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Holes

Yesterday I lost a friend. He was taken from this earth way too soon. He leaves a hole in many hearts. I have been reading FB posts expressing shock at his death, which came after a sudden illness. It caught so many by surprise. It’s both sad and comforting to read the posts which tell so many wonderful stories about him, many of which I didn’t know.

Many years ago, a year or so after my divorce, I decided that I was going to get out of the house and do something productive other than Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and PTA. Amazingly, the day I expressed this to my shrink, I got a notice inviting me to a meeting of the Stanford Chicano/Latino Alumni Association of Southern California. The meeting was the coming weekend. I decided I was going. I had not been involved with the group previously but I had been on their mailing list for some time. This was my chance to spread my wings. So I went.

That was the start of so much for me. I reconnected with friends and with friends of friends. I not only got involved, as with everything I do, I jumped in with both feet and within the year I was the president of the group. Our monthly meetings were held at my house on weekends. One of the other people in this group was Carl. Carl had been a freshman when I graduated so I hadn’t known him then, although I did recognize him. He became a friend right away. He was supportive, funny, highly intelligent, opinionated but reflective, too. Carl was one who made us all think about a project from different angles. At that time, he drove a very fancy foreign sports car. When he came to our meetings, he was always the first one there and would park his car on the street right in front of my huge front window. My daughter, Tina, was about thirteen or fourteen at the time and she fell in love with that car. She would come to the window and stare at it. During our meetings, we could see her out the window, looking at the car. She was fascinated with it. She asked Carl questions about it. We all got a kick out of it, including Carl. He answered her questions and told her all sorts of information about the car. One day, he smiled at me and looked at my daughter and said that after our meeting, if it was okay with her mom, he would take her for a short ride in the car. She looked at me and asked if it was okay. I agreed, reminding her that she had a couple of things she should finish during our meeting if she wanted to go for that ride. After the meeting and post meeting socializing, she got to go for that ride. They were only gone for about ten minutes but when they returned, Tina was so excited! She talked about it for weeks. I thanked Carl that day and he said it was nothing. He was glad to do it. His eyes sparkled and his goatee smiled a shy, satisfied smile.

That was one of the many things I remember about Carl. He was always there to raise the spirits, support when he could, listen and make suggestions if appropriate. He raised the self-esteem of a young teenage girl when he took her for a ride in a fancy car. He gave substance to her interest in the car and made a dream come true for her with that ride. Carl made the world a better place from his chemical engineering job to his running group; from the alumni group to his Rotary Club. He never forgot where he came from. He never forgot his family, going back to Pueblo whenever he could. He never let anyone down. He gave all that he could.

He leaves the world a better place, although there are many holes left by his death.

Let It Go; Forget It

The first time was after I was assaulted and held at knife point by a couple of teen thugs. My pants were ripped and the buttons torn off of my shirt. I was mauled. I was scared to death. When it was all over, I knew I was okay but the fright and the panic lasted for days and weeks and months. I tried to get past it. I tried. I really did. But it would come rushing back at me at the most unexpected moment. And instead of holding me or comforting me, I was told to forget it.

Then there were the missed miscarriages. Each time I was devastated. Each time I was broken inside. Each time I was barely hanging on for the sake of my other children. Months later, it was better but it would come flooding back and drag me down. Again, I was told to forget it, let it go. It wasn’t easy but I tried.

I really tried. Now I wonder if I had been allowed to grieve and cry and express my outrage and devastation, would I be better now? Or would these memories come flooding over me forty and twenty-eight years later? I know the memories would still come back but I think I might be better. I guess I won’t ever know.

Challenges #WeekendCoffeeShare

If we were having coffee, we would, once again be indoors and bundled up against the cold and wet. I believe it snowed earlier today but didn’t stick. Tomorrow has a similar forecast. Come on in and get comfy. This isn’t one of the easier posts to write.

I love #WeekendCoffeeShare. I love reading them and writing them. However, this week has been rather strange as things come to a head here. I haven’t written too much about it, at least not here. My daughter and family are going through a particularly difficult financial time. Her husband was working for someone who had been contracted by a major company. So they paid the contractor and he was supposed to pay Chris. It worked okay until he stopped paying him last October. He seems to be having his own financial problems so he has stopped paying, making $50 to $100 payments once in a great while. So this means my daughter’s family is beyond broke. I have helped as much as I can but my regular readers will remember that I have no income right now and am living on the tiny bit of savings I have left which will pay rent for another couple of months then will be gone. So I can’t help them financially. This month, it looks like they won’t make rent. Oregon has a 72 hour eviction time frame. So if they can’t pay the rent by the end of the grace period on the 5th, the eviction process will begin. That means that because they have no place to put it, they will also lose all of their furniture, clothes, all their possessions. It’s tough enough for adults to go through this but there is also an almost 7 year old, a 3 year old and a 2 week old baby. I can almost not function trying to think about what will happen next week.

In the midst of this darkness, I have been reminded that people care. I posted a link to my daughter’s crowd sourcing page on Facebook and people have been sharing it and donating. In fact several of you have donated. It warms my heart to know that you care and that you are trying to help. Thank you to each one of you. It has not gone unnoticed. I’ll keep sharing the link on Facebook in hopes that others will see it and respond by donating and/or sharing on their feed. [I can’t post the link here because this is a free wordpress blog so they will delete it as it violates terms for free blogs.]

It has been a rather quiet week for me. I’ve not been feeling well so I have been mostly in bed. Anderson has come over for school but we do our work then he cuddles up in my bedroom to watch TV (they couldn’t pay the internet bill so they don’t have TV right now). He stays for the rest of the day while I either nap next to him or come to the living room to do some blogging. I haven’t left the house except to go tutor last Thursday. I’m just so exhausted. I know part of it is the stress but I am also physically exhausted from not being well. On Saturday I slept all day…all day. I didn’t actually wake up until almost 7 last night. Today was a little bit better, having slept in only until 11. But now I am feeling like I need to nap or at least rest a bit.

This week I will continue to try to help them figure out how to get the rent money. I am not sure when the crowd sourcing campaign is over but I believe they don’t get any of the money until it is over. Right now they are at half of what they have asked for. Crossing fingers more comes in this week. I will also try to keep up with the blogging. It has brought smiles to my face when I have been able to post and do some reading. Those that I haven’t visited, I will get to you. I might only give a LIKE but I will read your blog (some of you don’t have a LIKE options so that makes it difficult to let you know I’ve been there!).

Not a lot of reading has happened here, at least not besides any blog reading. I did stream a movie last night that I enjoyed. It is called “Papa” and is about Ernest Hemingway in Cuba. I think it was Netflix but could have been Amazon. Sometimes they are all the same to me.

Let me know what you are up to. Any shows or movies to recommend? Books? How’s your weather?

#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog link-up hosted by Emily at Nerd In the Brain. Come on over and check it out.

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The best thing this week…holding this little one in my arms.

Giraffes

Somehow, I got wind of a live feed on Facebook last night…a mama giraffe about to give birth to her calf. I love giraffes and so I clicked on it and spent the better part of the last fourteen hours watching and waiting with thousands of people around the world.

The first time I noticed giraffes was in my twenties. My sister-in-law was visiting for a few weeks in the summer. I took her to the zoo and we spent most of the day there, taking our time watching the animals. When we tired, we went to the snack bar and got hot dogs and sodas and sat down to enjoy them. The area where we were sitting overlooked the giraffe exhibit. We sat and talked then took note of the majestic animals so close to us. They are so graceful and so unique.  From that day forward, giraffes became my favorite animal. Later, when my son was a toddler, we took him to the zoo on a hot summer day in Los Angeles. However, I had recently had knee surgery so I couldn’t do much walking. I would follow them to one area, hobbling along on my crutches then I would “park” myself on a bench and watch the world go by as my son got to explore the other animals in the area with his dad and auntie. When we got near the giraffes, I parked myself in front of the giraffe area and watched them. Again, I was smitten.

When I have taken trips to Winston’s Wildlife Safari, my favorite part is the giraffe area. They walk across the road, blocking cars for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. They get so close to cars that one could reach out the window and touch them. I love that they block the road because it gives me a great excuse to sit there and watch. When my son and I went to Australia, one of the highlights for me was getting to feed the giraffes carrots! We got to do a behind the scenes early morning visit before the Toronga Zoo (in Sydney) opened. Then we were allowed to enter the keeper area to watch them up close and personal. Wow! I was in heaven!

So that’s how I am spending the rest of the day, popping in and out of the live feed to try to catch the birth. I’m on baby watch!

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At Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon

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Tony and giraffes.

Wake Up, Little Susie

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photo by Sarah Potter

Susie headed toward the door. She had allowed just the right time to run across the street and through the yards five blocks down to her house. She would climb up the tree and into her bedroom window with just enough time to get into her nightgown before her mother came in to wake her. Susie always had perfect timing.

Opening the door of her boyfriend’s apartment building, Susie couldn’t believe her eyes! It couldn’t be. It hadn’t been in the forecast. Now her secret outings would be uncovered.

If the snow didn’t, her mother was going to kill her!

100 Words, Fiction

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#FridayFictioneers is a weekly blog link-up hosted by Rochelle and dedicated to 100 word stories to go along with a photo prompt. Check it out and give it a try!

Expectations, Part 3

As she stood just outside the motel door, she thought about the last time she had seen him when they had both been seventeen. His family was moving away. He came in on the last day and got his things and left. He had looked at her for a long time and, turning is head, had said goodbye to her and walked away. Now, all these years later, he was coming toward her, not away from her and she was there to meet him. She wasn’t sure if she would even recognize him. The car drove up and she was sure, yet not, that it was him. Once he stepped out of the car with a big smile on his face, and began to walk toward her, she knew it was him. He had a distinctive gait and this was it, coming toward her. They embraced quickly and headed to the room.

They talked. He asked her a lot of questions and asked her to read to him from some of her journal. She did so willingly and yet, as she did it, she got the feeling that she was performing for him. He sat on the bed and watched her in a sort of detached way. It made her feel as if he was sitting outside a glass wall watching her; not participating; just observing. It was a little creepy but it was all she had.

After a while, they went for a walk down the street for sodas. Just a walk. A special walk. He took her hand as they walked and that was special to her. Never in her life had she had a man take her hand as they walked; not even the man she had been married to for so many years. This was was full of promises for tomorrow and regrets of the past.

That was the most special thing that night; a special walk, holding hands in the brisk November night.

There was a slow down in the talk as the time for him to leave arrived. All in all, they had spent about five hours together. Not a lot but so much more time than they had spent together in the past. She asked if she would see him again the next day. It was only Friday and she had the room through Sunday afternoon. He said he wasn’t sure but he would call her and let her know.

When he left the room after a long embrace, she couldn’t walk him out. She had that memory of him walking away from her all those years before. She didn’t want to watch him walk away from her again. That couldn’t be the last thing she remembered of him.

The door closed, and she listened to his steps as he walked away.


I think this is the last part. There’s more but I think I’ll write those bits and pieces as another series of short clips.

Expectations, Part 2

She was nervous. She was anxious. Another look at the clock and she realized it would be at least another six hours before she heard from him. She looked at the little map next to the phone and found an area a few blocks away where she might be able to shop and get some coffee. She knew she would be better off killing time there than in the room.

The bookstore yielded a new deck of Tarot cards on clearance, and appropriately enough, it was the Tarot of Love! She bought a new writing journal and headed for the coffee shop to get some coffee. A quick look at her watch and she figured she would head back to the motel and take a long relaxing bath before dressing for his arrival.

Before long, his call came saying he would be another hour or so but he’d call her when he was on his way. She dressed and tried to relax. She had brought beer and a few snacks but she didn’t know what the plan was and didn’t want to ruin anything. She laughed at herself when she thought about how she had called the motel to make sure they gave her a room that had a couch. Not just a bed, chair, and desk. She specifically told them she was expecting friends and didn’t want the bed to be the only place to sit on. Silly maybe but she really didn’t know what to expect.

The phone rang and he said he was on his way. It would only take less than ten minutes. Would she wait for him outside? She told him which driveway to take and that she would be waiting outside. Taking a big breath and checking her hair in the mirror, she headed outside.

The stage was set.