Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Tag

There is a moment in my life I can recall more clearly than most others. Moreover, I remember how I felt, though I couldn’t really explain it well. It was an overwhelming feeling—not a premonition really, but one of knowing. It remains difficult to qualify.

I was living in Boston, and on the T, on the green C line train between Coolidge Corner and Washington Square. I was riding alone. It was a Saturday. In winter. I was wearing a black and white hound’s tooth swing coat with a black Peter Pan collar (I loved that coat). (I even remember my pants and shoes, though I don’t miss them as much as I do the coat.) I was having a great day. As we were pulling away from the Summit Avenue stop, all of the sudden I had a really strong feeling that I was supposed to be there at that very moment. Just then I happened to look over at an elderly couple seated across from me, and saw the older gentleman reach behind his wife to tuck in the tag of her jacket. That’s what old married couples do, I thought. They keep each other company and tuck in each other’s tags. I hope to have that one day. I felt like I was witnessing something very lovely and sweet and so intimate that I had to look away. When I did, I still had that knowing feeling.

When I reminisce about Boston I often think of that moment, that Saturday on the T when I felt I was living in the right place at the right time, I had the life I should. The couple was always a detail to me, like the hound’s tooth coat, the C line, the winter day. Until the other night.

I was out with a friend I’ve known casually for a few years. We met when I was l with someone else so we have kept it friendly, although there has always been chemistry between us. Lately I've been allowing myself to feel the stronger spark. We were talking and laughing—and flirting I suppose—when he reached over and pulled a dangling blonde hair off the shoulder of my sweater.

“Hold on. There you go, he said,” as he dropped it to the ground.

“Oh, thank you,” I replied.

When I looked up, I saw someone look away.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pass the... Journal?

I go in and out of writing phases. Years and years ago (decades in fact--yikes!) my friend Tamara and I, both prolific journal keepers who became close during graduate school but ended up on separate coasts afterward, would share and exchange journals. At first we kept one journal that one of us would write in and hold on to for a couple of weeks or months, and then we would set a date and make the pass. I can't remember whose brilliant idea it was, but it was brilliant, wasn't it? A bound collection of letters, long after the age of pen pals--and lower phone bills as a bonus? (As I mentioned, it was decades ago, before cell phones and long distance calls plans.) Eventually we decided to have two so that we could each be in possession of one; we'd write for a while and then we'd pick a date to mail and switch. Within our journal-writing years there were also times we decided we needed to live a little more, to get out of our heads and not write so much about it. Tam would put down her blue Waterman, I my black Mont Blanc, and we'd step away from our journals.

I mention this because lately I've been trying to figure out why I haven't been writing.

At all.

It's not that I don't enjoy writing anymore. When I am on the busy end of a sentence--be it a fictional one I am crafting, or intended to be a funny one in an email to a colleague or friend, or one of Amy's that she asked me to take a second look at--I am happy. I am in my element. And it's not that I'm so busy living I haven't spent any time unwinding and relaxing (Zynga is the Devil). But I am definitely distracted. And in transition. I'm getting ready to change the "about me" information at the bottom of my blog from "forty-something" to "fifty." I'm also getting ready to change careers, which I feel I need to be somewhat secretive about until I do. Sad, but true, I don't trust my administration. I don't trust that people who should be supportive of me and my personal growth would f**k me over instead, and force an earlier exit. And I know for sure I don't want this to be a place where all I do is complain about my (mostly) sh*tty job.

So while I'm in transition, I may only randomly and occasionally post. Meanwhile I just may have to get those old journals out of storage and take them with me out to the Pacific Northwest on my summer adventure so Tam and I can hang out on her deck and read them. Maybe Jen will join us.

I wonder how much we've changed.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Photo Journal: Superbowl Leftovers

Despite braving the crowds on Sunday morning to have respectable Superbowl snacks on hand (for a party of one), I  could not keep myself away from the game long enough to make myself nachos last night. But boy, did I have a nice snow day lunch/dinner today. Go, Patriots!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Photo Journal: Under Restoration

Sunset at Torrey Pines Beach 

The last month or so is a blur, every day a struggle to get to the next day. The goal?  A long-anticipated vacation in San Diego. In case there is any doubt, I am enjoying every moment. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Love It, I Love it Not...Right on Red

I am not a fan of the law that allows right on red. I have enough stress in my life. (See posts about teaching.)  I don't need the pressure of taking a right on red when I don't really have a good view to my left (especially on one particular turn I often make, where I am frankly shocked a right on red is even allowed), and the asshole impatient driver behind me is tooting his horn because I remain stopped  where I can legally turn right. Often times there is a steady flow of traffic on the green light passing by, but does the person behind me see that? Or even care? No!!!!! S/he is just thinking what is this person waiting for? Really, we are talking seconds, not minutes. Regardless. Whether you are simply impatient or running late, I don't care. It's not my emergency. And I'm not willing to risk my life because you're in a hurry.

I wish there was a way communicate "Shut up! I'll go when I can! Sorry to hold up your life for fifteen seconds. Jerk!," without saying a word.

Oh, yeah. There is. One of my favorite gestures. And that deserves a [heart] note.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Show Time

When I started this blog, I was a single, forty-something woman navigating midlife as a teacher. Just a few times over the years that I have been blogging I tweaked my bio a tiny bit--just in case someone wanted to know who was writing and scrolled down to read About Me. Mainly I changed the number of years I have been teaching. The rest has stayed the same.

Now, as I live out this last year of my forties, I realize that in order to navigate a happy midlife I need to change courses. I would love to live to a ripe old age, enjoying a long, healthy retirement, but have serious doubts about the feasibility of such a happily-ever-after if I continue in my career as a teacher. The stress is unhealthy. I'm sure if it doesn't kill me, it will make me sick. I'm already unhappy. 

A few years ago, the scale still tipped to the satisfied and happy side; what went on in my classroom still trumped all the other stuff that my colleagues and I all grumbled about but managed. Oh, and there was that. I had my colleagues, who are my friends and who support one another like family, in what has become a shameful culture of Us vs.Them. I still have them. But it's not enough to tip the scale anymore. I am still satisfied most days. I try hard, and I think I'm an effective teacher, who cares about her students. But I am unhappy. 

And I want to be happy.

I deserve to happy.

I have never placed the burden of my happiness in the hands of someone else, not even half of it. (I still hope that I will find someone--and imagine if he were already in place in my life I'd be begging to figure out how I could quit and we could still pay our bills--but enough of that.) If I want to be happy, it's all on me. 

So I guess it's show time. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Painful Payback

My friend Fran worries about me living alone. "What would happen if you got hurt?" she wondered. When I told her I would call 911, she persisted "but what if you couldn't?" From there another friend joked about wearing a Life Alert, and we all laughed.  I appreciate her concern. And I have wondered myself, but prefer not to dwell on the fact that I live alone and accidents happen--like the one we were laughing about the other day, which started the whole conversation.

I am lucky to have gotten this far in my life with only two sets of stitches, one in the emergency room (eyebrow), one at my doctor's office (chin), both when I was kid. I've had no broken bones or sprains or emergency surgeries. Other than the occasional oven burn on my arm, curling iron burn on my neck, or knife cut on a finger, I'm pretty much accident free and unscathed. (Knock on wood.)

Until a couple of weeks ago.

When I fell flat on my ass. 

Just like that!  [cue finger snap]

I got up from the couch and tripped--either on my pant leg or my purse straps (my purse was on the floor). I'm not sure exactly how and will never be, but I do know that having extra padding didn't protect me. 

Fast forward twenty four hours: ouch. Another twenty four? OUCH. For two weeks now, every time I get out of a seat, or climb stairs, or extend my leg at the hip, I am acutely aware of the muscles buried in my butt that contract to perform said motions. I've done some research and apparently coccydynia, in medical terms, or a pain in the ass--literally and in the vernacular--can take 4 to 8 weeks to heal. Super! And by that I mean not at all. 

I'm not sure how many more times I can (barely) surpress a wince when I get up from a seated position in class, but I have a pretty realistic sense of myself so every time I do I have the good sense to say a silent "I'm sorry" to all the people I have given a figurative pain in the ass in the course of my injury free life. 

Karma is a b*tch. And she takes no pity on girls with big bottoms. 

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