Monday, August 25, 2008

On My Own

I just finished reading a really good book that was praised by people far more distinguished than I. (this includes the entire Tri-state area)

Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues called Florence Falk's On My Own: The Art of Being A Woman Alone " "A call to independence and empowerment" See what I mean? I said it was "a really good book."

Amy Sohn, author of Run Catch Kiss and My Old Man wrote, "On My Own is a provocative, smart read for any woman who is alone, wants to be alone, or is figuring out how to be alone. An empowering, emotionally honest book that is long overdue." (from the library?)

Before I was virtually alone (not cyberspace virtually) I wasn't aware how many woman as Vanessa Williams sang have, "One less egg to fry." I love these lyrics. The line "one less man to pick up after" gives me the chills. It's so simple while it says it.

I'm a little confused about the title, though. "One Less Bell To Answer" - Why would your husband be ringing the bell? Wouldn't he have a key?

Anyway, finding your own situation in others is an old story. When you're shopping for lamps you notice lamps. In the market for a white car? Every car on the road is white. Thinking of joining a cult? Suddenly, everyone is wearing moccasins. It's a phenomenon.

Yesterday's New York Times Modern Love column in the Style Section had a line that jumped out at me (not literally) Bob Morris, the author wrote about marrying his boyfriend now that gay marriage is an option. He writes: "As someone who has been a defensive single most of my adult life, I still believe that solitude makes you a deeper person, not a lesser one."

While I was skimming, I mean reading Ms. Falk's book I nodded (off to sleep?) agreement that I could truly become deeper simply by reprogramming my feeble brain to believe that
it's possible to befriend aloneness.

This goes against my claims as Dr. Friendship that "If you're your own best friend you need to get out more." I've staked my illustrious (or lack luster) career on the platform - "Hugging oneself may be good for the soul, but bad for the back." Let's face it. It's an awkward position.

I've always laughed at that love yourself first crap, but now that I have no choice (I have one less bell to answer) it may be time to look in the mirror and smile.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Fired My Shrink

My bereavement shrink reminds me of Bette Davis. I half expect her to crazy dance and sing "I've Written a Letter to Daddy."

She hasn't signed my a clean bill of health yet, but when that day happens will it really count? Gene's judgement is as credible as John Edwards. I'll feel like I cheated on a mid-term, slept with the teacher or donated a wing to the school.

I've been seeing her since December of '06 so she has helped me through some tough times, although she's gotten tougher herself each visit. She's like a Mom I continue to disappoint.

With each shake of her head I feel she's saying I ought to go out into the world and embrace widowhood. "There's no shame in telling people your husband died. You didn't kill him."

Yet, I am self conscious. And, I still belittle him in my mind. How could a big, boisterous, intelligent man, a man I counted on for all the major decisions, allow a few little cancer cells to do him in?

I may not know how to analyze a company and until recently I thought a balance sheet had a thread count, but I feel superior. I've stayed alive longer. That's twisted, I know. I expected Gene to help me with that.

She boasts that she's seen "thousands" of clients and this is quite common. I am quite common.
We wait while I re-vavel what has unraveled. I can wait alone. Who needs her?

She tells me that I still think like a married woman. She tells me I'm naive. She says, "Do you really think your daughter doesn't lie to you?" Um...That hadn't occurred to me...not at 31 years old...

When I ask Gene a question she says, "How should I know?" This reminds me of how when Jimmy and I would watch TV and I would comment, "Why is that woman running away from that man?"

Jimmy would say, "How should I know? I started watching when you did." I wasn't

really expecting an answer.

Sometimes, I do expect an answer. Gene answers, "I can't tell you what to do."

I haven't officially fired Gene. I told her I'd call her for a next appointment. I considering not calling.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Skylar - Our Little Blonde Flower Girl

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Skylar and Adrianna

On Saturday my God-daughter Katharine married Pete - they looked so happy they actually sparkled! Skylar was one of the two flower girls.

Just nine months ago she was the flower girl for Katharine's sister Kristi...We're thinking of renting her out. Any interest? Oh, is this legal?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It Is What It Is

Today is two years and four months since Jimmy died. When someone asks me how long it's been do I say "A little over two years" "Almost two and a half years" or "Two years and four months?" And, what do I say two weeks from now?

Or, does it matter? It is what it is. I love that expression. It covers a whole lot of situations and it's neither negative or positive. It's acceptance. I accept whatever I can't change. It is what it is. That's emotionally healthy. Isn't it? Just checking...

I recently heard a newscaster say, "BACK in 2006." If I was in a coma and just woke up I'd be worried. I'd assume the year was 2016 or more. I'd demand to see a newspaper. Stat.

I used stat because it's a hospital term. I figure I'd be in a hospital. I'm sure my kids wouldn't want me snoring and dribbling on their carpet for years. Actually, even a few minutes of that would be disturbing.

We're only half way through 2008. Is it accurate to say "BACK in 2006?" Not for me. That was two years and four months ago. And, I'm still back there a good part of each day.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Like a Virgin

"I crack my knuckles." That's what I tell people when they ask me what I do for exercise. If they press me, I elaborate, "Not just my fingers, I crack almost every bone in my body every few hours."

They think I'm kidding. So, I give them a show. I bend slightly backwards and my left hip goes 'pop' - I continue with my knees, my shoulders and by the time I'm up to my neck most normal people yell "stop."

Apparently, it's disconcerting to watch, to hear and I can see that it may be perhaps something I ought to do in private. Don't ask me about my exercise program, then.

Why do I have to watch sweaty men and women who are decades past looking reasonably attractive in short-shorts walk briskly by my house swinging their arms like military rejects? Stay home on your tread mill or join a gym, cheapskates!

This small rant is a result of my recent dance lesson. The Hustle is making a comeback and so am I. Since February, twice a week, my dance instructor, Rainer Trubere at Dancesport has been tackling a nearly impossible task. I may be too white, too Jewish and too old to stand up straight, but Rainer is determined to break my lifelong habit of zero activity.

This sweet, misguided man has vowed to "clean me up." In layman terms, this means my posture will no longer resemble the Tim Conway character on the old Carol Burnett Show.

Rainer dances as gracefully as a ballet dancer, yet excels in every possible sport. He is totally physical. And, as we know, I'm anything but. Luckily, his rigorous training for his body has bumped up his endurance for the mental anguish I drop on him each session. His sense of humor has kept him from a breakdown and more important, has saved me from being strangled.

The other evening we both learned something significant. I'd like to shout it out here out so I can virtually stick my tongue out to all the middle aged know it all "athletes" who may be taking a break to sit down and read a blog.

I couldn't point my toe. Yes, I can point it, but not the way Rainer wanted me to. Always ready with a creative alternative teaching tool (extremely necessary for this student) he demonstrated limping, "You know, favor one side, like when you twist your ankle."

"I've never twisted my ankle" I said. Too stunned to comment, Rainer stood on one foot (show off!) and simply looked at me. He reminded me of how my dog Tony cocks his head to one side straining to sort out the foreign words.

"What do you mean?" he finally stammered.

"Never happened." I said. "I don't do anything physical so I've managed to avoid torn ligaments, dislocated shoulders, knee problems - all the ailments from..."

"Movement." He finished my sentence. It sounded so odd hearing it from someone else, but it was true. Pushing myself is not finding a close enough parking space.

Flabbergasted that our worlds are so opposite, he shook his head and listed all the injuries he'd suffered throughout his lifetime. The list made me shudder and it also made me smirk.

He saw it and said, "No pain-no gain."
I countered, "No strain -No pain."

Still not past it, he said, "You mean, if we took an xray of you now it would show n o t h i n g?" I nodded. Knowing I'm no youngster he was excited like we were launching a new product - me.

"Do you realize that all your active friends who are your age probably have a chronic problem from tennis or jogging?"

"They do...and not for nothing...their skin is more wrinkled from the sun - which I avoid. Again, another casualty of outdoor activities." I rested my hand on my hip with attitude, just like he taught me.

With a renewed sense of purpose, he suggested that if I do a little bit of stretching (I kinda do when I crack) and aerobics along with my dance lessons - in a few years I'll be in amazing shape (for my age...they always add that to ruin it)

"You will be superior to them physically because you're just starting out. It's like you're a virgin."

And, I am, in so many ways. Jimmy said to me, "We should have danced more." Well, here I go.