Monday, May 25, 2009

Nothing Compares to You

I'm a mess, I admit it.  
The road trip is over.  I'm about to board a plane and fly back to L.A. where I will be "home" for 36 hours before I board a plane to Greece. I've left my daughter M. in St. Paul for what we are calling her first "grown-up summer." She's almost 2o and she will live in my condo, drive the car her dad has handed down to her and work a  9-5 internship tutoring inner city kids. For the next few days she will be hosting her brother, his wife and their 3 kids and putting her first household in order.
Meanwhile, I feel like I've come almost full circle. I became a blogger after my trip to Greece last fall--when I left the country to be as far away as I could manage when Mr. Ex got re-married. I'm returning for a writing workshop + hiking with the author Meredith Hall  and I have fallen completely in love with the man I've been dating since December.
Here's how I know:
M. found little to appreciate on my ipod during our long drive from California to St. Paul EXCEPT for Sinead O'Connor's hit Nothing Compares to You. We played it a couple of times every few hundred miles. Mr. Ex liked this song and when the two of us were driving in the car together when it came on the radio in the 80s or 90s or whenever that was, he'd sing along and put his hand on my knee.
On this trip, I remembered that and there was an interesting pang, but I didn't really care.  All I could think of was the man I'm going home to.
I am very, very lucky. 
And a mess.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Check is in the Mail

Dear Officer Jorgensen,

I apologize for this picture.  It's not you. Not even close. But it's the only photo of a Wyoming highway patrolman that I could find.  It was a weirdly entertaining experience to be stopped for speeding just outside of Rock Springs.  You were very professional and it was nice of you to give us a discount for wearing our seat belts. We always wear our seat belts, and found it interesting that Wyoming puts a lot of effort into getting the word out about seat belts. What's up with Wyoming folks that they don't buckle up?
I'm imagining a cowboy getting into a dusty pick-up truck  and grumbling, "I don't buckle up when I ride my horse, do I?!"

Anyhow, we've made it all the way to Iowa safe and sound.  And I'm really glad my new name didn't confuse you when you checked my license & registration.  I was worried that you might think I stole Mr. Ex's car.  That would have been a big adventure...and that was why I couldn't stop laughing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I'm traveling again.  Driving from California to the Midwest, and it feels good.  I made this drive with Mr. Ex many times in the years before we had our daughters and those memories feel almost sweet. It's a strange feeling. But that young guy in the flannel shirt & jeans & work boots I'm remembering isn't the guy I was married to for the last ten or twelve years and I wonder if I've changed into a completely different person, too.
Rock Springs, Wyoming has changed a lot. From a historic western town to an i-could-be-anywhere big-box, chain-store, strip-mall characterless place. Now they're trying to bring the historic downtown back and my daughter, M. & I are doing our part to help. Last night we had dinner at a brew pub that's staked a claim in an old building and is serving up delectable local beer. A perfect mix of the old and the new. 
Our trunk is full of that liquid gold now.
I don't know that I'm ready to call those old memories  of me & Mr. Ex golden, but there's something about there that's worth thinking about.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thinking Inside the Box

These are the divorce documents that I have been collecting over the past seventeen months and stashing in this lovely hand-decorated box. It's quite full and I'm really hoping I don't have to start a second box. Tomorrow I'll mail off the latest bit of information I was requested to compile by my attorneys and presto I should have some permanent alimony locked in. 
Ya think?
Meanwhile, I'm going to begin re-reading Bleak House.  

Friday, May 8, 2009


I've been feeling rather exposed lately.  As if my heart could be plucked from my chest, put on a plate and eaten until not even the tiniest morsel remains.
"This isn't a relationship," I told the man I'm dating a week or so ago.  He looked surprised until I went on.  "It's a love affair," I said.  Making that distinction was my way of reconciling the fact that we live apart and aren't really involved at all in each other's day to day lives and that I see him about half as much as I'd like to.  This week, I'm asking myself what I want--really.  His last relationship was a weekend thing.  For 7 or 8 or I dunno how many years, he and this woman saw each other only on the weekends.  I could see that working out...if we actually saw each other on the weekends.  What if what this all comes down to is that I like him more than he likes me?

La Meme

I've been tagged by an excellent blogger, Elizabeth Aquino at  Her blog a moon worn as if it had been a shell is nothing short of remarkable.
This is one of those question things like they do on Facebook.  I'm supposed to answer them and then tag more people who will do the same etc.  I like the title of this one--La Meme is French and translates to "the same."  We are all more alike than we imagine, I think.  Plus, I guess La Meme  is also a brand of absinthe, which sounds really good to me right now.
Here goes:
What are your current obsessions?
The man I'm dating but very rarely see these days. The indelible mark that seems to have been left on me by my divorce.
Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
White silk pajamas
Last thing you bought?
2 wallets--for my mom and for her twin sister for mother's day
What are you listening to?
Birds singing & one of my dogs breathing deeply in her sleep
Favourite kid's film
Lady and the Tramp
Favourite Holiday Spots
southern Greece, anywhere in France, Rome, New York City,Cambria on the central coast of California
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Pope Brock's American Gothic and am about to start a book that mysteriously ended up in my stack--I think because someone (I can't remember who) said I had to read it.  It's called The Living End by Stanley Elkin.
Four words to describe me: 
moody, struggling, grateful,sad
Guilty pleasure?
kahlua in a glass of milk at bedtime
Who or what can make you laugh until you are weak?
So many things...I once could not get up out of my seat after a performance of Noises Off that I saw on Broadway.
First Spring thing?
I planted a lemon tree and a kumquat tree on my patio.
Planning to travel next?
Minnesota, Iowa & Greece--all in the month of May!
What do you wish for most?
Other than world peace, etc? My one true love.
Best thing you ate and drank recently?
A made to order tofu bowl from Whole Foods
When & with whom did you last eat dinner by candlelight?
3 days ago with my daughter and the elusive man I might still be dating.
Favourite ever film?
Cassablanca .
Care to share some wisdom?
Asking for help is very difficult, but sometimes necessary...and very, very...helpful.
If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
I would never ever think of my ex-husband again.
What's your motivation for starting another day?
My dogs have to be walked or they'll eat my couch and tip over the dining room chairs.
Rules of la meme:
Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag 8 people (I'm tagging only four)

I tag:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Problems of the Heart

My new sweetheart is down with a cold and has been confronting the fact that he may have a problem with his heart, too.  It will take some time before he gets in to see the cardiologist and because he's been feeling run down we've been seeing each other less.  
It seems like my own heart has only recently recovered from the trauma of divorce and now just as the word "love" has worked its way back into my vocabulary, I find myself speechless with melancholy.  I don't want to talk to anyone or go out. I don't feel like tackling any serious writing projects.  My kumquat and lemon trees are waiting to be transplanted into their nice big pots and I don't have any energy for the project.  I feel like I'm waiting too, but I don't know for what.  My own roots don't know whether to wind themselves into a little ball or reach out for deeper soil.  
The trick with all this is that I blame it on the divorce.  I catch myself grumbling that if my husband hadn't left me, life would be good.  But life wasn't good when we were married either. I was living with a man who didn't want to be with me.  I spent less time with him than I spend with the man I'm dating. 
I hate it when I lie to myself.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Will Not Want What I Haven't Got

In my old house where I lived with my husband, I was a gardener.  We had a lemon tree, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, plums, pomegranates, figs, loquats and guavas.  Other than fresh-squeezed o.j., I don't think Mr. Ex ever tasted the bounty of my efforts, but our daughters and I ate all of  it. One summer when they were  little girls, we ate so much squash from the vegetable garden that they're still sick of the stuff.
In my new place with its tiny patio, I confess I was a bit relieved.  I brought 2 rose bushes in pots with me and planted a box of herbs, but I left it at that. Weekends were spent writing for the MFA program or reading.  My back hurt less and my hands and nails always looked presentable.  Going  to the farmer's market would be fine, I said.
Then a few days ago the guy I'm dating brought me a bag of loquats he'd picked from a feral tree in his neighborhood.  Every slice through the peachy skin to the white melon-like flesh gave me a pang.  And all week there was the scent of spring in the air and I missed my yard--the way I used to smell the jasmine mixed with lemons as I lay in my bed with the French doors open to our balcony.  A couple of days ago, I noticed there was a guava tree on my street in flower and I began to fantasize about rustling guavas in the wee hours of the morning.
Today I went to the Armstrong's Garden Center in my new neighborhood and bought a dwarf Meyer lemon tree, a kumquat tree and two very large pots and 2 bags of potting soil.  At another nursery I bought a "pesto bowl" with a tomato plant, basil and parsley.  There really isn't room on my patio for anything else, but if there were, I'd choose a fig tree.  I used to like them warm from the sun, rinsed under the garden hose.
But now I'll have something I never had at the other house--kumquats.  Yummm.