Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Rewards of Waiting

I feel better today, calmer, quieter, more at peace.

It is 28 degrees with a forecast high of 45, but my winter coats are here, my scarves, my gloves, my Koolaburra boots. I have all I need to stay warm and dry.

Today my three things to do are: 1) find a blank journal so I can get back to my pages, 2) rent a storage locker for my soon-to-arrive adjusting table and, 3) reprint the application for my Georgia chiropractic license. Oh, yeah, plus the other assignment of making a list of my things and where they are. Think I’ll also make a list for matters left in the air, still needing attention.

I will go to the noon meeting for another dose of sanity and because it’s Day 2 of my seven day commitment to Lucinda, my new ‘temporary’ sponsor, who has six years to my almost-nineteen sober, but has been close to meetings and working the program while I have not. Plus, how can I deny the wisdom of someone determined, willing and able to help?

Last night I ate a delicious meal cooked by the childhood sweetheart I told you about, Randy Jeffers. He made flat-iron steak with fried green tomatoes and cornbread, all of which melted in my mouth.

I feel so blessed. I have all I need today; warm clothes, a bed in a warm house, Bugsyboodles, home-cooked meals and a stocked refrigerator, hot green tea, friends-new and old, family, adventure and most of all, love.

2009 is winding down, bringing a close to the first decade of this millennium. I spent it all in California, having arrived there in January of 1999. Now 2010 is looming large and I have been given the gift of a lifetime.

Two years ago, almost three, I bought a card at the Akashic Bookstore that reads, “If I had known I would get to spend the rest of my life with you,” he said, “ I would have started the rest of my life much sooner.” I knew, then and there, that I wanted THAT man. Imagine my surprise when, on Facebook, I found him. Rather re-found, and re-connected. He says he let me go once and isn't about to again.

So here I am. Back in Georgia. Back where I started. Only the 17 year-old boy is now 53, and the 16 year-old girl, 52. We’re done with our wild ways and adrenaline rushes. And, we’re ready for love, the kind that lays dormant and lasts a lifetime.

So, welcome 2010. And, welcome love.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Settling In

Shocking. I got here and am all in a dither. In fact, I’ve been so discombobulated that I have…cried daily, lost it and yelled insanely at someone I love whilst shaking like an aspen leaf, forgotten that this is an adventure and that adventures require guts, stamina and a sense of humor. All of which seem to have flown out the window somewhere around Texas. If anyone happens to be traveling east on I20, would you be on the lookout for them and Fedex them to me??

The trip itself was actually a blast. Carolyn is a great companion and we took turns driving and taking pics…the driver being relieved of picture duty, though on the 2nd day you’ll be frightened to know that I actually took pics WHILE driving. This I don’t suggest or endorse due to the danger factor. You know, two hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, etc.

We made it to Georgia safely on Sunday, the 20th, then I spent the next few days till Christmas sleeping, relaxing and just plain resting. Christmas with the family was wonderful. One of the highlights was my great-nephew, Braydan, falling asleep at the dinner table with his head in my lap. When the table was cleared and everyone up but me and Braydan, Randy lifted his 42 pounds of sleeping-dead weight and plopped him back down in my lap on the sofa, where he slept for 2 full hours till his mama woke him up to leave. It was so very sweet.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for a week. Time is flying. My chiropractic table will be here tomorrow or Wednesday. I’d been frantically searching for the paperwork, not remembering who had even picked it up and unable to locate my notes with the mover’s phone number and info. The spa thought they’d given it to me but I have no recollection of them doing so.

Today, determined to reclaim my emotional well-being, I drove 20 miles to an AA meeting and almost wept with relief when I saw the big blue triangle on the side of the building. I opened the door to a large room peopled with other alcoholics and fellow-crazy-persons. Just being there helped. A man named Chuck immediately reached out his hand and welcomed me. Bobby ran the meeting and invited me to share, so I did, and everyone in the room said “Glad you’re here, keep coming back”, as we do in AA when one of us needs help.

Afterward, I stayed to get a meeting schedule, talked to a man named Mike for a bit, then Lucinda took me by the hand, sat me down and said “Here, do this…” and gave me a list of things to do to keep me in the moment and out of the crazies. Included on my list are: make a list of where all my stuff is (since that is a large part of the source of my crazies) and share my list with her when it’s done, go to a meeting every day for seven days, do three things every day, and check in with her every day.

Now, I did not set out for that AA meeting to be put to work but…I am so grateful that I have been. And feel better already. And, you know what? I came home, ate a sandwich, started looking through these boxes again and…lo and behold…THERE the information on my table mover was!

Did I say I was settling in? Well, maybe I am, maybe I’m not.

One thing is for sure, though, I’m in Georgia and it is my choice. And it’s all good.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Saint Bugsy and the Texas Border Patrol

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso...”

Driving through El Paso, Carolyn and I oohed and ahhed at the immensity of it and gaped at the lights of Ciudad Juarez. I chattered and listened to a wise man sing, then tell us (again) the road ahead was deserted. We kept going, I had a destination in mind…the I20 split.

On the other side of El Paso we discovered he was right. It was…well…deserted. Except for one no-tell motel with peeling linoleum on the counter and a sign that said ring the bell. We did. Then looked at each other, wrinkled our noses, shook our heads and left.

Getting back in the car we decided. What the hell. Two more hours to Pecos. It’s 8:00 now. What’s an adventure without having to do something you don’t want to do???

So on, weary travelers, on. We’ve been in the car today for 11 hours. There’s only one English radio station, KHAY Country. It’s dark. And we’re on Louise and Jeanne’s excellent adventure.

But wait! Hark! A Holiday Inn Express sign. 35 miles. Thank you, God.

Now, all we have to do is make it through the line at Border Patrol and in a few more miles we can unload, peel our stuff out of this packed-tight car and call it a night. Bugsy has been a cat-saint again today, sleeping quietly and sweetly in his cage, not making a sound.

Yesterday was emotional. And exhausting. But exhilarating.

And now, thank God for Bugsy. Who just got us through Texas Border Patrol.

Added 35 miles and what seems hours later: We're holed up in the Holiday Inn Express in Van Horn, we three share a king bed in a smoking room, grateful as hell that we didn't have to drive one inch further or stay in that car for one second longer...


We also realized that our four day journey had now blossomed to five. We won't be home till Sunday. Wahhh!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holy Smoke

Only two more days left? Noooo...

I'm not ready. Not hardly. But so close. Still more pieces of furniture, file cabinets and a desk to sell. Records to purge and box. Paintings to get to Vonder, who will sell them for me after I'm gone. Clothes to pack, some in boxes for UPS.

Thank you to Charloa, my wonderful friend who drove 50 miles each way from Ojai this evening to bring me dinner from Gelson's (with leftover rotisserie chicken and roasted veggies for tomorrow!) and spent a couple of hours with me eating and listening to the whole story. While I stuffed my face and then stuffed the fireplace with records needing to be destroyed. (And, yes, I burned my left ring dip joint.) Oh yeah, Happy Birthday, Charloa!

The last two mornings I woke feeling not so great, but managed to make it through both days. And emptied about 2/3 of the stuff from the garage on a rainy Saturday morning in California in exchange for a few bucks for the road. I also got to meet more fascinating people. The teacher, Esther. Keith from Ventura came back by, bought another lamp for his store. Larry, 35-year retired L.A. Country Sheriff, hung out in the garage, out of the rain, swapping stories with me and picking up first one treasure, then another to add to his pile. An hour and a half and his Navy-cinnamon-roll-story later, he left with my card, his new treasures and a smile.

My first words to everyone who walked through the garage door yesterday, "Don't look at the prices, just put whatever you want in a pile and tell me how much you want to pay for it, I'm making deals today!" Invariably, they did. Some gabbed and stayed awhile, others grabbed a few things and left. I even sold my scissors (the ones I used to cut price stickers). For a quarter. And had a blast.

The longer I live the more I know that my role, my real purpose in life, is not about what I do in exchange for money or a roof over my head. Someone once told me I was like the front porch on a grand old house, one with a swing that you want to sit in and hang out. I asked what that meant and he said that I'm easy to talk to, that I make people comfortable right off the bat. What an interesting metaphor. For one who is quite partial to wraparound, rambling porches replete with swings, I kinda liked it.

The ability comes, I think, from being a shy child, forced to learn the art of small talk in self defense. Later came a job that demanded I speak up, demand respect. Later still, in AA, I learned to speak my truth. Somewhere along the line, I found my voice.

Lately, it seems to be on overtime. Another defense mechanism. When nervous. Or exhausted. When needing to push on. I talk.

So I don't pass out. G'night

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cold Hard Rain

Five days left and I'm faltering. My hands are heavy, my heart is pounding, my face, bright red. I looked in the mirror. Because it feels red. And it is.

I feel a heavy sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and my heart has bottomed out somewhere around there. I'm beyond. My limit. Of coping.

Can't deal with one more straw tonight. The last one did me in...

Goodnight. I hate going to bed feeling this way. But I'm left with no choice.

So, may tomorrow bring brighter fare. In spite of the predicted rain. I'm predicting a cold one. And it's falling in Georgia tonight...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Moving Memories

I ran across this picture of Maya today, while purging my garage of old papers and things. It was in a heavy, but beautiful frame that Carolyn gave me years ago. I'm keeping that frame, though I should be chucked in the head with it for even thinking it. Goodness knows where I'll put it. Maybe in Carolyn's duffel bag.

She's a riot, Carolyn. A few days ago, she called and told me she was bringing nothing but stretch pants and teeshirts, in a carry-on duffel bag. Considering we'll spend the next three to four days cooped up in a car with the cat, cross-country, I'd say that's wise. Plus, she'll have room for the heavy-ass frame she gave me that I can't bring myself to part with...

Because there are certain things worth lugging around. Like Daddy's metal foot locker from Korea. And memories of a bird who touched my life for a while. Maya was a pink, leathery ball when I met her. And a beautiful, spoiled, willful little shit when she died. With an astonishing vocabulary. I wonder if she would have mellowed out over the years, had the coyote not intervened? I'm pretty sure she'd have been singing songs.

At 52, you'd think I would hit that laid-back, mellow phase. I wonder if  I could and still make a living when I get back home? Until I can join Jimmy Buffet in a warmer-watered paradise cove. Writing novels. Kicking back, catching fish and singing songs.

There are other things worth taking. 20 years of my journals, a third of my books. Pictures, even the big, bulky, framed ones. One beautiful photograph of Gurumayi. Mama's jewelry. Mine. Half my clothes. Coats. For sure my coats. It's much colder in Georgia. Brrr...

I'm getting a taste of it today. It rained continuously from 1:30 in the morning till around 3 in the afternoon.  At times hard. High in the 50's with a cold west wind. I'm bringing my thermals. Socks. My mm-mmm warm Koolaburras. My ancient, but faithful sub-zero, leather coat from Jackson Hole. My raincoats. I'll be fine.

Eight more days. I think I actually might be ready when it's time. The gargantuan task is on the way to being done. Two more moving sales. More craigslist ads, sales. Pack my office. Ship stuff off. Drop off the clothes I'm not taking.

At a time like this, I am grateful that I've moved so many times over the last 11 years that I've not accumulated much. Yet, I still have LOTS.

This weekend I met that man again. The one from 36 years ago. He flew to California to see me. I still like him. A lot.

And, I'm excited about coming home. To him. To Georgia. To my family. To my friends. To Christmas with Amanda and the boys, before they leave to be with Josh in Korea.

So, here's to memories. The old ones, who truly never go away. And to the new ones. The ones we make each and every day, for the rest of our ever-loving lives.

Friday, December 4, 2009

One More Day Till the Smoke Blows In

It's past my bedtime. So what am I doing here, in front of the computer, at 10:45 at night?

I worked a full day at the spa seeing patients, including a late and hectic lunch hour spent fedexing a package, grabbing a chicken wrap and eating it on the go, picking up garage sale signs at Staples, then dashing back to the spa for my last two appointments of the day.

I'm not complaining. I'm grateful for the work. And for, and to, my patients. Today, at one point I was so touched, I couldn't speak through the tears clogging my throat. I just blinked and nodded, unable to answer.

After work I dashed off again, this time to Byron's Auto Repair to drop my car for service for the long trip to Georgia. On the way, a lady in a big, black Mercedes clipped my bumper changing lanes, then sped off around me and away, like nothing had happened!

Geez.

Karma stepped in and we were both stopped by a red light, though she almost went through the yellow. I hopped out to do a quick damage check on Betty, as Mercedes lady peered guiltily in her rear view mirror.

Seeing nothing but a small scratch on my rubber bumper, I waved her off with two hands like 'get the hell out of here, you've done enough', and got back in my car as the light turned green. (I admit, I'm not always gracious.)

At home, I indulged in a mild breakdown. Not a full-on crying jag. Just a mini I'm-never-going-to-get-it-all-done-by-myself melt. Then it passed, and I pushed on, through several more hours of Getting Stuff Done.

Tomorrow brings with it good tidings of great joy, and it's this that keeps me awake and sitting in front of my computer. To say good night, good morning and...bring it on!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

14 Days, 13 Hours and Counting...

Just two weeks left and, while I think everything is on target and under control to be out of here on the 16th, there's an underlying fear that I just might be experiencing a severe case of denial.

Today, in my office at the spa, I looked around and thought 'oh shit'. So much to be done. To keep the panic monster at bay, I shut down that thought. Everything in its time.

I have begun to suspect that I am in dire need of help getting stuff done. Which means I must call in reinforcements. So this is a shout out to all those close by, "HELP!"

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