Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kate and me.

I'm listening to Scott Berg's Kate Remembered and loving it. Tony Goldwyn (the bad guy in Ghost) narrates and is really terrific. I'm mesmerized. I've decided to create my own little film class in conjuncture to the book. Diving into the "old" actors Kate reminisces about makes me want to know more. (I'm having a very similar reaction as I did to Just Kids by Patti Smith.) Scott also wrote three other books I'll be looking into. He wrote separate biographies of Charles Lindbergh, Samuel Goldwyn and Max Perkins. I'm so intrigued and excited. I love finding new authors. His writing is so easy and it makes you feel as if you are sitting in the room with these people. His conversations with Kate are so comfortable and charming. I found some other books that Katharine wrote about her time making The African Queen....and one about herself, "Me. Stories of My Life." Can't wait to dive into those. I love her quick wit and sharp opinions. I love her bravery. I love her strong presence of self. As Scott describes his times with Kate--many dinners, cold swims and weekends in CT, I find myself longing to be a part of it all. I want to sit with them and hear her stories and feel a true friendship blooming. She ends up having a close friendship with Berg and you can feel his true affection for her in the book. I'm thrilled that I've just started and there is much more to hear.

You can't always get what you want.

During my parents' visit here, I learned how to make chocolate and coconut cream pie. I received my grandma's recipe for meringue and will cherish it. I want to be able to create memories for Z of baking and having yummy desserts. I remember going to my grandma's house and it smelling of pies. My grandparents were big on sweets and I'm helping to pass that tradition right along. We also made homemade ice cream. Delish. Smelling pies takes me back to being with my grandparents...happy memories. It's amazing how the senses cause us to go back in time. I love it. I feel like Z won't have to rely so much on her memory because we have so many pictures and videos for her to watch of the events of her life. My childhood would be so fascinating for me to see. As it is...I have a good memory thus far. Watching my parents age is upsetting. I feel like I want a direct line into my father's head to know what he is thinking and to see his memories. At times, I watched him and ached a bit knowing that he wouldn't always be here. I want to ask him a ton of questions...but he's not much for really serious conversations about his life. He reflected about working at his father's store and about walking to school after checking in the bread guys. He said he learned his multiplication from his work at the store by filling out check in sheets for the food that came in. I could sit and listen to him talk for hours. I don't see him often. He goes to Mexico for half of the year and will be traveling around the US next summer. I imagine I'll see him in two summers. Z will be almost 4. That makes me sad. No, she won't have the grandpa memories that I have--at least not on my side. But, I am all for retired people doing what they want to do before they get too old to go. They raised their kids...they should have time for themselves. It's hard for me, but I have to think about what that time in my own life will be like. I don't doubt that my father loves me...but I know he's not BIG on little ones. He's always been more interested in adults...and in fishing. Our relationship is a good one. I'm working so hard on accepting people for who they are, not how I want them to be. Some can only give so much. I'll take it and try to be the best person I can be. It's so hard not to feel cheated by time or by personal differences. There are so many hard life lessons. When it becomes too much for me to think about...I focus on Jason and Zoƫ. They are my family. These times will be rich and the memories, richer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Took this shot last weekend while at the cottage. Just love it. A lone tree in a corn field. Something about it is hopeful.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My favorite mistake

My niece called me a couple of nights ago to tell me she has her first boyfriend. I cringed. That sounds awful...but now, it begins. She is 16 and already insecure about the relationship. Ugh. She called last night because he tried to kiss her and she wasn't ready. She felt bad about it and worried he'd treat her differently. Man, at 36 it is complicated, but at 16 it is your life. I told her not to worry. I told her to down play the whole thing. "Guys like're being mysterious, no big deal." That seemed to help. I'm not sure what they have in common, but he likes her. Do we really have anything in common with our first boyfriends? I think out of all the guys I dated...I had most in common with 2 of them. That's it. The rest were me trying to fit a square peg into a round hold. Some good times, but more not so good times. She is beautiful but so insecure...a bad mixture at this point. But, trying to see the positive...I wrote her to say, "It all begins now...the butterflies, the new feelings...enjoy and learn." It takes so long to figure all of it out. Overall, the ones that made me laugh were the ones that I have more heart ties to. Laughter is the key to me. Life is too short of worrying if he'll call or text...if he's upset...if he still likes you...crap. It's all going to happen to her. It's part of it. I told her to journal how she felt. I told her NOT to go text crazy. "Let him be the last text and you'll feel much better when you go to bed." HA. I was none of those things. I was such a crazy whacko young girl. There's much to learn from my mistakes. Yet, she's going to remember this time forever. Her heart is about to grow in different directions and she's going to feel things she's never felt. Ain't love grand.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Sign

We are headed out tonight for PA. We have family friends with a cottage in the woods. It is a welcomed break. J has been super busy and I could use some time in nature to just breath. I feel like I've been short with little Z. I've been exhausted lately. Could be the change in weather. I put on the flannel sheets--a true sign of Fall.

I listened to Steve Martin at the 92nd St. Y. He struggled with a relationship with his father. He was very tight lipped about it. At the end of the conversation with Charlie Rose, he said that after he wrote an article about his father for the New Yorker, he received a note from a woman who wrote to tell him, "I read your article. I handed it to my husband to read. When he was done, he put the article on his lap and said, "do you have our son's number?" Steve paused before saying her last words...tears came to him. He said he was happy that he could make a difference in a relationship. I was at the gym...crying on the bike. He quickly followed up with Charlie by saying, "Is this about over?? Much longer and I'll be killing myself." I laughed out loud. I'm sure the other people in the gym think I'm crazy.

Use this as your sign to call someone you've been meaning to call.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Diamonds and Rust

I listened to Joan Baez speak at the 92nd Street Y (2007) and really enjoyed it. She has a song titled, Diamonds and Rust that she played on the broadcast and I immediately had a very strong reaction to it. It filled me with such sadness. Almost odd. I called my mom to ask if she used to play it when I was a little girl. She said she did...along with many other songs. My father is also a huge Joan fan. He emailed me about his favorite albums of hers. I downloaded some of her music and have been listening. Every time Diamonds and Rust comes on I want to cry. I wonder what that's about?? Here are the lyrics;

I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that's not unusual
It's just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I'd known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin's eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there

Now you're telling me
You're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid 

I think I understand songs about memories and old friends more now. I have my own memories of friends and cities and feelings felt earlier in life. To reflect on different times of ones life is so powerful. In my 20s I was creating these listen to music then was so different. Now, even only at 36, I feel a history of experience. I have felt more ups and downs. I've left friends and lovers and have grown into myself more. The depth of emotion brought upon by music is a gift.  Everything seems richer now. I think it's just the maturing process.

I spent the weekend watching 9/11 documentaries and specials. 10 years later it has such a different effect on me. I was a month into living in Chicago and was still adjusting when it happened. Living in a big city was overwhelming. I was with my friend Amanda...we were two Kansas girls alone in the big city and I think it was hard to really absorb what was happening. To watch the broadcast's a new experience. I sat and cried. Now being a wife and takes on another meaning to me. Life continues to mold me. My experiences continue to alter my sense of reality and understanding. It's amazing, really. It is true...the more you know, the more you realize how little you know.

Our friend Chris Spiek visited us last night. He was in town from Chicago. He was one of the first guys I became friends with after I moved to Chicago. My friend Jeremy introduced us. Jeremy and I were in our honeymoon stage of our friendship and spent our time singing, laughing and cuddling. They were roommates. Chris introduced me to John Mayer's music after he'd come home from his concert at the House of Blues. I sat talking to these very open hearted men and felt..."yes, I found the right type of people." Both loved music and could really speak about their feelings. I told Chris this last night. He really appreciated knowing. He's now married with a little one and doing well...still in Chicago. It's great to reconnect with old friends.

When you get a chance. Listen to Diamonds and Rust. See if it has an effect on you. My favorite lines are the opening lines "Well I'll be damned here comes your ghost again"  and these--- "Now I see you standing with brown leaves falling around and snow in your hair. Now you're smiling out the window of that crummy hotel over Washington Square..."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fall in upstate NY...

In B/W, although it takes the color out of it, I really love this picture.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The perfect Autumn blog find.

I love Johnny Depp and Tim Burton and dark, fun things. I'm not as into Harry Potter...yet, but it will happen soon. This blog has so many fun pics, clips and whackness that I wanted to share it.

Enjoy. And thank you Claudia!!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Heaven Can Wait

I thought today was Friday. My days are running together. Last night, I soaked in a hot bubble bath and listened to Eckhart Tolle's book "Transmuting Suffering into Peace." Can't hurt, right? His voice is about as soothing as you can get. I was so relaxed. I'd like to try to meditate in the future. It's hard with a toddler. Whew. But, I'm going to try. Tolle's book is about as close as I can get right now. I first heard about Tolle on Oprah. She read A New Earth and loved it. I bought that one as well. I signed up for the class and really enjoyed it. I just signed up for her new Lifeclass. I'm going to get some education wherever I can. I was in the first million to sign up, so she's sending me a journal to use in the class.

I keep thinking about something Alice Walker said in her conversation with Wilma and Gloria. She said that heaven is now. There is nothing after we die. God lives inside of us. Why would you live your life knowing that the after life is better than what you are living? Interesting point. She and Gloria made it pretty obvious that they are not monotheistic. "It drives me crazy!" said Gloria. I do agree with the idea that religion can be dangerous. Jason also doesn't believe in heaven or hell. He's not sure about the God part. I am. I do believe God is inside of us. I am not monotheistic either.  I don't know about heaven or hell. I just know that there are people I want to see again. I long for my grandparents every day. I also miss my friend. If our spirits can find one another after this world, I'm all for it. I don't need the promise of pearly gates. I just want to be hugged again.

They joke (sort of) about the fact that religion is man's way of saying, "ok, a woman can give life...but man can give you everlasting life." A way of upping us. Men are jealous that we can have babies. Also, the point was made that most places of worship are shaped in the same way a woman is shaped.  (Ok, visualize this...) Three entry ways into an aisle (canal), two bodies on each side (ovaries), to the alter where a man promises you life (our womb). Can you see it?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Back from the library...

So, after perusing for quite a while, these are the audio books I picked up. There are so many more to listen to...I can't wait to dive in!

- Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda.
I've always liked Alda. My parents like him and he reminds me of them in the way that listening to Simon and Garfunkel reminds me as well. I LOVE The Four Seasons. I used to watch it all the time with my mom. I still quote it. It's light and an autobio read by him. Nice.

- Kate Remembered by A. Scott Berg.
I've always wanted to know more about Kate Hepburn. I guess she became friends with Berg in his 30s and they remained friends for over 20 years. I wish she'd written her own book, but a biography written by a close friend will do.

- Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.
This one is historical fiction. It's about a woman's clandestine affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. This is the line that got me: "Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horan's Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative callin gin the world, and her unforgettable journey, marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leads inexorably to this novel's stunning conclusion.

- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.
I wanted to read a classic...but I also wanted to play into the Fall season and it's ghostly feel. This will do just fine.

On being a woman.

I finished the conversation with Gloria Steinem and Alice Walker.  Wilma Mankiller was also there. They are all dear friends and it was so enlightening to hear what all they had to say. I'm literally going to have to listen to it again in order to absorb it all. Alice is such a lover of all things and is so in the present. She's able to enjoy solitude and feels that it's healing for her. She feels that we all should sit quietly for a time before reacting too quickly to things in our lives. Gloria struggles with both sitting quietly and solitude. She cared for her mother as a young girl and wasn't given the attention she needed growing up. She finds peace in helping others; as if being needed gave her purpose and made her feel seen. I struggle with sitting quietly. I am really trying to do more of it. I'm trying to learn more and understand more. I realize that escaping into TV or the movies doesn't do me any good. I'm not growing. I'm sort of...maintaining. Tonight I'm staying away from the TV and headed to the library. My audio books are getting expensive to buy so I'm going to check some out. I need quiet. I need some time alone. I had an idea for a little book of poems. I need to make some notes. I'll try to outline the important points of the Y conversation and put it here. As a woman, there are so many things to know about yourself. Things that you don't even think about. Things you've grown to understand...that are wrong. I'm doing my best to reach out and find as many women writers and artists to learn from. I have so much to bestow onto Z.

I'm so sick of these vague posts. They need more meat. I write when I'm too fatigued. I will try harder.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A Conversation at the 92nd St. Y

I was looking around i tunes and found a great little piece--A Conversation with Alice Walker and Gloria Steinem. It's so good. They speak their thoughts about their mothers, women in culture, religion and the earth. I know that is a broad description. As soon as I finish, I promise, I'll write more in depth about it. I finished Find Me. I really like Rosie's reading voice. She also does characters well. It's a whacky, yet touching true story. It showed me a side to her I hadn't seen before. She feels the need to fix...almost to the point of her own destruction.

I'm exhausted. Thoughts running...must rest.
More soon.

I saw this on another blog and had to post it myself. Really enjoyed it.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own.

For we think back through our mothers, if we are women.

Find Me. Find Someone.

Still listening to Rosie's book, Find Me. There are many things to say about it, but here...I just want to say that we all have a bit of crazy in us. We all have issues, even the rich and famous. Even the comedians. Even the happy. Some are just better at hiding. I do feel that hiding your hurts can help your children. However, letting other adults see your hurts may not only help you, but let someone else feel less alone. People need to reach out more. People should lean more. Save your children and tell your friends. Spread it out. Don't drown people...but offer a life vest when you see a need.

The cool air is blowing through the screen and I can feel it on my shoulders. It's comforting and chilly. Summer is done.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Everything's coming up Rosie

It's still technically summer but Jason and I are already planning Halloween activities. The leaves are starting to change. Ahhh. I love it! It's hot today. We're doing yard work that we've ignored long enough. The garage needed cleaning and the gutters need all the leaves pulled out of them. Time to start shopping for decorations. Z is going to be a bat this year. She loves the little bat above the door, so why not. I'll dig out my witch costume. I think I could probably use the wig and be Mrs. Bates (Norman's mom), but I feel it would be lost on some. Actually, if I was Norman AS his mom, that might work. I'd LOVE to talk Jason into that, but there's not chance in hell. He loves Halloween, but hates dressing up. Maybe Dustin since he'll be here!!

Z is currently chowing down on Chobani yogurt and saying, "mmmm! yumm...mmmm" What a dairy queen.

I tried to converse with the neighbor across the street today as he was about 5 yards from me. "Wow, your trees look pretty! The leaves look like roses in your tree. Bright red." No response. He didn't even look up at me. Even when Z said hello to him. Nothing. I know he's not deaf. Hmmm. Shy or rude? I'm going to go with FIERCELY shy to retain my faith in him. One day he'll look up and smile. 

BTW, I'm now listening to a new book, Find Me by Rosie O'Donnell.  Whether you like her or not, it's a fascinating story. It's about a young girl she helped out and the events that occurred. It's sort of a mystery and everything isn't spelled out quite yet. I'll let you know the final outcome. Here's a review:

From Publishers Weekly

One day, TV talk show host O'Donnell (Kids Are Punny), aka Rosie, impulsively left a phone message for a pregnant, 14-year-old girl, whose tragic story of rape she had learned about at the New Jersey adoption agency she funds. Within days, the girl, Stacie, called back. Rosie introduced herself and offered to help the girl in any way she could. "And as I said those words, it was like a shell breaking open or a bird coming out," writes O'Donnell. "I said hello and a crack came, and we all fell in, straight into looking-glass land." What follows is an enormously powerful story about the mystery of identity, about how forces strong enough to shatter one person can make another shine like a diamond. Rosie chronicles her increasingly obsessive phone and e-mail relationship with a poor, broken kid who comes to show her that beneath her gifts of humor, fame, money and even love, she is still the child who lost her mother and is calling out to her. But what makes this brief book extraordinary by any standard is that it captures the way a core self, a true I, can appear in the midst of the most broken life. In the kind of lean, clean, witty prose that comes only with complete honesty, Rosie imparts some unexpected truths. Readers will come away persuaded that the road of obsessiveness can sometimes lead to the palace of wisdom, that faith and grace are real. Those who declare this merely a sexual "coming-out" story (there are passing references to dating a woman and to Rosie's partner, Kelli) need a heart and brain transplant. Here, Rosie offers us an unsentimental and utterly real tale about the power of love.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The grass isn't greener.

Lazy day. Cool, breezy and all our friends outside seemed to be relaxing as well. A mother deer and her fawn took a nap in the backyard for a bit. Little one ran off to play and mom lied in the yard for quite a while. I snapped a pic and uploaded it to Twitter. (vbvidmar) Our bat is vacationing. She hasn't been sleeping above the door in two days. She normally is only here about 4-5 days a week. Z likes to go see if she's here in the morning. That's a little disappointing for her. I had the screen open listening to the outside noises. I heard an owl, but didn't see him. I believe I caught a shot of him once. I'll have to upload it for you. It's fuzzy though.

Not a lot going on inside the house. I was getting a little anxious about all of the visitors we're having. Not that they are coming, but's hard to get the dates nailed down. I'm trying to have a girls' weekend but it's tough with everyone's schedules. That may have to be delayed. Dustin is coming for a week at the end of October for Halloween. That will be great fun. He, Jason and I love Halloween. My Dad and his wife are coming mid-September for about 5 days. He hasn't seen Z since she turned 1. Gosh. He's in for it. She's almost two now. Unbelievable. It's gone by so quickly...and yet, not. All I can do right now is think about pushing the reset button. I watch Z's baby videos of when she was first born and think, "yes, let's do it again." Then, something else will come up in my head and I think, "we're perfect right now." I just don't know. I feel like I'll wake up and know.

I always love change. But, life is good now. I love my family, my house, my life. It's difficult to think about what could be. When life is's hard to think about messing with the chemistry of it all. I've spent a lot of my life feeling like something needed to change. I would feel miserable or depressed. I'd feel so unsettled. Now, I feel mostly at peace. I don't feel anything missing. Do I wish things were perfect in other aspects of my life? Sure...but as for what I can control, I feel okay.

How many people make big changes when they don't feel the need for it?