Monday, December 28, 2009

Reconnecting with Mother Nature

I went for a walk today in the parks.  It sure felt good to get out in the sun.  It's been pretty gloomy here the past while with either rain or snow, mostly overcast.  There was plenty to enjoy along the way.  I clicked so much I drained my battery.  It's warm out today, 6C, for the end of December.

The puzzle pieces of my life

I wrote this while I was in Grand Bruit this past fall, but I didn't have internet at home, just my blackberry, so wrote it in Word to post later...then promptly forgot. I came across this today.  This was written on October 9th, 2009.

As I revisit my old house in the tiny Newfoundland outport, I have come to realize that there are pieces of me everywhere. I have called more than 30 places “home”. By places I mean the physical structure I lived in. I have lived in a trailer, a high-rise apartment, a few three-storey walk-ups, a number of houses, duplexes, row housing, cabins, a hotel, and at one point in my life, my car. I wasn’t particularly homeless, as I was moving back to the east coast, and staying with my parents until I found a job and an apartment. In each of these places, I had taken the time to settle in. I’m not fond of living out of boxes. As a child, our basement always had a pile of boxes that we walked around, moved from one place to another, and rooted through from time to time. They were never unpacked fully, and often were repacked for the next move. Once I moved out on my own, I tried my best to rid the home of boxes in an effort to feel at home, somewhat more settled. It doesn’t take much to make the starkness of an empty place feel a little more homey. Photos, posters, paintings, wall hangings and clocks are big for making the walls look less bare. I enjoy comfortable furniture, and creating a nestlike environment in the living room. I learned over the years that I enjoyed having certain things around me, and while my tastes have changed over the years, as taste does, I have discarded what doesn’t work and hung onto some things that never lose their charm, adding new things as life goes on. Most things in my home come with a story of some sort, as I refine my decision making regarding what comes into the home. I’ve become more discriminate with my acquisitions as the years roll on, and I’m in my thirtysomething move. I really have to NEED/WANT it before it comes through the door.

Pieces that I don’t have are bits of history I share with people. There are many people that I have some terrific memories with, and it is often only with those individuals I can reminisce. No one else shares that memory. As more of them fade from my life, be it through death, disengagement, or physical separation because I’ve moved YET again, I feel a certain loss. One example is that I won’t ever be able to talk about the many experiences my father and I shared, just the two of us. Camping trips, road trips, building his house together, going out in the boat, or down to his cabin. He and I shared many conversations that no one else was privy to, and now I’m left alone with those thoughts. Other losses are those of my childhood years. I was in 2 Kindergartens, 3 elementary schools, and 4 high schools. No one person went through school with me. No one. My graduating class was not a group of people I grew up with. I had only attended that school for the final year. My friends from my elementary school years remember me just as I last saw them, as an undersized 8 year old. And then I never saw them again.

There is something to be said about growing up in the same house, in the same town. Of course, there is also something to be said about not doing so. As apt as your neighbors might be in remembering the fun times, those same people who continue to circulate around you everyday life have very long memories, and don’t hesitate to share some of the more embarrassing history they have shared with you. When I have managed to pitch in one place for more than a year at a time, I have been reminded often of some of those chosen moments…like the time I drove my skidoo across the flooded pond and the engine flooded in the deep water. I ended up standing on the skidoo screaming for help, and my ex-husband’s uncle was the first to hear me wailing. They later rowed an aluminum boat out to get my dumb ass, and then returned to tow in my skidoo, which is still in circulation today.

Land and Sea was filming here in Grand Bruit this week, and yours truly found herself in front of the lens. They asked me to provide some historical context given that my father and I had worked together on a genealogy project for years. We began in the graveyard with the headstone of what my father referred to as “the mother of all Billards” as we know them. From there we crossed the breakwater, and stopped outside my mother’s house for an outdoor interview about what drew me to Grand Bruit for all these years. From there we walked up towards the school, where we talked about my father attending school there, as well as helping to build the school that still stands in Grand Bruit. We also talked about my own child attending school there. We walked on over to the museum and ended my portion there. It will air sometime after Christmas and she promised to send me a copy. As well, they are interested in some of the clips I had recorded with my father a couple of years ago, about the old houses here.

Last night the crew of Land and Sea encouraged everyone to stop by the Cramalott Inn where they filmed some of our foolishness. I brought over an assortment of alcohol from my father’s liquor cabinet, and shared with anyone who wanted. I partook of that assortment of alcohol, and proceeded to get pretty drunk. About 4am, I was on my knees beside the toilet has been quite some time since I drank that much vodka. But I had a wonderful time, was given a Land and Sea hat for my time, and took lots of photos.

It appears that I didn't finish the post, so I'm not sure where I was going with this at the time.  The Land and Sea episode will be airing sometime in the new year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Life of a Nomad

Miriam-Webster defines a nomad under #2 definition as an individual who roams about.  I've often referred to myself as a nomad, given that I am living in my 31st home.  Some time ago on another blog, I listed all of those homes and it was shocking to see how little stability there has been in my life.  The one big chunk of time spent in one place was the 12 years spent in a tiny outport in Newfoundland.  Now I am considering departing again in a few months, to spend several months at no fixed address other than a VW camper.  Am I crazy? What drives me?

I've thought about staying here.  Some things seem almost perfect, while others are skewed and do not fit or work for me.  My apartment is great - love it, love the neighborhood (despite the violence), love my furniture (for once), and love living so close to the ocean.  I do not however, love my job.  It works, it pays well enough, but is not at all what I want to do with my life. I thought I would enjoy spending time with so many cousins and ex-inlaws around, but again, I've heard nothing from my cousins, and my ex-inlaws often forgot about me. 

I have very few friends here, and spend most of my time alone with my cat in my great apartment.  I don't mind it for the most part, if I remind myself its only short term.  I do miss having close friends though.  I have moved so often, that most of the friends I've made in the communities I've lived have all but forgotten me.  I have no life-long friends, and really miss that.  I have many friends who swore they would keep in touch, even asked for my address, but that was the last I've heard from them.  No one seeks me out.  They've all moved on.  I understand their choice - out of sight, out of mind.  It doesn't mean that I don't mind.  I mind it very much.  I put a lot of work into friendships over the years, and it gets tiring as well as discouraging when it becomes so one sided. 

I don't know what the answer is.  With this move, I tried a lot in the beginning to settle in, make some friends, and look up old ones.  After numerous invitations, phone-calls, and promises to get together, they all fizzled quickly after just a few get togethers.  How aggressive should I pursue a friendship? How many times should I believe someone's promise to get together soon, or to call me next week for plans, or that they will call me for the next party they have? None of those promises and many more have ever panned out. Am I just not picking up on cues to frig off?

It could be that people are willing to invest in a friendship with someone who is expecting to leave the area again.  Lame excuse, but entirely possible.  I've heard others make similar statements about folks who come and go from jobs.  Shitty for me if that's how they feel.  I think I'm enjoyable enough to be around, and I don't think I smell too bad.  Good friends I have made over the years have been very forthcoming about how much they like me, enjoy hanging out with me, so I don't believe I'm delusional.  So what is it that gets in the way of continued friendships? Perhaps with some people, they become comfortable with their current set of friends and forget that someone was interested in pursuing a friendship with them, so find it difficult to fold a new person into the group.

I thought I might get lucky to have a neighbor or two in the building to chill with, but that didn't turn out very well at all...I also thought I would make some friends through work, but they all seem to be very wrapped up in their own lives, with little thought to making new friends.  In the past, it has been the best place to make friends to chill out with. Not here in the big city.  I'm an outsider I guess. 

And now I'm planning a road trip for several months. I have a feeling I may be very lonesome on the road, particularly since kitty cannot travel with me for such an extended trip. I considered staying here in the city for another year, but without solid friendships to anchor me, it hardly seems worth it to stay.  I also do not think I could manage such a dependent relationship from my mother.  I'm already ready to bolt...have been for months.  After years of living on my own, answering only to myself, being close by to such a needy person has completely drained me to the point that I cringe when the phone rings.  I am far too accessible for her, and find myself hunted via msn messenger, email, landline, and my blackberry phone.  I know life is hard for her right now, I am fully aware of that.  I lost my father, she lost her partner and husband. However, she has tons of people in her life that call her, stop by all the time, take her out places, and offer to help her.  So I have been working hard at pulling back.  I need to know that she can manage her life without me being so very available.  I think she can.  Now she just needs to believe it.  It has been no secret that I came only to help them out while Dad was in his last months, and to spend time with him until he died. Then to help Mom get settled into a comfortable place where she can move on.  So my intentions to leave in April have been transparent since the day I accepted the term position at my workplace. 

So there you have it.  The life of a nomad is not easy. 


"If people start to hassle you or give you a hard time about your appearance today, pay them no mind, dear Sagittarius. You have the right to live your life any way you want to. If that means you want to go around the house in an old concert T-shirt and 20-year-old sweatpants, then so be it. Feel free to be whoever you want to be."

I like it.  I like it a lot...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Found Me

For the first time in years, I did not move this fall, so woke up Christmas morning in my own bed, in an apartment I lived in all year.  I opened my presents the night before...not the same waiting in anticipation for Christmas morning when you're alone with just a kitty to sing Christmas carols to.  The non-resident child sent me a djembe drum which I received a few weeks ago.  My two favorite gifts from the holiday are my drum and a poster of John (Lennon) in New York from my friend Candace.  She knows about the special relationship I have with he stares at me while I sleep.

I was lucky enough to be invited for 2 turkey dinners.  My brother (GASP!) invited my mother and I for a noonish dinner.  The china and crystal were hauled out for the big feast.  No sweet potatoes though, darn...and the stuffing was awful.  The mood was relaxed though, even if somewhat strained at times.  Anything is an improvement on our last little brother was screaming in my face.  That was the day we got together to write our father's obituary and biography for the website.

My second dinner was with friends, and wayyyyy more relaxed.  The turkey was awesome, and so was the stuffing.  I brought the sweet potatoes, so was happy with that.  Dessert was my homemade apple pie with thick cream and ice cream, followed by fudge.  Yum.  Then we hang out and groaned over our bloated bellies.

I've been vegetating today. The weather is stagnant - no real changes today...just overcast and mild.  I thought about going for a walk, but took a nap instead.  Lazy as shit today.  I think I'll veg out for the rest of the weekend.  I'm about due for a break after the busyness of the year.  Sometimes it's hard to believe the year has gone by, that I left Yellowknife more than a year ago. That my Dad is dead.  I think about him every day, but noticeably less as each week passes. Maybe I'm moving on.  Maybe I'm burying it.  I had hoped initally that Dad would make it to Christmas and we could at least spend it together after all these years.  We last had Christmas together in 1996.  And then there's the guilt of not driving straight home from Yellowknife to spend Christmas with them last year.  I can't help but wonder about the chaos that surrounded my trek down the western seaboard with the kid last Christmas was karma for not coming home for Christmas.  Who knows...

With Christmas comes reflection on the year passed but also thoughts towards the future.  Of course, I am thinking of creating chaos once again in my life.  My current job is a termed position that ends at the end of March.  My tentative plan has been to hit the road once that term is up, provided everything falls into place as hoped.  I want to hit the road for anywhere from 6 months to a year if possible.  I am selling my house in Newfoundland due to community resettlement, and any plans depend on just how much I get for the house.  Who knows where I'll be next Christmas.  With any luck, I will be with friends in a warmer climate.  Here's to hoping.

Merry Christmas everyone!