October 7, 2004
Hmm. Today is my ex's birthday.
How old would he be? Math at 9am.
No one over school age should have to do
it. Forty-six. Shit.
That means I'm 43. I thought I was
only 42. How the complete hell did
that happen? I liked 42. I'm
telling myself that 43 will be an even
better year (even though it seems I
missed the first month of it because I
*thought* I turned 42 on September 5th),
but still, I liked 42. There was
something soothing about the number.
Forty-three seems somehow... urgent or
something. So if I'm 43, then that
means my mother would have been 62 on
September 26th. I really do miss
her. I miss my ex sometimes too.
He had his good moments and like my mom,
he carries memories of a good bit of my
life. In fact, I spent more years
with him than I did with my mom.
It's frustrating to have no one to talk
to who shares the memories of the first
half of my life. Eric has only
been with me for eight years now and I
had a lifetime of memories before he
came along. Now they are pretty
much ether because they're just in my
head, which renders them subjective and
thereby fragile and suspect. I
actually had to call my Uncle Delmar two
nights ago and say, "Did we used to know
someone named Cousin Tiny?" He
assured me that we did and that she was
a wonderful woman. I only have the
scarcest memory of her from when I was a
very little girl. Delena (my
cousin for whom my daughter was named)
and I were terrified of her for
absolutely no reason that I can imagine.
My older sons, who are 26, 24 and 22,
all hold a handful of my memories and
can look back with me. That's the
only shelter in the storm of moments
past and lost. My age doesn't make
me feel old. Outliving nearly
everyone in my family makes me feel old.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents...
nearly all dead. Delena's parents
are really the only people from my past
who are older than I am who are still in
Fortunately, my husband, who turns 28
(wow, he's getting old!) on November
13th (also our wedding anniversary...
had to get the boy old enough to gamble
before I could haul him off to Reno to
get married), is very, very literate
about contemporary history (not mine,
specifically, but that of the US, etc),
so I can carry on an intelligent
conversation with him about my own
generation and things that happened.
Eric has an insatiable thirst for
knowledge and a near photographic
memory, so that distinguishes him from
most people his age and allows him to
reflect a "life experience" aura that
most people in his generation have not
yet acquired. His 5 o'clock shadow
beard also ages him a bit (as soon as
that beard comes off, he's about 16) and
he carries himself with an air of
authority and confidence that also makes
him appear older. I have always
been told that I look younger than my
age, although the weight and graying
hair work against the good genes.
I used to resent looking young for many
years (people thought my children were
my siblings a lot of the time), but
somewhere in the mid-thirties, it became
my friend and now it's my saving grace.
I don't think Eric and I have ever
gotten any "and what would your mother
like to drink?" comments since we've
been together, but we are also very
affectionate toward one another, so
perhaps the issue is resolved before we
even are approached.
It's odd that two of my most significant
romantic relationships involved men
considerably younger than I am.
Delena's father is about 8-9 years
younger than I am. My ex-husband
is three years older than I am.
The reason I consider it odd is that my
entire life, I've always had a daddy
complex, likely because my dad was
overall a very good man, but was
mentally unstable, unpredictable and
alternated between extremely sweet and
funny versus extremely volatile and
irrational. With him, you never,
ever knew what was coming home from work
that day or waking up the next morning.
I'm sure many modern labels could have
been applied: manic-depressive,
schizophrenic or bi-polar. He had
times of intense paranoia and extreme
depression. I was always looking
for Stable Dad, so my romantic
attachments tended toward men
considerably older than I was who were
established, wealthy and powerful.
I always imagined I would end up curled
up on a couch with a big bowl of
popcorn, watching Matlock with a husband
10-20 years older than I was. You
could have knocked me over with a laser
mouse when the man who captured my heart
was only a year and a half older than my
oldest son. Regardless of the age
difference, it works and this has been
one of the most wonderful relationships
of my life. I have a really great
husband and feel very blessed.
Like anyone else, we have our rocky
points and there are issues we work to
resolve on an ongoing basis, but ours is
one of the happier marriages I've seen
in my time. Plus, he's cuuuuuuute.
Yep, I'm a lucky gal.
Bacon flavored Pam Cooking Spray, I'm
I love MP3s. I'm such an MP3
whore. It's a wonder I haven't
been crucified by Metallica and the
record industry mavens for my 10gGB
worth of downloads. Fortunately, I
got most of it in the years before the
crack down. I've been able to get
obscure stuff from my childhood (more
shades of the past, guess that's where
we're going to be today) that I adore.
Lots of gospel and old country, where I
cut my musical teeth. I have a
wonderful set of songs that are by
Luther Wright and the Wrongs from
their album "Rebuild the Wall."
It's Pink Floyd's "The Wall" set to
bluegrass. I heart it. Eric
hates it. Everyone else hates it.
I heart it. My CDs are all dusty
and ignored over there in my little
shelf. I haven't used them in
years. What's on WinAmp right now?
"Feels So Right," by Alabama, baby.
It's not just 'music.' It's
One of my greatest thrills was
introducing my teen kids to different
music from my past. "This, my son,
is Jim Morrison. Kneel at the
altar and bow your head whenever you
hear 'Roadhouse Blues' or else it's the
scourge for you. "This is Pink
Floyd, this is The Beatles, this is The
Beach Boys, this is Randy Newman, this
is Simon and Garfunkle, this is The
Moody Blues ..." When we first
married, Eric mentioned that he didn't
care much for The Beatles. I
was... agog. Why hadn't I found
this out before I married him?
Soon, once he'd been re-educated, he was
ordering Beatles guitar tab books and
had every CD to be had by them. We
have pictures of "Da Boys" in our
office/laundry room and nearly every
Beatles documentary (plus the John
Lennon ones) made. Of course, he'd
only heard the "She Loves You" era, so
he's pardoned. Some things, you
know, just will not stand. I still
haven't won anyone in my family over to
gospel or country, which I love
(although they are all completely sold
on the soundtrack from "O Brother, Where
Art Thou," yet claim to not like country
- puhlease). It's just mine.
For years and years and years I didn't
play country or gospel in the house
because of how much my first husband
hated it (although even he like Emmylou
Harris). And what is it with men
and the Statler Brothers, anyway?
I haven't met one yet with an
appropriate appreciation for The Guys.
When I married Eric, knowing he also
disliked country, I kept it to myself,
but when I got my brain back a year or
two after we married, I put me first and
now I play it all the time.
(Remember that column a while back about
putting yourself on the cross to
constantly humble to other people?
I know from which I speak) It was
one of those things I was sacrificing
with resentment and no one was noticing.
When I reclaimed it and started playing
my music, no one much cared. It
was most anticlimactic.
I got really excited recently when a
person with whom I went to high school
Creek Symphony," a group I
dearly love and that no one has ever
heard of. The link I gave even has
music you can sample. They were
sort of the rockabilly answer to Dr
Hook, who I also love. Saw them in
concert twice AND even saw Ray Sawyer
(the guy everyone actually thought was
Dr Hook even though it was the name of
the group and not a person, sort of like
there is no Molly Hatchett) in a
wonderful dinner theater in Jackpot,
Nevada with Joe. We had so much
fun that night.
I've definitely lived some wonderful
experiences to hold close in my heart.
Note to self: Do not wash the
huge, redwood front porch with Murphy's
Oil Soap, a garden hose with never
ending water and a broom. Doesn't
it sound like a good idea? The
porch is definitely weather beaten and I
thought the oil soap would bring out
some of the luster of the wood.
Instead, it pretty much stripped out the
rest of the color. I worked like
mad yesterday, inside and out and it's
important that all of you know I was
forced to do it without the benefit of
Mr. Clean Erasers. I finally
finished up with the day around midnight
and fell into bed, then got up with Eric
at 5. He was really tired and I
wanted to make coffee for him so he
wouldn't fall asleep driving down the
mountain. Poor thing didn't get in
until about 10pm. He needs a
certification for work and his boss is
paying for the test and study material,
but he's required to attend a study
group that meets at 5:30 and goes on for
a while, then he has to drive the two
hours home. He said this morning
was like driving drunk he was so
exhausted. You can bet I'm going
to put him to bed early tonight.
His father is visiting this weekend and
so it's pretty sure that he'll have a
nice few days. He finished the
last of his overtime hours yesterday and
will have early days today (meaning home
by 6pm after leaving at 5:30am) and
tomorrow. I'm glad he's hitting
his kick back time.
Today, I have to shampoo carpets, two
chairs and a love seat. Got to mop
floors, help Delena clean her room,
clean my room and do some dishes today.
Other than that, I'm done.
Speaking of which, I should likely get
onto that. I doubt I'll get to
write tomorrow, so all of you have a
wonderful weekend and I'll see you next