Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Happy Happy, Sad Sad

August is Big Birthday Month at Chez Davis-Kay, a glorious 31-day fiesta of celebrating one another with fizzy lifting drinks and scrumptious victuals and presents galore . . . but the idea of a big festive gala on my first birthday without my dad feels all kinds of wrong to me, so I'm planning to lie low and celebrate quietly this year.

Though we did just usher Princess Mimosa into her 17th year, which was lots of fun. Last year she had a progressive party, enjoying each meal with one special girlfriend, but this year her friends are all away and she wanted to do something different — and Party Planner Mommy had an inspired idea: She and I would binge-watch season 2 of Orphan Black, our new favey show, and for dinner she could indulge in her most favorite food, which is BREAD. We got focaccia from Macaroni Grill and Not Your Average Joe's, the two best breads I know, plus NYAJ's yummy Parmesan-garlic-olive oil bread dip, and she had a Bread Orgy.

But my mom called to sing Happy Birthday to her, solo, something she and Dad have done together for 17 years, and I completely lost it. (My angel girl is so good; she held my hand and let me cry and didn't seem at all bothered that I was raining on her birthday parade.)

My darling friend Mrs. Fog Dog put it perfectly:
I am sad you are reeling in grief. But really, what can be done? Nothing. Your tears are a liquid form of love.
Last weekend we deep-cleaned our basement, as I mentioned, and unearthed all sorts of childhood treasures. Mimosa declared that on the day before her birthday, she wanted to me to read aloud all her favorite children's books, so that is what we did. Of course, some of her favorite children's books were also my books from childhood, and a particular title, Never Tease a Weasel, was especially loved by my dad. Mimosa said, "Will you be able to read this?" "Maybe," I said, turning to page 1 (You can knit a kitten mittens / And perhaps that cat would purr. / You could fit a fox with socks / That exactly matched his fur) and promptly choking up.

My sweet daughter took the book from my hands and said, "I'll read it to you." And she did.

I feel like I'm living my life out of focus; I'm off track and can't seem to get anything done. Every week I go to zumba, lament how out of shape I am, vow to walk, lift weights, and generally exercise more between classes . . . and then it's Wednesday night again, and I've done nothing. Where did an entire week go?!

I set an August goal of writing a page a day on my novel, and I wrote one page on August 1 . . . and haven't touched it since.

I've been editing a lot, though I've only had small jobs and my paychecks have been very small — but it seems like work fills so many hours. How can that be?

I also have a new job as a part-time science editor; I'm not editing the content, thank God, just applying their style rules. The writing is very science-y:
We fabricate and experimentally demonstrate a hybrid structured Fabry–Perot interferometer (FPI) embedded in the middle of a fiber line for simultaneous measurement of axial strain and temperature. The FPI is composed of a silica-cavity cascaded to a spheroidal air-cavity, both of which are formed in a hollow annular core fiber (HACF). 
(Don'tcha wish your job was hot like mine?)

This job pays by the page rather than the hour: $5 per published page. Today I did my first job for them (the witty ditty quoted above), and it took me all morning — all morning to earn twenty bucks. I'm sure that once I've assimilated the style guide into my brain it will go much faster and I can do a four-page article in just an hour or two — but that day is not today.

I did hear from the people holding the job I really want; they said they'll be in touch with me soon to discuss the next step, which sounds promising. I think I'm an excellent fit for it; however, if they have an internal candidate and are just going through the motions, I'm sunk. Que sera sera.

Time for a post-zumba bath; the Italian Spitfire had us work out with shake weights tonight, and it's astonishing how heavy a 1.5-pound weight can feel after six or seven vigorous zumba routines. I am a limp sweaty noodle.

But I have three new library books to choose among for my tub reading, which is exciting:

Maybe I'll get back on track tomorrow. Maybe I'll start my day with a walk, water all my outdoor plants (the days have been warm, they're looking droopy, but I forget them the minute I come inside), write a few pages of fiction, eat a veg-heavy salad for lunch, cook a big healthy dinner for my family.


Maybe I will.

— Lady C, model of determination . . . or not


  1. Hang in there, Lady C! It's been three years since we lost my grandmother and my mom was only just this year able to plant roses in the yard (my grandma's favorite flowers - she used to have hundreds). The beginning of the season was rough and she cried nearly every time she went to tend them. Now, however, it's become a sweet ritual for her. She prunes and waters and feels very close to her mother. I had a writing mentor that once told me, wisely, that "we never stop feeling the loss. The loss will always be there. But, days pass and our hearts heal a little each day. We'll never stop missing them, but a day will come when we can look at that little missing piece of our hearts, now scarred over, and smile. That moment means that, finally, happy memories surface before the feeling of loss." Sending you so much warmth and love!

    1. Hi honey - I'm so encouraged by this story about your mom. I look forward to these painful moments becoming sweet rituals, and I have faith that it will happen. Thanks for holding my hand from so many miles away!


  2. I did not start to feel like myself fully until 18 months after my Dad died.
    Mrs. Cynicletary

    1. Yep, that sounds about right. The greater the person's impact on your life, the longer it takes to feel fully yourself after they're gone, I think. And I know you still miss your dad like crazy.

      We were loved daughters, and we were lucky to have them as long as we did. Still not enough, though.