Rhode Island Family Fun

I drove down to Rhode Island yesterday, and met up with the rest of our vacation group at my next to oldest sister’s house.  Our group consists of both of my sisters, our mother, along with a childhood friend of my sisters and I, and my son, with four of his friends.  We had a fire in the fire-pit last night, and we ate dinner outside under a star-less, but balmy, Pawtucket sky.  The breeze was just perfect, and it sprinkled out a few times, and even though it remained overcast, we never saw the storms that were forecast earlier.  We all had marshmallows and s’mores by the fireside, and joked, and we ‘olders’ told stories of our youth to this ‘think they’re all that’ generation (just as we did), and they seemed surprised that we were so much like them at their age.

My son and his friends slept on the lawn in my sister’s big tent, and we heard them laughing and talking into the wee hours of the morning.  I never sleep well when I’m away from home anyway, but being at the beach all day is so exhausting.

It was a beautiful day and we spent it at Roger Wheeler State Beach, in Sand Hill Cove.  The water temperature was beautiful and I stayed under the umbrella most of the day.  We played in the water and I took lots of pictures of the kids for them, but I forgot my camera, so I’ll have to download whatever they put up on Facebook or Google+.

Now, we’re back at base camp, and the shower queue is long.  I lost my coveted second-in-line spot because I started writing this blog, but it’s still hot enough that even a cold shower will feel great.

Yay for family vacations!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

I Was In The Right Place, But It Must Have Been The Wrong Time

Right Place, Wrong Time, Dr. John (modified) lyrics

I went to karaoke last night and hung out with my fake boyfriend for a little while, which was great, but also put somewhat of a barrier between me and my regular crowd.  The bartender who’s usually there wasn’t because he and his wife just had a baby, and it altered the club’s dynamics.

He’s a somewhat gruff guy, but also a super sweetheart.  It’s interesting how I didn’t realize how fond I am of him, or how much he adds to club’s ambiance until he wasn’t there.  We’ve established more than a patron/bartender friendship from nights where I had my friends who run the karaoke drive me home, so we’d be the last ones there, and the bartender put me to work clearing tables on several occasions, and just hearing stories about every day events and observing personality quirks.

I played pool with my fake boyfriend, and danced a bit, and later we went to a nearby river that I was planning on going swimming in, but the bottom was mucky where it’s usually sand, so I ditched that idea and we just talked for a while.

He’s in that world-of-hurt place, and while I might provide an ego-boost because he knows how much I like him, it’s a ‘right fight, wrong arena’ deal.  I’m not going to be part of the fall-out.  I’ve seen pretty much all the dog and pony shows, and have no desire to be anyone’s re-bound.

And that’s what’s good about being older.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Morning Beginnings

Each day I awaken to a fresh start, for each night’s sleep is a practice death.

I realized today that summer is my favorite season because I can have the windows open without freezing. I love breathing in flowery and earthy scents on the soft breezes that bring back the feeling of pleasant times past, and enjoy the present sensation of the air curling around my arms, and playing about my face as I type.  I revel in the coolness of the morning, and the slower pace of life as I drink coffee and prepare to jump into the day’s bustle.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

A Short Story

Today I decided to post a story I wrote while in college.  It was printed in my college newspaper, and while the writing is acceptable to me, I feel like I’ve grown more as a writer since it’s publication.

~ Happily Ever After ~

Jerri Higgins ©1989

Diane turned the corner and thought she saw Chris across the street.  Her heart pounded as she retreated back around the corner.  She inched her head out to look again, and a weakening sensation of relief came over her as she saw it wasn’t him.  She prayed she wouldn’t meet him on the street.  Continuing on to Avernon & Bullock, Attorneys at Law, Diane couldn’t stop her hands from trembling.  ‘How strange’, she thought, ‘to feel such hate toward someone I still love.’

Eighteen days ago they were together, but that night he had come home and ended their relationship.  She remembered clearly and painfully his pronouncement as he sat beside her on the couch – the couch they bought at Cassandra’s Furniture in Soho when they first moved in together.  He bluntly stated: “I’m not attracted to you anymore” and he hoped she would “be okay”.  His words made her feel numb, and sounded remote, like he was talking about someone else.  Hadn’t he pledged his eternal love to her?  Didn’t he say, just a few months ago, that they would be together always?  She replayed his words over and over in her mind.  He said it had been building up for a while, and he tried to get back the old feelings, but he couldn’t.  And then, he got up, took an already packed suitcase out of the hall closet, and walked out the door.

Diane shook her head in an effort to stop ruminating on what happened, and went over her speech to try to win him back, if he would listen to her.  She straightened up and made her steps more resolute.  She would do nothing of the sort.  She didn’t want him in her life if he didn’t want to be there.  Five years meant little to him.  There was someone else out there for her, wasn’t there?  Diane turned to go home, and then checked herself. ‘No! I’ve got to do this’, she thought. ‘I need him to see me and make sure there’s nothing left for him – for us’.

Her gait slowed as she walked, but she was intent.  In her mind she saw his deep, grey eyes – those beautiful eyes that could look so hurt that she would give in during an argument – even when she was right.  Diane came out of her reverie, surprised to find herself a block from the intersection before the law building.  This was where she and Chris had met six years before.  She had been rushing for a taxi, the same one he was running for.  They argued over it for a minute, and both stubbornly got in, announcing a mutual destination of LaGuardia Airport.  Diane laughed first, then Chris.  He said he could have waited, that had he missed his plane, he might have been able to relax for the first time in months.  She told him she had to make the plane for her first assignment as Head of Public Relations for Greylock Investments.  She was headed to a meeting in Chicago.  He, too, said that he was on his way to Chicago.  Diane continued that the investment firm she worked for was reviewing a number of law firms; among them was Avernon & Bullock.  Chris had looked at her so surprised that Diane blushed thinking she had been babbling.  He had laughed at her expression and revealed that it was his father’s firm, and how big the odds were against them both getting in the same taxi, bound for the same destination.

Diane reminisced with a smile how he had affected an accent like Humphrey Bogart’s and said: “Of all the taxis in all the world and she had to get into mine…”

Chris’s father, George Avernon, and his partner, Charles Bullock, owned the prestigious law firm in New York.  Diane remembered her nervousness; she wanted to impress Chris.  His easy manner and disarming smile relaxed her, however, and they chatted all the way to the airport and managed to sit together on their flight.

They became fast friends and were dating steadily within a few months.  They fell madly, passionately in love, and by the end of the year they moved in together.  Sex was incredible; life was good.  They worked too much to get very used to one another, and Diane once remarked how their life together felt like a modern fairy tale, to which Chris responded by swirling her around, dipping her in a graceful movement, and bringing her up to him with a tender kiss, said: “here’s to our happily ever after!”.

Then, three years later, Diane’s firm had a major restructuring, and she was laid off.  Depressed for weeks, she stayed in, needing more of Chris than he could give.  She looked for work intermittently, and tried to get out of her slump, but began to be bothered by little things that Chris did or said.  She felt Chris withdrawing from her but when she asked he would tell her: “Nothing’s changed; I’m just overworked, and tired.”  But he was leaving earlier and coming home later too.  Diane hated herself for the way she felt, for arguing over petty issues, and she vowed to make things better.

She began getting up with Chris and making his lunches before her now daily routine of cold calls and any networking opportunities she could find.  She finally got work in sales at a graphic design firm, and after a while it seemed that her and Chris’s life was getting back to where it once was.  Chris seemed more at ease.  They were making love more – and they were talking more frequently again.  Diane noticed that Chris was paying more attention to their relationship.  He would even occasionally keep her awake late into the night again, telling her childhood stories, discussing his dreams and hopes for the future.

“That’s it!”, she said aloud.  A few passersby looked disdainfully at her.  Diane was too caught up in her conclusion to care about her impropriety.  ‘He only talked about himself’, she thought.  ‘I was never included.  Maybe I should have talked about what I wanted.  He probably wants to start a family and thinks I’m too involved in my career!  Maybe…’

Diane cut her thought short.  It wasn’t about a family that Chris left her.  It was because he thought he couldn’t be happy with her anymore, but she needed to convince him otherwise, if he’d even hear her.  Chris’s last blank look toward her flashed through her mind, and her anger flared.  The sad fact, she mused, was that she still loved him, and wasn’t handling the break-up as well as Chris seemed to be. Diane switched her thoughts to how Chris would see her looking and feeling her best, and he would realize the terrible mistake he had made in leaving her.  He’d beg her forgiveness, saying that he didn’t know what had come over him, and although he wasn’t worthy – would she give him another chance?  A smug satisfaction filled her to think of Chris on his knees, begging Diane to take him back.

A slight laugh escaped Diane at this thought, but a blaring horn brought her back to reality and she shuddered to see where she was.  She checked traffic and stepped off the curb.  Across the street the chrome block letters of Avernon & Bullock seemed to mock her.  The black marble facing that had always represented elegance to Diane, now seemed cold and stern, as cold as Chris’s words: “I’m just not attracted to you anymore.”  Her stomach turned with that thought.  She shrugged it off with a more determined stride as she tightened her grip on her shoulder bag, pulled open the glass door, and stepped inside.  Her heart raced again with the thought of what she would say to Chris as she proceeded down the long hall.

The last door on the left was only a few feet ahead.  She stopped in front of the dark, mahogany door.  Diane breathed deeply to steady herself, but her hand shook as she grasped the cool black knob and turned it.  The receptionist was gone, as she had hoped, but she knew that Chris almost always ate lunch in his office.  Diane glanced at the clock above the desk: 12:15.  She crossed the room to Chris’s office and cupped her ear to the door, but heard nothing.  Perhaps he’d gone out to lunch after all.  She knocked lightly, half hoping there would be no answer.  The sound of his familiar footfalls across the hickory flooring of his office made her stomach flutter.  Chris opened the door; his usual pat expression of greeting leaving his face.

“Diane! – Why? – what are you doing here?”

Diane looked into his eyes.  Wasn’t there a flicker of his old feelings for her?  The love must still be there – it just needed coaxing, she thought.  It couldn’t have left him so soon.  She quickly suppressed those feelings, and said:

“I want to know if you might change your mind about us.”

“Look, I’m very busy”, he stammered.  “It’s over, Di.  I don’t have anything else to say.  I’m sorry, but that’s it.”

“I’m really sorry to hear that, Chris”, she said while reaching into her shoulder bag, pulling out a .38 Special and pointing it at him.  She saw the color drain from his face as he gasped and blurted out,

“Diane, what the he…”

She fired twice into Chris’s chest, and watched him fall to the floor, surprised at how calm she was now.  For a moment, time seemed to stand still, and then a cacophony of noise sounded all about her.  She heard other doors banging open and the sounds of shouting and movement in the hall as clearly as though it were all going on next to her.  She would never know who found them.  All she thought, before taking a final breath and firing into her heart, was that she and Chris would be together, forever.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

White Mountains Trip

Two of my best women friends and I headed out to hike in the Franconia Notch State Park, located in Lincoln, New Hampshire.  We hiked the Cannon Mountain, Kinsman Ridge Trail very leisurely.  The temperature was around 80°F, but we were in shade most of the day, and the trail followed along the Pemigewasset River stream.  The water level was low so the falls along the way were not as dramatic as they must have been this spring after such a snowy winter.  The bridge that leads to Lonesome Lake was washed out this winter, and we saw other testaments to the power of the river in trees that had been uprooted or broken off, and even a large metal beam torn from the bridge and deposited nearly a half-mile downstream.

We could have trekked up the river bed for the whole hike, but it would have been more challenging than we wished to tackle yesterday because the entire way is strewn with boulders and rocks of various size.  There were many people swimming and wading in the glacial pothole pools and other places where the river water pooled deep enough to swim in – and even jump off the rocks into – all the way up the trail.  Unfortunately, I have a wound on my wrist that I couldn’t get wet, so I only waded in the water.  Otherwise, I’d have been jumping off the rocks into the wonderfully cool water with everyone else.

We arrived around Noon, ate our lunch out on one of the rock faces (smoothed over by the last ice age’s receding glacier and by water action), and we finished our hike around 5pm.  Then we drove down into the town center and had dinner.  On our drive back through Deliverance country, we rode through a small town with a big sense of humor.  There were more ramshackle houses that looked like something out of The Beverly Hillbillies (before they got rich) than there were houses that increased the property values.  There was “Red-Neck Mini Golf” and a ‘mall’ that was one building with the word ‘Mall’ painted in large block letters across the side of the building – which could have had a few shops inside – but it looked more like a joke painted on someone’s barn, and if it wasn’t a joke, I’m very glad I don’t live there…

The disparity between those with and those without money, or as former President Bush so humorously called the former: “the haves, and the have mores” was alarmingly clear.  I could feel the need for a soap-box coming up, but I quelled my desire and remained silent.  An acquaintance recently remarked how it’s not the fault of the wealthy that they’re smarter, harder workers, and I couldn’t hold back then on such an ignorant remark.

The rest of our drive back home brought us through areas of gorgeous landscape that reminded me how beautiful and varied this part of the country is.  I was glad to get a shot of the lovely pinks, purple, and orange tinges of the clouds as the sun set.

It was a perfect frame to a mostly perfect day.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Not Yet Hot Enough To Fry An Egg

Around 1:00pm EST, I got home and decided to try my father’s ‘hot-enough-to-fry-an-egg’ hypothesis; here are the results of the experiment:

A half-hour later:

As you can see, there was a slight downward slope so the egg ran a bit, which you would think would increase the chances of an egg frying, but it didn’t.  A half-hour after that the egg looked pretty much the same so I hosed it away and went inside, disappointed in the results.

I should have done research first because I found out that the pavement would need to be around 145-150°F.  I’m not sure how hot the air would need to be to reach that temperature on the asphalt, but an experiment in egg-frying-on-the-sidewalk in California and Arizona in over 105°F temperatures was unsuccessful too.

At least I tried.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Art Workshop

Several years ago I participated in a women’s art workshop/healing retreat and I’d never do it again.  If I had known what it would be like on the first day of the weekend, I wouldn’t have gone back.  We met one another, talked about art and our first experiences with it, had food, and discussed how the next day would go as far as producing art as a group and individually.  The first day was great.

The group leader was welcoming and gracious, but became demanding and pushy as the workshop progressed.  I began a work that I felt happy with, and she looked at it and told me to keep painting, that it wasn’t finished yet, and I was truly stumped for a while, but decided this was the process of making ‘art’, so I continued on.

I’m not an artist, but this workshop promised to change our conception of art.  It was more like an ‘encounter’ group than anything else, and at the time I didn’t have enough sense to simply leave.  I also felt that maybe this would be good for me, so I endured it.

When we broke for lunch, I still hadn’t produced anything ‘from deep inside’, and one of the women mentioned that she was drawing her guardian angel, and I decided to do the same, except my theme was more about darkness and light.

I couldn’t bring myself to represent the darkness, so I chose solemnity and joy.

Here’s my final piece:

 

It feels very juvenile to me, although I worked hard on it.  I’ve always wanted to draw and feel jealous of those who can, but my talent lies elsewhere.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

One Of My Obsessions

kristin.eonline.com - "Monk: 100 Episodes...
Image via Wikipedia

Tony Shalhoub won’t leave me alone.  O.k., he doesn’t know me, but the guy keeps appearing in my dreams, and pops into my head at random moments.  And, to be fair, it’s not Mr. Shalhoub himself, but his character as he appeared in Monk.  Watching that show actually prepared me somewhat for my current job with a persnickety boss.

The office needs to be prepared to be opened in the way my boss, who is also a practitioner of mine, expects.  When I was trained to work there, I learned that everything is set up in a particular way, with items set in an exact position, and an atmosphere is established.

I understand that on a practical level and accept it, but I also see where it’s very high maintenance.  I don’t care because I’m not a full-time employee, nor am I all that invested in my part-time job there, but I’ve also dealt with a megalomaniac cult leader, and his followers, so my boss is a piece of cake.  I want to laugh whenever one of my office mates tries to soften my boss’s peculiarities with facial gestures and other body language because I’ve seen so much worse in my life.  My boss’s requirements at least make sense.

Part of me wants to tell the other workers that not only am I perceptive, I also don’t judge or begrudge my boss his standards and requirements.  My job is to do what I’m asked, as long as it doesn’t compromise my integrity in any way.

Anyway, back to Mr. Shalhoub: I think he’s one of the best actors I’ve ever watched, and his comic timing is impeccable.  I am so jealous of his talent and skill, and just want to meet him and hang out with him, hoping that some of his genius rubs off on me.  His wife, Brooke Adams, is also a wonderful actor, and I met her briefly when I was a kid and she was filming a few scenes in a movie that I can’t even remember the name of, and doesn’t seem to be listed anywhere online, but the scene I watched was of her getting in a car and driving several hundred feet and getting out.  She had to do the scene over quite a few times.  It was my first exposure to film-making, and I was absolutely enamored with it.  I knew I wanted to be an actor since I was about ten, so it was a special thrill to see part of a movie being made locally.

Maybe I’ll meet Mr. Shalhoub one of these days, but I think it’s cool that his work has impacted me regardless of whether I ever know him or not.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Another Summer Day

I’ve just woken up, and the smell of grass, flowers, and trees wafts in through the kitchen window as I heat water in the kettle on the stove for my coffee.  I turn on the radio to hear, Summer Breeze, by Seals and Crofts, and smile at the moment’s synchronicity.

Another breeze gently billows the kitchen window curtain and this time the scents carried in place me back to a summer morning when I was fifteen.  I’d been woken up around five that morning by my friend, Steven, who urged me to get dressed quickly because he was taking me and his son somewhere.  When I asked where he said: “Nevermind that, just hurry up!”.

I pulled on my shorts and shirt, brushed my teeth, and ran out the door to his idling truck.  His sleepy-eyed four year-old son smiled at me, and I grinned back as I slid into the seat beside him, and we were on our way.

Steven would only say that we were headed up to Leyden, and that he wanted to show us something.  We rode in silence for several miles, Steven’s son having fallen back asleep as we drove on.  Steven finally broke the silence by announcing that we were almost there.  We turned off the main road onto a dirt, tractor path, heading out toward a field ahead of us.  It looked as though the path was not often used as a patch of thick grass grew in the rise between the tire ruts, and thin weeds spotted the tracks themselves.

Steven drove his truck to a rise in a copse of trees and parked.  He got out and motioned for us to do the same.  Steven picked up his son as we got out of the truck, and I followed him to the edge of the trees overlooking another field where he stopped, telling us to crouch down and be very quiet.  He began speaking in a loud whisper about a morning some months before when he and another friend had been camping at that very spot and witnessed a UFO rising from the field below into the sky early that next morning; the only sound they heard was a deep hum, as you might hear in an electrical plant.

He continued telling us how he and his friend watched the massive disk-shaped craft rise straight up until it cleared the tree line, and then sped up in diagonal trajectory, gone from their sight within seconds.  After some time in disbelief of what they had seen, and in fear that the craft might re-appear, they hesitantly made their way down into the field to find flattened grass, but no other trace that anything unusual had been there.

I felt scared as we watched the field, but nothing happened.  Steven brought us down into the field after waiting expectantly for what seemed like the better part of an hour, but nothing had been disturbed, and he was disappointed because he said he had a feeling that we might witness the UFO again.  I gave him a look of sympathy, but inwardly felt relieved that nothing had happened while we were there.

He took us out to breakfast before heading back home.  Later, I told my friends Steven’s story, but they scoffed and said he was just messing with me.  I laughed it off with them as a good practical joke, but knew that Steven had been quite sincere.

I think about that morning from time to time and always feel special that he chose me to share it with.  He must have known that out of anyone else he could have asked, I’d believe him.  I hope to see an alien craft someday, but have no wish to meet alien beings – even if they’re harmless.  I’ve seen too many movies that display the opposite qualities.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.