Archive for November, 2009

It was the best of times and the worst of times

Monday, November 30th, 2009

I was speaking to a colleague the other day about living in New York and he said New York is a place where when things are going well they are hyper well and when things suck they super suck. I arrived in New York this afternoon on a wave of melancholy – seeing my mom on Sunday looking almost not human just sank my heart to the ground.

This evening I wandered into at an art supply store after dinner and saw a tin box of ink stamps and it made me think of what my mother gave me for Hanukkah last year – a tin of stamp pads with leaves and flowers. I burst into tears and had to just hang out in the aisle for a minute before I could join the rest of the world.

I’m in grief purgatory with mom not dead but not alive – and all of the memories I have of her compound the emotions with good memories and sad ones.

We heard back from the birthmother on Thanksgiving just like nothing had ever happened. I went into a funk but a long walk on the beach alone with T and Loca helped me get my spirits back. The good part is she is due soon, the bad part is that we have no faith in this process anymore. We’ve been wrung out of all emotional good will (not to mention cash).

New York – I sit here typing by the window that overlooks building after building after building. Out in the streets there are restaurants and shops and bars and cafés and a couple arguing on one corner and a drunk young man speaking to his friend in his OUTSIDE voice. And me, I feel like this might be one of those days when your wretchedness is matched by the weather, the loneliness of the city, and this feeling that I just want 2009 to FUCKING END.

Goodbye Sun, hello Fun

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Well fun is a stretch, but life is what you make of it right? I left New Orleans this morning just as the clouds were starting to form and arrived at JFK to cold and rain and a lousy cab driver. I’m standing there trying to open the car door in the rain and the cabbie is busy popping the trunk and not even looking. Then he tried to charge me about $20 over the airport rate and said that he had to take the long way – and I told him that’s because “you are not a good cab driver.” Then when he argued with me, I withheld his tip. The petty power of the lone traveler.

I’m sitting in my hotel room – this is a new hotel and a new area for me after ten years of staying at The Muse in midtown. I’m over in the Bowery and I’m looking out my large industrial window at grass – yes, that’s right – grass in New York City. There is a field of grass where all of these buildings meet – it’s large enough for another hotel but seems to just be sitting there, growing.

I was going to head out and explore the area but the rain and a little melancholy kept me in my room.

Relax on the beach

Monday, November 30th, 2009

We stayed for the third time in Ft. Morgan because the beach is sparsely populated despite a lot of development and the dogs are allowed on the beach to romp and play. This is the second time we rented from RelaxOnTheBeach that a friend had recommended to us a while back. I was just looking over Kevin’s website and he said something that has popped up in a lot of conversations I’ve been having about work, reading about careers, and discovering for myself. Business is about relationships and Kevin decided that if he treated guests in his houses like family that they’d come back and they’d tell their friends.

Takes me back to a documentary I watched years ago where they followed a timeline of how business works – in the beginning and in the end it is about face to face, one to one, relationships.


Sunday, November 29th, 2009

The key ingredients to a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday:

1) People you want to hang out with:


2) Beautiful weather and sunsets that amaze you:


3) Long walks on the beach with your trusted loved ones (canines included):


4) Seeing the happy faces on the ferry ride home means that we passed us a good time:


Throw it out to the sea

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

We have been indulging in long walks on the beach, sand sifting between our toes, sunshine, pelicans, dolphins, and Loca all capturing our attention equally. I had a feeling the other day as if I should be getting back home, doing something, accomplishing something – this anxiety followed me out to the beach each time and quickly disappeared each time.

We take long walks in the mornings and sunset walks in the evening, and Loca has developed a limp from overdoing while Wolfie remains on the balcony guarding the house for us – she is not fond of sun or sand.

Beachcombing has become the antidote to the hustle and bustle of our lives – a shell here, Loca chasing a sandpiper there, we have whittled down our concerns to a few. That’s not to say they aren’t few and big, but they seem less formidable walking together hand in hand.

If I had a crystal ball capable of hind as well as foresight, one thing would be crystal clear – 2009 has been a tough year, but it has been a building block for our relationship. Throughout the ups and downs, T and I have been steadily cementing our foundation for the future. A future that will not include my mom, might yet include a baby, and a future to which I look forward.

The power of good journalism

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Jeff Sharlet’s The Family is a book about scary people and scary events, but one that every American should read.

For those who do not lead a life of questioning on their own, or who take the world at face value, there is the impression of innocence from these influence peddlers who claim to be standing mano a mano with god and god’s way, the American way, but this god of power is not a god of love, and it seems to me that we need more proselytizers of love these days.

So for those who fear the unfamiliar, I advocate learning to live with an open heart and mind, because only in a space this large will you find god. God is not a roach that squeezes into narrow cracks or hides in the dark like The Family is doing, the god you seek is much larger, I can assure you.

Sunsets on the beach

Friday, November 27th, 2009

When we were walking along the beach, a school of dolphins paralleled our path and a flock of pelicans circled – we were talking about current events. It seems life unfolded the last couple of weeks around a certain theme – trust.

Who to trust? rather was the theme.

At one point in the myriad of conversations I had at least ten people vying for my trust and I was trying to read my gut but kept returning to validity in everyone’s argument and no argument of my own. E had asked if it was a relief about the adoption grinding to a halt and I said not about the baby, but about the process which has driven me insane.

Elsewhere a similar argument ensued, major decisions seem to abound, ones I have little control over the outcome, and yet at each juncture someone is asking me to get on the bandwagon with them and I feel not necessarily paralyzed, but more like, in the words of Bartleby the Scrivener, “I would prefer not to.”

The problem when trust erodes in one place it starts to call into question all areas you have hitched your life to – trust is a big layer of faith that the person you are trusting has your best interested at heart or at least top of mind. Even when two walls of trust are crumbling on the three wall stage, the ambiguity infiltrates even the most steadiest of your concerns.

At the end of the day, walking into the sunset of the beach, it’s yourself you have to trust, that you will be fine with whatever outcome and that no matter how cataclysmic or minute the experience that awaits, you will deal, you will pick up the pieces and move on, you will not only live, but in the end thrive. That’s the faith you hold absolute.

Relax on the beach

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

We made our way to Mobile Bay and you could feel the surrounds getting more beachlike as we approached the ferry on Dauphin Island – pelicans, seagulls, and dolphins came out to welcome us to Ft. Morgan’s beach. There was an instant feeling of relief as the ferry reached the other side of the bay where the old fort controls the tip.

There is something so laid back and deserted about Ft. Morgan. Dogs run happily on the beach with the few owners that show up. This morning a man told me he had left his home in Colorado to spend Thanksgiving here – it was 15 degrees when he looked at the weather back home so he was in a cheerful mood with the sun twinkling off the water and the white sand sculpted dunes in the foreground.

Life is a beach.

A cheaper but needed consolation prize

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

The first adoption we tried didn’t go through and so we went to Portugal.

The second adoption appears to be headed in the same direction – nowhere – and so we’re headed to the beach.

I’m not even thinking of the third – I’m thinking we are going to start clearing space in our lives for tangible opportunities like Turkish lessons and nurturing our friendships that have been sorely neglected.

Make my water wine!

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I went to the hospital with all of my mother’s living siblings and their spouses – it was a Thanksgiving gathering like in days of old. What was missing was the delicious desserts and coffee and my grandmother’s front porch swing. The young woman who had been praying for a miracle the day before entered the room and suddenly her countenance changed dramatically and she looked as if she had seen a ghost. She walked over to mom, held her hand, and looked at me so strange that I thought she had seen a ghost. She told us all that she was having an incredible deja vu moment. My mother at that moment was asking us all over to her apartment so that we could eat. The young woman asked me to come out in the hall for a moment and my aunts and uncles looked at me as if something was up. I went out and the woman put her hands of my shoulders and she said, “Does your mom know she is dying?”

And I said yes, I have told her.

“I have had it all wrong, I just had a vision that she is going to die, and I’m here to be with her to help her through this. And it’s you who I’m going to have a merlot with and I now realize I’m supposed to get back with my husband. That’s the miracle I’ve been feeling. It became clear to me just now.”

I started crying and hugged her. And I said, “I’m glad you are here with her because she likes you.”

This young woman has been cleaning my mother and taking care of her for months believing that she was going to see a miracle and my mother was going to get out of the hospital. She has been joking with her that they will sit on the porch and drink Merlot together and talk about this in the future. I was happy to hear that she realized what her role is – to support my mom’s passage.

A miracle indeed.