Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

If you're reading today's post hoping for doll repair tips, I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. I haven't managed to do any work on my dolls this week. I have been pretty busy with our moving preparations.  We finally got our original movers to work with the new ones so we can get our stuff back. We are still waiting on a moving date. We have had to go back and forth with the sellers over some necessary repairs after the inspection. I was starting to worry that we would have to back out of the contract. I have been under so much stress I find I'm grinding my teeth even when I'm awake! My jaw is sore. I can't wait to go somewhere where there's enough room to take up my yoga practice again. I am really missing it. I am supposed to be working on paperwork, but I am taking a little break to write my blog.
I have also been hard at work on my personal project I first mentioned in the Norwegian Women post a few months back. I am happy to report I am finally down a jeans size. And I only had to give up flour, sugar, alcohol, coffee, and start running 4-8 miles several times a week! I also had some help from a new technology, which I highly recommend. My eBay store did well enough over the summer I was able to save up for a Living Social deal for two i-Lipo treatments (also called "cold laser" treatments) at Whole U Wellness medical spa in Cary, NC. I paid extra each time to add on a treatment called the "Ultra". This is a sucky, vacuum laser wand that the technician pulls over whatever area you are getting lasered. I added it because it is supposed to work on stretch marks. So, finally after 14 years I am doing something about my poor pregnancy-wrecked stomach! Anyway, the Ultra hurts like crazy but it's worth it. I have lost 3 inches from my stomach just since October 24th. I had my last treatment day before yesterday, and I am so bruised I can't tell if it's working on the stretch marks or not. The lasers themselves don't hurt or bruise but the Ultra makes it much more effective. Hanae, my technician, told me I am responding much better than most people. She says I could be done after two more treatments, so half the usual eight treatments most people need. But sales have been slow these past few weeks, so I will have to save for that. I am just going to keep to my diet and exercise to try to reduce more.
So, it seems like most things are finally moving in the right direction. I am happy, because the stress has been hard on all of us. Jerry and I have had some huge fights. I am hopeful that we will be settled in Denver in less than a month.
I was lucky enough recently to be in the grocery store at an unusual time of day and bumped into a very dear longtime friend, who recently moved back here from the mountains. I haven't seen him for over 20 years. We stood in the baking aisle catching up for how long I don't know. I'm really glad I was still in town for that! I immediately thought of the old Dan Fogelburg song, which is a sad statement of how out-of-date my musical repertoire has become! In my defense, though, how many people have written songs about running into old friends at the grocery store? I do seem to remember in the Fogelburg song they sit in the car and drink a six pack of beer, but we did not! Too bad, because that would have been fun! But not beer, which I hate!
It got me feeling nostalgic. I remembered how I used to love to play that album (yes, the record, not the tape! I am that old!). I was fascinated with it because the cover had a photo of an old china doll who looked a lot like Annabelle, if you remember from my D is for Dollikin post. If I remember correctly, the doll was leaning up against a headstone, a source of morbid fascination, and then it also had Run for the Roses on it. I was obsessed with horses at the time, and I played that song probably 100 times a day. It's a wonder my parents aren't in an asylum!
But thinking of that old song, I could see myself in our old Ohio living room, jumping on the mini-trampoline, singing along, way too young to understand the meaning behind the words. My friend tells me he hasn't moved anything but his clothes back to town in the month since he started work here and he doesn't know why. It started me thinking about why life takes so many unexpected turns. How do we end up places we never intended? Is it fate? Or are we making choices we're not even aware of, somewhere deep in the subconscious?
The prints shown in the photo were taken from my grandmother's house. My mom brought them here when she died and I cut new mats for them. They had been hanging as long as I can remember in my grandmother's front room, next to the organ. The artist is Paul Blackwell. I especially loved the King's Island print. It shows International Street. As far as I was concerned back then, King's Island was Heaven on earth! I love Blackwell's style. He uses that 60s variegated line weight and swingy control I just never can quite replicate. When I was re-framing the prints I found my dad's and uncle's graduation photos underneath. My mom told me that after my dad died my grandparents just couldn't stand to have his photo hanging on the wall. I was sad to realize the prints I had always loved were hiding such pain.
I am feeling so many things right now. I am happy to start a new adventure. I was moved around so much early on I think it turned me into a sort of nomad. I know it's good for the children to have the stability of growing up in one place, but I tend to get bored. I am really happy to be moving to Lake Norman, but I am so sad to be leaving my friends. I don't think it's really sunken in that I won't be able to go running with them every Wednesday anymore, or attend the conference broadcasts together with them in the Chapel. I can watch them on the Internet or BYU TV but it isn't the same as sharing the talks with friends. I can't believe I finally managed to give up coffee and wine and now we're leaving. I don't know that I'm interested in being baptized as a Mormon if I am moving to a different ward.
I'm not really tied to any particular denomination, or even religion, for that matter! I care about the people, but I also do especially love religions with lots of "stuff". My stepsister was Catholic growing up and got to have rosaries and holy water holders, and that white Communion dress and I was SO jealous. Buddhism is fun too, with all the gongs and incense and statues. Jerry told me once I was going to Hell because I pick out churches for the accessories. The Mormons don't have any accessories, though, so that's not true! I must admit, I am a total religion junkie. I have probably mentioned this before. I have been Lutheran and Methodist, Presbyterian, and Latterday Saints. In Italy, I attended Catholic services. In China, I had my Chinese children blessed in the Buddhist temple and prayed there. I just love going to church, especially new churches!
I'm still kind of mourning the Inwood Forest house too. The last time we were over there the kids we looking out the car windows. It's really flat, farm fields on that road. The kids were saying "It's Ohio!", and it does look like Ohio right there. My daughter said, "How big is the sky? It looks like we're driving through it!" And I told her we're always driving through the sky. Only the wheels touch the ground. The rest is sky. We walk through the sky every day. She was fascinated with the idea. It's a pretty cool thing to remind yourself from time to time.
Since it's Halloween today, I will tell you a true story that's interesting and a little bit eerie. I believe that God or fate directs us and I am always looking for signs of what I should do. This incidence I am about to recount is why I think as I do.
During the Vietnam War my father knew his draft number was about to come up. He was already an optometrist, but he decided to join the Air Force, since he could do so as an officer and he hoped it might make the war a bit easier. He was told to report to Fort Bragg, here in N.C., of course. A couple weeks before it was time to leave he was looking at a brochure showing Air Force bases around the country. He showed my mom a photo of Vandenburg AFB in California and said he wished he could get stationed somewhere like that. Well, a few days later he got a phone call from someone at Vandenburg. She said, "I'm really not supposed to do this, but we really need an optometrist here at the base and we wondered if you'd rather come here rather than Fort Bragg?" He said yes without even calling my mom.
My dad loved California. He felt he had come home for the first time in his life, just as I did when I first stepped foot in Italy. He was lucky enough that he was able to stay in Vandenburg for the entirety of the war. After the war he and my mom stayed in California, even though my grandparents begged him to move back to Ohio. They offered to buy him his own practice if he would come home, but he felt like California was home and he didn't want to leave. Later, of course, he died and we ended up in North Carolina. So, we have always felt he was allowed to trade a short life in a place he really wanted to be for a longer life here. He and my mom started dating when my mom was only 14. At 16, my dad told her he wasn't going to live a very long time. He already knew he would die young, but he thought he would die in a war.
We, though, are evidently supposed to be here. Why? Jerry says I was supposed to marry him and he was supposed to have his accident so that we would eventually be led to China to adopt our children. I've always wondered who I would have been if we'd never left California. Would I have gotten to keep my blond hair? It turned dark the first long Ohio winter (and blizzard). Would I be more athletic? I could already swim by the time he died when I was three and I was outside all the time. My mom caught him trying to strap a scuba tank onto my back when I was only 2 because he wanted to teach me to dive so badly. I'm sure I would know how if we'd stayed. I am pretty sure I would have a different personality all together, because I can only vaguely remember being really happy and feeling safe. Most people get to years and years to grow up and discover gradually how cruel and awful the world can be, but I found out all at once. Most of my life I've always been a little bit sad.
I also wonder who I would have been if we had come straight to North Carolina and I grew up here and never lived in Ohio or traveled every summer to Michigan. I wouldn't know much about my grandparents. My mother has no patience with stuff like that. She says since you can't go back and make different choices you'll never know what might have happened. I can't help it though; I just find it fascinating. Now I wonder who we will all be when we move, and how it will change us. I hope we change for the better!
The other night I was running and listening to Pandora and a Switchfoot song came on. I tried to make a point of remembering it for this blog, but of course I forgot the name. I remember one line though: "Today hasn't ever happened before".  I heard that and thought, it is so true, and yet I never think that way at all. It seems like my days all just run together in an endless stream of errands and laundry and chores, pretty much unchanging. I have been trying to look at it differently! I hope I can see each day as a new adventure and remind myself  whatever happens is what's meant to happen.

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