The Year 2006
The secret of Life is learning to enjoy the passage of Time... - James Taylor
The View from Here (2006)
Some years are good years, and some years are great years, but this was a year that just had to be gotten through.
It began well, with New Years intentions being realized: take that Photoshop class, spend time with friends, etc. but by the end of January a sense of discontent had begun to take hold in my mind. I suddenly didn’t recognize myself; I became silently resentful of everyone and everything…suspicious of the motives of my friends, disappointed in their actions. Feelings of loneliness (I am alone a lot, but am usually never lonely) began to invade my mind. I also felt a sense of sorrow as I realized that my next birthday would bring me to the age of 60 – no matter what anyone says, 60 is getting old. It is a hard realization, especially when, in your mind, you are still 27.
It was a depression, plain and simple…but it was just beginning…and they are hard to recognize when they are happening, it is only after time that one can see depression…it is a spiral and one slips down slowly, until suddenly, there you are. And so it was with me. It began with little resentments and progressed into self-pity and continued down into some kind of sorrow akin to the hormonal imbalances of adolescence…crying easily and for little or no reason, etc.
You will all say, “Hey, you should have called me!” And you are right, I should have… and when you are depressed you should call me too, but the fact is, you can’t and you won’t. Especially if you live alone like I do. You can’t. You are already filled with self-pity; you can’t bear the additional pity of your friends.
And then Zohar pulled up lame in one leg in late March. At first I thought he had just pulled a muscle but it didn’t get better and when I took him to the vet, (where they never discovered what was wrong with his leg) they did discover that he had chronic kidney disease. I won’t elaborate on what followed but in three months he was gone. Even the wonderful trip to Amsterdam in May to celebrate Tim’s 50th birthday didn’t really pull me out of the funk that was going on in my mind, though I did manage to have a lot of fun with the gang. It was a truly high point.
Of course my heart was broken when I finally had to make the hard decision about Zohar but in a way, at least now I had something to really be sad about – and so I spent the summer grieving for him. Around August I suddenly found myself returning to being the self I used to know… happy, content, and looking forward to my life… I now attribute this to an increase of red blood cells (too many as it turns out) in my body, but hey, any port in a storm.
And from August on, I began to magically get better. I felt myself let go of the resentments, let go of the disappointments and let go of the sorrow, pity and loneliness. And almost as suddenly as it began, it had passed and with it most of the year. And now as the Holidays approach and the time to take stock of the year is here, all I can say, is that I managed to get through it. It was unpleasant, and a bit unreal – as if I had someone else’s blues and they had my happy life – but I have come through the dark tunnel and out in to the sunshine again.
So what did I learn? Well, several things actually: Don’t take happiness for granted, it is ephemeral and can slip away in the blink of an eye. Don’t put your own expectations on others – it is unfair to them and will only bring disappointment to you. Don’t get so lost in your dreams of adventure (and what you wish your life was like) that you fail to appreciate what you have and what is real. Value your health, but know it is a gift that, most likely, you can’t keep.
As November began, I found a puppy, My Mister Knightly, to share my life…I have great doubt about ever finding a man who will be able to love me, but I knew that there were at least 53 million dogs who would think me the greatest woman in the world…and having a dog in my life has always been a dream that was within my grasp. Each morning as we snuggle together before getting out of bed, I remind myself that this is my life and today will be what I make of it…and I am content…happy too for the most part.
And I also wish you happiness this Holiday Season. And hope that you realize at least some of your dreams, that you keep as much of your health as is possible, that you find love in whatever way you can, that you value your friends and be tolerant of them too. That you really strive to be happy… and that you have a
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
November - A strange month filled with medical stuff and dental stuff and Thanksgiving and Mister Knightly! I love My Mister Knightly! I have built him a web page of his own where you can watch him grow up... all photos...click here. That way you can see how cute he is and not have to deal with my thoughts.
October - A
really wonderful month! My good mood continued and grew. And there
was the Florida Orchestra's concert in the park with fireworks which is always a
treat - The concert
collected 3200 pounds of food and we think that there were 18,000 people.
My dear friend Helen sponsors it each year. Also in November I traveled to
San Francisco to stay with Dion and by coincidence I got to see the Pookie Niece
and her charming son Chris as well as her lover, James and his son Mike.
It was an unexpected surprise and a great one.. I was actually there to
work and work went very well - and I got to see a great performance by Sir Elton
John. I got home just in time to celebrate the 60th birthday of my dear
who is hardly Over the Hill!. The following day I awoke with a yearning for a dog and I said to myself that "today there will be a dog advertised in the paper for me" - and so there was - and here he is - his name is My Mister Knightly!
These pages will fill up with photos of him as he grows, just as my life will fill up with him and now you see why I have changed the title of this page. It isn't because Zohar is forgotten, No he will stay in my heart along with Sam, but Life is for the living not the dead... they are only the stuff of memories. So the story continues about a girl & her dog & her cat... at least for the present.
September - My good mood continued to return in September. I listened to Fred with real joy in my heart and felt happy to be Fancy Free again. I took long walks, visited with friends, even got laid ( not great, but beggars can't be choosers and I doubt the relationship will grow into anything but pals). This last did make me realize that, as I have always known since the late great Bob, I will have a very hard time finding anyone that can scratch even half of my itches (smart, funny, interesting, adventurous, wide ranging tastes, tolerant, social, fit, good in bed and cares about me) notice how I don't have good looking on this list - but still, something in the looks must attract in the first place. This mythical person may be out there but the odds are lotto long on my finding him.
Still, I feel something is missing in my life but I no longer believe that it is a man. I now believe it is a goal. I need a passion in my life that is all mine - a drive to do something and something that doesn't necessarily involve someone else. I now feel like a bird in a cage - a beautiful cage and a comfortable cage but still a cage. And while I do let myself out to take the occasional trip abroad, I still feel a bit trapped. I need a passion to move me out of this comfort zone and into a sense of adventure. I have my eyes open for the right thing and I spend a lot of my time alone trying to determine what I feel passionate about. It used to be my friends - and that is still something of a passion, but it is not really something that a person alone can have as a satisfying passion - it can become inconvenient for ones friends and so for ones self.
So what can it be? Something creative I believe. Something I can enjoy doing alone. Something that doesn't involve the heavy labor of gardening, which I love, but which I can put off in hot weather as it is just too damn hard. And something that gets me out of the house. To sum up, I am on a quest for a goal or passion. Questing can be a good pass time...we'll see what I find.
August - never was my favorite month... just too hot. My tan fades in August as I avoid going out in the sun... just too hot... my yard suffers for the same reason... and it can be a very wet month too which means everything weedy grows... the Antigone on the fence takes off and runs amuck and the Gloriosa Lilies spring up from where they have hidden since last fall and the garden looks like chaos.
August is also a month of birthdays...Geri Kail, Mary, Susan Hunt, Davey Faxon, and I am sure I am forgetting some others...I got to visit with Geri, Susan and Davey in August. I also did some dog sitting for McDuff who lives down the street. Went to see Cindy's son, Jordan in a play with the gang too. Dog sitting was good and helped me somehow...I am going to look for a puppy when I get back from a business trip scheduled for October...I know that for sure now... I may not be able to find a man to love me but I have no doubt that there are millions of dogs out there who will.
My depression seems to have faded away...was it enough of a trial to make me strong? I sure hope so. Was Zohar's death enough sorrow to keep me human? I hope that too. But with each of these trials and sorrows your life changes and it never goes back to the way it was before. Will I ever be able to revel in Fred Astaire singing Fancy Free in the same way again? I know now that I won't. Will I ever be able to be totally content with my single life? Probably not...but I had a good run of happiness being single - 15 years. So if there is some discontent with the single state now, I guess I can endure it... actually I will have to endure it, since I seriously doubt ever finding someone that I can care for who can also care for me. Still I have my friends, even if I see them in a different light these days, they are still the ones that I love.
July - Sad news that breaks my heart. My darling Zohar fell asleep in my lap on July 7th and will continue to sleep in god's lap from now on. I am attaching a (too brief) biography of his life...
The Zohar Chronicles
The rest of July was filled up with work which got busy and that was a good thing as I needed to be busy. Friends rallied around me to see how I was feeling about Zo and I learned that the accepted cure for grief is food - everyone wanted to take me out or feed me something. It is no wonder Americans are so fat in general - food seems to be our solace for everything.
The summer babies party was in July and some of the wonderful French people that I visited last fall were here for it...and also to my house for dinner.
The Cool Art Show came and went and life went on as usual. The universe didn't seem to miss one little dog at all... only me. And I miss him still and I cry as I type this.
June - Counting the last two weeks of May, I have been through a bad patch for the last 6 weeks. Serious depression. Blues. Clouding my mind, twisting my thoughts - making me doubt my sanity, my friends and everything I believe about my life. I don't recommend it. And as rapidly as it came it now seems to be receding.
Since I am not a psychoanalyst, I can't speak definitively about what caused it. I can say that it seemed to be an accumulation of a lot of little things, straws on the camel's back, kinds of things - none of which by itself would justify my reactions but which seemed to add up over time into a pattern - the result of which was that I believed that I was unlovable and unloved - I felt isolated and, not just alone, but lonely. I haven't felt lonely in ever so long.
Part of it, I suspect, is the same type of thinking I wrote about in January. Part of it is loosing my friend, Mary, to her new love Bob. And while she would give me an argument about the use of the word loosing, it is still true. From now on, she will look to Bob for everything. Part of it is just the simple fact that most of the world goes around in pairs and I do not. Part of it is that I will turn 60 on my next birthday and I am feeling my mortality...my Dad was dead at 65. And maybe there are other factors that I can't guess at. Family, I feel the lack of family acutely now. I have told myself that my friends were my family, but in fact they are just my friends...no small statement, but not the same. It was as if I had a sweet little delusion going and then I saw through it and it depressed me. And what little family I have I am not close to...until it comes to needing money.
I try so hard to be strong and independent and not to be needy, mostly I succeed, but still I have needs... wants too...and I still have desires... much of these go unsatisfied. But I must say, that once I break down and cry out for help, my friends do rally around me and I think that is what saved me this time.
The other thing that contributed to my depression is that Zohar was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. But there is good news on that score - with proper nursing by me, his creatine levels have come down from 5.3 to 3.6 in 9 days. And I have every reason to hope that they will continue to improve. He is getting to be an old dog, but not that old (11 years) and I am now hopeful of at least another year with him, possibly two or more.
So, life goes on and I am going on with it. Still a little shaky, but taking it day by day.
May - such an interesting month and not over yet... I was in Amsterdam the first week of May and you can see some highlights at Places We Like
I can't help but mention and rejoice to say that Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling were both found guilty on all counts in the Enron collapse - they will appeal for years but it still sends a strong message about white collar crime ( and greed) in this country. Business ethics seems to be an oxymoron here and it is a shame and pity. Government corruption and the current administration contribute to the idea that "getting rich" is OK no matter what the means.
And on a romantic note, since
my return to the US. I have had an opportunity to see my dear friend Mary
with her new love and fiancé, Bob
Mary will be moving to England for part of each year and we are all looking forward to visiting her there. She is so happy and Bob is so nice that it is all quite romantic.
April - April began well, with a play staring the son of a friend in, Master Harold and the Boys. This was followed by a dinner out as a group. I was hoping to have some photos to show, but alas... no. The next weekend was the annual Easter egg coloring party at Tim's. As you know, this is a tradition that has been going on for years... I won't bother showing my eggs again as they were just as cute as previous years and an egg is an egg in any case. I hid them for the children of my friend Bridgitte... I like to play the Easter Bunny for someone. The following weekend was a surprise party for Rosie Ray to celebrate her birthday and then off to an OAUG conference in Nashville. I had hoped to be able to spend some time visiting with friends there but ended up being quite rushed. I had only 12 hours back at home before I left for Amsterdam to celebrate Tim's 50th... but more on that in May.
March - Robins were sighted! They didn't hang around very long and there weren't as many as in previous years, but I saw them and my heart leaped up and I was happy.
The month has been lovely - I had a great visit with the Kails and McCully's. Geri is thinking about their retirement - where they should live and what they are going to do. It is fun to listen to her. Bridget and Matt showed me their town home and it is packed to the walls... it is a far cry from 23 year olds getting married when I was a kid. No Salvation Army furniture, no hand-me-down mismatched dishes - everything new and first rate. I hope they rest of their lives goes as smoothly.
I also got in a visit with the Hunts and saw the GARAGE! Bob and Jake have been building it and it is impressive. Jake is so beautiful with thick long hair hanging in natural ringlet's, he is such a cool guy I wish I had taken my camera to get a photo of him before he gets a hair cut.
March was also the month for the Renaissance Fair. Mary, Ed, Tim and I went. It was a hot day, but I love that Fair and could go twice a year if there was someone to go with. I bought a fabulous set of wind chimes - Japanese tuning and alto chimes. Each note is a small meditation. The garden is beginning to bloom and all in all it has been a wonderful month.
My spirits continued to lift this month. My Photoshop class has been fun and I really feel like I learned something. I found someone to repair the rot of the side of the house - some one who actually shows up when he says he will...amazing! The gang and I went to see the musical Wicked and it was wicked good. The Bookies met here for February and we had an excellent meeting to discuss the book The Kite Runner. My friend Helen offered me two tickets to the Opera to see Elixir of Love - Mary Lou and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And then I hit the lottery for $2800. so it was a good month. I am still hopeful of hitting the lottery again for big money, enough to start a company and offer health care to all my friends who need it. My best friend, Mary fell in love and it appears to be a mutual affection. No robins have been seen yet, but I am hopeful for spring
The month of January has ended up much better than it began. What was written below the line, while still true, is not bothering me much as the month ends. It has been a fun month. I got used to my birthday...so I am pushing 60... I enjoyed the 60's once, why not again? I am lucky - I have my friends and they love me even if some special man never comes along. I have started a PhotoShop class and so I am learning something new...always good. So let the year bring what it will. I am ready for it!
For me this year has begun with questions about myself. What do I want and where am I going? Is it possible for me to find the love of a man or have I become too impossible to love and too demanding of those who would love me? Has Richard's curse really come true? (That I am not a pretty person and no one will ever love me...) Well, I hope not...but still I wonder. I keep getting the feeling that I am "too". Too strong, too loud, too crazy, too set in my ways, too much alone, too stupid, too out of touch, too certain & too confused at the same time... too concerned with myself, too little involved with the world, too demanding of my friends and family, too critical of everything, too opinionated...the list goes on...
But the question is what can be done? Can one change one's nature? Haven't I always been this way or has this "too-ness" just come over me recently?
And another question...Have I become the man I always wanted to marry and so now, no one can fill that spot? True enough, if I had waited for the right man to come along to share experiences with, I would have missed a lot of my life... by going alone in search of experiences, I have seen a fair bit of the world and had some great adventures. Now as I contemplate the passage of time in the face of a new year, the questions of what do I want and where am I headed in the future loom large in my mind...and am I traveling alone, with friends or with someone special?
Part of me believes that the next 20 years (should I be so lucky) might be richer if there was someone significant to share them with - but another part whispers that all I really want is someone to have sex with - that I really like being alone most of the time and that life with a significant other will involve compromises and will eventually become a rut. The truth lies somewhere in between I suspect. But is this true? If there was a man of some intellect, that challenged me and that I could look up to with respect and love, wouldn't the concerns about the compromises and the rut disappear? I do not know the answer... it is a puzzlement for me to contemplate again in 2006 while I get on with the business of living and hopefully learning new things.