Monday, February 23, 2009

Just Outside

The wind blows through the branches
And they sway effortlessly,
Against a backdrop of cloudy sky.
A tree can bow in the
Strongest storm
As long as the trunk is sturdy
And the roots are deep.
A shaft of light bursts through
Illuminating the brown bark
Creating shadows for birds
To hide from my eyes.
The light begins to fade
But the tiny tips of the branches
Protrude proudly.
The wind picks up
Branches thrash wildly,
Waving at me inside my home
As if to say ‘pick me for the team’.
Trees do not show emotion
All they do is hold firm.
Years go by,
They see everything
But remember nothing
Except how to flower in the spring.
The monochromatic brown
Suddenly turns to green
Still a singular color palate
Nothing more than the same waving tree,
The same swaying limbs,
Now against a blue sky.
But the branches are hidden
And the leaves show the spirit
That swelled up from deep within the trunk.
The trees may not know how to show joy
But I do.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Its Not You, Its Me

I am so, so sorry Random Lunacy. I wanted to write, really I did but it just seems like life has gotten in the way recently. Its nothing you did wrong. Truly it is all me. What’s that you ask? What is Facebook? Well it’s nothing to be jealous about, I mean it isn’t like I would ever give you up for it or anything. FB is just a fling, you are my oldest and dearest addiction, I promise there is nothing to worry about. Sometimes a girl really just needs her space, even from something as awesome as a blog like you.

Nothing has seemed to hit me that I feel like writing about lately. Clearly, since I have not posted since the beginning of the month. There is something kind of big going on with a friend right now but it is not something I want to put out there in full on detail so I feel like I am not able to really talk about anything since it is one of the more prevalent thoughts in my head right now. So instead of sharing some goofy story about my past or writing something clever about my neighbor who sings opera I have just abandoned my awesome blog for stupid note tags in Facebook.

Oh the shame.

Ok to be fair it isn’t all about FB, I have been really inspired to write Green Leaf Reviewer posts again and I started a very significant story back in December that is shaping up to become a novel. I guess there is just not enough inspiration to spread around and back here to my old dear blog. Well that and the ridiculous flu like cold that knocked me flat on my back for five full days.

After a week of being sick was followed up by a Saturday full of sunshine, it was time to get out of here last weekend and we kicked it old style.

Matt and I were the original random road trippers. It was not rare for one or the other of us to get home on a Friday night and ask ‘where can we get in six hours?’ then head out for that location packing up nothing more than a big bottle of water, an overnight bag and a camera. Last Saturday we skipped the over night bag and brought passports instead and Matt surprised me with a day trip up to Quebec. Yes, as in the Canadian province.

We took off to get lunch at about one in the afternoon and surprise, Matt had passports in his pocket and we were on the road. I forgot how cool the White Mountain range was.

Unfortunately by the time we got to Canada it was getting dark so the only photo I snapped was a slightly blurry picture of the solar panels on top of the border patrol building (woo hoo Canada for going green!) and the Quebec sign.

Now people who know Matt and I understand our propensity for taking off for far lands on a whim -- it really is no thing for us to say ‘yeah, we went to Canada yesterday’ -- but the border patrol tends to show their confusion at the fact that yes we came all the way from Boston to simply drive around Sherbrooke for a couple hours, no we don’t know anyone in Canada and no we are not planning to spend the night. But luckily even though they thought we must be total freaks they let us in with a ‘have a nice time’ and what border patrol considers a smile. Better known as pursed lips and handing back our passports.

On the two hour tour we both decided it would be a great idea to go back up some time in the spring or summer and actually spend a weekend because there were quite a few cool monuments to see, pretty architecture, adorable shops and yummy looking restaurants, nevermind some gorgeous countryside to explore.

On the way back into the United States we chatted with the border patrol dude for a few minutes when he made it clear he was a Boston guy transplanted up to Vermont.

Him: “Where are you folks from?”
Us: “Arlington”
Him: “AHHHHHlingtun!”
Me: “Oh you’re from Boston!”
Him: “Yup lived in Mission Hill for a while. You guys Red Sox fans?”
Us: “Of course!”

What I should have done is asked if that question was rhetorical because, well, you know.

Him: “Cold enough up here for you?”
Matt: “Its actualy warmer here than it was in Boston earlier today.”
Him: “Well it was 30 below up here a couple weeks ago.”
Me: Jaw drops, head shakes. “How do you live? I mean you can’t possibly even breathe when you go outside in that crap?”
Him: “Nah, a big thick coat and a furry hat and its OK.”

We also chatted about Varitek, who’s manager had come through the booth shortly before he finalized his contract, and Papelbon who had just extended and then he gave a customary “Eh” and told us to have a safe drive back.

We arrived home just in time for Saturday Night Live and even though we had spent over ten hours on the road during my recuperation time I felt better than I had in ages. Nothing like a fun day of music and driving and a little International exploration to bring the roses back into a gal’s cheeks and the inspiration back to her blog.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thanks, They’re Not Mine

Back in High School my friends would have definitely voted me most likely to marry and breed by age 23. In those days I was seeing a really nice guy and talked about having at least three kids so I can see how that would have been the general consensus. Upon graduating from High School I decided that bad boys were much more interesting and ended up spending too many years in a relationship with a guy that I think everyone is happy I did not choose to procreate with; I still wanted children, just not with him. In 1994 I accepted the position of Live-in Nanny for a fairly wealthy family in Boston and by the end of that position, all inkling to have a child went right out the window.

There is nothing, and I am sorry if I happen to offend anyone here, but nothing more difficult than raising a child. Granted at the time I was getting paid to do it but something tells me if I did the math I would find I was underpaid by approximately 99%. The undertaking of rearing a human being is vast and most nights I did not have the ability to get out and do my own thing. There was always some gala or charitable ball to attend, guess who insta-babysitter was? Good guess. The kids were cute, a five year old girl who I only had in the afternoons after school and a fifteen month old boy who I had all day except the two or so hours he napped.

While he was sleeping I became a Days of Our Lives junkie and literally counted the minutes on the clock until their mom went to pick up the girl from school as it happened to coincide with the last fifteen minutes of his nap and my only opportunity for a cigarette all day. Sure I could have quit but after also being convinced to do laundry for the entire family, picking up the playroom and bathing both children every night that smoke was the one thing that I could still hold onto as part of my own life Monday through Friday. Oh, did I happen to mention that nine times out of ten mom would be hanging out in her room, watching television, talking on the phone with her friends and eating while I raised her children in the playroom?

In order to remove my mind from the situation in the house there were many days that the little boy and I would just get out and go somewhere. I enjoyed taking him to places like Discovery Zone because he could run and play but I could sit and watch or the mall since I could just pop him in the stroller and spend hours walking around, eating pretzels and looking at all the items I could not afford. With absolute certainty I can say that every time we went out, and I mean anywhere, I heard a question similar to this “Oh your baby is so adorable, congratulations, how old is he?” Because we both had mousey brown hair and big blue eyes I can understand where people might have drawn the conclusion but in the early months of that job it drove me insane and my canned response became “Thanks, he’s 15 months, he’s not mine.”

Something happens to a person when they witness a parent not taking the responsibility they should take with their own children, when they have the full ability to do so financially speaking. After about half a year at that job it started to make me mental to realize I was spending over eighty hours a week with a child who was not my blood, teaching him to do things, spending special time bonding and his own mother was lazing about just two floors away when she could have been the one taking the initiative to raise him. After a while I developed a new canned response to strangers inquiring about my baby “Thanks, he’s about 20 months.”

Do not get me wrong, this was not some The Hand That Rocks the Cradle situation where I felt like he actually was my son, or rather should have been, but after months of saying ‘he’s not mine’ while simultaneously being the solely responsible adult in his life it just became easier to say ‘thanks’ to people I knew I would never see again. For a whole bunch of years after that job I tried to convince myself that the reason it was so difficult was because I was so young but now fifteen years later at age thirty five, I am not so sure that was the reason at all.

Many of you know that my friend S had twins at the end of last summer, we call them Hammer and Anvil, and those boys are now just over five months old. She asked me today if I would like to get some lunch at the mall and then if I would be alright hanging out with them for about a half hour while she had her eye exam. As if I would ever turn down an opportunity to hang out with my “nephews”, of course I responded yes!

We walked the entire length of the first floor of the mall and Hammer looked around curiously while Anvil slept peacefully. We met up with S at Brigham’s who grabbed each of us a black and white frappe after her appointment was complete and somehow I managed to navigate the monstrosity of a carriage into that ice cream shop. During my time alone with the little guys, not once did I have to say to a single person “Thanks, they’re five months, they are not mine” but around corners, in passing or in stores I heard the remark “Oh, twins!” generically uttered aloud more than I could keep track of.

It was the middle of the day so the teenager and senior citizen quotient was relatively low; in fact most of the people I saw while I walked around were mall maintenance workers or women with their own strollers. I started wondering how many of those alleged moms were not really moms at all, how many of them were “Aunties” or a Nanny and it made me wonder how many people saw me pushing this stroller and subconsciously assumed that these were my children even though they never asked.

As I walked around with the extra long stroller it occurred to me that I was not at all comfortable doing it. Not to say I was not happy to do so, I am always happy to help out a friend, but I felt as if I was wearing a jacket three sizes too small and everyone was pointing and laughing; it did not fit. My own paranoid delusion it is true and I suppose it is impossible to know just what I would feel if they were in fact my own but I can not help but shake the sense that in my world it would not be normal for me to walk through a mall with a stroller. I suppose it is nice to know that I feel that way rather than delude myself into believing I should have a baby just because everyone else is doing it. Luckily this is one of the greatest joys of being Auntie, I can hang with them all day and then gleefully return them to mom when it gets too binding.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stuff I Have Got to Get Out of My Head

I apologize in advance that this post is going to be somewhat fragmented but it is all cluttering up my brain right now. Yesterday I was in the most awesome mood, today this is the stuff I am thinking about. My self diagnosed bi-polarity rears its ugly head again. Or is it manic depression? I can never be sure. Is there really a difference? Well anyway, I like my swinging and to be quite honest I am not really sad or down trodden or anything today, in fact I am still in a fairly decent mood but lots of things have been going on lately and so I need to just purge a bunch of stuff out.

Organ Donor
When you told me your news I was afraid but
Would not show it
You know me so well after all these years it was probably
Easy to see anyway.
“We are too young to have to start dealing with stuff like this”
He said later and I agreed
Tireless I search for answers
Where do I go to look?
I have no background, no idea where to even begin
Obscurity begins to overtake my mind
I push it aside.
I have to or I am going to sit and cry.
Something tells me strength is what you need from me now.
I am completely willing to do that.
You are family
You have always been family
You will always be family.
Regardless of what it is we will all deal with it together
Life has ups and downs right?
I can not pretend to know how to handle any of them,
It is hard enough to attempt to enjoy the ride without
Throwing up.
I want to say it will all be alright.
I want to say nothing could ever happen to you,
That you are invincible
No matter what you will prevail.
Definitive confirmation has not yet arrived
The waiting is the hardest part.


Two years ago this month one of the most awesome people who ever graced this planet, my Grandpa, passed away. He could crush you with one squeeze of his enormous frame or knock you over with his booming Irish voice but in my memory his strong arms never did anything more than hug me or teach me how to swim in the ocean when I was barely even walking yet and his voice always had a song in it; most of the time that song was Ramona and we danced to it together at my wedding. He was a special breed of person -- loving, loyal and fiercely protective of the people he loved, but in the same turn never held back from telling anyone what was on his mind even if it might not be what that person wanted to hear. I definitely know this from many personal experiences. With me though it always ended in a hug no matter what. I miss him. A lot. I truly believe in soul mates and I do not feel it is something relegated to romantic love but a term used to define anyone who connects on an inexplicable level. He was one of mine.

The year he passed away Matt and I were living on Long Island and as the fates had it we had to drive up to Massachusetts separately for the services due to job and weather related issues. I can not begin to explain to anyone who was not there what that week was like, what the wake or funeral or after party were like. Yes I said party. He would never have had it any other way. The time in Massachusetts was a definite roller coaster and after Matt returned home Wendy and I took a ride to Humarock because it was just something we had to do; a walk on the beach in February was remarkably appropriate.

I left for New York early the following day so I could make the four hour drive back in daylight as I was still not comfortable driving such a long distance alone. I had my iPod along for the ride to keep me company; actually it was more that the music kept me distracted from thinking too much and I welcomed it. Typical of the irony of my life however a song came on that I had not heard in a very long time and as I flew down the Merritt Parkway at about twenty miles an hour over the posted speed limit, I sobbed alone in the car as I sung along to this song that suddenly made me think of my Grampa.

Bright Lights
By Matchbox 20

She got out of town
On a railway New York bound
Took all except my name
Another alien on Broadway
There's some things in this world
You just can't change
Somethings you can't see
Until it too late

Baby, baby, baby
When all your love is gone
Who will save me
From all I'm up against out in this world
Maybe, maybe, maybe
You'll find something
That's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around
And come on home

I got a hole in me now
Yeah, I got a scar I can talk about
She keeps a picture of me
In her apartment in the city
Some things in this world
Man, they don't make sense
Some things you don't need
Until they leave you
Then they're things that you miss

Baby, baby, baby
When all your love is gone
Who will save me
From all I'm up against out in this world
Maybe, maybe, maybe
You'll find something
That's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around
And come on home

Let that city take you in, come on home
Let that city spit you out, come on home
Let that city take you down, yeah
God's sake turn around

Baby, baby, baby
When all your love is gone
Who will save me
From all I'm up against out in this world
Maybe, maybe, maybe
You'll find something
That's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around
And come on home

Come on home
Baby, baby, baby
Come on home
Yeah, come on home
Yeah, come on home

Later after I returned back to my house I started to think of a lot of songs that reminded me of him and put a nice collection of them together in a playlist on my iTunes. One of the most uplifting reminders of him is a song by the Dropkick Murphys and since I do not want to be a complete Debbie Downer today I will sign off with these lyrics. Love you Grampa, miss you tons.


All of my dreams seem to fall by the side
Like the discarded thought or the day’s fading light
But I know that if I could just see you tonight

At times we may fall, like we all tend to do
But I’ll reach out and find that I’ve run into you
Your strength is the power
That carried me through

Your kindness for weakness I never mistook
I worried you often, yet you understood
That life is so fleeting, these troubles won’t last

Inspired me truly you did from the start
To not be afraid and to follow my heart
There’s a piece of you with me they can’t tear apart

Forever I’ll find you, forever we’ll be
Forever your power and strength stays with me