Springtime

The calendar says that it is spring. The grass is green like spring. The trees are blooming like spring (whoever said a “riot of color” really hit the nail on the head). The perennials have pushed up (truly amazing). The wasps started building a nest on the underside of my deck right under my chair (I put the kibosh on that). And the bunnies have had babies.

We live in an area of town known for the wild domesticated bunnies. They are not wild bunnies which are appropriately camouflaged in dull brown. No, they are like bunnies that someone had as pets and then let loose into the world. They are white and black and tan. And variations of those colors. While these bunnies look like they are pets. They are not. They are wild. They gladly accept my vegetable scraps but they do not want me to get anywhere near them (except for one). They foraged all winter and mostly survived it. And then they started reproducing.

The first baby bunnies we saw were across the lawn near the big house. They would venture out from under the steps. In whites and tans. Not camouflaged at all. Standing out brilliantly against the grass. We could tell, even from the distance, that they were very cute and small. And skittish. They would bolt at any loud noise.

Then, two more showed up. Maybe from behind the barn. On our turf. One was black and the other white with tan spots. They were so small. And so cute. They were always out foraging during the day. I quickly learned that they were unaware of the dangers of remaining under a car once it started to move. The bigger ones seemed to have figured it out and would run out from under the car. Baby bunnies, not so much. Whenever I pulled out, I looked to make sure that I had not crushed one under my tires. And I don’t think that I did.

On Friday, I noticed that the little black bunny seemed off. He was foraging around in the grass. Eating and all. But there was a weird reddish patch on his side and his back leg looked kind of janky. I tried to get a closer look and one of his back legs had definitely been broken. It seemed to be facing the wrong way. But he seemed fine. And I told myself that maybe he would be. Maybe he would just be a little gimpy for the rest of his life.

Until I saw him the next day. And he did not look good. He was not moving. He looked like he was shivering a little. And his eyes were half closed. It was Saturday. I had a class that I was taking that started at 10:00. Were vets open? They were. I called the closest one. They said that they really didn’t do bunnies. They told me to take him to the vet my mom goes to. I called them. They said that I could bring him.

I was able to get him to scootch into a small box with a little coaxing. I did not even have to seal the lid of the box because he was so lethargic. When I got to the vet, they asked me if I wanted to take ownership of the bunny or surrender him as a wildlife rescue. I asked if I had to decide right then. She told me no. That the vet would call with an assessment and that I could decide. I filled out a form and went to my class. I had a mad vision of taking the bunny and giving it to my mom. Building it a hutch outside. A project.

I drove to my class and when I got there, I had a message. It was from the vet.  “Severely broken leg, bone sticking out. Abrasive type trauma. Skin missing. Deep and infected wounds. Prognosis poor. Lot of discomfort. Euthanizing most humane thing. Wonderful of you. Best course of action.” I called back and she thanked me for bringing him in. I told her that I understood. And it just made me really sad.

I wonder if I ran over the bunny. Or the neighbor. Or one of the farm vehicles. It’s hard to say. We don’t think that it was an injury from a predator. Part of me just did not want to deal with the bunny. That first day when he was gimpy and foraging. Part of me wanted the neighbor to see the bunny and deal with him. But it was meant to be me. And while it riotously looks like spring. It does not feel like spring to me. The air is still cool. I am still wearing my winter coat. And I am carrying the injured bunny around in my heart. I’m trying to feel like spring. The other baby is still fine. We just saw him. And I started calling him Foo Foo because that seems like the right name. Maybe when the weather changes for good and I can keep the windows open. Really put away the winter coat. Then maybe I can have Foo Foo in my heart instead. But for now if just feels kind of cold and black. And not like spring.

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Testing

When I moved to NY, my mom got me a PO box in the town that I thought I was going to live in. I had asked her to just check it out. She wanted to be helpful and I wanted her to feel helpful, so it was a good task. When she went to the post office and found out the price, she just went ahead and got me the box. This was fine but ultimately, I did not end up living in that town. I ended up opening a second PO box in the town that I actually live in. With two mailing addresses, it is the closest I have come to engaging in something that portends illicit activity.

Opening a new PO box is like getting someone else’s phone number. You end up with a lot of mail that does not belong to you. When it is junk, I tend to toss it but sometimes it is more than junk. Late last year I accidentally received and opened a notice to someone else that their mammogram results potentially showed something and they had to return for a follow up. Initially I thought that this was for me but then realized that it actually could not be mine. I took it immediately back to the post office. And counted my blessings that it was not mine.

Earlier this week, my phone rang and it was someone who was not really a friend of mine. She was a friend of someone else I am close to. Calls like this. Sometimes you answer. Sometimes you don’t. I wondered why she would be calling me. But then when I answered, she sounded upset. And sort of confused. She had been trying to call someone who was not me but was also named Kim. She told me that she was not having a great day. And then she told me that she had just gotten back her mammogram results and they may have found something. And she had to go back. I tried to be supportive. It was definitely an awkward conversation. Having an accidental intimate conversation was not something either of us were expecting. But it happened. She told me that she was scheduling the follow up and would be going back the next day. She told me that she was going to have to call me when she found out.

The irony of all of this is that I recently went for my mammogram. From the same place that I had received the errant result. And I was waiting for my results. I finally went to pick up my mail today. And there was something from that radiology facility. I can’t lie. I was afraid to open it. It felt like déjà vu. It felt like it was something that was going to happen because it had already happened. The day I had opened the result that was not mine, I had done it at the restaurant up the street where I was going to get an iced coffee. I was planning on doing the same thing today. I knew that I could not do that. So instead I opened it while I was waiting on the line to pick up a package before leaving the post office. And thankfully, my test was fine. The letter started out with the fact that they were “pleased to inform” me about my results. I am ridiculously thankful. And I hope that ultimately the women who received a not so great initial notice will receive a pleased to inform them of their results result.

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The City

Have you heard that it is spring? I did too. People kept saying it. And while it is true that there is way more light in the day (no more sunsetting feelings at 3:30), it is still cold. It was just frigid yesterday. And I’m not talking about my wussy Hawaii standard of weather. I got out of my car to pump gas and the way the wind was tearing through there, I thought that I might freeze to the pump handle.

Yesterday I had to head into the city. And if you live on Long Island, there is only one city, it is NYC. A giant hulking sentinel blocking the way to get off of the island (mostly true). When I was growing up New York City was a scary place. It was dirty and dangerous. When my friends and I planned a trip into the City it revolved around drinking on the train going in, trying to get someone to serve those of us who were underage in a bar and going to 42nd street to see sex workers (thanks MFM!) I remember once some of the boys went into a peep show place. And once we somehow all got served in a random Irish bar. When I was young, going to into the City meant peril. My mother was convinced that if you went to the City you would probably be killed. So this is the lens through which I have always thought of the City.

This softened a bit when I was older and would go in with a friend. We rode the subway. Do not make eye contact. Ignore everyone else on the train and pray your stop was soon. Even then the City seemed to be a foreign place to me. A place that I could not navigate. It was a place to visit. Like a tourist.

More recently we have gone in with my son. Taken him to silly themed restaurants and tourist traps (Ripley’s’ Believe it or Not). But we were tourists. And I always relied on friends to get us around. Once I was put in charge of getting us, by subway to the Museum of Natural History. And it was a success. The only time.

We have been living out on Long Island for almost a year now and I have been, very intermittently, submitting my son’s information for acting roles. It is difficult because I do not want to take him out of school for this and many of the auditions are during the week. He was being considered for a video blog for a prep testing company but did not get it. Then we sent in a video audition for a play in NYC. It was the Wizard of Oz and he ended up getting the role of the Tin Man. This theater company seems to put on numerous plays for both children and adults for the sole purpose of putting on plays. We did not have to pay the company for him to participate (tickets to the shows aside) and there are no other fees. He had to commit to coming into the City for rehearsals for three Saturdays in a row and the performance dates over the first weekend in April. I said yes. I figured that it was a short commitment and it would be good for him. For his profile and just from an experience perspective.

But it was in the City. And I had to be the adult. I had to be the navigator. I had to be the one in charge. So I did a bunch of planning. I looked at the map where the theater was and it seemed close enough for us to walk up to it. I figured that I had to find something to do while he was in rehearsal. The first week I borrowed the pass from the local library to the Museum of Modern Art. It also happened to be the St. Patrick’s Day parade so I was a bit concerned about drunk hooligans on the train. I was also concerned about getting lost. My planning for the day worked out really well. We caught an early train back, devoid of shenanigans and we were back home (half hour drive from the train station as well) by 8:30 p.m.

This weekend was week two of rehearsal. I borrowed the passes for the Intrepid Museum and enticed my HI friend who now lives in NYC, whose mom was visiting from HI, to meet me there. The pass got in six people (how much do I love the library?) It was quite fabulous. When you do not pay $33 a head, it really changes how you look at your visit. There is no desperate attempt to get everything in, but we kind of did. We leisured through the entire museum and spent plenty of time in the hands-on space for kids. It seemed appropriate for all of us (our party did include a three year old). After the museum I hoofed it back to where my son was and we found a Thai restaurant (one of the major foods we are missing in our very haole neck of the woods).

So two weekends of just me and my son and we have not had any major catastrophes and I am feeling pretty proud of myself. I have visited two very different museums for free. I have hung out with some of my Hawaii people. It’s been really good. Next week, one of my friends will be in and we may meet up with him. I can’t deny that I may cease being the adult at that time and may let him lead us around and potentially get on the subway. But I feel okay about that.

I keep telling my son that the City is just like where we live but with a lot more people. People we know live there. Their children go to school there. That he should not be afraid. That he should not feel anxious. Part of me thinks that when I am telling him this, I am also trying to convince myself. So far, it has been pretty convincing.

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Break

I realized today that the only things that I have been posting on Facebook lately are accounts of my awful running and digs against the current Administration. Today, I posted something about how the President’s son was telling Theresa May to not disregard the will of the people while the Republican led state of Florida was figuring out ways to not permit felons to vote, per the will of the people. And I posted that and wondered if this was a good use of my time. I wondered if I really needed Facebook and then looked into how to potentially just disengage from it. And guess what? There is a way to do that. And I think that I am going to do that.

With all of the dreadfulness in the world, I find myself backing away, getting further into my shell. I continue to feel horrified by the shooting in New Zealand. I worry about what my son is looking at online. I hear about the awfulness of algorithms that send you down a more and more extreme path from a content perspective. Anti-vaxxers. Men who hate women. And anyone who is not exactly like them. Groups who feel that women are too liberated and need to have more babies to ensure that white people remain the majority. That maybe they should not be able to vote any more. How is this the world that I live in? How is this okay? I read about how a woman whose son died of the flu was attacked online by anti-vaxxers. Her son died. Died.

And, no matter what you think, when the President feels that it is okay to disparage a war hero who died of brain cancer, it gives permission for anyone to just be awful. That and the internet. I still feel like most people would not say the things that they say online to someone’s face. But maybe that is not the case anymore.

I told a friend today that I was ready to create a commune and go live on it. This is very end-of-the-world-like and it does not really meet the needs of my current life with a teenager who is in high school and works at McDonalds. But maybe I can get closer to that commune-like existence by being less online and more in my life.

Today, I found out that a family that has suffered incredible tragedy recently is now facing more incredible tragedy. When I found out, I felt extremely nauseous and honestly do not know how they will be able to go on.  I know that they are people of faith. We are part of the same church. But this is beyond a test of faith. And I just don’t know. About anything.

This is rambly rambly and maybe the purpose is to just say that, if you notice that I am gone from FB, don’t be concerned. If you really like my blog and FB is your only access point, give it a subscribe, otherwise you may not hear from me. I just feel like I want to batten down the hatches and take my social media footprint with me. Don’t be alarmed. But maybe join in. If you really feel like you might miss me, try Instagram. It’s more pithy to me. Less serious. More cat pics. Less bullshit. Which is what I need right not. So, sayonara for now. For now.

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The End

When we were in the process of moving from Hawaii to NY, one of my biggest concerns was the living situation. The North Fork of Long Island is suffering through an affordable housing shortage (reminds me of where we came from). There are no apartment buildings. There are apartments but many are not advertised. There are single family homes but many are seasonal only and not year round. The ones that are year round charge, on average, more than $2K per month. That does not include electricity, heat, garbage, water, cable and lawn service. You get the picture. I was very stressed out about where we would live. I was making contingency plans with the people I knew who lived there. My plan was to dedicate the first few weeks on the ground to finding a place to live.

And then, there was, what I can only describe as, divine intervention in the weeks before we were going to actually move. My divine intervention involved a working farm. It is how we ended up living over two donkeys and a horse. I don’t mean that metaphorically. Our downstairs neighbors are a horse (Ike) and two donkeys (Bugsy & Smokey). Sometimes at night the donkeys make a ruckus. Or in the early morning I hear them hee hawing (they really sound like that).

Ike spent the nights underneath us and the days in the pen outside our bedroom window. One time I looked out and he was lying down. I was a little startled and wondered if I should call someone. I googled horses lying down and found out that it did not mean that Ike needed a medic. Ike’s downstairs pen has two quaintly shaped windows in the brick face with wooden shutters that are always open. Every day, whenever Ike was in his pen, as I was coming or going or pulling up in my car at night, Ike would be hanging out with his head stuck out one of those windows. Just last week my aunt gave me a tired apple that she had in her fridge to give to him. I had learned that the best way to get him to take it without freaking out about his very large flat teeth, was to place it flat on my hand.

I had noticed that for the past week Ike had not been in his been but relegated to his stall inside. When I went to feed him that apple, I could see why. He always had a janky back leg but now it almost looked as if it was facing the wrong way and he seemed to not really be able to get around much. He took a bite of apple and part of if fell on the floor. He backed himself up against the gate and twisted in a way that made me nervous, to try to get the piece that had dropped. I enticed him with another piece that had fallen outside his pen. I didn’t think much of it until, just the other night, I went to close the blinds in the bedroom and Ike was lying on the ground in his pen. He had a blanket on him, two of the girls on the farm were crouched over him, stroking his head and the farm owner sat in his truck idling next to the pen. It was obvious that Ike was not doing well. At some point, I went downstairs. I did not really need to ask because you could feel the direness in the air. The sadness. I breathed it in. I offered the girls tea or coffee. In hindsight, it should have been a glass of wine or a beer. The last time I saw Ike alive he was standing in his pen. My son went down and said that he may have been standing but he actually could not move because of his leg. When I woke up the next morning I looked out the window into the darkness. Just beyond Ike’s pen, I could see a mound. As it grew lighter out, the mound became identifiable as Ike, lying on the grass under some blankets.

When I came in the night before, tears in my eyes, my son put his arm around me. I told him that I was sad. He told me that Ike was my first horse so it was to be expected. And it’s true, Ike was my first horse.

A new horse has taken up residence downstairs. We found out her name because that seemed appropriate and we had been calling her “not Ike”. But, truthfully, she is not Ike. And Ike’s face hanging out of his window was one of the first things that greeted me when we got here. All moved from Hawaii and anxious. And I miss him being there. Maybe we will love the new horse as much. But I think that it will take us a bit of time. And I think that she will actually never be Ike.

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Stolen Yoga

When I first moved to NY, I started looking for things to do. My two very best friends live here as does my mom and my aunt. But my one friend and my mom live about twenty minutes east of me (we lovingly refer to where they are as France). My aunt lives one town over but is a very busy person. My other friend lives in the same town as I do but she commutes way up island to work and by the time she gets home and has fed her family, I am likely lying in my bed. I like it in bed because it is very warm there. People from Hawaii (where we moved from) ask me if we have heat, which of course we do. It’s just not great heat and our floors are icy, the insides of the cabinets naturally refrigerate all of the food in them (the olive oil was chunky the other day). So bed is good. Bed is warm. Bed is comfy. And when it gets dark at like four, six thirty feels like it’s time to go to bed.

I work from home so I really need to get out and mingle with people at some point during the day. I signed up for the boot camp class offered through the town that my mom takes. It is $50 for the entire session of two night a week workouts. My mom has been taking the classes for years and years. The woman who runs it sets up a myriad of stations around the gym at the local high school (it is closer to France than I would like). We do some warm ups. And then cycle through the stations twice. A bit of stretching and then I’m headed home. It is good for me. I talk to people. I do some stuff. Worth every penny.

Before we fell back and were plunged into perpetual darkness, I was looking for something else to do. I checked out the schedule at the library near our place. There were so many things. And one of the things was yoga. I have only taken yoga in the privacy of my own home, via Tony Horton. Who knows? Maybe he does his own made up version of yoga? Luckily downward dog is not something that he just made up. I found that there was a Tuesday evening yoga class at the library. I decided to give it a go. I was feeling nervous but assumed that it would be awful. That everyone would be seventy. That the instructor would be second rate. And it was free. What could be better? None of those things ended up being true.

I went to my first class. It is in the library basement. I brought my mat and a water bottle. The woman who runs the class is named Rosemary (my grandmother’s name). The class was well attended and everyone took their shoes off outside of the room and backed their yoga mats up to the wall. And Rosemary talked. And she talked and talked. She told funny stories. She said “today is the happiest day of your life” a bunch of times. She talked through the poses. She described, rather than named them. She told us to thank our bodies and forgive them for anything that they can’t do. She says that you just have to laugh. She mumbo jumbos about apple cider vinegar but I can forgive her this because I love her class so much.

What is it about ohms? I even loved doing them with Tony Horton. It was one of the parts that I would never fast forward through. I love doing them with the class. The class was great for me although I realized during the second one that I was doing weird breathing things on the mat next to my son’s algebra teacher. The pitfalls of a small town.

I liked the class so much that I went back again. That week, I received the library’s schedule in the mail. It had a calendar of the many programs that were offered. And it was there that I realized that the yoga class was not free (as I had so joyously proclaimed on Facebook). I could sign up for the series or pay fifteen dollars a class. Having realized that I had already accidentally absconded with two classes, I was kind of mortified.

When I went back the following week, I confessed to the lady at the front desk. I paid my back fees and for that evening. A friend said that they should just let it go since I was so truthful. But they didn’t. They took all my money. And I was okay with that. And I still go. And sometimes I am still next to my son’s algebra teacher doing weird breathing. But now I always pay. And Rosemary always says that it is the happiest day of my life. And sometimes I believe her.

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Wet February

So I decided, after an alcohol infused December, that I should partake in dry January. The premise is basically that during January there is no alcohol consumption. There are a couple of reasons why I do this. One is that that, I want to make sure that I can. Sometimes there is a fear that the “want” that I am feeling for that glass of wine is verging into “need.” One of the other reasons is that I am always ever so hopeful that if I forsake all alcohol, my caloric intake will drop to a point where I lose the winter weight that I have picked up. It is not quite up to the amount that I had gained last year and Zoned off but it is enough to make my pants uncomfortable and diggy into my sides. I don’t love it.

In case you did not know, January is a very long month. And for someone who has not experienced winter weather in more than 20 years, it seemed especially long. For me, the worst part is actually the fact that it gets dark so early. For a while, it felt like the sun was starting to set at 3:30. Is that even possible? That is what it felt like.  But we hit the darkest day in December and as the month of January progressed, it started to stay lighter longer. Today, when I go to yoga at 5:15 p.m., it is not yet dark. A joyous thing for sure.

I did really well for almost the entire month before I felt like I wanted a drink. Then, the brewery in town which had been having some sort of zoning/parking issue with town opened. And Taco Bell Thursday would roll around and I could feel myself wanting to have a beer with my meal. But I resisted because I was so close. And the month was so long. To go for so long and then not actually make it seemed not right. So I hung in there.

I made it all the way through. Someone asked if I feel differently. But I don’t. Maybe my pants fit a teeny tiny bit better. But I won’t say that because then it won’t be true. I’m happy that I could do it. I’m happy that I could stop and stay stopped. That I could say no. I worry for my son with alcoholism on both sides. I worry that he will start and not be able to stop. He knows that he has a toxic gene mix. We have discussed it. it makes him wary of drinking. I like that.

I sipped some white wine when I wrote this and had some beer during the Super Bowl. I am getting a ride so as not to put myself or anyone else in danger. And while I can stop. I can see the draw of not doing so. I know that when I have bit of wine in me that it takes the edge off. That it makes the worry fade into forgetfulness. And I like it. I can’t lie. So I feel like I have the potential. That potential to go off the rails. And because of that, when I made it through dry January, it really did feel like a triumph. As silly as that may sound. But everyone’s triumphs are different. They are all measured by different standards. And that is mine.

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