From the vineyards of Cassis in Provence, France, to wineries of Santa Barbara, California, I tasted more fabulous rosé this summer than a Master Sommelier. Bottle after bottle, with an ocean or mountain or city view, shared with friends and family well into the night. I never regret those glasses raised in laughter and love.
But traveling meant there were plenty of meals on the go. Days when chips and m&m’s were lunch or maybe a second lunch. Eating in airports or roadsides where the selection wasn’t a healthy one. There were plenty of fabulous restaurant dinners too. Extraordinary plates of homemade pasta and fresh breads, local fish or eggs, burgers on the grill, corn with butter and peaches over ice cream. Oh, and pies, custards, and tarts. (I was in France, after all). Food highlighted my days, without regard to calories or consequence; I often dined quite splendidly, as evidenced by my scale.
Detox-ober came in the nick of time. Clothes ill-fitting, energy level flatlining, and little desire to run up any of the hills my crazy life demands me to surmount; acting like it was a breeze to keep hiking when in actuality walking through the motions winded me. I owed myself a breather, so, as I do every fall when I find myself in this exact same transitional place from summer fun back to work, I closed the liquor cabinet, stopped eating out, and focused on revitalizing the core of me.
Without fail, on certain days, I find myself measuring myself against the giants, those who trod across uncertain landscapes firmly and with certainty, ease. I know I shouldn’t, but it has always been my cross, to want more. I’m not sure I can blame my parents for this one, maybe it was their post-depression dreams feed to me with all they believed possible, men reaching for the moon, a culture breaking sexual taboos and racial barriers, and seeing a world rebuild after war. Today I attempt to content myself by focusing on the little stuff. Finding the joy that nature brings. Taking a moment to look up at the blue or remembering to look down, to really see what’s here and now.
Chapter 3 you say? Wait, what? Thought I’d be weighing in on the Christine Blasey Ford allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, what she revealed to the Senate Judiciary Committee and his indignant rage over even being asked or Trump’s claim that the whole story is invented by the con-artist Democrats? That circus? Nope. Couldn’t do it tonight.
Thought I’d return to a world I love, where complex characters are round and full, and I really care about their trials and joys. Don’t worry. I will not shy away from my civic responsibilities for long, I just need to dip into my own internal drama, and take a break from the one playing out in Washington. It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to Ms. Ford either. My heart breaks for all survivors. I just am also thinking about Dale’s mom tonight. Who’s Dale you ask? What’s happened to his mom? Chapter 3 starts to really heat up this story line. Wait, you haven’t read any of my novel yet?
Missed Chapter One which was posted on June 28th? Or Chapter Two posted on July 5th? Well, catch the wave of excitement for this yet-to-be-published novel of mine, Crazy String, and straight away read those chapters. The funny part is that if Crazy String had gotten published by that first editor who contracted the novel to her agency for a year, but then dropped me when the contract ended, I would never have crawled into a non-writing hole, and long desperate months later emerged as Nine Cent Girl. My blogger self would never have been born! And oh, I love her.
Chapter 3 is a tease, I mean really, this chapter sets up plenty of questions, but answers are miles ahead. Please let me know what you are dying to find out about. I promise to let you know when the entirety of Crazy String hits the shelves as I’m shopping the manuscript around once again.
Memory flooded my mind these weeks. Perhaps leisure during Labor Day Weekend allows that for some of us. This holiday, a century old acknowledgment for those who labor around us, building and mending our structures and infrastructures, three days that neatly divide summer from fall, freedom days from the job-filled days, a weekend when 35 million people hit the road or take to the skies for one last fling, or in the case of many travelers, bring their college students to their respective college; regardless, that long weekend filled me with images. It wasn’t all that long ago that I too drove the highways for that task, and although I would say I eventually got better at those goodbyes, I am reminded of a first one, many years ago, made easier by the wisdom of my mother.
Mothers and their daughters. I do suppose one might say, fathers and sons, but for me, as a daughter and a mother, these two relationships have loomed large. If fact the complexity is still unfolding for me, the relationship I had with my mother, the one I still forge with my daughter. Some of my mother’s finest gifts took years to appreciate. Remembering a Labor Day weekend, years ago, me with a SUV packed full with my daughter and her ‘bare essentials’ as a Freshman entering college, and my mother waiting for us in a five star hotel, is certainly one of those gifts.
It was the early 1970’s. We were all angry. About the war and the draft, about gender inequity that stalled every woman’s career, about the gas lines due to the oil crisis in the middle east, about the crippling inflation, about having to wear ties or even bras. We grew our hair long, listened to album length tracks, questioned those in authority, forced a resignation from a corrupt President, and sat out in student strikes all across this great nation. Resistance happened from family’s living room to the illustrious Senate floor. My own father, who worked his way up from the floor boards of poverty faced a mob every night at dinner with his young adults who questioned his authority, his decisions, his motives, even his tomorrow. Thankfully for us under his care he came to value our resistance. Not easily. It meant he had to listen. Temper his own self. See the big picture. He too questioned. Sought truth. He read the newspapers, listened to other’s opinions, remembered history, and understood the value of debate. Where is that America? Where is the freedom of speech we wave about when we think it will benefit us? Anger we have, but let the voices ring.