Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition" ALAIN de BOTTON and my opinion of an opinion

Last night the HBG and I had one of many heart to hearts about our relationship as it is right now, the changes on the horizon with me moving in with him half way across the country, and the stress of my moving half way across the country, leaving everything I have known for so long, for the adventure of a lifetime...No, the details are a bit too intimate for me to share, and quite honestly none of anyone's business but our own. I will say though, it left me thinking about a lot of things. About my own journey through my personality and memories, sorting out the nostalgia from the painful bits buried in my mind's landfill. You see, somewhere in my adult life I shelved a bit of growth to tend to others needs. While I am at peace with this because for the better part of 30 years this was my family,  I am also  finding myself somewhat playing a fast game of catch-up. 
In the past three years my life has changed, in ways I could never have imagined. It is by far, much grander than it has ever been. I mean no offense to my children when I say that. It is just that I have found many things that I believed existed but that I did not know how to access. With that comes the tremendous growth that was needed to recognize and maintain those intrinsic values of love and happiness that we all search for. A few years ago, a marriage counselor told my ex and I that we would never treat our colleagues the way we treat each other and get away with it. I have held onto that. I accepted that I was part of the unraveling of that relationship and have since worked on those shortcomings of my own. What I have found is that I have this deep appreciation and love of self and can share it rather than to give. When I leave myself intact, I am so incredibly happy and not drained.
In the stress of leaving this place however,  I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to hang on to normal, though moving is anything but. I haven't moved yet, but I have fallen into this got to get this done and do that when I get there routine...In retrospect, it has been a way to look forward, but maybe also to a way to run from here without giving myself the closure I know I will want. I know in the core of my being that this is just fear battling for the top billing I refuse to give it. What I have found in Joey is this compassionate soul who listens and takes a step back and then reels me in when I am about to get lost in my own way. I adore him for this. This is just one example of the true sense of love that I always believed existed.
This brings me to a poignant share that I saw on FB this morning. It was an opinion written in the NY Times on Sunday by Alain de Botton "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person". At first I read the article with a bit of trepidation. After giving it a second look with the perspective of an open mind I realized what I had known for a long time. I did marry the wrong person, for a lot of the wrong reasons, everything listed in that article matter of fact. I got married young, I was afraid to be alone, I feared I would be passed over, I was seeking that "normal" family that I never had as a kid. Yes, when the good feelings were gone, I held on miserably and tried to reframe, only to lose him to someone else anyway, never understanding until recently that we were never really compatible because our relationship was not based on love and the respect that comes with it, it was based on a longing for happiness. What I also came away with from that reading is that the statement "Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition" has applied to Joey and I all along.  We have been friends for what seems like forever,  and in that cause, even to this very moment, have always been considerate of each other. This is because of our love for the other as a person, not as an objectified ideal. Our compatibility is something that seems to grow with us, as we share our hopes, fears, dreams, and personal needs for self preservation and growth. The congruity factor is based on compassion, respect, consideration ... all that is LOVE. We are entering into our adventure together from this point with the grand hopes that when we reach 102, we will still share and perpetuate that same JOY.
To comment on the reflections of my own self, it has taken me a great deal of work to get into the habit of allowing myself the delight and indulgence in the silliness. With all the demands to "grow up", maybe some of us have forgotten how to relax enough to enjoy the humor even in the most mondane moments and we find ourselves searching for that wonder we knew as kids. We have so much to be grateful for in our lives, stop and take that time to recognize those things with a whole and open heart. Be JOVIAL and that love of the universe and everything in it will follow!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Address unknown? PROTEST POINT!!!

I thought long and hard about writing about this. I was thinking that an official rant would make me feel better, let me purge the frustration, the anger, etc... but there is was thing that I am being cautious about, not to protect the privacy of those involved (cough), but because I found a serious flaw in how one of our basic fundamentals of communication works, and because I didn't bring it upon myself, I can't fix it. I basically now understand why identity theft is such a concern here, as I found the weak link. It is the postal service and how they handle address changes. TSA requires more to get on a plane than the postal service does to change your address. So while I am being the responsible person, trying to find out when and how to go about forwarding my mail to my new home next month, I am going to leave you with this... someone (who will remain unnamed) was able to do that for me, only he forwarded my mail to the OTHER WOMAN, his new woman..., and the PO won't let me undo it because I didn't create the order. I have to wait 2 weeks to open an investigation and the only recourse I have would be to contact anyone and everyone that would be sending me snail mail and have them change my name to something other... ! WAIT? WHAT?  I had been doing that anyway, but in the slow, calculated way that you would handle a good puzzle, thinking about how one step will affect the next.  BTW it was my bank manager that encouraged me to consider that! He told me to consider this as a process, with very specific steps that have an order to them and if that order is mis-stepped at any point in the chain, regaining the ground can be more than tedious. Pete, my rant is done, and now I feel better and that was yesterday so I am officially moving on and letting it go!!!

Just one more thing? What are the chances the PO will pay my late fees?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

the strength it has taken...

It has been 2.5 years since being blindsided by my ex and as excruciating as that day and weeks after were, the past month an a half, as I attempt to make peace with saying goodbye to one of the only places I have ever called home, I have found myself, at times, in that same excruciating place for very different reasons.
My year has been both exciting and painfully isolating. I have had much to do purging thirty years of living in the same place; 4 kids, lots of travel, need for visual stimulus, scholarly reading, not so scholarly reading and then there is my studio and art and antique collection. The ex moved out and left me with all this crap he didn't want, or maybe he did, but he didn't feel like dealing with it, then or now. The kids, spread all over the country at this point, have come and gone and gotten through their stuff in a piecemeal manner. The problem is however that whatever they didn't throw out is now on me too. Ans then there is my stuff and the artist look at the space I am moving to; one huge box does overwhelm a moderate box no matter how you slice it.
Sizing it up started in September when Joey asked me if I would consider moving. I went through the house.... I am taking my antiques, my studio and my art collection and my clothes. This became only one layer as we dug deeper. I have purged a bag or more and organized a box or more of stuff a day since September 28. I thought I moved 3 weeks ago. I have since woken up from that dream and found out that I still have stuff, too much stuff, and omg where the hell am I gonna put more stuff. I have found that my awakening is like a Bill Murray, proud of my Punxy roots, Groundhog skit  meets  George Carlin's version of what to do with your shit...
Then there is there the reality of all that. I am not mentally equipped to go through a constant life of purging and packing while enduring a new teaching assignment and relying on new colleagues as well as continuing to develop this wondrous relationship 1200 miles away. It was bound to happen. It first showed itself in January,  the consistent numbers were very high, 183/111. A few days off and a few changes of meds made it seem like I was out of the woods. In February, the numbers started creeping up with the packing. The numbers started creeping up with work stress. The numbers started creeping up! I reasoned it was just stress that it would go away. I reasoned that I would fix them though meditating. Essentially I ignored them. Essentially I ignored me! This is NOT COOL!
Then came crunch time, I felt like I was on this incredibly isolated island. I have this FT job that requires so much of my energy to even function. I have 30 years of nooks and crannies of papers and stuff and pure crap to go through by myself. We, Joey and I, have been dealing with the long distance LOVE OF OUR LIVES romance. Then, the separations, so incredibly difficult are often just put in a place where both of us can deal with them, despite being heartbreaking. My kids? OMG they are finally showing signs of being healthily upset about the loss of what they have known as family and the loss of the only place they have called home, and the prospect of Mom and Dad being Mom and Joey and Dad and Leigh...Then there is mom is gonna be in Arkansas... Yep, then numbers creeped up again, higher and higher with each adjustment of attitude (everyone involved).
Last week, the shit hit the fan. My BP was 178/115 and I was ordered to stay home for some time, not pack, not work, not do anything stressful. Joey came up, helped me with a lot of stuff, took me to look at art, made sure I ate right. He even extended his trip to make sure he could speak to my Doc. No easy answer, as stressed as I am, as hard as it is to do I am going to have to weather the storm.
The one thing I know about everything I have experienced is that the only way to deal with it has been to meditate, to acknowledge, and to have to most loving admiration for self. Then there is Joey...this man has had the patience of a saint and has shown me a love like the soul of the universe. I am not sure what the next few weeks will bring, but I know that come June 20 I will finally be home in his arms!!! This house? Who knows? Any offer over 290 considered!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dealing with a holding pattern...

To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

I'm struggling in my diligence! 

I was really angry last night. I visited a place in my soul that I didn't know existed. I hope I never see that place again. I wasn't just angry at my ex, he was just the trigger.  

I was angry about everything in my present life. I was angry about work. I know I expected to be overwhelmed but I'm overwhelmed beyond what I expected and I feel completely isolated-  I want to be positive, but yesterday I had the class from hell and it set a tone. I feel like I'm in some kind of weird prison.
I was angry about being here in NY, This doesn't feel like home anymore. My kids are grown and have their own lives and I'm picking up the pieces of this broken 30yr lie on my own. The progress is so slow that molasses has miles on it. 

I was angry about the temporary loss of intimate contact. How I went from holding the HBGs hand every day for two months to not being able to feel his touch or see his face in front of me. I was angry about the time apart. I was angry that seeing him means a great expense and effort. I was angry that I couldn't just hop on a plane last night. I was angry that I couldn't go to a place that feels like home for the weekend. 

I was angry about having to eat dinner alone, not because I hated being alone but because it was the first Friday night of the school year which used to be a night for martinis and oysters. I had nobody to share my week with like I have every year for the last 16.  I had to eat alone so I didn't eat. I couldn't bare to.

I was angry because my ex was going out with her. I don't have any feelings about him but I was angry that he could have the intimate contact at will. I was also angry that I couldn't intrude on him like he does on the HBG and I. I was angry that he wasn't eating alone on the first Friday night of the school year.

I was angry that I was so heavy and out of shape that I couldn't do part of that workout yesterday. I was angry that my muscles hurt so bad and I'm so tired and that I have to get on a bicycle this morning. 

Finally, I was angry about the house and how after all this time, 18 months, NOTHING HAS CHANGED and how I realized my ex doesn't care if we walk away empty handed . 
If we have no money to start out new life's with and a ton of debt, it will be fine with him. This made me even more angry about being stuck in NY! I could've walked away jobless and homeless and be in a place other than here. 

I woke up in the middle of the night dreaming that the bed was covered in thousands of love letters. When I came to and realized it was a dream I started crying.  I fell back to sleep but it was fitful. I dreamt that I was left at the airport. I woke up feeling really lost. 

I know I spent last night wallowing in self pity and doubt. I love myself but found myself questioning everything, including that love. I'm trying to pull myself back into center. Yes I'm approaching today as a new day, but I also know that I just shed some skin and things are kinda tender. 

This morning, I'm just trying to motivate my body to get on my bike for a few hours and to return to start cleaning my studio. I'm badly needing a hug so I might as well give myself one in the form of completing a long awaited task. 

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.

Maya Angelou


Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Waking up enlightened by my own spirit

"There's an old Indian saying, A mans soul can only travel as fast as his feet will carry him. Perhaps between here and home I'll catch up with myself." -Jerry Ellis 

Years ago I read the book Walking the Trail. I spent the summer living on part of that Trail of Tears, wondering if the ghosts of the trail understood my affect? 
I've spent the past few weeks slowly reading that book again, knowing how wonderful my life has become and understanding what I need to do to continue perpetuating the joy of my journey back to the artist life I once thrived on. I may be back in NY but my soul now has a clear direction and a means to that goal. I can't wait to get back home! If it's where my heart is, then that would be living a simple life, getting muddy with my best friend, in Arkansas. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

It's Been One Incredible Year

It's July 11th and I'm sitting at the kitchen table in the HBG's house reflecting on the last few weeks and what we have done since I've gotten here for my summer stay. It's exactly one year since I showed up on his doorstep, and I marvel at how beautiful my year has been. What I really find incredible is how my daily experience is being driven by my work on learning to love myself. The HBG? My relationship with him is one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced in my life. He has taught me so much about slowing life down to the point of not running to or away from things but enjoying the now!

Since I have been here we have been to the Playhouse on the Square (FM 12+) to see the Gospel at Colonus. This was an incredible experience in such an intimate theatre space. One of our favorites.

We spent the evening in Memphis and from the theater we had dinner at Lafayettes (7) which, despite being listed as one of Memphis's up and coming hottest restaurants was a complete disappointment. It was for one, too loud (between sets). The portions were sparse and when our pizza was delivered with the incorrect toppings, pepperoni instead of crawfish (because the waiter could not hear us) we were offered what we thought was two free beers due to the increased wait only to find out when the check came that we were in fact charged for them. Essentially, this place was a bust.

We headed back downtown to our hotel. We stayed at the Hampton Inn on Beale for $65. with their points/money option. This hotel was actually a nice surprise and not quite as noisy as they make themselves out to be. From here we found ourselves wondering Beale looking for some good music, beers, and eventually settling on playing pool, which was a blast.

We listened to some music at Silky O'Sullivans (FM 8.5 ). We had a nice time here, making us wish we had actually eaten here rather than Lafayettes. Music was better, prices were better, and we would've eaten oysters instead of pizza.

We played pool at the Peoples Billiard Club  (FM 9.5) This place had reasonable rates for its location and a pitcher option on craft beer. They allowed us to stay later (to finish up our beer) than the posted closing time and did not charge us for the extra 30 minutes. The guy running the place was very pleasant. We had a blast.

We had a late night meal at the Blues City Cafe (7) which despite the last time we dined here seemed to have lost something. The beef stew was not that great.

In the morning, we headed out to cure what the wounds from the night before...

Tamp and Tap (7) This was an overpriced and watered down coffee experience (both brewed and pour over). This place has a lot of potential but the brewed Ethiopian was watered down so much the taste was like more of brewed tea. The pour over expresso had too many pours to fill that small cup, it too was watery. I had to pay for jelly with my english muffin and despite ordering it with butter never got it. The fresh bakery goods (muffins) are Otis Spunkmeyer, not locally baked as you would hope, and cost a pretty penny.

Flying Fish (10++) THIS IS THE PLACE TO CURE WHAT AILS YOU!!! We have never had a bad meal either here or the Little Rock location and its hands down one of our favorite places to go. Get the protein platter and you will be amazed at how wonderful you feel after a dozen oysters and some grilled fish and veggies.

Where else have we been since I got here?

We spent July 4th in Little Rock, hoping to go to the Farmers Market, as we checked and rechecked the city calendar, only to arrive and find that their PoP's festival was the only thing going on that day. This wasn't the liveliest of street fairs for a city, but we made the best of our drive.

We ate lunch at Damnegood Pies (8) which is a brewpub. It was a nice escape from the heat, and the beer was decent enough. We enjoyed the home-brew contest winner's brew. The place had a local flavor.

We hit up a grocery and brought home some Lost 40 Pale Ale and had a sour at the Flying Saucer  9+) before heading home. This is another one of our favorite places, mostly because despite having a bit of that tourist feel to it, they have really outdone themselves with their selection of draught and bottles. The place reminds me quite a bit of the Blind Tiger in NYC.

On our way home we hit up Nick's BBQ in Carlisle (9+) which surprised us. It is so well advertised on 40 that we thought for sure it would be pedestrian BBQ. We were hungry and decided to try it anyway. It is well worth the stop. One of the best BBQ meals we have had in a while.

We have both spent a great deal of time in the studio making work. We have also gotten the bike running and on the road. This has been an incredible joy!

Up next? We are headed to Maine next week to see Mikey before spending Sunday with Justin and Hallie to celebrate their engagement. I can't wait to take Joey to Reds Eats, show him Watershed, go t the beach at Pemaquid, spend a night with Mikey at his new place in Portland, see Joey for lunch in Worcester, have pizza at Froggy's, and finally see Chris, Anna, James, and the rest of the family and friends as they celebrate Justin and Hallie's with a BBQ. I guess that means there will be more tales from the road coming up!!!

Tales from around town soon too (we possibly found one of the greatest pottery collections...)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

if I had just a few minutes to catch up with my dad after 33 years... A Father's Day Post

 I was 17 when I lost my dad. I woke up this morning thinking about how my kids are  going to be interacting with their dad today. For some reason I found myself remembering the last fathers day I spent with mine and how much I have done since that I wish I could've shared with him.
So here goes:

Dear Dad,
Since you've been gone I have accomplished so much with my life. I have graduated from college and a graduate program and have taken almost 90 post grad credits. I wish I could tell you they were all towards a PhD but I cannot. You would be proud to know however that they were all towards things in my life that I was passionate about at the time.
I have been a studio artist, a teacher and a coach. I have spoken at conferences, won several awards and have exhibited my work as frequently as time would allow. I even coached one of your grandsons to Olympic Trials in the sport you loved to watch and follow almost as much as football. I have also ridden my bike about 50,000+ miles since you have been gone, mostly in the name of teaching my kids about charity.
Speaking of grandchildren, four of yours would be mine. The oldest, Justin,  is an artist and is about to get married, your granddaughter Anna is in health related retail and lives in Pa, Mikey is a Maine farmer and tremendous craftsman and Chris is a senior at the University of MN, he's your athlete. You would be so proud of all of them. I am also proud to be called Coici Lisa as Joe has two wonderful kids too.
My marriage didn't go so well. It stayed together for 28 years, but now a year and a half removed from the initial fallout I am realizing it pretty much sucked for a long while. Its sad, but I have learned so much in that past year and a half that I can honestly say I am moving beyond and forward. I have turned that tremendous corner. It has me excited for the future and scarily throwing caution to the wind. I am going forward with my head held high, looking nice, and smiling pretty for all the cameras of life.
My bucket list of goals have changed, they are far more about loving myself and finding direction in that rather then being stressed out and anxious trying to afford to live in the place I grew up in. I have decided that its time to stop trying to be an overachiever just to keep from drowning in the culture of the area. What it accomplishes isn't worth the headache it causes. I have spent more time hanging with friends and focussing on happiness and there is so much I wish I could show you about how it works. I think even at 85 you would be able to benefit from what I have learned about letting go.
In that process I have met someone that I know you would love. We are tremendous friends and have put that first, always. He is affectionate, intellectual, knows his way around a workshop, is a fantastic cook, is into culture and loves to dance. I have been finding myself down south in Arkansas almost as much as being here in NY this past year. I will be spending the whole summer there as well. We planted a medium sized garden in the spring, and he's been tending it, even picked our first peppers yesterday.

There is still not a day that goes by that I don't think about you. Happy Father's Day pops!
Love you!!!!