Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Real and the Unreal

Four years ago I was someone else.  I had a different name.  A different life. The grief over my divorce was a black sky that loomed over everything.
The new me felt like a fraud at first. A pretender. Now it seems like the married me, the wife, was the illusion--a cardboard cutout with a cardboard husband.  The new reality feels so much brighter.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas for Ken

Ken has been adopted!

Thank you, those of you who inquired about him. Perhaps he has gone to one of you. If not, there are 80-some small dogs at the San Gabriel Humane Society.

God bless us everyone! (Tiny Tim would be a great name for a little dog, wouldn't it?)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

"How have you been feeling?" the man who loves me asked this morning as we lay in bed. It's hard to give an accurate answer to that question in that setting, in those circumstances.
"I think I'd be feeling fine," I said, "if I could just get The Someone's signature on the last two divorce documents." We talked for a little longer. Got up. Had our toast and coffee and went our separate ways.

Instead of walking Humane Society dogs right after exercising, I went home to pursue the missing pages--(mistake #1.) I'm not sure what mistake #2 or #3 was, but the cold-bloodedness of the whole thing tsunami-ed over me about two minutes after I walked in the door. I don't buy the argument that The Someone is just trying to hang on to me, that he doesn't want to sever those last connections. It's torture he wants. Drawing it out and making me ask, and ask, and ask. Back when I was going to therapy, my therapist told me that I was being treated the same in my divorce as I was treated in my marriage. It explained a lot.

What it doesn't explain is this feeling of sometimes still wanting my family intact. How could I want that given what I have now contrasted with how I was treated then? What warped reasoning possesses me to wonder what we might be doing for Christmas if...? To imagine all of us together in some snowy respite gathered around a fire, or under a beach umbrella in a tropical paradise, or even in the same room of our house for an hour when the likelihood of any of those things actually happening would be approximately zilch.

Still, that thought is the elephant in the room inside my head. The elephant that keeps me from seeing the gifts in front of me. The beast that blocks out the sunlight. And then I crawl into bed for hours because I feel as though I am literally freezing to death, and it's the only way I can get warm.

I think more and more about gender roles these days, and how I was so completely conditioned to wear the apron, how filled up my little head was with princesses and happy endings. How I would have done anything to save the idealized version of my nuclear family dancing like sugar plums inside my head, all the while waiting for happiness to drift down like the perfect snow in a snow globe. What I needed was a hammer to smash it all to bits, crack open the plastic, and let some honesty in.

I know all of that. I'm just having trouble feeling it. So on this the darkest day of the year, I will keep turning, turning, turning toward the light.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Free Kindle BooK! One More Toot of the Horn for "Saying Goodbye"

I posted about this on my other blog yesterday, so pardon the redundancy if you're a regular reader there.

The free download of Saying Goodbye--a book in which I have an essay called, "Holding Him Softly," is available only through the weekend. You can, of course, purchase the book in the e-version or in hardcopy anytime.

Here are a couple snippets of reviews:

Tender perspectives helping readers with their own goodbyes. If you have ever had to deal with loss, read this book. It will make you feel better. -- Christina Johns, Midwest Book Review, Oct. 18, 2010 

The stories are about love, really, not sadness. Despite all the sadness and grief that come with saying goodbye, there is love and joy and comedy on the Other Side. -- Gretchen Little, Squidoo.com Lens, Oct. 29, 2010

This book gets to the heart of what I teach in my class on death and dying - that life is filled with loss of all kinds and we can learn from each one and ultimately experience life more fully. The stories in this book do a wonderful job of showing that out of loss there are new beginnings. I recommend it for any teacher of death and dying classes. I also recommend it for anyone who is struggling with a loss - no matter what kind. -- Professor Jann Adams, Department of Psychology, College of Idaho, Aug. 25, 2011 

And I think it's worth mentioning that the book was the #1 free download in the Death & Grief category, and #2 in the Nonfiction/Literary Criticism & Theory Category. (kind of a weird category, this second one.)
Also it  ranked in Health, Mind & Body as #25 and Advice & How-to as #27.

The book is a solid anthology that includes writers from around the world. A great gift for someone who is retiring, moving, moving on, grieving, graduating, kicking a habit or experiencing any of life's goodbyes.

Oh--and if you read it and like it, it would be so cool if you reviewed it on Amazon!

Thank you kindly. We now return to our regular programming where I write about life, love, divorce, the weather, and other intractable problems and great joys.

photo credit: Androidzoom.com

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ken Wants a Christmas Tree

This is Ken. I like to call him Ken Doll. He currently lives at the The San Gabriel Valley Humane Society. He wants a Christmas Tree. He wants a home.

Kenny is one of the little dogs I walk regularly, and I can tell you he's good on the leash and full of energy. After we make our way down the dirt path next to the shelter and across the street to the park, he rolls onto his back in the grass for a belly rub. While you might not think of a little dog as a means of getting some exercise for yourself, Ken trots along at a brisk pace without tugging or pulling on the leash.

Ken has a beautiful wiry coat that's more red than brown. He's loves people and does great with the other dogs he shares his kennel with. And if that's not enough charm, he has one more distinctive trait--his bark. For whatever reason, Ken has a "cigarettes and whiskey voice"--maybe as a result of a heinous surgical attempt to de-bark him. Or maybe that's just the way he came into this world. Whatever. He sounds adorable.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mother Nature and Rejection

There's severe weather honing in on the San Gabriel Valley again. As I was checking my email only to find that I did not make it into a writers' residency I'd been hoping for, my entire house shook and rolled. That was too loud to be thunder--or simply the shock of rejection--I thought as I saw the flash. I waited for smoke or a fireball thinking that maybe a plane had crashed, and then the rumbling began again. Two more crashes came in rapid succession. Two more flashes. It rained enough to get the pavement wet on my patio, then stopped. It's deathly still now--like Mother Nature is holding her breath. Not one leaf is moving. The birds are mute. But there's a low growl from time to time as if some beast is crouching for an attack. Batteries? Check. Phone charged? Check. Water? Check. Ipad charged? Check. Computers unplugged? Check. Disaster plan? You mean like a plan for my future? Um. Well, no. I don't have one of those.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Things You Think About When You Are Still Trying To Start Your Life at 59

I was raised on baby dolls and kittens--swaddling, cooing, and cuddling. I graduated to Barbie dolls and tried to be one myself. Flouncy skirts and high heels, dating plastic men who couldn't feel what I felt. I killed two kittens by accident, and would say that was the beginning of my ruin, except giving a child away to strangers was far worse. A cold heart turned colder in order to survive.

Or maybe it was money that ruined me. Lack of it at first, then too much. If the pot of gold at the end of the marital rainbow had been earned 50-50, split without fang and talon, maybe by now I would have retraced my steps back to that fork in the road where I missed the sign that said, "Your Life This Way." But I spent years on the path that said, "Wife"--misread, perhaps, as "Life"--an understandable mistake, wouldn't you say?

When he was through with me I hadn't gone back to school, hadn't worked in 25 years. A living breathing anachronism. Step right up and watch my evolution. Or watch me slide back into my primordial slime. Nearly 60 years old and my life's work some future fantasy.

Maybe I was meant to be a wife. Maybe no one is ever meant to be that. Maybe everyone needs someone who is meant to be that. In the deep dark of my history, I was meant to be a killer or a mother or a wife or a whore. No one looked into the crystal ball of my life and said, "You can learn to speak French, write stories, make an audience laugh and cry, you can take care of yourself.

It's not exactly anyone's fault. It's how it happened.

That moment when I stood at the fork in the road, I swear the sky was stuffed with pink and violet clouds. The air smelled like love, smelled like eternity, smelled like peace. Maybe if you had seen me, you would have said, "Those clouds are trouble. Run. It's going to rain like the world is ending, just you wait and see. And when you awake after the deluge bedraggled and bereft in some foreign land, the word, 'wife' will be something no one understands."

But that's not how it looked to me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christian Louboutin Explains It All

I've been getting caught up on my New Yorkers. Here are some of my favorite snippets from a piece called, "Sole Mate" by Lauren Collins that appeared in the March 28th issue.

"I hate the whole concept of the clog!" Louboutin said. "It's fake, it's ugly, and it's not even comfortable!" He continued, "And I hate the whole concept of  comfort! It's like when people say, 'Well, we're not really in love, but we're in a comfortable relationship.' You're abandoning a lot of ideas when you are too into comfort. 'Comfy'--that's one of the worst words!"

Louboutin knows a couple who met, and married, after the man approached the woman about her red soles. With their erotic connotations, Louboutin's shoes have served as props in many romances, not all of them innocent.

"Men are like bulls," Louboutin said. "They cannot resist the red sole."

So, yeah, I have 3 pairs of clogs. They're comfy. I like comfy. But I prefer to be barefoot if it's warm enough.

Here is my absolutely most favorite pair of shoes.

Not exactly man bait, I suppose. Deliciously comfy though.

How about you, would you rather be comfortable or uncomfortable?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lunar Eclipse

"There's a total eclipse of the moon going on right now," the man who loves me said as he climbed back into bed with his iPad. It was the first I'd heard of the lunar eclipse. The newspapers for the past couple of days sat in a stack on my dining room table. My various electronic devices had delivered only more earthbound news. It was warm under the covers, but after a minute we threw on our clothes and braved the morning chill. There it was in the western sky, a slivery fingernail, edging above an apartment building and some trees. As we watched, the moon disappeared altogether, but just as quickly began to reappear as we discussed whether to establish an observation perch on nearby cement wall or walk for coffee. Walk for coffee, we decided. Unable keep our eyes on the sky while picking our way over the dark uneven sidewalks, we lost sight of the moon--as if it had gone out for coffee, too.

Senior coffee costs 60 cents at McDonald's. But the moon had distracted us from worldly concerns like wallets. The man who loves me had $1.08 cents in his pocket. The girl behind the counter scooped it up, and gave us two coffees, and offered cream and sugar. "Cream," I said. She nodded and gave me at least a half-dozen of the little single-serving containers. The homeless person's breakfast, I thought. I've seen it done. A small cup of plain coffee, a good portion of it dumped out and replaced with half-and-half, then doctored with lots of sugar. I took only one of the little containers and gave her the rest back.

The moon was gone for good when we went back outside. Even though we walked uphill looking for a vantage point, what we saw was a moonless pink and gold sky. The sun was taking over the show. But we'd caught the best part. The entire loss of lunar light; it's breathtaking absence, and then the first glimpse of that cold white light's return. Walking home as the dawn burgeoned, I felt incredibly lucky.

Photo credit: http://www.niharsworld.com

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Buy Local. Buy Handcrafted. Zero Emissions.

These beautiful and useful gifts are available in a "pop-up store" at Bloomingdale's and at the gift shop at the Skirball Center as part of the exhibit Women Hold Up Half the Sky. You can go to these lovely places and shop. Or you can go right to the source by taking the Gold Line train downtown to the Little Tokyo/Arts District station (where else can you see Buddist monks next to a Christmas tree?) have a stroll through the Little Tokyo Plaza, maybe have some lunch, and then angle toward San Pedro Street.

Between 4th and 5th is where you will find The Downtown Women's Center. You'll see a sandwich board on the sidewalk that reads, "MADE," the name of the boutique and coffee shop there. Push through those big historic doors. Marvel. Chat. Have some coffee. Oh--and shop.

Some of my favorite gifts: Handmade soap, decoupaged picture frames and mirrors, journals made from the covers of old recycled library books (the pages of these books are used for the decoupaged items,) hand knit scarves, little felt animals, candles in vintage tea cups and pretty glasses, earrings.

Some of the women you pass on the way in or out just might be the artisan who made the beautiful thing that caught your eye.

Joy to the world. Joy to your wallet and your soul.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trees, Zombies, and Trancendence

It's a start. I spent something like three hours this morning cleaning up after the winds. I'll probably fill another four or five bags with leaves. The grevellia tree is the Halloween costumer of the tree world. When the wind blows it laces its dead brown fern-like leaves into all the other plants, making it seems as if they're half-dead. I released the camellias and the potted plants, the blueberry, and the hibiscus from their zombie shrouds this morning and swept up ankle-deep piles of grevalia leaves as well as leaves from trees that don't grow anywhere near my patio. My next door neighbor has a whole tree on his patio.

This evening after my shift at the DWC I went to a program at the Central Library, "Dark Carols: A Christmas Cycle." It was the world premiere of a series of songs/sung poems accompanied by piano.

Here is my favorite:
This tree would rather be outside,
asleep, and growing thirstily.
Of all the trees, why me?
Why is it I must die here, cozily? 
Dying slowly, drily, and exhibited so piteously,
hung with lights, 
I blaze with anger, pain, and electricity.
How I long to incandesce by accident into transcendence,
rocketing up to the cold starred heavens, with my 
murderers in attendance.

(lyrics byPhilip Littell)

I found this piece particularly dark and funny, as did most of the audience, it seemed, judging by their laughter.

For years my favorite Christmas attraction as been Altadena's Christmas Tree Lane. No dead trees there. Although I do believe at least one was lost in the windstorm.

I'm spending Christmas in St. Paul this year. I won't have a tree--live, dead, or artificial at my house. The streets of St. Paul will be full of un-murdered trees and transcendence.

Stranger in the City/Stranger than Fiction

Coincidences astound me. I live in Los Angeles where the population of the metropolitan area is something like 12 million. Yesterday at LAX I took the Flyaway bus and was on the same bus with a TSA officer who was also taking the bus to Union Station, I presume as part of his after work commute. I had a personal encounter with this officer some months earlier when he had to escort me back to the baggage counter after my bag failed the security check (expensive corkscew/knife combo.) Tonight I'm at the Central Library for a performance. He's here. I ask myself, am I imagining this? I study his rather distinctive earring from across the narrow lobby, and then hear him say to the woman he's with, "When I have five more years with the TSA...."

The day before yesterday I was able to chat with a friend at the Baltimore airport because we both happened to be there flying out to our respective cities on the same airline at approximately the same time.

photo credit: murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com

Monday, December 5, 2011

At My Window With a Broken Wing

There's a Canada goose with a broken wing at the pond in the mobile home park where my brother lives. Some asshole came through in a pick-up truck and tried to hit a flock of them that were blocking the road. They do that, the geese, just take their good ol'time slap-slapping their flat goose feet in the middle of the street. So this guy, Mr. Asshole, missed on his first try, so the story goes as told by the person who saw it happen, and he backed up and made a second run at them and got one. Now there is a goose with a wing that drags on the ground. I saw him when I went out for my walk the other day. He looked happy enough, hanging with the other geese on the side of the pond. There is some discussion as to whether the wounded goose should be sent to a rescue place or just hang out in his usual spot. This flock does not migrate anyway. They have a good thing going at the pond where some domesticated Embden geese live for the enjoyment of the park residents. A couple of Mallards joined the flock some years ago, and last year or the year before, two Chinese geese showed up--perhaps dumped by someone. This morning there was a blue heron literally sticking out of the crowd with its long legs and long neck. Kind of a waterfowl convention.

It must be weird not to be able to fly if you're a goose. Maybe that goose is uncomfortable with the prospect of that, just like I'm uncomfortable right now bouncing through turbulence in a Southwest Airlines jet telling myself that the rough air is bound to smooth out soon. I cope much better when there's wi-fi on the plane. I feel connected to people I know and love when I can read blogs and post to my own blog, and email. Facebook helps too. There they are the faces of my family and friends. I can get pretty tense without that little link to my fellow humans.

There was the gin time not so long ago when I just drank myself unconscious. But the anxiety just rose up to meet the gin, so now I don't drink at all or have just one half-way through. Wi-fi is the best solution I've found so far. If I were that goose with the broken wing, I would want to stay with the geese I know in the pond where I've been.

Title of this post is from a Bob Dylan song. Thanks, Elizabeth, for making the connection.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Sad Day for Trees

Satan's wind roared through out neighborhood last night. The power went out at midnight. This morning we woke to a trickle of water pressure because the power outage took out power at a pumping station.

It was a bad day for cars, too. But C., who loves her old car, took the news like a champ. And then went to work sawing the tree branch to free her car.

She has the shoes for the job. I suppose I might have delivered emergency water by horseback--if I had a horse.

The park was a strange and sad sight; all the vibrant huge trees on the ground while this one stood tall.

But there was joy, too.

If palm fronds were viable building materials, Los Angeles could become the land of palaces.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dogs, Desserts, and Further Disposition of Thanksgiving Leftovers

I walked dogs this morning. Two and a half hours of trudging off leftovers was one of the most fabulous ways I could have spent the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I'm not really a small dog person. The smallest dog I've ever owned was a 35-lb. terrier mix named Lulu, but at the Humane Society, in order to be kind to my back and shoulders, I walk mostly chihuahua mixes. If I could have a dog in my life right now, I would be making plans to adopt a 5-month-old brown chihuahua mix that has black markings like a German Shepherd. He's larger than most of the chis, and looks like a miniature version of my shepherd-collie mix, Lola, who died last year. Before she turned white in the face, her markings were dark. Never in a million years would I have ever thought I'd be interested in a tiny dog.

The leftover project is proceeding quite well. Cabbage and mashed potato soup was not made today, but a 41-page application for the 1st MFA program on my list was. C's husband who is here with her visiting made her some gnocchi out of the mashed potatoes. Tomorrow he will make a pot pie and use up the last of the dark meat turkey, the gravy, and the mashed potatoes that remain. I have just taken leftover sweet potato custard out of the oven.

And here's a dog named Sweet Potato.

I feel Christmas melancholy nibbling at the edges. It's a precarious time for me. Desserts and dogs might keep it at bay.
Oh! This guy has been adopted!

Four Day Carnival of the Carnivorous in the Ever-Expanding Universe

There's still a ziplock of turkey in my fridge, but I've chosen sunset as the time that I will turn back into a pumpkin-eater. I've thoroughly enjoyed my foray into the land of meat-eating, and now I'm done. All Thanksgiving leftovers--meat or otherwise-- that have not been consumed by this evening will be frozen or turned into something so tempting (sweet potato custard, cabbage & potato soup made with leftover mashed potatoes) that I predict they will be done away with by bedtime.

I consider myself an amoral vegetarian. I don't object to eating animals, but it seems to me that it's easier to keep weight off as a vegetarian who also goes easy on cheese and bread and sweets. And I no longer go into full-on hypochondriac mode when I read about the most recent batch of e-coli contaminated ground beef or lunch meat. I eat tons of vegetables because that's what vegetarians do, and I hope that will make up for the first two decades of my life when ketchup, butter-slathered corn on the cob, and an occasional salad garnished with bacon were my only concessions to edible plants. I lived on steak, ice cream, and homemade desserts then. I ate chips or french fries every day. Nearly every high school lunch was a half-pint of chocolate milk and a Hostess Snowball. In college I switched to Heath Bars and Cokes. If I were a horse, the condition of my teeth alone would send me to the glue factory. Thank god for modern dentistry. And my dentist probably thanks god for patients like me.

I saved a lot of money eating out of vending machines instead of paying for cafeteria meal plans. And oddly enough, going vegetarian is pretty cheap, too--but I didn't know that when I was 15 or 20. I'm not even sure I knew there was such a thing as a vegetarian. When I was 13 I met a boy who told me he was an agnostic. My whole world was Catholic then, and I had no idea what strange religion he was talking about. When he told me it meant that he didn't know if he believed there was a god, I was so perplexed that I wrote down what he said in my diary. I think I met my first vegetarian a decade later when one of my college friends joined a yoga "cult" and stopped eating meat.

Amazing how the world keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Bon Appétit!

Friday, November 25, 2011

One by one, they fell.

The day after Thanksgiving I sit with a bowl of turkey chili at my side. A nearly empty champagne glass. A heart full of wonder and love. Somewhere in the post-dessert (apple crisp, pumpkin pie, or ice box cake? Ice cream or whipped cream?)  stupor last evening, I turned 59. 

 I wouldn't have gone to the trouble of a party if my birthday hadn't fallen on Thanksgiving. As it was, I had family and friends to celebrate with me.

I count myself fortunate to be among the living. This month I lost both an old friend and a fellow writer that I'd taken a couple of workshops with. Both succumbed  to cancer. Both women were more than a decade younger.

Last evening's festivities tired me out, but I took note that I needed no painkillers as I often do after a day on my feet. I drank and ate as much as I desired with no ill effects, though I think I may have committed the faux pas of dropping off to sleep while the man who loves me was still talking. This morning I woke feeling like pie and ice cream for breakfast would be a fabulous idea. And it was. Cleaning up was a joy. The man who loves me is a clean-up-after-the-party machine. And my friend, S. slept over and pitched in, too.

I am 59, and fortunate in friendship, family, and love. I am fabulously lucky.

The Stuffing Wars

I am an unreliable cook. That onion looks like it would be about 1 cup. Those ribs of celery are probably more than a cup, but why wrap up a half-rib of celery? Just throw it in. I substitute ingredients. I use up leftovers. I become enamored of a certain flavor or spice and throw it in. So goes my stuffing. One year, I think people actually got a buzz from the stuffing. A little Grand Marnier sounded like a good thing. A lot of Grand Marnier sounded even better. Oops. The recipe I usually work from is the first one listed under stuffings and forecemeat in an old Joy of Cooking I've had for decades.

There are lots of optional ingredients and choices. I always use garlic, onion, celery, and lots of fresh parsley. This year the nut of choice was pine nuts, which I toasted first.

An absolute essential is the apple sausage from Taylor's Old Fashioned Meats in Sierra Madre. As for the  bread, I've used fancy bakery bread, croutons from supermarket bakery, Trader Joe's boxed stuffing mix (once) --these boxed things are always weirdly seasoned, in my opinion. For a couple of years, I used La Brea Bakery olive bread. This year we went gluten free, rather than make a special version of the stuffing for my daughter who cannot eat gluten. I used Whole Foods white gluten-free sandwich bread, drying it out for several hours on the kitchen counter. After adding a liberal amount of chicken broth, it was perfect. I had to cook it on the grill because the oven was stuffed with turkey and almost burned the bottom. When I warned my guests that they might not want to scoop too deeply into the pan, there was a chorus of, "Oh, I love the crusty burned part!" I guess I'll always make the stuffing on the grill from now on. It just might have been the best stuffing ever.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old and Older

I was really struck by a couple of blog posts recently--one by  a woman I read regularly but have never met and another by someone I see occasionally in person. They've both written about the A-word. Aging. 
I will turn 59 while stuffing myself with turkey and pie which seems like adding insult to insult, but who knows, maybe I can channel the whole deal into some kind of feast of abandon.

I feel like I've had good role models in the arena of getting older. My grandmother was round and silver-haired with gleaming dark eyes, but she grew up on a farm, and for years lived without plumbing or electricity in a log cabin that my grandfather restored. Plucking one's eyebrows and contemplating crows feet by kerosene lantern? I doubt it. She raised seven kids, chickens, and goats, and a garden. I don't think she had time to worry about aging. I'd bet in that time and place women thought far less about such things.

My mother lived in Baltimore in the 1940s. She was a glamorous beauty then, but eventually moved back to small-town Iowa and married my dad. My dad was 26 years older than she was. No wonder she always seemed so confident. You're always the young babe if your husband is old enough to be your father. Still, we had no money for babe-e-licious things. When I made my First Communion and she made a rare appearance at the church, she wore the decade-old suit she'd been married in. She didn't die her hair, and as far as I know, has never had a professional manicure, pedicure, eyebrow arching, waxing, or anything else. She looks pretty darn good for a woman of 87 who's had cancer and has nearly died a half-dozen times. She looks right.

And here I am. Gray and a bit plump, looking my age. Which in the land of botox and boob jobs, means I look at least a decade older than other women my age. I'd be lying if I said it didn't piss me off a little. The bratty little girl inside me wants to whine, "Not fair," but I could go get dyed and highlighted, injected and tucked just like everyone else if I wanted to. I just don't want to. I feel the same way about all that primping that I feel about bacon: I've had my share. I'm a vegetarian now, and other than haircuts every couple of months, and my monthly pedicure, I'm done with it.  Of course in my perfect world, all divorce settlements would include an ample stipend for stretch mark removal. And who knows, maybe I'll wake up one morning, look in the mirror completely horrified and start dialing dermatologists. Maybe. But maybe not. When your husband leaves you for a woman who's twenty years younger, you pretty much have to accept yourself for what you are: I'm 59. I'm having one hell of an amazing time, and I'm alive.

But I should probably use a little more mousse in my hair, don't you think?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm a Little Creeped Out Right Now

For the purposes of dividing The Someone's retirement plan between him and me, I am what is known as "The Alternate Payee."

Here is the change in that division that has been recently suggested by The Someone's Retirement Plan folks: If Alternate Payee dies before she commences benefits, in accordance with the Plan's QDRO policy, no benefits are available to her or her estate. 

Here is how it read originally: If Alternate Payee dies before full payment to Alternate Payee has been made, the amount unpaid shall be made to Alternate Payee's designated beneficiary, or if none then to Alternate Payee's estate.


My wise ex-mother-in-law would say something like, "Well, if you die, all of that will be someone else's problem."


The man who loves me would probably tell me once again the story of
"The Appointment in Samarra" 
Here's a version I found on the internet:
(as retold by W. Somerset Maugham [1933])

The speaker is Death
There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me.  She looked at me and made a threatening gesture,  now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.  I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.  The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.  Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning?  That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise.  I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

Still. I'm feeling a tad bit paralyzed here.

photo credit: members.fortunecity.com