Being

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Last night Joy Division was on a constant loop, on the hi-fi and my mind’s eye. Positively agog that this music has been a steady part of my being for more than thirty years. What, whaaat? T H I R T Y.

I sat, joyfully awash in the memories elicited.

Of staying up late, hunched over my desk, doing homework, music low. Other times, the joyous solitude of listening for the sake of it, to grasp the meaning, scribbling words and ideas in notebooks, pinning them on walls and doors, of dancing by myself wrapped in the sheer pleasure, of attempting to drown the noise of a loud house and an even louder family.

Of being an outsider, neither a punk nor a waver, neither a stoner nor a jock, neither a nerd nor a cheerleader, but skirting the territories, knowing each as a person and friend, beloved, crafting the finest patchwork quilt of companions, threads of kindness in my wake. Proving some things never change. Be who you are. Love and do as you like, just show me your kindness, your heart, and we can be friends.

Unpredictable me. Clothes preppy and new wave, loafers and buckle shoes, never a sock. Obsessed with skulls and so much black, save around the eyes. Makeup light, bangs high, then the bob I would have for years, sometimes bangs, sometimes not, shoulder to chin and back again. Honor roll student doing donuts in my friend’s Charger, fast, faster, I laughed wildly while he whimpered like the baby I was purported to be. French student of the year who occasionally got high, drank practically never, save to taste. My first cocktail was a Lynchburg Lemonade, further proving some things never change. I do like whiskey best. Designated driver and caretaker, I got people safely home, handed out bowls to vomit in, and practically ran a therapist’s office out of my car.

My car! I worked long hours and saved for years, fast food and bussing tables, finally having enough Christmas break senior year of high school. 1981 Toyota Celica, five speeds and the freedom to do what I please. My music. My Thoughts. My whims. Mostly in darkness, when I reflect, whizzing and crawling along the back roads of Arvada, Boulder, and the mountains beyond. The Sex Lights and searching for possessed goats. Driving to parties, the Westminster Mall. The highway downtown to be among the skateboarders, outsider again, my favorite, wickedly handsome with a foot tall mohawk and bad manners. But, goll-ee, to watch him skate, the grace and lightness of fine articulated limbs.

Later, at night, to wander among the warehouses, under viaducts, places long gone. To smoke – stupidly, for a year – Camels and the fanciest black cloves at Paris on the Platte, sip a Cafe Jacques, or, on more brazen evenings, a Crowbar, plied with enough caffeine to open the eyes of the dead. Other times it was Muddy’s, darker, quiet and moodier, too, whispering among ceiling-high books, nursing a chocolaccino, delicate sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Music was the undercurrent of it all, often misunderstood and mocked by friends, yet what held us together, too. Those dark hours, adding up to days and months, driving and talking, the music never stopped. Joy Division. The Doors. The Cure. U2. New Order. INXS. Lou Reed. The Clash. Eazy-E. The Rolling Stones. The Beastie Boys. The Psychedelic Furs. Echo and the Bunnymen. The Smiths. Modern English. General Public. More I can’t remember. More I choose to forget.

 

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Palmer Park – a ten minute walk to paradise.

Mountain Mohagany and the loveliest winter light.

My Mom feeds her neighborhood pig and she (he?) smiles with gratitude.

g l o w

Our favorite canine. Not ours, but loved still. Go, Jimbo, go!

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Cusp

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. – Unknown

I am learning, both the potency and urgency of these quotations. A little late in the game, maybe. Maybe right on time. Either way, I’m ready. Ready to have relationships that nourish rather than drain. That uplift rather than crush. That embrace rather than judge.

I am paying C A R E F U L attention. I am listening. Hearing all of your words. Observing all of your actions.

It used to be that I brushed aside small criticisms of my person. Large criticisms, too. Slights. I made excuses. I didn’t believe, without articulating it as such, that I deserved better. That I deserved kindness and respect. That others were more important than me, my thoughts, my feelings.

Times have changed. Show me who you are, and I will believe you NOW, the first time. For some, it may be the 100th. But it will be the last.

These words, seen so clearly, seem a bit harsh to my eyes. But when I look back on the hurts and failed relationships of my past, where I was disrespected and unappreciated, I know I need their simplicity, their clarity.

I’m ready for all the goodness and light I deserve.

See you on the other side. Or maybe not…

Holes

Happy Wednesday, dear reader! A little peek at our work in progress. Dave our window guy takes the final boards from what once was a bay window in the living room. It didn’t really fit with the house, a 1950s brick ranch, and even if I had liked it, the base was almost entirely rotten under the fascia. I’m just glad no one really heavy made their self at home on the window seat, as it likely would have collapsed. Dodged a bullet with that one, whew!

The second photo is Walter the mason adding courses of bricks to a too low window, which will give us better functionality in the kitchen. It kept anything of normal height from being installed on an entire wall. After all is said and done, the kitchen sink will be under the window, and I’ll be happy as a clam gazing into our lovely yard whenever I wash up.

And finally, the hubster, champion of my heart! I took this photo after he spent about an hour crawling like a caterpillar in the attic, tracing and rewiring circuits for the kitchen. This was our dinner break, and as we sat on the floor eating green chile, I thanked him profusely for doing what I can’t and don’t want to do.

This is where it gets really cool and I feel even more grateful for this partner of mine. He thanked me profusely for doing what he can’t and doesn’t want to do, like running errands, making breakfast, lunch, and dinner, buying his clothes, decorating, gardening, painting, finding and hiring people to install windows and floors, grocery shopping, the list goes on.

The truth is, I get a lot of flack from a lot of people (but NEVER from him) about my lack of paying work. When are you going to apply for a job? When are you finally going to contribute? I tell them, shamefaced and ears burning, about how damn hard I have tried. How, over the past six years, I’ve applied for more than five hundred, got hired for one, and made about twenty-five cents an hour. Twenty-five measly cents. What I will now say, after finally hearing it (because he’s said it a million times) from the man of my dreams, is, “It’s none of your business.” Because it isn’t. Our life is our business. We’ve been together for twenty-five years (huzzah!), love each other well, sweetly, and heartily, and have our own good and great thing. Its beautiful and messy and oh, so right. He does wonderful work that turns on lights, makes money, and pays bills. I do wonderful work that doesn’t (like this blog). But together, we have it all.

 

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