Another Day – Another Coffee Shop

I’m sitting, drinking a loaded decaf coffee (almond milk and brown sugar – gawd I am decadent) at a round table for four at the Flightpath Coffee Shop. While is most definitely not Quacks, It is a decent coffee and snack place on Duval here in Austin. I have been joined by a woman who is amenable to occasional chatting about things artistically expressive, etc. I have allotted myself approximately an hour to be here to write and sip.

Today is another schlepp day. It’s really okay. My schedule is pretty open otherwise as I have been of late focusing on writing and put my trash transformations on semi-hold. Currently I am allowing the thoughts in my head and daily situations to be transformed into words on virtual paper, the refuse rests upon my work table awaiting perspiration (inspiration is always lurking close by).

It’s my daughter’s 40th birthday today. When I brought coffee into her room (I am a nice person, yes) whilst singing Happy Birthday, I marveled that forty years ago I was moaning and groaning and pushing and wondering why it was taking so damn long for her to just get here. Time certainly flies, too fast most of the time, on that day it didn’t.

I thought, in honor of her, today, I might flash back to a few early events in the course of her life. Many of these occasions stand out as being pivotal in my relationship with my firstborn.

“La La La” – Some may dispute what I heard, but if the years of her amazing singing which followed her initial melodic cries at birth, and perhaps her voice was merely music to my ears, she did indeed utter “LA LA LA”. Cool, eh? She continues to sing to this day, delighting many…especially me. Her voice is truly a gift to the world.

“I don’t want to” – Picture a very small child barely six months, standing up in her crib, propped up by the bars which would for a short time provide a barrier between her and the floor. She’s rocking back and forth, a twinkle in her eye. I tell her its time to go to bed, and her reply, quite clearly “I don’t want to”, with a subsequent wink and a smile. I said, “what??? You don’t even say MaMa and you speak in full sentences. Do it again!” She just looked at me and laughed. No witnesses there, but I swear I was not imagining it. She still has the same twinkle and knows how to let people know what she thinks and feels.

“Asshole, mommy?” – We are driving in the suburbs of San Jose. She’s probably three. Someone cuts in front of our car, causing me to abruptly put on the brakes and remark out loud “You….” She interrupts with “….Asshole, mommy?” I gaze back at her through the rear view mirror into the backseat at her with that same smart as grin I have come to know and enjoy. One might’ve thought the incident would’ve curtailed my penchant for expletives. It didn’t. She, however has a tamer though incredibly large vocabulary and an explosive gift with words in general.

“Where’s the placenta?” – She is about two weeks away from being four years old. We are in the birthing room at St Joseph’s Hospital in San Jose and I am in labor with her brother. She has attended Bradley Method birthing classes with her father and me; unlike the other children in the class, she has been extremely interested in the process of reproduction and birth. Everyone thinks its cute she is coaching me along with her father, has remarked how loud my yells are when I only have to push three times to birth her brother and then remarks “Where’s the placenta?” Her interest in learning has extended into many other subjects way beyond women’s reproductive health.

I could keep going, ad nauseous, to wax poetic on the many and varied events I have witnessed over the years, but my daughter might frown about further exploitation of her experiences for my own tawdry authorship.

My time is up. I’m off to drive here and there. Enjoy your day wherever.

Business Class between worlds.

Today I continue on my Good Grief Journey. Thanks to my buying everything, including toilet paper, on my AA Mastercard, I am sitting in the Admirals Club waiting for my flight to Dallas where I will then catch a business class flight to Frankfurt. Waiting in a cushy armchair next to a bunch of businessmen throwing back Bloody Mary’s is not exactly my idea of a first class experience, but I’ve got my ipad, green juice and organic snacks to tide me over, and after all, I am flying business.

My past year has been a real trip, especially with the passing of my divinely wonderful partner into the Great Beyond, i have been given the chance to explore both my outer and inner world. Actually I count myself blessed and very thankful…for so many things. My year of grief is not exactly over …the year, maybe, and still the tear-filled hits keep coming, though not as frequently, nor as strong.

I am thankful for the time I’ve had to process and embrace this immense change in my life. Too, I have had a revelation “I don’t miss Max anymore, because he is with me everyday, just not exactly in the flesh.” Therein lies the rub…his physical presence. You see he has visited me in a sort of “in-between world” where we have touched and even kissed. Weird, eh? Only having this sort of experience is kind of like dating a guy who is most of the time away on business, or worse leading a double life. The pluses include: I am always surprised when we meet, my experiences are very intense, though brief, I know I’m not dreaming, I’m becoming more in touch with my intuitive abilities… And our travel expenses are minimal since I’m the only one requiring an airline ticket, clothing, meals, etc.

Oops gotta pack up my stuff and get to the gate…Dallas here I come.
It’s hours later, midnight in Austin, yet where I sit – 35,000 feet in the sky, it is 6am and the next day. We land in an hour. Yawn. I’ve noshed, snoozed, visited the lav several times and watched a couple movies, and now it’s breakfast of fruit, a gluten free cookie and tea. My seat mate is the daughter of one of the flight attendants so I’ve had excellent service…since her mom has been attentive to a fault. Awe moms. Guess I’ve had the opportunity to see the mirror – I can be that way with my kids…and definitely with grandbaby Levi. Oy vey. And now we have landed in Frankfurt.
It’s now 4:30pm. I checked into the Steigenberger hotel near the airport and dreamily made my way to the restaurant for breakfast consisting of lox, sourdough pretzel bread (yes I have a temporary moratorium in gluten free to see if the bread here is tolerable to my system- or at least that’s my excuse), boiled egg, tea and jam. This is the most expensive breakfast I have ever consumed, 20+euros! Sheesh! Good though. Check in wasn’t for another hour so my eating dream got me through til I could get to my room.

Once in my room I immediately removed my shoes, futzed around with my luggage, got online, checked email, inspected the minibar – $6 for a mineral water the size of a baby bottle- can you believe it?!, turned on the tv, pretended to read a magazine, made a call, sent two texts and put my head on the pillow, and did the number one unadvised jet-lag no-no, promptly fell asleep for 4 hours. Did Max and I meet in my sleep? No we were too tired. Perhaps tonite, after dinner and my massage. Gotta get up early for my flight in the morning to Greece … Economy class.


I Fell Flat on My Ass and it Sucks

Have you ever fallen flat on your ass and decided to just get up, brush yourself off and “forgetta ’bout it”? I did, about a week ago. Well, I didn’t exactly forget. I mean how can I when my tailbone feels like a bitch in heat, (not that I know what a female dog actually feels like, but I like the saying and it somehow seems to apply here). Okay, I feel more like Wylie Coyote when the acme anvil has fallen on his head, repeatedly. And, now you can delete the “bitch” thingie I mentioned previously. Anyway you get the picture… Or do you? I’ll explain.

In my preparations for travel I decided to clean house. Tidying up is a form of moving meditation for me -everything finding its place on the outside and in. In the midst of it all I noticed my dishwasher was not cleaning the dishes and therefore thought, “I won’t leave that gunk for housemates Gracie and Carlos to deal with when I leave… I’ll just take apart the filter stuff, brush/wash it out with baking soda and vinegar and that will be that.” And, that was that, until I pulled out the filter, began to gag at the stench and realized that indeed I better grab the Rainbow to suck up the stinky, watery gunk in the bottom of the dishwasher, stating internally, “Ah, simple tasks are not always so,” and proceeded to roll the vacuum into the kitchen from my office closet.

My sweet Maxie used to say in his enthusiastic bravado “Rainbow vacuum cleaners are the only ones worth buying”. Was that because he had sold them and therefore had brand loyalty? He even had tee shirts screen printed that said “vacuums suck”, and they do, only Rainbows do a better job since they are like shop vacs on steroids. Unfortunately, they have not gotten the retracting cord or hose thing down; in fact neither of those, and therein you might surmise is where my “fall on my ass incident” occurred. And you would be correct.

As I was completing my dishwasher “gunk suck out” job, I stepped back, and in perfect slow-mo fashion, tripped on the hose, more like, rolled teetering on the hose, grabbing onto the Rainbow which was also rolling, eventually landing, clunk, on my tailbone, on the floor.

I imagine, had anyone heard me shout and fall, other than my sweet dogs, they would’ve come running to see if the house had been hit by an overloaded pickup truck. Alas, three of my four dogs, Buck, Mocha and Dot rushed in, all looking momentarily concerned, alternating the licking of my face and then left as soon as I said I was okay. I began to tear up thinking, had Max been alive he would’ve run in, picked me up off the floor and carried me into bed (such a romantic he was).

Instead I ran off my internal injury check list. 1. Anything broken? 2. Am I bleeding? 3. Can I get up? Since the answers to 1 & 2 were NO, and to 3 was YES, I did, and brushed myself off. Then I called Amy Tanaka, – this woman performed the miracle several years ago of getting me out of a wheel chair when the docs said “we must operate on those herniated discs” and I had said “NO” to them. Thanks to her amazing hands, two weeks later, I was walking and cooking thanksgiving dinner for twenty. Max used to tell the amazing story to whoever would listen of the miracles Amy performed. It was not long after I began to do walk my dogs for miles, yoga, dance and run again.

Anyway, this time I texted Amy, even before I slipped the Arnica pellets under my tongue. “I’m leaving in two days. Got any time to put me together?” “How about 10am tomorrow?” I replied in the affirmative, then continued my cleanup and packing preparations. I took a hot shower and went to bed later, repeating my mantra ” I Am Healthy. I Feel Great. All my internal organs , bones, muscles, ligaments…all systems within me are working optimally.” and fell asleep. The next morning I felt stiff, sore and repeating my mantra, got out of bed, thanked housemate Carlos for taking the dogs for their walk and prepared the blankets for my treatment with Amy.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when it comes to travel prep, especially for an extended journey such as mine, I pack-unpack-pack and repeat as necessary to rid myself of unnecessary items. With my fragile tailbone, this seemingly anal retentive exercise was vital to my travel ease, even though I had already done it pre-fall. I did my pack “dance” until the dogs barked announcing Amy’s arrival then invited her in.

Down I went on the blankets and for the next 2 days I remained virtually pain free, that is, until I arrived at Julia, Christian and Levi’s humble Austin abode where I have slept the past six days on the most uncomfortable futon, aka FFH, designed only for fish and house guests who, after 3 days should definitely be composted or moved to a hotel. Since my kids have assured me they like me being there I believe the fish and… may not apply to me. And so I have been doing my spinal release exercises daily – these get me moving in the morning as I “brush myself off” only to repeat the same painful sleep.

Today, merely one day before i continue my journey, my choice is to put an end to the FFH by purchasing one suitable for extended stays and have it delivered to my children. Then I shall return to Austin after my weeks of traveling for a good nights sleep.