Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Here's the itinerary, since you're all interested:
We drive to Florida on Thursday. We get a marriage license on Friday. (side note: Florida does not require a blood test--good for us, since we haven't a lot of time, but fairly frightening when considering all the icky things floating around in the flotsam of the human species who aren't necessarily honest). We pick up the tux on Friday. I get a hair consultation with someone who sounds to be the biggest queen in all of Naples, assuring me a perfect hair-do. Who wouldn't want Elton John designing your up-do?
Saturday: The girls get pretty, the boys go out and do whatever boys do. I don't know: Michael is going to be stuck with my dad and his dad and bless his heart, they might go bowling. Meanwhile, my 89 year old grandmother is going to fall asleep at the hairdressers or say something completely inappropriate, which I will explain as old age, but secretly will know differently. Grangie has always said inappropriate things. Bless her heart.
Saturday evening: we get married on the beach, throw sand at one another, and take pictures at sunset. Hopefully, my dress and my butt will not block out all the light.
Sunday: Michael and I (mr. and mrs.) fly off to St. Lucia for our honeymoon, which is predicted to have severe thunderstorms and rain for the entire following week. I am hoping God or Earth or Gandhi's spirit has mercy on us and gives a few favorable days of sunshine so that I am able to get completely inebriated on the beach while knitting. I also hope no stingrays make their acquaintances with either one of us, but particularly Michael, who (while being raised on the shores of Lake Michigan) cannot swim. Perhaps the salt water will aid in his swimming prowess.
I will probably be too drunk to hit the high tides and save anyone from a stingray. Snorkeling is out of the question as that requires some kind of coordination between breathing and not breathing--something that eludes me as it is. However, a massage on the beach may very well be in order, and since we've been very fortunate to have very kind gifts bestowed on us from parents and friends, we may actually be able to afford it.
Meanwhile, I'm obsessing over how the hell I'm going to eat my scrumptious wedding dinner and cake in this torture device called a strapless bra which absolutely does NOT move regardless of my body's positions. So, I'll starve on my wedding and watch everyone else gorge themselves on delectable steaks and delights from the sea. Perhaps when I get back from the all included food buffets at the resort, I will strap that bra on and live in it for a month. Hey, it's worth a shot.
I'm freakin' nervous about all this; not the act, mind you. Michael and I were born to be married--it's pretty nauseating to see us interact. I'm just nervous about all the other stuff that leads up to the marriage.
I'll be back in October. Maybe by then, I'll have reinvested myself in the Blog. 'Till then, take care, I'll miss you, and if you're close to Naples, Florida on the 23rd, come to the beach at 6:30. You'll see us there. (This means you, Madge and Kimberlina).
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Today, I went for my final wedding dress fitting. It's raining here in Georgia; the sky is murky and has been draining on the roofs of my suburb with adamant percussions. The dress fit fine; a lady stooped to button the last button. And there I was, standing in some generic dressing room underneath fluorescent lights, staring at myself. I'm all grown up. A woman in a beautiful dress.
"It's amazing how much thinner you look!" exclaimed the seamstress. What I wanted to say was, "It's amazing...it's just amazing."
I came home to get back to work, and didn't do a thing. I've been staring at pictures from a decade ago. What a child I was. The rain kept coming down. I made myself some lunch, had some cigarettes, started a new knitting project. Then, a good song came on the computer, and I went into the office. There, hanging on the wall, is my tiny eight by eleven inch diploma from college. It doesn't say much. Just that on such and such date in 2001, a college granted me the rights and privilege of practicing social work. My name is heavy embossed lettering.
When I graduated from college, I revered the diploma. It was my ticket to life; it told everyone that I cared about the world and wanted to make a difference. I took the first job offered to me; I imagined great things. I imagined I could save every life I touched. I lived alone and paid my bills. I had few friends. I spent many late nights at the office, by myself, poring over files of convicted felons, trying to devise goals to help them out of their situation. I walked back and forth to my car with my keys in between my knuckles and my elbow clasped to the Glock on my waist. How I couldn't see that I needed saving, myself, was beyond me.
There are so many lonely souls in the universe, it's a wonder we don't bump into each other more often.
In the summer, lightening storms flashed in my apartment window and lit my studio into fiery light. I'd turn the lights off and gather the cat into my lap. We would watch the old wood of the ancient mill turned apartment flake off the timbers in the ceiling. Neighbors came and went, and I watched them with a curious eye. I speculated about every person I came across. What did they need? What cross did they carry? What hope had they allowed to die?
We swallow our pains everyday without telling. Aren't we good at deception?
Cigarettes overflowed in all my ashtrays. There were many bottles of empty liquor in the trash can. I wasn't drinking to get drunk; I was drinking to have something to do. But I found some friends, and there are memories there, too. Ellen and I drove to Indiana to meet her family. The car ride up is filled with laughter and hi-jinks. Maria moved next door; I played so many pranks on her she developed a complex. There are hollow echoes of giggles in the hallways of the loft.
I was never very good with keeping up with friends. Now, I have new friends. I promise them I will not forget about them in the same manner as I have with these other women. No one deserves to be deserted.
Yet, we all find ourselves deserted at some time. In the wild, wolves die one of two ways: starvation, or another wolf eats him.
In less than two weeks, I will be a married woman. We are thrilled and nervous and excited and gleeful, as we should be. I am marrying the man who I am supposed to marry. There aren't enough people who believe in true love; heck, I was one of them. As I see how much love I have to give and share, no matter how few lives I reach, I know I'm aging. I'm a little sad I didn't try this happiness thing before. And now? No one is going to stop me from joy.
It's not what you thought
when you first began it...
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'Til you wise up.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
This day in 1948, my dad was born in North Dakota, to a farmer turned surveyor turned gas station owner turned back to surveyor. He lived in the plains and ate books as a child. Due to this consumption of books, his head outgrew his body exponentially, and he was blessed with the biggest brain I have ever known. My dad is a certified genius.
My dad has ninety master degrees. Okay. He's got two, but that's still saying something. He teaches English as a second language for a community college. He used to work for big big dollars at a big big phone company, but his morality got to him and he opted out to be a fruit cutter at a grocery store before going back to teaching. My dad's got guts.
My dad is famous for saying lots of good things:
"It's not the end of the world."
"Things tend to figure themselves out."
"It's amazing how money shows up when you desperately need it."
"If you can't figure out WHAT to do, do SOMETHING. It helps move things along."
"I think Michael is the best thing that happened to you."
"I'm avoiding your mother."
"You don't have the personality to put up with bureaucracy--I'm amazed you've lasted as long as you have."
"Don't impeach Bush! Then, the country would be left to Dick Cheney!"
"You're pretty smart, kid."
"How much is it going to cost?"
"I need help figuring out what to do with your grandfather."
This is not the sum of good things my father has said, but you get the point. As we both age, I find that he is not filled so much with advice as epithets from his own life. He helps me out a lot in looking at the world from a different perspective. My dad can often be withdrawn, and I think my mother and I drive him nuts often. On the other hand, my dad has a presence most people cannot miss--he's funny and smart and has a way of teaching people, even through casual conversation.
My dad builds things. With all of his brains and his intellect, he is still connected to the present: he fabricates beautiful pieces of furniture in his workroom, his private Xanadu. He enjoys playing UNO and watching cartoons as well as reading the most recent theological doctrine in the church. My dad cusses with great fervor in the car, but tries not to on Sundays. He listens to me now more than ever.
When I was a kid, my dad would take me to the park where we would fly crappy plastic kites for hours. He'd put me in trees and take pictures of me, then help me get down. My dad gets excited about motorcycling, even though he doesn't own one. I think he's proud that I do. My dad poured over homework with me when I was young; I still need help with math to this day. I wish I could say his efforts paid off, but they didn't. I need a calculator just to get through the grocery store. He tried, though, and he never gave up on me.
That's the neatest thing about my dad: He doesn't give up. He gets the job done. He listens and contemplates and responds with great intelligence. More importantly, he is human. He has the worst jokes and puns one could ever imagine, and he embarrasses the shit out of my mother and I. On the other hand, he can quote Shakespeare at the drop of the hat, and not just the famous lines, but the obscure ones, too. He'll recite poetry out of his head and then claim it's 'nothing all that great.' He'll scour writing and proof-read like an editor. He speaks fluent Spanish and a touch of French. He taught himself Greek and has a minor in Latin. And all of these things are accomplishments. But most importantly, he's there.
Hey, Dad. I love you. Have a good birthday.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
If I had put a personal ad out there for "Heaven-Sent Man Ready for anything", it couldn't have been more effective. Turns out, all I had to do was wait a few years. It was worth it, darling.
Now I know--if I hadn't taken a chance on love, I would have missed out on the most important person in my life. Thank you for waiting it out with me.
On your birthday, I want you to know what it's all about. The wedding is looming ahead; the rest of our lives will be intertwined in bits and pieces, threads and fibers. But in the midst of all that, I want you to know how much I recognize you for being who YOU are.
You are sincere. You are genuine. When you don't know what to say, you don't say anything and hug me, instead. When you are happy, you make others happy. When we laugh together, the world gets friendlier. When you lead, you lead fairly and kindly. When you tell stories, you invite me into your history, and let me dwell in who you are.
There's memories, already.
Walking down Virginia Highlands in November, bumping elbow to elbow, we shyly flirted and there was a brief moment when our eyes locked, and the universe spun away. Hands in pockets, your head down, smiling.
Or in the mornings at the loft: there was only light and fuzzy lines, sunshine and scent. There is only you.
Last September, I called you in tears. "They fired me." I remember how you called the day off, picked me up, drove me home, held me for hours, told me everything would be all right. You were right, of course. Everything is fine.
Asking my father for his blessing on our marriage. What courage.
I loved you before I knew you. And now, we have so many birthdays to celebrate, so many days to dream and build and love and argue and laugh and live. Oh, to live with you forever. I cannot wait to be your wife. I cannot wait to be your partner. I cannot wait to have you by my side until one of us draws our last breath, and even then, I shall have you.
Before my heart squeezes out of its shell, I shall end this and say: I will love you until time ends.
Have a wonderful birthday.
PS: Come home early!
Sunday, September 03, 2006
My father's birthday is coming up, and like most dads, he's got everything he could ever need or want. So, figuring out a gift is no easy feet (ha, another pun). One day, Dad and I were on the phone.
"You still knitting like an old lady?" Dad asked.
"Yes, Dad. It's relaxing. Besides, I often think about Grandma when I knit,"(My dad's mom was something of a savant knitter and crocheter).
"Well, sure, I guess that makes sense. Knit socks yet?" Dad asked.
"No, double pointed needles scare me. But maybe one day I'll knit you a pair."
"That'd be nice. Just watch the heel. Turning the heel can be tough."
He was right. Turning the heel CAN be tough, and thanks to Grandma, Dad knew that. That's why I hope he'll appreciate these.
They are going to be ginormous on him; they are becoming the Grinch socks. They are made of one hundred percent wool and they will shrink once he washes them in a machine, which is why I must tell him: "Don't wash these unless you have absolutely horribly smelly feet and even then, wash them in the sink." Of course, this will make the socks obsolete; he will wear them once and then realize they are far too thick and heavy for daily life and he will place them in the back of his sock drawer along with those other misbegotten gifts I have given over the years. Nonetheless, there they are. Green Grinch socks for Dad.
Doesn't it look like something out of Aliens? However, this wool is really delicious to knit--it reminds me of rustic days and log cabins. I hope my Dad will wear them once before a roaring fire, and sip hot chocolate on a cold day, and remember how his mother used to knit for him, as well.
Friday, September 01, 2006
- I can' believe you are bashing the civil war battlefield. Yes, I guess you are still Immature enuf to do something so attention getting or just thought it sounded cute in your blog. I think you have deep seated psycho problems. Drop the zoloft and get on some librium. Or better yet move up north,if you hate it here so much. ch ch ch changes!!
- LOL, you go anon.!! Can these people even imagine what it would have been like if Kerry Had WON. And Fritzoid, are you still up to your flaming antics.DOC canned ya, and now you cannot function as a social worker.....Geez! Looks like a pattern here. Do you have any friends left in the real world Fritz. Everyone has a right to believe what they want to, but EA you get mean and dirty. Guess some things never ch ch ch ange.!
Why, I can't help but think this must be another placid government employee working for the Georgia Department of Corrections who is so terribly bored with his/her life that he/she must come and read my blog! I'm honored, really. After all, it's been over a year since I've even seen any of those people and still! One comes by to chat! This is endearing.
All at once.
Anonymous: here is a fact. You are a coward. Your silly, silly, trite comments are made even more silly and more trite by the fact you cannot produce your name; nay, you cannot spell check or edit your thoughts. You are a fool. Shoo, fly. You pester me.
Here is another fact: Since leaving the GDC and working for another agency, I have gotten a big fat bonus and about four or five accolades from others. One of those accolades came from the Governor. That does not make me a Republican. It does make me a fine social worker.
Third Fact: The way I was fired was dirty. The GDC is dirty. Bureaucratic process is dirty. The job that keeps you mindless, bored and ineffective is dirty. The burgeoning caseload that you carry and cannot honestly have any faith in is dirty. I am neither mean nor dirty. I'm opinionated, educated, liberated, and very much loved by friends and family. I also like to think before I speak. You, sadly, do not.
Fourth Fact: Before you comment again, check yourself. Check your actions, your thoughts, and your beliefs. If they do not line up with mine, then tell me why. Explain it to me. Be brave--put your name on something. If you do not do so, then you stand for nothing. I don't like people who stand for nothing. I stand for something. Shoo, fly, your buzzing is quite a nuisance.
Before I extrapolate any more facts from this argument, I shall close by saying: Anonymous and Friends are no longer permitted to comment on my blog. This is not because I am 'nervous' about them. It is not because I don't know how to handle them. It is because they waste my time--I have friends in the blogosphere and friends in real life, family in real life, who have decent feedback to give me. Not all agree with me. But all respect me and I respect them.
Anonymous? GDC? DOC? Bureaucracy? I have no respect for any of it, and that is because I know what works and what doesn't. But then again, I'm just a smart Yankee Liberal woman. And I got myself a damn fine life. Why don't you, Dear Anonymous, go get one, yourself?
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We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, alwaysâ A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one. -T.S. Eliot "Little Gidding"