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BY Beatnik

09/01 Direct Link
The first day of September is the ending of summer. No matter how hot it is, everyone is anticipating the end of it. School no longer begins after Labor Day as it did when I was young. Now school begins in August or September and children have different schedules and realities. There is no "norm" anymore.

Last year I volunteered a few times with a kindergarten class to help out an old friend...the ex-girlfriend of my son, who is a really good teacher. She works hard and loves it. 
09/02 Direct Link
Each time I say I won't fall behind and then I do.

Next month I will do my writing each day and on time.

What do you say? Do you believe me?

It has been a good thing that he has wound down his career instead of stopping it abruptly.

Gradually he has been slowing down. Now he barely fills three hours a day with billable work. It's a good thing.

I, too, went into a slow spiral flecking off the vestiges of work. Peeling away the skin of it.
09/03 Direct Link
The battling Bickersons! They have shared their lives and are afraid of losing those memories yet they battle constantly, making faces behind each others' backs like elementary school children.

Each with artistic tendencies. Each with idiosyncratic temperaments. Each with dreams that are perhaps on hold. Each with longings perhaps not fulfilled.

It is interesting to have witnessed a relationship for more than 25 years. Witness the progress the steps backward....the pain, the process. Witness each child meet another with whom they are planning the rest of their lives together. In a cocoon. Within you and...
09/04 Direct Link
When I was a child I couldn't wait to be grown up. Being responsible for my own life and not being part of my family's structure was my goal. I worked hard at it. I graduated from high school at 16 and from university with honors at 20 -- one week later I married my sweetheart and away we went. The wedding was the talk of the town because in the early 1970s in a small university town in Washington State the norm was a reception in the basement of the church with cake...we had real food, champagne and dancing!
09/05 Direct Link
How many human beings are dislocated and living in refugee camps in various parts of the globe? Can we count them? We certainly pretend we can. What is acceptable? Are we living within that boundary of acceptability. I suppose we are because this is not top of mind and action within most of my conversations with people in my circle.

The night is filled with bad smells, the squeamish sounds of misery and terror. There is no rest. The days are filled with boredom and searching for food and water. The children's lives are on hold for years.
09/06 Direct Link
Today is my mother's 78th birthday. She is a curious person. Don't know what I would think of her if she were not my mother. Not sure if I would like her. Don't know. I'm too close to her.

Theirs was a love for the centuries. True love. Faced many challenges and made many victorious. Fought hard together through many hardships. Lived life through faith that was sometimes blinder than being sightless.

Now she is a writer living alone. In Seattle, not in Switzerland where she once imagined she would. As a young woman, a writer.
09/07 Direct Link
Another reunion. Another friend re-discovered. Our partners meeting for the very first time.

A place in the country. A beautiful setting in a place where many are rich and are there only for a soujorn here and there. Others who live there year round are more likely to be poor. Scratching out a living. Rural life.

Having a big job. I used to have one. Now I cannot imagine how one manages to have a big job and a big life all at once. Another day.
09/08 Direct Link
What did she know about him? He was a lawyer and his deep radio voice registered personality.

She had had a horrible evening. Believing she was meeting her soul mate, she packed a small overnight bag and met him at the top of the Key Bridge Marriott in Virginia across the river from DC. It was her belief that the first kiss would demonstrate true love and a match…or not. They had both agreed in advance that it was true.

When she saw him, they came together in an embrace and kissed. Nothing. They kissed again. Nothing. He had been drinking, too.
09/09 Direct Link
His condo was small but nicely furnished. They had pretended that there was a spark where there was none. Neither had wanted to admit defeat. The future was so promising. Their humor was so connected, until they actually met in person.

He had a knee injury which caused him to limp and no longer compete at tennis. His father had been a notable FBI agent with a distinguished career. He was living in the shadow of his father and unable to address his own life. She challenged him...feeling failure for no reason...inability to confront his fears.
09/10 Direct Link
So, she left the condo with her overnighter intact. Mad as hell. The kids were away for the weekend. Her romantic getaway was already dashed and it was only 11:00pm.

When she got home, she had a glass of wine and looked at her options. It was late, but she wanted to get another date. So, she called the lawyer. Dinner was out since he had arranged to meet his parents. But, brunch was an option. They agreed to meet at Clyde’s in Columbia. She waited outside on a bench as it was a beautiful day.
09/11 Direct Link
When he approached her from behind, she recognized his voice. She saw his big, dark brown eyes and knew he was kind. His slightly overweight presence made her dismiss any prospect of romance, but friendship was certainly an option so she moved ahead.

It is always a concern on a first date that is not dinner as to whether one should have an alcoholic drink. But, since she wasn’t worried about enchanting her date, since she was not concerned about making a good impression, she ordered a “Salty Dog” made of gin and grapefruit juice. Simply delicious.
09/12 Direct Link
He was immediately taken by her and was not planning on an alcoholic drink as he wanted to be on his best behavior, so he was very pleasantly surprised that she ordered a drink…but not wanting to be too brazen and have his drink of choice…he ordered a “Singapore Sling”. She thought it unusual. But grateful she was not drinking alone.

The second round he ordered bourbon. By that time the conversation was flowing very nicely. Both of them were having a very good time. By the third round they were onto a three-hour brunch.
09/13 Direct Link

Today my son is 31 years old -- 31 on the 13th. In a few weeks he will be married. He is an emotionally charged person, so the tears will flow.

Picked up my dress. It looks great. I am happy that I found one well suited and attractive. Silver cuff from my parents in high school. Gray suede shoes with a large green rhinestone bow! Not my usual style, but so fabulous!

Chuck is buying a new charcoal gray suit and a marvelously whimsical bright orange tie.

09/14 Direct Link
The kiss. That was haunting. The lawyer was a very nice guy. But she feared the kiss because she knew it would not be good and it wouldn’t get better. He was too nice, too soft and without the passion she required.

They agreed to see a movie, one that she would probably not have selected. Grisham’s movie about a law firm and the devil. They had dinner afterward and he insisted on paying as he always did. Although her rule was to go Dutch so as not to be beholding, she accepted his graciousness gracefully.
09/15 Direct Link

Once again I am hopelessly behind! How do I get to this place? Time to re-figure to re-address. Can't keep going on stepping into holes.

Broke the glass on the bathroom counter made of granite...so it shatters. Since there was water in the glass and it fell onto the rim it splintered and shattered and the glass was embedded in the water so it was particularly difficult to extract the shards. Lots of work. Vacuuming in the morning listening to the tiny particles flying into the cylinder.

We don't seem to realize the impact we have.

09/16 Direct Link
He asked her and the 10-year-old son to picnic at an outdoor concert where the Symphony was playing.The venue was on a beautiful hillside.

Everything was so perfect. He brought a blanket, wine with glasses and coincidentally, her son’s favorite foods: Bunn Penny's chicken salad and cold sesame noodles amongst other delicacies.

When they got home and said goodnight to the lawyer, the son looked straight at her and said, “Mom, you have to marry that guy!”. She was stunned…”Oh, great.” She thought. “Now I know he’s not for me!”
09/17 Direct Link
The misunderstandings that can come from deep rooted feelings that bubble up when least expected....oh, the horror...the pain...so much misguided energy and lots of effort to take it back.

So, the best way not to get excited about, be hurt by or get pissed off is to disassociate and no longer care. Although it makes me sad to break the emotional tie with him, I must for the sake of the kids. He pushes buttons that I just don't want pushed anymore. It's no longer my job to have a relationship.
09/18 Direct Link
Once again I am hopelessly behind! How do I get to this place? Time to re-figure to re-address. Can't keep going on stepping into holes.

Broke the glass on the bathroom counter made of granite...so it shatters. Since there was water in the glass and it fell onto the rim it splintered and shattered and the glass was embedded in the water so it was particularly difficult to extract the shards.

We don't seem to realize the impact we have. No one seems to have a real grasp on it. The world is in such turmoil now.
09/19 Direct Link
“Honestly,” she thought. “If a 10-year-old boy thinks that a man is a good catch, then there is no way he will be fun after the kids are gone. He must be good step-father material and that is it!”

She had not yet read the Mississippi Queen’s Book of Love because it had not yet been written, but she knew that finding a partner was unlikely until the kids were gone. After all, who would want a teenager and a teenager-in-training? She understood that she needed many different men in her life.
09/20 Direct Link
There was the one with whom sex was so intense that she learned what it was to have a sexual obsession. She would do anything to have sex with him. It was ridiculous and horribly unhealthy but she couldn’t help herself.

There was the widower who needed some companionship while his daughter visited her grandparents in the town where she lived. He drove 90 minutes to get there and always brought her something from the rural market close by his house. A basket of huge mushrooms, a bouquet of plump pink roses…always something thoughtful and lovely.
09/21 Direct Link
Some men look good in a suit. The lawyer did. She had always seen him in casual clothes, so his overweightness was obvious. The suit gave him an elegance she was unprepared for. They met after work at a small French restaurant in a part of the city that was both trendy and in decay. She made the reservation there because she knew one of the waiters. He arranged for a split of champagne to be waiting at the table. A sweet gesture.

The evening went well and could have ended in a kiss but she was scared.
09/22 Direct Link
He knew she was seeing others. It was not exclusive. She enjoyed having an array of men in her life. Dinners, drinks, movies, sex or whatever. No commitment and endless possibilities.

She was surprised when the lawyer and her daughter saw “The Joy Luck Club” and they all cried. She didn’t expect that. She liked him for it.

He couldn’t believe how the mother and daughter bickered with each other the whole time before the movie, cried together and held each other immediately afterward, then resumed bickering as though nothing had changed. Silly man!
09/23 Direct Link
The kids were going to be with their father for Thanksgiving, so she joined a committee that was planning the annual “Bea Gaddy” dinner for the needy. Bea was a legend for helping families year round, but at Thanksgiving, all the stops came out ...money was raised, food donated and hundreds of volunteers would arrive on Thanksgiving day to serve meals to those who needed them.

She scheduled the cleaning of three closets for that weekend. Big projects while the kids were gone. The kids would be gone for four days, although she would work on that Friday.
09/24 Direct Link

Heading out to Los Angeles for the fourth time this year! Our son is getting married and we have several days of anticipation, partying and love all around. Rehearsal dinner will be 30 adults and three little ones with pass around heavy appetizers and open bar...woo hoo! For the wedding, Anna's beverage manager is getting us the alcohol at wholesale prices...white and red wine...Cava instead of champagne for the toast...craft beers...two signature cocktails...one whiskey based with ginger beer and the other tequila margarita. Yummy food...a hot, beautiful day...beautiful bride and handsome groom.

09/25 Direct Link
“I need a break and was thinking of going to Key West for Thanksgiving,” said the lawyer. “Would you like to come with me?” The color drained from her face. “I can’t, I’ve got the Bea Gaddy dinner and I have three closets to clean!” Yes, she really did say that. He didn’t skip a beat. “You don’t have to decide right now, just think about it.” And, they said goodnight with pecks on their cheeks.

There was no way she could afford a trip to Key West. It was out of the question.
09/26 Direct Link
The next time the trip came up she said the she couldn’t afford it. The lawyer made it very clear that since it was his invitation, it was his intention to pick up the cost for the trip. So she said she would consider it. She had to see if her obligations could be managed.

”Go,” said the committee chair. “Go, for heaven’s sake. On Thanksgiving Day we have more volunteers than we need.” So, it turned out that the committee’s important work was all done in advance! And, she decided the closets could wait.
09/27 Direct Link
Since romance was still not in the air, she was convinced that they would have separate rooms in Key West.

He travelled a lot so their schedules were not often coordinated. She enjoyed his company but whenever it was time to say goodbye, she avoided a kiss on the lips and pecked his cheek. Often they hung out in her dining room having drinks, but the kids were always around, so they never had the opportunity to be alone. No danger there.

Then it happened. He changed plans from dining out to cooking at his place.
09/28 Direct Link
I wonder what it will be like when she is no longer around. When her body is a pile of ash.

She has become a walking oral history. She is also about to publish "her story". It has been 40 years in the making and finally it will be realized. She is 78 years old.

Dressing is exhausting because the stomach won't let her bend over anymore, at least like she used to. Socks and shoes are a nightmare.

"I refuse to be one of those many women who are skinny, wrinkled and unahappy."
09/29 Direct Link
At some point in her late 40s she proclaimed that she was no longer going to make weight control a priority. In fact, she became radicalized. Beware the husband or daughter who brooched the subject.

The tirade would begin and accelerate. She wanted to eat whatever she wanted and to hell with weight gain. She wanted to be happy and if happiness came at a price, then she was willing to pay it. Even if it meant that my father watched painfully as she ballooned. Over the years we watched the beautiful petite 5'4" woman grow into 300lbs.
09/30 Direct Link
She is so very smart. She speaks six languages including conversational Latin. Occasionally she finds a Catholic priest who is game and will indulge her. They chatter away and giggle because no one else can do that anymore. A dead language for the most part, but every bit alive in many of our words.

It is hard to imagine that someone with so much intellect and abilities would allow herself to fall into such disrepair. But she has and I am concerned for her.

Her father lived until 98 at the end in a nursing home.