20 September 2007

"Feast of Love", "Maiden Voyage" and, Word on the Street is that "I'm Back!"

[Note to Michel: Thank you for the sweet remark in the guestbook. You've been an indelible "part of the story" for over ten years. It's my most sincere wish that you'll always be "part of the story".]

"...they all intertwine into one remarkable story in which no one can escape being bent, broken, befuddled, delighted and ultimately redeemed by love's inescapable spell."

Sounds like a "don't miss" to me. Even though it's a work of fiction, most of us are pretty familiar with the mechanics of it all and have experienced some, if not all, at one time or another in our life. Hey, sometimes in the tiny span of a month or two!

am dying to see this movie. Ok, I do love Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear and this movie sounds like a messy relationship - several messy relationships - and what a great time to watch someone else in the middle of it? So yes, I want to see this movie! I WILL see this movie. I checked the previews and found no mention of "pirates"; this informs me that it's safe to go back to the cinema. Whew!

I know, I know what you're thinking: Chick Flick! Oh get over yourselves :-) You guys really like movies like this, you just have to pretend that you don't. Leave a comment and tell me if you plan on checking this film out - if you have checked it out, leave me another comment and share with us (me and my posse readers) what your impressions were.

Let's see...in other news.

I lost my sunglasses on Wrightsville Beach Sunday Evening during a lovely bike ride. I felt so naked without them! I felt like I was missing a limb walking around without them! I went to Visionworks on Tuesday, ordered another pair with the same prescription and they came in yesterday. I'm back in business. The frames are slightly different but my gosh it's good to have sunglasses again.

Yesterday I also talked with my friend Billie, who took Katie, Justin, Stephanie and me to the Outer Banks in May of this year, the week before I flew to Marsh Harbor. He'd been having some disturbing eye problems that I personally attributed to his trip last year to Romania and the Black Sea and his enjoying the scenery of the beach goers in the region of the world where hanging out at the beach is a topless affair for both males and females. Apparently, after a CAT Scan, MRI, angiogram and several other tests, the doctors he visited in Florida agreed with me. The diagnosis being that one eye was stronger than the other which accounts for his occasionally seeing "double". Nothing life-threatening thank God! (Photo: Billie and me on the trip home from the Outer Banks. That's Katie peeking over Billie's head.)

This was good news for all of us. I'm sure it was a relief to him, especially given that he turned the big "50" last Tuesday (sorry Billie, you knew I was going to mention that). Plus, I no longer have to be extra nice to him in case his disturbed vision was something gravely serious. What a relief! :-) I can only be so nice! Seriously, I'm so relieved he got the "all clear" though I cautioned him that, at his age, he needed to stay away from European beaches for the near future. I'm sure my good advice fell on deaf ears, just like he told me back in May I was crazy for going sailing with Captain Ron in international waters.

He said something interesting during our chat, a comment echoed by two other people yesterday. "Susie, you're back! My smart ass friend is back in business!". I didn't realize how "gone" I'd really been, but I guess I must have been and maybe it took awhile for all of my components to return. I do feel much more settled now and yesterday marked one whole month of a return to sanity, or at least my brand of it. How fitting.

Did you know that yesterday (19 September) was "Talk Like A Pirate Day"? Well, it was! I personally didn't observe it, but I saw several references to it on the Internet. I listened to a pirate for four months this year, thank you very much, and that was more than enough for me. I had to laugh though. Some people really do live in that "pirate" fantasy. It may sound all whimsical and fun but if you've ever rubbed elbows with someone pathologically in that mindset, it becomes chilling. I'm firm in my resolve to "Just say no!" to those with pirate leanings in the future. It's not a good gig.

I finished three books over the weekend, in between applying white enamel to the trim in my room. I'd started each of these books this past summer in Oriental so it was nice to see how those stories ended. "Adrift", "Maiden Voyage" and "Red Sky in Mourning" have been read to the final page. Great books - particularly the latter two.

I'd love to read more from Tania Aebi, the author of "Maiden Voyage", a young lady who circumnavigated at the age of 18 and finished her adventurous voyage in 2 1/2 years, meeting a whole cast of characters along the way including the man she would eventually marry. What was even more compelling about her book, was how her solo-circumnavigation changed her inside. It was a beautiful book and she writes in such a conversational way that you feel she is talking to you. I loved her style, her stories of each exotic landfall, how the trip helped her deal with things in her past with her family, and life in general. She wrote so eloquently of the fear she experienced during rough times alone at sea. In a very small way, I could relate to a lot of it.

This was a young lady who began her highly improbable goal of being the youngest person to circumnavigate single-handed with no solid knowledge of sailing so she learned a great deal through trial and error, storms and vast quantities of time spent with no other company but her cat onboard. She confronted personal demons, learned to rely on herself, on God, and grow into the person she was meant to be. I HIGHLY recommend it. It's one of those books that you feel sad to arrive at the final page. She felt the same way as she made the crossing from Gibraltar across the North Atlantic to arrive right back where she started, at South Street Seaport in NYC.

Tania left there a naive, untried 18 year old East Village barfly, aimless and with no solid plans for the future. She came back into her home port with a great deal more maturity, a seasoned sailor and so much wiser for having experienced all of the wisdom of her long trip, lessons imparted as she ticked off each nautical mile. I have more to say on "Maiden Voyage" at a later date. It had a huge impact on me, as did "Red Sky in Mourning". Yes, both books center around sailing, but so much of what I read in them easily transcended into the lessons and experiences of just living life. Even a life not spent on "those packets of miseries that we call ships.", as Kipling succinctly described them. It seems to me that whether we confront all kinds of storms, whether on a roiling sea or on terra firma, and it's not the storms that are nearly as important as how we learn to handle the chaos they deliver.

I visited my doctor this past Tuesday for my follow-up from the car wreck. Everything seemed to be in tip-top order, save my still accelerated pulse. Yes, part of my triple digit pulse rate had a little to do with simply being among "white coats", but it wasn't like that prior to this past summer. I've known my doctor for almost 7 years, and before this past May, my heart rate rarely spiked when I'd make my visit.

I explained what all had transpired in the weeks since August 10th, and he smiled sympathetically and nodded. He's good like that, very understanding and wise and then, he asked a question I had so hoped to avoid. "And how much caffeine are you drinking?". Ugh. It's hard to hedge on that one. I mean, the better question is when am I NOT drinking anything with caffeine? Yes, I smiled and reluctantly conceded, that might have something to do with it.

I talked to a friend later, who kindly forwarded me a news item he'd found on Yahoo news that very morning and, though I had seen it all before, I needed to revisit "the facts". I'm going to try drinking more decaf or, at the very least, half decaf/half caf, but as far as cutting back on tea, I don't see that happening.

Not to mention, my UK friend, Alistair, sent me another pound of "the good stuff" via Fed-Ex and gosh darn it, I love that Jasmine #12 by Adiago Teas. I mean, I can't resist iced jasmine tea. It's my own personal "nectar of the gods", it's my inspiration, my pleasure, my liquid dessert and it goes well with EVERYTHING. (Thank you Alistair - it was great seeing the Fed-Ex man again after a long summer absence!). (Photo: Me and Alistair during his visit to the US this past summer, having lunch at Courthouse Cafe.)

You know, what strikes me right between the eyes as I go about my day-to-day assimilation back into my life? My friends. Oh my dear, precious friends - the ones that Captain Crazy was so intent on my jettisoning so that all of my time, attention and mind could somehow become focused and transfixed on his life. I remember so many times when he would chide me for taking their calls through the summer, doggedly chastising me for my interaction with them. It always made me feel so sad to possibly imagine not having so many dear people in my life, once I made the final move to Raleigh. This past summer, "pirate boy" wanted me lock, stock and barrel and I nearly fell for it. I almost did and it makes me shudder when I consider what a profound and impossible to fill void the loss of Billie, Michel, Jimi, Mike S., Sue, Sharon, Sally, Amy, Jonathan, Alistair, Kathleen, Jim, and so many others. Not only that, to be told that I should stay away from Wilmington for at least a month after moving to Raleigh, even to the exclusion of my family - my dear, wonderful family who has been there for me through thick, thin and everything in between.

I look back on it now and I think, "why would I even consider such a suggestion? Why didn't I tell him - hey, you, Captain Crazy, you're the only deletion that should be made on my 'playlist'", but for whatever reason, I couldn't find a way to say it. The pressure continued through the summer and grew exponentially in the early days of August. When the engagement ring went on my finger, it might has well have been a noose around my neck. Of course, it would never have worked, not for long, but that I even allowed him to attempt to make these changes in my life is sheer insanity and can only speak to the pitiful insecurity of a horribly mixed-up man with more "issues" on his plate than I can count. No one who truly loves another person, in a healthy, positive way, would make such a wholly improper and lay down such a ridiculous dictum.

What is even more astounding, is how these people saw what was going on, felt the divide that was being created and yet, they still cared for me. Each of them have welcomed me "back home", back into the fold, held my hand as I stepped back into my life and allowed me to rejoin theirs. I am humbled by it and what I am most sorry for, is that I ever allowed this man to have the opportunity to say it more than once, because if I had acted as I should have, hearing his proclamation should have been all it took to eradicate his position and send him back to Raleigh, with his stupid guitar and tail tucked between his legs'. I am so filled with thankfulness that my friends arms have opened back up to me and that they have forgiven me for my temporary insanity. Real friends do that. I have so many real and amazing friends.

It's the same with my family. I was being pulled away from them as well, and I know they had to feel it and wonder, "Does she realize what he's doing?". But they supported me, they loved me, I'm sure they prayed and hoped for the best, but it was as if I was in the clutches of a dark, sinister, control-freak bent on total possession of me. That's not love - that's dictatorial and it's not the path to a healthy relationship. Every evening, I come back to the same overwhelming sense of sheer and utter gratitude for the people in my life. Where was my "voice", I wonder? I still can't account for it, but I have most definitely learned a great deal about "not so hidden agendas", and the strings they very often come attached with or, in the case of Captain Crazy - ropes disguised as lassos. I now know that any man who loves me, won't try and separate me from the best parts of my life and will, in fact, embrace the people who matter most to me.

But back to other items...

I am having a great time with my new (to me!) car. But yesterday, something odd happened. The rear passenger window, on the driver's side, went down all by itself and refused to go back up. Of course, this happened hours before the rain that we so desperately need arrived. Kathleen and I managed to manually force the window up, but I'm going to have to take the car into a "professional" and that just screams MONEY! I don't think the motor that drives the power window is burned out, and a few friends offered that the window may well be "out of the track". Oh well, hopefully it can be easily resolved with a minimum of $. Otherwise, it's a smooth ride and if a car can be fun to drive, and I've never been "into" cars, this car is like a team of horses with the desire to GALLOP! It's very smooth and even more powerful. I'm still learning what all the buttons do, mostly by simply pushing them and seeing what happens. I've never been one to shy away from pushing a few buttons, as those who know me well will readily attest.

I have three new books on deck to begin that I'm very excited about. More on that later. I think I have enough to keep me out of trouble. I am thankful that life has calmed down considerably, I've gotten my bearings, almost finished my room and life has settled down to a nice, manageable pace. I am feeling more like "me", the "me" I was prior to April 27th, and that's a good thing.

While my daughter is extolling the virtues and renewing her love affair with fall, I find myself lingering in the final days of summer. What a wild, crazy ride it was, but even a tumultuous summer is still summer and summer is the best part of the year in my book. I love the heat, the humidity, the flip-flops, going barefoot at every possible opportunity and warm, sultry nights tailor-made for stargazing. Yes, you can stargaze in the other three seasons, but it's just more comfortable on summer nights, laying back on sand warmed by bright sunshine.

I just spoke with Katie on the phone during our daily "What's Up?" phone conference and as she was making her way to her favorite lunch place, she interrupted herself in mid-sentence: "Pumpkins! Mom, the pumpkins are out! They're for sale!", she said with no small measure of excitement. She's such an autumn-loving girl. I'm sure she must have been switched at birth but, gosh I love her as if she were my own. :-) You can check out her "ode to fall" by clicking here: Sweet Tea in NYC. Leave her a message, particularly if you have any clues as to who her "real" mother is. I'm sure she'd appreciate the information.

And to my buddy Mike in Iraq, thank you so much for the encouragement, the wise advice, and the gentle way you listened to me "vent" my fears with regard to what is on my literary plate, and taking each of them, one-by-one, and breaking them down into manageable steps in a story that started years ago and continues to this day. Your guidance and compassion, even as you go about your work in a "high-alert" environment, meant the absolute world to me and gave me more strength than I can possibly express. No matter what time we chat, you're a bright light in my day and we'll all be happy when you finally return back home.

"Feast of Love"

Now don't forget, "Feast of Love" opens nationwide on 28 September. This will give you more than enough time to find yourself a friend, an uber-evolved male, or think about a guy or gal you've been dying to ask out and, if all else fails and no one's caught your fancy, just sneak your dog or cat in if you need to hold onto something. A paw will do in a pinch but watch out for the claws if you choose a cat. That way, you won't feel as if you don't have a date!

Oh, and if your "date" is of a four-legged variety, you are obligated to share the popcorn with your little friend. Hey, don't laugh about taking a pet as a date to a movie. I've been on dates when I would have much rather have been with one of my animals. I'm not even kidding about that! So pick a great guy or gal or borrow a pet. Just go SEE IT!

Then come home, log online and leave me a comment!