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Today I was thinking about handing over my “sister” keys, my “auntie” keys, my claim to any intimate relationship and ongoing care for and with these people whom I consider to be my family. And this sense of being shunted hits me once again, and brings back a bit of that in the groin insecurity/vulnerability sensation. And once more I am struck with the realization that they have written me off too. And, if that is the case, I will move on to the second tier of support in a fractured world, and be goddamned glad to have any.
D wrote an email and ended it with “Love you much.” Meant the world to me — at least my older sister still loves me. Sometimes I feel like this has sucked the wind right out of me — and maybe that’s a good thing, or maybe not. My job is to move myself along, get my business tended to. So I ask myself to be mindful of what I want to reveal and how much I will be asked to explain, if ever the questions are voiced. I have control over what I will say, and how I say it.
Since you care, my motivation is now quite clear to me — I wanted to protect L and to warn/wakeup M. That does not matter. What matters is I am done. It will never happen again, with anyone. This is a promise to myself. Whether anyone believes or trusts me is irrelevant. I promise myself — I control my behavior.
What words of hurt and pain L poured out when she arrived here with MG — sobbing — needing comfort, shelter. which, of course we gave. Then, to redirected her boat-load of anger, hurt, and fear all over me. How very convenient.
I woke up thinking; it’s Sunday, first day of new week, almost vernal equinox, raining hard and I am on the verge of making myself ill or well. I have some control over that. Who I spend time with, what I do with my thinking in the time I have, how I choose to spend my life my time here on earth. Recovering from the emotional punch I received from a sibling I thought I knew. She says she cannot trust me. Now it is clear, I cannot trust her. My well-being is not in her quality world
Shedding my need to be loved by her is so important. It is an old habit which has many familiar courses and tracks throughout my body. More important that I care for me. Am not including C in my plans for self — always invited — not a reason to keep me from making my own plans. He is so unhealthy it scares me. The only influence he accepts is that which he perceives as his own ideas.
I will go for a walk in this rain somewhere I haven’t been before. Maybe take Jello to Salmon Creek — wild but close.
What is important to me at this point in my life journey?
1. Health in the four quadrants: emotional, mental, physical, spiritual.
2. To have a solid plan for my aging self. I plan to live to be at least eighty, and perhaps longer. (It all depends, of course, but why not go on if I am able to enjoy and engage in daily life?)
3. Embrace each day from the moment I awaken. Have fun. Be me, here and now…(and damn why not, and who says I can’t? And who is he or she to say anyway?)
What is important to me:
4. Be dependable, helpful, and caring. (On this score I seem to have failed with my sister L. Though, in my mind, she was over the top hysterical and I took the hit. C too points his finger of blame at me all too often.)
5. Cultivate my angels
This is a fascinating concept that only recently has hit home to me. There are people who have no blood-relative reason to care about me, yet they do, and I am strengthened when I am with them. These are my angels — nurturing them is essential.
It happens every spring; stems that were bare all winter show fresh growth from the plant affirming it is alive and well! The plants in my gardens that I care for, are like the spirits of good friends I am happy to see again.
I took my camera out and snapped photos of the fresh growth just as the usual afternoon northwest influx of marine air became more brisk and chilly. The sun would soon drop beyond the western horizon and there was a light grey cloud cover which diffused the sun's light in a very complementary way. What fun!
It is all about being as good and kind to one another as we can be, knowing not everyone is here yet. Finally I get it — cultivate angels, angels are everywhere.
As I age, the dearness of those who fathom me, and want to lift me — and do — opens my understanding to the reality of angels among us. I am one too. When I take an extra moment, offer and follow-through on a kindness, smile when it would be so easy to revel in my angst.
Such a fine day. Sun is drifting behind my west neighbor’s roofline.
Lindy Low Le Coq: born 1949 and still “whinnying with us.”
BA Fine Arts 1974 (WSU), MS Educational Counseling 1982 (PSU)
Lived in: Spokane, Newport, Wenatchee, Pullman, Seattle and Vancouver, Washington. Also Boston, MA (summer 1960), and Tigard, OR (1975-76).
Studied: Fine Arts, Education, Counseling
Interests: Natural Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, English and Other Languages, Visual and Performing Arts, Landscape Gardening, Birds, Wine, Friends, Family.
Occupational History: Babysitter, Clerk, Waitress, Dishpanhandler, Retail Sales, Management, High School Counselor (thirty years), Retired — whew.
Currently: Writer, Artist, Photographer, Landscape Gardener, Teacher, Healer, Thinker.
Published In: Postcards, Poems and Prose.
Writing my bio in one hundred words has been fun. This is the fourth time I’ve done it, and I like this one best. The reason for a bio is that I am submitting some of my writing to various journals, and they want a concise biography. I wonder if it would have been difficult to fill in one hundred words when I was younger. Probably I would have emphasized other aspects of life. Like being married to the same person I met when I was eighteen! And loving dogs - didn’t even mention my beagles in this one.
So why did I fall off the hundred word wagon for a second time? After all, I’m retired, there shouldn’t be that much on my plate. Well, that was not the case these past few months. Although I had posted half way through March, somewhere in the middle my priorities shifted. Although I was writing a lot, it was for emotional survival, and posting was low on my totem pole. For a while this month, I contemplated just giving it up. But, I love the discipline — sitting quietly, starting with my own prompt and coming to a conclusion.
Then, Linda suggested I submit a work of prose to a local journal for their summer edition — deadline 4/15/15. After rummaging through some of my rough writings, I decided to whittle and polish one about an incident that happened with my sisters a couple years ago. It was another of those times when writing it down helped me sort through my feelings and find solutions. And, as a result, though compelling it, the text was too raw, analytical and a bit shrill. After changing the names and putting it into the third person, it started to take shape.
When I read that draft to my writer’s circle, I received just the right feedback: keep the names changed, but put yourself back in it. Tweak here, consider that, go for it. Which, of course, I did. Yesterday I sent the revised draft to the circle, via email. It is the first time any of us has asked for a final reading. Once again, they helped me iron out the last wrinkles so that the story has power and stands on its own two feet. The hardest part is what I’m about to do — hit the send button!
Now what, I ask myself. Where do I want to place my focus now that this story is submitted? And, I have completed the final draft of Sputnik — just need to draw the last illustrations. I could go on to the final drafting of Peach Pie Summer, which I will do, but I also am compelled to finish something about what has happened with sister L. Not that it will become a story on its own, but because it is part of my life experience, and in writing about it, I hope to uncover parts of myself that remain hidden.
When I reached out to touch her, Julie pulled back and stared at me with a grim little frown. She had never been like this with me before — brittle, like thin ice already starting to shatter. Though I felt compelled to comfort her, as I had all of her fifty-two years, she had no space in her heart and mind for me. Too busy, too wounded and confused herself, Julie turned on me like a viper.
Contemplating her reaction, it seems I should have anticipated it. After all, I had watched her throw away good, though flawed people before.
The people I knew were men who had invested time and love into Julie and her two girls. Some of them she had married, brought into our family through ritual, made them members of our clan. Others she simply used for her own purposes. Either way, in the end she discarded them — like clothing that no longer fit her needs.
Maybe there was a catalytic event that brought about the demise of those relationships. Perhaps, as happened with me, Julie was so distraught with her own life situation, that she converted her fear and anger into loathing of the other.
It is a common reaction people have when they feel desperate and confused, as Julie was. At the time, I knew she was stressed and emotionally tender, but it hadn’t entered my consciousness that she would disgorge her venom on me. But she did — and it was ugly. Perhaps it is how she has learned to regain equilibrium — feel powerful — find a target and fire.
Just like the others, Julie appears to have tossed me on her rag heap. However, it is harder to dispose of a sister than it is to divorce a husband, or leave a lover.
Old friends, which is to say friends one has aged with over a period of decades, are the rich mines in life. People who sustain you through times when you wonder if you will be able to place one foot in front of the other. Companions on the road who do not need to know all the details, but care enough to ask anyway, and love you all the same. Folks who enfold you in acceptance with all your flaws, knowing there is value in the being they hold close. Angels — not perfect, righteous nor smug — but wise in love.
I am worried about C. This is nothing new, mostly the same -- with different spices or sauces -- but always his being upside down with self in the world.
I am worried because I don’t know how to help him, lost as he is. Yet, I have brought him back from the brink of self-termination before.
Still, I worry because he seems to have little desire, let alone ability, to pull himself into a positive frame of reference — something no one else can do for him.
Tipping in the balance of do I chose to live or to die?
Writing circle snaffu — bound to happen. It seems if I had said yes, it is worth it to me for just the three of us to meet, it would have happened. But, for a good reason I leaned toward the option of being home. Earlier, I had learned J had to change her plans, so she will not be here next weekend. Though my soul had prepared me to accept this possibility, I was sad. Having the day to sort my own stuff through was a welcome idea.
Sometimes it is OK to take time for yourself — and I did.
Jello and the bunnies. Well, actually they are wild cottontail rabbits that thrive in the hedgerows and blackberry brambles in open fields surrounding our neighborhood. Sometimes I see they have been in my yard, even found an empty nest this spring. Jello is a hound dog, bred to sniff out, chase, and catch these critters. She is five, and in her fifth month with me, we are experimenting with being off-lead in different situations to see how she responds. When I let her free in the fenced BPA fields, sniffing for rabbits was way more important than my commands!
Jello seems to prefer the dog park when it is less busy. On weekends there are many dogs, big, tall lanky ones who run and play rough with each other. She is not interested in playing that way. She bays her arrival, then barks when the dogs come to meet and greet. Her hackles lift, tail lowers and she cowers to me until I call her away to walk the trail. On weekdays there are fewer dogs, and she seems to enjoy the freedom of being off-lead more than anything. Occasionally she meets a dog her size she likes.
Sometimes it's all about having fun. What luck. A day with hope to bounce me out of bed, and after morning commitments, an afternoon filled with the experience of being one of three lovely women who park my beautiful bright red truck in the county fairgrounds to go shopping at the garden fair.
“It will be just the right time for us to arrive,” M said, and she was right, it wasn’t nearly as frenzied as I have experienced in past years when I made it a point to arrive early. I had such a good time — angel food.
My morning list had imperative written all over it! Do this, do that, keep on going until you have crossed everything off!
Fix that Penstemon!
Trim the Hebe! regularly — do it!
Return Burning Bush to front garden.
Prune Evergreen Clematis
Dig up some garlic!
Check fertilizing schedule
Get pruning lilac info to B
Fertilize Azaleas, Camelia
add lime and mulch to base of clematis
trim Honeysuckle — stems that are not flowering
Sprinkle back yard
Oh poor me, I had to work outside on this gorgeous mid-spring day with birds moving back in and bugs for them to snack upon.
Am I cluttering up life? I ask myself, as I sit in my chair, papers strewn upon the floor in an order only I can undo, and hear the high-pitched call of a bird seeking a mate. The sound is like a fulcrum — the turning point — when spring turns into late spring and early summer.
Yes and no. I am surrounded by my own detritus, the stuff that I am chucking, and the research helping me move into this time in the gardens. Thing is though, I think Rodney Crowell had it right when he wrote “Life Is Messy.”
Warmest day of the year and the koi have risen. All three are kissing the surface around the edge of the lily-pad planter, gleaning larvae. As the water warms, they will prowl the pond sucking in anything that might be, or ever was alive. Now the two smaller koi are working the edge of a protruding stone, while the big one sups comfortably along the rocky edge.
Song sparrow in a clear, distinctive and authoritative male-territorial call, makes a circuit of his domain, which includes the corner in which I sit. In the distance I hear an answer.
So am I fritterin' time away? Could I be more productive? Yes, if I was so driven, but right now I am more interested in taking each day as it comes, helping C find a new normal (something he never has been good at), and staying abreast of the writing, photography and gardening projects that are relatively easy for me to accomplish. Then too, I have been carrying the load getting the house ready for an assessment inspection which is needed to go forward with a refinance which will put the loan on a fixed rate with my credit union.
Jello is savvy. Today she accompanied me on several errands during which she had to stay in the truck, and wait for her walks. It is a discipline. Her reward, and mine, was a nature walk along Salmon Creek. We both wanted to get away from the ordinary, and she was happy to explore the park again, always on-lead which ended up being part of the fun. There are many large, weathered timbers throughout the interior area between the paved walkway and the creek side. We followed trails through the brush, and made our own — over under, sideways, through.
Poem In Your Pocket day. I selected “A Gift” by Leonora Speyer.
Birds are dominant — in full color and full throat — furtive and anxious. I am establishing my territorial relationship with them. A song sparrow rolled out a half-trill, while I sat by the pond.
“Hello, sweetie,” I said. “I live here, Creighton and Jello live here, and you do too. Welcome.”
He replied with a pretty, double trill.
“I maintain the grounds, and provide water and food,” I continued. “I love having you here; not only are you beautiful — you eat bugs!”
With typical flourish, my sparrow agreed.
The Tip Jar