Thursday, September 7, 2017

I hate money

I hate money. Just a shout out, out loud, to this one thing in my life that perennially SUCKS. If there was ever a year that I look forward to, it is this one (I have always considered years to start in September, a longstanding habit from my school days, and now parent of school kids days). This is the year we pay our last college tuition, as my two brilliant, hardworking, bad ass sons graduate college, one with 2 degrees, and one heading to a PhD program. My PRIDE at all that have faced, accomplished, and are dreaming for the future is huge, and it pisses me off when that is overshadowed by the dull, oh so familiar stress of paying for it all… or paying for anything. Or having no idea how we will do it (I say that every single fall… a drumbeat in my mind, robbing me of the now). I always said if I could give my kids just one thing, it was an education. And we have. And they have shined and deserved it and will make the world a better place for it… but holy shit it has been haaaaard!
Just had to write it… what it must be like to not have that constant stress? What do people feel like who never worry about money? Who can spend it on frivolity? Who go to the damn hairdresser regularly (I wouldn’t do that anyway- I hate that experience), who shop incessantly (gross… that would truly make me feel like a hypnotized idiot), who never fear they cannot meet their commitments, who never wonder how they will keep working until they are 70 (my brain MUST hold on!), who can gift their kids a new car (well, nice used car) for graduation (wanted to do that- he really deserves it but the last tuition bill is just too huge!), who can afford the best healthcare in the US (not going there… what a seriously fucked up nation of fools), who can just not constantly have that buzzing, ever present worry, all the time, perennially?
I know my problems are nothing really, because money is nothing really, but still… today it sucks and is robbing me of the now. And so right this minute I am going to get up and stop this shit and be in the now and feel gratitude for all that I am, have, have done, will do, can do, and the huge LOVE I am constantly surrounded by. 
And after all, this is the LAST tuition bill, even though it will take a few years to pay it off. It is the LAST one. Hell yes! And they SO deserve it, my straight A, Dean’s List, scientist boys. Yes.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

And then it was a most amazing day


And then it was a most amazing day. Just like that. Life is now. Only right now.
And the air is Crete is sweet and perfect and the waves are musical.
Gratitude.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Day 2


I am sitting in Crete right now in the early morning hours (early morning hours Greek time, that is… it’s almost 8). Everything is just starting to awaken and that is my view, one of my favorite views in this world. I spent a month here last year that was so changing. It is that place in life. And I am here.
So why do I feel crazy? I almost didn’t write this because this blog is a blog, after all, and I used to write eloquent articles here. But then I realized that I had decided to just journal here. That was the whole point of resurrecting it. So, I got over it and I am just going to journal. Just write shit down.
It is day 2 and I feel so unhinged. I am so sick of worrying about money, about my mother with Alzheimer’s, about whether or not I will follow her and my grandmother one day, about how she must feel inside of it all, about returning to the US and the devastated political scene there, about trying to save for retirement when we one day cannot work 24/7 like we have for years, about where the hell we will end up, about whether I will ever feel truly at home somewhere… I think I will stop there. That’s enough.

And I have to let this shit go right now and breathe the air and listen to the waves and goats’ bells and birds. I am going down to the most idyllic little beach on the edge of Europe just in front of Africa with my yoga mat now. And try. Thank you this day and this life and this moment. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Living from a place of gratitude and the big move

I am leaving Italy soon for Colorado, our biannual move across the ocean, when we change nearly every single aspect of our lives- language, environment, people, culture, time zone, food, climate, thinking, sleeping, political correctness (or not), driving etiquette, oxygen in the blood, how to be, how to act, how to cope, just everything. Everything. We are not sure if it is keeping us young or killing us faster.
I have often made this move begrudgingly, and been in one place while pining for the other over the years. But I don't do that anymore, or at least that is the goal.

Living from a place of gratitude truly makes living, living. These are some of the things I am so grateful for in Colorado:

1. The air. The perfectly clean, crystalline, thin air.
2. The animals that I share the space with daily, the moose, foxes, elk, coyote, deer, eagles, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, ptarmigans, mountain lion and lynx (haven’t seen those yet), and army of big snow dogs that keep everyone company.
3. The music. Music in the US is just superior in every way.
4. The people! The How’s it going? Hey dude! How is your day so far? How about that blizzard? Need a hand? Hey where’s the dispensary? Awesome day! kind of people in Colorado. The total friendliness and openness and smiles where I live. The lack of posers and plastic surgery and fake boobs and high heels and big hair and men with manicures.
5. The yoga studio.
6. Our beater Subarus. Everyone’s beater Subarus.
7. Going to the grocery store in pajamas, wearing your parka and snow boots. No one gives a shit. It’s fucking cold.
8. Standing at the top of North America’s highest chairlift at 12,840 feet (3914 meters), head spinning, feeling scared shitless and thrilled to be alive at the same time on top of the bowl.
9. Free, efficient public transportation, paid for by cannabis taxes. Hell yes, in some things America, with Colorado at the forefront, is light years ahead of everyone.
10. Avocados and green chiles.
11.  Fire in the sky. You only understand this if you have seen it. Psychedelic. You cannot help but believe in something divine.

Standing




Today is one year of me practicing yoga every single day. I didn't plan it and never thought beyond the day at hand. It has changed every single aspect of my physical and mental life. It has brought through shitty and happy. It is helping me not fall apart as I age. It is making me kinder and quieter and stronger. It has made me humble and flexible. It is teaching me to breathe. It is giving me the gift of patience. And compassion. And peace. Seriously changing everything. 
Just had to say it out loud today, somewhere other than inside my head. I feel like this stone tower on the beach in Crete. Standing. In spite of everything. 


~ I wrote this post on my Instagram account a couple weeks ago. It is too important not to stick it in here, too. It has changed everything.

Resurrection

Hello. After years I am resurrecting this blog.

I want/need to write right now, the way I needed it when I wrote here. The thought of a venture into a new blog is too daunting and too wasteful for now. And I have never retired this blog, because I actually still get emails time to time from readers who happen upon it. I just need a place to write. I need a journal, and in essence everything I wrote here before seems like a journal to me. Like looking back inside of my head or into the world as it was when I wrote it. I want to do that again for a while. It is cathartic. Here is as good as anywhere else. I have become forgetful.

There will be no rehashing, no explanation of what happened in the interim, no catch-up. Just me here right now needing to write this shit down and maybe read it someday when I forget. Life is really good right now, and really mysterious. I need to remember.

So here I am again. Glad I finally got around to it today. Yes. I am.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

arrivederci

One of the things about the word arrivederci is that most people who use it and who are not Italian don't really know what it means, which is quite literally until we meet again.

I am moving on. I started writing here five years ago and need to change. I feel so transformed from the person I was five years ago. So much more self aware. This website took me through so much. If you have read here from the early days you know what I mean.

I won't say goodbye, which like most English words sounds anything but poetic.

I'll say arrivederci.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

dropping out


on a mountaintop in the Himalayas, no keys in those pockets

Last night I watched a movie, not particularly good. But it was one of those dark dramas set in Europe, which I love and pine for and can't wait to go back to permanently. Funny how life turns around and slaps you in the face every now and then. And funny how things work out exactly as they should. I am now so eternally grateful that we decided not to sell our house in Italy, even though the ensuing poverty these last few years has nearly killed me!

Back to my movie. I am watching this movie and there is a scene of a young woman alone in Berlin. She is a bit dirty from her adventures and from escaping the evil people chasing her across the Continent. Her clothes are worn and her jacket has a hood pulled up over her head. She is walking fast and gracefully, and she has nothing. No purse, no wallet no phone. She is on the run.

At that moment I was so struck by the feeling washing over me, the palpable, intense feeling that I just wanted to be her. The momentary thrill of having nothing and no one. Of total freedom. I have had that experience a few times in my life. No more keys in my pocket. The hiatus of having children and dedicating every breath I take to them has meant that I have had to give that up. Temporarily. I am once again so grateful that I had children while I was still so young!

It won't be long now. Dropping out and being the stranger. Nothing in this whole world like it. Not for me, anyway.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

a walking enigma



You would think that one of the greatest joys for a parent would be having their three year old child pick up the newspaper and read aloud. A child who has not been subject to early pounding of the alphabet into his head. A child who spends his days covered in mud from his escapades chasing the hens around the chicken coop, with no other love in the world except his older brother. You would think that this moment would be exhilarating, and for me it was, in a certain sense. My son did just that, with an Italian newspaper, at the age of three. This was followed by surprise mathematical calculations based on the car odometer, which I still cannot even imagine without a calculator, as well as an ear for music, a hand for art, a knack for languages. You would think that this would be a thrill for a parent, imagining this child with his straight A's, his prowess on the debate team and the science club and in the math Olympics. His ├╝ber achieving. Imagining the road rising up to meet this child, who not only possesses a brilliant, lightening fast mind, but is exotically beautiful, with broad shoulders and almond shaped eyes, and huge dimples.

But the reality is something else all together, and the road to the present with my younger son has been nothing but potholes and detours. Perhaps the problem with a mind like his is that he sees the superficiality and inherent wrongness of the system that surrounds him, and often totally refuses to play the game. Boredom has been his worst enemy, and injustice of any kind, even the most mundane, like being forced to sit through a lesson when he got the point in the first five minutes, has been his biggest challenge. My son was expelled from the last few months of middle school. Albeit a sort of voluntary expulsion, jointly agreed that he had gotten all he could get out of the school as far as learning went, and that he could no longer torture the science teacher by asking her to explain quarks, or the theory of everything, if she could (she couldn't). When we went to the hearing to remove my son from the school, the president of the school board at the time, a church lady bouffant of a woman still in 1980s shoulder pads and frosted blue eyeshadow, who is now in the state house of representatives, asked my son what his vision would be of the rest of the year at school. Basically expecting an answer explaining that he would stay out of trouble, stop badgering the teachers, blah blah blah. With his mother squeezing his thigh under the table to inspire the right answer, my son looked church lady in the eyes and in the most respectful, polite tone, told her he envisioned himself at that school bored out of his mind, learning nothing, being forced to conform, staring out the window. And eventually getting right back into trouble. He was 12. His mother let go of his thigh then. If you have seen the movie "Social Network", there is a scene where Mark Zuckerberg tells the fancy lawyer exactly why he is not paying attention to him. That is my son. Anyone who knows him and sees that movie can't believe it. I sent him to private math lessons for the rest of the semester.

My son is now a sophomore. The potholes and detours are still there, but becoming less and less frequent. He has a math teacher who is the ultimate nerd and the most feared teacher of the school. My son loves this teacher. He recently told me he is inspired by my son's mind and ability to ask "scaffolding questions"... um, OK. About calculus. Now if he would just do his homework... My son thinks English is basically "stupid" and Shakespeare was a loser. His grades are average. He is taking college statistics next year and still can't figure why anyone thinks Biology or Spanish or Physics are even remotely hard. The hardest thing he has to do in school is shut up.

If you meet him and don't know any of this, you might think he is a bit of a turd. A dude. An effortlessly beautiful teenager at six feet tall with a bit of smirk and a skulk, whose family probably loves too much and spoils, until you get close to him and he smiles, genuinely and beautifully, and he asks you how you are doing and really means it. Really wants to know. Tell him the truth if you are not so great, if you thing the world is shitty and meaningless sometimes, if you thing things really need to change, if you think you are miserably misunderstood. He will look you straight in the eye and nod and smile. He will understand. He will get it. He will listen.

And for a moment you will see the ticker that is his mind, spinning so much faster than everyone else's. How tired that must make him most of the time. And how grateful I am that he is ever closer to his future, which I can only hope will be filled with people just like him, as smart or smarter, people who get it. Or understand why he doesn't get it. He is my greatest challenge and mystery, and the barometer of my days. He loves me and his father and brother unconditionally, and is loyal to a fault. He doesn't lie and doesn't fake it. He is not lucky, but he is special. A walking enigma.