Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trip Rehash (A little Optimism Goes a Long Way)

Alright, I admit it - it wasn't a bad trip. It was actually a really great trip, and being somewhere else had the effect of removing a ton of bricks from my chest, even if only temporarily. Here in the Cackalackies summer is still hanging on with a sticky vengeance, but Autumn was in full swing as we headed up through West Virginia and Pennsylvania to Western New York, and the shore of Lake Erie. The maples and the sumac were incredible shades of coral, scarlet, crimson and russet, especially in upper PA and NY. (None of which, of course, are in this picture, but it's still a good shot of what Western NY looks like)We filled the back of the pickup with apples and cider, kielbasa and pepperoni, horseradish mustard and rye bread, peanut sticks and hard white cheddar; a cornucopia of all the things that mean home to us. We bought our apples at The Red Barrel, out in North Boston. We went to Schwabel's in West Seneca, to have Beef on Kimmelweck and German potato salad, because they've been serving it since 1837 and I think they're still the best. This is their cash register:We went and visited with my aunt, who is now at 65 pounds, but hanging on - she had more energy than I'd seen in her since she had the operation, over 4 years ago, and while one good virus could still carry her off, it gave us hope that maybe, somehow, she might just be able to get better.

I was worried that going with my dad to see his sister, and his friend who is in frail health as well, might tip him (and me!) over the edge into Dark and Twisty-ville - it has to be tough to see your peers passing, one by one - but he surprised me with his resilience. We talked about everything under the sun on the drive up and back, sometimes getting so engrossed that we missed our exits! It was a bonding experience for us both, I think, which can only be good. I think it helped that we went to Oil City and had dinner at the Yellow Dog Lantern, because the ladies who work there love to flirt with my dad, and he loves to give it back in kind. They sat down in the booth with us and told him if he weren't married he would be going home with one of them, couldn't believe he was 77, thought he must be only in his early 60s, and you know he loved that!The drive up to New York from Oil City was eventful - Route 8 ended abruptly above Union City (we were talking and missed the detour signs) so we took a dirt road or two and somehow ended up in New York, near Findley Lake. The Ace Hardware store was in Union City - I love the old bike and the ad for tux rentals in the windows!I missed the guys while I was away, but the rest of the shite, as posted before, yeah, not so much. I know I can't control how other people behave (as much as I might like to, as much as they might be begging to be disciplined), so my task now is to try and forget, or at least to ignore the flingers of bullshit - it's their problem not mine. Now I have to repeat that about a hundred times whilst looking severely at myself in the mirror - it's not my mess, I'm not going to clean it up!

Thanks to you all, who came and left a little moral support!

Picture below: the tribal lands where my mother swears they touch her cheek and ask, "What tribe are you?" Yeah, sure they do!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kinda Eyore-ish

Okay so you're not in my head (and wouldn't a therapist love to scrutinize that!) so you wouldn't know that the reason I haven't been writing is pure depression. I did feel like I was getting kind of hackneyed in the blogosphere, but that was just the tip of the iceberg that I slid off into the arctic sea of Fuckitall.

The kids are both in middle school now, so I have my mornings to myself again, which kind of makes me feel like I'm not pulling my weight, and of course I'm not feeling any inspiration to paint, which adds to that feeling of uselessness, though I have kicked up the home-made goodness as a result, which nobody is complaining about, except maybe my ever-expanding gut.

I find myself still mourning Mrs. Puff, probably because it was so unexpected and horrific, the way she died. I know there was nothing we could have done in the face of an avalanche of hemorrhagic strokes, and maybe that's what haunts me - that sense of complete futility.

I'm having the old recurring issue with living in this part of the world; being a yankee by birth (I have lived in the south for over 40 years, but I'm still a yankee - how about that shit?) and not christian (and I refuse to capitalize such a travesty of a word) is two humongously indelible marks against me in this small, backward-thinking town. Apparently all you have to do for social acceptance is give lip service to being the same religion as everyone else and talk through a mouth full of marbles. I kid you not. It doesn't matter if you're committing adultery, are an abusive parent or abusive spouse, or a dead-beat parent who leaves their kids to fend for themselves - if you profess your faith loudly enough, no one will care what you do behind closed doors (and these aren't stereotypes; every example I listed is someone I know, in all their sanctimonious hypocrisy, who treats me and my family like lepers). Being a kind and decent human being doesn't count for doodly without that "got jesus" lobotomized seal of approval. (Please note: I have nothing against Jesus himself, or what he had to say. My problem is with the trash that insists on using his name to legitimize their petty fear and hatred of anything that doesn't fit into their limited awareness.) I know there are people who are truly good christians - I know 2 personally, but there are so many of the other kind. Aren't they calling themselves the "Tea Party" these days?

So, on top of those delectable tidbits from the fantastic pile of shit that is permeating my existence on a daily basis, I have a trip to make, starting tomorrow. I'm headed up to Buffalo, with my dad. He's going to see his sister and an old friend, both of whom are in very frail health. He hates death, is even kind of phobic about it, so this isn't going to be a pleasure jaunt. I'm a little amazed that he's even going. I have to confess, I'm not sure I'm up to this myself, treading water in my own murky sea of personal bullshit, but I said I'd go. I'm going to take a composition book and try to do some journalling - angst is good for writing, right? I'm also going to try and carpe diem; to take it one day at a time and try, TRY to find some good in there amongst the craptastic chaff.

And at the least there will be apples - lovely crisp New York apples and cider to look forward to, right?