Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I have just received a loving message from Mahala. I am so blessed to have the friends and family I have. I want to tell about the end of my birthday as a way to thank those who made my day so splendid.

I returned the book from Brendan and managed to get the last copy of Alden Nowlan's "Collected Poems." In the evening, Helen came over with a French picnic of cold meats, cheeses, antipasto, bread, and fresh strawberries. We carried a bench out to the deck - the evening was so deliciously and unusually warm - put white damask napkins down, spread the feast, and Gill, Helen, and I sat and gorged. Rob returned from his first day on a film and joined us. We drank good red wine (Helen white) and I read the poems I included in my blog. Rob presented me with a short white silk kimono that reminded me of Woodman's "the ravished bride" and another poem in the book I received from Vaughan. It begins with a quote from the Zen Mater Shih Shuang:

"Forget everything, stop doing anything, and try to rest completely. Try to pass ten thousand years in one thought! Try to be the cold ashes and the worn-out tree! Try to be a length of white silk."

Heidi dropped off a bouquet of red parrot roses, a bar of French soap, a white embroidered envelope, and poems by Emily Dickinson.

Lydia dropped off a bottle of olive oil spiced from her garden.

Walter dropped off a painting of a female nude, done by Leslie in her student days.

After dining, Helen and I watched "Women in Love" with champagne, that she had brought, in our hands. Part way through, we ate a chocolate from the box Gill had given me. What an amazing day!

I'd forgotten how good the dialogue is in this movie. I think it follows Lawrence's novel quite closely. I would like my pen to flow as his did, in such a sexy provocative way. I loved Alan Bates portrayal of him. Susan told me that he could be a bastard to Frida but then turn around and write her the most beautiful poems - such as "Gloire de Dijon":

"When she rises in the morning
I linger to watch her;
Spreads the bath-cloth underneath the window
And the sunbeams catch her
Glistening white on the shoulders,
While down her sides the mellow
Golden shadow glows as
She stoops to the sponge, and the swung breasts
Sway like full-blown yellow
Gloire de Dijon roses."

I can't remember how he was a bastard. I wonder if Susan, I, you, everyone expects too much from love.

I read through some more of Lawrence's poetry and find "The Deepest Sensuality". Rob noted on my birthday that I like the word "sensual." I do.

"The profoundest of all sensualities
is the sense of truth
and the next deepest sensual experience
is the sense of justice."

The day after my birthday, it rained in the morning. I went to work all day with a brief brake or break to visit my friendly dentist.

Monday, March 29, 2004

How is it, I wonder, that I am always happy on the 29th of March, that I always get what I want, that I always do what I want, that I am not afraid to state my needs, that I don't become upset when someone crosses me?

This is the day I was born. This is the way I'd like to be every day but I've tried in other years to pretend that other days are my birthday and it just doesn't work. So I will enjoy today.

Yesterday, my family made a feast. Mike made a spicey jambalaya. Rob made turkey burgers. Bren bought a Lemon Heaven, tower of a cake. Gill picked flowers and served and cleaned up.

Bren gave me Alden Nowlan's biography and another book that I already owned so I will replace it with Nowlan's collected poems (that I've bought three times and given away three times. When I was skimming through the biography, I found a poem that I read aloud last night as it was so appropriate, so me.

The Night of the Party

"Never have I seen women
wiser or more beautiful.

Never have I known men
so witty, so sensitive.

Here in my living room
are the twenty most remarkable
persons in all the world.

And me, the one fool,
who must dance
although too heavy
on his feet, sing
although his vocal cords
are out of tune.

But that is the price
I pay for such

My friends,
I do not get drunk for myself,
I get drunk for you."

Helen gave me a cushion that reads "My other house is in France" and a card in which she wrote "To a fearless loving and passionate Feminist who continually pushes the boundaries." Damn it all anyway. She knows I'm not fearless but how I love the praise. I'll pretend today that I am.

Nancy gave me a bottle of champagne and a dozen beautiful candles. My sister Maggie gave me a bouquet of white and pink tulips - my favourite flower.

This morning I opened a dark Indian scarf with gold scrolls and flowers from Marlene that I immediately tied around my neck and wear still, and a loving message.

Gill presented me with a handmade card that reads "Yvonne, the writer, the mother, the lover, the sinner, the woman" amid other endearments. (Now where did that girl get her sassy tongue from?) She also gave me a bottle of my favourite lavender bath foam, made in the south of France, that I splurge on once a season when I'm in our French house; and a small box of Godiva chocolates because she knows that I'm not a chocolate gobbler like some of my friends but admit that one or two of the best variety pleases my palate on occasion.

And Vaughan gave me a book of poetry "Words Under The Words" by Naomi Shihab Nye that I began with my coffee. Oh mon dieu, another poet to love. This is how I feel today:

So Much Happiness

"It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change....

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known."

As it is the 29th, I looked on page 29 and found a poem that will please my Plums but especially Wenda as she has just moved and needs time to settle.

The Art of Disappearing

"When they say Don't I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It's not that you don't love them anymore.
You're trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven't seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don't start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you can tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time."

This poem is perfect for the moment. Still, I wonder about myself at times. Looking on page 29 because of the date? Am I nuts, simple, or wise to allow small coincidences to decide my course of action? Doesn't matter really. I am who I am.

Rob is saving his gift for this evening.

I love this day.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

I have been writing although I have not been kind to this blog lately. Part of me wants to keep my thoughts private but another part thinks that I should continue to broadcast my mental gymnastics and doings in this public way. I'm trying for a balance and being slightly imbalanced by nature, I'm finding it difficult.

This week I worked on a story I began at the plum table. It's a story of an old woman, a successful author, who is a mentor to a younger writer who thinks she's liberated sexually until a strange happening throws her off balance.

Where do these stories come from? Will they ever find their way into print? It seems the impossible quest.

I did find the courage to read this story to the Jungian circle of women on Wednesday night. (I think that Marlene thinks that it is easy for me to read my "wayward" stories but I agonize before and after, more about the quality of the writing than the content. Is this true? Maybe not. I worry about both.) I decided to read it because the narrator of the story is a strong vocal woman who doesn't mess with words. She says what she thinks. This is the way I'd like to be but am too much of a coward. I love this aspect of writing - the part that allows me to give my thoughts and words to another so I don't have to take direct responsibility for them. Yes, it is the coward's way.

Shirley was much braver. She read aloud her vulnerable musings because, she said, she was resisting reading. I admire her writing style. She is fluent, unlike me, first draft and tells stories of the life of a single mother with three grown children, in a light-hearted manner, that doesn't take away from the poignancy of the tale - although what she read the other night was not light.

The fourth chapter of "Addiction to Perfection" goes straight for the jugular. Marlene said that she could teach an entire course on this one chapter. One young woman in the room said that the book is driving her crazy as she thinks she's doing all right and then Woodman points out her inconsistencies. Is it good, I wonder, being thrown into emotional upheaval? Yes, I answer. I don't want to be a mystery to myself.

Within the chapter, Woodman describes an analysand's dream and concludes:

"The dreamer realized she had to choose between going back to the collective, rigid world she had always known, or trusting herself to her inner spiritual guide, thus moving with her own destiny. She saw it as a choice between falling back into unconsciousness and surrendering to the Self. If she chose to go back, she feared being condemned by her own Reality. If she chose to surrender, she was terrified of losing her integrity in a world she did not understand. It is a crisis we all reach at least once in the individuation process."

Another passage hit home as well. Woodman speaks of tears and I think many see them as a sign of weakness. She quotes Viktor Frankl, who in a concentration camp, realized that tears were a sign of "the greatest courage, the courage to suffer" and Woodman continues "Keeping a stiff upper lip is one thing: being able to connect to our own reality in our own situation is another. The negative mother loves unconsciousness. So long as we are petrified in a static world there is no danger of us opening ourselves to weeping our own tears or singing our own song." I have difficulty doing both.

Lately I've been thinking of my old friend, Maggie, who cried a lot of tears before she died in 1990. She wrote me that tears are the wine of the gods.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"In my work, I try for truth, but also for a certain musicality of language, a certain weaving of images. Excellence in writing demands a balance of all three."

The quote is by John Updike. I wrote this down from a magazine article at the dentist's yesterday. I've been seeing a lot of this Irish man lately. He isn't gentle like my friend the female dentist. In fact, he treats my mouth as if it were an inanimate object, pulling it this way and that like a lump of clay that he's trying to add to after the fact. I put up with this treatment because I can't afford the alternative and I appreciate his attempt to make my mouth more functional.

The rest of me is up to me. I have withdrawn from the world this past week, trying to pull myself into a more accepting, appreciative human being. Sometimes I have a hard time being in this world.

I want to be able to congratulate my sister Maggie on her engagement but all I can think is "poor woman - why is she thinking of remarrying when she isn't even unmarried yet. Why marry period?" She tells me she's happy. She's found herself.

Who am I to question her? I simply have to find the route to the place where I can applaud her plans.

My family, who I rarely see, are appearing in great numbers.

My sister Bev came for dinner last night with her three wee ones. She is frazzled. Her new home is still under construction - two weeks behind schedule - and she has been living with her man and children in the basement of a friend, out of a suitcase. She tries to talk while holding baby Cameron who is screaming up a storm. She is barely holding onto her sanity, she tells me. Our mother is arriving tomorrow and she has no bed for her.

I tell her I'll take mum for two days until her place is habitable.

My sister Gael and her daughter Emilie are arriving Tuesday for a week but Gael is at a convention and has a hotel room. She'd like to have a pajama party there with all her sisters.

My longest friend, Penelope, arrives Wednesday.

I leave for Los Angeles on Thursday. Gill was going to come with me and I arranged her ticket et al but then she realized that a dance she was organizing is being held during this time and can't leave. I am disappointed. It would have been so much more fun being on a buying trip with her than alone.

Surprisingly amid all this confusion and planning, I have been writing.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

This has been a strange hard week for me but last night, out for dinner with Rob, Marlene, and Steve, enjoying good Greek food, drinking retsina, laughing, talking, and then driving home through Vancouver, over the Lions Gate Bridge, with spring showing everywhere - I especially love the cherry blossoms - I felt myself grow lighter.

I had spent the morning with my plum group. I am more than thankful for their company, their input to my writing and the way that we help each other. Writing is such a lonely business and having a place to bring the beginnings of stories and those that have been finely tuned but still aren't quite there is such a gift. How long have we been together? Three years? I'm not sure but I realized yesterday how we have grown to trust each other, how we can read anything, say anything, express doubts and frustrations, give criticism and praise, and come away fortified, feeling good about our writing and wanting to continue, to better our best.

Wenda read a piece that she had written the night before. She apologized before reading saying that, after being prompted by Vaughan via email, to complete what had been started the last meeting, and feeling slightly annoyed at this reminder, she began to write. It was "shitty" she said but, if I could write in this vein, so could she. The thing is that what she wrote was not shitty at all. It was a heart-breaking tale that had happened in her youth, describing man's inhumanity to man and animals. As Vaughan said, it exposed our dark sides. I think it a brilliant piece of prose and hope she fine tunes it.

I had been having bleak thoughts about my writing and my life for several days. I went around with a poem by Dylan Thomas whirling round my brain:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

After the Jungian meeting on Wednesday night, I felt as if I was going to die. l fell into such despair that I couldn't think staight. I tackled the question "What does the dialogue between the (energies of) Great Mother and Medusa sound like in me?" As I understand it, the question asks me to simulate a conversation between the part of me that sees I'm doing the best I can and applauds my efforts - like a compassionate mother - and the part that finds me lacking in everything I do. Medusa won.

The next day in my journal, I wrote: "This is crazy what you're doing, dredging up all the pain, exposing yourself to ridicule and worse. Leave well enough alone. Write about truth and beauty."

But truth has its own beauty.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Yesterday evening, Rob and Gill returned home, tanned and grateful for their quiet week in the sun together although Gill has bruises down one leg from an ATV accident that both decided not to tell me about until they were home. She flipped the sand bike twice. Once it landed on top of her. After the accident, back at the resort, a doctor examined her and pronounced her fine. Thank goodness and the gods.

It's only at times like this when we see how fragile our bodies are that we truly value our lives. Why? We should be glad for each breath.

I worked the day away yesterday at the store and left from there for the airport. When I arrived, the notice board said that the plane from Cabo would be an hour late. I had no book or journal with me so I bought a cheap pad of paper and sat and wrote some pretty shitty stuff. I'm enjoying this approach to writing. When I start to put some thought down and groan, I give myself permission to continue. "It doesn't have to be literary. It doesn't even have to be good. Go for it."

Speaking about writing, I had a quiet writerly meeting with Marlene and Vaughan on Sunday at La Petite France, where the coffee is excellent and the pastries are works of art. You pay dearly - in dollars and calories - but such luxuries must, should, need to be experienced every once in a while. Actually I think I gain as much maybe more pleasure hearing watching M describe consume chocolate as I do from eating it myself. I feel the same way when a woman in the store is excited over a beautiful colour or fabric or design. I love sighs of appreciation and pleasure.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

I've been self indulgent. Yesterday was an alone day. I didn't talk to a soul all day. I didn't even get out of my nightie till well into the afternoon and I only did so then because I wanted to go to the store for some toiletries and stockings.

I fed myself, Mahala will be glad to hear although I don't think it was every four hours. She insists that women of a certain age need food more often than when they are young. She also responded to my last blog, the line about body being mother. She suggests that we treat our bodies as our mothers once treated us. I ignore mine a lot of the time.

I went to bed early and read, fell asleep, and awoke near midnight and finished "Elizabeth Costello" by J. M.Coetzee, the story of a successful woman novelist who, late in life, questions her beliefs and the power of writing to transform a writer's readers and the writer, him or her self. "We can put ourselves at peril by what we write, or so I believe. For if what we write has the power to make us better people then surely it has the power to make us worse." In the end, Costello is at the pearly gates where she gives as her occupation "secretary to the invisible."

I did not thoroughly enjoy the book but several passages, for me, made the book worth reading. There is one about D. H. Lawrence and T. S. Eliot who I have been thinking about and discussing in the last few days. Serendipity.

"Lawrence gripped us because he promised a form of salvation. If we worshipped the dark gods, he told us, and carried out their observances, we would be saved... What I mean to say is that in our truest reading, as students, we searched the page for guidance, guidance in perplexity. We found it in Lawrence, or we found it in Eliot, the early Eliot: a different kind of guidance, perhaps, but guidance nevertheless in how to live our lives."

Coetzee through Costello continues: "our readers - our young readers - come to us with a certain hunger, and if we cannot or will not satisfy their hunger then we must not be surprised if they turn away from us."

I am not young and yet I still look to books to give me clues about how to live my life. Or, at the very least, to affirm the way I have chosen to live.

Coetzee goes off on a slight tangent (or does he?) when he has Costello and her sister, a nun in Zululand, discuss the humanities. The nun prefers images of the suffering Christ. Costello, the art of the Renaissance. I loved the following passage:

"When Mary blessed among women smiles her remote angelic smile and tips her sweet pink nipple up before our gaze, when I, imitating her, uncover my breasts for old Mr Phillips, we perform acts of humanity... Nothing compels us to do it, Mary or me. But out of the overflow of our human hearts we do it nevertheless: drop our robes, reveal ourselves, reveal the life and beauty we are blessed with...

"... there is nothing more humanly beautiful than a woman's breasts. Nothing more humanly beautiful, nothing more humanly mysterious than why men should want to caress, over and over again, with paintbrush or chisel or hand, these oddly curved fatty sacs, and nothing more humanly endearing than our complicty. (I mean the complicty of women) in their obsession.

"The humanities teach us humanity. After the centuries-long Christian night, the humanities give us back our beauty, our human beauty."

The author is male. I like this worship of the female form but, the thing is, would I as a woman choose a breast to denote beauty and humanity? I'm not sure. More to think about.

The house is quiet. I have had a luxurious week. Time to think. Rob says that when I'm away, he too enjoys an empty house but after a time, the quietness wears thin. Mahala tells me that she is too often alone. We need to somehow create a balance. (Isn't it strange that having time to think has become a luxury?)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I just received an email from Rob. He and Gill are enjoying long lazy days in the resort and the food is good. What more could one ask for? Oh, I could name a few things but for my two away, life sounds pretty idyllic.

I'm up to some pretty innocent stuff. I went to work this morning. I spoke to my cousin Dolores in Northern Ireland in the afternoon. I shall now do some reading and writing. I am going out for dinner with my son Mike in the evening. (Brendan and I went out to a casual Thai cafe last night.)

I'm eating I cry to the heavens and to all those who think I'm too lazy to feed myself. (I am at times but I'm not exactly wasting away.) Last night at Marlene's, we discussed the first chapter of "Addiction to Perfection." Marlene always speaks on the evening's chapter for a half hour or so and then we write. She always says that she doesn't want to speak for too long but this is my favourite part of the evening. I like how she clarifies and adds to the reading. For instance, last night she said that two sentences in later chapters sum up what the book is about.

On page 25: "Why this great hollow at our center?"

On page 61: "It is easier to try to be better than you are than to be who you are."

She also expressed the idea that when we grow up, our bodies become the matter (the mater, the mother) we need.

I like the idea of the body as mother. My body tells me when I'm tired or when I've gone too long without eating, just like a mother would. I know implicitly when I have pleased it or displeased it by various physical symptoms. If I look to it, as I would a loving mother, I might respect it more and take better care of it.

I think that I have no issues about food but when I wrote last night, I discovered that I do but I want to write a little longer and arrive at some conclusion before I make these thoughts public.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I did hiberate yesterday or, as Vaughan says, languish. I floated from one small job to another, wrote (yes I did - two bursts on my "shitty first draft" and completed a short story that I had begun on Saturday at the Plum meeting), went to the library and took out only three novels, watched the ending to "Lost in Translation" - okay - I liked the relationship between the older man and the young woman and their common disillusionment with marriage, offset by the difficulty of language and foreignness of place in Japan but but, I wanted more. Something to chew on. Isn't that what art is supposed to be about? To raise questions or provide answers to experience unlike parallel situations in the real world.

Today, after reading the instruction booklet, I turned the oven on to self-clean and have been out in my house ever since typing out my stories.

Tonight, I will have dinner with Brendan and attend my second Jungian session at Marlene's. Oh yes, I have read the required reading a second time.

I am feeling quite virtuous.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I appear to be reticent about sharing my life these days. Been feeling a little low. Yesterday morning I drove Rob and Gill to the airport at 4:30 a.m. I received an email this morning from Rob saying that they had arrived safely in Cabo San Lucas and at dinner last night Gill said that all her troubles have melted away. Perfect. I wish them a week of sunshine, relaxation, long walks on the beach, good food and conversation.

I think Rob a miracle of a father and Gill a miracle of a daughter. As she was born by a planned Caesarean, we asked our doctor if she could be born on Rob's birthday, the 14th of October. He thought us frivolous and delivered her on the 17th making Gill a late birthday gift - the best one, Rob says, that I've ever given him. (I know Rob contributed to this gift but as he says, "the pleasure was all mine.")

My first day of being home alone was spent in the store. I was hoping it would be a short day but unfortunately, four new shipments arrived and I wasn't able to leave until 5:30. My friend Maggie arrived from Gibson's at 7:30 and we sat and ate fresh fish, sipped good Italian red wine, and talked and talked. We tried to watch "Lost in Translation" before bed but neither of us were in the mood. This is the second time I've tried to watch this film and wonder what all the fuss is about. I'll try once more.

Maggie stayed the night and both of us have appointments this morning but after - I should be finished by 9:30, I'm going to hibernate.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Tonight, the moon is full. I've always wanted to dance naked under a full moon - not sure why but it seems a liberating thing to do. I won't tonight. It's raining. (As if that would stop me, if I were truly a free spirit.)

All is well. I met up with my plum writers this morning and we discussed writing, writing, and writing. What a gift. I also did a free-flow exercise that pleases me. This is a first - the pleasing part.

Rob and I just consumed over a dozen prawns fried in butter with oodles of garlic. I'm about to cook the wild salmon.

Gill sent me an email this morning that said that I was perfect to her: I allow her to be. Another gift. Two in one day.

I am more than content.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Time is passing and I've done little writing. I am not impressed but then again, I have been busy working (making money isn't all that bad); and I attended the first in Marlene's Jungian series that focuses on Marion Woodman's "Addiction to Perfection"; and Rob and I took Mike, Bren, and Gill out to Cafe de Paris last night to celebrate Mike's 22nd birthday. We don't do much as a family these days so these get-togethers are special. Special? What do I mean by this? I don't want to utter any sentimental bullshit. So how do I say that I look at my grown-up children with amazement? All three are intelligent and creative. Rob and I were talking about them in glowing terms yesterday and I asked him what we did to create such free spirits. He said that we have never been condescending with them. Is this true? I hope so but I'm uncertain.

Jung writes in "The Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature":
"Nothing exerts a stronger psychic effect upon the human environment, and especially upon children, than the life which the parents have not lived."

I think most often about the things that I didn't do rather than the things I did do in regards to my children. I become confused. What is a parent responsible for bringing into being in their offspring, and what is she or he not responsible for?

"Addiction to Perfection." (I have only begun re-reading the text.) I think that I would like to be perfect - especially in regards to my children and others whom I love - but I realized the other night that I don't know what perfect is. There were around fourteen of us in Marlene's livingroom and she spoke about the repression of the feminine principle and the Jungian ideal of body and soul brought together. She also read from the text and I especially liked this passage:

"Essentially I am suggesting that many of us - men and women - are addicted in one way or another because our patriarchal culture emphasizes specialization and perfection. Driven to do our best at school, on the job, in our relationships - in every corner of our lives - we try to make ourselves works of art. Working so hard to create our own perfection we forget that we are human beings."

Sometimes I hate the fact that I am human. We did a spell of writing after Marlene spoke and most of the women read - Wenda and Shirley did (this is the first time in a long time that we plums - unfortunately minus Vaughan - have been together where we originally met.) I didn't read. I am never comfortable at the beginning of a session with a group that is mostly strangers. I always feel that what I write is dribble. I want perfection. Interesting thing is that I wrote "I hate perfection - too sterile, too boring - but my head spins. I know secretly that I am addicted to it."

Shoot. Can't win either way.

This evening, Rob and I are going to Mary's 84th (I think) birthday celebration. Mary is Helen's mother, a crusty old dame whom I adore. When I invited her to my place for New Year's with my parents, she asked "Why would you want a crotchety old bag like me?" She wants to be perfect too.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Happy Birthday dear Mike. I remember the day that you were born. As Brendan arrived three weeks late - the placenta was disintegrating - and had to enter the world through a caesarean section, my doctor was worried about you. One week after my due date, he sent me to the hospital where the nurses injected some drugs to induce labour. Rob and I wandered up and down the corridors, willing you to make an appearance.

Finally, early evening, you started your descent into the light. You were tiny in comparison to your brother. He was 9 lb. 2 oz. You were 6 lb. 9 oz. (or so I remember.) You were so perfect, so easy-going right from the start. The nurses asked if you could be their model for the bath demonstration. (Women loved you from the beginning of your days.)

At around six or seven years, you told your dad about a dream you had. You were in a deep dark hole and above you, all around the edge, were screens, showing all "the bad things" you had done. Rob laughed and and said, "Oh Michael, what bad things could you have done in your short life?" You looked at him, through your coke-bottle glasses, and replied "You don't think that I'm going to tell you, do you?"

Oh, I could tell a dozen stories and embarrass you but I will only tell one more.

Do you remember when I went with you to a meeting about study methods at the high school? (Or did I drag you there?) The man giving the lecture held up a trick photo and ask the audience to tell, by a show of hands, who saw a particular image. And who saw another image. I saw what most people saw. You were one of the rare ones who saw something different.

This is the way I see you - as rare.

When you were a little older, you wrote a poem that begins "I am special/ I wonder about life/ I hear music/ I see the future/ I want to really live...." You end "I hope that I am loved/ I am special."

You are loved my middle child/man. (And I agree, you are special.)

Happy Birthday, dear Mike.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Happy March. This is an important month for me. Mike was born on the third. I was born on the 29th. My friend, Leslie, died on the third. March, on a larger scale, holds St. Patrick's Day and the Ides when Julius Caesar met his end. Yes, I like this month, unlike February, the dreariest month, with it's lack of colour.

I went to the store at 7:30 a.m. and worked until 3. Rob went to a job interview and then booked tickets for himself and Gill to visit Mexico next week - spring break. They are both smiling. They both love the sun. A few years back, Rob took Bren to San Francisco and Mike to Italy (we were in Europe at the time) and now, he says, it's Gill's turn. This endeared him to me. They both need a break. Rob recently finished a nine month stint of work and Gill has been stressed out with too much school work. This is Gill's final year of high school and the pressure is on. Come to think of it, they both deserve a break.

I am content to stay at home, after my stint of accounting and ordering. I need to have countless hours to write and I start Marlene's course on Wednesday - based on Marion Woodman's book "Addiction to Perfection" and would hate to miss a night.

I have also spent a ton of money on my teeth. I visit yet-another-time the dentist this morning and then Gill and I are going to the passport office. Both our Canadian passports have expired. I hate it when I let this happen. I always like to feel that I can leave at any moment.

So life is good. Walter put a vase full of budding magnolias in the store window. They are lovely - a promise that spring is around the corner.
When Rob and Gill return from Mexico, Rob will work on a pilot for two weeks and then, most likely (the deal is in the process of being finalized - fingers crossed) on a musical that finishes mid-June that will allow him to be in France this summer - his dream. Gill will return to a ton of work that will complete her high school days. She too will come to the south of France for the summer (she hopes to work) and then she and her friend, Miki, will move to Paris.