Friday, April 28, 2006

friday morning

I have an entire day before me, and other than listening to a new Sarah Evans CD I bought yesterday, I'm not at all sure what I'm going to do with it. I had planned a day playing in the dirt, planting a few things, cleaning up winter, and running with Buddy while Bailey watches from a comfortable spot in the warm grass, but the weather may not stand for it. It rained lots last night, and today looks gray, so I'm looking for alternatives.

There is some work to do...back up old files, call a new client. Should take all of an hour. I is definitely a day to be inside. I have the nagging feeling that the day calls for me to face the page. This is something I haven't done much of since I moved. It nags at me, but I ignore the voice, saying there is too much on my mind, or that I can't get focused. And all of that is true, but it's because I won't let myself. Hard to get back to that place.

Sometimes I feel as if it's easier to write when I'm not happy. When the emotions of fear and sadness take over. Those feelings are deep and easier to write about...the page becomes a place to let it all out. But the joy...I feel no need to release it. And it is impossible to describe in words. In fact, they seem to get in the way.

Natalie Goldberg would say...just be present on the perhaps I'll pick something to write about like red tennis shoes or hot tea or violets popping up in the grass, and see what happens.

Wondering what my friends are doing. They are scattered about, and I do miss them. And on a day like today, if I were back in Houston, I'm sure one of them might have some time to get a coffee and play for awhile. If I lived in BC, Lion might join me for a hot tea, and if I were in Denver, Mary Ann and I would have an iced tea with a shot of vodka. But I am here, and they are there, so I am left to my own company, and that of a few furry critters.

I suppose it's time to find a life outside the walls of my little rent house, time to expand my circle of acquaintances from Steve, the dogs, his family, and Bud the carpet cleaner to other interesting people who live close by, like coffee, read books, and enjoy conversation. But I'm just not sure how to get there. What I know is that if I don't go won't happen.

So perhaps today, I will visit the library - I know where it is, and I will go to Black Sheep Coffee with a notebook. And maybe I'll find someone else who is doing the same. And maybe I will like him/her. And maybe on the next rainy day, we'll have a cup of tea.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Yesterday I began thinking about anonymity and the value of it. After talking to some people about how it seems like everyone here is connected in some way, it occurred to me that I'm not. I remain the grocery store, riding down the street in my car, walking my dog. And there are benefits to that.

When I lived in Doylestown, I was not anonymous - I was KNOWN. From the time I was born I was a part of a family, a community, a church and the notoriety grew. When you are "known" there are always EXPECTATIONS which one must live up to. There are labels with which you are tagged...labels like smart, logical, has a good head on her shoulders, good, bad, pretty, funny, etc. You know the list. I'm sure you have one of your own. And so we strive to squeeze ourselves into one box or another to live up to these EXPECTATIONS.

At Bowling Green I was anonymous and could be just who I was. I didn't join any clubs, afraid there might be another box into which I should fit. And Houston was the same, at first anyway. But over the years - all 22 of them - the anonymity faded and I became KNOWN. I was mother, writer, graphic artist, wife. I was dependable, smart, funny and a good friend. But eventually, the boxes became too small, and I was tired of working so hard to fit.

It was time to move. Perhaps that's the best way to rid yourself of the boxes and move forward - rediscover oneself. And South Dakota is proving a good place for this.

I love the anonymity. No one calls to say "can you...?" No one expects anything. I simply do what I like when I like - aside from a few deadlines. And this is very freeing. What I am discovering is a whole new side of myself. I remain strong, but love not proving it, and allowing myself to need another. I remain smart, but don't have to solve problems for anyone but myself. There are lots of things I don't know about life here, and I'm having fun getting lost once in awhile, and learning the things I don't know. I can be flighty without consequences. I don't have to be a good wife, or a good mother, or a good friend. I don't have to give advice, be there, or live on the clock another has created. I choose my day, my night, and my life. And it doesn't fit into the old boxes. This is good. They were tight and I was always dancing for someone else. Now I dance my own dance at my own pace and make mistakes and laugh at myself when I burn the pork chops - they weren't so bad. If the dishes are not washed, it's okay...and yesterday, I waited until 4 to make the bed.

And so I choose to remain anonymous for a time anyway. Only those from my past life have big expectations. The new people in my life don't know what to EXPECT. And neither do I.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

wednesday morning

I'm on deadline today, and should be working on a magazine instead of dropping by here, but I feel myself getting the urge to write again. What was once new is now becoming my normal life...I guess.

And so we went to Lake Erie fishing on a charter boat named Chelsea with Captain Frank. The crew was to be composed of me, Steve and his mom and dad. So they drove in from Wetonka early Thursday morning. Reluctantly, Steve parked his new truck for the weekend, and we squeezed the VW in the garage (a bad garage - too small for much of anything). We packed up the Ford Explorer we rented and headed out on the freeway toward Ohio and the big water.

The drive was daunting, the accomodations - a trailer house with 6 twin beds - were not what we'd expected, but the fishing was good. And during this trip, I think I actually became a fisherperson in training. I did catch a few fish of my own, and it felt good. I got to know Steve's folks better. They're pretty easy to like, and they remind me of my parents and home. This is good. They make me feel like part of the family, which is something I'm not used to - but I like it.
After we caught lots of fish - except the "big one" which eluded Steve despite his resolve - we drove away from our trailer house to Doylestown. I was a little nervous for the first meeting between my family and Steve's. Somehow I managed to get us there, despite the fact that I have no remembrance of where things are in that part of the country. I did okay until we got to D-town, where I just couldn't seem to find Mom's new house. I was so embarrassed, and will never live it town. I'm sure I've convinced the entire family of the fact that I am indeed, directionally challenged. (I tried to tell you...)

And now it's Thursday...and I'm done with the magazine, and my morning is mine....

The visit was unremarkable, except to say that there was no drama. This is good.

Life is good. I am happy...and everything is as it should be.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

on fishing and other things

One funfilled day after another. That's life these days. You know that it is good when even the little disappointments don't get under your skin and seem more than manageable.

Oh, hi Anita...

And I have been busy. Aside from the regular deadlines, there have been tons of activities to fill up the hours. The last three weekends, I've been making new acquaintances - people, pick-ups and fish.

Knowing that Steve is a fishing enthusiast, I thought it might be fun if I learn this outdoor sport. It would be something we could enjoy together. It began with a seminar a few weeks ago. I went ready to figure out just what the sport was all about. I arrived to find myself the only woman registered for the class - a little daunting, but I pushed onward. After only a few minutes, I understood just how a fish feels in the fishbowl. Usually the observer, I became the observed. This didn't stop me from diving into the world of men and fishing. The room was a sea of plaid - I of course hadn't dressed the part. And I didn't bring a cap. Had I dressed for the event, I may not have been noticed - no such luck. I was pulled from the crowd during the break to have my photo taken with the pro - the beginner. I did get a lot of information, but knew that until I was out with a fishing rod in hand, it didn't mean a thing. Steve fixed that - bought me a rod of my own - what's a fisherperson without a rod - and we headed out with his dad on the boat to Elm Lake, where I could bait my own hook and drop a line.

The wind was brisk and the temperature not quite what I had hoped. Fingers like ice and bundled up - the scene wasn't what I had pictured in my head. And after hours of fishing, only Steve had bagged a fish. Took me hours to warm up, and our charter fishing trip was only two weeks away. We did laugh a lot, and I did enjoy the company.

We spent most weeknight evenings looking for a new pick-up. Steve's had developed a chronic illness, and despite the fact that it could be fixed, we agreed it was time. I got to explore every lot in town - and some out of town. But none of the trucks were just right. The search would continue.

The following weekend, I put all things fish and four-wheel drive behind and headed to Mitchell for Steve's mom's family reunion. If learning to fish had been tough, mixing it up with the family might be tougher. As it turned out, I wasn't even close to keeping up with this hard-drinking crowd. I sipped, they chugged. I excused myself when I'd had enough, escaping to the hotel room and the dogs, who had come along for the ride.

No family reunion is complete without drama. This one was no exception. We headed straight for home on Sunday morning, feeling tired and rough around the edges from the drinking. But Steve's sister was moving and needed a few extra hands and lots of muscle to get the job done. We stopped at practically every truck dealership along the way, then packed load after load into the truck for transport. Belinda was thankful, but we were exhausted. By 5, we were home in bed, catching up on much needed sleep. The week would be short - me on deadline, and the charter fishing trip just days away.

Then we found it. Brilliant blue with lots of chrome, the truck was the "dream truck" he had always wanted. Financial finagling complete. Steve became the proud owner of a GMC Sierra that was clean, mean and quite pretty. He wouldn't say "pretty" - but that's men for you.

Unfortunately, there was no time to drive it, as we left it parked in the driveway when we headed off to Ohio with his folks to do a little fishing on "big water" and meet my parents.

I'm sure this account may be a little boring, so I will end it now, and continue with the next phase deserves an entry of it's own.

Until then, know that I did catch a few fish, love the truck, and still enjoy life in the fishbowl that is South Dakota.