Friday, February 26, 2010

Dreaming of Wildwood

Dreaming of Wildwood

There was a home 
where I was wed ...

A magical home when you
entered it's gates... 

Through rooms that voices still resonated
 from the family who loved it
so dearly
 but whom had to leave.
Where they grew up
with a family that filled each room.
With laughter and tears, 
hide and seek, running up and down
it's gilded stairs. 

To belong now to a family of two
that would fill it's rooms with the 
sound of jazz music, an organ and the
swirling sound of a water color brush
casting images of barns, 
ocean and beaches.

My parents nurtured it's
rebirth to splendor
in time for ...

My wedding to be,
 only months after they bought 
 their dream home, 
in the rear courtyard garden
amongst dear friends and family.

I slept there but only one night 
wondering who's room I might be 
dreaming in....
To gaze out the multi-paned 
rippled glass to see where I would
say my vows to my Love....

I threw my bouquet
of white roses and baby's breath
from the small balcony
above the massive front door.
I felt like Juliet looking down...
My dream come true that day.

This home my children played
and explored in, 
where the doors opened to soft breezes 
and the 
fountains mimicked their
sweet, high voices as they dipped 
there tiny toes in the pool below.

Where taking the narrow, hidden staircase
would lead to a secret room that
was the old wine cellar.  

Where slumber nights at Nana and Papa's 
house was a time of tea parties,
make believe with dolls 
and bubble baths in
 the huge old bathtub off the
room they slept in.

She who sleeps in beauty....
We were all entranced by her.

She was always there in the garden 
outside the courtyard. 
Through the old wood gate you 
opened on to her boudoir
where she napped unselfconsciously
in her nakedness
for us to admire and touch.

A story was told that one of the young sons
who played in this garden 
once painted her nipples green....
His father was not happy 
and the young boy washed
and rubbed the paint away
till Eva was pure once more.
He became a priest when he grew up.

My heart broke when
my parents sold Wildwood.
I had dreamed of my
daughters three
wedded in the gardens...

Now I can only pause as I
drive by to remember
in my mind the joyful days
spent here.

She moved next door
to live in a new garden
where she is loved as
we loved her.

Wildwood's windows
are closed...
as though whoever lives
there now doesn't wish
her to live as she did.

Her gardens so overgrown
that the yard is shrouded
in bush and growth like
a Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The gazebo is gone...
where my daughters would 
play as they skipped
on the large round steps
that would lead to the 
rose garden their
Papa tended with care.

My heart is there...

 Some homes
always are joyful.
They are full of a spirit
that comes from the happiness
that happened there.

My heart is there...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I received not one but two! Merci Beaucoup!!

     Here I was having an off week and I was so very behind on reading all the blogs I so very much enjoy and I opened  Sara In Le Petit Village to find she had given me not one award but two!   I actually had to read her post twice because I saw my blogs title and Ka-boom it hit me..

    Merci Beaucoup to you Sara for finding my little blog and taking the time to read what I started writing. It was just a place to share my thoughts,  stories from childhood, photos and now I find myself wanting to be able to spend more time dabbling in though I can't always so I keep a little book I jot notes onto when some story or heartstring gets pulled and pops into my head.  

     I have family and friends from my facebook page who read my blog but when I saw new faces I was a huge thank you to my new cyber friends on Blogspot who I more than love reading.  I really can't express the uniqueness each of them are, you have to discover them yourselves and read them.  Somedays they make me laugh out loud and sometimes tears come to my eyes because of how they have touched me.  So here some of my top blogs I really Love to read and who deserve these two awards as well: 

Parallel Light........Shannon is my dear niece who inspired me to blog.  She writes from her heart, her family being a muse for her whether in words or photos she posts...take a peek.  She is a wonderful poet as well and I hope to see some of those soon....

Sara In Le Petit Village.....I know you already received these two but you were one of the first blogs I started to follow and I have to note you!  I felt like I was able to get a peek into your little village so far from me in California.  I especially enjoy her Translations that follow after her posts...those words echoing her story in just the right way.   I love reading about the family of her boyfriend, the boyfriend, the village, the food...and how she is adapting to a place so far from her home in the states.

Sugo and Sunshine.....The third blog I started following.  She got me when I read the story "The litterbox mystery...a portrait of our neighborhood".   I was laughing and sharing this with friends because it was just so funny!  From there on I have been a loyal follower.  Another lady living outside the states in Tuscany, Italy with her family.  Just imagining this Southern lady in Italy with her southern accent adapting to a new world and language ....I just love to read her blog.  

AstonishMe....When I started reading Glimmer's blog I was entranced by her writing of childhood in the deep South.  Her stories hit me hard because I could envision what she wrote and I can't wait to keep reading more of her life.  Her blog really grabs me because they remind me so of what I know of the south from my mother and father's life there.  Let's face it the south is intriguing and Glimmer weaves a story web you can't put down.   

the b in subtle....newer one I have fallen for...a single mother who writes so dearly of her life and her son.   She questions my thoughts in ways I find that move me.  Her life in her 160 year old home, that sadly she will be moving from...and she has another blog site as well.....Behind the Milk Truck...which I follow as well...

salsa pie....Caroline creates a blog that is inspiring visually with her delightful projects she many with her children ...the tea party I so wanted to be at when I saw the photos!   Take time to see her cheerful life of home and family.

Bloom.....I found Bethany while reading Ms. Moon and AstonishMe clicking on her blog.  Well she is an animal lover and that caught my eye of her bunnies and puppies and then her writing with heartfelt  thoughts.  I am enjoying this new one that I am following...

Bless Our Hearts.....Ms. Moon just has a way with stories that I am glued to day after day...sometimes multiple times a day.  This woman has such ambition with her writing!  I drool for her writing about her grandson Owen...I can't help it!  He is just sooo cute!  Her writing of where she is in Florida resonates that southern pull in me.   I laugh, I tear up, I smile and shall keep on reading Ms. Moon till the cows come home.

Flux!  Wow!   Maggie can write such raw emotion...visceral at times that stand up and demand your heart and soul.  Her writing and poetry move me in such deep ways.  I feel opened up because of her blog and it has made me understand I can write subjects that I might not have because of fear.  Maggie has no her blog now!

Nevering......a poetry blog which I have discovered of recently.  Poetry that tells a story..visually imprinted ...take time to absorb her words...

Milkmoon....Ciara is all the way in Wicklow, Ireland...and I fell in love with Ireland when we went there in 2001.  Discovering Ciara's blog with her stunning photographs and words she writes gives me just a taste of that lovely spot in the world.  I feel calmer after reading her words...

Running Mommy....Kera lives all the way in Abu Dhabi, UAE...gosh that is soooo far away!  I find her blog to be real...her daily life with her two children and husband in this faraway place...her photographs a visual treat.  

   Oh my I am discovering so many new blogs that I am afraid I will never have time enough to catch up on these prolific writers!

     So now I am to write 10 things about myself....that you don't know...this might be hard...really!

1.  I got to meet Prince Charles back in 1978 while I was working at the Charter Bank of London in San Francisco.  Pre-Diana days while I still liked him.   He was shorter than I thought he would be....

2.  My crazy parents allowed my step sister and I to take a road trip from the Bay Area of California up to Victoria  Canada by ourselves.  I was just 16....we had a blast!  The following year they allowed my Love and I to do a road trip for four weeks in the Western States and to Canada.

3.  If I could I would have at least 5 dogs...I really love poochies....

4.  If I could I would have had one more baby after Ryan was born...I regret he is like an only child since his sisters are 10+ years older than he.

5.  My favorite place (to date) on earth is Florence, Italy.  I fell in love with it on our Honeymoon.

6.  The most visually dramatic spot that I have been was hiking in Zermatt, Switzerland.  I would love to go back and see it the way I remembered it.

7.  I really enjoyed playing with Matchbox cars with Ryan when he was little....

8.  I would rather muck a horse stall than clean my own bathrooms.  I just love the smell of a barn.  (This isn't to say my bathrooms stink or are dirty...I just prefer it thank you very much!)

9.  I have the cremated remains of our dear Golden Retriever Dixie in my bedroom closet...I can't bury her....our other dear, dear pets are buried on what we fondly call Boothill on our property.  Dixie died while we were in Europe and it broke my heart we weren't with her when she fell ill.

10.  I always thought I would be a around in an old VW Bus (we did eventually buy one that I struggled to drive with the clutch and stick) wearing long skirts, beads, gauzy blouses going to who knows where saying Peace and Love to all I would meet.  And have a Saint Bernard as a pet.  What was I thinking?


    Disclosure:   Not me!   Can you just imagine if that had been though?  And my Love?   Ooops!  Where is my gauzy blouse?  

     So maybe my Love and I still can?   hahahaha!   My kids would think we had gone plumb crazy!

                              Zermatt ......1977

Friday, February 19, 2010

In a funk....


     So I have been in a funk all week.  I have tried to raise myself from the doom and gloom that wants to wallow inside me making me feel like I have weights attached to my mind and my limbs.  My fingers can't type and I spell badly.  The process of communicating with anyone is severely impaired where words don't form and I simply don't want to talk.  I could be quite comfortable not speaking all day.  I have had this before and it has been a waiting it out for it to go away.  Like a storm that comes over and it rains and rains for days on end, where you wonder when will the sun come back and you can go out without an umbrella.  I am waiting for this storm to pass.

     Adding to my mood or part of my mood is our dryer.  It has been ill or dying for a month give or take.  When it is really in pain it sounds like a mouse being slowly killed by a cat with a microphone amplifying the high decibel constant squeak/screech it can till the dang thing turns off by my hand or the dryer timer.  I mean I do have to dry our clothes!   If it is not dying then it is making embarrassing squawk sounds intermittently and sometimes simultaneously with the mouse squeak/screech magnified sounds.  Our pets are hiding and I should wear earplugs.  My Love tried to deal with the dang dryer but basically said he couldn't get to wherever the sounds are coming from.  He used WD40 in various spots, watched it spin but no cure was found.  Then there are the times where it works fine without any noise.  Why?  What inspires it to create mind damaging sounds?

     I went online to check out dryers and washers on Best Buys website.  I mean we should just get a matching pair, new at the same time.  I found some even on sale and great financing, those new fancy Energy Star ones because ours are not in that league.  No the dang dryer was bestowed upon us by our neighbor after our previous one died over a  year ago.  With the economy in the dumps we simply couldn't afford to buy one so he had one sitting around in his garage.   And I am really grateful that we didn't have to buy one but going into it being installed we didn't know how much life it had left.  We had already replaced the previous washer the year before as the other one died.

     History of washer and dryers for me has been hand me downs from others.  Every once in awhile we had to buy a new one but they never matched except the last set which came from my parents house when they moved.  They lasted almost 14 years but many repair jobs happened along the way.  If I sound unappreciative of mismatched appliances it is because these are the tools of my trade as a professional home engineer.  Would my Love choose to use second rate tools in his profession of building?  I just figured that once we became Real Adults we could buy Brand New Appliances.  I have never, ever had a brand new refrigerator.  Every one we have ever had came from someone else's house, usually off a job my Love was doing.  I would scrub and clean out someone else's dried up food inside till it looked sort of brand new.  Dents?  What dents, I would just ignore them.  Hey, I looked at it this way that at least I had some appliances.  I didn't need to go to the laundromat using saved up quarters and dimes, while sitting for hours with a newspaper or book, secretly observing the other folks doing their laundry.  I did that while we were first married.  Then it was sweet as we would go together on  Sunday mornings when we lived in San Francisco, buy the Chronicle newspaper and be together.  Young lovers doing laundry together.  I never went alone.  Too bad there were no Starbuck's in those days.  And talk about great people watching.  We lived across the street from Golden Gate Park and our laundromat was just up the street near where the Jefferson Airplane's house was when it was painted all drab black.  Very interesting people came in and out of that laundromat.

     Now the real reason I got into this funk to begin with was over Valentine's.  I sweetly received a card from my brother several days before and then on Valentine's Day my love wished me a Happy Valentine's Day and on my pillow that night was a cute card.  Fair is fair I put mine on his pillow that night too.  So okay he was safe....sort of (?).  My kids said nothing and three of them are grown adults though one is out of the country traveling.  Nothing.  I missed those days when they would make a card with a cute picture with hearts and I love you's written on it.  But my Love didn't even take R. down to pick a card out when he went.  I don't know...I just felt...denied.  I didn't understand their ignoring me.  Is it because they don't have any sweethearts themselves?  Are they feeling it is odd to send mom/dad a card?  I was so excited about Valentine's Day.  We had planned on having the Grandparents over for dinner but  one set came for breakfast instead and my mom for dinner.  I planned out a menu to feed my love ones with choosing to do a Beef Wellington because my dear mother by marriage use to fix The best Beef Wellington ever.   Fresh and peeled Asparagus just like my sister by marriage does (she is a most extraordinary cook and has taught me as much as my mother by marriage).  A big salad and a mixed Brown Rice (though I added too much salt by accident).  For dessert I fixed a fancy Chocolate Ganache Tart with Cocoa Meringues to decorate it with.  My mom brought a lovely bottle of wine to go with our dinner and even though we couldn't understand her we had a good time.  It was the next day that it hit me that the previous day just felt regular except for me.  I mean I know my parents can't get out and buy cards like they use to but really a card from my children?   How hard would that have been.  Or for the Grandparents.   Really.  Didn't I always get into the Valentine's love all their lives?  My Love and I always celebrated with them and didn't go out to dinner just the two of us.  It was Always a family affair.   What went wrong?

     Needless to say I was an unhappy woman and that was the beginning of my foul mood.  I even swore which I NEVER do.  My Love asked if I was okay (like he couldn't tell that I was in a sad way) and I didn't say anything at first and then it just popped out!  I said I felt like s**t!   I couldn't believe I said it myself.  I mean you have to know me...I may have sworn a lot as a teenager but that was it.  So he got the message I was not in a sweet mood.  I didn't mean to be mean or uncivil towards him, I know, but when you are married you tend to do these nasty deeds from time to time because of "Heaven knows what came over me!" insanity.   Can I use the Hormone excuse at all?

     Today I laughed for the first time in five days.  It was the dang dryer.  I was alone and had turned it on to dry the towels and I just came unglued with laughter.  The dogs came out wondering what had happened to me.  Was I okay?  They wagged their tails, licked my hands, and then thought "maybe she is happy finally and will give us a biscuit".  Every time the dang dryer made the dying mouse sounds I gleefully laughed.  It felt good and I might even be able to talk this weekend and smile and be happy.  I will be REAL happy if we go looking at washers and dryers and BUY them as well.  Maybe see a movie that I want to see.  Valentine's isn't just one day to let a love one know...everyday we should let each other know that.

     Hormones in a woman who is newly menopausal is the b***h!  Ooops!  I did it again!!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Honeymoon Part 2 ~ Corfu ~


  By the time we got off the ferry and gone through Customs dawn had past and the morning light filled the sky.  Birds were singing and the people of Corfu were starting to appear.  The group of us that got off the ferry had dispersed  and our ferry had already left for the mainland of Greece.  

     Our plans to meet A. we had set up many months before when he was getting ready to go on his first trip to Greece.  He would check the ferries that came in each morning for a window of days to look out for our arrival.  As we looked around where we figured we would see him we thought about how hungry we were and that we had no Greek currencies.  The exchange office wasn't open yet so we couldn't buy any food.  We found a place to sit and wait for A.

     Our first image of A. coming towards us was who is this guy?  He came walking in his determined saunter, with his hair flowing and combed back like Jesus, quite blonde, wearing cut off jean shorts, flip flops, and a gauzy shirt half unbuttoned.  He was quite tan and talking in Greek to anybody that he saw  and then we noticed they were talking to him back as though he lived here.  My Love and I thought he looked like some Greek God the way he came towards us in slow motion for all to see.  He came up to us very excited that we had made this ferry.  A. didn't mess around with a long talk about what we had been doing since we came to Europe, he was ready to show us Kerkyra (Corfu). 

      So off we started walking towards the old town.  He was talking the whole time of everything he had been doing since arriving in Corfu.  We butted in that we were a tad hungry and could we find an exchange office to get some Greek currency.  "No" and adamant no to the money.  He would pay for everything we would need while we were here and that was that.  This was our wedding gift from him.  All during our walk as he talked he would be yelling out to people walking by "Kalimera!" which is Greek for "Good morning" and everyone would respond back to him the same way  but with an addition of "Kalimera Andreas!".  It felt like we were with a celebrity of sorts.  We walked the quaint town streets till he stopped in front of a shop and started saying this place had the best yogurt.   As you came inside there were a few tables with chairs and in the back a counter.  All felt cool and clean inside.  He started spouting out in Greek what he wanted which all sounded Greek to me.   Quickly the man behind the counter brought out white bowls that had a pale layer which turned out to be honey on top.  Carrying it to a table I noticed the bowls were warm.   I had not eaten much yogurt in my life so I was thinking right off the bat I wasn't sure if this was my idea of breakfast but I was so hungry I figured it had to be better than nothing.  That first bite sealed my love of fresh warm yogurt.  I have never had it quite the same even when I made my own.   Between the warmth and the flavorful honey it was the food of Greek Gods!   He told us they also made really delicious rice pudding served warm and creamy as well.   Now that I had food in my belly I could start to enjoy where we were.  We left with him saying "Efharisto" which means "thank you".  

     Walking outside I looked around and noticed I couldn't read any of the signs.  The Greek letters aren't like Spanish or Italian where you can maybe figure out the word because of similarity to some English words.  He continued showing us around the town pointing out different places that had really good this and really good that all the while saying "Kalimera!" and talking to people he came across.  We knew A. had taken Greek before he came but we couldn't believe how he seemed so fluent in it.  He had picked up the street Greek while on mainland Greece with friends he had made on his travels.  The locals really liked this crazy American who spoke like they did.   It felt like the whole town new him.  

     He attempted to teach me some Greek words to use while we were here and my Love and he laughed about it all knowing how shy I was.  Me speaking Greek to a Greek.  So there was "Yasa" for "hello", "Andio" for "goodbye", "Ne" for "yes" and "Ohi" for "no".  I felt so silly but enlightened to a new culture with my celebrity brother in law to show us around his new island.  

*I wish I could take credit for this photo but I don't have many photos from Corfu.  So thanks to a travel site where I saw this of Corfu  

Thursday, February 11, 2010

When Mother Isn't Who She Use To Be

   My mother has dementia of some kind.  I know it and my family knows it but I'll be darn if there are some leeches out there who won't admit it and continue to use her.  I can do nothing about it sadly, not a thing.  All I can do is be who I have always been, an honest, caring daughter.

     My mother had a stroke over five years ago that left her with Aphasia.  Aphasia is a disorder that is a result of damage to the brain that is where our speech comes from.  It is usually caused from a stroke or from an injury to the head.  It impairs the ability to understand and express the use of language as well as reading and writing.  At the time her prognosis was good and she was expected to regain much of her speech.  She took it in good stride and initially did therapy for her speech.  Of course like she always does she stopped doing it because she had better things to do like shop, have lunch out with her friends and keep up appearances.  She wouldn't do the follow ups with the Aphasia Center and would lie to me that she did. She did this for years but I knew.

     My mom is all about control.  Her control and how she attempts to control her family and really the control she did with the amazing contributions she has done in her community.  She was quite a speech maker and could get almost anyone to donate to an organization or fundraiser she endorsed.  She would come across elegantly, looking straight into everyone's eyes and using her Southern charm persuade a whole room to jump on her bandwagon right then even if later they changed their minds, which most didn't.  She would have been good as a politician or even a preacher.  So it is very sad to see the woman who could walk up to a podium, without a note or prompter, speak out to a room full of people without a bit of nervousness, who now is unable to have the ability to have a simple conversation.  That was the woman they all saw in her glory days.  That was not really the mom at home with her son, daughter and our spouses or her grandchildren.

     I don't mean to speak badly of my mom but before the stroke she was not an easy woman to be around.  We have had good times but there have been one to many times where she has been an awful mom.  How many moms question the trust of their children without any justification?  How many moms tell their children that they don't love her or care about her?  How many mothers would turn an icy shoulder to her children because they didn't do as she wanted?   I am speaking of grown adult children.  None of us wished to be disrespectful towards her and held our tongues.  I eventually couldn't take it anymore when it became an attack on my daughter.  That was enough and I let her know it.  Pick on me but don't ever speak that way towards my daughter when she has done nothing to deserve the attack.  

     The best part of the stroke, as awful as this sounds, is that she became nicer to all of us.  It was like the nasty ways had been purged from her!  She became a pleasure to have around which was a nice change from wondering who she would be when we talked to her or saw her in the past.  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was my mom.  There is more to her than one can point a finger at and she is an Oscar worthy winning actress to friends and acquaintances.

     Sadly her speech did the opposite and she began to regress.  This regression should have been a flag to her doctors but that is another story altogether.  I could somehow figure out what she was saying and translate for her.  Most people just nodded and acted like they knew what she was saying. At present she is almost unable to speak where anyone can understand her.  A word here and there that one tries to piece together in a sentence or phrase but the overall meaning is lost.  Most of it doesn't make sense because she contradicts herself constantly.  Yes is no, up is down, over is under, red is blue, Monday is Friday and we are all wrong and she is right.  Most times she has this new little laugh or a cough when she is having a hard time speaking.  I tell her to take her time and try again.  The second time may be easier or it may not.

     Today....ah today....she is bent out of shape with me because I am not doing what she wants me to.  She hates, simply hates to be told NO.  To say no is to commit Seppuku by not honoring her demands  Oddly when she is miffed her speech slightly improves which isn't good for the reason that I am subjected to her nasty side.  On one level, the level that I feel first, is that she is so selfish to think I have no other purpose in this world than to be here to always say yes to every request she bids.  The next level is the humor in the request.  I have to remind myself to see the humor because otherwise I would surely go crazy.  She sounds like a spoiled four year old who doesn't get what she wants.   The dementia part is that she won't let go of it till the request date has past.  Today's request will not happen for two weeks.  This will be a long two weeks of her calling to repeat her demands and be irritated at me for not doing what she wants. I am polite,  keep my chin up and move on in the conversation.  This is when she will say silly things like the friend we need to see is dying (they aren't), they are very, very ill (they aren't),  she is dying (she is not), she has three months or five years left  to live (she isn't dying) and how can I not do as she asks?   There is the line that we never see her, but she is the one who cancels out due to rain, clouds, sun, friends, you name it she has an excuse and then accuses me of not seeing her.  I am polite and try to hard to stay calm...because there is no use in arguing with someone who doesn't see the world like the rest of us.  She sees herself as being just fine.  In fact that is the phrase she uses multiple times "Everything's fine, I'm fine".

     This too shall pass, a favorite saying that I utter as a mantra in my head.  My mom is not herself any longer.  Life goes on and I just keep holding my chin up.  My heart aches for her loss and our loss as a family.  I choose to see the glass half full and she will always see it as half empty.  I will not let her bring me down.  I know my mom loves us and she does tell us she does.  There is so much about my mom I will never know or understand.  Ever.  But my chin is up.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Honeymoon Part 1 ~ Corfu

              The wind is in from Africa
             Last night I couldn't sleep
             Oh, you know it sure is hard to leave here Carey
             But it's really not my home
             My fingernails are filthy, I got beach tar on my feet
             And I miss my clean white linen and my fancy French cologne


     I was driving on the freeway today listening to Joni Mitchell on my iPod when a song came on that took me back to our honeymoon.  Carey.  Almost all old Joni Mitchell music has some special meaning to our relationship but this song brought the memories of our honeymoon, specifically Corfu, to come meandering into my thoughts.  My Love and I had decided to take a 6 week trip to Europe backpacking and using a Eurail Pass to get around.  I had never been out of the country whereas he had been six years before after he graduated from High School.  I was a wide-eyed 19 year old bride on a huge adventure.  He had our trip all in his mind of where and what we should see and off we went two days after we were married in 1977.  At this point in the trip we had been away for five weeks and were on our way to meet his brother A. who was on the island of Corfu.  His wedding gift to us was to take care of everything while we stayed with him there.  We didn't know what to expect and when it comes to memories this part of our trip was an experience we would never forget.  

                                                  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

   We had arrived in Brindisi, Italy via the train at long last.  I was elated to be off the train because of the cramped conditions we had been in from Rome to where we would catch the ferry to Corfu.  When we got on the train it was already full of young northern European's leaving for holidays to sunny beaches in Italy or like us to Greece.  My love and I managed to find a place to stand or sit on the floor in the area where you would embark or disembark, right outside a toilet as all the compartments were full.  How convenient if it wasn't for the hours I would have to smell that awful aroma. Of course the other smells were just as bad.  Cigarette smoke and B.O.   I had decided men in Europe don't wear deodorant since anytime I am in close contact with them I smell the pungent stench of their pits and bodies.  The windows in the corridors next to the compartments open half way but somehow with all the tourists on board and the heat I felt like I couldn't breathe.  We had boarded the train at 12:35 A.M. after sitting at the train station since 6:30 P.M. the previous evening.  We had eaten an okay meal at the Train Terminal Ristorante earlier and would hopefully not be hungry till we got to Brindisi the next morning.  That is hoping that the train kept moving and didn't stop like they did in Spain while in the middle of nowhere.  Spain's train system ran on an always late schedule, seemed to have odd break downs or just stop and start whenever.   So far the Italian trains had been running on time.

     Getting off the train, while a relief, made us realize how exhausted we were from not being able to sleep or be comfortable for any length of time.  But how could we?  Bodies trying to get to the bathroom, bodies stepping over you or on you if your were sitting down, talking, smoking, talking, laughter every now and then, voices of other languages I couldn't understand that became a drone in my tired mind. 

      I really wasn't a very good traveler when it came to roughing it, yet at last here we were in a crowded area near the ferries, waiting to board a ferry to Corfu.  My Love and I found the place to  buy our ferry tickets and we were able to get our own compartment on board to sleep in as it was to be an all night trip for 10 hours.  We had to hang around the port area from the morning till near 10:00 at night before we were to leave.  It was entertaining that much I can say.  There was guitar music playing, singing, and a young woman dancing near a fountain where we waited.  I started to  people watch which helped the time pass by.  I noticed that a lot of the girls had on long skirts, or sundresses  and I looked down at my outfit and felt very unfeminine.  I was wearing my Levi jeans, one of the two I brought, and a t-shirt.  I was feeling grimy from the train ride as well as from the past several days without a shower.   I had brought only one sundress and at this point I was sick and tired of the clothes I had brought.  I wanted a shower badly but that wasn't going to happen for at least another day.  I couldn't wait to be at our next destination.  

     It got hot during the day and we had to wear our backpacks if we walked around so we tried to just stay in one place rather than do any sightseeing.  There was a row of little cafes in the area and we read the menu's placed outside each one deciding where we would eat for dinner.  All overpriced for the captive audience here.  During the day we nibbled on bread we had bought at a panetteria and we bought a couple of liter bottled waters to drink from and bring on the ferry.  Carrying the bottled water is a pain because they are heavy yet we need them.  Amidst all these travelers I felt like we were in a crowd at Disneyland.   Everyone happy and excited to be going on holiday.  All day whenever a train arrived more people would flood the area.  I kept wondering if everyone was going to be on our ferry or were there other ferries departing to take some of the crowd away.   

     Finally we were able to board the ferry!  My Love and I waded through the crowd of still jubilant people hoping to find our cabin to leave our backpacks and walk around above deck before settling in for the night.  Our cabin was pretty bland.   A queasy mint green paint with two single bunks of black vinyl mattresses.  No sheets so we would use our sleeping bags to sleep on.  Nothing else in the space not even a porthole to look out.   I was feeling a little claustrophobic and was more than happy to leave and walk around the ship.  My Love was feeling a bit nauseous with the ship heading out into the Adriatic Sea.  The engines were loud and the whole ferry felt the vibrations  with every bounce over the water.   It was going to be a long night.  The main level was a large enclosed open area with hard bench seats around the perimeter and in the middle single seats bolted to the floor in rows.  My Love wasn't feeling any better in there so we headed out on the foredeck which had more open room than the aft deck.  It wasn't sheltered from the oncoming breeze but it was fresh air!   We ended up sleeping out there huddled and cuddled together against the side of ferry sheltered from the wind before heading down into our cabin to reclaim our packs.  The toilets didn't seem to be working on board so you just used them with your nose held, hovering over the seat and getting the heck out of there.  I was getting pretty good at this but wishing I was a guy who didn't need to squat to pee.  To bad they didn't have antibacterial lotions back then as I would have brought a lot along.  

     Our first view of Corfu was of the silhouette of the island against a blue black sky just before dawn.   The sounds of our fellow travelers were like us, stirring and gathering belongings for our disembarking off the ferry.    

                                           But let's not talk about fare-thee-wells now
                                                     the night is a starry dome.
                                     And they're playing' that scratchy rock and roll
                                                    Beneath the Matala moon

Monday, February 1, 2010

Three Little Girls....Mommy Fix My Hair

     Mommy fix my hair.....That is what I heard each morning for what seemed like years and years.  Three little girls.   One with thick brown hair, one with hair the color of honey, one with fine brown hair, each one I brushed day after day.

     How many ways can I come up with to do their hair?  
French braid down the back....
French braid pig-tails....
Pony tail....
Inside-out pony tail....
Side pony tail....
Side pony tail with a braid....
Pig-tail braids brought up and crossed at the top....
Side-pony tail braid with a loop....
Pig-tail braids with loops.....
Top half of hair pulled back with a bow, a barrette, elastic bands with round colored balls you looped over to fasten...         
Big bows, little bows...
Animal barrettes, bow barrettes, holiday barrettes... 
Scrunchies in a rainbow of colors...
Leave it down unadorned...

     Do I use water or Dippity-Do?
     Wide comb, small comb...
     Dry hair, damp hair....

     They each were patient at letting me do their hair.  Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, spraying with the squirt bottle filled with water which sometimes I warmed so it wouldn't feel so cold on a winter morning.   Combing, combing.   My hand deftly pulling just the right amount of hair into my waiting fingers as I weave back and forth the long braid.  Are all the hairs smoothly laid?  How does it look?  Thanks mommy.

     Next daughter.  What should we do with your hair today?  The same?  Okay.  Different?  Okay.  Which bow?  A ribbon?  Can I weave the ribbon in?   Okay.   Nothing?  Okay.

     Could you do my hair mommy?  My youngest's fine hair is hard to do but I always magically did what was asked.  I felt so accomplished at this small task.  It looks good mommy.  I changed my mind.  Can we do a braid on top and a pony tail too?  Okay.   She makes funny faces at herself or me in the mirror while I do her hair as she stands on the small bench my love made just for little ones not tall enough to stand at the sink to wash their hands.  Perfect for them to stand on for me to work my hair magic in the morning.  That bench now in my closet for me to stand on to reach the upper shelves. 

     Next is my middle daughter with the honey brown hair that shines in the sunlight when she runs in our backyard.  How shall we do it today?  Her sweet smile appears as she thinks and thinks about this one thing she is asked. about the inside out pony tail mom?  She likes that one after a friend she has wore her hair that way.  Her eyes are alight but not with what I am doing but what she will do when I am done.   All done!  She jumps off and runs out of the bathroom.  I am left alone to clean out the strands of hair left on the brush, the comb, on the counter and in the sink.  I hesitate at throwing away my children's lost hairs for to me they are still alive and a part of them.  Cast offs I know but in the wastebasket they look unwanted and ugly in the small wad I have balled up.  Not many but they are of my three little girls whose voices I hear out the door. 

     I never tired of doing their hair.  The feel of my daughters's hair in my hands I can still feel.  

      Shampooing their hair was a task of setting a towel down on the kitchen counter for them to lay upon.  Another towel nearby for wrapping their hair afterwards.   Who's first?  Me mommy!  My oldest climbs up on a kitchen chair to get onto the counter, then swiveling around to lay down with her head in the sink.   I supported her head with one hand and with the other wet her head with the warm flowing water.  Running the water softly all over, under and on top.  I squeeze the shampoo onto her head and bring it to lots of white frothy bubbles.  Massaging and making sure the shampoo gets to all the hair.  My oldest needing more shampoo with her thick hair.  Don't get any soap in my eyes mommy!  I won't as I plop a bubbly dollop from my hand to her nose.  Mommy!  A laugh.  Rinsing all the shampoo out.  Squeaky clean as the bubbles flow down the drain.   I add a conditioning rinse that I comb through with my fingers and all over her hair.  I love the feel of my fingers flowing through her hair to the very ends.   Rinse once more.   Off with the water.  Okay, sit up!  I wrap the towel on her head as she begins to sit up and I gently dry her tresses with the towel.  Jump down!  She stands with her back to me as I begin the process of combing making sure to not pull any knots, the towel slipped down around her small shoulders for a drape to catch the dripping water.  Starting at the bottom and working my way up.  It takes time but I don't mind.  It is a rhythmic motion as I comb her hair and at last getting to the top and gliding all the way down without a tangle to pull.  How lovely my daughter is before me as I turn her around to face me.  Who's next I ask?

     The simple task of mothering is a task I bask in.  I never realized how much it would mean to me.  Those years when they were babies my hands were on them constantly.  Bathing, changing clothes, diapers, loving them.  As they grew it becomes less of the need to do for them.  I know the importance for them to learn to handle the dressing and bathing and only assist when they really need the help.  What was left for me for many years became the hair.  I was needed to do a bun for ballet class just the way the ballet teacher required.  I was needed to do the braids they couldn't do for themselves.  Such a loving touch, a chance to talk about whatever came up in doing their hair.  We don't realize how those moments will fly by just as they run out the door and away to play.  I still get my hugs from my now grown daughters, but I can also still feel my hands sliding through their hair even we aren't together.  I can feel the weight of it, the lightness of it, admiring the color, but most of all being needed.



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