Owning Our Story

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – The experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown

Appeasing the Technical Gods

Today’s post is a little bit of ranting and a little bit of praying. As I’ve mentioned recently, I’ve been working on my final exam for my transcription course. It’s going reasonably well, I have two transcriptions left to complete and have around a B+ average overall. What has been driving me crazy, however, is all the technical difficulties and hiccups I’ve been facing. In transcription work, you are supposed to use a foot pedal to play, rewind and fast forward audio files. The first one I bought, stopped working every five minutes and I would have to uninstall it, reinstall it, restart my computer, and several other steps. It didn’t take too long to do, but it just got old really fast. So, I thought, “I’ll just get a new one.” The second one I bought kept fast forwarding the audio every time I stopped the audio. Exasperated, I decided to forgo the foot pedal and just work the recording by hand. Problem solved. Not ideal for when I start working because working the audio playback manually slows down my time, but for now it works. I thought everything would be smooth sailing. But the technical gods had been offended by something I had done because now I’ve been having keyboard troubles. The one I’m using now is solar powered. The area where my desk is in a dark corner, so I have a tippy little light that shines down on the keyboard to keep it powered. The lamp is so tippy; I have a book resting on it as a counterbalance. I ordered a wireless keyboard to replace the solar one. When I started to use it the spacebar didn’t work half the time. So, I ordered another keyboard. I got it yesterday, and it won’t work at all. Needless to say, the frustration level in my house is at an all-time high right now.  I find myself bouncing between laughing at the ridiculous of it all and crying due to the pressure I’m putting myself under to finish these exams so I can start working and earning money. I wonder what I have done to piss the technical gods of to such a degree. I also wonder what I can do to appease them again. Maybe sacrifice one of the keyboards under the light of the next full moon? I don’t know. What I do know is that I need my technical luck to change and fast. So, if you guys could send some positive vibes my way, it would be immensely appreciated.

The Ice-Covered Yard

My dog stands rooted to the

Spot where he stands.

I have called him

But in his mind

He can’t obey.

His usually verdant yard

Is now covered

In splotchy grey ice.

Some primal instinct

Is speaking to him.

Telling him not to go across.

The hard frozen surface.

I watch him and feel

His mind working.

Looking right and left

He finally finds

His way back to me

And jumps up,

Pleased with himself

And this reunion.

Cravings

I woke up this morning craving a dish called chicken divan. My mom’s recipe includes broccoli, chicken, mayonnaise, cream of mushroom soup, lemon juice, shredded cheese, and bread crumbs. It is a total comfort food indulgence. My mom made this recipe for years, and it has always been one of my favorites. Steaming hot served over white rice; there’s hardly anything better on a cold winter night. So, I went on a hunt to find the recipe. She had initially seen it in The Boston Globe decades ago and had clipped it out. After many years, she put it in a plastic sleeve to protect it. After looking for that for a long time, I came up empty-handed and saddened thinking I’d never be able to replicate it without that aged and yellowed piece of newspaper. Finally, in the last place I looked, I spotted a newer white notecard with “chicken divan” written in her handwriting. Then I remembered, during her final years, she started handwriting out recipes that she knew I liked so I would be able to make them once she was no longer here. Holding it and looking at it, I expected to feel sadness. But I didn’t. It was more of a feeling of comfort. She was thinking ahead to this moment. My mom is still taking care of me, and that has comforted me more than the dinner I am going to curl up on the sofa tonight and eat.

The Birthday Orange

My last post was pretty intense, and I think it might have given the wrong impression. Overall, I had a great birthday on Sunday. I did eat birthday cake, which was delicious. And I opened two cookbooks from my sister which I’ve had fun looking through and planning future meals with. It was just that moment of time when I looked at my cake where I was just inundated with memories of birthdays of old. From childhood to adulthood, 46 birthdays that I had with my mom. The one that really stood out in my mind was 1999. She had had a very close call with blood poisoning the summer of 1998 and was still recovering by the time January rolled around. When I came downstairs that morning, there sitting on the kitchen counter was an orange with a burning candle sticking out of it. She knew she wasn’t able to bake a cake, so she improvised. She thought it was a silly gesture, but it meant more to me than she ever knew.  I knew this birthday would be a difficult day, but I thought it wouldn’t be harder than my mom’s birthday or Christmas had been. It was just looking at that cake that caused a very large burble of primal grief to come rushing to the surface of my consciousness. The intensity of the feelings and emotions were just so overwhelming and caught me off guard completely. At that moment, I missed her so terribly and felt the rawness of that loss. That rawness stuck with me into the next day when it expressed itself in that poem. I posted it because I’ve come to see my blog as a safe space to express what I’m going through; the good and the bad. To be honest, it’s the first time I’ve felt so safe to say what is on my mind so freely. So, in a roundabout way, this post is a thank you to all of you who have accepted me into your worlds and lives. Like that birthday orange, you will never know the full extent of what that has meant to me.

The Saddest Birthday Cake

I stand with my hands gripping

The edge of the counter

Tears spilling to

The floor.

I can barely look at it

My birthday cake.

Here I am.

First birthday without her

And I stand alone.

No family came to celebrate

No family came to support me

During what is the most

Difficult day so far.

The aching for her

Is unbearable.

My heart cracks again

And sobs fall

From trembling lips.

No lit candles this year.

I am so sad

I am so angry

I am so lonely.

And another year begins.