April 11th, 2003


Sharing Food with Pinky, My Continuing Weight/Health Progress, J. D. Salinger, Blue Poppies, a Walk and Education

My rat friend Pinky and I have been sharing my breakfast. He had some sips of my fruit protein drink and when I offered him a spoonful of my cream of wheat, he would take a bite, and then look up at me. I finally figured out that he was waiting for me to take a bite of the cream of wheat off of the same spoon. Then I'd leave him a little bit and he'd take some and look at me again waiting for me to take a bite, then he finished off the rest of what was left on the spoon. Such a polite little rat. He seems to be coming around but he'll still squeak with fear a bit every once in a while when I reach into his cage.

Rats are the best, it still baffles me and breaks my heart when I talk to people about them and they freak out that I have them as pets. Which is why I consider all rat owners to simply be superior evolved beings, because it takes a $#!+load of empathy to break through all of that conditioning to open your heart to having one or to at least petting one in the first place.

Weight wise I've lost a total of 22lbs since my surgery March 24th. Why can't I write the th after the 24, my little spell checky program has been admonishing me not to for the longest time, but it just sounds right.

I'm not getting enough exercise and am committing to you right here and now that I will do better. I promise. Pinky swear.

Yesterday Esther and Irma were both here working. Irma because it was her day, and Lord knows there's enough to do here with all of the animals to keep a person busy round the clock, and Esther because she just moved and desperately needs the money, and I'm such a pack rat that I can always find boxes of papers and things to go through. The hard part is that because I save everything, every little scrap of writing or correspondence or doodles or art that I may have done, or someone did for me, I wind up having to drag my poor tattered heart through memories that are sometimes painful.

Every card I read either to or from my ex, my ex-best-friend Lorraine, or my cold and abandoning birth family, just tears at my heart and leaves me feeling raw and hurting all over again. I don't know why I'm not like other people in this, in that I can't throw these things out. The best I can do, or aim to do, is to compartmentalize all of these papers and things in their own little folders and boxes. That way I can put a big imaginary skull and bones sign on the outside to warn me off opening them until I've healed enough to deal with the feelings they bring up. I've saved love poetry that people wrote to me in high school.

It hurts to think that here I've saved every scrap of anything that might have been dear to someone else, out of respect for them, while my ex-husband, the man I was with for twenty years, doesn't have any of the many cards, letters, poems, or pieces of art that I made for him in all the years we were together. Nor has he asked for them. They're all here where he left them when he left me, and I can't bring myself to either throw them away, or tie them in a bundle and send them to him with a note, "There, see how much I loved you, you selfish, immature, cold-hearted, womanizing bastard." And then there are the words of love I poured out to him, words of praise and encouragement, all of those compliments, and intimate things I told him. And all of the things he wrote to me, "I will love you forever. I'm so lucky to have you. I'll never ever leave you." They were real to me at the time, but they don't match this person he's turned out to be.

How can I ever rectify the difference between the man he was with me, or the man I thought he was, and the man he has become, or was all along? What kind of a human being makes this little effort to be close to his or her child, and foists the blame on his own son and on me? That's the bottom line for me. He can be the biggest slut in all the world, live at his Mother's until he's eighty, but his crap fathering is what's made all the difference in my getting over him. It kills me that his hurting our son in this way has made it any easier for me to see who he really is, and move on with my own life. I feel guilty that it's made it easier.

And all of this feeling, all of this and so much more about other huge holes in my life, come up because I go through old papers. Argh. You'd think I'd learn. You'd think I'd at least find a Scientologist with an e-meter or something. Get over this suffering and hurting from the past. Each in his own time, I guess.

I started and finished a book that I loved, Blue Poppies by Jonathan Falla. It was an engrossing and a speedy little read there. It's set in the 50's in a small town in the Himalayas, just before the Communist occupation of Tibet. It was beautiful. Now I'm finally reading Salinger's Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. I keep turning over the dedication in my mind, "If there is an amateur reader still left in the world -- or anybody who just reads and runs -- I ask him or her, with untellable affection and gratitude, to split the dedication of this book four ways with my wife and children." How cynical had he become at this point that he didn't believe people could pick up a book out of love and not because they were critical @$$holes who wanted to tear him apart for his success? What happened to this man?

I never read Salinger in high school or college so I came really really late to him, and only because a friend of mine had said she loved Franny and Zooey so much that it was her favorite book. So I bought it, it sat around forever like most of the books I buy, and then one day I picked it up and fell in love with the Glass family, and with the style of it. Now, like most people who read Salinger, I'm obsessed with the story of him. The why of his disappearing. or really withdrawing into seclusion. I wonder if he's continued to write and if so, will ever get to read any of it.

I want to reread the book by Joyce Maynard, that chronicled her affair with him when she was just eighteen and he was fifty-three. I read it before I had read anything of his and it couldn't possibly have meant as much to me then as it will now. Although I'm a little wary of books written by the ex-lovers of famous people. I was taken in by that book Wild Child, about Linda Ashcroft's purported secret affair with Jim Morrison. It seemed so exciting and real. I wanted it to be real, but then I learned that it was considered to be total BS and widely scoffed at. I just can't get over that someone would baldly invent an entire history like that, and get it published. It seems so bizarre and surreal.

I just got back from a six block walk with Alley and Andrea. Six blocks was as much as I could do, and my heart was really beating. Felt good to get out though, and Alley is learning to walk on a leash. Now I'm eating a very small handful of well chewed cashews and having some watered down juice. I'm going to go buy some smushed up tofu and soy salady things at Whole Foods. It's so exciting to be eating a bit of real food.

Okay, I'm off to pick up my wee Beau monster. He tried to get out of going to school again today, that's twice in one week, but I screwed up my motherly courage and forced him to go. It was hard to do, because I don't like school, (I'm totally ambivalent about it), at least not the kind we have here in California, and I think we can do pretty well on our own with a little help from parents and friends.

On the other hand I really loved my school. There were plenty of parts about it that I hated but I loved everything extracurricular about it, and I loved some of the classes where I was lucky enough to have excellent teachers who were able to make some of the subjects come alive, but my experience of school today, at least Beau's schools, is that they are some kind of prison enforced educational system, where kids waste a tremendous amount of time trying to live up to some ridiculous standards that will guarantee some official's position and annual budget. It is next to impossible to get him in to the kind of schools I was lucky enough to go to. Oh bla bla bla, I have to get going.

Love you guys,