Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh the Bounty!

Then: Lemons, grapefruits, oranges, plums,  loquats, pomegranates, guavas, tangerines, strawberries, squash (zucchini, yellow crookneck & pattypan), miscellaneous herbs, tomatoes, sometimes peas & Mr. Ex.

Now: Lemons, kumquats, apricots, blueberries, zucchini, 2 kinds of lettuce, bok choy, arugula, miscellaneous herbs, a space for tomatoes, a pondering of strawberries & the man who loves me.

I do miss the guavas.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Friends, Enemies, Fortune Cookies & Hope

My explosive phone conference with Mr. Ex, while still a rather vivid memory, was more than a week ago. I gave up hope of ever settling things and asked my attorney what it would cost to take the case to trial. The answer: Way too much.
But there's been a new development since then. It turns out that Mr. Ex's attorney does not have a particularly high opinion of him and finds him rather obnoxious. He would really like to wrap this up and be done with him.
So maybe there's a chance after all that Mr. Ex, at the urging of his lawyer, will finally sign off on an agreement to divide our joint assets.
Meanwhile, a couple of Chinese fortune cookie fortunes that I'd saved ages ago tumbled out of a bowl in my kitchen today. I'm pretty sure they came from the evening in October of 2007 that my son, his wife, my daughter C. & I began to pack my belongings in preparation for my move. We got a huge order from the Panda Inn and began unloading the shelves in our family room while my son kept the blender humming with Margaritas.
Fortune #1 sums up my post-Mr. Ex life very nicely.
Fortune #2........ I'm not sure how people manage that.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Confessions: I like my friend Elizabeth's blog   so much that I pilfer things from it. I used the same designer to pimp my blog after I saw how cool hers looked. I opened my blog to ads after she did. I recently added the gadget, "A Link Within" that she's had for awhile & that takes readers to previous posts with the enticing invitation, "You might also like..."
I stole an idea from my friend Paula's blog recently, too. I've added to my blog a countdown clock numbering the remaining days in my life (based on a common actuarial table.) Of course, as the man I love reminded me at breakfast this morning, that time could come sooner. I don't mind pondering this at all, & I like that he said that. I want to make good use of whatever is left, & I like the idea of seeing those days tick by & wondering if it might be off by decades. The idea is to keep focused. And to hold onto a wish my daughter M. spoke of right after the break-up. "I just want people to be good to one another," she said. Seeing the number of days shrink away one by one makes me want to work harder at that.
So now I'm stealing something else from Elizabeth. It's not hers actually. It's a poem by Wendell Barry that she posted some months ago.  "Forethought of grief"....I want to not have that.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
— Wendell Berry

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger's Tail

It's true, I think, that we are a nation of Puritans obsessed with sex--especially sex that other people are having. I don't know why we feel so entitled to poke our noses into other people's bedrooms. Tiger cheated on his wife, and because he is a public figure, we think it's our business. I'm not sure he or his wife need our intervention. She did a pretty fine job of going after him with his golf clubs. If he's going to apologize to anyone, it ought to be to her and in private.
HOWEVER, I think there is something about bad behavior within certain "trusted professions" that shouldn't be tolerated. Clergyman shouldn't have carnal knowledge of their parishioners. Doctor's either. Or psychologists. Teachers should sleep with other teachers, not their students--or at least wait until they graduate. Cops shouldn't patronize hookers unless they are going to forego rounding them up. And lawyers....I think their word--personal & professional--should be good and that they should uphold it as if it were the law.
Years ago when Mr. Ex was getting ready to graduate from law school and was interviewing for jobs, I remember that the wife of one of his classmates had her own take on which firms were most suitable for her husband. She didn't care about salary or clients or prestige. She wanted to know how many of the partners were still married to their original wives. If there was a culture of divorce at a particular firm, she didn't want her husband to work there. I don't know if they are still married.
I didn't worry about Mr. Ex. back then. I was sure he loved me. He was terrified of both hell and herpes, and I figured that alone was enough to keep him from cheating on me. But big L. A. lawyers are easy prey. The same sense of entitlement that overpowers celebrities can take them down, too.
I don't really care what a golfer does with his balls or his putter, but it seems to me that an attorney is professionally obligated to give his ex-wife what is rightfully hers under the law.

photo credit:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And the Horse You Rode in On

Dear Mr. Ex:

I don't know if you will see this post or not before my blog is no longer public.  Regardless, I will have my say.
In light of your recent accusations against me--that I have disparaged you, your new wife, and your baby, I feel it is only fair that I express to you how completely disparaged I felt at the manner in which you ended our 30-year marriage.
While I talked of parties and trips and time alone to celebrate our empty nest, you were secretly planning your wedding. When you delighted me with your suggestion that we buy wedding rings for our 29th anniversary, a week later one can see by your cell phone records that you were calling your new sweetheart the first thing each morning and the last thing each night (while you were out walking our dogs)--and frequently on your drives to and from work as well.
Beginning in May, two months or so before you left me, you secretly began seeing a therapist and then later reported to members of your family that you had suggested marriage counseling for the two of us, but I had refused.
Several months before you left me, I began applying to grad school. When it came time to chose which program I would attend, I told you I thought it would be great to have "Nebraska connections" in case we retired there. You knew that for all you cared, I could attend grad school on the moon. You didn't choose to share that with me.
While I was working with an agent and  my memoir manuscript was under revisions, I humbly asked you two or three times if you could find the time to read more than the first 40 pages. You couldn't manage.
When you did finally work up the courage and the honesty to tell me that I was history, it was in one sentence that I learned our marriage was over, that you were getting re-married, and that you wanted our house because it was a good place to raise your new family.
You treated me worse than dirt. As a gardener, I know that delicious things come from dirt--if it is loved and watered and tended. Life with you was a desert. I have made my exodus.
@#*% you, your big fat Indian wedding and the horse you rode in on.

photo credit: Brett  Butterstein Photography


Soon this blog will no longer be accessible to the public.  I have sent invitations to those I believe may want to continue reading.
Mr.  Ex will not be one of them.
Why, after all, would he want to read the musings of the woman he dumped? Despite the fact I really have nothing to hide, it's a little stalker-ish, I think. Maybe his new wife can start a blog and he can read that.  She could write about shoes or something.

photo credit: The New School

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thank You, Everyone.......

.....for the emails, comments, phone messages & in-person support. It has meant a great deal & I am in your debt.
Currently,  I'm still a bit thrown off center, but continue to take this opportunity to think and listen.
I'm working on various writing projects, and trying to keep "wondering at beauty, standing guard over truth, looking up to the noble & resolving on the good."
And wondering if I should add "Baby Disparaging" to my resume.

Photo credit:

Friday, February 12, 2010


So, he said he wanted a disparagement clause in our agreement. That he wouldn't have me disparaging his new family. Not his wife. Not his baby. The title of this blog was mentioned.
I said I was a writer. That I write. That I hadn't disparaged him or his wife or his baby. That if my tongue was going to be cut out, the cutting would be done in court by a judge--not by him.

This blog is taking a hiatus.
In the meanwhile I plan to re-read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott--the very first book I ever read about writing. Here's an excerpt:
A friend of mine recently fell for this non-Catholic priest who seemed very learned and spiritual and tender in the beginning, and then turned out to be a mean little Napoleonic shit; not to put too fine a point on it. She wondered if she could use him as a character. 
Oh, I said, I insist.
"Do I have to make him tall, so he won't sue me?"
"No, no, no," I said. "Make him an uneducated writer, instead of a psychologist. Give him a past, two wives, and a number of kids he hasn't seen in years. Make him homely, make him a smoker, make him an atheist." 
If you're a writer, you probably know the rest.

I wanted to tell the truth as it really happened. To hack a trail through my grief. And I will continue.
Until then--thank you all for reading. From the depths of my no longer broken heart, thank you.

In the Beginning

            I fell in love that fall.  E. was someone I’d met the spring of our freshman year, and it had been his voice that had started it.  My back had been turned during an audition in a cramped classroom, florescent lights glared down on the scripts we were studying,  and I’d felt a jolt of attraction when I wasn’t even looking.  There was a part in a play I really wanted, but when I heard his voice, I wanted him too.  We both got roles and did the play together.  I set the attraction aside because I told myself that I was still promised to the father of my baby.  “He’s not available anyway,” a friend told me and explained that E. had plans to join the monastery after graduation.
             But a few weeks into my junior year, E. and I ran into one another at an anti-war demonstration.  Riot police were chasing down students at the courthouse in St. Cloud, and I hung back, shaking.  It would be hard to run away in my body cast, and instead of heading for where the action was, E. stayed near me.  What was it with this guy, I wondered, as I recalled he’d also offered to donate a pint of blood to defray some of the expenses of the six-pint transfusion I’d received during my surgery.  He didn’t seem to want anything from me, and whenever our paths crossed, I found myself thinking about him for days afterwards.
Now, a year and a half since I’d met him at the audition, the soft-rough combo of his flannel shirts and the denim of his jeans were irresistible.  He smelled like everything good in Minnesota that fall—leaves, crystal air with the promise of snow, black earth, and apples.  I was still in my body cast and couldn’t drive.  I needed someone with a car to help me gather set pieces for a production of The Matchmaker.  We were looking for a turn of the century barber chair, an ornate hall tree, tables and bentwood chairs.
We spent afternoons burnished by pumpkin-colored sunsets driving through the flat Minnesota countryside to antique stores.  Birch trees flashed by; white-hot warning signals telling us that love was coming while I tried to keep my mind on furniture.  His Dodge was old and smelled like all cars that have been through a decade of winters—the rubbery stink of slushy boots, the burn of the heater coated with the dust of summer dying to the odorless scent of a hard freeze.  The air was brisk and dry.  You could give yourself an electric shock touching the metal door handle.  But that was nothing compared to the current of desire.  I imagined sparks—hot orange, red and yellow pulled from the palate of trees lining the road.  My idea of setting things right by marrying the father of my baby was getting harder to hold on to.  Setting things right would have to happen some other way. 

photo credit:

How the Phone Conference Went

photo credit:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Drumroll, Please

After the exchange of 11 emails over the past 8 days plus a follow up in-person conversation, Mr. Ex, his attorney, my attorney & I have finally scheduled a phone conference.  So.......2 years, 6 months, 10 days, and approximately $30,000 in attorney fees since Mr. Ex told me he wanted to marry someone else, we just might have a shot at finally settling our financial affairs.
I find myself feeling pissed off rather than celebratory. Could I borrow one of those drumsticks for a sec, please?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I was there.  

My brother was actually in that snowplow and drove it through the night at the mobile home park where he lives and works. It started snowing at 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning, and it didn't stop until Saturday around 3:00 in the afternoon. I was a little nervous about losing power and having to huddle in my coat and scarf, trying to keep my mother warm in front of my brother's wood stove, but we were lucky. We were warm and dry and had cable TV with movies on demand, beer and bourbon--and a fridge full of home cooking, thanks to my brother's girlfriend.

 Thanks to my brother's can-do attitude and his 4-wheel drive truck (the '57 Chevy is his "IRA"--not his everyday vehicle) I managed to get out of  Baltimore Washington International Airport last night in a brief window of clear weather and plowed runways even though the roads were a single-lane slip and slide with trees down under the weight of the snow. A back-hoe was on the roof of an airport parking structure when my brother and I pulled up in his truck. It was dumping snow on a 4 or 5 story-high pile shaped like the Matterhorn.

Now I am back in the Land of Too Much Rain. But I'm grateful for these experiences with Mother Nature that remind me how little control we really have in this life.

Ice-covered country roads, blizzards and deluges make me a weird kind of happy. They bring on a savoring  that is so full and sweet that it can keep me awake at night as I lie in my bed wide-eyed at the  power of love.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Turtle and the Heart of Stone

I had coffee with Mr. Ex this morning.  We sat on a bench in my neighborhood with coffee to-go and fresh goodies from a bakery. "Tell me the scenario you are envisioning," I said.
"For settling our financial affairs?" he asked.  As if we had any other kind of scenario in the works.
So he said that, really, we weren't very far apart in our two versions of how we think things should be divided. That was news to me because in the last draft from his attorney, the irrevocable trust was still being cut in two, there was no mention of his bonus from 2008 or 2009, or any confirmation that he would spring for half of my attorney fees.
"Really?" I said. "Then why is it taking so long and why doesn't your attorney answer my attorney's questions?" I went on to say that I wanted the four of us to meet face to face and hammer out the agreement until we were finished, that I didn't want any more back and forth and asking and re-asking the same questions. I said I didn't want it to take 2 or 3 months to get a resolution on one point only to go on to another something that needed resolving.
"Let's do it in a conference call," he said. We narrowed it down to a couple of dates, and I said again I wanted that call to be the end of it. Nothing to follow but our signatures on a document. Then the money. And the whole deal should only take a couple more weeks. That's the way it would be, he said.
Mr. Ex didn't look at me the whole while we talked, and I looked at him not looking at me. We had a "Pleasant Chat" at the end, but I was faking it. I feel no pleasantness at all toward this man who was once the love of my life. At 19 I was certain he was my soulmate. Now only the tiniest crack in my heart of stone peeks open when I think of how I refused to give up on him. On Us. I hung on.  I didn't know then there was a time for surrender.