The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Cyber Chase Begins August 31, 2012

Filed under: An Ongoing Journal...,Mommy Mind — wingmother @ 11:49 pm
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I’m too tired to start this post. Really. Not sure I’ll make it. Why am I pooped? Been typing and uploading and answering and thinking and creating my ridiculously un-me profiles on a handful of dating sites – the ones that specialize in hooking up single parents with each other. Now I’m on the verge of regret. Oh just why did I? It can’t hurt, I know. And not a thing will change if I don’t want it to. I would simply like to go out on just one fucking date with a guy who has the ‘oomph’ to match mine. Ya know? There are many things about Fareed that are straight-out fucked up, but there’s one thing he’s got going for him – and it still works with me – is that he’s fully loaded. He’s got oompf. Yeah, he’s full of some other crap too. Mostly bullshit, but even so, it’s entertaining bullshit. He’s ever the charmer. And he’s always fully convinced about whatever it is he’s preaching at the time. And I like a man with conviction. But just maybe not as much conviction as my ex. The kind of conviction that tells his lover that his wife’s “not the jealous type” as he prepares to plant his seed in her garden. That’s a bit too much oomph. Ya think?

So while I don’t necessarily want a super-oomphie mate for a date, I’d still like a fellow who meets me energy-wise. Someone who can be comfortably irreverent. Someone who verges slightly on the edge of asshole (girls, there’s no way around it, assholes are attractive), but who is too insecure or too kind deep-down to ever be truly mean. Just a bit of edge is all I’d like. Sarcasm works well. Just not too much. Not the mean kind – but the playful stuff. You know. So that’s the profile in a nutshell. And if the guy is handy – woo! And if he knows the birds by their songs… mmm. And… if he puts his hand on the small of my back as he ushers me through a door…. well. Nuff said.

Who am I fooling, I wonder. I’m the largest I’ve ever been in a non-pregnant state. I don’t feel good about the way I look these days. Certainly don’t feel very sexy. But at the same time, I don’t feel horrible. Just not the way I remember feeling about my body for the past two decades. And I suppose if I put my back into it and committed to riding up and down these ghastly difficult hills out here on my bike (as I did last week and thought I would simply die on the way back) I might be able to fight my way back to that body. But since I still can’t get my fight back on, I don’t see it happening, and I need to just settle into some sort of comfort with the fleshy package I got right now. Guess that’s in part why I sought out the single parent sites. Those men gotta be a little too busy helping with homework and shuttling the kids to soccer to be wrestling their middle-aged bodies back into thirty-something submission. I figure it’s gotta be somewhat of a level playing field. Kind of.

I’ve done what I can. I’ve dropped a lone glove on the ground behind me. The clever and driven suitor will find his way back to me with my lost article, and I’ll tell by the twinkle in his eye that this whole dating thing just might be worth another try…

 

Resuming the Resume August 30, 2012

Have an informal audition of sorts tomorrow at Elihu’s school. They need another accompanist for the Eurythmy classes. It actually sounds right up my alley. Music, kids, some improvisation, a sense of play about the task at hand… but I need to remember it is a job, and I have to nail some things just so. Gotta listen, gotta be flexible and need to wait on instruction. Lots of stops and starts to the job. It’s tricky to get twenty little bodies all to move in a certain way. And the music keeps it all goin. Never done anything quite like this with little ones, and truthfully I’m just a bit nervous that I won’t be a fit. But I’m turning out to be a bit more excited about it than I realized at first. It sounds like fun. Is that ok that a job appeals primarily because it sounds like ‘fun‘? Yes, I think so. At least here, at Waldorf, it’s certainly an environment that would welcome that kind of thinking.

Then of course, I might be just a little jacked about it because I just threw a rather impromtu resume together and I got a kick out of seeing it all on paper. Well then. Seems I’d forgotten how impressive my life can appear in list form. We all know the resume game – and yes, somehow it always reads better and sounds more impressive than it usually was in real life, but as I read my list of jobs through the years and think back on them, I can say with some pride that they’re represented truthfully. And they were all fun, challenging, and each one in its own way helped to create the person I’ve become today. Maybe I pushed the envelope a bit when I added some of my interests, including flying, homesteading and being a good mother. Does anyone really care? Maybe it sounds a little pretentious. But it’s the truth. And these days, that’s how I want to represent myself. The days of super-slick strategizing are behind me.

But hopefully, more working days lay yet ahead and may resume again soon…

 

One More Goodbye

Filed under: An Ongoing Journal... — wingmother @ 12:57 am
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The husband of an old friend died last night. It had been years maybe since we’d talked in person, but she’d showed her love and support often on Facebook in response to my blog posts. I didn’t usually respond with much more than a thumbs up – a virtual nod of the head, an invisible wink of recognition across the vast space in between us. I knew she was going through a truly difficult time, and because of it I often felt guilty when I’d complain about my own situation in my posts. My life these days was so much easier than hers. She had a deep and frightening heartbreak looming on her horizon; her husband had been battling cancer for the past year. He was now in hospice. In spite of her upbeat demeanor, she knew what was coming next. I don’t know how they dealt with it – head on or voices hushed – but she was being stronger and more publicly stoic than I myself could have been. And in spite of all this, she was still witnessing the joy in the little things around her; only days ago she paid tribute to a spider web made in her bicycle wheel! Every time I’d see her name I’d say a small prayer for the family. I watched from afar. Nothing I could do. I couldn’t read what was going on inside; her mood seemed much the same as it had been the past year – hopeful, grateful, cautious. She’d done so much to cheer me through this nightmarish tour of divorce, I really felt I wanted to offer my friendship now. I didn’t want to email – I wanted to call. The old fashioned way. Her number was unlisted, so as I made my way through old boxes of date books and ancient to-do lists in my office, I was on the lookout for her number. I knew it was there somewhere, but I couldn’t find it.

Until tonight. Better late than never. The number looked familiar, and I dailed it. I got a recording. It told me the number no longer existed. Damn it. That was it. Nothing more to do. I just can’t email her right now, that just seems lame. And anyway, I really have no idea what kind of a place she’s in. Does she want to talk? Or just stay with family? Or take a pill and sleep a deep, forgetting slumber? God, I don’t know. I’m going to let it be. And just send her and the girls my love. Her husband? I myself believe he’s just fine. In fact, I’m relieved for him. It’s just the ones left behind I hurt for. What a heartbreaking planet this is.

It doesn’t matter how damned prepared you are – how well you know it intellectually that your dear one is dying – when that moment actually comes, it has got to turn your world upside down. I once experienced the death of a good friend, and it was like the breath had been sucked out of me. I walked around like a zombie for months. And he was a friend – he was not a partner, a spouse. I don’t know how that feels. I can’t imagine.

I pray that the girls can all find sleep tonight. I pray that the love they shared as a family helps sustain them during the difficult months to come. And dear Dennis, I’m so glad you don’t hurt anymore. Wish I’d known you better, but what I did know of you was kind and loving. You’ve been loved by friends and family – and that includes, of course, all of your beloved animals. I’ll bet that right now there are a whole bunch of furry creatures who are really happy to see you again!

Enjoy your peace. Goodbye for now…

 

Good Night Vonski August 28, 2012

Filed under: An Ongoing Journal... — wingmother @ 11:25 pm
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A thousand miles away tonight, but my heart is there on the south side of Chicago as Von’s friends and family gather to say goodbye. My son and his father were there too, which made me very glad. My heart’s a little heavy as I turn in tonight. It is truly the end of an era. Oh dearest Von, we’ll miss you so.

 

Opinions, Please… August 26, 2012

Hookay. Calmed down a bit since the last post. Which, by the way, was widely read and responded to quite enthusiastically. (Why should readership have peaked so dramatically? I always notice a direct correlation between the generous use of expletives and increased readership. But since folks don’t know the juicy words will be there until they’re actually reading it – I don’t see how that could factor in. But it seems to. Maybe y’all are just forwarding the ‘good stuff’ to your friends. ?) And thanks, for all the help and ideas. All of it is under consideration and is being thoroughly studied by my R&D department. It’s taking quite a bit of time to review it all, as naturally there’s a lot of material to read and digest. Once again I’m reminded of how big a world this is. Depending on my mood that’s either really bad news (it’s too intimidating) or it’s good news (there’s always room for one more success!). I’m kinda walking the line in between today. I’ll feel a surge of hope, but then doubt hits me and I feel like lying down for a really long time.

For example, here’s something that I just experienced a few minutes ago: I was checking in with one of my favorite writers, columnist for USA Today Craig Wilson (and former resident of Saratoga Springs, New York where I myself now live), catching up on a few of his past articles, and then decided to Google the stats for his daily audience. Daily planet-wide readership for the rag is a little better than 3 million copies a day. ! Seriously?! That’s crazy. And I got all excited the other day because my hits had grown from 1000 to 12,000 in just a few months, and my world map now had over 40 countries. What-ever. ! I must also remind myself that that number reflects only visits – not actual readers. Also, as someone pointed out this summer much to my chagrin, many of those hits – including those from abroad that get my heart beating faster – may well be accidental. Folks who may be searching for one thing and finding me instead. Oh well.

Undaunted, I carry on and make a plan. I will write to those folks whose writing I enjoy, and I will enclose a bit of mine. Maybe even throw in a CD. Or a rock. Something that might make my correspondence stand out. My first thought was to write Craig. His writing is gentle, easy – just cynical enough. No wonder he’s the choice for USA Today. His writing doesn’t offend, and it usually makes you feel good. I read his only book, a collection of essays entitled “It’s the Little Things” and, like many readers do, by the time I’d finished the book I felt like I knew him. It’s so easy to feel like that with the author of a memoir. I remember shortly after discovering Michael Perry last year (he has a new just-released book called “Visiting Tom” – check YouTube for the lovely promo video) I was fairly in love with the poor fellow. He’s a farmer, a writer, a musician, a parent. Hey! So am I!! I laughed out loud more than a few times as I read through his stories – and I guess I can attribute much of my warmth towards him to a deep gratitude for stirring me out of my laughter-free solitude. I’d felt so damn lonely these past few years out here in the country, and Mike made me feel so much less alone. I immediately got online and began to check out his site. His videos, his music, interviews. All of it. I got excited – it seemed like he might be able to offer me some help, some direction, some… something. I don’t know what. But I discovered that even this guy, who really isn’t that well-known, and for whom paying the bills is still a source of stress, he had far too many fans to deal with personally. Crap. My heart sank down to my toes when I saw his pleas: there were too many folks for him to respond to personally, that he felt bad about it, but thanked his readers for their support… That was the general gist of it. So I’m not sure about bugging him anymore. And after seeing that Craig has over three million pairs of eyes reading his daily column, I have doubts about writing him too.

Then I think again. Ok. Mike might be busy right now with his book tour and his new release, but he’ll be back in his little Wisconsin farmhouse by winter, and by then he might just have a little bit of time to consider a letter from me. Hm. And Craig, come on – that guy’s got a comfy day job. He’s got his routine, his nice house in a Virginia suburb… why he might even be getting a tad bored these days with all that routine. Who knows? Maybe he’s got the time to help me out. Maybe he might be happy to read some of my stuff. Give me some ideas, write a letter or two of recommendation…

In the ’90s I worked as an accompanist for a handful of comedy groups in Chicago. After so much time watching the actors doing their thing, I got to thinking that it might be something I could do too. Playing in the band in “Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding” I enjoyed acting in a couple of improvised scenes, and from that I got the idea that I might do more. I’d played keyboards and sung on a handful of commercials and thought that on-camera work wouldn’t be much different. But for me, it was. I was just never good with cameras rolling. And it seemed the more auditions I went on, the more nervous and the worse I got. Looking back on it now I realize that if I’d just done more – rode it out, so to speak – I would have improved. I might have caught on. But I didn’t… and well, I didn’t. I really sucked. And my sucking, combined with my need for everyone to like me, that sucked even more.

This writing thing – the idea of writing other writers for help and guidance – it’s bringing up those queasy feelings I had at commercial auditions all those years ago. It makes me ill, and I just don’t like it. I know it’s different. I’m older, I have nothing to lose, and no matter how things turn out I still have my family, my chickens and my view of the mountains. So I’ll continue. I’ll get a plan, identify some goals, write some letters. But what material to include?

I’ve been going through the 200+ posts of the past year and a half trying to pull out a few favorites. But so far, I just can’t seem to choose. Friends, do you have any favorite posts? Even if you don’t remember the title of it, might you remember the gist of it? Was there a post or two you remember liking more than the others? I could really use some input. As usual, I’m easy to find; my email address is on the ‘about’ page here as many have already discovered, and of course, there’s always Facebook.

So please, if you have any ideas for me – send em! I can’t thank you enough for your help, for your company and your friendship. I really value your opinions, so please be forthcoming with them. I can take it. ! (I think.)

 

A Darkening Upon Me August 25, 2012

Filed under: An Ongoing Journal... — wingmother @ 12:57 am
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Damn it. I’m just not cynical enough, I know it. I should be more ironic too. And slick. Yes, I should be hipper, slicker. Not sure, but I think so. And I’m not really funny. Endearing, yeah, sometimes, and probably amusing too, for a second maybe, but not laugh-out-loud funny. And I haven’t introduced my readers to any quirky, ornery curmudgeons from my rural neighborhood, no insane girlfriends have moved in and talked me into starting a cupcake business for the racing market of Saratoga, I haven’t confessed any radical sexcapades from my years as a rock goddess on the road, I don’t have an exotic pet that I carry around with me (although I did once have a parrot whom I carried to the market in a poodle bag until he chewed up all the woodwork in my kitchen and ended up back with the breeder) and I’m not recovering from an addiction. Well, kind of. I do still kinda want a cigarette every now and then. But naw. No one cares. That’s not a real jones. So. What do I got?

Well, I got a goose named Maximus who tries to hump me when I let him share the kiddie pool with me. He gets pretty excited sometimes, and I have to grab him by the neck and talk him down. So, well, there’s that. It’s funny I guess, but I haven’t been clever enough to weave it into a narrative yet. So it’s a missed opportunity, I suppose. I begin to wonder, are there any opportunities here at all? I mean, real gems, keepers? Is there any one thing in my entire blog worthy of an editorial staff – or more accurately an unpaid intern – anything that shows promise in its infant form? Perhaps I’m too dark; perhaps the gems are simply strewn everywhere and I’m tromping on them, unaware of the beautiful works they may yet come to be…

Here, in the mass of posts I’ve made over the past year and a half – here, amongst the some two hundred and forty thousand or so words I’ve assembled – at the very least, I must have created something useable. Something printable. Something worth a professional binding. Maybe? Oh fuck it. I don’t even know where or how to begin. It’s a self-help, educate-yourself-through-YouTube world and I still don’t know how to do it… Get an agent, I gotta get an agent. I know this. I’ve heard this. But seriously, what, am I high?  It’s a flippin huge world with big expectations and lots of rules. Just getting a friggin agent seems as unattainable as my getting into my beloved 1963 Avanti with the Studebaker engine and driving off. Seriously, even if I might have the gumption, I have no fucking clue how to start. Really.

In isolated moments of inspiration and hope I think ‘it can’t be that hard…‘  Then… Fuck it! I’m not gonna get into this mess. Yeah, just fuck it all. What a stupid idea. I’m not a writer. I have no street cred, no history or experience. Geez. I can’t do this. Really. I’m being naive here. Shit, I don’t know. Maybe I don’t know. Maybe I can do this… I gotta calm down here. This is no good. I’ve lost perspective.  I go upstairs, distract myself with a snack, some mindless tv. Gotta checkout for a minute. Go back downstairs to my desk. Sit there. Breathe in, breathe out. Now. Ok. Where was I? Publishing. Yeah. Just how is that supposed to work?  I still have no inspiration.

Man, I’m tired tonight.  But it is my window to work. Gotta make hay… Without my son here I’m free to think on it for another week yet, to even begin to consider a plan…. but then I realize there’s a huge process and a sophisticated industry that I know nothing about behind it all – and I feel stopped. And that’s frustrating. And exhausting. So for now I’m just gonna put it all down for the night, turn off the lights.

And for the next eight hours at least, things really are gonna get dark.

 

Thinkwright August 23, 2012

I think I figured it out. I came up with a word that explains what I do. I would like to call myself a thinkwright. A builder and an expresser of thoughts. First I create them in my mind, then I put them in tangible form. I mull, I muse and I consider things as I go about my day – and in my solitude here there’s plenty of time for that – the ideas percolate to the surface, then I sit in my chair at the end of the day, and I write. (I might also be called a writewright I suppose, but I don’t think it sounds as good. And of course, it might make sense to use thinkwrite as well; it implies the word ‘wright’, yet it represents literally what it is that I do. Hmm. Still mulling this over. A quick google search comes up with very few thinkwrights, so maybe I’m onto something.) Maybe you haven’t felt any reservations about calling me a writer, or a blogger, but I have. I still don’t quite feel like either. Recently, something happened that had me thinking more closely about what it is that I hope to do with my writing. In this world people expect growth, change, progress. So what am I growing towards? What might I hope to do, be or achieve in the process? Never really thought about it before, but these days I’m wondering.

Recently I’ve been toying with the idea of joining an online blogging support community in order to get a better idea of how I might expand my readership or maybe even tweak the look of my blog a bit. It doesn’t cost too too much ($20 a month), but in my world that’s an expense that I really need to justify before I commit to it. So when I get those super-upbeat emails from the director of the program, telling me that she has “seven proven steps to make my blog go viral” I experience some mixed feelings. The first one is from my ego. I think, wow, that might feel pretty good. The fourteen year old girl inside me who still wants validation from everyone really likes that. But then the second, less needy voice appears, and it says wow, think of all that connection going on. Think of all those people sharing the same stories, the same take on things. Think of all that connection – with old friends, with new ones. Maybe even readers connecting with each other. Not sure, but seems possible. I have nothing to sell. I don’t want my readership in the hundreds of thousands for any other reason than to build a sense of friendship and community, of mutual support. When my stories resonate with someone, that means they share some sense of agreement with me. They get what it is I’m expressing, and in so doing, we all share an understanding of sorts. And that’s a good thing.

So when this very peppy blogging guru told me I could go viral – I simply had to be the annoying kid in the room with my arm up. I just couldn’t imagine my blog going viral. Why would it? What would drive this crazy upsurge of activity? I asked her, embedding a challenge in my question, a prideful dare. I was being a bit arrogant, ignorant too maybe, but it seemed like she could take it. And I was pretty sure she could dish it out. Indeed, she was very professional – and kind – and responded. She’d read a post of mine in the past and had commended me on the writing. Yeah, that’s nice, and I’d appreciated it, but what of this viral thing? Might that magic work on me too? She told me that I had too many “I”s, “me”s and “mine”s and that I needed to turn it around and offer my audience some concern for them, using instead “you”s and “yours”. I had to offer my readership a solution for a problem, and I had to make it about them, not me. Hm. Didn’t sound like it applied to me. Decided to let the idea sit for a while. So I went out to work in the garden. And I thought about it. And I came to a conclusion which suits me for now: I’m not a blogger who writes, I’m a writer who blogs. I’m not offering solutions here, just perspectives. Perhaps I’m a memoirist without a publisher. Yeah, that feels more like it.

I don’t have anything to offer except my life and my own take on it all. That’s it. And I apologize if there really are too many “I”s and “me”s in my writing – but hey, that’s kinda what this experiment has been about thus far. And if you weren’t kinda curious or interested, you wouldn’t be reading. And I’m sure you don’t read when it doesn’t appeal. You’re all busy, just stopping by takes time. For that gift of your time alone I’m so very pleased. I really do hope reading these posts gives you some joy, maybe even some sense of connection. That’s why I started this whole thing to begin with – to feel some connection with the outside world. I needed to throw out a lifeline because I felt so very alone. I just needed to get it all out. And for me, it’s worked pretty well. So if the circle grows, great. If not, that’s just fine too.

So I guess that kinda gives away my true colors. I’m no blogger. I’m just one person trying to understand my world. Just one person hoping to connect with fellow residents of this difficult planet. A gal just trying to express herself. A writer of thoughts, a thinkwright.