a decent coping mechanism

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E-

Well, the weekend is over. Cross-country flights complete and the tragic-comedy of the funeral and family is over. I think I was pretty amazed by the way the event just absolutely brought out all the various family directly and absolutely. It was as if every bit of tension and unease over the last few decades was on display both in my immediate family and in the extended family as a whole. In a word, Oh vey. Well two words really.

So what’s left to say? What is the “takeaway” as one might say in the professional world, how were our “deliverables” delivered and our work frames framed? Well a few important lessons

  1. Shrimp must always be served on shaved ice. It is impossible to buy shaved ice commercially, you can only make it or get it from someone with a machine so… if a family member becomes sick or dies- immediately knock over a Hawaiian ice stand so you can have shaved ice to serve the shrimp on at the reception
  2. Since all the family tension will be on full display rather than just count “elephants in the room” it is more fun to make a family tension/dynamic bingo card and play family tension bingo. Inside the five by five framework (with a free square in the middle) arrange all the family stories, resentment, bitterness, inside jokes , worries, elephants that are likely to crop up. The first one to connect five in a row wins. This game can also be played by assigning point values to the awkwardness but for some reason the bingo card seems more umm.. interactive.
  3. Back to shrimp… vinegar gets rid of shrimpy scented hands

Again, I would have to say how incredibly proud I am of my m-u  with the grace and class she pulled off her speech, making the arrangements and wrangling her family. The weekend was a little too busy to really understand how she was doing. Grief can wait when there are picnics to prepare and house guests to house.

On a personal level, my goal is to feel good enough about my life by Christmas to not feel so put upon with ever interaction with M. Or at least come up with a decent coping mechanism for dealing with her every judgment laden comment.  Maybe I need my own Bingo card for that game….

There is much more to say about GS and her life and legacy but that might be for another time..

Good night,

B

Dear B,

What insight you have gained–there’s nothing like death to bring out the best and the worst in people. I love your Elephant Bingo idea! Make a note to contact Milton-Bradley. Sounds like you’d have to play multiple cards, though. And who knew about the shrimp/shaved ice rule!?! No more faux pas for us.

Did anyone tape the memorial service? I would love to hear V’s speech–it sounds like she did SO well. I’m very proud of the work she did while she was here–getting clear on some things she needed to let go of in order to heal some of the wounds from her family. You are right,there’s plenty of time for grief after the crowds go home. I just hope she will allow herself that sad space.

Part of being your full self is having the confidence to express your thoughts and feelings. You have such good strong thoughts about how V handled everything–I hope you will find a time to express those to her directly. Don’t depend on M or me to tell her for you. Remember all those good words you would like to have heard at difficult times in your life. You can learn how to be by seeing how not to be. Sometimes our greatest teachers are the ones who show us how not to be. In a number of ways, that is the gift GS gave V. I’d be interested in knowing what GS gave you.

It is a time to be reminded that all things have endings. Putting that darling dog down, saying goodbye to J, watching the grass die and the harvest coming on–death and rebirth always around us whether we notice or not. And as you experienced, great sadness and joy can coexist. Strange, this life we’re in.

Love,

Auntie E

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Me Credit

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Dear E-

I have heard self effacing, self- hatred and not comfortable in my own skin. Here is to a vow that I will stop making myself my own worst enemy. Ode to Tuesday now becomes the things to celebrate blog.  Roses and thorns perhaps.
Today’s List-
We went to the congressional baseball game fun times connecting with old friends.
I am grateful to have worked with some really great people.
I learned about people in China who dye their dogs to look like puppies.

Goal is to focus: Focus my thinking to be sharp and high level thinker or tinkerer.

Any insights on where this deep self effacement comes from? And the best way to gain confidence by osmosis? Work or achievement.
Let’s starting giving ourselves credit. Me credit.
What is it going to take?
It may take me recognize that I am actually a standout guy. Next time I may have to list the reasons.

-B

Dear B,

I have always been puzzled about your self-effacement because you’ve always been a standout guy to me, even as a toddler. Perhaps your lack of confidence comes from not feeling free to declare your full self until last year. Now that you see that the ones you care about most can accept you and love you fully for being your whole self, perhaps you can start to believe that you are even more than OK. I think that is what it will take–not work or achievement–but an inner focus and belief. In the end, we can only be the people we believe we are. Like happiness, confidence is an inside job. No external cues and nothing that I or anyone else can say to you, can instill self-confidence. It’s not about measuring; it’s about believing. You were placed here on this earth to express your full self: speak in a full voice, take up space, blossom in full color, learn how to be the best you that you can be. Give yourself to the world–you have a wonderful self to give.

I love it that you are focusing on positive things!

Love,

Auntie E

Here, Me Roar

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7/11/11 –There were free slurpees today but they ran out.

Dear E,

Ok, here is a pre-Tuesday slide show for you.

I can’t always say why but each image has something that reminds me of you. My favorite is the “Here, me roar”. When I saw it scrawled in the New York subway, it was tempting to go into an autocorrect mode and laugh at my grammatical superiority. “Surely, it must be hear me roar, poor lug never learned his homonyms.”

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Well, I gave it a little more thought and decided that it was not a grammatical error—but rather a bold declaration. Here, I stand to roar on the subway platform. Take up some space and scream a bit at the urban chaos.

The others, well might speak for themselves- a pork roast rolled with homemade olive tapenade, Ichiro.

The word clouds or lists are taken from Google’s autocomplete option on its search engine. To me, they offer simple wonderful amusing insight on life and modern anxiety, standing as their own mini poem of sorts. Glorified list is perhaps a better explanation but I love them.

-B

How Easy It is and How Fun To Be

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Ode to Tuesday 3149

Dear B,

Still in Alaska. Today we drove to the Kenai Wildlife Refuge and walked a couple of miles on the lake there. It was the first time I’ve had a long walk and I was so ready for it. Life here in the winter is very sedentary. Things are going well though. I’m not going crazy living with someone 24/7 in a small space. I’ve been reading through old journals and writing scraps trying to prime the pump to start writing seriously again. I keep running into excerpts of my early life with B and one of the themes that keeps repeating is how easy it is and how fun to be with him. That is still true, after 35 years. Some of the other more painful issues are still alive though also. Sigh. Is settling for a half-hearted relationship that is fun and committed but not passionate on his part better than nothing at all? Will I always be seeing and longing for how much more there could be? Big, hard questions. And of course, Ms. Emotional Intelligence here wants to work it all out right now. You’ll be happy to know I’ve refrained–but it is hard to let things slide and manage my anxiety. Today I decided to give it a year and see where we are. In the meantime, I am pledging to worship joy not pain. I really wish B were still alive. I would so much like to talk to her about all of this. I’m really out of elders now, and I need them.

Love,

Auntie E

Foolish in the Promise I Saw

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2/2/10

Dear E-

Well we got Dennis Kunich, His office RSVPed for an event we are having with Jane Goodall next week. Did you know he was a vegan? Apparently his wife was very active in passing the Great Apes Protection Act, who knew? Me well I am in a little bit of recovery mode from the trip to Florida from S. Overall it was a fun novel weekend, a bit exhausting really. I caught up with my cousin B who I had not seen in oh… uh 8 years to find out well we have done different things in those 8 years. Disney World was a lot of fun and I do hope S had a great birthday, we did his birthday dinner at a Teppanakyi Steakhouse in the Japan part of Epcot. I can not say Disneyworld is a place I would every really pick out to go to but for free it was a lot of fun. S and I’s favorite ride was Soarin’ a flight simulator that takes you hang gliding though California.

Work was boring and I don’t remember much. I did decide over the weekend that I am on the move from 413. I have been there a year and just don’t really think I can be happy there as much as I would like to be. It has been an emotional roller coaster ride of 2009 and I well, want to get off. There is plenty to say on the subject of H best to say- time to let go and seek my own path. He has nice stuff that is for sure but I want to strike out on my own…. As you say “we choose what we hold on to” and I have been holding on to a damn lot. I wanted to call the time I was home for Christmas a “reset” but we quickly fell into old patterns and were not speaking for weeks prior to blow-ups Sunday and last Thurs. Again much to say, much learned, and now DC real estate hunt take 2.

In that spirit, I went to check out a group house in the “gayborhood” it was a cool enough house but I think 7 people would be a bit much for me to deal with right now and I didn’t “fall well with them” in a literal translation of my favorite Spanish idiom. I am back at the stage where I have to decide what I want and make steps to get it.

I keep coming back to our dinners with you and how you would remind me I didn’t have to eat foods I didn’t like or finish my plate if I was full. You could call it the settling approach to life, self-effacement, fit to  form, making due, seeing the future as a choice or an option not something to be feared and I am working to return to that. I still remember how scared and excited I was this time last year, foolish in the promise I saw. Hopefully I can find a place to live that I was excited about I was about 413 but the time to move has come.

Here is to growth,

-B

Not that I am Keeping Score.

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1/26/2010

Dear E,

There goes January. Last night I had a dream that my friend’s dog Ginger had security clearance, DC must be getting to me. Over all it was a  boring long day at preparing for tomorrow’s briefing on the subject of cross-boundry disease management among people livestock and animals in Africa.


The day gave me lots of time to think about my visit to the physic I made yesterday on a whim with my intern  E  after work. Ms. Jessica or her accomplice told me among other things “there is someone in your life that doesn’t want to see you happy,” which I took to mean H. She also strangely enough mentioned she saw California and something with “development” in my spirit. On the more obvious side she noticed I had not been sleeping well because something was keeping me up at night. Though she did not make the direct link to my “broken heart” she mentioned it along with nice things about how I am a good person do a great deal to help others. Her quick temper comment was the only thing that I felt was totally off base. All in all, I was a little startled by the specifics even if she was just pulling them out of her gypsy head and I was reading into everything she said. What is your experience with Georgetown palm readers?


Meanwhile, back on Tuesday, I met up with my fellow former Minnick interns for 25 cent wings on the hill. Two of my former slave labors landed jobs in the Minnick camp. One with the “official” office is making a whopping 25k which in Boise terms is like 14k or borderline poverty levels…. the other girl who got the job on the campaign side makes the exact same as me, is bursting with excitement for her upcoming trip to Coeur d’Alene and has a $600 deductible on her health insurance.  Not that I am keeping score. I am happy for them both fellow passengers in the boat of entry level joy. Things did work out for everyone. Even though I seem to be a bit of a professional party planner my job is paying me decently things are on the up and up.


There was another call to the folks, not that we ever talked about much before but now I feel especially important to keep the pleasantries moving along. Working on keeping up with my Tuesdays- but as my whole days are spend at the computer writing emails… it is a challenge that needs a dose of focus.

Love,

B

PS Taking up lots of space…

A Poor Man’s Pesto

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Dear E,

Third Tuesday of the New Year. At work my Tuesdays became much lonelier this year, I went from having three interns to a sort of half intern in the afternoon. The day was restful as the long weekend -well half day on Monday- gave me a kind of two half Mondays in a row which was a lot less painful. The half intern is probably who I was as college student. He seems a little semi present always in and of out mentally. I got a lot done with fewer interns in the office. I made dinner with the left overs from last week’s meal- a poor man’s pesto with parsley, walnuts and can o’ Parmesan. Parsley gave the dish a sharper flavor and something of a struggle to decide what the actual consistency of the pesto should be. That’s my Tuesday

Love,
B

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