Saturday, February 28, 2009
On this crazy journey, life changes, and what was familiar and comfortable before sort of melds into something new. About a year and a half ago, we were an overflowing household. An elderly aunt, who entertained us with dementia, until it became heartbreaking, a married daughter and her husband and son, her two dogs, cat, fish, and variety of visitors in and out all day long. We had them from 6 to 82 and all the drama and emotion that goes along with it. And then everything changed. Aunt Edna died, and Lauren and Sorin and our grandson moved away with their animals. The house was empty, quiet, still, lonely. And then came Lena. We inherited her from the Covaci family when my daughter discovered my grandson was allergic to him. Now, we weren't in the market for a cat, or a pet of any kind for that matter. And Lena, was . . . . a little strange, the true personification of a fraidy cat. When my daughter and her family moved last summer, Lena crawled in the space between the washer and the shower and stayed there, we can't even guess how long she was there because we never saw her. Don't worry, she came out, there was the usual evidence of that, eaten food, food deposited after recycling into the litter box. We knew she was okay. But it took weeks to catch her and put her in the carrying case. She scratched my son in law who was formerly her idol and she just never got real cozy in the new place and upon her return, she wasn't really that crazy about being here either. But after a few weeks, she noticed that it is pretty quiet around here without the grandson, the two crazy dogs, the visitors, and all the hoopla that goes with a busy household. So she started venturing out and letting us pet her . . . . with our feet! She still hasn't let us pick her up and scampers away when we try to pet her. But she is becoming more and more friendly and we have to admit that we have grown quite attached to her. My brother was asking us why we didn't just spend Christmas Eve with our children this year, and I blurted out, but we have to watch Lena open her presents. Instantly, I knew that admission was a mistake, just by his reaction. Ok, and we did kind of overdo it on the presents, she has a little basket with all her toys in it. And yea, we got one of those laser mice things, that you click the button and a laser light comes on and you can make the cat chase it all over. Ray likes to make it go up the wall, that really drives Lena crazy, sometimes she is so excited she drools. When I leave for work in the morning, she kind of sits in the window and stares, with those big kitty cat eyes. And both of us call out to her when we come in before we greet each other. Now that is pretty sick. But you know what, it is comfortable. At some point, I pulled this little bed out from the cat carrying case and put it on the floor. My daughter said that Lena never sat in it when she lived with them, but I gave it a try anyway. Lena slowly started sitting in it, and as she has grown, she really overflows in it. We tried making her other little beds, but she really likes this one. It doesn't matter that her feet hang out, she is comfortable. And you know what, so are we. Life has changed, and we are moving on, rediscovering our relationship, embracing the quiet, and squeezing ourselves into a new kind of comfortable.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I guess it can get pretty annoying, my habit of either humming or singing most of the time. I just can't help myself, but I have started to realize that not everyone wants to hear my various arrangements of songs, complete with the substituted forgotten words. When my kids were little, I thought they enjoyed it, although they will probably point to that little idiosyncrasy as an explanation for some future psychoanalysis needs. I liked to take actual songs and mess up the words, or just take a chore and try to make a rhyming instruction with it. Ask the kids about Roses Make me Fart. Anyway, we had an actual record player in the living room, and lots of old vinyl records. I liked to play classical music and tell the kids to close their eyes and pretend we were ice skating. We did a lot of crazy pantomine dances to the records that I would play. Another fun one was Our House by the Clancy Brothers, telling the story of people that came to visit and never left, but not in a good way. One of my favorites was to blast Day O in the morning to wake my little darlings up for school. You know the song, it's playing right now while you are reading this. I would tiptoe into the living room, gingerly, pump up the volume (hey, I was cool even then!) and gently lift the arm of the record player. As soon as the needle touched the vinyl, I could imagine their eyes popping open in terror as Belafonte shouted out the famous words! Of course, I had to accompany it with various exagerated dances and lipsyncing for just the proper effect. And some mothers used the warm washcloth technique! SISSIES! As the kids moved on, or as they like to call it, "escaped from the asylum," I mastered humming. There really wasn't any specific song or tune, just kind of an idiotic repetitive low gutteral buzzing sound, that seemed to just always be there. I didn't even realize it, it was like a vibrator had been attached to my vocal cords. While I was helping a client on the phone when I worked at a law office in Howell, the client suddenly said, "are you humming". I felt like saying, "yea, you got a problem with that?" I had another job where my boss and I shared the same office. One day he jumped up and screamed, "WILL YOU STOP THAT HUMMING?" I think I did for a few weeks, his outburst was very traumatic for me. Now when I go into work, my humming precedes me. As I am hanging up my coat, I invariably will hear, "the hummer is here." I don't think that is something that I should necessarily be proud of. This morning, at about 5:30 a.m., I felt that I was in great voice. I went though a few hymns, "Yahweh I know you are here", "Lord when I come to the water", then an Irish song about some boyfriend that sailed across the sea. As I was going into the shower on the second verse of Day O, my husband shouted, ALL RIGHT, THAT'S ENOUGH. Hey, I thought he was sleeping. What nerve! Anyway, I turned on the shower full blast, and knocked it down a few octaves, but I finished the song. Geez! But as soon as I shut the front door, it escaped " I hear a bird . . . a Londonderry bird . . . " (By the way, the picture above is of my own creation, the Rasta Hat, in honor of Harry Belafonte, custom made, just pick your color and size, $25)
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.
Powerful! I wish I had thought of that myself, but it is one of the closing lines in the movie, The Bronx Tale. I was reminded of it on Friday night when I was watching 20/20. The kid that played in the Bronx Tale was being interviewed. Lillo Brancato is his name. He was in the Sopranos too. But his interview was not on some movie set, it was behind the bars of jail, where he will be sitting for about the next ten years or so. You may have read it in the paper, high on drugs, looking for more drugs, making the wrong choice, he got wrapped up with a guy who shot an off duty police officer. The cop heard glass breaking and called it in, made a choice, made the right choice, investigated it, and it cost him his life. And now Lillo Brancato is being asked if he remembers the last line of The Bronx Tale. Of course he does, and he quotes it as above. And it started me thinking, about the choices we make. How one split second decision can alter the course of your life. I guess I was on that subject on Friday because I had gotten a letter from my cousin, who is in jail, for murdering his mother and step father. Whenever I hear from him, it makes me wonder, how did that happen, how did a good, loving sensitive kid end up with a double life prison term. You can ask him, he probably doesn't know either. But it has to do with choices. Some choices are planned out, plotted, prepared, and executed with precision. But many are not, many are split second judgment calls. Hey, we all have made them, and looking back, I have made a lot of very poor judgment calls in my life, but somehow they worked out okay. I have made a lot of good judgment calls too, but at those moments,I wasn't thinking, good or bad, yes or no, pro or con, I just picked one, and thankfully it was the right one. So when I was thinking about this today, I was thinking life is full of choices, the gift of free will made it so. Each day, each moment, presents us with a choice, whispers in our ear, like the angel and the devil on opposing shoulders. And like Calogero C. Anello, said in the Bronx Tale, the choices you make will shape your life forever.