November has always been about passages for me, life changes and transitions. I always wondered if my own clock was more in tune with the earth than it was with the Gregorian calendar, though now I just realized why I feel such loss around this time of year.
Five years ago, my best friend passed away after a 2 year-long battle with ovarian cancer. Through it all, she never complained. She told me once that she had two choices – complain about the things that weren’t good or be grateful for the ones that were. So she chose the latter, choosing to surround herself with white light no matter the challenge.
Today, while my son was going through his swim therapy, I perused through her old email messages to me, the only things I have to remind me of her kind words no matter the challenges she was faced with at that moment.
She died on 11/6/10 and I remember my last visit to her two weeks earlier when she gave me her massage therapy manual for that’s where we’d met back in 1997 and I’d lost mine a long time long before then.
A week later she called to tell me to keep writing even though I was too ashamed to tell her the truth – that I’d stopped writing 8 years earlier. She also told me to watch my weight and be kind to myself.
And while I haven’t exactly watched my weight that well, I have resumed writing – as you all probably have noticed. And today I ordered two copies of the paperback version of the book I dedicated to her, Finding Sam – a surreal experience that’s more surreal than when I ordered my copy of my second novel, Loving Ashe.
And even though being a writer navigating through the new social media can be scary, I have to remind myself that like Pam, I have two choices. Complain about the things that aren’t exactly going great (it’s all perspective as well) or be grateful for the ones that are – like health, family, and life in general.
The green beetle flutters its wings
humming loudly against my ear
deep inside, I worry about everything
as I do year after year
But life keeps on going
and the dahlias will bloom and go
the sun rises and sets each day
life goes on – that much I know.
Here we go for Week 26!
In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger?
Definitely driver! I’m a terrible passenger, and have many a time, driven the entire way to and back simply because I prefer to be in the driver’s seat. Now as far as my passengers go though, I don’t know how they feel about that.
If you were handed free opera tickets, would you go or sell them? Why?
It depends on the opera tickets. Carmen, definitely go and see it, and anything with Placido Domingo though he’s more behind the scenes these days. And even if I could sell them, I’d just grab a friend and make sure we indulge in a few glasses of wine before hand and just have a great time.
Describe your own outlook on life in seven words or less. (NOTE: does not necessarily have to be a sentence.)
The wine glass is always half full.
Which would you prefer: a wild, turbulent life filled with joy, sorrow, passion, and adventure–intoxicating successes and stunning setbacks; or a contented bordering on happy, secure, predictable life surrounded by friends and family without such wide swings of fortune and mood?
I’ve had my share of the former – that wild, turbulent life filled with highs and lows of joy, sorrow, passion and adventure (though not the bungee jumping, rappelling off a side of the building kind), complete with intoxicating successes and depressing setbacks that I think I’m in the latter now, surrounded by family and friends (new ones now that I’ve moved away from the beach friends and have kids, so play dates are the in thing for me) and trying my best to have a stable environment for my 5-year old on the spectrum.
Today, it was a trip to Pretend City, where basically it is a pretend- city, with a post office, police and fire stations, a supermarket, library, park, and so much more. The little guy had so much fun he got home, had a tantrum (because that 1-1/2 of running around exhausted him) and is now passed out on the bed and I’m here writing – well, I should be writing my novel but I’m taking a break to share my world first.
Sometimes I wonder what goes through his mind during moments like this.
What is he thinking?
It is during these moments that I simply have to let go and accept that some days I don’t know anything at all – I just have to go with the flow and not lose myself any deeper into the perfection depicted in the rest of the world.
But that was before I had my little one. Since then – and that’s five years – I’ve basically been staying local. Driving with a baby in the car was nerve-wracking and these days, driving with a little boy with endless questions in the car while you’re trying to keep your cool during LA rush hour is just as nerve-wracking.
So yesterday was one of those days where I should have consulted the Philippine Consulate website and read the fine print that they’d moved location – and looked much closer about the times they were open, and most of all, that of the REAL time that their notarization department remained open which was apparently not 8 – 5 like their website said, but according to the security guard at the front who pointed to the plastic covered 8 x 10 sign on his desk, “our times have changed since last week. They now close at 3. Come back tomorrow.”
And so we took a drive to one of my old favorite places – Griffith Observatory even though the observatory itself was closed on Monday. Still, one can walk around the premises and soak in the view of smog-covered Los Angeles.
We’re going to make another foray into the city on Thursday and this time we’ll stay the whole day till the documents are notarized. This time I’ll take him to the park right below the Hollywood sign, and probably back to the observatory and this time with quarters so he can use those telescopes.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll make the drive into the city more often from now on and make it a little-guy-and-me weekly road trip . After all, just because I used to do things doesn’t mean I no longer can’t.