Friday, July 11, 2008


In the last month, I have spent five nights in my own home. My latest foray was to The Land of No Irony, also known as Sun City, AZ. Actually, the town may have an Irony Store now, but it was too hot to find out.

One week of 110-degree days, my parents' very small lives, reading and sleeping and eating. I zoomed through a badly written but interesting book, Paws and Effect: The Healing Powers of Dogs, which my mother is now enjoying, Pride and Prejudice and The Starter Marriage. I slept for most of 36 hours. I filled their freezers with homemade cookies and found one of my father's long lost the Denver Post obituaries. I lopped off all my hair. My friend, A, said this morning that it's one shade away from overalls and flannel shirts and motorcycles boots.

It was awful but useful in sorting out some of the unmanageability challenge.

Here's the deal: Everything in my life is a mountain. Forty-eight hours ago, I wanted/needed:

  1. to be a good daughter -- helpful, entertaining, loving, companionable
  2. to pack
  3. to work on two editing projects
  4. to answer hundreds (I'm not kidding) emails
  5. to be in touch with old friends I've not spoken to in months or years
  6. to work on my novel
  7. to work on the tablecloth I've been embroidering since the 1970's
  8. to sort photographs and unpack boxes for my parents
  9. to help my father make pasties
  10. to tape record my parents' stories
  11. to blog
  12. to read blogs
  13. to return phone calls
  14. to rewrite my addresses in my Filofax
  15. to work on a guest blog for a major fashion magazine
And a few other things.

All of the above was in my power (or in my suitcase) to do. Instead, I started reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix while I ate cookies.

When I got up yesterday morning, I was disgusted with my food and still shuddering from the hair stylist trying to show me that back of my hair (I saw my profile as she turned me around and slammed the mirror down). I had a six thousand page book to add to my backpack that was already heavy with my laptop. I had done very few of the items above, except to chop vegetables and make pasty dough in the Cuisineart for my father, and [too often] grudgingly chat with my parents.

All of that stuff remains, as well as the last of the unpacking to finish, dogs to take care of, laundry that needs to be done, cleaning, getting to meetings, buying groceries and cooking, trade in my Montana driver's license for a New York license, get out of jury duty, and read a spate of books I need to read for my novel.

What got in the way? Laziness or exhaustion. Wanting to tune out my real life, the one in which my parents are feeble and my shoulders and right hand are yacked out from dogs pulling and the obligation to write.

These are fine reasons for not embroidering or writing chapter two except that I went there with Good Intentions. The best way to obliterate Good Intentions is to binge on flour and sugar.

My bowels are a mess, I'm looking at a seatbelt extender in ten or twenty more pounds, I'm NOT looking at myself, I have a mountain of self-loathing side-by-side with my mountains of flesh and my mountains of food.

That's three mountains I have to climb before or simultaneously with getting myself to the DMV or the washing machine. It was an opportunity lost to find out exactly who immigrated from Lvov in the 1880's. I'm still at one chapter when I'd like to finish this book by Labor Day.

Those are the mountains behind the mountains.

The Black Beast and the Red Demon are at war over the turf of me today. I should be calling writing this blog & getting to the bank a success.

But the fur is flying and the hills are alive...


Anne M. said...

Welcome back, daisyk, you were missed. Lots to do, lots to plan, lots to regret. But you made the trip and survived and are now back on your own turf. I know that Daisy Dawg was beyond thrilled to have her human back where she belonged.

Cindy said...

I bet the fur is flying! Welcome Back!!!!!

Lori G. said...

I'm glad you're back. Visiting the parents are hard for me and harder each time because afterwards (at least) I see what I should have done differently and what they need.

You survived and you're back on your home turf and have some structure to your days. I bet the fur is flying too!

(BTW, you look so lovely in the dress and so pretty. I really love the photo. )

Anonymous said...

You are so pretty!!! I have read your book, follow your blog but for some reason have never really looked at a picture of you - then, to see the LOVELY picture of you - well - for whatever you believe about yourself - you are very pretty! The dress you chose to wear to the wedding looked great on you!
Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

The wedding photo? You look beautiful.

Bea said...

Good going, a photo. Great hair, great dress, GREAT shoes. What is not to like?

Overwhelmedness. You are suffering from "overwhelmedness." The only known cure is to click your heels together three times, say "Oh well," and then let the chips fall where they may.

This takes practise.

LMI said...

Screw the "circumstances"--you look great in that picture, no matter how you might have been feeling or are feeling about yourself at the moment.

Anyway, continuing to struggle to make things better about your life, no matter how things have turned out in the past, has its own sort of loveliness, I think.

Anonymous said...

Hello Francis, I don't comment that often, but when I saw the gorgeous picture of you at the wedding, I had to you. You are beautiful.

The other thing you should know is that you're still and inspiration and have been since I read your book years ago (can't believe it, it seems like yesterday). Gaining weight and still struggling doesn't make you less of an inspiration so.

Anonymous said...

oops...please ignore the glaring typos in my previous comment. good grief...I know better. :)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful picture. You look absolutely lovely.

I have a similar problem with my mom...can't seem to quite be there for her the way I should, and spend way too much time and energy despising myself for not doing so. I wish I understood and could offer some wisdom, but instead I'll have to only offer solidarity. It's difficult.

You have so much in front of you. I'm hoping that somehow the mountains lie down a little, the air clears and the Beasts distract one another enough that you can get a nice, deep breath. Wishing you strength and joy.


Anonymous said...

you are beautiful