Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Valentine 365

For Valentine's Day, my beloved husband wrote me a story of the day we met. He'd started it while we were attending the Writers Forum meeting in Redding on Saturday during a little exercise the speaker had the group do, and we shared our efforts over a salad after the meeting.

But he expanded on it later, remembering how the day had started so uneventfully and had ended in a life change for both of us.

It was and is a lovely story -- my very favorite fairy tale that ends with the prince and the princess living happily ever after. I wrote a little about it here back in 2008. It's still all true. It's still all real and even better than it was then. And we're looking at 11 years of marriage in a few months.

We celebrate Valentine's Day 365 days of the year. We tell each other every day, often multiple times, how glad we are for the other, how much we love the other, how grateful we are for each other. I say gratitude prayers at least once a day for what we have together. We make the most of the time we are together and look forward to retirement when we can once again be together most of the time.

And yes, I know how rare that is.

Neither of us seeks to control the other. We don't criticize, we support, and we always have each other's backs. We have our outside interests and friendships -- although with his job and daily commute, his disposable time has become so rare and so limited that his activities have been severely curtailed. But we prefer to do things together when we can.

We came into our relationship with daughters; they are *our* children now. And there have been issues with each of them -- things that have been hard, time-and-money consuming, some ongoing. Never, ever have either of us complained about 'your' child or 'your' problem. They are ours, hard as it's sometimes been to deal with. And we love them.

The only regret I have is that I didn't find him years and years ago, and yet, I don't know that we would have been ready for each other then. It is our individual life experiences that brought us to the time and place where we could meet and appreciate what we found in each other.

That we were destined to meet is clear to both of us and always has been: out of all the places we could have chosen to live when we each separately moved to the SF Bay area seeking new beginnings, we ended up three blocks from each other. When I put up my slightly vague, somewhat literarily-oriented personals Internet ad on my 50th birthday -- I just wanted to meet somebody to have some fun with -- he found it and replied. Out of all those ads, out of all those people online back then, we found each other. Three blocks apart. If that's not destiny, I don't know what is.

Thank you, my dearest honey, for loving me always and forever. I love you to the moon and back.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"All My Sons" in Redding is marvelous material and strong acting

We went to see the Riverfront Playhouse's production of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" this weekend. Riverfront is in Redding and where I did 'Steel Magnolias' in 2009.

It was easily the best play we've seen in the North State, including the touring companies that come to Redding. The acting was simply stellar -- there was not a weak link in the cast. The set was creative and detailed, moreso than many we've seen.

But you just can't beat the core material. Arthur Miller wrote this play back in 1947, some 63+ years ago, and it still stands up to scrutiny. It's period-specific in the plot line, but not in the message, which is universal and timeless.

We've seen a lot of plays at Riverfront in the last few years (and are sorry we missed out on so many since we've lived here), and honestly some of them should not have ever seen a spotlight. It's not the acting -- there are some excellent actors in this neck of the woods -- but the material.

As do so many community theaters, this one tries to put butts in seats to keep funds coming in. Not only are there the monthly bills to pay, but the theater is still raising funds for the new theater which has been purchased but needs major renovation before the first curtain is raised. Other groups in the area are helping, but it's always a major task, especially in these hard times, and northern CA has been hard-hit with the loss of construction-related jobs as well as others.

But this play should show the governing board that not only is there an audience for drama, good drama, but classic plays -- good, solid, engaging literature that challenges both the actors and the audiences. The actors in this production are mostly new to the area and are wonderfully talented. If you put it out there, the talent will appear. It did. It will. And I hope we see more like this.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Catching up -- bits of thought for 2011

While I've composed bits and pieces of blog posts in my head this past month, they haven't made it to actual type and format. I'm sorry...but also if you've missed me, I'm glad. I'll try to do better.

I've really missed Reverb10, which kept me writing nearly daily in December, introspectively examining the past year and figuring out what was impactful. I know there are prompts out there, but it's not the same thing.

I began a post about taking care of myself and my determination this year to do just that, but it didn't get far. That said, I AM doing more for my own good this year: a weekly yoga class that uses muscles I didn't remember I had, walking at least 10 minutes a day, monthly massages that rejuvenate my body and my spirit from a marvelous masseuse who also uses energy work to enhance her magic fingers, and better permission to read during the day if I want -- something I haven't allowed myself to do much of in some time. I guess it's because I think it's unproductive -- and yet I'll read on the computer for several hours, blogs, websites, etc. Go figure.

Anyway, I'm working on all of it, mostly successfully.

I've spent some time petting kitties too, especially since a friend recently lost her dearly loved 11-year-old cat, and his sibling kitty just three months ago too. I was so sad for her loss, knowing full well how devastating the death of a much-loved animal can be -- dare I say even more, sometimes, than the death of a human? I think it's because with animals we just are who we are and they love us anyway, warts and all. Animals sense a troubled spirit and try to soothe it; they give back so much acceptance and energy and patience with us despite our moods and our troubles. They are with us daily, especially if we're at home much of the time. I appreciate our little boys and am always happy to hold them and pet them when they spring into my lap, even when I don't always appreciate a furry tail in front of my computer monitor.

And I've been following the giant storm that's icing its way across the Midwest today -- deadly ice in Missouri and Indiana -- both states in which I've lived -- and other cities too. I still have relatives and friends there and have been concerned for them. So far, they assure me, they're fine.

We have such spring-like weather right now, with highs in the 60s and approaching 70, and sunshine. Last week we had some bad fog in the mornings and evenings, but it's not ice and snow. (Actually we need more winter -- rain and cooler temperatures -- because all this false spring makes fruit trees blossom too early.) But it's hard to remember what it's like to have below zero temperatures and ice over everything and deep snow -- and we both have had our share of that. I am not a fan of the 110 degree summer days, but I'll take that in order to have the relatively mild winters we have here -- little or no snow, good rain, and temperatures that only rarely get below freezing. Fifty miles in three directions, however, will put us right in a snowbank with plenty of cold ~ another thing I do like about living here.

So here we are in February again: a short month, sweet holidays, a bit more winter (I hope), and then March comes with spring, and then July isn't far behind with hot days.

Time goes faster as we get older, I think. The hair looks a bit more gray, the skin a bit more weathered, the flexibility a bit less. And I look at myself in the mirror and wonder how that all happened so quickly? I remember being 16, waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up for a date. I remember being 21 and about to graduate from college and get married, and I remember when my now almost-35-year-0ld daughter was a baby, feeding herself pears and cottage cheese with her hands rather than the spoon, and getting it all over her sweet face.

I wouldn't go back.

But I'd sure like to slow this time down a little bit more, savor the days and the love and the weather and the kitties and the tastes and the kisses a little longer. I'm heading rapidly toward what I used to regard as 'old' -- and I know what eventually comes -- and I'm not ready for that.

So I'll try again, always, to live where I am, in this moment, with this chore or this joy or this taste or this hug, and to really, REALLY be present. That's all I can do.