10 August 2017

Time to Move On

“I always feel as if I'm struggling to become someone else. As if I'm trying to find a new place, grab hold of a new life, a new personality. I suppose it's part of growing up, yet it's also an attempt to re-invent myself. By becoming a different me, I could free myself of everything. I seriously believed I could escape myself - as long as I made the effort. But I always hit a dead end. No matter where I go, I still end up me. What's missing never changes. The scenery may change, but I'm still the same old incomplete person. The same missing elements torture me with a hunger that I can never satisfy. I think that lack itself is as close as I'll come to defining myself.” ~ Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun
I decided that I will move.  Again.  The home that I built for myself and for G, was a home that I built when I was still in love.  It was a home that I furnished and filled with love back when I still had dreams of a future with my ex.  Now that that dream is no more, I have new dreams, new goals and new desires.  It is only fitting that I move onward and forward, and let go of everything that still ties me to the past, and to him.  After all, I never really wanted to move there.  I had a beautiful pre-war, rent-control apartment that I gave up in order to move in with him, in his hometown.  Before a year had passed, he had managed to cheat on me and get the other woman pregnant.  G and I were left alone in our new apartment, tucked away in a suburban borough, and far away from where we were accustomed.  I felt like a cornered lamb, defenseless in a foreign cage, with nowhere comforting to run.  He had baited us to leave our city life with promises of a loving suburban home, and once we were settled and finally felt at home, he took out the butcher knives, and hacked away at our dreams and trust, and we were left like cut up little pieces of anguish and heartbreak.

Because we are strong, we managed to make the best of our lives, and to triumph, despite it all.  G has managed to become one of the top students in her class, and I have similarly advanced in my career.  The hurt and ache only drove us to strive harder.  But, it is time to let go of everything and start anew.  If she and I were able to succeed in spite of all the negative forces surrounding us, how much more prosperous we could be if we left all that behind us.   

25 May 2017

Deadbeat

“For every father who steps out to get a pack of cigarettes, never to be heard of again, there is a child who grows up with an inerasable sense of abandonment, despite any success they may achieve in life.  I hope it was worth the smoke, you deadbeat motherfucker.” ~ Beryl Dov, 50 Shades of Green: Poems and Aphorisms about Time, Aging and Childhood
I cannot know how she is feeling because I grew up with both my father and mother.  I saw her crying in her room last Friday and when I asked her what was wrong, she said that it was the night of the father and daughter dance at school, and she said that she had been dodging questions from her classmates as to the whereabouts of where her father is.

She knows where her father is.  He is in Brooklyn, less than ten miles away from where we are.  He has never made attempts to see her.  Prior to the new year, she even sent him a "friend" request on a social media site.  Not only did he not accept her request, he even took the extra step to block her.

She cries, not because she longs for him, but because she cannot understand why her own father, her own flesh and blood, wants nothing to do with her.

I cannot understand it either.    

11 May 2017

Venezia è Bella

“But maybe every life looked wonderful if all you saw was the photo albums.” ~ Liane Moriarty, What Alice Forgot
As I had mentioned, I finally had the chance to upload my photos from Venice - over a thousand!  I will spare everyone from that, however, and will only post a select few.

Our holiday was nothing short of fabulous.  It was a quick holiday - only five nights and six days, but we managed to pack in a lot during that short time.

We arrived at the airport in the early afternoon and took a shuttle bus into Venice.  Upon arriving in Venice, we had to take a water taxi (vaporetto) to our stop, Rialto Mercato.  We stayed at a very charming AirBnb apartment near the famous Rialto Bridge.  

Throughout our stay in Venice, we managed to take a few guided tours that included St. Mark's Basilica, the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello, and a simple guided tour around the heart of Venice.  G even met a famous Venetian painter and bought a few of his paintings.  

We also took a day trip to Milan and to Lake Como.  My only regret is that we didn't have enough time to see more sights.  
















10 May 2017

Single Parent Life

“Don't be ridiculous, Charlie, people love the parents who beat their kids in department stores. It's the ones who just let their kids wreak havoc that everybody hates.” ~ Christopher Moore, A Dirty Job
The life of a single parent is hard.  It is damn hard.  There are many days when I wonder how I can possibly do it all - wake up, make her breakfast and a lunch to bring to school, race to get her to school, race to make it to work on time, race to pick her up from afterschool, bring her to her scheduled activities, go home and make dinner, spend time with her, do household chores, exercise - and still stay somewhat sane.

On Monday night, she asks me if I am going to her spring concert.  "Sure," I said.  "When is it?"

"Tomorrow night," she answers.  

"What?!  Tomorrow night?  Why are you just telling me about it now?"

"I forgot," she retorted.

I told her that because I was not given ample notice and that I already had other things planned for Tuesday evening, I would not be able to attend the spring concert but that I would still drive her to school so that she could perform.  She seemed content with that.

On Tuesday, I drove her to school in the evening and I picked her up after the concert.  I asked her how it went, and she said that it went fine.  She then mentioned to me how "Ally's mom and JJ's mom were there and they recorded me and told me how great I was."  I told her that I would ask them for a copy.

When we got home, she asked, "What did you do the whole time during my concert?"

I told her that I had made dinner and some other household chores.  She said, "That's it?"

I answered, "Yes, that's it."  I could tell she was angry that I did not attend her spring concert, but after all the prior weeks preparing for her Communion, I really was not in the proper frame of mind to attend her Spring Concert, especially considering that she had failed to mention it to me until the prior night.

She then blurted out, "I wish you were like other moms."

I told her that I wished that I was like other moms, too, and that I wished I could get the help that they have -- a husband or a family to help them with everything since I was alone and doing all the work of bringing home an income, making sure that she gets to/from school, eats three times a day, and has activities she can do to keep her mind and body busy.

Some days are just damn hard.  Yesterday was one of them.

09 May 2017

Communion

“Love and Compassion are the true religions to me. But to develop this, we do not need to believe in any religion.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV
G had her First Communion this past Saturday.  In her words, she feels "good."  I am proud of her. 


We had a small luncheon after Mass at the neighborhood Greek restaurant.  After lunch, we went to visit the local firefighters as the city was holding an open house at all the firehouses around the city.


It was a great Saturday.  Sunday was not so bad either as I finally had time to upload my photos from my recent trip to Italy.  I'll be posting those soon - cheers!

01 May 2017

Unfinished

“It would be much better if I could only stop thinking. Thoughts are the dullest things. Duller than flesh. They stretch out and there's no end to them and they leave a funny taste in the mouth. Then there are words, inside the thoughts, unfinished words, a sketchy sentence which constantly returns ... It goes, it goes ... and there's no end to it. It's worse than the rest because I feel responsible and have complicity in it. For example, this sort of painful rumination: I exist, I am the one who keeps it up. I.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea
I have about a dozen unfinished (and unpublished) entries on here.  I sign in quite often, write a few paragraphs, but then inevitably become distracted, get called away, or otherwise become unavailable (mentally and physically) to complete my thoughts.

A few weeks ago I started to write about MJ, a friend with whom I was enamored but inexplicably never took an interest to me.  I contacted him via text message after over a decade of no contact.  He has not changed.  He is still not interested in me.

Then I wrote another entry, also unfinished, about a book that I had borrowed at the library:  A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles.  I had almost finished reading it, but the book was due back at the library with no opportunity to extend the loan because another patron had already requested it.  Apparently it is a popular book, and there is no mystery why.  It is a great read that sweeps you up and back to a time of wealth and classic beauty.  Would you believe that the book is in such high demand that I am on a waiting list to borrow it again?  I might just buy the book as it is worthy of any book collection.  Plus, I am quite anxious to find out how the story ends.

I also have an enormous amount of photos to upload.  I finally sucked it up and bought a DSLR camera. Now that I have been tinkering around with it, the photos I take with my phone are no longer adequate. The difference in quality is just too apparent.

Plus, I was in Italy recently.  Venice, no less.  I took over a thousand photos from my one week holiday.  I'll be uploading those photos from my camera soon, and hopefully will get a chance to share them here.

Cheers!

03 April 2017

Chocolate Ice Cream

“...stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along."  ~ Robert J. Hastings, Tinyburg Tales
A day or so before my sister passed away, the doctor told her she did not have much time left, probably a day at most.

"Did you hear what I said, Alanna?  the doctor asked.

"Yes," she answered.

"And what do you think about that?"

"I think I'd like some chocolate ice cream."

"Alanna, did you hear what I said a minute ago?"

"Yes.  What is it that you want me to say?  It seems that I should be having that chocolate ice cream NOW!"


Me and my sister | circa 1999

30 March 2017

Time for Silence

“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.” ~ Gloria Naylor, The Women of Brewster Place
I am learning that no matter how you feel or what you say, people are going to do what they want to do.  It is everyone's right to do what they feel is best for themselves.  No doubt, I have always danced to my own tune and have not allowed anyone's energy or rhythm to interrupt my own movements, so why would I try to interrupt or throw someone else off balance just because I don't like or agree with the way they are moving?

But what if we see that they are about to fall?  What if [we think] we see that they are about to fall flat on their face and that they are taking a leap (of faith) that is surely only going to bring them to their knees?

I guess the best way to show your support is to stay quiet, hold your breath, wish for the best, and hope that they prove you wrong, and if in the event you are right, you hold your tongue and help them pick themselves off the floor until they can dance with their own two legs again.

17 February 2017

There Can Never Be Too Much Love

“Yes, I'm adopted. My folks were not blessed with me in the usual way. But they picked me, they chose me, from all the rest, which is lots more than most kids can say.” ~ Shel Silverstein, Every Thing on It
G has been depressed lately.  I often find her staring off into space, and when I ask her how things are going with her, she tells me that she feels sad "for no reason."  I get worried that she might have inherited my dour disposition. 

As a result, I have been thinking a lot about adopting.  I just have not decided if I will adopt another child, or perhaps rescue a dog.  I know, I know.  A child and a pet do not compare, but both will require love and attention.  

Isn't love the antidote to depression?  I feel for G, living her childhood with just me, and growing up without ever knowing what it is like to have siblings or even a pet to love and bond with her.  Because she is an only child and only has me to talk to all the time outside of school, I feel as though she is mature beyond her years, and has skipped much of the innocence and playfulness of childhood.

If we had another child with us, someone she could grow up with, bond with and love, she might not feel sad anymore.  I had little time to feel sad when I was growing up because I was too busy playing with, bonding with, and even fighting with my siblings.  I want the same for G.

I am also open to rescuing a dog.  She loves dogs as much as I do, and it is proven that pets do wonders for one's health and emotional being.

Whether I decide to adopt another child or rescue a dog, both will add to my already stressful and hectic lifestyle.  But I am willing to endure whatever additional hardship it will bring to my life because I know that love is always worth it.

13 February 2017

Foul

“When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, "Why god? Why me?" and the thundering voice of God answered, 'There's just something about you that pisses me off.'” ~ Stephen King, Storm of the Century: An Original Screenplay
I was in a foul mood this past weekend.  I felt angry and irritable and as though nothing was going right.  To further intensify things, I had to work this weekend, giving me little to no time to decompress.  I found myself folding laundry and doing housecleaning at 9:00 p.m. last night and I was so exhausted I wanted to cry. 

Somehow my thoughts wandered to negative thoughts, and I started to think to myself, "People who say 'God is good' clearly have never had anything bad happen to them."

My relationship with God has not been the best, to say the least.  I do believe in God.  I just do not believe that He is necessarily in my corner.  The last time I prayed for something, He turned around and gave my dream/wish to the other woman.  Suffice it to say, I will not be asking Him for anything anytime soon, lest He give it to someone else.

The anniversary of my sister's death is coming up soon.  I remember clearly how I prayed so hard for her not to die.  We all know how that turned out.  

Then, I prayed and pleaded with God for another baby.  I even underwent fertility treatments and spent thousands of dollars and tears, only to end up watching the other woman give birth to a beautiful baby.

I realize that I sound like a whiny and annoying woman, but sometimes, I just cannot control myself.  I feel badly though when I see someone who is homeless or who has much less than I do.  It does help put things in perspective and I am humbled and realize how foolishly ungrateful I am for the things that I do have.

But I am only human, and I have to allow myself to feel these negative thoughts, let it out, and move on.

06 February 2017

State of the Nation

“The greatest patriotism is to tell your country when it is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.” ~ Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot
Politically, I am neither right nor left.  I do not even like the idea that government is so heavily involved in our day to day lives.  I believe that every person should be personally responsible for their own life - be self governing.  

I do not believe that the government should be able to tell me what choices I have to make about my own life, such as whether I should or should not be allowed to have an abortion, or whether I am allowed to purchase guns.  The less involvement of the government, I believe, the better.

Am I happy that Trump is the President of the United States?  Absolutely not.  Am I going to riot in the streets, wreck and damage buildings, or have a meltdown because he is the president?  Absolutely not.

And it is not that I am apathetic either.  It's just that I do not want that to be the focus of my relationships with people.  I had to distance myself from "friends" on Facebook because there was too much rhetoric coming from both sides.  My "left" friends fighting with my "right" friends - there was even one entry where I posted a picture of Melania Trump and I had commented about how classy she looked during the Inauguration and a debate ensued between the two sides of my friends.  I have been categorized and de-friended on Facebook -- all because of politics.  

It's an ugly, ugly world out there, and I don't want to be a part of it.  I want to read about the lives of my friends.  I want to see their family pictures and hear about their day.  I don't want political news posted and re-posted.  That is not why I signed up for Facebook, and I certainly don't want to see your profile picture changed to the Obamas or the Trumps.  I want to see you, not them.  

25 January 2017

Chin-Up

“Just be you-strong and honest. The rest falls into place if you do that. It always has. It always will. Remember that. No matter what happens over the . . . centuries ahead of you, remember to be honest with yourself. And if you fail, forgive yourself. You'll make mistakes. The whole world is new, and they have so many more years in the then you.” ~ Melissa Marr, Fragile Eternity
Last year was a fairly good year.  It was the year that I finally was able to travel.  I traveled to California in the late Spring, and during the Summer, I went to the Philippines, and then to Italy.

I am thankful for those travel opportunities, as I know that travel and vacation are not available to everyone. Certainly even for myself, they were not options for the last few years.

At the end of the summer, I traveled down to Washington, DC and stayed with my brother for a few days. He had made a comment about how I had gained weight over the summer.  I was not upset at his observation, and was even proud to say that I was happy that I had enjoyed the summer so much, traveling and eating different, foreign, and exotic foods.  

His comment, however, did stir up my passion for health and fitness, and since December 25, I have been committed to exercising regularly and eating healthily.  I received a chin-up/pull-up bar for Christmas, and it is now my goal to be able to do five unassisted chin-ups by June 1.  When I first started, exactly one month ago now, I was not even able to do one.  As of today, I am able to do one full unassisted chin-up.

As for my eating habits, I eat everything in moderation.  I do not deny myself any treats, but rather focus on learning to make healthier food choices, and eating in moderation all those foods that may not be so good for me.  I mean what's a Friday night without pizza?  Life is too short to deny myself simple pleasures, so I still enjoy my favorite foods.  I eat hard and I work out hard.  It's all about balance.

Speaking of balance, I have been juggling work and home commitments.  I received a promotion at work at the end of October.  The new position has been both fulfilling and challenging, but it also has demanded a lot more of my free time.  And my free time?  It is almost non-existent.  The weekdays are a non-stop rat race, my life lived minute to minute, and the weekends are chauffeuring G around with her various activities.

In my personal life, last year was the year of growth.  I learned many hard lessons in the past few years regarding love and relationships, and last year, I let go of a lot of bad energy and unloaded baggage that had been weighing me down.  I feel much lighter this year and ready to grow even more.  I traveled a rough road, but now I see the path ahead of me and it is looking much brighter and smoother.