More snow. Icicles everywhere, as if someone in charge of dramatic icicle distribution said, "Okay, overnight, let's drape every porch, roof top, gutters and downspouts, every attic window, every house in this small town with such delicate daggers of once-rain-water. Let's dazzle these complacent people who insist upon fighting over potholes and athletic fields. Give all of them icicles, even the empty houses with real estate signs, half-hidden by last week's snow, for sale or rent. Make them choose beauty and frozen danger, despite the cost of bread, gas, and milk going up." Meanwhile, homeless people are freezing to death and empty houses sit empty.

...Know for certain, things are changing...

Crazy week. One son is abruptly moving out, one year lease, into a floodplain. Everyone else knew before my husband and me. Minor ripple in the river of my existence. I had lunch with the last young person I tutored; she is struggling to stay in college because the grandparents who raised her both now have Alzheimer's. She takes care of them, despite older relatives who should be helping. We had developed a good relationship and I included her in my various community volunteer projects, as well as family get-togethers. She slowly trusted me more and now we are true friends, despite the age difference. I am old enough to be her mother, long dead, frozen in blue-eyed time, a blurry photograph, she once showed me, eerily similar to how I looked twenty years ago. We spend three hours talking and laughing, drinking tea and eating slowly in a Chinese restaurant until the lunch crowd is gone.

Half-heartedly, I answer an ad in the newspaper for "a homework attendant", and suddenly I am caught up in another family's dynamic. One parent wants me to jump through hoops of fire and be at her beck and call, but underneath she is looking for someone who can make her child normal. We meet, like spies, at Starbucks and she fills my head with a thousand things that are important to her. I listen, sip cappuchino, as the high school lets out at 2:45pm, pouring a parade of teenagers who sit on top of each other, laughing and happy, on the lookout, with their boots, backpacks and ponytails. They all look so beautiful and confused, buzzing with hormones. I want to shout, "Wait! Stay young longer! Go make a snowman! Don't become just another Starbucks latte/frappuchino/chai/crazed citizen in this icicle town!"

But I stay silent instead, above the roar, until the woman who is interviewing me is satisfied. Two hours. She tells me no one knows her child's condition, not even her family. I am vacillating between empathy and curiousity. She makes plans for me to do this and that, not knowing I do not respond well to micromanagement, nor being told what to do. I will know if the job is worth my time only when I meet the child. I caution her I'm rather blunt and honest. She assures me she is the same, then takes a phone call regarding her mother who suffers from dementia and is faraway, in a nursing home. Her mother is having difficulty breathing and has a temperature, is refusing her meds, has talked other patients into doing the same. She tells whoever is on the phone she's not paying extra for a recent haircut for her mother.

...I followed my star, just to be where you are...

I start thinking about icicles again, how if the sunlight glances through them, it is so momentarily beautiful...I don't even want to take photographs. Later, I return Edith's car, borrowed at the last minute, as my older son tries to replace a dead battery in the van. Going in her front door, the last of the sun is off to the west, causing a cluster of icicles at eye level that almost blind me. We look at them together and she sighs, "So beautiful, so beautiful. I don't understand people who hate them. How about a glass of Merlot?" She wants to hear about my meeting, but first I must run through her back yard to check on my guys.

...Be at your side, that's where the journey takes me...

Despite the below freezing temps, van battery is replaced and my son is off. I turn on all the inside Christmas lights for my husband and make sure he eats something, takes his meds, while I tell him a little about the meeting. How I will only be away if someone is home with him. He looks at me, then very slowly thanks me for thinking of that. I tell him I need to check on Edith because she seemed lonely, but to read his new book and I'll be home before dark. He says he will be okay because the cats are home and our younger son is in the shower. We laugh because he takes 45 minute showers, sometimes longer. I say, "Our water bill might go down when he moves out." But my husband doesn't laugh, is sad. "Why don't you have some coffee and cookies?" I suggest and his face brightens, delighted about hot coffee and cookies, so I leave, telling him I have my cell phone if he needs to call.

I run back through the snow, seeing more icicles everywhere, sparkling and static. My footprints look large compared to squirrels' and rabbits' tracks. The sky is blue like fall or summer, as I suddenly feel like I'm tumbling towards heaven, when it's just Edith's back door, where she waits with her Pittsburgh cough, wine and dark chocolate, where she sits, wrapped in a blanket to hear what is going on in my life and I, in hers. She says, "I have a book for you, the first phone call from heaven." We end up watching Jeopardy until it's almost too dark. I reluctantly head home, book in hand, thankful for such a good neighbor.

...Because of you, I get home before dark...

I am back just in time to say goodbye to my moving-out-son, who suddenly decided to shave off his first real beard and all of his hair. "Have fun. Keep in touch...." but he is already out the door, not dressed nearly warm enough. I check on my husband and he's sleeping with his book at his side. The house is blessedly quiet. I re-heat leftover Chinese food and listen to a Latino music station on the radio, then text and call a friend, after checking in on my Mom, who tells me she saw so many icicles all around her town. She says everyone is talking about them, like they're a nuisance, even on the news. I tell her not to believe everything she sees on TV, especially the news.

the first phone call from heaven. Mitch Albom. 2013.
Lyrics by Neil Diamond. Home Before Dark.

For the past I don't know how long I've wanted to write this. Not this specific post, but numerous posts that drifted through my mind, or leapt into my head accompanied by a compelling urgency. Since I wasn't able to write about the event or idea at the time, I would imagine myself typing furiously, or editing to make sure I hadn't allowed a typo into my next, I mean text, but inevitably I'd get home, be distracted, or lack energy to write. Then what I had thought so highly of earlier now seemed dull, uninteresting, or like too much work to invest in something very few people were going to be reading. In short, I forgot that writing was for myself.

Much has happened since I last wrote, I had a streak going for a while, and I was really proud of what I had accomplished because I've noticed that when I don't write about the mundane and ordinary, it builds up inside of me, and then when I need to write something, the stored emotion comes pouring out, and slops up my professional posts. Sometimes I wonder, should I be writing about this, and then I realize, it doesn't really matter, because I feel better when I get things out.

So many things have happened, and I can't think of these memories as lost, or I'll go crazy. My oldest borrowed my debit card and charged $200 worth of music and games to her iTunes account. My youngest is a cheer leader, I left the phone that is by my side 24/7 plugged into the charger on a bitter cold night when I had to navigate country roads with blowing snow so I didn't get to take any pictures of video of her first game. The girls were absolutely adorable, and I'm almost grieving because I failed to capture her the way I wanted to remember her.

I told my husband that I don't want to be a couple. The things he's done these past few weeks have been grand lifestyle changes, and I'm not sure what prompted them. He ate a salad, he now drinks tea, he's lost about 25 pounds, he gets up early. He isn't bringing junk food home. He's sticking up for me in front of the girls, folding laundry, doing dishes, helping make meals, and cleaning up after we're finished eating. Sunday morning we went to church as a family. I needed a tea so he bought me one.

The girls ordered hot cocoa, and we sat at a small wooden table savoring steaming beverages and eating coconut macaroons for breakfast. This is it, this is what I wanted in a man. I had to resist the temptation to watch the Rays/Red Sox match up that he was watching the other day. He said he would go to games with me, he bought an aromatherapy DVD for me last night, and now we have a new comforter that matches our room, and we went to therapy together last Monday. He's given me money to see the chiropractor, and bought new brakes for my car that he'll install when the weather warms.

So now I'm confused, and overwhelmed, and angry at myself, and at him because Twitter was my safe place. The haven I had where I could escape, and now I'm having to face the fact that in many ways he has his shit together when I don't know if I ever will. When I write, I'm limited to what I know, and I realize that I need to show without telling, but I'm afraid to write about how I can't figure out how to work a fucking calendar because even small children can see an event on a date, and realize what that means.

My phone now has 4 calendars, and I put appointments in there without knowing how this system works. It feels wrong to go onto my phone and not know where this information I desperately need has gone to, and the reminders don't work, and I know theoretically how to solve this problem, yet that doesn't translate into a real life skill I can use so I go to appointments on the wrong day like I did yesterday, and then I feel really stupid even though I have some intelligence, and I'm completely frustrated by my inability to do a lot of the things that seem so effortless for others. Then I wonder if it's really a problem in my head, or if I'm just lazy, or depressed, or subconsciously not wanting to do the things I need to, and I hate feeling like my life is unraveling faster than I can grab the flailing strings of it.

So I try to make my character like me, but not too much like me, which is really hard to do, because I need to solve these problems. Or do I? Is it really okay to recognize that each of us has things that make us unforgettable, and we have crippling weaknesses that accent our incredible strengths? I think it is, but in the meantime, I need some coping strategies. I have a phone. There's a calendar hanging up in the kitchen, right where my sister told me to put it. I think I wrote one or two things on it before forgetting to put the rest of my appointments on there.

My acupuncture guy sends me email reminders, and I just love him for it. It feels as if my brain is great at seeing and understanding things that other people aren't paying attention to, and that's cool, but it is really upsetting to not be able to manage day to day things the way that I feel I should be able to. So what am I going to do? First I'm going to find out what my real problem is, because I feel that if I don't know what is causing the problem, I won't be able to get a solution that actually works. What I've tried so far isn't working, so I need to figure out what will.

Today I'm proud of myself for remembering that I had two appointments that conflicted with each other. I was able to reschedule my appointment with my chiropractor so I could get to my therapy appointment on time. I've gone through my clothes many times, but I still end up with too much, and then it's on my bed and desk and in my room and in my way, and I'm tired of it being there, and I hate the way that I look in these clothes that used to be so cute and fun. I'm hard on myself and others. I need to let go, that's what my acupuncture guy said. I just love him. There are a couple people in my life whose voices soothe me.

I can listen to these people, and drift off into a state of wonderfully conscious relaxation, and sometimes I want to tell these people who they are, but then I'm afraid that if I did, they would stop talking to me, or get creeped out by what I'm getting out of their creations. I'm really glad I wrote this. There's a lot more I'd like to be convering, but I'll be back, and belive me, there are no shortage of issues in my life to cover.

Until next time, please be well, and I'd like to close with a thought that a friend of mine shared with me when I was feeling very low. He told me that I was not only appreciated, I was loved. He gets a gold star, and I will continue to pray that you keep on shining regardless of how dark your sky may be.

With love,


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