Monday, January 16, 2017

My new key to dread locks

I have dreads. Not the kind that get your hair in a twist. The kind that get your panties in a twist. 

I pretty much dread just about everything. Sometimes the dread serves a purpose: alerts me to danger, say, or helps me prepare a strategy for dealing with a difficult situation. But mostly dread taints the pleasure I might otherwise feel in life.

Recently a new mantra has been helping me: I tell myself that the only way to get to the other side of a dreaded event is to get through it. It almost makes it possible to anticipate the dreaded thing with eagerness.

It’s like the Bear Hunt solution:

“We're going to catch a big one. / What a beautiful day! / We're not scared. / Oh-oh! Grass! / Long, wavy grass. / We can't go over it. / We can't go under it. / Oh, no! / We've got to go through it!”

So when I see a pickle ahead, I try to look past the pickle to the relish.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Analyze this. No, don't


Last night I dreamed that I had decided to dispense with the litter box and fill the entire bathroom with cat litter six inches deep. So there I wading through stinking clay pellets with my scoop, stepping on turds as I tried to fish out others to flush down the toilet. 

What does THAT mean?

Well, according to the edreaminterpretation, “To dream of kitty litter, or a cat litter box, suggests bad luck and misfortune ahead for you. It may also relate to the dreamer’s feelings of guilt or shame.” And “Litter in dreams can alert us to a disorderly mess, a spiritual problem not properly thought through.”

As if living with a room full of litter and cat excreta wasn’t bad enough!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Charice is right!

Great advice from Charice, in Richard Russo's Everybody's Fool:
"You gotta stop worrying so much about being wrong."

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Effectively invisible

Penelope Lively describes the invisibility of a certain age in Spiderweb:

“A woman in late middle age is the most neutral figure of all … She poses no sexual threat nor challenge. For young men, she is of so little interest as to be effectively invisible. For women younger than herself, she is a comforting reminder that they have not themselves got that far yet, thanks be. For those around her age, she is a reassurance: we are not alone.” 

But I believe she gets the benefits wrong: 

“Accordingly all three groups are reasonably well disposed, the defences are down, an overture will be accepted with equanimity and in some quarters with enthusiasm.”

Monday, October 3, 2016

Death, taxes and moving

Lately I’ve been thinking about how moving is like dying. 

It’s not just that you’re leaving the known world for an unfamiliar one. It’s that sorting through your stuff is like that moment before death when you’re supposed to see your life flash before your eyes. In my case, the flash lights up a crude wooden heart carved by the guy who became my husband, the weird 3D photograph of my son and me at a friend’s birthday party, a note scrawled by my daughter on a torn scrap of paper—“I love mommy”—and the mildewed, now-too-small shoes I wore for over 30 years on every dress-up occasion. 

Moving is like dying because deciding what to toss and what to save is like writing your own epitaph, shaping how your children will remember you. I pore over every belonging with a view to what it will feel like for my daughter or son to stumble on it. I’ve thrown out that crappy novel I never finished writing: even I can’t remember how the American Egyptologist turned up dead in the Valley of the Kings—and I certainly don’t want my kids to find out how bad a writer I was. But I’ve saved an insane number of drawings by my children. I want my kids to find their old artwork and know how much I treasured every little accomplishment of theirs.

I wonder what it will be like in a month or two when I leave the apartment I’ve lived in for nearly 35 years and step into the one I will be living in till I really do die. I like to think I’ll be starting a new life. But I’m a little afraid I’ll be living in a graveyard.