February 21, 2007
we lost tino.
i don't know what to say, really. we don't know when he died, exactly, but we found him today. we had not seen him since the ice storm, and we worried that he either escaped in the flood or froze.
every day i have watched the turtle pond hoping to see the waters stirring. and every day it has been still. until today.
we buried him in the yard.
i am very sad. feel very guilty. responsible. and i try not to beat myself up so much: he was too big for a tank, he was very happy in his pond outdoors, and we were going to set him free this spring. his last season was in the biggest pool he'd ever known. that has to count for something, right?
we hope you are now swimming in the big pond in the sky, little man. thank you for travelling from nashville to austin with me. you were a good turtle with a great sense of humor. you are irreplaceable.
February 14, 2007
i have lost a lot of weight this week. my mental health has been precarious at best recently, and over the past few days i have stepped up to the plate to play an active role in how my life is lived. here is just a bit of weight loss:
1. i have cut back on cigarettes. how much have you cut back, you ask? let's just say that i have 2 cigarettes left from a pack i bought on monday afternoon.
2. i let helen cut off my hair. it needed to go. it was annoying me every day in its perpetually awkward stage. it is now very short. "ooo you look butch," maria said when she saw it this morning.
(i don't look butch. helen calls it my naughty nun look. i must be hott.)
3. i have decided to withdraw from the masters program at st ed's. as i said in my petition for late withdrawal: I know that I must step back from certain responsibilities in my life in order to take care of myself, and when weighed against my job and relationship, it makes sense to withdraw from school.
i cannot articulate what relief i feel after having made this decision. i feel light. fluffy. like fat free microwave popcorn. low sodium.
and so here is to valentine's day, less cigarettes, less hair, and less pressure. i am freer than i was a few short days ago.
oh and happy valentine's day from us:
February 8, 2007
just in time.
dear patty griffin:
thank you for releasing your new record exactly when i need you.
how is that you're the one who is balm to hard times?
your friend and neighbor,
February 7, 2007
what would you do?
say you were in a graduate class that meets every other week. the day of the last class, you had a day fulla panic b/c your chemicals were crazy, and you found yourself drooling in the living room when you should have been at the school you have paid lots of dollars to attend.
say two weeks pass. you are caught up on your assignments and you have two hours until class. suddenly, your stomach goes apeshit. you think it has something to do with the bok choi and broccoli you'd eaten an hour before. the bathroom becomes your new hangout. the cramps in your belly make you want to cry.
you're nervous about driving to school in so precarious a state. this is not psychosomatic: this effing hurts.
what would you do?
February 6, 2007
not spring yet.
it sure as hell feels like spring today. sunny and seventy degrees. tshirt weather indeed.
i am having a quintessential day off: i cashed in on the massage that chris bought for my birthday. sweet lord of hosts, it was lovely. afterwards, i broke in my 75-300 mm lens a little bit. you can see what i did here
today was therapy day as well. i should always have a massage before therapy, i have decided, for i was crazy relaxed and so was my brain. i articulated my actual mindset, and my therapist understood what i was saying. i was able to say: i'm going down the slide fast, and i know what's at the bottom. i have stopped myself midway, and am clawing my way back up.
but i'm tired.
this is the first time in my life that i have been able to have perspective about my manic/depressive cycles as they are happening. and the whole point of therapy is not to freefall down that slide (it's steep enough to do that, you see) and hit bottom again. my therapist is reminding me how to use what strength i have to pull myself up. and she is helping me to see the arms outstretched to help with the pulling.
nothing is fixed. and i am still a funky chicken. but. it's a beautiful day, and i am outside. it's a beautiful day and i am hopeful.
February 3, 2007
happy birthday, mommy.
it's late, after midnight. i've just kicked greg(g)'s ass in canasta caliente.
though i slept late once again, i did make sure to snap a photo of my mother's senior picture. i always come back to this photo when i think of the woman she was when she was my age. even now, though i know she is only 18 in this photograph, she seems wise and independent: she is her own woman in 1956.
i have her eyes. i have her gaze. (and i have her lips too.)
if there has ever been a person in my life to show me how to live it well, it's my mother. i have lived a strange life of moving from place to place, joining this church and that, and for crying out loud: gay too? never once has my mother judged me. "you are my daughter, my baby. named after the mother of mary and the mother of john. that is who you are," she told me once.
if i ever wonder where i find the bravery to simply be who i am, i need not look far.
i love you, mother. i will be coming home soon.
February 1, 2007
it is day 3 of my endeavor to take one photo of my little world every day, and considering i overslept, i nearly didn't take this pic. i'm glad i did, however, because i adore my blue star sapphire ring.
for you photo folk: i don't have a macro lens (yet), so i reversed my 50 mm to make it a macro. unfortunately, you can't control aperture, and light leaks are to be expected. and since you're holding the lens in place with your hand, you just have to move closer and farther away from your subject to get a split second of focus. prolonged use of this technique guarantees a headache for those of us with astigmatism.
still, i like it.
it's early evening as i write tonight, and i'm perched on my beloved porch. right in front of me, through the branches of the front yard pecan tree, the full moon is rising. our neighborhood is dark enough to see stars, and so the view is brilliant.
helen is cooking up some veggie chili, and i've just cleaned out the dogs' ears. 8 of them total. (ears, not dogs.) i am home from work early. we get to have a night together before she heads to houston for the weekend.
"i feel guilty leaving you," she says, "even for a few days." it's true that i become a very sullen bananie when schmelen leaves town. but. you may remember that i spent yesterday with some archives. specifically, i read back on the torturous year of 2004, when everything was question marks for us. i was sitting on my ass in nashville, newly graduated from belmont, working at the bux. i wrestled to the core with the existential questions of "can God ever see us as holy together?" and then, once i couldn't find a definitive answer to that one--after spending a goodly amount of time in the hospital--the practical questions set in: is it worth the risk to pick up and start over for the sake of love.
two years later, and the answer to both questions is, unequivocally, yes.
i sometimes can't believe that i was in such a suffering place such a short time ago. a wise therapist told me in the middle of that time that much of the suffering stemmed for my inability to make decisions regarding helen and me. we plugged along for well over a year in two places, separated, while i struggled and struggled with what was "right". finally, i let go. i jumped in. (thanks imogen.) and here i am. alive and well and more fulfilled than i ever thought i'd be.
i will always be an existential wrestler. it's what we "creative types" do. God and theology are both question marks in my life anymore. but i am confident of one thing: i am living my life. and i am so grateful.
...but i will still be a sullen bananie this weekend.