Portrait of a marriage

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This is gorgeous, rich, lovely mousse. It is made from avocados and organic cocoa. You know. Healthy stuff. 🙂

One of us skims from the top, slivers, slices, layer by layer. And the plastic protector is stretched across the top without risking the loss of any of the tasty, tasty treat.

The other one eats in from the edge and covers the part that is being saved for tomorrow (because it is very rich and luscious) with plastic wrap that is tucked in, blanket-like, around the little mound of delight.

This is us.

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Lalochezia

Lalochezia lal·o·che·zi·a (lāl’ō-kē’zē-ə) n. Emotional relief gained by using indecent or vulgar language.

One day, I was at my parents house and needed to store some kind of food. (I’ve forgotten what.) I had a container and was sitting on the floor going through all the lids that had accumulated in the cabinet trying to find the one that fit. And, as is my habit when I’m doing something that’s frustrating me, I was swearing to myself. A kind of sotto voce “shit, damn, hell, fuck, hell, shit, damn, damn, damn, shit fuck, hell…”

My father came in the kitchen, heard me and started laughing. I said, “What? It’s funny that I’m sitting on the floor look for a lid for this damn bowl?”

He said “No. I came in your room one time when you were about 4 years old and you were looking something in your toy box. And you were talking to yourself saying ‘shoot, durn, shoot, durn, heck, shoot, heck.’ It’s funny how somethings don’t change even though the language is more mature.”


I work in a medical lab and our work space is called a bench (even though it is a long table). And the benches in my department are about 3 or 4 feet apart. It is possible to be facing someone else while you are minding your own business doing your own work in your own space. Also, there are days that are a little stressful and my lalochezia kicks in to help me deal with it.

One day, my manager called me in to tell me that another employee had complained about my language. I asserted that I had not been swearing at my coworker. I had simply been doing my work and talking to myself as I did. “Also,” I said, “if she has never heard those words, how does she know what they mean? And if she does know what they mean, clearly she has heard them before and I haven’t been giving her an accidental education.” I thought about it a minute and said “And another thing. If we were that close to each other that she could hear me, why did she need to come complain to you? Why didn’t she just day ‘Kitty! Shut up! You’re bugging me.’? I probably would have.”

Sometimes, I add an extra “fuck” to my conversations at work when she’s around, now.

Artichokes

When I was 14 or 15, a frequent habit in my family was to go to church on Sunday and then have our big meal, usually in the dining room instead or the breakfast nook off the kitchen. It wasn’t always a huge feast that my mother had spent hours over, just the biggest meal that was getting fixed that day. It could very well be chicken salad and pimento cheese with choices of bread or crackers and some chips.

But, one Sunday when we came home, she got stirring around in the kitchen and shooed me out when I came to help. I didn’t argue. I didn’t get let off that hook very often.

After a while she called us into the dining room, where there was nothing on the table except napkins, some silverware and glasses of tea. She was clearly pleased without herself as she told us to sit down and whisked into the kitchen.

She came back with salad plates holding steamed artichokes. And she brought little dishes of melted lemon butter.

We were baffled. She sat down and showed us how to gently pull the leaves off and scrape the tasty bits off with our teeth. My sisters and I had a blast dipping in the butter. My parents seemed to think it was fun to enjoy their artichokes and to watch us having a big time. Eventually, we got down to the choke. She showed us how to scrape off the fuzzy part and cut the heart into bite sized pieces to eat the best of the artichoke.

When we had all finished, she whisked the plates and artichoke debris off the table and banged around in the kitchen for a couple of minutes. Then she brought in bowls of Campbell’s soup and a plate of peanut butter and honey or jelly sandwiches (which was a fairly usual lunch for us).

I looked at my soup and said,”I’m not complaining about the meal. Soup and sandwiches is great. But, it’s kind of anticlimactic after the artichokes.”

She almost looked sheepish and said, “I rarely see fresh artichokes at the grocery and when I do they usually only have 2 or 3. The other day they had 5! One for each of us. So, I got ’em. And if you ever find yourselves faced with one, you’ll know what to do with it.”

So, that’s my mother.

Cake!

This photo was taken to mark my second birthday. My father had turned 24 the previous April and there was chocolate cake.

little kitty

I have always loved chocolate cake. And I decided that I wanted a piece of that birthday cake. So, I pushed a chair over to the kitchen counter and cut myself a slice.

I don’t remember where I got the knife. What I remember is standing on that chair eating the slice of cake that I was holding in my left hand and holding the knife with my right hand. My mother walked passed the kitchen door and didn’t register me standing there for a second. I suspect that the horrified expression on her face when she backed up to look in the kitchen is what welded it to my mind. As I recall, she swooped in to pick me up and relieve me of the knife while I diligently chomped away.

About 50 years later, she asserted that children have no memories of any time before they are 3. I asked her how old I was when that happened. She said, “You couldn’t possibly remember that. You were only about a year and a half old!” I said, “You never told me that story in my life. I even remember the dress I was wearing. It was a baby blue dress you had smocked.”

Her jaw dropped. She said,”I guess you do remember.”

My dad died

I believe in the Big Bang and I believe it is the breath of God and it is God. Exhale creation, inhale entropy. And it is all Now. That part of the Now that forms into Ingram is part of Us before we are born and part of Us when we separate out of the moment we inhabit as individual particles and return to the greatness of All. And the part of Creation that was his life is still happening.

I am still laughing with my grandmother. I am still gossiping with my dad. I am still holding my infant son and I am still fucking up all they ways that I did that, too. And my future is unknown to me, but it is already happening, too. Not as it is supposed to happen, simply as it does happen.

So, that part of the liturgy that talks about “as it was and is and evermore shall be” really works for me. My dad is with me forever, I just can’t hold his hand any more.  The particle of Now that is “me” misses that and cries sometime.

I do not believe that the Breath and God are separate.  I believe Singularity.

House work

A friend on Ello posted about getting ready for a familial visit and, as happens, it put me in mind of a couple of shifts in my brain about household maintenance.

Once upon a time, when I was a young lass with no washing machine, a friend offered to let me do my laundry at his house. I was delighted. As I was trying to fold the fitted sheet and bitching, he said, “Is that what you want to be able to look back on at the end of your life? That you could fold a fitted sheet?”

I folded it into something that resembled a square and put it in the laundry basket. I have never worried about it since. As long as it will go in the place I need to store it, I just don’t care.

Another time, when I was grown, I was visiting my parents. Both my sisters and their families were there, too. I don’t remember how we got on the topic. At the time, I had a house keeper come every couple of weeks to help keep the big stuff done. And if my parents were coming to see me, I made sure that it was the weekend after the cleaner had been in. (I’m not stupid.) And she called me out on that. I laughed because I didn’t care. But, then she made the comment that none of her daughters were very good house keepers. And my younger sister’s jaw dropped. She thought she had managed to live up to our mother’s expectations.

My parents live in a retirement community and have white furniture, white carpet and no appliances on the counter top in the kitchen because they don’t cook. They have a cleaner come in every Wednesday. To an apartment that never, ever is dirty.

I don’t even want to live up to her expectations. Having had a spotless house is not what I want to look back on.

I think there are still bits of espresso on my kitchen ceiling from an explosion when a friend was visiting. I have had parties that took up my whole back yard. I have slept in my hammock under the stars. We had a scotch and waffle party, one time. My son helped me build a labyrinth in my back yard and that labyrinth lured Chuck into my life. I have tried beekeeping, but they don’t can’t thrive in our neighborhood. This yard blooms almost all year ’round. This house has been full of laughter and tears and spilled wine and hugs and shouts and good food and love.

And I don’t care if it isn’t clean enough to suit someone who doesn’t live in it.

Changing my mind, some more

I finally figured out a thing.

My co-worker, Nick, suggested that I treat myself to the piece of cake I have been longing for when I get down to the weight I wish to maintain. That kind of thinking is part of how I got in this shape and it has to change or I’ll be right back here in a couple of years.

I have been aware that there are 2 fallacies I need to give up.

First, food has to stop being a reward. Food is necessary and food is tasty. Enjoying the tasty part is OK. Eating too much, i.e. more than I actually need in order to function in a healthy way, is not.

Second, denying myself food I want leads to overeating that food when I finally allow me to have it again.

I allowed myself that cake Monday night. I simply calculated it into my daily calories. Yesterday, I had a cappuccino and a pecan bar, also calculated into my daily calories.

I can do this.

Today, I finally figured out how to reward myself in a healthy way.

Spa.

When I lose 4 more pounds, I will be at the maximum weight my insurance company wants me to be. That day, I get a pedicure. Every time I get to a 5 or a 0 after that, I get to go again. When I get to my personal desired weight, I’m going to have a 60 minute massage. With an actual massage therapist not just the hydromassage bed at the gym or the chair thing on my sofa.

really love having someone else give me a pedicure. This is going to be an effective shift in my head space.