Happy Hannakuh! I spent the first night of Hannakuh among friends last night. It was funny. The Roman Catholics outnumbered the Jews. We ate brisket, latkes, applesauce with rubarb, a roasted vegetable dish with apricots and ate those donuts filled with apricot jam. The sullen little daughters were there...
The waxing moon is spilling its light all over my bed. It has stubbornly positioned itself right above my skylight and refuses to budge. Charlie, my new kitten, is vigorously trying to whip a pen into shape by batting it all around my bedroom. I don't have the heart to banish him back to his little nursery, the bathroom. Sophie is contentedly lying on her bed dozing. Who knows where Max is. And the one other human in my house, Sweet Caroline, is snug in her bed and hopefully dreaming of dancing sugarplums.
I want to go to sleep, but I am wide awake. Tomorrow is going to be a challenge.
It is the perfect day to just stay in my pajamas and pretend that I have absolutely nothing to do. Unfortunately, I have a lot to do. A paper to write, laundry to wash, fold and put away, rugs to vacuum, floors to sweep, meals to think about, groceries to buy etc.
But the rain is tapping on my skylight, my little tiny kitten is curled up next to me, I'm still in pajamas, under the bed covers with my laptop (damn addictive thing) and trying to figure out how to tear myself away from this idyllic state. Well, it could start with standing up I suppose...
It was one of those holidays that just showed up this year. I did no real planning and was only coaxed into some planning by my dear friend, Andi. I have spent the last three Thanksgiving with her and her family. Last year we had a double header, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Caroline opted to spend the day with her Dad and his partner only because her cousin was in town. I was fine with that, which I was actually astonished by myself. I thought the first time without my daughter on a holiday would be horrible. But the truth is I dropped her off at 3 p.m. and she was home by 10 p.m. -- ten minutes after I returned from my holiday outing. And I was perfectly content to travel with Andi and her family ten blocks to her cousin's, who has the most charming and smart children.
Christmas will be odd this year too. I will be gone. I have no plans to decorate -- really. And I am typically planning and collecting and reassessing about now. But that bug just has bitten yet. I think I may be in a bit of a doldrums. Not sure why. Things are fine. Perhaps it is just a transition year. I don't know.
Three weeks from Wednesday I will board a jet to Paris. I will be out of the office for a total of three weeks and I am looking forward to it like a poison ivy sufferer looks forward to that dose of benadryl. I am itching for a vacation away -- really away.
I am tired. Not the kind of tired where I just want to give up and try something new. It's the tired where I need a break from everything. I don't need to think. I just want to absorb. I want to visit Versailles again. I want to attend Mass at Notre Dame. I want to cruise a bateau along the Seine. I want to sit in a cafe with a book and not feel like I need to move on to the next thing. I want to shop in the markets and cook dinner in. I want to reconnect with old friend and witness their transformation that has been brought on by living the life of ex-pats.
It's the right amount of time. Two weeks in Paris with buffer days before and after the trip. I am so glad I don't have to stay in a hotel and that I will have an apartment where I can live and just be. I want to return refreshed and pick up again.
There is nothing I can think of that would make me want to go back to my teenage years. Here I sit and wonder what is going on in that active mind of my sweet16 year old daughter. She is upstairs in my room doing god knows what. We had a huge fight this evening over her study habits and grades and I was told to mind my own business. Well, when she is a legal adult and no longer lives with me I will try to mind my own business. Try is the operative word here. I have a really hard time minding my own business when it comes to a lot of things. Not that I want to control everything, but I do think she is in dire need of my guidance. I know that someday -- maybe when she's 40 -- she'll pull it together. Right now, she is seriously looking at a gap year because I don't think she is ready to go to college and I don't think any college worth paying for would take her. I certainly wouldn't even consider the place I work because frankly she isn't as together as the students there and I would be mortified if she performed there as she does now.
It is such a shame because she really is a smart girl. I am so disappointed in her grades. Other than that I have a lot to be grateful for. She is a good girl. She is a kind person. She is fun when she lets that old teenage guard down. Oy. What to do? Hope and pray for the best.
Where does time go? It's Wednesday. It seems like yesterday was Sunday. Next week is Thanksgiving. It is absolutely crazy. Should I start shopping for a casket? It seems like that will be here in no time.
that is the question. Whether tis nobler to renew this damn subscription to Typepad or just let it expire and let my words go the way of Jimmy Carter's memoirs -- in some cyber black hole. I don't know. I read this thing every so often and I think, boy, this is an awful lot of navel gazing. Then I think, well, navel gazing isn't such a bad thing even if it can tend to be a bit narcissistic. I prefer to think of it as being introspective. You know, pulling out that ol' soul looking it up and down for those black smudges the nuns taught us about. Those smudges need to be examined, sprinkled with holy water and wiped clean. Uh huh.
This little blog lets me exercise my writing skills which I never get to use any where else. I really think the idea of "journaling" is quite frankly a little queer. I mean that in the true meaning of the word -- odd, quaint. (Why did homosexuals hijack such useful words? Now think about "gay" I think the word gay was a great utility adjective and now if you use it, you run the risk of being tarred and feathered and stuck in the stockade.)
It was a bad, bad week -- on just about every front. I know in my gut that everything is going to be fine. But it was just five days together where the confluence of every thing that could go wrong did go wrong.
Caroline is doing horribly in school. She is quite capable, but she is self-sabotaging. And I know that in some way I feed that, but I can't quite figure out how. My former husband showed his assholish, cruel self in extreme ways. A hateful email is just part of it. I really think we would have been so much better off is the poor man had died. Work is a bear. An absolute ridiculous no win situation and the pay is ridiculous to boot.
Then Caroline asked to go to Starved Rock yesterday, which we did. It was a glorious day ( I'm an old lady using that term) But we left saying never again. It's contrived nature -- cement trails in part. We both miss California and New England for it's true wilderness. We both agreed that Wisconsin is probably the place to head to.
Today is smiling, I hope. I have friends coming over for dinner which means I can cook, which I find relaxing. I will now go wake up Caroline to get her started and then go to church and give thanks that at least the Taliban isn't next door. (I do have a lot to be grateful for -- more than most.)
I decided a couple weeks ago that it's time to annul the marriage. On Monday I visited my parish office and met with the associate pastor -- a woman. (Someday there will be no choice but to allow women priest.) It felt right and it felt about time. It will be five years in December that this marriage ended and four years when the legal contract was dissolved. I will have known him for 30 years in December. December is a momentous month. Christ was born and my marriage died.
After Christmas I will tell Bill. No need to bring it up now. I always considered the divorce his. There was no other alternative. And now the annulment is mine. It's more of a psychological mark for me.
I had so wanted to stay married, not necessarily to him, but to stay married. I made it work. It was fine. He came home at night and his snoring next to me was sometimes comforting. I listened to him talk, and boy could he talk. I put my own ambitions aside and helped him push ahead. I had great faith in him. I believed in his talent and I believed he loved me, truly loved me, and that he wanted to be with me until death parted us. I wanted to love him. During most of the years of our long marriage, I wished so many times that I felt happy to see him walk through the door in the evenings. I wished I missed him when he was gone sometimes for weeks at a time. But I didn't. Oh how I wish I hadn't settled back then and married him. But then, I wouldn't have Caroline, maybe not Chicago and all the other wonderful things in my life.
I feel guilty about my feelings toward him. I often feel like I was the one who deceived, not him. But I was a faithful, loyal wife, who gave him the support he needed to be as successful as he is today. We had some very nice times together and we still have some memories that we laugh about it and talk about it. We still share the common love of our daughter.
He is a good man. He is a very smart man. But he is a lost man. He can't find his way. And try as I might to encourage him, it is not enough to help him.
I know that if I am fortunate to meet another man it will be different. I will not settle. And I will love with clarity, not doubt. I will have no reason to feel guilt. I have learned my lesson and I still carry the feeling that I somehow betrayed him too.