Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It took so long to bake it, and I'll never have that recipe again*

Tomorrow afternoon two 16-year-old Japanese high school girls will be arriving at our home. They will be staying with us for 3 weeks, as part of a "sister cities" exchange program.

This will be the fourth summer we have participated in the program, but I haven't really been myself and have done less planning for their arrival.

I'm tapped out of recipe ideas and so I ask you, oh wise Internets - what should I feed my exchange students?

I want recipes that aren't too hard and are "typical North American dinners".

So far on my list I have:
1. Spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread
2. Hot dog and hamburgers on the grill with cole slaw
3. Carnitas (recipe courtesy of E. at Ordinary Time)

Hit me with idea, please?


*Donna Summer, Macarthur Park - a song I cannot hear without thinking of a night in Osaka in September of 1996, when my boss, a woman named Alison who I think was a native of Chicago, took all of us ESL teachers out for a night of karoke singing. As I recall, I struggled through an embarrassing rendition of Copa Cabana with three other teachers. Then Alison stood up to sing and knocked us all over with an incredible singing voice as she burst into a trio of Donna Summer hits...good times, good times.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We can begin again, shed our skin, let the sun shine in...At the edge of the ocean we can start over again*

Some schools of thought tell us that there are five stages of grief - Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

A lesser known theory tells us there are only three stages - Numbness, Disorganization and Reorganization.

The second theory feels more recognizable to me, and I think I am bouncing back and forth between numbness and disorganization.

When I say, "My uncle died".... people who don't understand my situation don't understand my grief.

Probably, most people only see their uncles at Christmas and Easter...Sure, they are sad. But it's not a life alterating sadness.

Probably they didn't work with their uncle every day for seven years. Probably they didn't learn how to be a lawyer (or a plumber, or a doctor or a carpenter) from their uncle. Probably they didn't have lunch with their uncle every other Sunday for decades.

I am mourning the loss of a man who was such a huge part of my life.

This is a much more depressing intro than I meant it to be.

At the beginning of the year, I started trying to lose weight, and I did pretty well, losing 10 lbs.

Except that, in my sadness, frustration, (anger, denial) - I have gained back 9 of those 10 lbs.

And it's time to begin again. Or to try to begin again. Or to try to strive for either acceptance or re-organization.

This grief has enveloped me with a very literal weight around my neck (er, abdomen).

I'm going to lose it.

I've spent the last five years worrying that J~ would die.

And then, J~ died.

All of the time I spent worrying, all of the anxiety that wracked my body and soul - did nothing to stave off the worst case scenario. All of the worrying in the world did not prevent the end outcome that I was so very worried about.

Worry and anxiety does not give me an iota of control over vicious raging cancers or out of control drivers.

I am going to let go of this anxiety, and I'm going to let go of this weight, I'm going to grieve J~ until the grief is fully realized, and then I'm going to find my way towards acceptance, or re-organization.


* Ivy, Edge of the Ocean

Monday, July 05, 2010

Someone dug a hole six long feet in the ground, I said good-bye to you and I threw my roses down*

My house smells like dead flowers.

I'm not sure what to do with them and I'm having trouble bringing myself to throw them away.

The roses...the roses I pulled apart and the petals are drying in a box, someday destined to become potpourri.

But the rest of them...the daffodils and snapdragons and daisies...I think Husband is quietly putting them in the compost when I'm not looking.

I was also not looking when Husband came downtown to meet me for lunch and quietly took the pictures out of J~'s office (at my aunt's request, of course. She wanted them. I couldn't bring myself to do it.)

Life goes on. I go to court. I meet with clients, some of them J's clients, some of them my own.

We invited friends over for our annual July 3rd bash. Friends came, we ate and we drank and we swam and we watched the fireworks from the comfort of our front yard.

I laughed. I laughed quite a bit during the party. I embraced having some of most favorite people around me for an entire day and into the night. It was a lovely respite.

Tomorrow it will have been two weeks since J's death and today I am gloomy and melancholy and full of anxiety.

I'm not sure how long the grief goes on. I wanted this day - this day to be lazy and do nothing, but I'm not sure the empty day is good for me.


*Patty Griffin, Long Ride Home

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