Saturday, May 31, 2008

a camera-carrying day

This rose lives amongst many, in the huge public rose garden on which my house is situated. The formal rose garden, in which this photo was taken, is just beginning to bloom.

I like this photo, because the rose looks like a sculpture.

After our early tour of the rose garden, The Child and I headed for the nearest coffee shop.

Sometimes I think I'm the only person on earth who actually orders coffee at these places. I mean just plain coffee- black, whatever they have on tap.

Artwork from the public French immersion school adorned the coffee shop walls. I especially liked the armadillo.

See what I mean? Even my own child orders a fancy-looking dessert-type drink, having little if anything to do with coffee. Of course, in his case, it's just as well- I don't particularly enjoy watching him bounce off the walls.
After his dessert drink, His Highness decided he wanted to eat. Due to plumbing problems, I lack a functional kitchen in my house, and food prep is nearly impossible. So we went to this neighborhood "deli". They call it a "deli." I'm from the East Coast- I'm not fooled. This is no deli- it's an Italian restaurant. I suppose it really is this city's version of a deli, although come to think of it, there is one famous deli near downtown where Bill Clinton ate during his presidency. OK, so this is my neighborhood's version of a deli. That's embarrassing, but I do like the character of this place.

Notice the cow sculpture adorning the "deli."

The Child plays with his food. He's known widely for his pitiful eating habits. I was surprised that he allowed me to bring him to the "deli." Throughout his life I've kept a list (albeit a short one) of the foods he'll tolerate. It changes regularly but never features more than 10 items. Tossed salad with ranch dressing, seen above, is included on his current list.

Since I had the camera, I thought I'd offer a shot of the whirlingbetty mobile. Nothing's wrong with the car; I just applied too much wax yesterday and lacked enough time to finish trying to rub it off. I explained to The Child that it wasn't "half-assed"- it was "half-waxed."

Friday, May 23, 2008

today's thoughts

We all experience doldrums from time to time, I suppose. For me it's cyclical, and right now it's also situational, as my job seems to be grinding to a halt. We are being told that the organization is shutting down on June 1, making next week our last week of employment in a field where jobs throughout the country are rare. Each morning for the past few days I have gone into the park outside of my house looking for sights to appreciate. In my current state of mind, that is very tedious. I am numb.

I did manage to summon just a tad of my usual outrage upon spying the pesticide truck again today (I thought they finished yesterday). Just a tad, though.

When I first moved here, I called this phone number, posted at the entrance of the rose garden in the park, repeatedly. Each time I was told that nobody at that office had any idea what I was talking about. Finally I gave up.

This is my favorite photo from today's assortment. At least I'm still able to determine which is my favorite.

Every once in a while I remind myself that it is my goal to live consciously. I am aimless these days. I am trying to remember what my latest self-related goal was, as I plod along trying to heal my sense of self. Most of the time, to be honest, I am ignorant of that healing mission, as I continue to stuff myself full of junk food, as I indulge in fearful thoughts of my future, as I yell at The Child for wrecking my house, as I gripe with co-workers about our demise. The past two days I have even managed to talk myself out of jogging due to pesticide application in the park where I run.
Now I remember that most recent self-related goal. I'm supposed to be TAKING ACTION rather than sitting around thinking about what I should do. The premise is that I already have all the answers; I just have to now implement them.
Wish me luck.

Friday, May 16, 2008

day off

The Child dislikes the school bus, so he was treated to a car ride to school this morning. Although it bothers me to drive unnecessarily, his school is located in the neighborhood I want to live in, so The Child got his way.

Of course, my car made its way from the school to this house which I believe to be mine even though it is in contract with someone else. Doesn't this house look as if it belongs to whirlingbetty?
This is my favorite grocery store on the planet. It is located right across the street from MY house, pictured above. The people who work in this store are all friendly, if you can imagine that. It's a happy store, dammit.

This is another scene near MY house. On this dreary morning these little shops looked inviting, although this shot taken through my car window doesn't show that very well.

The park just behind MY house looked like this today. It's pretty lush for an urban park, I'd say.

These people are practicing Tai Chi in the gazebo.
Even my favorite branch of my bank is in this neighborhood. I feel almost guilty going there, like an imposter. I'm pretending that I'm lucky enough to be living here, in MY house which is really someone else's.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

May each Mother on Earth feel appreciated tomorrow.

When I became a Mother, my focus shifted from Self to Child. On the surface, that may seem admirable or at least "right." In truth, many of us Mothers give up too much of Self. Indeed, that is our own fault and our own problem.

I noticed that a lot of businesses are offering pampering packages as Mother's Day gifts. Tomorrow Mothers will be receiving coupons for massages, manicures, pedicures, a day at the spa. Those Mothers will be directed, at least temporarily, to focus on themselves.

Bruches will be served, flowers will be sold.

Mothers will be appreciated.

If you know a person who is a Single Mother, do not assume that someone is seeing to it that she is celebrated tomorrow. Single Mothers don't receive those spa packages and restaurant meals.

Single Mothers don't have time to go to a spa anyway.


Tomorrow I shall do something to honor the memory of my Mother. I plan to try to imagine how she'd want me to do that.

Looking back, I can't be sure, but I hope I found meaningful ways to thank her on each Mother's Day when she was alive.

Back then, spa packages were unheard of, and I'm not sure she would have liked that anyway. But I hope she knew I appreciated her time, energy, attention, care, love, unconditional support.

I hope she knows that I appreciate it even more now.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

life on the rose garden

There's more to life on the rose garden than meets the eye. I encountered the above sign a few feet from my house when I went jogging this morning. Usually they don't bother with the sign.

And sure enough, this is what I saw in the park. The toxins permeate the air; I was unable to jog in the rose garden outside of my house. You all are probably tired of seeing photos of pesticide application, as I am tired of encountering the scene day in and day out.

These are always the first roses to bloom each spring. The old-fashioned wild roses thrive in May and are already fading by June. I am trying to be positive about living here, especially in light of my recent attempt to buy an urban Victorian. It won't do me any good to be overcome with disappointment.

This is advice from the Law of Attraction which I am trying to abide by. Regret or struggle will hold me back. This has not been easy, but I do want my cork to float.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I was up long before dawn this morning, unable to sleep even though I've been tired for days. When the light of day finally crept in, I went outside in the drizzle to take this photo of my house.

It doesn't seem so right now, but I always try to be appreciative. I do relish the park setting of my current house, even while I'm in the process of trying to move to the walkable neighborhood near downtown. But my house is tiny, and all of my life I've wanted a large house.

My house is ranch-style (one story), built in 1962. I don't like the architecture of that era. But I love Victorian houses, with wood floors, high ceilings (some even with decorative tin), decorative molding, transoms, and huge windows.

Even more importantly to me, I desire an urban neighborhood where people actually walk and bike. I despise the car culture.

I love this photo, taken in the neighborhood I wish to move to, which strikingly displays the way I want to live.

I will be the first to admit that this is a stunning setting in which to live, and I am blessed. But sometimes when I leave this property in my car, I feel close to tears as I unwillingly enter the steady, never ceasing flow of traffic. The few times I've set out on foot or bike to run an errand from this house, I've nearly been mowed down by drivers of large vehicles who are annoyed that I can't get with the program. I don't try anymore; it's truly not safe.

The mere sight of my photos from last winter sadden me. It was a lonely, depressing time. My house is isolated, especially when my only neighbors take off for Florida for 7 months each year. A couple of the snowfalls this year were so major that everything was shut down. There was nobody around to help me shovel out; I was on my own.

It was at the end of this miserable winter that I had my first showing of this house with my realtor:

This is a side/rear view of what I had started referring to as the "Venerable Victorian." It is way under priced for the gentrified neighborhood, which is why I asked to see it. The interior of this house had been cheaply renovated; therefore, the house was rejected by the typical buyers of large houses on this coveted street. The property is angled in such a way that a garage can't be built, either- a turn-off to many buyers who insist on being able to "house" their cars, even in an urban setting. The other houses for sale in the highly sought-after urban neighborhood are way out of my price range.

I can't imagine ever feeling isolated here. It is across the street from an upscale retirement village, a wonderful grocery store, drug store, video store, deli- and just behind the house, a gorgeous urban park with a lake:
Finally I have reached the point in my life where I know what it means to be true to myself. I don't need the approval of others- if someone else prefers living in the suburbs, that's fine for that person- not for me. I admit that I like the hustle and bustle, the bright lights, the constant activity. And I don't have to apologize for preferring that. My dream is to live in a large Victorian in a prime urban location.
To that end, I came up with a grand scheme to win the Venerable Victorian. It's a scary time in my life- I have recently had thousands of dollars of extra expenses related to my son, and the organization I have worked for since college is on the verge of shutting down. Facing probable unemployment, I thought this might actually be the ideal time to move, since my current mortgage payments are very high.
Here was my plan: I'd take out a HELOC loan against the equity on my current house, and I'd take an early distribution on my IRA even though I'd pay hefty taxes and penalties. I had it planned out to the last dime. I'd make a cash offer on the Victorian- a low offer, reflecting today's poor market. I'd be living in the house of my dreams, mortgage-free! As soon as my HELOC loan was approved and signed, I made my first offer.
I SAID that I knew this was a long shot. I SAID that I was totally OK with the thought of not getting the house.
That's what I SAID.
In reality, when my realtor called to tell me that the seller had accepted someone else's offer, my heart stopped.