There are blue skies, and there are blue skies. Some are bright with splashes of fluffy white clouds that float aimlessly, in no specific direction, bumping into each other and then going along their merry way again, morphing into shapes of anything you can imagine. I love those skies, and it matters not to me if some of those clouds fill up with water to the point that they burst uncontrolably, spilling huge droplets of rain upon me and everything else that lies beneath them. Because I think maybe in another life I was a duck – but then that is an entirely different story and one I am not in the mood to talk about today.
It is those other blue skies that I think of with such distaste that it makes me literally cringe, and that we’re now experiencing in Minnesota. Like a dull, blue-grey, heavy blanket that hovers above us, it signals the coming of at least nine months of what I call pure hell. The thought of below-freezing temperatures, accompanied by ice and snow and glistening icicles that drip meanacingly off every rooftop, send chills down my spine just to think of it. My gawd, I hate what winter brings.
September, where did you go?
It’s a Minnesotian tradition – the state fair with all it’s noise and commotion, booths offering foods of everythng imaginable (if you can put it on a stick, they’ll do it) and well-stocked venders only all too happy to hawk it to you. The rides are colorful with bright neon lights that flash and if you’re there at night, they light up the evening sky. The people – well the people are as diverse as you can imagine – every size, every shape, every age, and because of the current obsession with tatoos, every color too! A people watcher’s dream come true, that’s for sure.
This year’s fair didn’t do it for me as in previous year’s past. It might have been that bacon on a stick that I had and that would subsequently get me sick and keep me up all night. Or it might have been that I intentionally skipped the butterfly booth – an earlier visit this year really saddened me because there were so many dead butterflies all over the floors and people were just stepping on them like they were nothing. For some reason I just couldn’t get into the swing of it all like I have in previous years’ past. Still, it was fun and of course watching Amelia have fun is worth the trip no matter what.
One hightlight of the fair was the mysterious and flamboyant woman who painted my face. Amelia wanted hers done so on a whim I thought, “Why not me too!” We walked to the little booth where the painting was being done and we both picked empty seats and sat down. While Amelia explained to her painter what design she had chosen, I on the other was staring quietly ahead, mesmerized by the beautiful woman who sat across the tiny table from me. She too was quiet, and turned her head slightly as if in deep thought. This exchange of looks took a bare second or two, but it seemed much longer. And then as if some kind of spell had been broken, we both snapped out of it, and before I could tell her what I wanted, she said, “I know what you want,” in a thick and very prounced, Europeon accent.
And then the woman proceded to paint away, dipping her brush into the various colors on her paint pad. “Elvis loved loved pink and black,” she said. “Probably as much as you do,” she added. I listened quietly as she continued to paint and talk and only when she had sprinkled sparkles on top of her design did she let me see a mirror. I laughed and told her she DID know what I wanted, and she smiled at that! Then she looked me in the eye and said, “I know you. And I won’t forget you.” I paid her, hugged her and walked out with Amelia, who was finished as well. As we contined on our way I had a feeling that something important had just transpired, but I wasn’t sure what it was. One thing I was sure about though is it was not likely I would forget her either.
It’s almost the end of summer, and Sofi is doing great. After being told by the dealership that she has numerous problems that need to be fixed asap, and her driving me all over the place with no problems at all, I am beginning to doubt them. My shifting has improved to the point of Amelia grading me a 9.5 out of ten (I got .5 knocked off because of a small incident on the hill by my house) and I’m not afraid of freeway driving anymore.
I love her. I love looking at her and I love driving her with the top down and my hair flying all over the place! I especially love driving her at night – under a black sky speckled with bright, shining stars and a beautiful big white moon looming in the middle of it all. And maybe Jackson Browne, John Dylan or Janis Joplin tunes blasting through the air, breaking the silence as I cruise smoothly through a warm and gentle wind. It is pure heaven, if you ask me!
With September just around the corner I find myself dreading the coming of winter. I am so past the point of wanting to take on a winter sport because I just don’t care anymore. I want to leave Minnesota and until then prefer to huddle inside and have indoor, and warm, fun.
Tomorrow night I’m going to see a psychic with some ladies from work. Some really werid and unexplainable things have been happening to me and I want to see if she has any answers. I also want to know if Cookie has any advice for me like she used to always have. My big sister was never without an opinion and I miss that so bad. Man, that saying, “You never know what you had till you lose it,” sure does ring true for me at times.
I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s start a little more with Sofi. My beautiful Sofi has definitely been a mixed bag of good fortune and bad. I love that she is a convertible, and even though I never thought I’d learn to drive manual shift, I can tell you now it is my transmisioni of choice. Through her, I have reaffirmed that if I really want to learn to do something, there is nothing that can stop me from doing so.
But Sofi’s problems needed to be fixed and I wasn’t too worried because along with her, I had purchased that “new car policy.” For approximately $150 a month, I was covered for pretty much anything that came up, I was told – just like a new car. The salesman asked that I wait a month before bringing it in because we had identified a few things that needed to be looked at right off the bat.
So Sofi sat in our apartment garage practically 100 percent for the first month and a half, looking beautiful, but forlorn, as I had never driven anything but an automatic. That, compiled with the fact that Ira left for three weeks the day after she was purchased, meant I had no one to teach me. There was the day I spent $50 and got a 20 minute lesson from a friend of a friend, but that didn’t help much and I couldn’t exactly afford to do that more than once. Ira coming back a week early from his job helped a tiny bit, but he was crabby and cross and not the best teacher so we only got in one 30 minute lesson before he was gone for another week. During this time I was paying for a rental car and I was tired of the over-inflated prices and the “deal you can’t beat” speeches that really weren’t a deal at all. So one day after some careful thought, I asked Eshaka to drive my rental back and I drove Sofi all by myself back to Eshaka’s home and then to mine.
For nearly two weeks Sofi and I got to know each other and it was a journey of tears and joy, because as much as I love her, like I said, she was a nightmare to learn. Through tears I have waited mid-hill for impatient drivers to pass me up and go around so that I can release my foot from the clutch before sliding backwards and then zooming ahead to move through the stoplight. With fists cluftched tightly at the steering wheel, I would stare straight ahead and softly whispered to myself, “Turn green, turn green. Please turn green,” or, “Stay green. Please stay green,” as I made my way down city streets dotted with street lights at nearly every corner. I became adept at strategically adjusting my speed so that I could pass through without having to stop. And yes, my routes were planned by stoplight locations, not by distance or coffee shop locations.
There is this big hill just a block from where I work and at the top sits a dreaded stoplight, which rarely works in my favor. More than once it held me hostage and in tears, the combined terror of worrying I would be late for my job, and at the same time frustrated that I couldn’t get past it for fear I would roll back into whatever vehicle had nudged up way too close to my rear bumper. But I remember this one day that I approached it, tired of being the victim and so I expertly, yes, expertly pushed the clutch in and breaked slowly, then released the clutch and simultaneously pressed the gas while seamlessly moved ahead, past the corner, and past that god-forsaken nightmare of a light! “I did it you f***er,” I yelled as I turned the following corner and glanced behind me. “The road doesn’t rule me! I WIN!”
My joy was somewhat short-lived however because by April 29 I had Sofi brought to the dealer from where she was purchased for what should have been a three-day repair. And though I didn’t know it at the time, it would be two long months before I would see her again. The loaner I was first given was a black Kia, with no air conditioning and that was automatic. I drove that car for a month before it was exchanged for a dark grey Escape – another automatic, but this time with all working parts. I wasn’t so thrilled with the Escape, but it was a nice car with hookups for my phone and my IPod. Still, I worried those two months about getting Sofi back. Would I remember how to drive her, or would I have to learn all over?
Summer’s here and I couldn’t be happier about that. Winter sucked more so this year than in any years’ past. Not only was it longer, but the chilling temperatures nearly did me in. Thank God, that, so many other things in life, finally came to an end.
I’ve been doing so much thinking about where I am, where I want to be, and what things I need to do to make those things happen. It’s exhausting to take stock of your life and try to find answers to questions you thought you’d never have to ask yourself.
My car problems have been off the chart these last few months. On Feburary 14th I bought the cutest little Beetle convertible – honestly, it was a case of love at first sight. Creme colored with a black roof, and tiny dark brown swirls that curl aound the sides, it’s totally a woman’s car – my car – and so much so that I named her “Sophi.”
Sophie didn’t come 100 percent in fine condition, but the salesman who found her for me said that if I bought a “new car” protection policy, I’d be able to have her fixed in tip top condition. Lesson one here – never believe everything a salesman tells you, even if he tells you it in the most sincere and down to earth manner – and makes you feel like he’s known you for years.
Still, it’s been five months since Sophi and I have belonged to each other and I still love her as much as I ever have, despite only having less than a month of driving time together.
I love the mountains. To say they are majestic is an understatement. They are so gigantic and beautiful and they surround you practically every which way you look. If it rains, which it rarely does, the colors are vibrant, but even when it’s dry, their subdued tones are breathtaking. In the evening the silhouettes against the setting sun are an unforgettable sight.
So this morning as we walked toward the bottom of the mountain all I could think of was being able to touch it – and feel it -and maybe somehow leave a piece of my heart within its crevices, or at the very least, close my eyes, and try so hard to take in every single feeling about it – the sounds, the feeling of the soft breeze on my face, the warmth of the sun… the sweet scent of the wild flowers that hang in the air, the colors – yellows, pinks, purples – too many to mention – and maybe, just maybe, when I’m back in Minnesota, I can close my eyes again…. and recall every single part of it… and then, relive it again. It is that special.
The sun was hot already as we made our way forward. Susan and Amelia going on ahead, and me in the middle snapping pictures at every turn, while Papa Dan followed behind because he had both of their puppies – small dachshunds who were having lots of troubles with the brush that kept getting stuck in their hair. Eventually he decided to wait with them while we went ahead and then returned back to him.
I admit to being a little nervous at first about what I might find on the trail, but the photo opportunities were so plentiful I quickly forgot about all of that and concentrated on what my next picture would be! Well almost anyway because – because there was that whole anthill thing and then the grey shadowy shapes that darted in and out ahead of me and that were too fast for me to guess as to their identity! But I took a breath, ignored them and continued to snap away.
An eagle flew up above me and landed nearby. It looked toward me and I shouted, “you’re beautiful,” because it was – and there was no one nearby to hear me anyway, but in truth, I wouldn’t have cared if there was. It flew away quickly and just moments later Susan and Amelia appeared to tell me we needed to turn around and go back. It had all happened way too soon and I wished the time could have moved much slower. Secretly I wished you could have been there… it was such a remarkable experience and one I doubt I’ll ever forget.
So that’s what we did. We made our way down and before I knew it we were at the car. “I love you,” I whispered to the wind and then I picked up a little rock, kissed it gently, leaving a small spot of pink lipstick residue on its smooth, sun-worn surface before placing it solemnly at the foot of the great mountain.
But it wasn’t the rock or the pink, or even the lipstick that truly got left behind – because somewhere a little bit of my heart will continue to beat along with all the other sights and sounds that make up that great majestic mountain in Palm Springs.
Amelia and I are on vacation in Palm Springs, courtesy of Grandma Susan and Papa Dan. It is a much needed vacation for both of us!
I have always looked for the silver lining. But on March 11th I was too busy thinking about Cookie and how it was her birthday and how I’ve missed her so much. I was also wallowing in whatever “P” problem I was dealing with at any particular time that day. “P” problems consist of Poop/Pee/Puke because these days, that’s a big part of my life. The last thing I was looking for, was a silver lining.
But the truth is… miles and miles away – far bigger problems were taking place – problems that make mine so insignificant, I feel ashamed even thinking about them. At about 12:25 p.m., an 8.9 rated earthquake hit Tokyo, Japan and the resulting tsumami took the lives of nearly 10,000 people and forever changed the lives of countless more.
So I’ll try to stop wallowing and complaining and and worrying about those three “P’s” that are taking over my life and instead – find a silver lining because somewhere, somehow – there has to be one.
Ira left at about 4 a.m. this morning. It’s another week or more of trucking for him and to be honest, I’m glad he’s gone. His complaining and crabby moods, along with his lack of sensitivity are so hard to handle. It seems the more downward he spirals, the more moody he gets, and the less I remember the person I married.
Ira’s been doing truck driving for about a month and half – after realizing (finally) that his career as an insurance agent was putting us further and further in debt. In the last year we have had to give up nearly everything we’ve accumilated all the time we’ve been together. It has been a hard pill to swallow, made only worse by the amount of responsibility that has now shifted entirely on me.
Ira is now gone for 8 to 10 days at a time, leaving me to attend to all the home chores, the finances and of course our pets -the latter being so time-consuming for one person that it is rare when I can just enjoy them anymore. And the twice weekly drive back and forth to Rochester to get and bring back Amelia also falls entirely on me, although the only really bad thing about that is that Sunday I return home and she’s not with me. I sure miss her all week!
My God – have I ever sounded so dismal? I have to smile even as I write that because I’m not normlly that kind of a person and when or if I have been, not a soul would have ever guessed.
So Amelia and I woke up this morning to a quiet house with one less family member. We had a quick breakfast and played World of Warcraft on the computer. She’s been diligently leveling her charactor and is a level 78 now. The cap is 85, which is what my charactor is.
We couldn’t play too terribly long as we’ve got a full day ahead of us. There’s laundry to do, a little housecleaning, a trip to the gym and a quick trip to the store for a few groceries – throw in a few potty breaks for the dogs, and before too long it’ll be time to make the trek to Rochester. Then home, Celebrity Apprentice, some computer time, more potty breaks and then to bed. Monday does come early.
Saturday’s are supposed to be a day off – a respite from the busy week one has endured, but these days, Saturday’s are just another day of who knows what goes wrong and what I need to do to fix it. Mishaps this past week incuded
- The stove went out – no breakfast or lunch here today, or at least until it gets fixed by maintenance.
- A lightbulb in the kitchen popped and broke off inside the socket – Ira had to turn off all the breakers and the power to the kitchen to fix it, which may have resulted in the above problem.
- When letting the dogs out, they were so rambunctious Chanel got excited and pottied in the lobby. After calming them down and getting them to the doggie area AND all three of them pooping, I realized I had no poop bags. This resulted in me picking up the stools with my bare hands and walking them to the poop dumpster. Then minutes later after wiping my tears, I realized I now had poop on my face. A hurried walk back to our building revealed the poop bags, rolled out like a toilet paper roll, streaming from my apartment to Chanel’s potty puddle, which still needed to be cleaned up.
- Two piles of puke were discovered when I woke up for work one morning and happened to step in one of them. They left bright orange stains that would not come out no matter how much I scrubbed.
- When walking the dogs one morning, Anabelle lunged forward and pulled me right into a snowbank head-first.
- When picking up poop from the top of said snowbank, I slipped, sending myself careening down and landing with a thud on the sidewalk below, knocking the wind out of me and hitting my head on the concrete. Forcing myself to get up, and brush myself off, I slowly made my way back to the apartment, but there was no time to change before racing to work.
- My life has become centered around the three “P’s” – they are poop, pee, and puke.
I wish I knew what was going on, when it will stop, and if anything will ever be the same again. Right now weekends are just a continuation of the miserable week that preceded them.