Posts from January, 2013

Ann’s Diary: Darlin’s Grandson

When my godmother died I really missed her.  That was more than a year ago and I’m still right there in that place. I really still miss her.  I still want her to show up.

Darlin was a classic.  She was a spark.  She had a shock of white hair on her head that was stylish before going gray became stylish.  She was beautiful.  She always dressed to the nines, wore the best shoes, and taught me that Aerosoles, while a comfortable shoe, could actually also look classy.  She had more than 40 years on me but usually looked as good if not better than I did–because she always dressed the part.  Always.

One of my lasting memories of Darlin is her pulling around the corner in her gray/brown Toyota Corolla.  I remember that like it’s my own reflection: that poof of hair, those big Audrey Hepburn sunglasses, gripping that steering wheel and waving to me as she drove off to her hairdresser, the manicure place, her adult education classes or her volunteer job at the high school.  Well into her 80’s, Darlin still did it all.

When she died in 2011, all that went away. And while I had her in my life for all of my years–she was my next door neighbor so I grew up with her, literally–and I should have been more grateful than anything to have enjoyed such a treasure and for so long, I admit to being crushed.  I wanted Darlin back–I still do. And all those memories, that clothing, that hair, that way of dressing to the 9’s and seeing that car drive-by…I still wish she’d show up.

Recently Darlin’s grandson moved nearby to me. Now we see him often. And we love him. Ryan is an extension of his grandmother, a familiar face because his features and mannerisms flow from a DNA swirl that include Darlin’s very own double-helix strands. And because his childhood visits to Darlin happened in the yard next-door to mine, I saw Ryan-the-toddler a lot. Now, he’s a fine young man and I find I share an emotional connection with him that maybe is due to Darlin and maybe it’s due to Ryan. But whatever it is, I like it.

So I was thrilled when Ryan moved near by. We began to invite him over to Sunday dinners. I looked forward to him arriving that first Sunday, to get to know him as an adult but also to be near the memory of that tremendous person that due to his bloodline Ryan represents for me–my godmother.  And though I knew his 23-year-old self would not be sporting gray hair, Audrey Hepburn glasses nor an easy-walking pair of pump heels with a matching outfit, I knew Ryan would naturally bring a part of the spirit of my godmother back into my life and into my home–I couldn’t wait to see him.

But when he pulled up–parking his vehicle in front of my home now thousands of miles away from the neighborhood I once shared with Darlin–I was struck dumb.  He jumped out of the car and gave me a bright smile: “Hi Ann!”  But it wasn’t his smile that got me–it was the car he was driving…

it was Darlin’s. Unbeknownst to me, he’d gotten her car after she’d passed away. It was the same one I’d seen daily for years out the window of my parent’s home–that steering wheel she’d wave to me from as she buzzed off to whatever adventure she was to find that day.

Tears welled up but I fought them off. For Heaven’s Sake, Ann, the kid will think you’re insane!  But as I hugged Ryan and welcomed him into my house, my home and my own family’s world, I looked over his shoulder at the gray/brown Corolla staring back at me and sent a silent shout out to Darlin:

I knew you’d show up.



Posted January 31st, 2013 by
Ann's Diary: Darlin's Grandson
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: Funk-y Town

When I was young there was a disco song that started with a techno/disco beat and began with the words “Gotta make a move to a town that’s right for me..”  The song was called “Funky Town.” Do you remember it?

I danced many a Saturday-night to that song at the clubs where my friends and I wanted to shake and wiggle on the crowded floor.  At the time it was all in fun, grooving the hours away on the psychedelic, spotlight lit dance area.  The tune “Funky Town” was anything but meaningful to me back then. Heck I was there for the dancing.

Twenty or so years later, I was recently having coffee with a friend when we hit upon the topic of funks.  Unlike the whimsical, magical “Funky” place in that 1970’s disco song, “funks” are not funky–nor fun.  They are sad places that sometimes show up in a life when things aren’t going right, what should feel okay doesn’t, and what used to be happy is sad.  I’ve been in funks from time to time as the ups in my life descend into downs, so I knew just what my pal was going through–at least I knew the feeling.  Everyone’s “funks” have their own original recipe depending on whose life they’re catering.  The one thing I knew to be universal about funks is that they stink.

I gave my friend a hug and told her–“I get it.  I know.  Funks are awful.  And though they pass, while they’re here they’re a _itch.” And she agreed.

Later on that night I was thinking about our conversation about funks–and thought about that song Funky Town.  It made me shake my head to think that years ago anything funk-y was usually funn-y to me–a blast, a groove, a musical riff that got me up and moving on some far-away dance floor from a time long gone.  Now here it was, that same word–almost: just the subtraction of one sometimes-vowel and the entire beat broke down to a sad stop.  Not fair. But that’s how life’s melody plays at times.

The good news though I realized, after I’d bid goodnight to my pal and had hopped into my warm, grown-up bed, is that while she and I–and maybe you–are no longer shaking to the beat of a disco song with a throng of other 20-someting sweaty club-goers from yesteryear, we are far from alone on the FUNK dance floor of life.  While a whole lot of us are pushed onto that emotional parquet now and then–and we have to find our own groove to get the hell off of it–that music won’t last long. There are better beats coming up–just wait this one out for the next one to play..

and play it will.  Funks happen, and unhappen. Sad moments are a part of life’s dance mix:  a brief tune within a longer set of hits, happy tunes and oldies but goodies. That’s the way we all grow–and go.  It’s life.  And fear not: as the Funky Town song of the 70’s says, eventually the funk has “gotta move on.  Gotta move on..”

..and leave us to dance to a better, happier and healthier song of life.

Posted January 31st, 2013 by
Ann's Diary: Funk-y Town
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Ann’s Diary: The Non-Blog

For those of you on pins and needles awaiting my latest post, here it is–

yet after you read it you may think those pins and needles were better.  I’ve had less to say in these last few weeks than I’ve had in many months–why I do not know.  Such is life I suppose.

I guess you can’t be awesome all the time, prolyphic constantly or happy forever.  Some days stink.  Occasional dips in productivity occur. Glitches in the plan stall results.  And sometimes I just don’t have anything to say.

Much has happened to me during this time of non-productivity, though.  I had a nice visit with out-of-state family, for one.  I had my ovaries out for another.  That’s kind of a strange list: of things coming and things going;  a revolving door of what endures in life and what has to go.

The family visit was pleasant–the ovary surgery not so much.  The actual surgery was fine, and I must give a shout out to my charge nurse Elaine who took such good care of me that even though I was in the cattle-call of surgical pre-operating areas–that place where a drawn curtain between you and the guy having his what-evers adjusted next to you, that “wall” designed for patient privacy but like fake mountains on a Sound Of Music high school theatre stage are no way near the real things and make the surgical experience just that much more uncomfortable from the start–I did at some point end up feeling like the only patient in the crowded, noisy room.  Well done, Elaine.  I hope you know you’re awesome.

And here I am two days post surgery and I’m feeling really well–a huge bonus to what might have been a bad week. I’ve got friends taking good care of me and a family surrounding me with whatever I need to heal.  It’s all good. I suppose I could be writing about that.  Or my hope that this ovary surgery does the trick and gives the cancer such a disadvantage that it gets up and LEAVES–that’d be a good blog.  Or just how lucky I feel that I had so many people praying for me and working on me from afar to make sure I soared through my usual anesthesia issues–I hate drugs in general, anesthesia worse–and this time I had zero after-effects–

But I gotta say, I’m just not there.  I’m in a place where lots has happened and that’s good, and lots will happen and that’s good too–

and for me, it’s all sitting around me, to be looked at, appreciated and enjoyed–but not necessarily to be blogged.  Not today, anyway.

And that is what it is.

I’ll see what happens tomorrow.



Posted January 25th, 2013 by
Ann's Diary: The Non-Blog
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: Happy New Year

I have just had three days of glorious luxury ensconced at the seaside with dear friends all together to ring in the new calendar year…..and as I lay my head onto my pillow to fall asleep tonight I find myself in a panic.

I’m sure it’s the confrontation of the fake world I’ve enjoyed this holiday with the real world I’ll wake up to tomorrow–when I check out of this glorious hotel and head home to dishes, bills, work and every day problems–that’s gnawing at my brain.  It certainly isn’t this gorgeous featherbed I’m sleeping (or not sleeping) on tonight.

But all the down in the world can’t stop the thing that’s haunting me and keeping me awake. And that thing is….is….is what? I’m not even sure.

I can start with the obvious: cancer.  Breast cancer is anything but subtle in its ability to grab me by my emotional ankles and whip my balance out from under me.  Who knows what this year will bring: already I’ll be changing up meds and having a few procedures to help calm the rough winds beginning to blow off the Uncharted Cancer Course I’m on.

Then there are other things, more things I can’t control.  People whom I’ve lost–my godmother, my old boss–whom I want to talk to and ask their advice about things and can’t anymore.  People who are still here but who aren’t–like my Dad, lost to the disease of dementia so badly he doesn’t remember when he taught me how to ride a bike, pulled my teeth from my mouth or paid my childhood bills without fail.  Or that New Year’s Eve was his birthday. And there are others– people who are here but are lost to me in other ways. And I have no control– no control over any of it.

Maybe I never had control over “any of it” to begin with–and maybe control is overrated.  We could debate that all this new year long, but I’ll say one thing: without control, a life can seem adrift.  What’s going to happen? Will it be alright? Is everything going to turn out okay? Am I safe…am I loved?  And is that enough to get by?

There are too many things in this life to worry about, that’s for certain–and that’s nothing knew.  Everybody has fears.  Everyone has worries.  We all have bills to pay, people we lose, friendships that fall away, changes that turn our world upside down.  No one has control over any of that–least of all me. Why tonight am I searching for something that I know isn’t there to find?

It’s a brand new year and I really don’t want to spend it looking for what I can’t have.  Control is a thing of many new years past–if it ever really existed for me at all.  This new year is about opening myself up to what can be–if I trust myself enough to find it.

To hell with fear, and worry, and the exhaustive hope that there’s one big answer out there just waiting to satiate all my questions, one big salve to place on all my emotional scars. I think what I should be hoping to find as I exit this paradise tomorrow and reenter the world of school drop-offs, medical procedures and plans for the next great get-a-way with these precious friends I’m with today is peace. I need to find the peace in each and every one of my days.

Who knows about tomorrow, who’s right or wrong, and who am I to take it all on? What does it do for me to chase answers that often can’t be found and if found can be unsatisfactory at best and maddening at worst?

I just need to show up each day and find my peace. And when I find it, I know there’ll be some collateral answers waiting for me along with it to see me through to my tomorrow.

I’m climbing back into this featherbed and closing my eyes to attempt to sleep.  As I do so my panic is not all gone, but it is not all by itself either. Now have a new feeling, too,  and it’s this: if I can maintain this peace-seeking outlook on each of the newly minted 365 days of my life ahead, then it’s quite possible the calendar is right…

and this really is going to be a Happy New Year after all.



Posted January 2nd, 2013 by
Ann's Diary: Happy New Year
Posted in: Ann's Diary