Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I was working in an office. I was told to fetch a file on one of our clients. His counselor was P.J. Walsh (a pretty brilliant comic everyone should see). He needed a form that was in the file. As I looked through it, it started to grow and get more complicated, which happens a lot in my dreams. A simple task becomes ridiculous and causes me to veer from the focus of the dream, which is usually way more fun than the task. This time the file became overly stuffed and included a box of old stuffed animals. I decided I could get that form online and left the file on the table. I went own the hall to find my boss's assistant. I went into my boss's (Barbra Streisand) office and found her on the phone, yelling angrily at someone. I retreated and shut the door. At the end of the hall was a storage closet. I knew the assistant was going to be in there. People were coming and going in and out of that room. They were busy setting it up so some dirty hillbillies could live there a while. I stood at the door for a second and decided I was in the way should step away and wait for the assistant to come out. A woman came out to talk to me with two of the hillbilly children. She said, "You can't disrespect these people like that. Looking at them is disrespectful." I guessed she was some kind of dirty hillbilly social worker. The two children said, "Yeah, you can't do that! You're stupid!" I knew it was useless to try to defend myself so I turned and walked away. I decided I'd go to the grocery store (also in the building) and get myself some lunch. The store was being remodeled and workers were restocking the low, open freezers. I wanted a chicken pot pie for lunch, but all they had was cartons of ice cream. I sat down at the lunch counter, which was really a row of freezers with a counter top, and waited for them to find the chicken pot pies. I felt a pair of arms encircle me from behind and a soft voice whispered in my ear. I knew that voice belonged to my dearest love, Michael Cera. We left the grocery store and went to the apartment we shared on the ground floor of that same building. I puttered around for a while. I looked up and saw that Michael Cera was driving away in a golf cart. The body of the golf cart was made of wicker (pretty cool, I thought). When he came back the cart was loaded with members of my family (none of them were my real family). As they got out of the cart they started arguing and accusing each other of several different crimes. They were yelling at each other and saying they all needed to behave because they were visiting me. I frowned at Michael Cera and he looked at me with a helpless expression. I knew then that he'd only wanted to surprise me with a visit from my loving family. --------------------------------------- I think I'm reading too much Game of Thrones.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
It's been ten years since Jim lost his job and we moved back to Riverside. It's been twelve years since I last had what I considered to be a stable life. Jim had his career, we had our two girls, many wonderful friends, and the first house that was our own. Then things started going south at Hewlett Packard. The founders were no longer in charge, and it was decided that HP would be split into two separate companies. Jim was so disturbed by this. The company hired consultants who instated policies Mr. Hewlett and Mr. Packard never would have tolerated. Employees who didn't adjust were considered to be a liability, and grumbling about the coming changes could get you put on the fast track to getting laid off. Jim took all of this personally and became very depressed. Watching all this happen was like seeing a train wreck in slow motion, and eventually he was laid off along with hundreds of others at the Santa Rosa division, many of them our good friends. -------------------------------------------------- Most of you know the story from there. We moved back to Riverside and settled in at the farm. Soon after, Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Jim and I became his main caregivers. Jim grieved over losing his job. It wasn't just a job. The culture at HP had been something he really loved. The company had the reputation of being very good to their employees. Holiday parties and picnics, perks and bonuses were the norm. Just about every friend we had was connected with HP, and most of them were musicians. The good times rolled. And when it was gone, my husband couldn't deal with it. The sadness lasted until the day he died. ---------------------------------- My girls and I had to build a new life. My daughters dove into the big adventure of building this new life because that's what young people do. Young people can fly without a net. Not so easy for me. When I was younger I worked mostly in dead-end retail jobs. When we had our kids I was a stay-at-home mom (thanks to that great HP job of Jim's). I went to junior college and dabbled in the fun stuff, but didn't take classes to develop any useful or marketable skills. So now here I am, a middle-aged widow who needs to find a way to support herself. It all looked pretty bleak, but because I had the good fortune of being part of a family that is completely awesome on several levels, I was able to get a good (although low-paying) job that gave me the opportunity to learn some skills, and to modify and apply my many nature-given talents. Things were looking up. Sort of. ----------------------------------- Still, I had no real stability. Hell, I still don't! The last twelve years have pounded me from all directions. Many, MANY great things have happened in that time, and I'm grateful for the mind-blowing opportunities that have plopped into my lap, but I haven't ever been able to get back that feeling of security and stability that was such a big part of my former life. I have taken all the blows and kept going, but I haven't been entirely ok. Lots of fear going on here. Depression, inertia, grief, anger, more fear, fuck-it-who-cares, failure and fatigue are all there just below the surface. I could lose everything. My inner Sarah Palin screams, "You're too old, too fat, too stupid, too whatever to succeed!" But I'm trying. I really am. That little motto at the top of this blog: Right foot, left foot, repeat. That sucker has gotten me through some rough times. --------------------------------- The last time we went to the river I bought one of those commemorative Life magazine issues to read under the easy-up. It's about Katherine Hepburn 10 years after her death. I've always loved her. The Philadelphia Story is my favorite movie. The dialog is loaded with the snappy, witty repartee typical of movies of that era. I totally dig that shit. And hell, I just love her. But in her live interviews there always seemed to be a certain amount of bullshit. I never really bought the real Katherine Hepburn. She always seemed to be just a little too much in love with herself. But there were some photos in this special Life issue that smacked me. One is of 80-something Hepburn in a bathing suit, running with a towel after swimming in an icy lake. Snow is on the ground. Another photo shows her at about the same age playing tennis. So, ok. Maybe she had to be in love with herself to accomplish what she did in her own era. She had endless energy and drive, style and beauty, and she died at age 96. That's not bullshit. She didn't mope and whine about life's hard knocks. I'm not even sure she noticed them. --------------------------------- Ok, on to Arya Stark. I came to Game of Thrones a bit late. I tuned in for the last third of season two and I've seen all of season three. I'm entertained, but I don't know who the hell anyone is or how they got there. I decided I'd read all the books before the next season starts so I can catch up. Damn, I'm loving these stories! I plowed through the first book in about three days. I decided to slow down a bit for the second one. I found myself going through my day in Game of Thrones mode, which might not be appropriate for 2013 real life in America (Do NOT impede my progress for I am bound for the check-out line! STAND ASIDE!). The character I love the most is Arya Stark. Holy crap. There have been a few times where she has shed some tears, but mostly she just gets it ON. Sneak, run, stab, survive, outsmart, hide, fight, stab some more, lie, run, run, run, sneak, stab... Dayum, girl! Does she boo-hoo because she misses the comfort of stability? NO! She's plotting who she's going to kill next! God, I love her. ------------------------------------- All this has been swirling in my head. And it's making me happy! I don't know what the future will bring. Some stuff is in the works but it's not a done deal. I'm no more stable than I was six, ten, twelve years ago. I could still lose it all. I might be completely deluded, but I feel pretty fucking good these days. I've been eating low carb, which reeeally helps. I'm finally getting some meaningful work done on my house. Lots of good stuff on the horizon, performing-wise. All that adds up for sure. But keeping Hepburn and Stark with me as I go through my day helps me feel empowered (and that's CRAZY!). Today I went to Costco. When I went to my car I couldn't find my keys. I went through every pocket in my purse but no luck. I was just about to look through the window to see if I had locked them in the car when I saw them at the bottom of my shopping cart, dangling, ready to drop and be lost forever. I laughed at myself. "Woman, you'd die in the wild." As I'm loading the car and laughing, "You're no Arya Stark." As I shut the back hatch, "You're more like that shit-for-brains Sansa."