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minikin

Minikin's Journal

Routine Ramblings of an Occasionally Interesting Housewife


Living with Depression
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minikin
“Today is a bad day” I say after the hubbub slows down and we’re listening to each other. “What kind of bad?”

Listening to each other - not talking to each other. Did it really take 30 years of marriage to identify the difference between talking and listening? We talk to each other “all day” - that portion of the day counted up in phone calls, texts and actual spatial proximity.

Listening is hard. Listening means bundling away all the battling cries for attention from physical pain (of late), physical emotion — how else to describe the background mood built up of sensory reactions that bubble throughout my body and brain, giving differing importance to relevant physical sense - whether bubbly humor, “have you ever noticed how silly that picture is?”

**screech**brakes hissing**full stop**

In the improv game that is life — it’s got to be improv: there’s no script, only vague instructions and rules — my character, that pilot or committee or whatever rules the grey sparkly matter, follows a trackless urban carnival of shiny or gloom. Filled with switchbacks and dead ends or paths off into the undefined and irrelevant wilderness.

A picture of a stick figure thinking thoughts that look like geometric solids and formulae with the caption What Society Wnat Me to Think beside a colored in stick figure thinking colorful thoughts that look like colorful doodles and rainbows and twisty paths and more color and shiny with the caption What I Think chosen to illustrate how I imagine my thoughts would appear.

Is it any wonder that a depressive is more likely to ask for meds to “turn off all the thinking” than anything to light it up?

The classic symptoms of depression - the listlessness, sadness, despair, withdrawal, lethargy - For me, that’s what happens when all the thinking gets too overwhelming. There might be an outside trigger, but it’s excuse, not cause. What I felt as despair came out to Flar as anger, ever shortening or nonexistent temper. Temper, to moderate, lessen, smooth out. Take anger and turn it into an exploration of why.

“Why," the ultimate question that invites thinking: entering that scary maze. Just as “why” allowed Spock to appear to spin a tale actually narrated by the minds of the Talosians. “Why” just opens me up to those mazes inside. When I don’t have the courage or energy to face them, I snap out at the closest target instead.

“Yes, and?”

I used to complain that Flar acted like an old Macintosh. I’d bare my feelings, tell him some sorry tale of grief and pain and emotion, and he’d just reply okay. That’s the only button Macintosh used to provide, along with the slapstick fizzing bomb, to dismiss the fatal error message that meant your work was lost and the computer would attempt to restart. No one is okay with that! Who wants to hear that all their work since their last save, potentially saved work as well, is down the drain? It’s no wonder that the modern operating systems have replaced okay with choices, even if it amounts to the same result.

Oh, and don’t suggest the old “repeat it back to show you heard it” ploy. It just makes me feel handled.

Living with depression started with recognizing I had the condition to begin with. With all that surrounded me, my mind’s biochemical emotion OS is somehow warped into depressive responses to input. If I can recognize that there’s not alway an external “why”, that my partner doesn’t cause it, then why should I expect him to fix it?

So back to listening. It’s a two-way street. “What kind of bad?” Listen to the care, listen to the limits of what can come from outside. Use the focus to cut away the drifting debris. "My foot hurts. I didn’t get enough sleep, so the fatigue is amplifying it. I was disappointed in an expectation. I’m overreacting and if I can’t handle no stressors, what about this stressor that’s coming up? I want to cry. I want to be held. I want to sleep. I want to pile it all away into a little ball and act like I’m happy.” Any one of these would be a way to get help. But sometimes all I can get out is. “bad"

"Yes, and." It’s an invitation to ask for help. It’s a way of saying “I care about you, and I want to help in whatever way you give me that I’m able."


This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 8 : Yes, and.

Idol
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minikin
The poll is up. So far, I've particularly enjoyed monkeysugarmama's, sorchawench's & kagomeshuko's entries.

Date Night
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minikin
[Note for audio readers.]Note for audio readers. This is a conversation between two individuals; in order to be more inclusive to varied gender couples, I have not included narrative to differentiate the speakers. Instead, I've used visual formatting which places one speaker to the right of the page, and the other to the left. For listeners, please keep in mind that the speaker changes at each paragraph break.

“mmm, that was so nice. I feel all stretchy-relaxed.”

“So, nap then? No date night?”

“Oh, I don’t know about that. What do you have in mind?”

“Dinner and a movie? Popcorn and pay-per-view?”

“That’s not a date night, that's what we do every night.”

“Well, what do you want to do?”

“There’s a new gallery opening I’d love to see. It's the Dutch Masters of the Golden Age or some such. You know, Vermeer and the like.”

“Seriously, you think wandering around looking at photographs of wine and cheese is a good time? Now you’re making me hungry, and Froot Loops aren’t going to cut it.”

“They aren't photographs, they are photo-realistic paintings. We could go out for Teppanyaki. That’s like dinner and a show.”

“Right, another way of just sitting around all night. I’d like to do something active, like bowling, or hey - isn’t there a new indoor ice skating rink that just opened up?”

“On this ankle, you think I want to go ice skating anytime soon? If you want active, we should just go to the club together. I could swim and you can go climb stairs on that weird escalator thingie.”

“It’s not an escalator. And how would that be a date, with you on a whole different level of the building from me? But there is a kick boxing class I’ve been wanting to try. We could go together.”

“You might as well suggest the new indoor trampoline place; I really don't think I should risk all that bouncing while my ankle is still healing. All this talk of exercising has me exhausted. How about we just walk to the corner market and pick out fresh meat and veggies for a stay-at-home meal? They’ve still got some of the date night baskets put together, so we don’t have to think out what to fix. They’re themed to match the included DVD.”

“So, what I suggested in the first place: dinner and a movie. Date Night. If NASA can put a man on the moon, why can’t we manage to plan a simple date together without riding a Rube Goldberg roller coaster, just to get to the first idea on the table? I think we need another relaxation break to de-stress from all this planning. C’mere you.”



[Description of Image]A Rube Goldberg cartoon entitled How to Get Rid of a Mouse. There is a caption included in the image: The best mousetrap by Rube Goldberg: Mouse (A) dives for a painting of cheese (B), goes through canvas and lands on hot stove (C). He jumps on a cake of ice (D) to cool off. Moving escalator (E) drops him on boxing glove (F) which knocks him into basket (G) setting off miniature rocket (H) which takes him to the moon.


This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 5 : Build a Better Mousetrap.

Author's note.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I heard Mouse Trap was the game designed in homage to Rube Goldberg[*], a cartoonist famous for his cartoon illustrations of comically involved, complicated inventions, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation, to quote Webster’s New World Dictionary. I originally encountered his work through the pages of Mad Magazine. When I went looking for his artwork, I was delighted to find a webpage dedicated to invention. In further serendipity, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest 2014 College Nationals were held this weekend. This year's theme was "Zip a Zipper," and first place went to “A Simple Way to Get Ready for Work” from Purdue, West Lafayette IN.


[Description of Image]Picture of the winning Rube Goldberg Machine. Unfortunately, the narrative for the winning machine does not appear to be available, and the picture does not clearly illustrate the machine’s complex interactions. There are a number of individual components in the picture, including a bowling ball, a coffee pot, a gumball machine, and a large pipe wrapped with caution tape.

Vote's Up
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minikin
The Polls are Up for The Real LJ Idol Week 4.

I'm atill reading entries, but so far I've particularly enjoyed the entries from beldarzfixon, caile, copyright1983, i_17bingo, muchtooarrogant, reborn_spirit and sorchawench this week.
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It's not easy being orange.
Sunflower
minikin
A baby picture of me that shows off how orange my hair was.I had a full head of peach-fuzz when I was born. I was the talk of the floor, and Mommy couldn’t wait until she could get out bed and see the little baby girl in the nursery with curly red hair. They brought me to her. I don’t know why they call it red. It’s really many shades of brown, ranging from Bozo orange at birth to “why do you keep calling it red?” brown - right before I started having it dyed back to that brighter shade. [*]No, not the orange, but yeah, orange highlights look natural in my hair.

There is much said about redheads.

A picture of me during my bridal shower, showing what my hair looked like when Flar first knew me.Fiery hair, fiery temper. If brunettes are smart and blondes are dumb, then we redheads are sexpots. Slow to heal; easily bruised. [*]“You are a hemophiliac, aren’t you? No, I’m just a redhead." Higher pain threshold. Fair skin that freckles or burns, but rarely tans. In older times, redheads with green eyes were witches. [*]Mine are hazel, which tends to react to surrounding color, and funny, the red hair tends to keep mine a sort of sea foam green. We require more anesthetic. Do bees sting redheads more often? I’m pretty sure the wasps were more upset about the accidental destruction of their nest than the color of my hair. [*]And they all stung just my upper arm on the part that brushed against the nest; is there some kind of security alert scent spread on the outside to identify the vandals? I can definitely attest to mosquitoes preferring me over anyone around me. Redheads are said to go from red to blonde to white. I can’t wait for white. I’m a bit put out that I’ve got this brown phase going on before the blonde and white take over.

“There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.” — nursery rhyme that fit me to a tee

A picture of me as a young child, showing my still very bright red hair.I was a sunny child, oblivious to what went unsaid. “Where did you get your pretty red hair?” “God gave it to me.” My parents both have dark brown hair. I was fully grown before I understood why Mommy was so pleased with my stock answer — a sweet innocent reply and reminder to the oh so proper church people asking the question. How was I to know what they might be implying?

My brother could always get under my skin. He knew every button to press. I never got scolded for screaming or crying; HE got the lectures about how to treat his little sister. I never learned emotional restraint in my childhood. Was it because my red hair was thought to indicate that I couldn’t?

We all carry regrets. When I gave my life to Christ, my heaviest regrets, those that weighed my back down with a load unbearable, were born of anger. Blame the hair, blame the lack of habit of, training for, skill at emotional restraint. When I got bent out of shape, those I cared about the most, those closest to me, were the ones to suffer. These may now be sins forgiven, but the harm to others? Their hurts are often not so easily healed.

I find myself in my second life surrounded by strength. By patience. By faithfulness. By truth. These are the traits of those who can stick through the thick and thin that is a redheaded emotional firestorm.

God, meds, humility, love. These and the superhero league surrounding me have worked to gentle me. No, really. They can attest. I used to be Way Worse than you see out of me now.

Well, yeah. And a weekend now and then, devoted solely to the redhead in me - it doesn't hurt.

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 4 : “Nobody can ride your back if your back's not bent” .

The B Word
Sunflower
minikin
No, not b*****; Bahamas.

It began in 1989; our anniversary was looming, and Flar asked me if I'd like to go to the Bahamas to celebrate. At the time, I was active on a few of the boards hosted by UMAINE on the Bitnet. Star Trek was the subject (and name) of one of those boards, and there was an upcoming potluck marathon weekend at a Cornell fraternity in Ithaca NY. Naturally, my response to Flar was "oh if you had travel in mind ..." That trip was a lovely adventure, best told in full at a later date. [*]Quickly though, I learned that yes, three months along was too late for me to travel while pregnant and oddly, you can indeed use a t-shirt in place of a pillow case. Oh for the days when both of us fit in a twin bed, even WITH me being three months pregnant.

Buzz forward a brace of years to 1991. Our tenth anniversary was fast approaching, and Flar asked me whether I'd like to take a luxury train trip, or go to the Bahamas. We settled on a lightning fast, four day jaunt to Merry Olde England.

Our theme for our trip was Hedge Mazes of Southern England, and our itinerary was planned out by Flar. He found a sweetheart deal with the The Savoy Hotel in London that included dinner at the Savoy Grille and a car (Jaguar) and driver for transport to and from Gatwick. The driver made me silly-dizzy after our long international flight, by taking all those roundabouts in the clockwise direction. :)

The Savoy is located on the only right-hand drive lane in London, within easy walking distance of all sorts of touristy destinations, including the theatre district. Part of our plan was to sleep in each day and go to the theatre in the evenings, thus sidestepping the worst of the jet lag.

On our arrival, the hotel staff treated us like royalty. Our bellman showed us our call box with the buttons for valet, butler & maid. He even offered to unpack our luggage for us before he left. Matt battled his jet lag with an in-room massage while I luxuriated in the bath. Then we napped before seeking out sustenance and strolling through Covent Garden. We really can’t recommend the Chinese diner from that night. We had quite delicious food in the Savoy Grill the next evening. [*]Where I learned how to use asparagus tongs properly. Until the server showed me how, the spears kept springing out of the tongs each time I took a bite. I don’t think I hit any of the other diners. I’ve heard people put down pub food, but I really liked the fare at the pub near Windsor castle. [*]By the end of our visit we were longing for plain ‘Muricn fare, though. Matt buzzed for our butler to inquire about Pizza Hut, and a short while later we were brought a nice pepperoni pie. It was quite a sight to see our very formal butler in morning suit delivering a pizza.Current head butler at The Savoy, dressed in a morning suit.  The black jacket is cutaway in the front, with tails behind.  It is worn over a grey vest, with a dark & light grey diagonally striped tie.  The dress shirt is white, and the pants are grey of a shade darker than the vest. On a later trip to London, we were delivered a magnum of Evian in a champagne cooler beside a silver bowl of freshly made crisps when we got the munchies. We don’t have the budget for this sort of travel these days, but the Savoy remains to this day my fave hotel - beating out the Ritz in Paris with the remote control curtains by a hair.

Flar had arranged a car and driver for us the next day. We toured Hever Castle, Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle. [*]Technically we might have toured Windsor on the next trip, but we definitely had lunch in a pub in Windsor on this visit. The Tower of London and Buckingham were definitely on the second time around. At Hever and Hampton, we toured the gardens and hedge mazes
An overhead view of the Yew Maze at Hever CastleA view of the hedge maze at Hampton Court
as well as the castle interiors. At the time, I learned all sorts of stuff about the spiral staircases designed to disadvantage invaders and the short beds and crenelations and arrow holes and blah blah. After a bit, at each new locale, we were simply in another castle. The gardens in England are all impressive, beautiful, inspiring, intimidating, and in the end, for us at least, inimitable. [*]I seem to remember that in addition to walking to the center of each maze, we even met with a hedge maze expert for advice in planning our own maze. We never did pay to have a line run out to the center of the field in order to give infant yews or boxwoods the amount of water required to survive into adulthood. But it was fun to dream.

We fully enjoyed our jaunt to London and back. We returned home with pictures, [*]which have sadly escaped scanning thus far, as Flar wants to project manage digitizing our older pictures, and we've got major house re-organization ahead of that in time prioritization, as well as tangible reminders of the trip. We ordered engraved personal stationery; at Burberry’s, I acquired a raincoat and Flar got some nice dress shirts and ties. I still wear the raincoat when weather demands, but Flar's shirts have worn out by now.

For many years after that, the B word was not spoken when planning vacations, since after all - where might we end up this time? But for everything there is a season. Flar has a business partner who owns Egg Island in the Bahamas. They have been working together on developing it into a resort island. We finally made it to the Bahamas in 2012, as two stops on a vacation cruise out of New Orleans, that also stopped in Key West. Nowadays, the B word is our dream for the future.

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 3 : In Another Castle.

Yay, my nano was just being cranky.
Sunflower
minikin
Oh the horror, I thought my nano had died the big one today. I looked up how to reset it, and sweet, it came back to life. Even remembered where I left off reading listening. Yay!

Went to see Son of God with my Life Group tonight. The house where we regularly meet has two many steps with no railing at the top of too steep a driveway for my current wheelie state, so I jump at the chance when we all go out somewhere together.

I was disappointed in the movie, though. It did have emotional impact. It did include a lot of important material. It even had a kind of neat framing. But I just felt underwhelmed by the final product of it, like it could have been better. hmm.

Oh, and the Idol poll is up. If you'd like to vote for me, I'm in Tribe 3. I've only just started reading entries myself, but so far I've particularly liked Thenodrin's entry and Ro's entry gave me a chill.

Facing Challenges
Sunflower
minikin
[*][OMG I really wasn’t going to whine about my ankle but this has been a week.]
It’s so easy to live an everyday life, oblivious to the special challenges that face others in our midst.

This is America: no one goes hungry, right? Not until we hosted one of Tigger’s friends for a few months, did I learn that you have to have an income to sign up for food stamps SNAP. How does an 18 year old stay in school after his parents kick him out? He sleeps in his friends’ car or even under bridges, until he finds a friend whose family will take him in, even though they know his history.

This is America: everywhere in public is handicap accessible, right? Not until I broke my ankle in January, did I find out the impact of the little obstacles I didn’t know were there. I feel no right to b**** about access, since my stint as a wheelie is temporary. [*][Or at least, I have to re-start paying copays at the orthopedist at the beginning of May.] However, it does help to vent a little.

Van accessible parking spaces are great. I can open the car door wide enough to put out the walker, and there’s a ramp up to the sidewalk right up at the end of the stripes. The ramp isn’t so useful when there’s a bank of snow between the plowed parking lot and salted sidewalk, though. [*][Stupid anger-tears worked better the next day when the bank had turned to ice, then the cheerful oh-by-the-way style request when it was merely snow.]

I actually make a point to use the public restrooms before I leave to go home or after I arrive from home, cause we don’t have grab bars at home. This weekend was the first time I encountered blue goo when I grabbed the bar, though. I wondered whether the thoughtful, frequent cleanings include the underside of the grab bars? It helped to discover the source of the goo - the foam soap dispenser was right over the grab bar, and drips coalesced back into the original blue of the soap. At least the goo was by definition clean. [*][Bonus, this particular restroom had a sink, towel and soap dispensers in the handicap stall. The main part of the room was under construction, with one of the two soap dispensers, two of the six sinks and all of the towel dispensers out of use.]

The ADA established the required number of handicapped spaces in parking lots as a ratio to the number of spaces and size of the building. But maybe an orthopedist’s office could have a few more than normal? And, maybe install one of those nifty push button door openers?

I’ve been treated so sweetly by everyone around me, but this has taught me that what you think might be helpful might not be. Like that time I was half leaning on the door to my office building as I held it open, and I almost lost my balance when a helpful worker pulled it more open behind me. I have learned to ask when I need help (or I’m just too damn weary), and to smile sweetly and say thank you for the help when I didn’t ask. I’m thinking that kind of gets old for people who live on wheels.

Flar, Eclipse, Knight, Ro, and my grown sons, Tigger and Critter have been incredible. Flar has been a constant provider, caretaker, and even comfort-cleaner, not just get-by cleaner while I've needed so much help at worst and at best couldn’t pull my share. For the entire month of February, this darn winter took away the hot water in our kitchen, and the heat has been off in the that part of the house since Christmas.

Eclipse has pitched in to help Flar when I couldn’t, and even just kept me company when I was exhausted and listened to me whine. Tigger and Critter cheerfully spoiled me with fetch and carry whenever I just wanted to sit, and Flar reassured me about asking for help instead of trying to do too much and wear myself out.

Mom and Dad even helped out with a practical bell and basket and a cheerful set of streamers for my knee walker.

Knight bought me a knee walker, and he’s been absurdly complimentary about my attitude. Ro has consistently encouraged me to try what I've thought was beyond my reach. She even got me to bowl today - even before they brought me the ball ramp. But the best is the two nights a week I get to stay over in their basement: nights of level rolling household entry: nights of everything is easy.

The rest of the week, my biggest challenge of each day is entry and exit from my own home. When I first broke my ankle, Flar drove me everywhere. He would drive the car around to the front of the house, help me down the step from the front door to the porch, then the step down to the sidewalk. He would spot me along the sidewalk as I crutched along to the car, and drive me to and from work.

In order to get back behind the wheel, I needed (1) the cast to replace the post-surgery bandaging, (2) a way to get down the steeper step at the back door, (3) a way to get from the back door to the garage and (4) a way to get me and the walker into the car.

The darn icy, snowy winter delayed my attempts after I got the cast, as we waited until the ice melted from the back door area.

I mastered the last skill first, discarding the “put the walker in the back seat then hop to the front seat” method in favor of putting the walker into the car after me and settling into the seat beside me. I am not built for that much hopping.

I managed fairly well at lowering myself down the steeper step, and once I started using the doorknob as a convenient handle, I was able to get back up even more easily.

The hardest bit is getting into and out of the garage. We have four steps leading up to the garage from the nice, flat sidewalk. Or, we have a narrow and bumpy path beside the garage, which is made of concrete pavers that have cracked and heaved into a treacherously non-level course. One side is bounded by brick edging which leans into and out of the path; the other by a bed of ivy. The frequent rains and snow showers this winter have kept the soil of the ivy bed very soft.

I’ve only fallen once on the brick path, on the way in. [*][“Hi, I fell. I’m on my butt by the back door; can you come help?”] I almost fell once on the way out. [*][That was the day that Flar swept off a light dusting of snow and followed me up just in case. Just as I started to tip over, he steadied me firmly from behind. “I’ve got you.”]

When there is someone at home to help me, it takes me a twelfth the amount of time to get up and down the stairs. I need help to get the walker up or down after me, though. Tonight I managed to get it down myself, as Flar hovered protectively just in case.

Once I’m inside the house, I can generally get around to anywhere on the ground floor. [*][That is, unless you count the library. But I have a pretty steady backlog of reading material piled up in the bedroom right now.] I can thank my father-in-law for this. When we were remodeling the house, he was the one who suggested we do away with the steps up from the back porch jacuzzi room to the back hall. I don’t even remember whether there were one, two or three steps. When Knight bought me the knee walker, his only stipulation was that I was not allowed to cry “whee!” and roll full-tilt down the ramp. [*][Which is why I regularly call out “whee” when I’m free rolling on level ground.] For 21 years and counting, I have yet to miss that particular stair.

This is quite a learning experience for me, being a temporary wheelie. I now realize how little I really understand about the daily challenges faced by people every day in our country. This is just another lesson for me in humility, and the importance of letting them teach me what they want me to know.

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 2 : The Missing Stair.

I got the boot
Sunflower
minikin
Okay, technically I already had it from before surgery, and I brought it back to the office today. My cast is gone and I'm back in the boot. Yay!

I told Knight tonight that it is a measure of my love that I put off my bubble bath until tomorrow so that I could be over here for his birthday tonight.

The poll is up over at LJ Idol. I'm in the third tribe, along with Ro.

The family that laughs together
Sunflower
minikin
Can I tell you sumshin?[*] [When my brother-in-law was little, he pronounced “something” as “sum” plus “shin.”]

Let’s talk about family, about generations, about passing on the important values and truths. Family is about shared experience, about perpetuating tradition, and hope for the future. Family is the gathering of souls, in a connection forged by behavior and biology. Family is a gathering of souls connected by common interests and the fascination of difference. My experience with family has been the very most fortunate, where love is a strong and enduring bond. We are each others’ historians, mirrors and coaches.

I started out in a family through no action of my own. I was doted on as the precious daughter. Family encouraged my playful spirit, comforted my despondencies, schooled me in knowledge general and esoteric. My experience leads me to believe that the desire to create family is inborn and blessed.

Friendships formed a new kind of family for me; intimate friendships added lifetime family as well as lifetime losses and abandonments. I went to my 10th high school reunion, so long ago, and marveled at how many names I remembered from the past. Friendships of the passing nature whose long faded wisps were neither mourned nor particularly noticed. I still have a pointy, hurty place in my heart for friend once close, gradually distant, then torn away without agreement or even discussion.

You are my density![*] [Back to the Future: George McFly]

As I gained more intimacy in my relationships, I built around myself lasting family. The world right now is mired in controversy over governmental and church recognition of marriages, and peripherally adoptions. Words, labels, even defining activities: these are shadows that shred themselves against the pointy, irregular surface, diamond hard realness of family and love and connection itself.

A family produces its own culture, including a shared language and humor. When a facial expression, body pose, single word, phrase or nonsense sound can conjure smiles, giggles or chortles, that’s family. When all the shared history together rises up in a bubble of joyful reminder of one bit of common experience. And some of the best of times are when we share the back stories and movies and books with new members of our family, surrounding them with the family culture, as well as extending the culture with the new stories to come.

I’m a ficus, I’m a ficus![*] [Quark]
Vr-ooom, vroom vroom vroom.[*] [An old meme that just dared you not to laugh.] Can you really keep a straight face? But, if you don’t have a shared experience in time or tale, you might just.

Shaka, when the walls fell.[*] [Next Gen: “Darmok”] I thought I loved anyone, everyone. Okay, at least anyone who loved me back. I regret so much of my part in my interactions with my in-laws. We lacked the shared culture, and I didn’t understand how to bridge that, how to understand and laugh with them. I didn’t think you'd like it, so I got you two.[*] [Matt’s mom, on giving him a pair of ties, meaning that she hoped he’d like at least one of them.]

Someday perhaps I’ll have the opportunity from the other direction. I might even be old enough now to laugh off my frustrations and learn not merely to tell stories, but to listen to stories. Not merely to listen, but to incorporate, to remember, to build a bridge. Initial sweetness is no sure sign of success. But maybe experience has finally drummed at least something into this thick skull.

Maybe in the future we’ll all go to Guma.[*] [The way Tigger used to pronounce Guam.] In the meantime, I’ll study up on Discovery Channel.[*] [Big Trouble: Henry DeSalvo]

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 1 : Jayus.
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