Saturday, December 25, 2010

Shame and PTSD

(This is a November creation, but a Christmas Day Posting)  Right at this moment I am shaking with shame, hot in the face, as if I have been slapped.  I am even afraid I will accidentally post this blog without editing and thinking it out, because I am afaid I won't remember what I have already learned about the computer.  I would almost close off for another year and a half unreachable by myself as well as anyone else, if not realizing I can type a draft here.  I am afraid if I save this and close it out I won't be able to find a way back.  Already, I couldn't find Google Accounts the usual way, but I found it somehow, and clicked on eblogger, and I grabbed it.   I do need to rest.  And cry.  And find my way back. So do I just minimize this and open it later?  I can't think of anything else.  Oh, click save.

Christmas Day 2010

Hush now, Don't Explain:  But back to front, here I am after a very merry holiday.  Part of that Merriness is ability to move in cool, cool weather.  Part is the overtaking of myself by the spirit of my father dead a year ago, a rebirth of the French Christmas, with all its attendant folldefoll, bright eyes and spirit, making a way, and god-rest-yourself-get-out-my-way, kind sir, etc.  Manic?  Oh, yes, thank you very much.  Kool weather, car in motion, I am cooking food now from Food Ministry.  From my French Great Grandmother, thru my mom, to me, nothing is impossible.  So I come alive out of some frozen indifference, having given away all the pastels, the oils, all the brushes, and am quite happy about it.  To a young man at the library who will do the work of finding an appropriate young adult to dabble and rejoice in my portrait palette, and add their own to all of it.  But this week, I found in my file cabinet that I have all my water color brushes, including the dagger brush my grandfather used in the Pacific all thru the war.  I find the paints, the tempera, the guache, the paper, a lot. 
How did this finding and rejoicing begin?  Well, quite honestly, and quite surprisingto  boot, it was with me finding an etching of St. Anthony holding the Baby Jesus, very beautiful, reminds me of Gertrude Kasabier's photo of a Mother and Daughter, the Mother letting the daughter out the Front Door.  So I remember that I had bought a roll of parchment paper last year, and where was it?  Well, two weeks later, I remembered I had left it at my neighbor's, who has no memory of it, being, (or supposed to be on Oxygen 24/7, but can't afford the power to run the Oxygen pump, can't afford to turn the heat on, because he is going to be having to pay full price for his medicines for awhile, so thank God my car is working again and I can take us to the Food Ministry. 

I say to my neighbor: "No rush, I know you have no memory of it, but about 18 months ago I left some parchment paper here, and some tape, and if you have to come across it, let me know.   Well, he found the parchment paper, not realizing what it was, but not the tape.  I say not to worry, as I will not be mailing the St. Anthony etching until mid-January.  He is waiting for $50 in a card from his ex-sister-in-law, for over a week but it has obviously been taken.  I learn tonight that my sister Michelle has sent her family portrait in a card along with a girft card.  Everyone else in the family has received theirs, but me.  Stolen.  What a lovely neighborhood I live in.  But, back to St. Anthony, the cause of all the finding of many  things I have lost touch with over the years, and a young neighbor who is just the size and height to show off my own vintage wear, and that left to me by others in the past few years, who clutched my Pappagallo cobalt blue with green serpent curled on toe to her chest and gasped when I said she could have them only if they fit.  I had stuffed them, wrapped them, and cared for them for two years, hoping they would fit my niece, who has no feeling for these things.  So, this tall neighbor girl, having just received her MFA from a Catholic College, moved to put her foot in my shoe and I shouted stop, as she took the classic pose of a Cinderella.  You must have stockings, etc. and her own voice of authority spoke back:  She knew what she was doing, her socks were no hindrance to her slipping them on to her feet.  She must know her own body being an artiste.  Well, they are yours, along with this coat, these belts, this hunting jacket, this lingerie, this little enameled pin.  I rejoice that the tenderly cared for possessions I had worn, or had been handed down to me to wear, had found a rejoicing soul to move in with.  I kept the Ballenciaga black coat, the Chinchilla whatever (my bed jacket) and whatever support I can find to I can breath cold air and stay warm at the core. 

I think this St. Anthony etching, which is being restored to its archival enclosure sometime next week, to go to my little sister's wall, to war with her mother-in-laws religious postings, will stand firm, and unobjectionable to said mother-in-law, whose religiosity I can appreciate, having herself been raised by the nuns outside of Chicago, and therefor seen little of the Chicago my Southside father did.  So peace will reign with this St. Anthony's new home.  And I am reminded of a poem by Robert Graves that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly pre-1974, and I haven't learned how to locate yet.  The poem was about the loss of a serpent ring by his wife, who he lovingly mocked for belief in such things, but that he would also like St. Anthony to bring the red-eyed, serpent ring home again.....Ain't it wonderful?  And as I go thru the lingerie drawers under the bed, having emptied one completely, even the stockings of gold, and silver, and lace, and dusky gray, and their bags, the corsets, I find under the directions to assemble the under bed storage, two letters, one from an old love from Old Saybrook, and put them on the couch to 'deal with.'  Two hours later I clutched them to my breast, one inside a lined card, and another folded within.  As I carefully slid them back into the envelope I saw something I had never seen when I first opened the card thirty years ago, two hundred dollar bills, with a note - for half last months phone bill.  I always said we broke each other's bank.  I took one to my nephew, who probably didn't believe where I had gotten them, but checked the date on the bill, 1978.  The other is still in my wallet.  I had spent it already on my magic carpet day, the anniversary of my father's death: French Laundry Powder, French rinse (White Violets) a Java Wafer that made me sing every Latin song I ever knew and call out for the the re-establishment of the Holy Roman Empire.  I even considered doing a re-enactment of all of that if I had a video camera:  Let me just list the Hymns I sang in order:  "Holy, Holy, Holly - Blessed Trinity;  Ave Maria;  Tantum Ergo, and ending up with many version of same, along with my personal finale, Gaudeamus Igitur (Spelling?)   I highly recommend you get yourself a Java Wafer, go into a room in private and confess to all your desires and rejoice in ethereal nature of this Babette's Feast.

So, I had a happy and merry Christmas Dinner, with all the special trimmings of my own derivement.  Including a Rhubarb Tart with dried Cranberries, dusted with a light crumb topping and Cinnamon and Simple Vanilla Ice Cream.  Tomorrow I will use the other crust, same dish, to make an Onion Tarte with Sage.  I am overcome with delight in my very merry French Christmas.  Also, on PBS last week, there was a new program on Paris, and the artists of the early 20th century.  Unbelievable.  I was blown away with all the connections.  No one was untouched, or untouching.  The only person missing because he was not there, was my beloved Franz Marc.  I carry him with me always.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And a One, and a Two, and a Three

First timer, newbie, that is the extent of my computer literacy,... except for the help I get at SupportSquad.  Am over fear of clicking on buttons, but if I have a doubt, I call.  I call them my granddaughters and grandsons, respectful ones, helping oldie but goodie overcome fear, and get online. 

So here it is, three months later, I have been  enjoying more than solitaire and mahjong, since I got my geeks.  I want to find  a more polite word than geeks  When they can come online and take over, I feel like I am four years old again and grandmother gave me some pie dough. I follow her on my space on the floor, rolling out my dough, on a white square on the kitchen linoleum tiled floor.  These were about foot square tiles, so my square was adequate to the small amount of dough she gave me.  Always she put blue food die in it to remind me not to eat it, and get worms, i.e. pin worms.   OK, back on subject, which was what???????

First, I need to remember to keep a large font so I can read and proof.  I am happy the background is green, because my eyes get exhausted from light coming off background.  Still, light is coming into my eyes from space outside text window.  Wish I could cut that light down.  I will ask in help. 

So, about today.  I voted!  Was afraid I wouldn't be able to make it there and back on foot.  I took a cane, in case, and needed it halfway there, as my left knee started to feel like it would go, i.e., not get nerve signal.  So I have to remember how to use cane to take weight of left leg.  Of course, the slower I go the more my spinal chord tires.  I pick time of day when I won't have to stand in line, because standing still, in line, makes spinal nerve give out.   I must be like an elephant, constantly moving. No line, so I am in an out, and on my way home, but my neck starts giving same signal as my legs do when nerve gives out, and my head drops.  This is new.  I knew I would be exhausted when I got home, drooping, and I was and am.  Such is the nature of my demilination. 

 On the way back I see the home of a neighbor has trees cut down in front.  I have not walked down street in a year and a half.  A new porch has been added.  I see someone gardening in back yard.  A white shepherd/lab mix dog comes out open fence gate, and I ask the gardener if I can approach.  I ask if he lived there.  Yes.  I say I used to know former owners, and he clarifies that he is their son, and they are both still alive and well, but he had moved in, and upgraded as his father is 88.  I am relieved to hear this, and just then they come out, on their way to vote as well.  We hugged, quickly updated each other.  None of us are out walking dogs, so we don't see each other.  

Their son, Bill, Jr., and I walk thru garden he has put in, lots of raised beds, even an asparagus bed!  His parents had pure landscaping, but the son is using huge backyard for great garden.  Lots of Kale, sweet potatoes, and getting ready to plant small fig.  He has blackberries, and blueberries, too.  A garden for fairy tale creatures to come alive, I say.  At which point, he goes in house and brings out a black and white rabbit his dog had brought home wild, but is now tame.  Puts rabbit into cabbage patch.  The magical back yard!

He says his parents have been buying new furniture like they had a new home.  We go inside, and I see it is now hardwood floors, better for mobility in future when his parents need motorized assistance  I like new furniture.  Good upholstery, and open at the bottoms, not boxed in, i.e. light and air flow.  We went onto the new front porch, and he had done it very well, said his Dad had really been enjoying it, and I could see why.  And the sidewalk will be paved, etc., lots of landscape insight in Bill, Jr.  We part ways so he can make hay while the sun shines in the back garden, and my back is giving out. 

When I get home, I have to curl-up to rest my spine.  I am exhausted, and just like my computer, when I the charge plug falls out, I shut down, and my spine rests as all systems shut down.  This is why I now hybernate and have for the last year.  If I have to shut down and I am out somewhere, people call ambulances, and won't shut up with their advice, and exhaust me further.  People will not leave an old woman on the street to recover.  I need to start carrying a fan or something to flutter and become Blanch DeBois, from Streetcar Named Desire.  But, I need my hands free for balance, so that won't work.  When I dropped at the apartment next door later, after resting, Don said, as I was leaving, "You look like a bag lady."  That should have been the name of this blog, or something like it.  Anyway, I called back, "That's 'Vintage Bag Lady' to you, young man."

Yes, I have to have a hat on to keep the sun out of my eyes, as I go blind, and somehow, that starts the spine thing, like they are related. And I have weird sunglasses on to block the glare from all angles.  So, 'Vintage Bag Lady" it is.  And, yes, without being aware, my gait changes, and people in passing me, ask me if I am all right.  I don't realize I am slowing down.  Well, its been 18 months since I have been outside to do anything but drive to the MacDonald's, as I am afraid of collapsing in the grocery store.  After all, I am afraid of looking up at things on shelves, and standing still studying a label. Standing still and looking up will take me down 100% of the time.  Then I loose control of my voice volume, my system shutting down, and on pure adrenaline.  Special Forces soldiers recognize the symptoms, but I can't get anything across to my family.  I remember the Billie Holliday song, "Hush now, Don't Explain."  { Search for Billie Holliday, Don't Explain - I can't figure out how to copy a link right now}Then I turn away and leave.  This is my code to myself.  Explaining is exhausting expecially when you keep getting questions from people with no insight, or think you are 'confabulating'.  "Hush now, Don't Explain."I am indeed a Vintage Bag Lady.