Aug 17 2010

Trying therapy.

August 17, 2010

There is a point of over thinking, over analyzing.  A point at which you trip yourself up too many times because you are walking forward with your eyes cast backwards.  Or you stay glued to a spot weighing the options instead of just picking one and then another and another until something works right.  Nonetheless, I’ve decided to invest in weekly therapy.  To afford it I have given up two things that keep me relatively sane: a housekeeper and fresh flowers from Sammy’s.

Early in my college career I was an urban studies major.  I would later take a fiscally responsible direction and switch to accounting the middle of my junior year so I could pay the rent when I graduated.  While studying city development, though, I was immersed in sociology and physiology classes.  Putting together the puzzle pieces fascinated me but I started college at age 16.  The concepts were fairly abstract to me.  What life experience did I have under my belt to make real sense of complex causes and reactions? It was much later that first-hand experience with autism and menopause would better explain human biochemical functions than any textbook. And there is nothing like real world experience with a sociopath or unscrupulous businessman to open your eyes to differences in human beings.

Throughout the following decades as people spoke of therapy I would wonder what it would be like to learn more about myself from an objective resource, someone to keep me honest, to lend perspective and knowledge.   All the while I wondered, “Would therapy be like so many quizzes you take, you know, the ones that are fairly worthless because you can guess what the “right” answer is and therefore easily manipulate the conclusion?”  Dissecting my psyche remained an idle curiosity as long as I led a charmed life, which I did.

Why do therapy now?  When a family member recently became somewhat unspooled and hurled hurtful things in my direction I saw the writing on the wall: my uncharmed life was establishing itself with more than a single sequence of “three bad things.” I was in for many multiples of three bad things.   I dialed in for a life raft!

Also I hate being depressed. It is absolutely draining.  There are so many things I’d rather do with my time.  Blue has never been one of my favorite colors. Never.  As muddled as I might be, I know sustaining a steady diet of anxiety, sadness and grief will not make me a more compassionate person nor make me more accepting of my mistakes. I have hit the point of diminishing returns with this venture. I cannot think of anything positive that will come of continuing to spiral downward.  It is past time to slip back into the girl that would sustain a giddy feeling for days and spread the cheer around to others.  She didn’t have a crystal ball but she thought the future held wonder, opportunity and hope and her spirit was infectious.  She’s been gone for so long I don’t know if I’ll get her back but every once in awhile I see a glimpse of her or hear the lilt of her singsong voice. Logic keeps chasing her away. Logic tells me I may not have another good shot at someone special to share life with and financial means to always keep a roof over my head – the things that sustained her through trials big and small in the past.

I may be approaching a few months of therapy with a pretty tall order but I’ve got one of my dad’s cloth handkerchiefs tucked up my sleeve and I won’t know until I give it a go. It’s a kind of balancing act.  While I’m learning some new skill sets during my workday, I am equally determined to pick up some life coping techniques on my Tuesday lunch hours.


Aug 15 2010

Dog Days of Summer.

August 14, 2010

It’s hot.  The dog days of summer when Sirius joins the sun in the sky have arrived, creating sultry temps and casting an eerie quiet over the neighborhood during the time of day you can almost hear the sidewalk sizzle.   The dogs uncharacteristically pant and on each shortened walk, pull me toward every neighborhood water bowl to be found.  In a dog friendly town, there are many; Leo insisted we stop outside the Pilates’ studio, then the bank, the bakery, the clothing boutique.

The heat has me thinking again of garden hoses, or more accurately the absence of one.  For only the second summer in my adult life I don’t own a hose.   This time last summer I had a 10-foot Ace Hardware hose hooked up on the balcony.  On sunny, hot days I’d dress in a swimsuit and happily set about watering the trees, bushes, flowers, pavement and myself before happily collapsing, refreshed and relaxed for a cocktail or meal prepared by Joel.  I gave that hose to the couple who now occupies the flat because my newer flat doesn’t have an outdoor spicket. My current patio plants must be maintained with a watering can.   It’s green and made of rubber, a gift from The Plant Lady, Gay Hendricks.

Watering plants each day now seems more a chore than a summer ritual.  I know, it’s all about attitude. I’ve debated filling the watering can and dousing myself with its contents, saving just a bit to sip from the spout but it seems a wanting substitute for a real garden hose on a hot summer day.

I don’t have to think hard to remember dragging a hose across the lawn or the courtyard, using my thumb to shape and direct a rainbow-producing cascade of water over thirsty plants in a sun-baked yard or spraying an unsuspecting poolside sun worshiper. And no Alpine spring water in a plastic bottle I have ever had compares with the cool, refreshing nectar of water from a garden hose on a dog day summer afternoon.

As long as there are summer days there will always be such simple pleasures.  I try to make  the most of them during this time of transition when losses can still overshadow days.  Each moment of pure joy cancels out a moment of sadness and at least an hour or two of indifference.

Hoses may be gone from my life but there is still Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Money Ice Cream in a waffle cone.  Catch ya later, grator!

Stay cool. Trix


Jul 20 2010

Sangria.

Thursday he would have been 88 years old.

“I’ll return to Tulsa early enough in July so we can celebrate mums’ 89th and your 88th together (as we often did).  And I tell you what, I’ll figure out how to make homemade Sangria for you,” I said to my dad during our last time together.

“I’d like that,” he said.  His voice was soft but his eyes clear and focused, as anticipation  gently swept over his gaunt face.  My dad and I:  We like our wine, perhaps a bit too much.  We like a party.

Why had I waited 10 years to make the offer?  During a visit to Sydney in late 2000 my cousin Michael’s charming wife Dora surprised my father with homemade Sangria on Christmas day.  The feast was at the home of my Uncle Ron and Auntie Dawn’s.  After stuffing ourselves we posed for photos by the pool wearing shorts, Christmas cracker paper holiday crowns topping our heads.  The trip was a gift from my parents to my sister and me and our families. I hadn’t been to Australia since 1985. The gift was more than generous, it was life changing.

Tonight in Portland I arrived at R. damore, a new art gallery in the Pearl owned by photographer & portrait artist Robin Damore.  Author Wendy Burden was talking about her book, Dead End Gene Pool.  Serving refreshments was a beautiful, engaging, Latin woman, just the type woman my Pop would have flirted with – shamelessly!  She put ice in a stemmed glass and poured a Sangria Roja for me.   When he drank red wine, much to the horror of all around him, Bob (JR, Pops…my dad) always asked for ice, unless he could help himself to some.  “About 3 cubes,” he’d tell me.  Around the table eyes would roll.  Winos can be such snobs!   Hosts, proud of their wine selections, sometimes seemed insulted.  Bob’s pleasure was never diminished by their attitudes.   He asked for and got what he wanted; there is a lesson in that, I think.

The sangria I enjoyed will soon appear in Portland gourmet grocery stories such as Zupan and City Market.  It’s maker, Maria Corbinos  is a woman who came to Portland to earn an MBA.  In no time her friends quickly encouraged her to bottle the sangria she made to share at gatherings. Her personality and business accumen earned her an Angel Award and is bringing her product to launch shortly. (Visit http://www.mividasangria.com/index.htm) As I listened to her story, I shared mine.

At the end of the evening I walked home with a bottle of Mi Vida Sangria Roja – a gift from Maria.  I also had three new business cards in my pocket belonging to new friends I planned to call later this month, after returning from Tulsa.  As I walked home, my father’s spirit filled my heart and lightened my step.  True, we won’t dine at Andina’s, the Peruvian restaurant I told Poppy was a must when he came to see my new home. The trip is one he didn’t make.  But my dad is here, he’s wherever there is goodness and a sense of adventure…  An absence of expectations but a hope for something special. That is his legacy. That is what I will play forward.

Always, Jabberwalkie (my dad’s nickname for me)

Medaris, Jesse Robert (Bob) of Tulsa passed away June 14th, 2010.  He was born July 22nd, 1922 in Denver, Colorado to Jesse Roy and Loretta Mae (Wolfe) Medaris.  He attended Hawthorne Grade School in Englewood, Colorado and graduated from Englewood High School in 1940.  In September 1941 he enrolled in Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.  World War II interrupted his engineering undergraduate work.  He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps for three years, reaching the rank of First Lieutenant as a navigator with the 13th Air Force in the South Pacific.  He was proud to have seen many of the islands in that theatre: New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, New Britain, New Guinea, the Halmahera and most of the Philippines.  After the war he completed his studies at Mines, graduating as a petroleum engineer in 1949. While at Mines, he was a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Gamma Epsilon and Blue Key.

In May 1947 he married Dorothy Patricia (Pat) Shelley, whom he met in February 1945 on Bondi Beach while on military leave in Sydney, Australia. Marriage followed a nine-day, whirlwind romance and two years of long-distance correspondence by mail. The couple had two daughters, Shelley Anne Ricks and Tracey Elizabeth Norvell. Three grandchildren survive Mr. Medaris: Michael Andrew Ricks, Corrine Elizabeth Mueller and Clay Alexander Norvell. Also, great-grandson Andrew Paul Mueller and brother Francis Medaris.  His brother Charles Medaris and sister Ruth Medaris predeceased him.

Immediately following graduation from Mines, Phillips Petroleum Company in Eureka, Kansas and then Venezuela employed Mr. Medaris.  In 1954 he began a 15-year career with affiliates of Standard Oil of New Jersey (Exxon) in Venezuela, Libya and Indonesia. Outside professional assignments, the Medaris family also lived in Palo Alto, CA, Sydney, Australia and Houston, TX.  Mr. Medaris’ second career as Manager of the Studies Department for Crest Engineering led the family to Tulsa, OK.  His work with Crest took him to Nigeria, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Siberia, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, the North Sea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Canada and other oil and gas-producing areas. When Crest Engineering relocated to Houston in 1985, Mr. Medaris remained in Tulsa, serving as Vice President of Crown Tech, Inc.  In 1987 he joined Fluor Daniels Williams Brothers as a consultant until his retirement in late 1993.

Mr. Medaris learned many languages during his travels. He was a quiet man with a quick, contagious laugh.  Somewhat a rebel and never a follower, he was well respected and tremendously admired by colleagues.  His gentle spirit made him an instant favorite with children and pets, and his love of life and travel gave him countless friends worldwide. He enjoyed golf, ice skating and worked tirelessly in the garden. During the past seven years he kept the residents at Inverness Village well supplied with the jokes and stories he collected from magazines and newspapers. His blue eyes always sparkled with life and mischief. His favorite song was “ Begin the Beguine,” but the ones his children and grandchildren will most remember are those he sang at bedtime: “You Are My Sunshine,” “Oh! Suzanna,” and “Red River Valley.”  While some might mourn the loss of this most lovely, gentle, caring, kind soul, who was also extremely bright, funny and handsome, his response would be this poem he especially liked:

I AM NOT THERE

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft star that shines at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there; I did not die.

Author Unknown