Archive for February, 2011

it means everything

Rode Omni today. Big Roman-nosed true black Thoroughbred. He’s the one I call “The Professor” in public and “Black Beauty” in the privacy of my own dork head. I was hungover and underslept, and he likes to carry his head on one side, and buck, and go into reverse without warning; and sometimes all three at once.

But I didn’t fall off. We rode a pretty intricate little pattern, circling into one fence and rolling back to the next and jumping that on an angle to cut inside another fence. I jammed my heels down and kept my hands low and when he got antsy, I tried not to react.

It works best when I establish a good rhythm, let the obstacles come to us and keep my chin up on the landing side. Isn’t that always the way?

Right now I am aching all over. How I know I am getting my money’s worth.

my australianness

From The Truth About Grief:

Allan Kellehear, the Australian sociologist, wrote in 2005, “Australian ways of grieving… are not logical outcomes of our local experience but are rather socially constructed ways of understanding inherited from a variety of dominant foreign influences.”

From Among Others:

It wasn’t that we didn’t know history. Even if you only count the real world, we knew more history than most people. We’d been taught about cavemen and Normans and Tudors. We knew about Greeks and Romans. We knew masses of personal stories about World War II. We even knew quite a lot of family history. It just didn’t connect us to the landscape. And it was the landscape that formed us, that made us who we were as we grew in it, that affected everything. We thought we were living in a fantasy landscape when actually we were living in a science fictional one…

It’s amazing how large the things are that it’s possible to overlook.

eleventy years


Originally uploaded by yatima

Would marry again!!11!

the truth about grief, by ruth davis konigsberg

Seldom has there been a more opportune book. (Opportune is a fantastic word. Let’s use it more.)

…those who felt the lowest amount of stress possess a personality trait called “dispositional resilience,” which was defined by three components: they remained connected to other people, rather than isolated; they felt that their grief was manageable and under control; and they embraced and learned from new experiences, rather than avoiding or feeling threatened by them. They were psychologically hardy, optimistic and able to rise to the challenge…

I already know that happiness is a choice. Now I am starting to believe that strength can be a choice, too.

my fun, cheery blog

Drew died on Friday. I’m pretty sure Tina waited till this morning to tell me so that I could have a happy birthday yesterday. (I did.) Tina is Jen’s sister. She was with Drew when he died.

Drew was another member of the big Santa-Cruz-Burning-Man-beach-party-with-dancing community that took me to their collective hearts when I moved to California. I saw a lot of them through the late nineties and early 2000s; right up till I had Claire, really. My relationship with Drew was very simple. Every time we saw each other we would give each other huge hugs and catch up quickly on what had been happening (me: marriage, a new job; Drew: cancer.)

Then we would dance.

It’s been, as you may have surmised, a challenging February. I am left with the knowledge of how lucky I have been: to have known people like Jen and Drew, and to have had friendships composed entirely of mutual goodwill. If you are reading this, then you are one of the people I am grateful for. Be well.

in about an hour

I will turn forty. I would describe my state as confused and sad, grateful. Bewildered.

But for all its challenges and sorrows, the present moment is almost infinitely better than the day I turned thirty.

So that’s nice.

small good things

Claire in the back of the car with a notebook and pen. “Hey mama, guess what? The eighteenth binary number is 131,072.”

Sitting in the sun at the barn as a Dopey the half-Clydesdale is led past me, and seeing him as he really is: a huge strange alien beast with a vast wise eye. Like a dragon.

Going out on the harbour with Badgerbag in the Daisy, and the marine battery failing, and us having to row back to shore. Two fortysomething Internet feminists, in a boat, marooned, capable, happy.

a series of unfortunate events

Dylan Thomas said “After the first death, there is no other;” but he always talked a lot of tosh, didn’t he? It’s not as if I know a great many people but in the ten days since Jen died, three other people have also died. Salome says I am cursed and I am starting to believe her. This morning’s news was the worst, at least to me; a girl I knew back when I worked at the little riding school eight years ago, the year I got pregnant with Claire. She was about eleven then. She would have been nineteen now.

I sat bawling at my desk in my office, as seems to have become my habit, and then I mopped myself up and washed my face in the bathroom and sat down and took three calls. Being a grownup can be horrible. I had no idea. But it’s better than the alternative. On the way home, crushed onto a 14L Mission, it occurred to me that she will not, now, get married or have babies or graduate from college or spend a gap year with Peace Corps or start a company or start a non-profit or negotiate a raise or sign a mortgage or do any of the grown-up things I dream of or complain about.

I had this plan that I would make lots of younger friends, so that when my peers started dying I would still have friends. The possibility of burying children was something I managed to overlook.

you’re not missing anything

Sadness is not making me a nicer person.