds of bossa nova.

Fast forward twenty years, and I’m wearing a Doors t-shirt, which I might have bought at Target, and it’s awesome. Omnipresent yoga pants. How did we gals exist before yoga pants as fashion? And that swacket I mentioned. “Desafinado” is now on repeat. Each time the song plays, the clouds part a little, the sun shines a bit brighter. I see beautiful blue sky between the breaks in the clouds. I can’t be mad while listening to this song. Maybe I should be upset? No, I don’t want to be. I feel like the hurt is passing, as it always does with time. Passed by pretty quickly this time around. All I want to do these days is drift away on my favorite tunes, in yoga pants of course.