Year One

baby-love

365

For the record, I didn’t really believe everything would change.
I imagined less time, of course, less sleep, less general air of sans souci
but not the entirety of life all upside down, and least of all me.

It seems after 52 weeks of daily miracles
I have become someone completely new.
I am milk maid and diaper genie and an utter fool for you.

Little Light of September Moon, all my selves were made to love you.

-Lo, whose entire world changed for good one year ago today.

If Wishes Were Fishes

mood: stretched | drinking: extra-strength tea

wishes

There’s no use pretending otherwise. I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. I’m worn too thin.

And I’m mostly out of words–the good ones, anyway. It’s very rare that I run out of words totally and completely. So I’ve got a few left in me, as you can see. But I can’t promise that they’ll be anything worth getting all worked up over.

So I sit here on the eve on my *whispermumble*nth birthday (that would be Tuesday, November 10th, if you’re keeping track) and try to gather my wits and set down a few thoughts that have some semblance of order.

Every year, on my birthday, since as long as I can remember, I have the overwhelming compulsion to get all reflective and write something profound, some gorgeous and overwrought statement about myself and my life and the meaning of it all. This year is, in that respect, no different than all the previous years.

In all other respects, however, this year has been very different. It’s been quite a son of a bitch.

The last few weeks alone have been, well, I don’t have the right word that will adequately define the last few weeks. Insanified? Critchy? Whoppadoozical? I don’t know.

It all started about the time we closed escrow on our new house. Which is good and lovely and amazing and yay and all that. However, we haven’t moved yet b/c we wanted to do some work on said house before unloading all our boxes. Electricians were hired, plumbers were called, I took a week off work and painted for 7 straight days. Etcetera.

In the midst of all that, my mom and dad came out to visit from Illinois, so there was a lot of back-and-forth between my house and my sister’s place, 2 hours away.

My grandmother came out with my parents, and ended up falling ill while she was here, so there was a bit of consternation.

Then my in-laws were in town for a little bit, at the same time as my parents. Then Boy had to go out of town for a bit. And I had to go back to work. And LeeLoo developed a giant hematoma overnight on her ear that required surgery and stitches and the cone of shame. As soon as that one was healed, she grew herself another one on the other ear.

So as you can see, it’s been Whoppadoozical.

Now I’m back at work and trying to pack up the apartment as well, because we move on Saturday. So taking the time to write this post feels like a self-indulgent luxury. But necessary, somehow.

Anyway, as I started to say a few paragraphs ago, it all really started before all the visitors and plumbers and painting. It started right before that with a couple of fairly life-shaking events.

And I don’t mean to be a tease, but I’m not going to tell the world wide web about those events right now. I’m not ready to talk about them yet. I have barely had time to figure out what they mean to me. But I likely will refer back to them at some point in the near future.

It’s just important for me to realize, in the context of my impending birthday, that I have never experienced such a year of change and upheaval and alteration. I guess if I go back all the way, it started just over a year ago, the first week of November 2008 when my Nana died, I got laid off from my job, and attended a funeral on my birthday.

Things just haven’t gone back to normal since then. But I have hopes that they will. It will be a new kind of normal, but still…

So I suppose that is my birthday wish this year. A return to normal. Some semblance of peace. Me and Boy and dog and fog and a little bit of quiet. That’s all I ask for.

And, let’s be honest, a few un-normal things like a new adventure across the sea wouldn’t be out of the question, either. Don’t want to get too boring in my old age, after all…

-Lo, in need of new words and more time to write them.

Little Sister

Mood: Dogged | Drinking: Drinks

mother_of_god

My sister’s birthday is this weekend, so I thought it was an excellent time to post a poem I wrote about her.

The poem was featured in a small anthology published last fall called Remembering Faces. The theme of the book is poetry by women about women who have made an impact in their lives.

My woman of choice was my sister…

Little Sister

I broke mom and dad
in with a blazing trail
of beers, boyfriends
and broken curfews
so you didn’t have to wait
’til 18 to get your first kiss.

On your first day of school
you didn’t go as yourself
but as my little sister,
second Witmer.
Teachers thought they knew
what to expect.

In the shadow cast
by my relentless claim
to some sort of significance
you quietly carved out the shape
of your own existence.

All our lives
you’ve come in second
in everything but this:

I push open the door
to the white room
in which you labor,
a stranger to me,
flushed and new.

Your smile speaks a language
I have not yet learned,
heavy with the rhythm
of wet mystery
and expectation.

When they bring him to you
all wailing and warm
you beam like the mother of God,
stretch out your arms
for the first time
and without any effort
surpass me.

*****

— Happy Birthday, Beanhead! —

-Lo, big sister.

Passage

Mood: Un-birthday | Drinking: Warm Dr. Pepper

casket

Today, my birthday, was also my grandmother’s funeral.

I was asked to do a reading during the service, and I read two poems, one that I wrote last Tuesday, the day after she died, and one that my writin’ group friends, Melissa & Kathy recommended. I’d like to share them both with you…

The End

I hear the sirens
from the end of the driveway
winding up Meheula
riding to the rescue.

It has already been three minutes,
three minutes and a lifetime.

On the floor inside the house
daughter cradles unseeing mother
rocking,
waiting.

The end comes
sooner than you want it to
and no matter how much you prepare
you’re never really ready.

Today in the dappled green park
birds flocked
to wheelchair and stroller
as side by side,
grandson and great
grandmother
flung crumbs to waiting beaks
and flirted.

Her last day was lived in the sun
lit up with laughter,
encircled by love
high above aquamarine waves.

It has been four minutes,
four minutes and 85 years.
The sirens spin closer now.
There’s no more time
to say goodbye.

***

Remember
by Christina Rosetti

Remember me when I am gone away,
gone far away into the silent land;
when you can no more hold me by the hand,
nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
you tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
it will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
and afterwards remember, do not grieve:
for if the darkness and corruption leave
a vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
better by far you should forget and smile
than that you should remember and be sad.

-Lo, in remembrance of Mary Ellen.

Hi, Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go…

Mood: Nose to the Grindstone
Drinking: Watery Tea

The weekend was exactly what I needed. A nap, a stroll with the Loo, a bit of bowling with the boys, a bowl of chili with some friends, and I’m back!

This week promises to be busy and then some. K and I moved our Chapter Two review to the weekdays, so that’s coming up. I have a never-ending list of writing projects to complete, all with various looming due dates. And then there’s the Poppy Jasper Film Festival this weekend, featuring heaping spoonfuls of “art in 30 minutes or less.”

If you live in the Bay Area, check out the Film Screening Schedule and stop by Morgan Hill to check out some short films. Our cinepoem project, “The Way She Walks”, will be screening on Friday, November 10, at 5 p.m. and Saturday, November 11 at 7 and 11 p.m. Michelle and I will be there on Saturday for both showings, doing some question and answer stuff. We’re skipping the Friday screening, though, because November 10 is the day everybody gets to celebrate me with cake and candles and assorted pointy hats.

We’ll be at the film festival on Sunday, as well, to pick up our “Best Female Filmmaker” Award. Good stuff, that is.

So I’d best quit writing about it and get to work. Happy Monday to you, Internet.

-Lo, who, as a rule, is not on friendly terms with Monday, but will sometimes make an exception.

Cake is overrated. Unless it’s a cake made of cheese.

Mood: Older and supposedly wiser
Drinking: Plain Diet Coke. No Vanilla. Grrrr!

I must say, as birthdays go, yesterday’s was a fine specimen. It was foggy and rain-spattered with just the right amount of gloom. Which makes it more fun to get long-distance birthday wishes from friends and family and huddle with your co-workers over gourmet cheeseburgers and skip out to the theatre for a middle-of-the-week matinee with a friend.

And that’s just what I did. S and I took our fabulous selves to the theater for some supposedly scary viewing. (Ju-On, my ass!) We may have squealed a little and spit popcorn seeds but mostly we entertained ourselves by making the “ghost noise” at random and inappropriate intervals. It won’t make any sense if you haven’t wasted your cash on said movie, but the evil blue dead chick makes a noise like this right before she rises up and smites you with her bloody eyeball: “Waaaaaaaaaaaa-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-oh.” There’s some strange inhuman clicking in there too. If you gurgle a little at the back of your throat, you can get the ghost noise just about right and make random passersby think you’re having some sort of melodramatic seizure. Fun times.

When I got home (still making the ghost noise), Boy had laid out a fabulous feast of homemade goodness, including a raspberry cheesecake. You couldn’t ask for a better birthday dinner. Well, you could, but you wouldn’t get one.

So now I’m back into the non-birthday routine on an even gloomier day and not feeling one stitch older. It will probably catch up with me in a few months. Sneak up behind me and plant a gray hair or something. Because that’s how mortality is…it’s a sneaky, spiteful little bitch.

Next up, a fabulous birthday beach bonfire. Don’t you wish you lived in California?

-Lo, who may have heard a drainpipe make that ghost noise this morning.

Headache, Heartache, Hairballs

Mood: Crabalicious
Drinking: Water of Doom

Did you know that after a cat hacks up a big hefty hairball, it just eats it right up again? Mmmm, delicious soggy hair! I learned this from my friend and neighbor J just this weekend. I’m sure there is an analogy somewhere in the soggy messy to our everlasting arse of a world leader and how our country just happily swallowed a big load of sh*%, but I’m just too crabby to go there. TOO CRABBY!

It’s a gloomy Tuesday and it is creeping along on very slow, wobbly spiderlegs. I have two things to look forward to today: my weekly lunch with my darling S and going home tonight to boy and dog. Happy, happy thoughts. Keeping the crabby at bay.

Tomorrow is my birthday. For those of you who didn’t know, don’t send anything. It’s ok. I don’t need the celebratory cake anymore. Just morning wake-up calls from Mom and Sister and the annual tear-jerker card from Dad and a fabulous home-made dinner from Boy. That will be enough. Okay, and a beach bonfire party from all my west coast friends. And some lavish presents. And general flattery and pandering. FINE, I admit to being a total birthday whore. Me, me, me! Happy Birthday to Me! I hope I’m still this excited when I’m turning eighty-three.

Before last week’s Black Tuesday, my friend C and I took an impromptu road trip to the land of blondes and boobs to see my Sister. Much fun was had, most of which is none of the internet’s business, but I must mention that my Sister has the Most Fabulous Bathtub in the Entire World. So fabulous, in fact, that when you take a bubble bath, only the tips of your toes and your nose stick out. It’s amazing. I wanted to rip it from the wall, put it in my pocket and bring it home. It’s going to be a tradition…everytime I visit my Sister from now on, I’ll greet her at the door with “When can I take a bath?” Uh-huh.

Hey, remember that fabulous new project that I made some mysterious mention of sometime ago? Well, it’s in the works. My friends M and C are taking me “location scouting” this weekend. It sounds so official. Maybe we’ll even carry binoculars and wear funny hats. There will most definitely be some official-looking note-taking. And maybe I can convince M to make the little rectangle with thumbs and forefingers so she looks all Hollywood. Maybe.

In the meantime, I’m also nagging my WebMaster to make it easy for me to show photos in this space. Because me and the LeeLer dressed up for Halloween and the results just must be seen.

Alright. Must go hunt down magic pills for headache. I’ll talk to you when I’m older.

-Lo, who really prefers that you don’t sing the birthday song. (Just bring presents.)