Monday, August 21, 2017

Line of Totality

Got our glasses.

Got our outdoor chairs all wiped off and in formation.

Got the makings of mimosas, lattes, and sweet treats.

We are ready to gather and watch the solar eclipse, this morning. We are not along the line of totality, but we are close enough. Close enough that we couldn't possibly be bothered to drive, camp, be with the throngs a few hours away, that will be. Over a million tourists are expected in Oregon today. No, thanks, we will be in our backyard, quite happy with near totality.

I have a cousin getting married. She's actually more like a niece. She wants us to provide her with advice for marriage and relationships. When we come to her bridal shower, we will bring a favorite recipe, and this advice.

I am nearly obsessed these days with the concept of long-term marriage, and a book lies within me on the subject. I am fascinated, intrigued, confused, inspired, in awe, in solidarity, in a state of wonder that anyone gets married, and stays married for 30, 40, 50 or more years.

A miracle? Were they lucky? Tenacious? Blessed? Stubborn? Afraid? Brave? All of the above?

These are the questions that run through my mind.

I've been taking notes and gathering them into one place so I can compose just what it is I want to say to my cousin/niece. I asked my husband of 25 years, "What advice do you have for a couple just getting married?"

"Don't be a dick. Don't be a pussy" he said, the words sliding off his tongue as though he'd been preparing for my question.

Could it be as simple as that?

He is an over-simplifier, a black-and-white thinker, a put-it-in-this-box-or-that-one-but-never-a-third type of guy.

Grey might be my favorite color.

I strive to find and walk the middle path. When I get in my car and it's either too hot or too cold, I get it cooler or warmer, find the place I'm comfortable, and then dial it up or down - gradually. My husband turns it to full-blast hot or cold and then off.

Marriage lies along the line of totality. Through the course of a long-term marriage, we eclipse each other, block out the other's light, move into darkness, lightness, sometimes letting the other shine, sometimes making it impossible. That movement, that dance, that back-and-forth between light and dark is where the lessons lie, and ultimately, the love.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


My son has held a huge fascination for the ice cream truck, for as long as I can remember. Seven years? Ten? Longer? “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” “The Entertainer,” “Little Brown Jug,” “Turkey in the Straw,” get hummed, sung, pulled up over and over on YouTube, and played on the piano. Right hand plays the tune perfectly; left hand bangs the bass clef keys sometimes making a harmonious combination, mostly not. Right foot planted on the right pedal, the sustain pedal, also known as the damper, or the loud pedal. The sustain pedal lets all the notes on the piano resonate after you lift your fingers from the keys, forcing the notes to echo and overlap.

Much of our summer days are spent in anticipation of the ice cream truck, When might it show up? What will my son choose? Do I want one, too? Which one? If I hear the truck before he does, I throw on shoes and run wildly into the street to find it, wave it down, and beg the driver to come to our house. If he hears it before me, it’s too late: there isn’t enough time for him to come find me, tell me, and have me track it down before it takes a different, torturous alternative route. As whichever song plays in the distance, he asks me the impossible: Will it come back to our house? When? Where is it now?

I would love to have the answers to these, and other of life’s big questions. I don’t. I can only guess. What I have come to understand is that guessing doesn’t help ease the anxiety around the questions - it may for a second, until the guess proves inaccurate. It appeases only temporarily, and then the unease of uncertainty, bobs right back up to the surface.

Trying to answer the unanswerable, is to keep your foot on the sustain pedal, it forces the notes of anxiety to echo and overlap.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Heat Wave

The instrument in my car reads the outdoor temperature as 73. It read it when it was 53. It read it when it was 93. It will probably read it when it hits 103. It has been dead-on reliable for the three years I've had the car, but now, during our current heat wave, it's off.

No accidents?

Could it be the Universe telling me, Who cares?

Or how about, It's only as hot as you think it is.

Or maybe this, Pretend it's 73.

I don't do well in the heat. Never have, never will, and am all done apologizing for that. There is a physical response to heat that is undeniable. I can take the cold all day long and twice on Sundays. I actually thrive in it. My husband says it's my Scandinavian heritage.

Who cares?

It's only as hot or as cold as I think it is.

Pretend, pretend, pretend.


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