Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The White Butterfly

I saw a butterfly of snow

Falling and dancing
With the power of the wind
It couldn’t fly with it’s of frozen wings
It couldn’t love the sky or embrace the sun.
Its form only held a glacial heart.
There was no soaring toward the sun to gather warmth.
It could only fall downward in a spiral
On to the frigid white ground
Where it was lost; and never to be seen again.
                                 --Pasty Dunbar

Monday, February 21, 2011

After the Loving

The marriage encounter weekend was more than I could have ever imagined. There was so much that I learned and experienced, and I have to admit I did not go with an open mind. I was very skeptical. Even as the first couple started speaking I was wondering what I was doing there. I found out soon enough. I was doing something that I should be doing.

I think what I discovered was a deeper intimacy with my husband. Not sexual intimacy, but emotional intimacy. Suddenly all of the things we went through - any issue no matter how small or how large - just didn't matter. What mattered most was where we were. I realized that it was Brian's idea to go in the first place. He had no qualms about calling and setting things up for us. It really meant a lot to him as well.

Saturday night close to the wee hours of Sunday morning I sat up in bed and listened to my husband snore. It was comforting and it made me smile. With each intake of breath I knew he was alive, and as strange as it was, I knew that he loved me. If I got up from the bed he would stir and ask me if I was okay. How do I know, because he does it all the time. I can move and in his sleep he checks on me. Even in sleep I seem to be on his mind.

Sunday morning as I sat in our small cube on the twin bed we shared, I remembered someone from my past. I could almost see her in the room with me. Her name was Darlene Kellogg. She was an amazing woman and a great friend. She had two children, a boy and a girl. She was the one that sewed a lot of Sarah's clothes as a child - dresses complete with little pinafores, and she even sewed the first wedding dress for my sister, Kim.

Darlene was married to a hard working man, Earl. They seemed so loving and supportive of one another. But one day Darlene told me that Earl working nights was taking a toll on their marriage. They weren't able to spend a lot of time together. This coupled with the fact that Darlene's brother disappeared one night only to find him laying dead in a field several months later only put more of a strain on them, I'm sure.

I don't remember how Darlene and I grew apart. I'm sure it was my fault. I started going to college. I seemed to have lost track of a lot of my friends and neighbors for a while. Of course I was growing further apart from my husband at that time as well. Regardless of the reasons - more like excuses, I think - we lost touch.

Years later I discovered that Darlene had passed away. She and Earl had divorced. I admit I was surprised, but then I realized that everyone was surprised when I had divorced my first husband, Oscar. No one thought we had any problems. They didn't know about my crying at night alone or how we fussed over who was to blame for what petty thing. None of those things matter now, but then they seemed so important. "Little things matter."

Darlene, on this cold and snowy Sunday morning, made a difference in how I saw things. I had let a good friend go and I couldn't even think of a good reason why I would let that happen. I wasn't there for her when she more than likely could have used a good person to lean on. And maybe, just maybe, if she and Earl had given themselves an opportunity to try a weekend of rediscovery of each other they wouldn't have lost each other either. But that wasn't important, because I couldn't change the past.

What is important is I have control over what I do know now. I know that I am deeply in love with my husband. I know that I have some great friends and a wonderful life. I have been blessed and instead of sweating the small stuff I just need to trust that I'm not alone when I face them. I am at peace at this moment with the decisions I have made in my life. I have a renewal in the relationship with my husband and with my family. Life really is good.

So here is a little sappy song with lyrics so you can sing along. Give it a try. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Marriage Encounter Weekend

Hubby and I discussed going to a marriage encounter weekend. It's not because we are having problems, but more like we decided that because we aren't having problems we should go to keep from having them later. Kind of a pre-emptive planning on our part. After all the kids are getting older and will be doing their own thing more and more as time goes on.

The one we are going to this weekend is at the Norbentine Abbey in DePere. It looks like a very nice place. I was told that the Norbentine priests retire there as well and we will be having dinner with them on Saturday and Sunday. Actually, I'm rather looking forward to that. I have no idea why.

They said that we should bring snacks and drinks we like. They provide coffee and hot water. They do not want us drinking alcohol. Not surprising. I can imagine how lovely it would be to have a few drunken couples hanging around trying to discuss how to keep the perk in your marriage. Not a fun time, I'm sure.

I wonder if I should bring along the karaoke machine? I bet no one ever thought of that one!  :)

"Never feel remorse for what you have thought about your wife; she has thought much worse things about you."  ~Jean Rostand, Le Mariage, 1927

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rhymed Sestina

Okay, my very first sestina is a rhymed one in iambic pentameter. I know this isn't the traditional sestina, but I thought to get the hang of it I'd try something a little more challenging. Honestly I had written one previous to this, but it was sappy and I erased it. 

So, here's one that is made to make you smile. It's just goofy.

Vampire Seduction

He said, “Come sit with me upon the bed.”
I look at him and his devilish smile.
If my mom found out I would be quite dead.
She wouldn’t care that I had been beguiled.
His words echoed round the brain in my head.
My body swayed back and forth for a while.

 “I will not be quick, this will take a while,”
He said, as he lay prone down on the bed.
Pointed teeth glistened white as he smiled.
Perhaps he will kill me and I’ll be dead
And that is why he can truly beguile -
Shame! Putting such naughty thoughts in my head.

I work to erase wicked thoughts in my head
“Yet what could it hurt to just talk a while?
Oh! How much talking is done on a bed?”
I think, and now he can see my coy smile.
Perhaps it is easy when one is dead,
And they are the one who then beguile.

Never had I been the one to beguile.
What a silly thought to come to my head!
I think I have been standing here a while
As he waits for me to bounce on the bed.
He could melt hearts with those eyes and that smile.
If only he were living and not dead!

Hard to take a boy home who is quite dead
For him to look at your mother to beguile.
Wow, think of the thoughts going through her head!
I might want to put that off for a while.
Or rethink undulating on the bed.
Decline the offer with a simple smile?

And yet I know he wants more than a smile.
Why do vampires need blood when they’re dead?
That is why they truly need to beguile
To get to your neck by fogging your head
And kissing you softly when all the while
You don’t notice you’re dying up on that bed!

I look at him, nod my head, and then smile.
Beguile me, my lover of the dead!
Dead sex on the bed; forget life a while.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Post Valentine's Day

Things around the house have been crazy.

The idea of having my sister's child with us didn't go as planned. All the expectations we had of moving forward and making a difference went flying out the window. It really is true that you can only help those that truly want to be helped. Some people, even children, seem to think that they way they think and behave is perfectly rational.

If anything good came out of it at all I think it is that she learned to appreciate where she was previously. That her adoptive mother wasn't being mean - she was being caring. When you are on the caring side of things sometimes it feels that people are picking on you. I learned that from experience.

The timing was bad as well. Coming right when I had to have my surgery and take care of things. She was the one that wanted to be the center of things. It's kind of hard to become the center when someone else is needing time to recuperate. Instead of just being able to heal, I had to put a lot of the focus and energy on her, but she didn't want 80% or even 90% - she needed 100% and it just wasn't possible.

The teenager's chest with chicken pox and eczema
Of course then the teenager contracted chicken pox, in spite of his inoculations. That combined with his eczema made him one pretty miserable young man. Then there was the unexpected birth of my first grandson; who is adorable, even if I do say so myself. He ended up in the NICU for about ten days. My daughter showed amazing fortitude during his delivery and through his recuperation. Of course things don't end there. The eleven year old now seems to have contracted something as well. It's like a never ending Winter Battle, but our spirits are still high.

I've given myself a goal now. Last night my husband and I went out for a Valentine's dinner. He didn't buy me chocolates, but he wrote me a poem. I think I got lucky. I don't need a chocolate heart, after all. The poem is wonderful and sentimental. He said something that struck me though. "I was going to write you a sestina, but it turned out to be more of a challenge than I anticipated." In husband talk this means that he didn't have enough time to whip one out. It would take a lot more concentration and time than he can actually put toward it.

His idea of writing is answering blogs. He can spend hours reading them and answering them for people. It's become a topic of ribbing by the boys to him. He even does it now on his Blackberry as we grocery shop. I'm waiting for the day that he looks up from his reading and discovers that we've all left him there.

However, now the idea of a sestina intrigues me. They can rhyme or not rhyme. They can be in iambic pentameter (the older ones were) or not. Each new rule you put to it will not only change the dynamics, but will make the writing more difficult.

Tomorrow I will post my first sestina. Hopefully it will be more inspiring then just a bunch of words that fit a form. I also want to get back to painting - go back to the gym - write more - and generally just take back my creative side of life that has been shelved with illnesses and recuperations.

So, let's get started.