Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Last Connection

March 1st was Daphne’s birthday.   The day used to trigger a deep depression in me.  As time passed I graduated from depression to a primal missing and general funk.   Once I learned where she was buried and could go and visit her grave I managed to elevate to a general sadness and sense of loss.  And after a lot of therapy, I can now conjure so many of the great memories and not just the trauma of one horrific day.

A big part of that evolution began a few years ago when I began a relationship with Daphne’s mother, Charlotte, who gave me the end of Daphne’s story.    It was a strained relationship.  I didn't like her for decades even though I had never met her.  Mostly because I knew how much she had hurt Daph.  I could never understand how a mother could disown her child.  Her only child.  I still remember how often Daphne tried to reconcile with her.  And how much it hurt her that her mother always choose to turn her back.  

Charlotte hated me because. . .   Well, I can’t really speak for her.  I believe she hated me because I was in a lesbian relationship with her daughter and mostly because I was the cause of Daphne’s brutal attack and subsequent death.   I get that part.  I’m sure I would feel the same.  

Charlotte and I began a tenuous relationship mostly based on my need to know what happened to Daph at the end, her need to get to know her lost daughter, and perhaps our joint need to maybe build that bridge for Daphne.  I never had a doubt Daph would have wanted it that way.  Still, it was strained.  We both tried, but the underlying mistrust and resentment always came through.  

Anyway, I emailed Charlotte at the end of February to say that I would not be going to the cemetery as I often do on anniversaries but that I was thinking of her.  I received no reply.  Then I emailed because I needed her input on the annual scholarship we had set up in Daphne’s name.   No reply.   And, of course, my first reaction was to be pissed off, that she was back to playing her games.

Then a few days ago I received a certified letter explaining that Charlotte had passed away but had left provisions in her will for the continued endowment of the scholarship fund and that I would be receiving information about that shortly.

I haven’t been able to get my feelings around this.  I read her obit - she was in her 80s so I supposed it was not a shock, although she always seemed to be in good health when I saw her.    She was predeceased by her husband and daughter.  Very few other family members were mentioned.  Lots of professional accomplishments.

She was exactly what you would might picture when you thought of a very well educated, wealthy, privileged, southern woman who built a powerful legal career in NYC.   She carried herself like an aristocrat and looked down her nose on almost everyone.   Most especially me.  

And so I am left with all these unresolved feelings.  I would like to hate her, but Daphne never did and she had a lot more cause to.   I have always disliked her.  But now that she is gone, there doesn't seem to be much point in that.  I suppose even when she was alive, there was no point in that.   And oddly, I find myself wishing that I had tried harder, made more of an effort to get to know her.  

Mostly I think that I am sort of mourning because I will never be able to look into her eyes again. Daphne had her eyes.  And even though Charlotte’s eyes had aged and faded with time,  I could always see Daphne in them.  It was those few moments of connection with the past that drew me to her every time.  I could take all the insults and thinly veiled put downs, just for the chance to feel Daphne present in my life again.  

She was really my last connection.  


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Full of Grace

1.  I finally found Ben & Jerry’s “Hazed and Confused” ice cream and didn’t like it.  It is not real Nutella in the middle.  Why am I thankful I didn’t like it?  Because if I did, I would be 500 pounds by summer.

2.  Yoga props.  My class has ended but I am trying to maintain my practice at home.  But in order to do most of the poses I need props.  A lot of props.  Under my knees.  Under my butt.  A strap to reach my toes.  Yes, I am very thankful for props.   And Ibuprofen.

3.  Beaner arrived home safely from her Spring break in the Bahamas.  (You just never know with that party girl.)

4. And she was accepted to every grad school she applied to.  Yay!   Now she must make the hard decision.  I really don’t care which, except I am hoping it’s not North Carolina.  That is becoming one scary conservative state and I felt very uncomfortable just driving through last year.

5.  Maple sugar.  We went to a maple sugar shack to watch the amazing process of turning sap into syrup.  And the all you could eat pancake breakfast was a great excuse to soak up all that maple butter and syrup.  

They don't actually use buckets to collect sap anymore.
The whole maple forest is strung with these blue tubes which all pump into the sap shack.

And for the record, this is where I live, taken March 23rd.
C'mon Spring!

Friday, March 21, 2014


I really do have things I'd like to write about.  But I am having trouble finding both the time and the words and this just made me laugh.  It's been that kind of year.

And yes, we've already had THAT day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Full of Grace

1.  I have my sauna back!  Martha had some difficulty making the electrical connections work for the new heater and then the circuit breaker needed to be replaced, but finally, FINALLY, I can take a sauna again.  And oh how much I love it.

2.  Sitting typing this with a warm, purring cat snuggled next to me.

3.  “I love you mom”  texts.

4.  Tissue expansion almost done. They have increased each expansion from 60 cc to 90 cc and wow, are they uncomfortable. The expanders are now rock hard and feel like tupperware bowls jammed into my chest. One more fill up and I am done with this part.

5.  Peachie’s boyfriend here for the weekend which relieved me of having to watch all those basketball tournaments with Martha.   I do enjoy watching some college hoops, but this time of year it is just too much.   And it nice that Martha and the BF are bonding while Peachie and I are "the ladies who lunch."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Full of Grace

1.  Still having sub-zero temps, but they do give us unbelievably blue skies.

2.  That I am still filled with such wonder and awe when I see this

3.  A fabulous girls' day out in New York City with my daughters.  Shopping.  Eating.  People watching.  Sight seeing.  Laughing.  Talking. Perfect weather. Perfect company.  Perfect day.

4.  Opening day at our corner ice cream store, the first sign of Spring!  And Beaner and Peachie were home so we got to go together, a family tradition.

(10 inches of snow forecast for tomorrow.  *sigh*)

5.  My sauna heater broke two weeks ago.  I'm not particularly grateful about that.  I have ordered a new heater and it is taking forever to get here.  And I am not particularly grateful about that either, except that I am grateful that I am able to afford a new one.  I had no idea they were so expensive.   Martha and I removed the old heater to get ready for when the new one comes.  Behind the heater the wall was charred, as were the wires. It could have caused a major fire.  So today I am extremely grateful that the heater broke before something worse happened.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Personality Tests

Spending time with my daughters a couple of weekends ago, they had me doing all these personality tests on FaceBook.   Here, for your entertainment pleasure, are the results.  Because you know, there is nothing more accurate than FaceBook.

Which of Jesus's disciples are you?  I'm not sure why my girls had me take this one - I'm sure they couldn't name more than 4 disciples.  Anyway, I got Philip:

This was actually pretty close to my personality, I think.

Which Downton Abbey character are you?

Flattering for sure.  But much more noble than I will ever be

Which Frozen character are you?
I liked this result.  It was probably this or Olaf the snowman.
But a fantastic sense of style?  My daughters are stilling laughing as I took this quiz wearing
an old pair of boxers, a ridiculously out of shape and stained t-shirt and a mismatched pair of cabin socks.

 Which State do you actually belong in?

Who thinks New York is the best result?  Obviously not someone who has lived through this winter.
The most exciting person in the room?   I have never, ever, ever been called the exciting person in the room.
But at least I'm living in the right state for my personality.

 What kind of tattoo should you get?
I am not a tattoo kind of person so I guess this is about right.

 What should your college major be?

It's not what my major was, but I wouldn't mind going back and getting this.

What do I actually need in life?

Apparently a pug dog to tell me I'm fabulous

Which Muppet am I?

Afraid and sensitive to noise - yes.
Cute?  Hmmmm, I'm thinking not.

And lastly, my biggest flaw?

I have no idea what I'm doing.  This made me laugh out load and is often times accurate.

And people wonder why I don't do FaceBook . . . 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Full of Grace

1. My first days of semi-retirement.  Oh yes, I can get used to this.

2. A guaranteed, generous pension.  It’s a beautiful thing.

3. Ben & Jerry’s new flavor - "Hazed and Confused is chocolate and hazelnut ice cream with fudge chips and a hazelnut fudge core that tastes like thick, creamy Nutella. If you're a Nutella fan, run, don't walk."

I haven’t found it yet . . . but I’m looking.

4. All my flower and veggie seeds planted.  With this extended chilly weather, it is how I am hanging onto the hope of Spring.

5. Cate winning an Oscar.   *sigh*

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I am taking a yoga class.  It is a class for “mature” adults and so we all grunt and groan together and help each other up off the floor, which is much better than the ultra bendy classes my daughters drag me to.  Our instructor is great and takes us slowly through the different poses, correcting our form and complementing our efforts.  

I think I have been holding my own in this class.  Even though I started right after my reconstruction surgery I have been able to do most of the stretches and poses.  Except sitting crossed legged and especially bending forward from this position.  We end each class in this pose - sitting, breathing, and then bending forward.  Almost everyone can bend pretty low - some almost down to the floor.  I can’t budge.  Really.  The best I can do is move my chin forward.  Nothing else moves.   And I have noticed that any of the poses that require hip flexibility, I struggle.  And by struggle I mean I can not do them.  At all.

So I went to my massage therapist, Michele, who always asks “what are we working on today?”  I told her about my tight hips and she went to work, poking and prodding.  Then she climbed up on the table and started bending my legs and rotating them this way and that.  My right leg went pretty much whenever she took it.   The left leg, not so much.   In every direction she tried to take it, it would just stop.  Then she said something that made me laugh and my leg went a little further.

She told me that my joints were fine and my muscles flexible enough.  What is keeping my hips from moving is my head.   My head!  Yup, she said that whenever I try to flex my left hip, my head steps in and clenches all the muscles.  Crap.  

The majority of my injuries from the assault were done to my left side.  Shattered left foot.  Broken left ribs.  Missing two left teeth.   And I long ago realized that I tend to instinctively protect my left side. But I now I realize there is much more going on. Michele explained to me that my head is protecting something - an old injury, an old trauma, something.   It reminds me when Peachie had her nose badly broke playing basketball.  She went down in a heap while a pool of blood spread along the gym floor. She was never the same player after that.  She could stand on the perimeter and shoot 3 pointers all day.  But when she had to play body to body, she always turned away.  She knew she shouldn't, but it was a reflex.  She always protected her nose.

For years and years I worked to fight my way of the box trauma put me in.  And I think I have finally accomplished that.  Now I am sitting on the outside of the box, contemplating how to rid myself of these final vestiges of weirdness. I need to figure out how to get my head to tell my hips to relax and unclench.  I am sure that whatever my head is protecting is no longer a threat.  But I’m not sure how to convince my psyche of that. Michele tells me that just being aware of the cause and effect is a start.  Awareness.  I am working on awareness.  


Breathe deep.  


When I can do this - I win.