Archive for May, 2010
While I have been guilty for years, I have admitted to myself just recently, that for all my easy going and fun nature, I am an anxious person. It helps, of course, that my mother was and is anxious. I suppose that somewhere along the way it rubbed off on me. I remember instances as a child and teenager when I’d agonize over things I had said, or feelings I may have hurt, by my flippant remarks. The apprehensiveness was assuredly propelled along by my dear ones figuratively washing my mouth out with soap. As a young adult right out of high school, that anxiety to be whatever my so called friends wanted me to be, to believe whatever they wanted me to believe, regardless of denouncing my true self in favor of what I was convinced was wrong, caused much internal anguish. Since then, I have learned to speak my mind and stand my ground, even if unpopular to some, and yes, I have lost friendships in some instances.
Pregnant with my son and talking about the birthing process with my mother, my aunts, my sister and my friends, all of them brave women who had already experienced it, the anxiety lessened. My sister, a big reader herself, recommended all the right books, non-fiction and fiction, and I willingly devoured them all. The A Baby Story show helped as well. As the big day approached I spent countless hours watching birth after birth, until I realized one day that I had no worries about that anymore. Possibly that period of my life was the most worry free. I recall one night, spooning with my husband on the couch watching some show, and being swathed in tranquility. I was happy, calm and content. Then my son was born. And I began to worry that I’d die before I had a chance to raise him and see him grow and I prayed as never before for good health, a sound mind, and old age.
As my son grew and then I had my daughter, concern about their well being, my well being and my husband’s well being became the accompanying white noise needed in my life. When we used to have a TV, the Oprah Show and the local news were the main instigators of anxiety. Now, of course, it isn’t as bad. I get that rush of adrenaline from reading the papers. Undoubtedly, underneath all the unease, is fear. Fear of failure, fear of the evil humanity is capable of, fear of disease, fear of all that is out of our control, fear for my children, my nieces, my nephews, the children of my friends, fear for my aging parents, my sisters, my brothers, fear for their fears. All wrapped up with a big, fat bow of anxiety around it and presented to me. Somedays I accept it, frantically pulling it open by it’s barely sealed edges, somedays I demurely refuse, and others, I rudely hold up my hands and shake my head, wanting nothing to do with it.
I have won a darling April Cornell towel giveaway, courtesy of my fabulous friend, Bunny’s generosity. Stop on by and prepare to be enchanted as you visit The Paris House.
She was a fisherman’s daughter, the story goes, in love with a boy from the city, a boy who knew nothing about water nor fishing, but plenty about girls and money. And she was beautiful, but more in a vulgar sort of way, with pouty lips and slanted eyes, and golden hair that reached down to her waist. Perhaps her looks were the reason why he broke her heart. They seemed too insolent for civil company, too trailer trash. They didn’t suggest stability, but merely a good time.
Her mother warned her about boys like him. But girls don’t listen when they’re in love. And if they do, they always end up thinking that they’ll change the course of the stars and align the universe their way.
They say she planned to seduce him one last time amongst the reeds, on her father’s fishing boat. It was a moonless July night, hours before dawn when they rendezvoused. She knew the water well and could maneuver the boat in the blackest of night or the foggiest of weather. She wanted to show him that he needed her in his life, that he couldn’t exist without her, as she couldn’t exist without him.
The fisherman who found them claimed that it was the lack of fish in the water that led him to their bodies tangled in the reeds. It was an accident, they say, although the absence of the fish was indicative of something not quite right.
Forever after no one fished in the river again, deeming it cursed, nor swam in it, and the reeds instead of growing long and dense, shriveled up and died, and the fish disappeared. And before a generation passed the water dried up completely, the only indication of what might have been an occasional report of a fish glimpsed, gasping for his breath.
This is a work of fiction. For more please visit Magpie Tales.
My aunt lives in the old city center where the apartments are spacious and high ceilinged and the plaster moldings gilded in gold. Her corner apartment has intricate iron balconies that overlook the park and parquet floors covered in layers of Persian rugs. My aunt is very beautiful and when we go out for a stroll and ice cream cone in the evenings, I pretend to myself that she is my mother. I look like her, you know. Not as beautiful, of course, but I could pass for her daughter.
Every few weeks she shows up at our house in the suburbs and asks if I am ready to spend a few days with her. She favors me above all her nieces and nephews; in fact she confuses the names of the rest, and when they get anywhere near her she makes this little grimace as if they carry something contagious. I don’t pack when I go to her place. She has a wardrobe in her bedroom that is filled with clothes for me, dresses edged in lace and shiny patent shoes in red and black. There are also dolls in there and stuffed animals that I am not allowed to take home.
My aunt has a very important job. She is the assistant of a cabinet minister, often accompanying him on trips to other countries from where she brings me all sorts of little treats. My favorite is a blue willow tea set for my dollies. It is made of porcelain, the exact replica of the one in her tiny kitchen’s china cabinet. We eat our breakfast off the blue willow plates every day, my aunt dressed in a silk robe atop her silk slip, her cherry red toes winking at me.
Everything in her apartment has a story. Every piece of furniture, every painting, everything down to the last utensil has a memory attached. I wonder at the story of the blue willow plates. She tells me that someday all that she has will be mine. Then she looks at me and gathers me in her arms to smother my face with kisses. I tell her that I love her and that I want to be just like her, because I do, and her eyes shine with unshed tears. She gets up quickly and makes me another hot chocolate, the silence between us charged with so many secrets unvoiced, secrets that I know she has, secrets she has no idea I know, but that she’s dying to tell me.
And because I love her and I do not want to lose her, I let her be. Yet I cannot wait for the day when she allows the tears to fall and puddle on the blue willow plate; the day she will confess that she is my mother.
This is a work of fiction. For more stories please visit Magpie Tales.
I have been silent all week long, not of my own choosing, but because life and work got in the way of blogging. Crazy days, sleepless nights… You all understand how it can happen and so often does. Nonetheless, the week has been a wonderfully blessed one, even though I had to remind myself of those blessings when my little one clogged the toilet a few too many times.
Last week (I’m always late, aren’t I? So sorry!) I received a spectacular award from a beautiful and glamorous blogger, and I’d like to share it with you all. Here it is:
Isn’t it the coolest? So is the giver! Her blog is filled with art, fashion, biographies, and glamour. Pop on by and say hello to beautiful Dash.
I guess I must tell you a bit about myself though. When I was young I used to be quite mean. I like to blame it on the wacky church we attended, but I know I can’t blame everything on it. But I did things, one of which was making my friends kiss my feet if they wanted something I had, and then after all that still not giving it to them. I have since apologized and been forgiven, yet it hasn’t been forgotten, as someone just reminded me of this recently.
Somehow I grew up feeling entitled. My parents, my Tante Marie and Grandmother certainly fed this to me. When we came to the U.S. I was the adult, I felt, translating for every appointment, consulting with the doctors and teachers on the behalf of everyone else. And I was praised quite a lot. By everyone. It was easy to see myself as privileged in every situation from home to school.
Perhaps that is why I am currently so against the “princess syndrome.” Fairy tales are fun to read, but in real life the beast remains a beast, while you may find that Prince Charming had been wearing a mask all along. As a mother to a little girl I see how diva behavior and an attitude of entitlement may damage her as she becomes an adult. It will make her believe that no one and nothing is good enough for her. I do not want to raise the worst sort of a snob: a girl enslaved to an unrealistic image of herself and of womanhood; not in the least aware that she may be slightly delusional. She’ll be unsatisfied as a young woman, as a wife, and as a mother. Always expecting something more, and baffled and depressed when what she expects does not materialize.
Anyway, there you have it. Now, all of you my beautiful readers grab the award, and have a gorgeous weekend!
You know those families that only get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Well, our family isn’t one of those. Our family welcomes any opportunity to gather up and sit down for a loud, opinionated meal, and we make all sorts of excuses to come up with a next meeting. Unless, someone is out of town, our family Sundays start soon after noon when church let’s out, and they last for a good four to five hours. We meet in our parents home, the house we grew up in, ushered in from the outside cold by the aroma of soup on the stove and a roast in the oven.
The lady of the house (my mom, or sometimes myself, as I go earlier to help) is responsible for the soup and the main course. The rest bring the bread, the beverages, the salad makings, the dessert, and the flowers. We set the table, without skimping on the details, and sit ourselves down with much deliberation as to who sits where. Somehow we always end up in the same seats we had occupied the Sunday before.
After generous compliments to the chef and a word of grace from the oldest grandchild, we start our meal. And what do we talk about? All sorts of things, really, but we especially love politics. Some of us are liberal, others more moderate, and yet others conservative. However, we agree to disagree because we love each other, and regardless the heat generated by our discussions, we respect the other enough to listen and concede when the other is right. The one thing we all cannot stand though, is the moronic repetition of the closed minded. Every subject brought up needs to permit logical scrutiny. There’s enough unexamined thinking everywhere without adding on more to that pile, isn’t there?
A couple hours into the meal, we retire to the living-room where we deposit our stuffed selves on the velvety couches and chairs, or prop pillows under our heads and roll ourselves out across the floor, cushioned by the thick persian carpets. The discussion by this time is much lighter. We recount stories of our childhood and jokes, and grandpa (my dad) hands out a weekly allowance to the grandkids that has been in effect since the first grandchild was old enough to know what money’s for. The little kids are quite enthralled with grandpa’s method of throwing money up in the air. They scramble this way and that to get their little hands around the floating dollar bills.
It often appears that time has quite stopped while our laughter and merry voices ring out the opened windows. And when it’s time to leave we do so with a bit of sadness. These intergenerational repasts sustain us all in the week to come, and as we leave and pack ourselves in our respective autos, toting plates of leftovers, and buckling children into their car-seats, we call out to each other, “What are you doing this week? Let’s get together for coffee!”
I would like to announce that this Mother’s Day Sunday, my house has officially become the Sunday dinner house for us all. I am so very lucky that my husband does the majority of the cooking. He is really one of the most naturally talented cooks. Ever. Thank you, baby!
I love my mom now probably more than I loved her as a child. She was going through a lot when we were young, and besides she had been raised by her strict Austrian father that children should only be kissed when they are asleep. It was a good thing that she married my dad who thought all of that was a bunch of nonsense and who made a point of kissing and hugging us for no reason at all.
Also, she had medical problems, a few pregnancy losses, and her uterus taken out of her without her permission after her last pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage, so I’m not surprised she held herself in reserve. She did not feel in control of her life. In fact, she wasn’t in control of her life. Important decisions were made by well meaning family members and medical personnel who believed they knew better.
Gradually she lowered her defenses against loving us too much, and as the years passed our relationship improved, although she is still very much a lady and formal to a degree, always courteous, hospitable, smiling.
But I love her gentleness, her unwavering faith, her forgiving nature, her constant love and support. Happy Mother’s Day mom. And Happy Mother’s Day to all of you women, whether you have given birth or not, you are all mothers and nurturers of dreams, of beauty and of love.
Weather-wise today was odd. Wind, rain, cold, interspersed with a bright sunny sky and a gentle breeze. Inside it was cozy and warm, all the lamps lit, everyone going about their business in the nicest way possible. I had a ton of paperwork, but two books arrived in the mail and deciding which to read first was of major importance.
The weekend wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. Saturday morning was spent at our favorite bakery, chatting with neighborhood friends, drinking mugs of coffee and eating a few croissants each, after which we went to the book store where my sweet husband took the kids to the kid section and babysat them while I went in search for books. Somehow, I got lost in the maze of book shelves and emerged an hour later with my arms full. Then it was pizza for lunch and home,
where we all piled up in our king sized bed, each with our newly bought book treasures. But somehow we fell asleep. Each single one of us. Maybe the starches we consumed all day long were to blame, because we slept until the sky darkened. I was the first to wake up, disoriented and felling guilty for sleeping when I had so much work I needed to get done.
After a delicious omelet that hubby prepared, we went out for ice cream and dessert, then home for family game night. And so the day ended sometime around 1 am when I couldn’t keep my eyes open a moment longer, and my daughter fell asleep on the living room floor.
Then Sunday came with its breakfast out, visit to friends, grocery shopping, and another long nap. And now it’s Monday night. Although I did work today, it wasn’t rushed. I feel rested and ready
for this week. I believe it will be a good one. A blessed one. Wishing you a blessed one as well.
Congratulations to Beth for winning this last giveaway. Stop on by and say hello.
Also, I have been tagged to post my 10th photo by two lovely friends, and I’m sorry to say that I can’t since I’m having issues with my laptop and am working from my iPhone and iPad until this coming weekend.
Please visit Sharon and Ange, and wish them a beautiful week.