reSolve to rEvolve

Monday, February 27, 2006

I Never Knew That...

I'm not a therapist, but if I were I would recommend that couples swap ipods. (ok mine is some other type of mp3 player, but you know what I mean). I had my husband's Shuffle (nifty little thing) the other day when I went to work out and I found the experience to be somewhat like a sanctioned peek in his diary. It should be said here that I don't mean because his songs spoke to me literally, it's just that it was a chance to see what moves him. We don't usually sit and debate our top ten songs like some scene from High Fidelity, but swapping players was a springboard for that very conversation. Incidentally, we both find Johnny Cash to be a kick-ass workout--we both feel a little tougher and sometimes that's not so bad. To me it was somewhat enlightening that despite my husband's shift in clothes, career, and locale, that he still brushes the dust off his old Black Crowes albums and rocks out.

I think changes in context are essential. We just had friends over for a low-key pizza night and I was struck by my husband's happy energy while we entertained. He doesn't really do low-key when we entertain i.e. the kids snacks are artfully displayed on a platter and a new plant was a must-have for the occasion. This little idosyncrasy is one of his most endearing qualities. I love to watch him scurry about (and believe me 2o minutes before guests arrive, he does scurry) and I appreciate all his little extra touches. I think it is good for him to see me around my friends too. I know that he loves to see me laugh.

Occasionally, we read the same book and when we do, it is always fun to see what the other thinks about it. I often misjudge what he'll like or won't like and he doesn't always know what I'll think either. Our recent read: A Question of Attraction had us both laughing hysterically. He read it first, so when I was reading it and snickering, he came around and peeked at the page I was on and had a good laugh too.

True, I am mostly pretty predictable. He recently ordered an omelette for me at a new restaurant when I was in the bathroom because he knew it was what I would order. "You just like zucchini with your eggs," he offered as his explanation. He was right! I was pleased at that moment to be known so well, but I also want to make a conscious effort to continue to seek. There is much to know about this man I love and there is much to know about me.

Friday, February 24, 2006

spot of tea Posted by Picasa

Speaking of the Sublime...

Neil Young scowls and I love it. His whole face contorts as if he is singing because he can't bear the taste of the words in his mouth. He throws his whole being into creating and I love it. Bono swoons, Mick Jagger struts. There is something so beautiful about passion. Sometimes they look ridiculous but they are trying with everything they've got. There is a place that can be reached where you no longer care about anything but the doing. A moment, a spot of time where blood is coursing and every cell feels alive. Long ago it was Ballet that moved me. Today I feel it sometimes when I run. When I run, I sweat and I stink. I sometimes think that I haven't really done anything if I haven't sweat or stunk that day. I feel strong, healthy and full when running. I hate my legs--except when I run. When I run I feel their strength and my big strong legs have run through deployments, through worries and stress. Now they run past Marines. I run past men with rifles, I run by the ocean, I run looking at mountains, I run looking at rainbows. I run in marriage and parenthood. I run unsure of who I am, or of what lies ahead. I run while sometimes pushing my child, I run always pushing myself.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tall Skinny Half-Caf No Shots, Please...

We married young; fluffed and full of optimism. We were just two kids from a middle class background in one of those rare towns where middle class could pass for upper class and our dreams weren’t mitigated by things like thoughts of dying young. We moved for him to begin his military obligation, and life quickly showed with blunt force that we are not in control. I could describe us as changed as a result of the past three years, but in truth it is more like we are mutated. I look at my contemporaries and am struck by the lack of awareness that a war is even being fought. As long as the local Starbucks Barista can properly froth their lattes, many people feel remarkably secure. Sometimes in quieter moments I try to remember a simpler time but ultimately my thoughts return to long nights of patchy sleep and desperate prayers to bring my husband home. No news is good news so I had a 3AM ritual of checking the news to ensure a couple more hours of sleep. That time was to me a time of suspended animation: trying to live and parent without making anything too foreign for my husband. I lived with an invisible tether keeping my cell phone within arms reach. This reached levels of absurdity, as I couldn’t go to the bathroom without carrying my cell phone with me. I once took a call from him (and I was thrilled not to have missed it) on a massage table because I was loathe to leave the phone for even one minute. The masseuse was gracious even though I’m certain it must have been unusual for her to have a client crying and saying, "I love you. I miss you so much."
He is home. Back some ten months from an arduous deployment. It has been ten months now, about the length of time that he was gone and we are just now resurfacing from the stress of it. I still call him up at work sometimes just because I can. It feels good to have a number to dial; to have some element of control. It feels good to not have to wait on his calls or feel the devastation of a missed call as I did on Valentines Day. I cannot pretend what it must’ve felt like to be in Fallujah during the Fallujah offensive. To be caring for wounded Marines, fearing for your own safety with (as he later revealed to me) a letter to me telling me to marry another should he die and a letter to our daughter, J****, telling her how much he would’ve loved to see her grow up. The thought alone is almost too much to bear. C acknowledges that he can’t imagine it from my end either: The cries of our child for him, the newspapers and magazines speculating on how the Fallujah offensive of November ’04 would go and just the oppressive unknown.
Life is taking on a semblance of normalcy again. I sleep well. For C it is not as easy. Some things only rear their heads at night when compartmentalizing is not possible. I feel like we dodged a bullet. Were we lucky? Blessed? We are moving on. We are planning and hopeful for the future, but there is piquant reminder every time we watch the news, or every time another battalion leaves, that causes me to feel the nervous knot in my stomach again and reminds me how fortunate I am.

The New Baggage--Emotional or Material?

Eleven years ago, when I graduated from High School, this country was a very different place. My graduating class of 1995 had endured all the typical growing pains of the proverbial high school experience and as all teenagers do, we felt that the world revolved around us. My hometown of Oklahoma City was not unlike most medium sized Midwestern cities until it was catapulted into the national media by the Oklahoma City bombing in April of 1995. This event marked my life profoundly and caused me to evaluate my perceptions and beliefs about safety and security. I didn’t fear that my school would be bombed, or my airplane would be used as a weapon to destroy a building, (that seemed the stuff of movies and way too far-fetched) but I realized for the first time that one man’s fervor can wreak havoc on a great number of lives.
Of course I had studied in History about such events and surely the atrocities of the Nazi Germany had demonstrated people’s capacity for evil, but in my naiveté and idealism, it seemed that reason and rationality had ensured more harmonious living. We had the United Nations to buffer and mitigate potential skirmishes between nations. Reflecting back, I realize that one had to look no further than Ireland to see that harmonious living was not the order of the day, but America was quiet and I took that to mean sound.
This childish take on society was fostered by the culture at the time. Fashions were much more grown up and my friends and I could often be seen wearing clothes that seemed like junior versions of our mother’s clothing, than what is often true today, where mothers have a hard time finding clothing that is not cut and tailored to fit a teenaged body. Advertising seemed to reach out to adults unlike today where hitting the youth niche is paramount.
There was a perceptible shift soon after graduation. One could argue that it was me that had changed, but I still would contend that it was the times that changed. In the consciousness of teens today are school shootings, September 11th, the possibility that friends may go off to war, and perhaps an understanding that America is not loved by all. It may enrage them, bore them, or enlighten them, but it is there nonetheless. In a society where currently youth is King, I wonder how all of this will affect them. Will they rise to the occasion and be active in the political landscape? Will they be better prepared and more savvy in negotiation and compromise? Do they have a more sophisticated edge over their immediate predecessors, or will they look at the world as an unfriendly place where material goods can assuage the worry and satisfy the moment. Will their idealism have a chance to flourish?