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BY suzy

10/01 Direct Link
Things are changing. The season is changing, and the leaves with it. I have the kittens in my life, but not brother and sister, as I had thought: sisters. I changed Dennisí name to Audrey and hope she will learn her new name. Iím beginning to pack for the move, coming up in the new year. Iím beginning to tell people Iím moving. They are surprised, happy for me, sorry Iím leaving. There are so many people Iíll miss. Despite the packing and the telling, it doesnít seem real to me, though my nerves and fear are. All too real.
10/02 Direct Link
Boxes, boxes, everywhere. My housekeeping style (if you can call it that) is chaotic at the best of times, and itís beginning to look like the worst of times around here. Why is it that when you clean up, or spring clean, or organize your house, it looks messier than it ever did before? It seems no matter how much stuff I give away or throw away, there are still more piles to sort, more boxes to fill. No matter how many boxes I pack, thereís more to be done. So little done, so much to do. And do again.
10/03 Direct Link
My neighbor has a soirťe. She calls it ďAvant GardenĒ. She has live music in her little front garden, and the artist who lives a couple of doors down from her displays her sculpture. Another projects short films and slides against the side of a house. Music drifts through the cool air. Candles glow among the flowers. Laughter sparkles. My neighbor smiles and gives me a mug of hot spiced cider, laced with rum. I talk to new friends and old as the evening slips into night. Knowing that Iím leaving makes the evening poignant as well as happy. Bittersweet.
10/04 Direct Link
The summer is lingering in long, golden days. The sun still has real warmth to it, and the sky is clear blue. The air has a certain crispness, but if the calendar didnít tell me so, Iíd never believe it was October. Itís an idealized summer, without the humidity, smog, and heat. Temperatures are warm during the day, cool at night; gardens still full of flowers, everything blue and gold like a Renaissance painting. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, indeed. I wonder how long it will last. It seems like a magic spell, one I donít want broken. Yet.
10/05 Direct Link
Whatís that?, she wonders, entering the dark basement. She turns on the light, blinks, looks again. Itís a wing. A disembodied wing. On closer inspection, it appears to be a pigeon wing. Other pigeon parts are scattered throughout the room. The killer cat, of course, is nowhere to be seen, and even if she were, she wouldnít help mop up the mess. Her hands shake as she cleans up the avian remains. She cares more spiritually for birds than cats. Her garden is planted to attract them, and now she feels like she has doomed the very beings she loves.
10/06 Direct Link
Drinking a cup of inky coffee, I review yesterdayís disaster.

Families can be difficult at the best of times, and telling a difficult family member that youíre moving a long way away is never easy. Especially when this person has always been extremely critical of you, yet denies being unkind or negative. ďItís for your own goodĒ is her mantra. As soon as she walks in the door, before the move can even be discussed, she says how appallingly heavy youíve become since she saw you last, a year ago. No hug, no hello.

Maybe itís not far enough away.

10/07 Direct Link
Itís worse seeing someone you love hurt than being hurt yourself. If I could take away the anger and the sadness, I would, my love. If I could reach into the dark past and take it away from there, too, Iíd do that. But I canít help the past or the present. I canít make her see why and how she has hurt him, over and over again. She will never understand. Iím beginning to think she doesnít even care. She didnít express concerns about the move or pleasure in the kittens or say sheíd miss us.

Time to go.

10/08 Direct Link
My neighbor is spending a week in Spain, so Iím taking care of my kittensí mother while sheís away. It seems so funny to leave my two girls running around or curled up together, and return to the house where they were born and see their mother. The mother cat, barely a year old and catwalk-slim, seems so big now that my eyes are used to her babies. I can see the similarities in their coloring and markings, their long, slim legs and swaying walks. Itís so nice to be with her. Thank you for my beautiful kittens, I think.
10/09 Direct Link
I miss Dennis. Even though the same tiny kitten is here, purring away, tiny heart fluttering under the delicate rib cage, the cashmere-soft fur. I guess what I really miss is the idea of a kitten named for the beautiful, wild and lost Dennis Wilson. Something about that kitten reminds me of him. When the kittens were all barely a week old, my neighbor said that kitten had ďa tiger heart with a kitten faceĒ, and so did the original Dennis. So even though I have this kitten, now called Audrey, both Dennis Kitten and Dennis Wilson are forever gone.
10/10 Direct Link
For someone who hates drama as much as I do, I seem to attract a lot of it, especially the melo kind. The past few days have been that accurate clichť, a rollercoaster ride. I canít say Iím a fan of the ride in either the literal or figural sense. The highs! The lows! The anticipation of horror! The momentary lull before it all starts all over again! Too fast! Not fast enough! In both cases, I canít wait to get off, though it seems, in this case, to be easier to escape the real one than the emotional one.
10/11 Direct Link
I finally told my best friend that Iím moving. Sheís very busy, so it was hard to find a time to get together. And this news was too big to tell over the phone. So last night, we had dinner and I told her. She toasted me with white wine, said how happy she was for me, but I could see the sadness in her eyes. It was mirroring my own. Sheís a once in a lifetime friend, and the thought of being 3,000 miles apart is a scary one. When we left, she said, ďIím going home to cry.Ē
10/12 Direct Link
Everything is tinged with bittersweetness now I know my time here is coming to an end. I have an advanced case of advance nostalgia. I even look at the construction site across the street with new eyes, thinking that I wonít be here to see it completed rather than how noisy and annoying itís been for the past few months. I think of how change is creeping slowly but inexorably into the neighborhood, changing it from bohemian to boxy, from character to characterless. I wonder what it will look like a few years from now when Iíve been long gone.
10/13 Direct Link
As I pack the shoes I wonít need until after the move, I wonder how many miles I have walked in each pair. The lavender suede Manolo Blahnik mules I bought second-hand are the most prized, yet the least worn. Between the previous owner and me, the soles are barely scuffed. The old black ankle boots, muddy and worn, tell another story: visiting my sister, taking long walks among the redwoods and on the beach. Yet I keep the mules and toss the boots, thinking I can always get a pair of useful boots, but not another pair of Manolos.
10/14 Direct Link
I realize that my desk doesnít look all that professional, even though itís where I do all my work. The most office-y item is my new-ish iMac, sitting in glory on its iCurve. Itís all downhill from there, though: Swarovski crystal studded mouse; pink Princess phone (not plugged in); a red iPod with, you guessed it, Swarovski crystal studded ear buds (Iím partial to sparkly); digital camera full of kitten photos; my address book, which is literally falling apart but which I wonít throw away because my late father gave it to me. Oh, and a fountain pen. No ink.
10/15 Direct Link
Itís early evening when I take my dog for a walk, but the skies are already darkening. Iím briefly blinded by the headlights of cars (are high beams really necessary on city streets?); orange lights burn outside the building. I can see the slow lnecklace of cars on the freeway, topaz head lights and ruby tail lights. Trains clatter past in both directions, windows lit, the sound nostalgic, reminding me of train trips in England when I was young. More nostalgia when we reach the vacant lot, heavy with goldenrod and dying wildflowers in drying grass, saying farewell to summer.
10/16 Direct Link
When youíre in the storm, itís nearly impossible to think of anything else. Youíre besieged by wind and rain, unnerved by lightning, startled by thunder. All you can think about is finding shelter, getting away from it. You just want relief, the sooner, the better. When the storm is finally over, you can hardly believe it ever happened, or was as bad as you thought it was at the time. But lying there in the calm following the storm, a few clouds of sobs passing by, you know it was, your cheek resting in a puddle of your own tears.
10/17 Direct Link
I create a cozy oasis in the rainy evening. I light the lamps, their warm, yellow glow bathing the room, warming the old brick walls, the worn concrete floors. The skylights are speckled with raindrops, bright against the indigo sky. The radio is on as I start to make dinner, the voices talking about events past and events future, keeping me company. The dog watches me with interest, hoping Iíll make a mistake and drop something sheíll catch. The kittens are absorbed in playing together, rolling perilously near my feet. I sip a glass of a wine my father loved.
10/18 Direct Link
I loved ďGilmore GirlsĒ, but hated the theme song. For one thing, it made no sense Ė both girls were very independent, and neither followed where the other led. And for another, I canít stand Carole King. It may have something to do with my mother playing ďTapestryĒ about 9 million times when I was a kid. Lately, Iíve been enjoying ďWeedsĒ, but skipping past the terrible theme as quickly as I can. The expression ďticky-tackyĒ and the sound of the words grate on my nerves out of all proportion. Why canít they just show the series and actorsí names?
10/19 Direct Link
My dog and I are shuffling happily through the leaves when a man smoking a cigarette approaches and says, ďNice dog. Take $100 for it?Ē It!! And canít he see that Rita is priceless? Rita and I look at him with disdain and I say, ďNoĒ and walk off. I canít imagine that anyone would sell his or her dog to a total stranger for any price, and I canít imagine what this guyís plans were for my beloved old companion. We trot home quickly after that strange encounter. I have to feel that sheís safe as soon as possible.
10/20 Direct Link
The kittens are turning into little cats. Every day, they seem to be bigger, stronger, more curious. Today I found June sitting in the mailbox beside the front door, and later, she had climbed to the top of the baby gate, poised to leap into the outside world. She seems to be fascinated with the outdoors Ė I wonder if her motherís past as a stray had somehow communicated the roaming gene to her daughter. Audreyís the same, slipping past me when I take out the trash, jumping at the window, fortunately barred. Keeping them inside is a real challenge.
10/21 Direct Link
My American grandmother used to make Jell-O for Thanksgiving and other special occasions. She referred to it as ďJell-O saladĒ for no known reason. The closest thing in the Jell-O salads to actual salad was the finely grated carrot which graced the orange Jell-O. Jell-O was always served molded, shaped like the Liberty Bell or stars (Nana was a DAR member), quivering on a platter. The red Jell-O had the fruit cocktail, but the piŤce de rťsistance was the green Jell-O, which contained sliced green grapes and the secret ingredient of ginger ale. They donít cook like that anymore!
10/22 Direct Link
I have to admit that I have a teeny-tiny substance abuse problem when it comes to handbags. (Also shoes, but the handbags are more intervention-worthy at this point.) I actually donít know how many I own, and Iím afraid to count them up. I did, however, already pack up most of them, and there were four boxes. Not the small ones, either. Although I have so many, the handbag that is actually in use at any given time only has essentials. I may have a lot of bags, but I donít have a lot of stuff in them. Limited acquisitiveness.
10/23 Direct Link
The door closes; the house is silent. He stands with his hand on the familiar knob, willing it to turn, the door to open again, for her to be in his arms again. For all he knows it canít happen, wonít happen, he stands there, hoping. Eventually enough time has passed that even hopeís last ember is extinguished, and he turns away from the door. The house now seems so still, so empty, yet so full of memories and ghosts. There she slept; there she laughed; there she sang while making dinner for two. There she left, taking his heart.
10/24 Direct Link
Dear Mom,

I know itís always too little, too late with us. And you always knew there was something on my mind, even if we were talking on the phone.

So you probably arenít surprised to hear that Iím looking for your birth mother, even though she and you are gone. Iím not sure exactly what Iím hoping to get from this. I wish I could have told your mother that your adopted parents adored you and she had nothing to feel guilty about. I hope she has family I can tell, and that somehow, sheíll know, too.

Love,

Suzy

10/25 Direct Link
Itís just a few days until Halloween, and a house is haunting me.

Itís a house I have never set foot in, but I love it.

Itís an old Mediterranean style house in a quiet pocket of Oakland. It has a small back yard for my old dog to explore, a front and back porch to sit on and enjoy the sunshine. It has hardwood floors and a sunny kitchen and a non-functioning, but beautiful fireplace in the living room. My friends assure me I will love it. I already do.

Thereís a palm tree.

I hope I get it.

10/26 Direct Link
Iím in limbo until I know if I get the house or not. It all flows from there: reserving the moving truck; plane tickets; getting my dog and kittens on the flight; giving notice. Saying goodbye to my present life to return to my future. Iím afraid it will all fall apart and I wonít be able to go back home, to have a new life, right across the Bay from my old place.

The biggest fear of any Bay Area exile is not being able to return. I want to beat the odds, be the exception to the rule.

10/27 Direct Link
This morning, I had the kitchen door open, and the baby gate in place to stop the dog and kittens from exploring the wide world. My ďofficeĒ is also in the kitchen, so my desk faces the door. I was sipping my second cup of coffee and checking my email when a guy walked up to the gate and asked if I could help him. Turns out he was interested in my eccentric apartment Ė the former wood working shop of a Victorian coffin factory Ė for a TV show pilot. This would be, and is, the heroineís cool loft.
10/28 Direct Link
Time seems to be going so quickly, and yet so slowly at the same time. Standing still while waiting to hear about the house; racing when I look at the long to do list of things I need to accomplish when I move Ė in two weeks. Iím either hopeful or hopeless, convinced everything will work out or nothing will. The only constant in the emotional rollercoaster is the heartfelt wish that I had a responsible adult to make all the decisions and phone calls and deal with all the details so Iíd know it was done right. Iím flying blind.
10/29 Direct Link
Tired of waiting for the houseís owners to get back to me, I wait until itís late enough to call them. Whatís a few hours of waiting after days of waiting? Also, if I donít get some feeling of control over the situation I will lose what little is left of my mind. So I make the call and learn that they havenít checked me out or basically done anything in the past three days. I point out that itís almost the end of the month, and they say theyíll get back to me today with an answer. More waiting.
10/30 Direct Link
It was worth the wait Ė I got the house! I Fed Exed a check to the owners, called the movers and the airline. Itís coming true. The movers come on November 14, and Iím flying out on the 15th. Then more waiting for my things to arrive, but by now, Iím an expert lady in waiting. Work will keep me busy while I wait. And Iíll be waiting near my new home and my old one. Hopefully, the truck will arrive in time for me to spend Thanksgiving with my brothers and sister. Iím going back to my future.
10/31 Direct Link
I actually ate candy on Halloween. I canít remember the last time I did. On this occasion, the treats came to me, instead of the childhood, door to door method. I didnít dress up. My neighbor left me a little box of four chocolates, wrapped in adorable Halloween paper, to thank me for looking after her cat (my kittensí mother) while sheís in New York. It was just enough to enjoy, but not too much to make me feel guilty for eating it. Oh to be a child again and never feel guilty about eating chocolate Ė or anything else.