Monthly Archives: November 2016

No Walk in the Park

I’m a girl who likes to fix things. When people make useful suggestions, I usually listen. My husband was reading in bed the other night when I walked in with a clothespin fastened to my upper left ear. He didn’t bat an eye when I said, ‘I have a sore back.’ ‘Uh huh,’ he replied. I’d seen a posting on Facebook that said this would solve back ache, indigestion, sore feet and more. They were right. My back pain stopped immediately because my ear hurt like a mother#$&^@*&.

Another thing I’ve been trying is the vertigo cure. My friend Lois sent me the link. You position yourself in a half somersault with your head tucked down, look to the left or right, count to forty, then throw your whole body upward. This sends the crystals in your inner ear back into place. And it really works.

Vertigo tends to strike me in the morning, but with this cure, no problem, right? Except I have to do the exercise in bed. Since I’m the first one up, I try to move carefully and quietly, but doing a half somersault beside your partner in bed and then throwing yourself violently upward has a tendency to shake things around. But if I get out of bed without doing it, I stagger around like a drunk person.

I’m also fussy about having everything perfect when I settle down for the night. I need the window open about five inches, even when its -20. I like the coverlet off, leaving just the duvet and sheet. I place a giant sized pillow beneath my knees because it helps my hips. My husband calls it ‘the other man.’ He hates the other man, who takes up a lot of room.

I like to read at night, and I can’t do it in the living room. I put my bedside lamp on its dimmest setting, then slowly turn it up when my husband falls asleep. I have to pee once a night (at least) and there’s a creak in our door that neither of us remembers to fix until three in the morning. The worst of it is that the power of suggestion is so strong. If he hears me getting up in the night to use the bathroom, he finds himself checking in with his own bladder. Since we both suffer from the psychological pee, it doesn’t really matter if he has to go. Because, psychologically, he has to go.

Sometimes I feel tired of living with me. I pick on Clarence in these blogs because he’s quirky, but easy going. He doesn’t get too fussed about much unless I mess with his art collection. The only time I did that was when he came home with a huge painting of the two of us. We looked like trolls who lived under a bridge. Our teeth were the size of bricks. It couldn’t have been worse if it had been painted on velvet. Actually, that might have helped. When I indicated in no uncertain terms that we weren’t hanging it up, he told me he’d take it to his office. That’s when the utility knife came out. No, not for him. For the painting.

I like to think of myself as low maintenance. All high maintenance people do. But there’s a certain finickiness that comes out in spite of my attempts to suppress it. It’s the need to feel right, to make things better, to live in a forward moving way. Fix that back, cure that vertigo, follow the yellow brick road of interesting suggestions on how to improve your life. I read health books the way others study the stars. As if there’s a secret there. A game changer. And complaining on this bog has brought some positive results. For example, the rosary sleeping cure is still working well. So feel free to send me your craziest idea. You know I’m up for it.

Ring the Bells

I’ve been caught up in the melancholia of the world. Stunned, like many, by the US election. If any of my friends were on the celebratory side, please don’t tell me. Go hang out with your new pal, David Duke. The people who voted for Donald supposedly did it for the money. (They call it the economy, but, whatever.) I had this crazy idea that in spite of global warming, we were all moving forward. More grace in the world, forgiveness, acceptance, and a willingness to share with those less fortunate. To quote Donald Trump: Wrong.

At first, I felt a creeping dread, like I’d woken to the realization that the outcome of World War Two had been reversed. You Know Who was in charge. That’s how it felt. A certain resignation crept in after a while, and that dread, mixed with the passing of days, eventually watered down to a feeling of melancholy.

And then Leonard Cohen died. We were heading to a social a couple hours after I found out, but I couldn’t stop crying. We have a relationship, Leonard and I. I’d be in a certain kind of mood, and he’d explain things in a way that would make me feel better. In his unique, soulful voice, he described a world of love and loss that, strangely, always left me feeling cheerful. The  kind of singer you pictured sitting nearby while you waited for the bus.

He’d listen to all your sad musings, perhaps take a few notes. ‘Let me work on that and get back to you,’ he’d say. Then, you’d hear a song on the radio and realize he’d understood completely. That’s how he made me feel. He was the dutiful scribe to the darkest part of my heart. The saddest moments, the heaviest days. A singing poet who managed to unravel the mystery of my own feelings of loss, longing and bewilderment.

After a morning full of Leonard Cohen’s music, I’ve decided to give The Donald some  time to get it right. We all make mistakes. We say thoughtless, hurtful things. When my husband, who has been living with cancer, got the good news of his chance for radiation, I said, without a moment’s hesitation, ‘Darn. I’ll miss two whole weeks of choir.’ My family stared at me in shock. The next words out of my mouth were, ‘I can’t believe I said that out loud.’ It would take at least four of Leonard Cohen’s roadies to remove that large foot from that big mouth.

As Leonard said, while waiting for the bus with me, ‘There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.’ ‘Whoa,’ I said. ‘That’s heavy.’ But true. When we break, we find opportunities to change. When we make mistakes, say the wrong thing, wound people, the hurt has a way of ricocheting back. But that’s a good thing. Some of us need only the smallest of cracks to let in a bit of light. Some need a gaping wound. Whatever it is, and however it happens, I pray that Donald Trump sees the light. It can’t be fun living in the dark all the time. Even when you’re winning.

So, President Trump, I’ll leave you with this last conversation I had with Leonard. My two sources of melancholy seem suspiciously well timed, as if our beloved singer and poet couldn’t bear to be in the world any longer.  Heed his words, Donnie boy. Sit down on a park bench from time to time and mull them over.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Maybe purchase his albums. You might learn the lessons a whole lot quicker.